Yarn Ho! This is the beginning of the T-shirt in Sinfonia. The pattern calls for Calmer, but since it is a fun novelty pattern rather than a classic wardrobe-builder (the lady at the LYS disagrees with me on this), I felt that Calmer was just too pricey. Now, normally I do not hesitate to substitute yarns. Basically, anything that gives you the gauge, and has the character you would like for the item in question, can be subbed. I generally do not even pay any attention at all to the yarn suggested. But Calmer has a reputation for being unique. The lady at the LYS assured me that nothing else could be used in place of Calmer. This elicited cynical sneers from those I passed it along to, but I have seen similar claims on the web as well. And I have literally never seen Calmer.

Not everyone loves Calmer, though. Quixotic Musings says she would rather eat metal filings than knit with Calmer again. And I have seen others claiming that it is a real bother to work with.

So I decided to try Patons Grace, a yarn I had seen suggested as an alternative to Calmer. I had it in my online shopping cart and everything when it struck me that I was buying a yarn I had never seen to sub for a different yarn I had never seen, and maybe I should try to find something locally. So I quickly replaced that Grace with Plymouth Stone — another yarn I have never seen, but it’s cotton, knits to gauge, and was on sale for so little that I wouldn’t feel bad about having it, no matter what. That way, I figured, I’d have something suitable pretty quickly, regardless. I got enough for Pokey, too.

Off I went in search of Grace, or Calmer. Which sounds like some sort of emotional quest, doesn’t it? I did not find either, but I did find Sinfonia, a yarn I have admired in the past but never used. It is an inexpensive cotton, knits to the right gauge, and — the main appeal for me — comes in these retro colors. The official names of these colors are “Rosa” and “Verde Pradera.” “Pink” and “Meadow Green” to us English speakers. The fact that the yarn has a musical name and the color’s name is equivalent to “Verdi Prati,” one of my all-time favorite songs, is just a little added charm. This yarn comes from Mexico — I do not believe I have ever before used a Mexican yarn, so this adds to the exotic air of the thing. I can remember visits to Baja California, imagine myself sipping margaritas in a bougainvillea-draped arbor overlooking the Pacific… Ahem.

Actually, I am about to visit the frog pond. First, the hem I have just completed is off by three stitches. I like the hemming technique, but perhaps should not have been reading while I did it. Second, while the swatch came out to the correct gauge, the actual knitting which you see in the picture is working out to 18 rather than 19 stitches over 4 inches. So I may yet be able to use the #3 needles and finish Hopkins simultaneously.

Chanthaboune, who is young enough to wear words across her bosom, is trying to decide which words to use. My favorites from her list were “Monkit” (which must be a private joke) and “Life Dances,” which has the air of mystery we find on her xanga, combined with insouciance, which is always a good thing.

Voodoo920 thinks this design may accentuate the bustline, speaking of bosoms as we were, but I can’t tell whether she considers that a good thing or not 😉  She has also flashed her stash in a most picturesque fashion. I notice that she has some Plymouth Stone, so perhaps she will go ahead and make the T-shirt with us, in spite of its potential bust-enhancing properties.

LikeWowMom is making hers in Calmer, the yarn called for by the pattern. She is still debating her graphic, too.