Expensive yarn at no cost to me

Saturday I accompanied a friend to the Estes Park Wool Market, an annual event in Estes Park, Colorado. She mostly went to pet the animals, but I was excited to see what yarn they would have on offer. (With apologies to those of you who raise them, I think sheep are disgusting, goats slightly more tolerable and alpacas adorable, though I still don't want to touch them.)

At a stall operated by Interlacements of Colorado Springs my friend spotted a knitted-up sample of the Squirrel Monkey Sweater:

Squirrel Monkey Sweater

"Could you knit that?" she asked.
"Sure," I replied, fingering the beautiful hand-dyed wool and wishing I could afford it.
"How much yarn would it take?"

As we discussed it, another customer overheard our conversation and extracted a printed yarn estimator from her bag.  While the three of us discussed that, one of the vendors offered the printed pattern, which more or less confirmed what we had collectively decided.  So my friend, asking again if I would really be willing to knit the sweater for her, picked out enough yarn in a lovely dark forest green and got in line to pay for it.  When she finally finished at the cashier's and walked back over to me with her purchase, she exclaimed, "I must be out of my mind!" and showed me the receipt for almost $200.  (The pattern was free.)

So anyway, I get to work with some absolutely gorgeous yarn that would otherwise be well beyond my budget, and all it will cost is time that I would have spent knitting anyway.  I teased my friend all the way home, saying "What if I f*ck it up," but of course that won't happen.  I can't wait to wind the yarn into balls and start knitting a swatch.

 I also got some nice multi-colored rayon-flax for my own stash.  No plans for it, but it was just too cheerful and soft to pass up.



timgets2's picture

holy cow. i love this story a lot. where does one possibly find squirrel monkey yarn if not in colorado???? im interested....new fibers are always fun for me!

The fiber is actually Merino wool.  The squirrel monkey connection is obscure, unless possibly squirrel monkeys have lace-and-cable fur. Smile

Ah, well the Merino has nothing to do with the name. The design was inspired by a squirrel monkey at our local zoo. They are very quick and energetic, and though they appear delicate they are also athletic and strong. The stitch pattern made me think of them in an abstract way. It is an abstract representation of what I think of when I see a squirrel monkey. With this design, I wanted a stitch pattern that appeared delicate, was energetic. The cables made me think of vines twisting back and forth in their natural habitat, and the tilting back and forth makes me think of their movements. If it did not have the tiliting back and forth it would not have worked for the desired feel of the design. Hope this explains it better (not that you were asking, but it can be intersting to see what is behind a design).

JoLene Treace

Hey, thanks for the background JoLene.  Executing your design has been very enjoyable, and, combined with my friend's hand-dyed wool, I think it will create quite a stunning garment.


james's picture

Woo-Hoo! You go Stuart!
I never knit anything for myself, but I always pay for the yarn. I'm going to have to get some friends like this! What an ideal situation. Hope you have a great time working on it!