In 1983, I worked feverishly on a gorgeous mohair sweater using yarn I bought at Simpson's in Toronto. After weeks of effort, I pieced it all together and made the horrible discovery that it had absolutely no give. I couldn't get it over my head! I was so discouraged, I confined myself to sewing.
It was two decades later that I learned what I'd done wrong. My Aunt Wilma visited from Calgary and when she mentioned she was in her local knitting guild, I ran out and bought some yarn and needles and demonstrated my (lousy) technique to her. I hoped that she could figure out where I was going wrong and -- sure enough -- she did.
Because I'm left-handed and was taught by right-handed people I didn't quite understand how to flip everything over. So I slipped my knitting needle into the front of the stitch instead of the back and gave every single stitch a little twist. (Or was it the back instead of the front? I'm so confused. But when I knit, my fingers now seem to know what to do.) The technique I used made for a nice sturdy fabric, but it had no stretch whatsoever. Not great when you're knitting a pullover.
With a little bit of guidance from Aunt Wilma, I was back in business and thrilled to discover a whole new variety of yarns that didn't even exist when I had last fired up the needles. Imagine how thrilled I was to discover Crystal Palace and all their wonderful, imaginative fibers. Because I love fluffy things (like pussycats and David Bowie), I stocked up on lots of balls of Crystal Palace Fizz and Crystal Palace Splash. That Christmas, my entire staff at The Worst Company in the Whole Wide World, Inc. (formerly a division of AT&T and now a division of IBM) received a nice, soft scarf to keep them warm when the office heating wasn't all that great. (Our Project Manager, Devra, used to wear her scarf and mittens in the office. Yes, it was that cold!)
Since that time, Crystal Palace has released a lot of really fantastic yarns that I absolutely love. The new Tutu is fabulous for those who like frills. I can't knit anything for Yarnmarket staff because they knit for themselves, so if I were knitting something dramatic and stylish for Graham Norton I'd use this one.
Graham wears some pretty outrageous outfits and I suspect his style icon is Elton John. Tutu would complement his shiny silk suits and shirts and maybe if I knit him one he'd be nicer to The Yarn Harlot the next time she's on his show. (I thought he was a little bit mean to her, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't want to sit in his big red chair to tell about the time I was attacked by a camel. In church. In Columbus, OH.)
If were knitting a new sweater for the absolutely adorable and talented Gareth Malone of The Choir, I think I'd use something from the Mochi line because he wears interesting sweaters and scarves and I think he'd love this yarn. There are several different weights available, and a gorgeous palette of dyed-in-the-wool colors. I've heard he's coming to America. Hmm...I wonder how I can lure him to Yarn Martian World headquarters?
Oh! That gives me an idea! If I were knitting for the sexy, alien-hunting Captain Jack of Torchwood, (John Barrowman), I'd probably use Panda Silk Solid for socks to wear with his kilt. They have so many colors that I'm certain I'd find something that matches, but I don't think I could knit plaid socks because, well, has anyone ever knit plaid socks? Successfully?
Anyway, the point is that Crystal Palace has a fantastic assortment of yarns to suit just about any style. They even have great choices for my sweetypie Alex who, I suspect, has every right to complain that I'm watching too much BBC America.