This too, is not enough

I, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, knitter, yarn buyer, writer and generally hopeful person, do solemnly swear that I am going to do something (vague, and probably ultimately unhelpful) about my relationship with Habu.

Over the weekend I knit the snot out of that Sea Tangles thing, and it’s coming along nicely. (Please understand that I am here using the word “nicely” to mean that it is not done, which I wasn’t expecting it to be, but am still sort of surprised about, despite more than 4 decades of experience.)  At the booth when I bought the yarn, I looked at the pattern, looked at the yarn, asked how many cones it took, and bought that many. Three.

habugone 2016-02-22

Now I am 2/3rds of the way done the front (or maybe it is the back, they are the same. I’ll give it a designation later) and there’s a little problem with the yarn. Yeah. See that? One full cone is gone. That means I won’t have enough. Not by any kind of a long shot, and so I started trying to figure out where I could have gone wrong.  Turns out (after about 36 seconds of investigation which I should have done at the booth, hold your comments please) the pattern does take three cones.  It clearly states it takes three 1oz cones.  I have three cones.  I did something clever though, now that I am not in the booth,  and read the labels on those cones, and what I have are three half ounce cones.  I have exactly half as much yarn as I should, and you can blame this metric knitters tenuous relationship with ounces if you like, but it was an idiot move.  I’ve ordered more, and I was hoping that it would arrive before I needed it, but it turns out that’s a joke too, since I leave for Texas on Wednesday, and there’s no chance it will come by then.

Of course, this probably isn’t the big deal I think it is, since there’s zero chance I’ll finish all of this before I get back from Texas, and undoubtedly the yarn will be waiting for me then, but I really wish I could understand what it is about my dysfunctional relationship with Habu that means I can’t ever, ever get it right? Is it because the yarn is weird? Is it because I’m in some sort of fugue state in the booth? Is it the cones? Is it because no reasonable person in the whole world (who didn’t read the label) could possibly tell how many metres of )(*&^%ing stainless steel thread are on a )(*&^%$ing cone?

habufabric 2016-02-22

The upshot of it all is that this afternoon finds me in the stash room, choosing what I’ll knit in Texas because the Habu sweater and I are going to enjoy a little time away from each other. One of us is a jerk, and we both need to think over our relationship.

In other news, there are still spots available for the April Strung Along Retreat. The November one is full and running a wait list, and the June one has very few spots left. If you were hoping to attend a retreat with spinning in it – this one is likely your only chance for the year.  (To answer a question that keeps getting asked in our inbox: NO. You don’t have to be an expert spinner. This class is appropriate for people who have only met a wheel once or twice, Judith is very – very good with beginners, and we can lend you a wheel and give you a chance to practice. People don’t come to classes because they know what they’re doing. They come to learn. If you knew it all, you wouldn’t be there.) Answers to most other questions can be found on the Retreat page, or you can send an email along to strungalongATyarnharlotDOTca.  (Note the .ca  – it’s hard for us to answer your email when it goes to .com)

Now, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in the stash, getting cozy with some some nice, predictable sock yarn that isn’t on a cone.

90 thoughts on “This too, is not enough

  1. When you put that sweater on, all will be right with Habu again because it will make you feel so good. That’s how it is with those yarns.

  2. I looked at the pattern. I looked at the yarn page. I think the post-industrial fumes overcame you.

    On the other hand, you won’t have to explain why there is a whole gob of stainless steel in your bag when you fly.

    Warm winter weather…layers. Days may be warm; nights can be a lot colder and a front can change everything in a matter of hours. Southeastern Virginia…where we get rain when the rest of North America gets snow!

    • At least you don’t live in the suburbs of a city that has 1 dump truck with a plow attachment per million people? Also, we get mocked every time we have snow, though I admit the Hothlanta meme was funny.
      But yeah, winter in the SE USA screams for layers, as one day it could be in the 60s, and the next in the 30s.

  3. OUCH! My deepest sympathies on this yarn dilemma, hopefully you can get more cones of the right dye lot (if stainless steel comes in dye lots). If it is any consolation, what you’ve done looks great, and I’m sure the finished product will look lovely on you.

    And hugging sock yarn solves most things, and those it doesn’t solve can generally be helped by hugging a fuzzy loved one (or non-fuzzy if no cuddly cats or dogs are available).

  4. I’d say it’s them not you. Who sells a product in 1/2 oz cones but lists quantity in their pattern as a multiple of 1oz cones? The pattern should reflect the actual cone size.

      • Agreed! So, by my reckoning, the additional cones should be absolutely gratis — especially considering the amount of free advertising and publicity generated here on The Blog!! (Hey, c’mon — all the ‘best’ drug dealers give out the occasional freebie, to keep favourite customers hooked! Um ….. or so I’ve heard.)

        • I’m glad others have pointed this out. You looked at the pattern. You asked how many cones, and you bought that number. The person selling you said items should have known how much you needed, and clarified the difference in amounts on the cones!

          • Exactly! I have one stupid cone of Habu stainless in stash, which was a gift. I can’t even get it off the cone without it turning into a tangled mess. So all Habu does is make me cranky. Power to those of you who find it exciting.

    • *disembodied voice whispers wickedly in P’s ear:*

      Stephanie’s not the Boss of You — you could comment if you really wanted to!

  5. Three half-ounce cones indicate you meant to alter the pattern, probably by omitting the sleeves. How did you forget that after leaving the Habu booth? (Who needs sleeves in a stainless-steel cobweb, anyway?)

  6. I feel for you – been there and done that too. I appreciate that you let us know we are not alone in things like this. Wishing you a joyous time with the socks or whatever else calls to your knitting muse.

  7. No sweat, if you run out while you’re in Austin, Hill Country Weavers carries Habu Silk Stainless Steel. Enjoy the city… after the cold and wet we’re getting in Ottawa these days, I’m missing Austin winters!

  8. I’m the only person in my knitting community (there are dozens of us) with the stamina to manage Habu. Once I was at a booth talking to rep who admitted that she had knit one of the samples and yes it looked different and no, it wasn’t exactly the same yarn as in the ‘kit.’ Grrr.

  9. Is it because you seem to always buy Habu in a frenzy where you shop in 20 minutes the booths that others had all day to shop? If you had a more sane pace, it might have occurred to you there was a problem.

    • Oh dear…the Voice of Reason. You do have to admit that this would make the ‘show’ way less entertaining to watch vicariously… =)

  10. Don was so sure whenI told him you had bought stainless steel wool that you were going to knit him a suit of armour. He’ll be so disappointed.

  11. Hey Steph, I’ll bet you that you come away from your stash with more than sock yarn. :o) And that sweater is going to be amazing. There`s an intrigue with that yarn that`s palpable. As for the trick with conversion, we went metric when I was in high school, and I never figured it out. Outdoor temperatures I can manage, but the rest of it. Not a chance.

  12. Sorry you are running out of yarn. I am in Texas eagerly awaiting actually meeting you and will be sure to check out what knitting you bring.

  13. Habu, good thing to remember, to read the weights and measures, thanks for the heads up.! It is amazing to knit. I so understand your affliction.

  14. The weather here in Texas has been beautiful this month! Last week it got up to 85F/30C here in the desert of West Texas! Very strange for February!

  15. Seems like a mistake anyone could make. Also seems like a lovely sweater you’ll have, enjoy it. At least they have more of the yarn. 🙂

  16. But why would the pattern list 1-oz. cones if the yarn is sold by the half ounce? Unless Habu sells BOTH sizes. Certainly an easy mistake to make. Pffft! Probably best to leave the wire sweater at home – folding and unfolding in luggage and/or carry-on might give it creases that you don’t want. Enjoy your trip to Texas – it WILL be warmer than Toronto!

    • Habu (IIRC) sells a kit for sea tangles — … and having bought kits from them before, they definitely send the right amount of yarn with their kits.

      As far as confusing what the pattern wants for yarn with what you’ve bought — that’s really not something I’d blame on anybody but me 🙁 I’d love to claim innocence on that front (in both the ‘not enough’ and ‘way too much’ directions), but I’d be lying through my teeth.

    • That should probably be part of Habu Booth-Staff Training:

      ‘A lovely choice, madam/sir — may I ask what you’ll be knitting? One of ours? (checks pattern info list) Ah! Are you aware that pattern calls for twice as much yarn as you’ve chosen?’

      How hard would that be??

  17. Enjoy Texas. I suggest long sleeve tshirts and a shawl, you can push up the sleeves if it is too hot, and cuddle in the shawl if it is too cool. I suspect you will find a little of both this week.

  18. So inspired by your post about that sweater and yarn, I was, that I immediately looked up how I could go about making one for myself (it’s SO cool). I ended up putting this exact project “on hold” because some Madelintetosh Pashmina is getting discontinued and was at a price I couldn’t resist (Squirrel!). So, when I get my attentions back to this lovely creation, I will take head from your experience and try (“try”) to get the quantities right the first time. However, please know, this very thing happens to all of us. Promise! Enjoy your “break” and enjoy Texas!

      • For The Record: I had to triple check myself on the Habu page and absolutely would have ordered 2 cones instead of 4, thinking they were 1 oz cones, even though it quite clearly says “1/2 ounce cones”…. I’m looking forward to being fully literate…..

  19. You know what, Steph? I bet there are knitters in that Texas class who bought Habu stainless yarn and have given up on their projects completely. If you ask, they will probably bring their rejected yarn and give it to you. Ask and see what happens. Can’t do any harm and some frustrated knitter might be overjoyed to get the Habu out of the house.

  20. Well it is mysterious yarn and therefore unpredictable and not subject to the gauge of a mere mortal. Everyone knows Habu makes it’s own magic so it is perfectly reasonable 3 magician hats (cones in the muggle world) of Habu can morph into a complete lacy sweater.
    Living in Alaska, I can sympathize with the wardrobe issue. It’s fleece jacket or wool sweater with long sleeve heavyweight tee and jeans in the winter indoors.that morphs into fleece or wool vest with long sleeve tee and jeans in the spring and then that Wierd time when you don’t know what to wear because you sit in front of the fan with only one layer of clothing, skin exposed, with your tongue hanging out because the wax candles are melting from the bright thing in the sky and then it rains for a week and you’re back in your woolies and fleece.
    Interested to know how Habu will get along with winter static electricity. Do they sell rubber accessories to ground yourself with?

    • I would be as much worried about a lightning strike as winter static! Might want one of those old-fashioned lighting deflector rod thingies on my head, just in case. And wouldn’t that just be a post-apocalyptic fashion statement??? (snork, rubber accessories – love it!)
      Chris S in Canada
      PS and I have to touch the leaf – just a reminder not to stand under a tree in that sweater during a storm – ha ha

  21. That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard – list the number of 1 oz cones required, when it comes in 1/2 oz put-ups! And you were in the Habu Booth and they didn’t mention a thing??? In a LYS, I could understand. They carry many yarns. But the HABU BOOTH? They should know their product. Totally not your fault.

  22. I would think that with all the unusual things Habu puts in their yarns it wouldn’t be out of the question that the yarns also give off fumes that confuse the knitters.

  23. I have had a passionate affair with Habu for a few years now. I blame a browse through the sale patterns on the purlsoho site which led me to a scarf, which became two scarves, which led to a tutorial on their site (now four scarves,) then another tute (sweater tee), then a cardigan from the bamboo, and a tank top with the leftovers (though I needed to get another skein….), yarn set aside for other projects and some more scarves…. Then you posted last week and included a link…. I ordered a few kits. I blame you. And I have remnants and half full cones everywhere but I can. not. stop.

    It’s a love that will never die, though my bank account is sure to crap out at some point. That exchange rate sucks right now, eh?

    I’ve noticed that the different fibres/filament mixes lead to different weights and yardages so I’ve learned to check when subbing one metallic/fibre combo with another but I never would have picked up on 1oz vs 1/2oz unless I’d seen both sizes. I might have checked required yardage but it’s doubtful. Funny that the booth folk didn’t twig. Surely they should be familiar with the cone size issue and double-check you had enough. Blame the booth. Possibly tweaked out Habu-addicts working for cones themselves. 🙂

  24. Wait a minute. If you’re 2/3 of half the project, you’re 1/3 done the whole project. So if one cone is gone, then the other two should be enough to finish the rest. It may be cutting it close, but that’s the math of it. Or am I wrong?

  25. PS: Could I have the empty cones, when you’re done? We’re still close enough (looking back) to Christmas that I just know I need them for another essential Christmas Craft Project. Nicewitch on Ravelry.

  26. Why not have the yarn shipped to Texas? If you have a person there to receive it for you, and if it’s coming from the US to the US, it could work!

    • Hill Country Weavers in Austin carries this yarn, no need to have it shipped there. And they are a fun bunch; I’ve spent a few afternoons browsing and even sat in on a class (they’re very nice to visiting bloggers!).

  27. I was doing my semi annual cleaning/sorting of my studio prior to attending SPA/NETA this coming weekend in Freeport, ME. And I uncovered 3 of those little balls of Habu something or other. My daughters love the texture and weight that it produces for an indoor scarf. And I also noticed way too much coned Habu for some project that I don’t recall. All of it cranberry. Time to find a project for that.

  28. Do you have a contact in Texas who could receive it for you? If so, have the Habu shipped there! If it’s coming from the US to the US, it just might work for you! It won’t have to get stuck in customs.

  29. Because I have been there and done that…I ALWAYS buy more than is needed by the pattern. Not by the knitter but, by the pattern.

    Humans are just stupid sometimes and patterns can’t help that!

    Barb R.

  30. The real test of your relationship will come when Habu sends you 3 more cones and actually sends the same dye lot. You did include the dye lot #, didn’t you.

  31. My first thought was : have them ship it to your Texas hotel – save shipping time & money at the same time…. and I’ve had the same experience with the power of the cones; they disable some brain cells. Ha – Cone-heads, the knitter’s episode? [Insert flashbacks to Jane Curtin & Dan Aykroyd here – but add knitting needles for full enjoyment.]

  32. I feel like a bad person because I went to their site after you posted the link to Sea Tangles and fell in love. Then I realized that they were 1/2 ounce cones and thought, ah well, this is more expensive than I thought. I then wondered why they didn’t offer those one ounce cones on the web site, but figured maybe it was a show only thing.

    I almost posted this right after the initial post, but didn’t think it was that interesting.

    Now my problem is I really love this pattern and how it’s coming out for you so far, and I love the steel wool yarn, so I may have to order 6 cones anyway. Someday.

  33. I just looked up the yarn in question and see that it comes in both .5 ounce and 1 ounce cones. If you buy one more cone you should have enough -I can’t imagine you are making larger than a size medium…but to avoid another rousing game of yarn chicken, you might want to get two 😉 Enjoy Texas!

  34. Always remember the rule of 65. There is no handknit sweater pattern anywhere, in any size, they can realistically been made for less than $65 (acrylic excluded), even with the deep discounts in Webs’ warehouse; it just always works out the same. So, if you’re spending less than $65 to make an adult sweater, the calculation is wrong.

    • Ok, I need to add this tip to my Rav library! What’s killer is sometime back I was gifted with a certificate for Lion Brand, and bought a couple cones of their version of the stainless steel yarn. I think I have a deep purple and a cranberry; now I can’t imagine what I’ll do with these colors!

  35. Wait a minute. Did I read that correctly? You asked how many cones you needed and was told 3? Ummmm. You then bought three.
    They should have said 6 if the cones are half ounces and the pattern says 3 oz. I’d say the folks working in the booth need a bit more education on the patterns.
    At any rate, hope you enjoy the trip to not winter.

  36. Don’t blame yourself. It’s the yarn fumes. They’re much more powerful at yarn events for some reason. Once the yarn gets into your home and the fumes have a chance to dissipate a bit their brain-fogging ability eases and proper thought returns. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying Texas. We’re having a cold snap. And even so, bet it’s warmer than Canada. 🙂

  37. Three years ago, I began a set of curtains in the same Habu fiber. I was SO EXCITED about those curtains.
    And I soldiered through eighteen inches of them, with so many dropped stitches and odd little irregularities and a couple of nearly tragic attempts at color changing without obvious ends poking out….
    And then I remembered that I knit for fun. So that project is in the plastic bin of forgetfulness, and I cannot imagine the circumstances under which I might pull it out and rekindle a knitting relationship with it.
    So, if you want some other colors, let me know. I have purple, orange, yellowy green and cream.

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