12

Begin Again

The hardest part about returning to blogging after a long break is not so much about the desire to blog, but about finding your voice again after so much time has passed.  What do I say?  How do I say it?  Will people listen?  Am I boring?  Is it worth it?  So many questions.

The world outside my window is covered in a downy gown of white, like so many feathers nestling together under the trees.  It looks so pure and peaceful, a perfect reflection of the clean slate I am beginning with as I start to write again and rediscover my own inner thoughts.

This year I am already thinking quite a lot about reducing, reusing (or just using), and really focusing on just what I need and nothing more.  It’s hard.  I’m sentimental and I tend to hang onto things thinking they’re “too special” for everyday use or save things I “know” I’ll use later and then never do.  I put some thought into this towards the beginning of last year, in preparation for Knittymunchkin’s arrival, but then things got kind of crazy with his early debut and adapting to new motherhood etc.  Now that we have settled into a little more of a routine (for now), I’d like to take that idea back out and dust it off and see what I can do about it.

You know that I’ve been talking quite a lot about knitting from stash for a while now.  I have been working steadily on getting everything into Ravelry and also a spreadsheet I made myself to keep track of how much I have and how much I need to use to whittle my stash down by at least half (one of my Day Zero/101 in 1001 goals).  I don’t have absolutely everything in there and the number won’t be static (because I plan to go to Sock Summit this year and will most definitely be purchasing some things!) but it looks a little something like this:

  • Total Yardage: 294,359.40 yds
  • Number of balls/hanks/skeins: 1766.91
  • Number of Sock Yarn hanks/balls/skeins: 152

Whew!  Mama has some work to do!  So in preparation, I set myself up with a Personal Project Club (a little like the Personal Sock Club I did in 2009).  I set up 6 bags with different projects in them;  some new projects, some projects that need to get finished, some small, some bigger.

Yesterday I finished my current WIP (Oscilloscope Shawl from Knitscene, Fall 2010) so I allowed myself to choose my first project from my personal project club.  And I chose: Subway Hat from Modern Top-Down Knitting.  I’m so excited!  There is just something whimsical I love about this little hat :)  The funny thing is, I actually want (for once!) to finish some of my current WIP’s/UFO’s before starting this hat, even though I know it will be quick.  Crazy, huh?  But I’m going to ride that wave until it crests.

Stay tuned for pics of my shawl once I can get it blocked and photographed, which I hope will be soon!  Not my usual kind of thang, but I think I might like it.

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6

Blue

It’s 4:30 AM and I’m awake. In a hotel somewhere in the armpit of Washington, I draw open the curtain and look out.  The rumble of construction noise swirls up to greet me, a muffled pinging of sheet metal punctuating the background.  For some reason I’m surprised to find men already hard at work in the smudgy dawn light.  I know I shouldn’t be, but somehow I still am.  The ground looks wet and I feel sorry for them, that they have to work in the miserable damp air, sweating over the concrete and lumber dust.  The sky looks how I feel; leaden, brooding, downcast.  Why is it that when we are feeling a little low, we always say we feel blue?  Why not grey, or black?  Blue could never reflect the melancholy I feel this morning.
 
I’ve never been much of a blue-lover.  Maybe that’s because it really doesn’t suit me.  Imagine my surprise when I bought 3 hanks of this deep blue Artyarns Supermerino (shade #107) a couple summers ago.  For some reason I liked the color, but I think I ultimately bought it thinking I’d gift it to someone in a swap at some point.  Hey, it was on sale for 30% off and I was already going stone cold crazy buying yarn that day, so what damage would a couple more hanks really do?  It never really crossed my mind I might want them for myself until I pulled them out for Knittymunchkin’s BSJ and found myself inexplicably drawn to the color.  So attracted in fact, that I couldn’t bring myself to use all 3 hanks of it on his BSJ and set about looking for something small I could make out of 2 hanks or less for myself.  Yes, selfish am I.
 
Behold the Breathe Deep Mittens, which I choose to call “Waiting to Exhale”, because I held my breath knitting the entire first mitten, hoping beyond hope I’d have enough yarn to knit the pair.  Lucky for me I did, and some to spare.
 

Breathe Deep Mittens


 

  • Pattern:  Breathe Deep by Kirsten Kapur (Ravelry link here; My Ravelry project link here)
  • Yarn:  About 1.6 hanks of Artyarns Supermerino in shade #107
  • Needles:  Size 7 – 36 inch bamboo circs (for magic loop)
  • Mods:  Only worked 6 rounds in pattern for the cuff for the M/L size mittens, instead of 7 rounds; used magic loop instead of dpns

 

Waiting To Exhale


 
Oh how I love this pattern!  Clearly written & easy to follow, just detailed enough to keep it interesting, but simple enough that I could pick it up and put it down at the whim of my little boy’s naps.  These pictures just don’t do justice to the rich, deep blue of this yarn.  I wish I could have captured it better so you could see just what drew me to it, but alas, time for photo shoots is not what it used to be and I have to go with what we get when we have time to go out. Though it was a brilliant sunny day when we took these, the bright light just washed out the color.  You’ll have to take my word for it that these are gorgeous and deep like a briny tropical sea.  The best part?  I used up 1.6 hanks of stash yarn (about 167 yds) and the remaining 1.4 hanks will go into Knittymunchkin’s BSJ for a total of 3 hanks of yarn and 312 yds used up!  Yay me!  Soon I’ll have most, if not all, my stash accounted for and I’ll give you an update on how hard I’ll have to work to complete my 101 things in 1001 days goal of reducing my stash to half its current amount.
 

A Knittymunchkin Outtake


 

Until then, enjoy an outtake!

9

Fess Up

Gah.  I caved.  I bought yarn.  Twice.  I should have known I couldn’t make it longer than 5 months.
 
But listen.  It’s not all bad.  I can defend myself a bitty bit here.  This is how it is:  I have 2 hanks of SWTC Vicki Howell Collection Love in “Jack & Sally” in my stash that has been there for over a year.  More silvery than grey, it has a gorgeous sheen and lovely hand.  The second it arrived I fell in love with it and I promised myself I’d buy more so that I could make myself something other than just a scarf with it.  Flash forward a year or more and I still haven’t kept that promise to myself.  So when I saw that DBNY had only 8 hanks left and it has supposedly been discontinued, I treated myself.  Besides, it was way on sale.  Like way on sale.  Originally $13/hank, I got it for $4/hank, so I was only out around $40 after shipping.  Not too bad in terms of falling off the wagon.
 

SWTC Vicki Howell Collection Love Yarn in "Jack & Sally"


 
And then there’s one more purchase that is waiting in my WEBS cart for my itchy little finger to push “Confirm”.  This one is a whopping $23.67.  A long time ago, when there was cash aplenty in my checking account, long before Little Mister, I purchased 5 balls of Noro Silk Garden in color #292.  I was drawn to the colorway, despite the colors not being my normal thang.  I think I thought I’d make a Clapotis or something, but it’s still in my stash untouched.  Then I saw the Equinox Raglan in the Winter/Spring 2010 issue of Knitscene and I knew what I wanted to make with it.  Sadly, I needed 2-3 more balls of yarn to make it and being the good girl that I am, I checked on Ravelry first for destashers.  Nuttin.  And the color is discontinued.  Luckily, WEBS has it and it’s even on sale, so I made sure it was o.k. with hubby and put three of those bad boys into my shopping cart.
 

Noro Silk Garden #292


 
But if all this talk of spending has got you thinkin you need new yarn, I’ve got something for you that will make you feel good even if you do end up overfilling your cart.  Knit Picks has 12 free sock patterns on their site!  I was looking over my newest IK issue once again and noticed the fine print on the bottom of the Knit Picks ad.  Since I would have missed it completely if I wasn’t just spacing out and happened to see it, I thought I’d share it with all of you who either missed it too or just plain don’t get IK.  So go here and get your 12 free sockses patterns (just click on each small sock image and it will take you to a pdf  you can print or save).  Enjoy!!

13

Let’s Talk About Stash

Let’s talk about stash bay-bee,

Let’s talk about yarn for “free”,

Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be,

Let’s talk ab-out stash. Let’s talk about stash!*

*Sing to the tune of Salt ‘n Pepa’s “Let’s Talk About Sex”


It may not look like much, but that's only about a quarter of my stash....

It may not look like much, but that's only about a quarter of my stash....

 

I’ve been thinking about my stash a lot lately. Maybe it’s because the rat party (no, not Ratt party, ’cause that might be awesome) going on in the walls at night has driven us from our cozy bedroom into the guest room, or Yarn Room as R. Darling likes to call it. Sleeping in the Yarn Room for the last week has brought me face to face with the excesses of my fibery addiction. (If you are R. Darling, skip this part and start reading again at the end) Surrounded on all sides by boxes and bags of yarn, while the stuff of dreams for me, could be a nightmare when thought of in terms of money spent, and ultimately, wasted. It makes my tummy ache just a little. Each night, threading my way through boxes of yarn I mostly can’t remember buying, brings me one step closer to wondering why I can’t control myself in the face of new, “better” yarn, whenever I go to the LYS or click across the intrawebs. I’ve been pondering my “problem” for a while now and with all the crap we’ve been dealing with lately (I’ll spare you the gory details other than to say, it’s the type of anxiety that even knitting can’t make better), it’s become evident that I should stay as far away as possible from yarn I might be tempted to cheat on my stash with.

To keep me true to my wish, no my need, to work from stash lest I find myself homeless with 6 giant rubbermaid tubs of yarn to carry around in my homeless person shopping cart, I have made it my solemn task for 2009 to knit from my stash as much as possible. That’s not to say I won’t ever buy new yarn in 2009 – I mean, that’s why they make gift cards and birthdays! – but I’m going to make a solid effort to cool it. Like every addict, it helps to have the company of others with like-mined goals. With special thanks to Amy for the links, I’ve joined the Stash Knit Down 2009 group on Ravelry, and checked in with the Queue Knit Down & Personal Sock Club threads. Here’s to hoping they can help me stay cheat-on-my-stash-free in the upcoming year!

 

And with that, I’ll leave you with one more retro flashback that I’ll bet you won’t be able to quit humming all day (you know you want to!):

Stash Stash Baby

dun dun dun dun duh-duh dun dun

What’s in your stash stash baby

dun dun dun dun duh-duh dun dun*

*sing to the tune of Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” – don’t even fake like you don’t know that one….

************

BTW: My computer seems to be having a little retro flashback of its own with speeds to rival the dial-up days. Needless to say, using the intrawebs, e-mail, or pretty much opening and closing anything on my computer is about as painful as driving hot nails into my eyes lately. So if you don’t hear from me as much, it’s only because I don’t have 2 hours to wrestle with my computer at the moment, but I promise I’ll get back to you. Eventually. Someday. Maybe by 2010. But I will ;)