Malbrigo, Amazon and Sickly Knitting

I have a head cold.  Or sinusitis, some kind of lurgy that presents to me a delightful choice between an aching body with a sharp headache or a swimmy cold medicine brain that moves in slow motion.  And a croaky voice.  My ears are buzzing this evening-  I’m too old for an ear infection!  If its like that in the morning, I’ll go see the doctor.

I don’t like being sick.  Don’t get me wrong, the drugs are ok and I like soup, but I hate sitting around doing nothing.  I spent three days trying to drag myself around to make a final fabric version of the 40′s Charm Hack but I haven’t managed it.  The pdf is complete, but I don’t want to release it without an image of the final tee.  Soon.  Tomorrow, if I’m not dead.

While I’m lying around uselessly, I picked up my winter knitting.  I’m making Levenwick by Gudrun Johnston.  Isn’t it lovely?  Levenwick popped up on Pinterest a few weeks ago and I knew I had to cast on as soon as possible.  It’s my only cardigan for this winter- they’re so short and mild here I can’t really justify more than one, though I do like knitting them.

Have you worked with Malabrigo?  It’s divine, absolutely dreamy stuff.  I made a hat for Stephen last year from Oceanus Malabrigo, and I could see what all the fuss is about.  It’s smooth, the colors are clear and truly beautiful and it has incredible stitch definition.

AND- “We are a small, family owned yarn company located in Uruguay. Working closely with a cooperative of women from Uruguay we have developed a line of hand painted yarns of incredible softness and wonderful color variations.” -facebook page

My inner hippie nods in approval, and it’s inexpensive enough that I can actually afford to make a cardigan with it.

But I couldn’t locate it.  I spent several days scouring the internets for a store that both carried a colorway I could wear and would ship it to me without charging more for shipping than the yarn itself costs.  I rang several local knitting shops, and everywhere it was the same story- “We put in an order, Malabrigo worsted is really popular, we hope it will be in soon.”

Eventually I clicked on Amazon and found Malabrigo.  I thought they just sold books, somehow I missed that Amazon became a sort of online general store.  They sell or track down just about anything, it seems.  I’m impressed, actually, it was nice to see the wares from several different shops side by side on the same page.

Amazon also does an affiliates program.  I spent a little time researching and it seems like a fairly ordinary thing to do- basically they give bloggers a small commission for sending sales their way.  I wanted to start doing more feet and materials reviews (and videos!) with links to where to find them, so this works pretty well.   As with anything else I do, I would never recommend something I haven’t tried and loved myself.

Amazon directed me to Jimmy Beans Wool, which I hadn’t found in my other searches.  They had everything I wanted!  And the service was amazing!  I find that a LOT of places get cranky and drag their feet about shipping internationally, but they were really helpful, gave me the “cheap” option for shipping, and it arrived within a week.  The packing envelope even has a free pattern.  Not my cup of tea, but I appreciate the great use of empty space.   Jimmy Beans won themselves a loyal customer.

But back to my Levenwick.  I’m making it in the Sapphire Green colorway, the same one pictured above from Google Image Search.  I expected it to be a little more… subdued than this, but I don’t hate it.  It’s not a terrible color for me, and I think it will clash gorgeously with my winter clothes.  That’s the idea, we’ll see!

I knit the pocket first, I figured if I left it to the end I wouldn’t knit it.  Besides, it doubles as a gauge swatch.  I hate swatching, but this feels like I actually made some progress on my cardigan.

What kind of buttons would you put on a cardigan like this?  Have you worked with Malabrigo before?  Do you have any tips or caveats?

Later this week- video tutorial on buttonholes without a fancy foot, 50′s boleros from sweater knits, Mommy dresses, Thoughts on Being Nice,” hacking and maybe I’ll get a start on Megan’s NYC LBD.  If the plague doesn’t take me.

(PS- I tried a peroxide bleach on the whites- they are now a shade of flourescent pepto-bismal.  Awesome.  I’m looking into the white dye option.  Thank you all so so so much for your advice and empathy!)


49 comments

  1. Oh dear! The dreaded lurgy – what a pain in the backside (and everyother place it gets too as well). Once again Teddy and I are sending lots of good wishes your way. The only thing he likes about me being sick is that he gets to hangout on the couch with me and watch movies. I hope you really do get well soon – if only you had enough energy to make that chicken soup xoxo

  2. Between the whites and the lurgy you’re not having much fun at the moment. Take it easy, enjoy the knitting and feel well soon.

    • Uggggh. I think I half coughed up my lungs last night, today is worse.

      It’s such a pretty sweater, I knew I had to have it… You might like knitting, it’s not terribly hard and there’s heaps of youtube videos and so forth..

      Ahhh! Get out of my head! I was thinking longingly about those, too.

      • I don’t WANNA be in your head! You’re head is filled with illness!

        Although it’s also apparently full of pretty buttons. *is torn*

  3. Glad you had good service with Jimmy Beans! I ordered from them once and had some problems; not good communication on their part, unfortunately and I never got what I wanted! So I haven’t gone back, but I should give them another try. :)

  4. i made a cardigan from malabrigo and in no time at all it looked like something the cat dragged in. it’s still soft and warm but i don’t wear it outside of the house. just a warning. i don’t think i’d use it for a sweater again.

    • Oh no! I thought I did my due diligence and didn’t see that… Dear dear… I’ll probably keep going, what else am I going to do with the yarn? But thanks for the heads up!

  5. Oh no, I hope you feel better. Being sick absolutely sucks! I can’t believe you are just discovering the wonders of Amazon. They have everything!

    • I know, I’m soooo 2007. I don’t know how it escaped me before… ;)

      Just lying around, answering emails and drinking soup. I hope this flu thing goes away soon!

  6. So sorry that you’re feeling awful Steph! I believe that soup and knitting are just about the only positives to having a cold — at least I do those things too when one strikes me.

    JimmyBeans is awesome! I actually got to visit the real store last summer (I was at a ceramics workshop in Tahoe and a bunch of us drove to Reno just to go to Jimmy Beans while our last kiln load fired) and the staff is just as fabulous in person. The store is big time sensory overload, I’m sure you can imagine! I came home with a rather large bag of Madeline Tosh yummy yarn.

    I love reading your blog so much, and I’d be delighted to make (and gift) you a set of custom porcelain or stoneware buttons for your cardi — if that interests you :D. By the way — love that shade of green!

    • Ugh, it’s progressed past “cold” status to something much nastier… But the soup is still good.

      I love pretty knitting stores… A moveable feast…

      Oh wow Ginny, that would be lovely! What kind of designs do you do, do you have an etsy shop? I’ll drop you an email, thanks!

  7. Aww, man, I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well. :( Here’s hoping you have a speedy recovery! I grew up in a Greek neighborhood outside Chicago, so whenever I’m sick, I beg my husband to go get me avgolemono, a chicken and rice soup that’s sooo good. I feel like it has miraculous healing powers! Oh, and Jimmy Bean’s Wool is the best– I order from them all the time. They have a rewards program that offers you a percentage of your purchases as credit towards your next purchase– hooray!

    • Ooh that sounds delicious.. My husband is working from home today, I guess he decided that means he needs to make me some chicken soup. I’m so not complaining. :)

      Yeah, Jimmy Beans seemed pretty great to me.

  8. I feel your pain, no really I do! I went the dentist this am, and he told me my back molar was cracked, so now I am committed to root canal work and a crown. I’m on the sofa struggling to eat a biscuit on one side of my mouth, and writing a post on a computer which is also below par.
    I love the wool, I’ve just taken a vow to only use real wool after several disappointing jumpers made with wool mixes( more acrylic than wool).

    • Aw! You poor thing! Is the computer below par or the blog post? ;) I can’t help but giggle a little at the picture you painted.

      I don’t think I’ve ever had happy results from acylic… It’s good for yarnbombing and crafty stuff, but I never did like the feel of it.

  9. Hope you feel better soon, I would put some oversized wooden buttons with this yarn, my favourite is bamboo cotton at the mo, I have tons of knitting energy left but I’ve got so many sweaters now I have to squash them into the drawer as it is!!

  10. lovely green:) loks like we have the same virus on opposite sides of the world Steph… Mine started with a burning throat on the weekend and yesterday, and today I didn’t go to work. Ears – ouch. It’s all part of it according to the doc who said there’s a lot of it around. Yuck.
    get well soon :)

    • So weird! I’m pretty congested too, I can’t really lie down because I start coughing too much.. But i can’t sit up for too long either. Bah. I wish I could just go to sleep for a few days and wake up all better. You get better soon too!

  11. Oh you poor sausage. I love the pattern and the kiwi green is delicious. Wood or coconut get my vote, but then those fish buttons are sooo good! Some amazing porcelain buttons would be…amazing? Too much hyperbole? ;-)

    • I know! So many choices. I had thought wood or coconut, but the green is a little too bright for that I think… Just a little… ;)

  12. I cannot knit to save my life, and probably won’t try before I’m dead! But that wool is so delicious! What a wow colour – the perfect thing to make a cold feel better.

    • It’s such a wow color… I’m wondering if I should have gone for something calmer! But this is ok too… Makes me think of the rolling pastures down south…

  13. Sorry to hear you’re feeling pooey, eagerly awaiting tutorial on buttonholes without a fancy foot as I used to have a fancy foot with my old machine but now sort of winging it without one on new machine.

    • I’ll get on the video as soon as I don’t sound like a bullfrog. Husband thinks it’s kind of cute but I don’t want to subject y’all to it. You might pick up the flu just from listening… :)

  14. Apologies for ‘the whites’. DH (know-all) said the peroxide brightened the already pink colour – an answer for everything! Anyway you obviously have other things on your mind at the moment. Get well soon.

    • No no, not your fault… Not anyone’s fault, just one of those things that happens when you’re the sewist equivalent of a mad scientist… ;)

      Thanks.. I spent a few days completely dead to the world and woke up this morning feeling considerably more human. :)

  15. Oh your poor thing. I hate lurgy. And combined with everything else going wrong… not fun.

    But your knitting is a gorgeous colour!! Reminds me that I really need to finish Mini’s blanket now I have new needles… since its winter again and I’ve been working on it for three years (go laziness!)

    • Nothing wrong with a little laziness… :)

      I managed to get through the collar of the cardigan, something tells me the body will be very very slow going. That’s ok, as long as I knock off a little at a time it’s still progress, right?

  16. Sorry you’re feeling under the weather, Stephanie! Hope you get better soon. Knitting is good though – as long as you aren’t tackling anything too complicated! Levenwick is a lovely sweater and I was tempted by it myself.

    • I really really like the sweater, I hope I don’t get to the end and decide the green is too much… I do kind of wish I’d gone with a medium blue, but too many of my sweaters/jackets/wraps are that color… That’s what I get for stepping outside my comfort zone…

      I’m feeling much more myself now. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Sigrid… I don’t know where the last few days went, I slept mostly. But ok now. Just trying not to push too hard now that I feel better, don’t want to end up in bed for another few days. Yuck!

  17. I finally just found out this year what “lurgy” meant. Do we have an equivalent? Anyway, blech, sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Knitting seems like a good soother. And Amazon is totally the new supermart. I get everything from cat litter to toilet paper that way.

    • I don’t think so… I picked up the word from a very strange lovely kiwi friend of mine… She really enhanced my vocabulary, I must say…

      Amazon is really amazing… I mean.. When did they take over the internets? Where was I? How come no one told me?


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