Craftiness in Turkey
Now, for the crafty bit of my journey. The project I ended up taking was my Exchequered scarf. I figured that my Master Knitting swatches, though small, would require a lot of references (I want to try out different techniques to see which works out best), and I hadn't started any socks. The scarf was small enough, and I knew that I wouldn't finish while in Turkey. I didn't take any emergency sock yarn because I knew that I would be stocking up on yarn--if I needed to, I could just start a new project with some new yarn. Besides, I figured that with such a busy schedule, I might not have much time to knit anyway (not thinking about the hours upon hours of travel time). It turns out, however, that this was a wise decision.
So, on my second (full) day in Istanbul, I met up with Nihal, a crafter I met over the internet. She was nice enough to meet up with me and show me around the yarn/textile part of the famous Istanbul bazar. It was amazing and a little disappointing at the same time. As Nihal warned me ahead of time, I encountered mounds and mounds of acrylic--the mounds and mounds of yarn being amazing to look at, all the acrylic being the disappointment. However, not all hope was lost--there were many little shops with all sorts of yarn. It just required a bit of searching. I was on the hunt for some cotton yarn for a short-sleeved summer polo shirt and enough wool yarn to make a sweater. (I still haven't attempted making any sort of top for myself... I'm a little scared... And the previous times when I bought yarn with the intention of using it for a sweater, I ended up not having enough or not really liking the combination of colors... Perhaps I was subconsciously trying to sabotage myself before even beginning?) We entered one shop with a very nice and helpful owner. Luckily, the shop was stocked with mostly cotton yarn. And I found the colors I was looking for--dark blue for the body of a polo shirt with a light beige for the collar. I also saw two other colors that I liked--a khaki color and an orange-y red. I thought short-sleeved striped V-neck. I debated long and hard about whether to buy it or not and ended up buying it... You can never have enough yarn, and this was a lovely souvenir, afterall! ^^ And of course, it was so cheap! I was like 1 Yeni Türk Lirası (usually abbreviated 'ytl') per 100g (about 0.55 euro or $0.77 per 100g)! Can't beat that, eh?
In another shop, I also managed to find some nice pure wool yarn, a nice dark grey (but not charcoal grey). I couldn't find a color that went well with it, so a solid-colored sweater it'll be. I got 1kg of this yarn (I'm pretty big...) and also got 600g of a beige cotton yarn at the counter (for a great bag I want to crochet). Needless to say, I had to lug around a loooot of yarn that day. The sacrifices we make for our craft! ^^
Nihal also wanted to take me to a yarn shop on the Asian side of Istanbul where there was also quite a selection of yarn for cheap, but unfortunately, she had to get back to her exams. She gave me directions since I was staying on the Asian side. I decided that I had already bought enough yarn, but Fulya asked me to knit Coachella for her. I told her that I wouldn't mind if she got the yarn, so together we went in search of this incredibly cheap yarn store. It took some searching, but we eventually found it. The store, named Diyana, had quite a selection, but again, it was mostly acrylic. After a bit of hunting, we found some nice peach-colored cotton yarn, perfect for the pattern. So, we bought the yarn, a pair of circular needles and a tape measure (I didn't bring all my knitting supplies with me... but you can never have too many tape measures, right?).
The Coachella project ended up being the knitting project I worked on in Turkey. I measured Fulya and checked the pattern for the appropriate size (converting from metric to US measurements). I knit a swatch in the round so the top would come out the way it was supposed to. The needles were too small, so we went back to exchange them. I knit another swatch with the new needles and recalculated the pattern to fit my new gauge (again, constantly converting between the metric and US systems). I cast on and worked on Coachella for the bus ride from Istanbul to Ankara, the car ride from Ankara to Kaş, and for many of the small breaks I had in between. I knit and knit and knit, hoping to finish before I left. When I was about halfway done (while we were in Kaş), I put the stitches on an extra piece of yarn so Fulya could try it on. How did it fit? Not like a glove as I was hoping it would... It was two sizes too big!!!! Can you believe it! After all my prep work and careful calculations... At least this terrible mistake was not a result of my knitting (this was one of my most consistent pieces) nor my calculations. Apparently, the sizes given were measured differently than I expected. Despite the little note at the beginning of the pattern (which I didn't think was very clear, but I was sort of rushing through it), I assumed the list of 'Chest measurements' represented the actual chest measurement of the recipient. Instead, these represented the measurement of the finished garment, which fits a person with an additional 7 inches of chest. So the XS, which measures 25 inches, fits a person with a chest measurement of 32 inches (25 inches + 7 inches). I hope you can see why I was a little confused. And I saw on Ravelry that I was not the only one who was confused by this... I'm not a total idiot! Yeah!
What did I do? I sighed, took a deep breath, and started over. I looked at the pattern again, did loads and loads of calculations and then cast on for my second attempt. At least I (a) got a lot of practice with the combination method, (b) have a much better understanding of the pattern as a whole, and (c) can avoid the mistakes I couldn't correct in my first attempt. And hopefully, this one will end up being the right size!
What did I do about the overly large Coachella? I kept the stitches on the yarn and set it aside... I couldn't bear to rip out all that knitting at the time... I actually still haven't ripped it out.... It's stuck in small plastic bag on my sofa in that state of perpetual incompleteness... It knows it's going to be reincarnated, but just not when... I don't think I'll rip it out until I need to for Coachella Junior... You knit, you learn! ^^