Friday, April 29, 2011

17 WIPS. Ouch!

For some odd (ha! Odd, get it?) reason I use the number 17 a lot. “Dude, quit jumping on the couch. I’ve already told you like 17 times to quit”…or “It took me 17 hours to check out at Walmart the other day” (which is actually being generous I think…) And so it is with my knitting projects. I am always saying “I have like 17 projects on my needles” and this got me thinking. How many projects do I really have in progress. I decided to be brave and make a detailed list. It will give others reading this blog (as if…) a smug feeling of “At least I am not as crazy as that 17 Knitting Projects Lady.”

So here we go:
1. Swing top for Miss Maam. Waiting on more yarn to finish. Love it. Shades of Summer by Elena Nodel in Fibrenatura Links and Red Heart Tiki yarn.
2. Swing top for Miss Sassy. I just cast it on so I could be all “See, I am making you one too, since the mock up, which was for you, didn’t count. Same pattern. I was also sort of joneing to get this new yarn on the needles. Glad I did. It’s really soft and purty. Using Knit Picks Comfy as the main yarn and Trendsetter Flora as the carry along.
3. Random hat to play with stitches. I always like having a hat on the needles. Why not??  I love my circles. I am doing a basic hat and adding in different stitch patterns for texture as I go along. I am using Rowan Cashsoft 4 ply, doubled. One strand light grey and one strand light blue.
4. Camo rug. This is a stash buster for my boys room. I put four strands of worsted weight acrylic together and am knitting it on size 15 Addi Turbos. I have one stand of Caron One Pound, one stand of some kind of Woolease, one strand of Bernat Soft and Cozy (vintage woo!) and one strand of Caron Simply Soft in black. This sucker is huge and in a bag right now because it made me yawn. Are you yawing now?? Y-A-W-N. Once I feel guilty enough about not getting it done, I’ll pull it out and work on it a bit again!!
5. Garter Yoke Cardi. I got this bulky acrylic in a beautiful color and had to cast on this gorgeous cardigan. But the yarn isn’t very pleasant to knit with. I have enough of it that I will see the project through, but for now, it’s in hibernation.
6. February Lady Sweater. Wellll….I got the done all the way to one sleeve, finished the one sleeve and put it up. Then I forgot if I added stitches under the arm or not, and was all freaked out about trying to figure it out. I just figured it out a couple nights ago, and am now itching to pick it back up! I did it with I Love This Yarn in a pretty blue. I know, it’s acrylic, but it’s a nice color and a good price to practice my very first adult size garment.
7. Speaking of adult garments. My husband’s sweater. Bang head on desk. GRRR. So I am knitting this gorgeous top down sweater. Basic pattern, but gorgeous wool/alpaca yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca) that I hand dyed myself to be “Mossy Oak.” I was knitting along and just about to put the sleeves stitches on hold, when the unthinkable happened. My KP interchangeable cord snapped. The whole sweater was in jeopardy. I very quickly and with much stress, threaded all the live stitches onto a length of yarn, cursing Knit Picks the whole time. I was a little bit mad. Just a little (yeah..) Then I noticed I screwed up the increase on one of the sleeves. Noticeably. The increase is a stitch over from where it should be and it looks really wonky. Now I have to wait until I am a. really calm b. not too calm c. have an hour without a child that will crawl on me, so I can go and fix this mistake without ripping back all the rows I so painstakingly knit. Yeah it’s just stockinete, but for a big dude sweater, stockinette IS painstaking.
8. The garish rainbow blanket. Ripple pattern in knit. Easy peasy. Looking at the colors as I knit it. Not so much. This is a labor of love for a little girl who thought the colors looked GREAT together. I pick it up every now and again. Picking it up is a “guilt buster..” Had a bad Mommy day? Great go pick up clown barf blanket and you can remind yourself that this is love. Real love. The Mommy Kind.
9. Camo glow in the dark blanket monstrosity. Another kid blanket. But with Camo and glow in the dark yarn. Weird combo but the boy loves it. Just garter all the way. Whoop-do-doo!!
10. Liesl cardigan. I just cast this one on and am on my third start. Apparently you can’t watch an intense movie and keep your stitch count right. Who knew? No biggie. The yarn is fantastic and I am still loving the pattern. Challenging, but not scary!
11. Tunisian Crochet (is awesome) throw. I am just knitting a big old strip, tying off, doing another one and single crocheting together. Wow. That makes it sound like I can actually crochet. Don’t be fooled. My granny squares look like…..shit. I can’t think of anything witty to say about the disaster all my attempts have been.
12. The Novelty Throw. Oh my gawd. I took these fuzzy, crazy yarns, put four strands together and had a little cartoon knit session with my size 50 needles. Wow. Too funny. I have technically bound this off BUT I am picking up stitches on the edges and doing some detailing with smaller needles. This is free form knitting I guess. It’s fun, I do know that!
13. Another swing top. And this is technically off the needles too, but I still have to weave in the ends and then do a crochet edge to help with the stretchiness. It’s awesome! I used King Tut by Knitting Fever and the carry along was some weird yarn by Target called Funky Fringe.
14. Baby boy cardigan. I love the patterns by Diane Soucy, and so I had to cast one on with a bulky green yarn that arrived a bit ago via Karma Yarn Swap. I knit the collar and got around almost to the sleeves and got a bit bored. It’s in my basket waiting to be fondled again. We’ll see.
15. Crossing over from cross stitch? What to do with all that thread? Knit it. I am doing more free form knitting ala log cabin style. I hold three strands together, in all different colors and just play with the knitting. It’s kind of funky and cool. Not really a project, but it’s “on the needles” so I am counting it nonetheless.
16. Tshirt yarn rug. Yeah, whatever. It’s hard to knit with this shiz and at one point I ended up with this basket looking thing because I guess I wasn’t increasing enough. So then I tried….
17. To replicate the tshirt yarn project, I started crocheting a circle thing to be a cat bad. Figured if I repeated my mistake, I would end up with something with walls. Nope. Just ruffles. Crochet freakin sucks. Or I just suck at it. I prefer to think it’s the art of crochet and not me. I feel better about myself that way

And seriously, those are all I can remember right at the moment. I am pretty sure that is all I have “on the needles..” And. Holy. Crap. Look at the number. Maybe my love of 17 isn’t some random thing. Maybe I subconsciously use this number in every other area of my life because of it’s connection to my love of all things yarny and good. Hmmm…

And we won’t talk about how many yarns are pulled out right now for “Things I Want to Make, (errrr…Start…) soon!

And now, I have like 17 minutes until I have to do something else. Knit? Maybe.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lead Me Not Into Temptation

Ravelry. One word. Such impact. This one wee little (ha ha ha!!) website was the beginning of my yarn hoard, but that's a story for another day. Today I will talk about the tempation that is Raverly.
The yarn tab. Yeah. Just click it. Pull up any yarn you love or think you might love or don't even give a damn about, and you'll find gobs of that yarn...for sale. You don't even have to go to the destashing group, or the swapping group. Nope. You can pretty much find any yarn you want...for sale. (Get that....for SALE, meaning you can BUY it....) Sigh. Seriously. You might just be looking for some projects for those two cool skeins you forgot you had. You click around. Ohhhhh look what that gal made with FIVE skeins. So you check on the stashes and yup, three more can be had for less than retail. GAH!! How can a girl trying to knit her way out of the mondo stash function in a place like this???
And yet, pretty much on a daily basis, you can find me on Raverly, not only in the ISO/Destash Group, but just looking at things via the "YARRRRNNNNN" tab. So far, I've only wanted to buy once. Well, you know, I could count the yarns that made me go " I really want to do this yarn knit down thing..???" but I don't. There was only ONE that I was really upset was sold before I got to it and to be fair to myself, this yarn is actually listed on my profile as my MOST favorite yarn ever and it was super cheap. Just typing that out makes me all weepy. Best yarn ever. Cheapest I've ever seen it for sale. Damn. I am taking a mental note of that little victory for when reward time for this stupid challenge I've put on myself is over.
For now, I'll keep builiding resistance to yarn by looking at it daily and not buying it, but wishing I did...or could....I'm thinking perhaps it's something akin to yarn vaccination. Ha!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poly-amoury is right for me ;)

One time I read a post on Ravelry that made me (literally) laugh out loud. Not at the poster, but at myself. This mysterious person had this *thing* she called "project monogamy." Uhm, what??? As in one project at a time, start to finish, with nothing else in the works?? Seriously? I was in awe. I pondered applying that to my own knitting life for all of five seconds, then gave myself permission to never, ever, ever practice "project monogamy."

I am poly I suppose. At least in my knitting life. I have room in my heart for many projects at a time. The organic cotton on the bamboo needles, being shaped into a cute little swing top for my diva daughter; the four stands of worsted weight acrylic on my size 19's cranking out a very fast camo blanket that will glow in the dark; the pretty little cardigan stuffed under my bed in a storage box because I can't remember if I added underarm stitches on the first arm or no.....(And no even this mishap doesn't convince me that monogamy is the way to go. I just think I should be better organized so I don't call the project by the wrong name when we spend our special time together....)

I suppose it's all about your knitting lifestyle. I have many people who enjoy my handknits and I have a love for all different kinds of yarn and needles and projects, so having only one to enjoy at any given moment just isn't enough for me. I have a place in my heart, and in my hands, for each one of my UFOs. Life gets too boring when you're only touching one kind of fiber for hours on end. Nahhhh...I don't think I'll be proclaiming my project monogamy anytime soon. I'm better off with the 17 projects to cycle through as I get 'in the mood' for them. And if I see something else I want to start, on I will cast with absolutely no regrets and no guilt. I guess that makes me a project whore or something kinda like it....


Monday, April 18, 2011

The Morality of Yarn Ownership

In yarn land, there is a thing known as stash. What constitutes too much or too little is really an individual matter. Some own more yarn than their local yarn shop. Some can fit their special yarns into a shoe box. Some with said shoe box full can feel they have too much, while the person with their own store in a back bedroom can truly feel they have room for more. Totally personal decision.

The morality of yarn ownership. Is there really such a thing? Well, if you look around the internet you will find that people with stashes of yarn feel a different sense of urgency than other crafts that demand a good amount of supply to participate in. I myself love to sew, quilt and scrapbook along with knitting (and a WEE bit of crochet) Fabric doesn’t really stress me out, and papers and gadgets for scrapping are just part of having a good selection to choose from when it’s time to create a page. Perhaps it’s the amount of time it takes to produce a finished object from yarn as opposed to sewing a quilt or a dress. For me, having “too much” yarn does produce an abundant amount of toomuchititis which is fine for me. It’s not a moral thing. I don’t feel like I am morally obligated to turn those yarn purchases into something because it’s BAD not to do so. I just feel sad when I look through my bins and realize this amazing and awesome yarn I HAD to have, has to sit a little longer before I can cast on with it. Some yarns have been put aside for far too long and it’s simply because a newer yarn catches my eye and I start something with it. Sorry, my beautiful Roma, I must pass you buy for the Cashsoft for a hat. I’ll see you soon. I promise

It’s all good if your comfortable with what you own until someone makes a comment along the lines of “UGH….that much stash would stress me out. I ONLY buy for the project at hand, and then I finish that project, and then with leftovers I knit mittens for the orphans in Mongolia and then with the leftovers from THAT, I make a trip to the nursing home and donate it before I ALLOW myself to buy any more yarn..” Uhm, okay. You want a trophy? Did I miss the event at the Olympics where the person has to be loaded down with their yarn stash to run the 100 meter dash, thereby making him with the least amount of yarn more likey to win?? (As a side note, I’d totally pick being covered in yarn when my fat ass took a dive into concrete, but I digress)

Owning or not owning yarn is not a moral issue. It’s a preference. It’s something each person has to be comfortable with. This blog isn’t about “Ohhhhh I have TOO much yarn to get into heaven so I am going to put myself into a permanent state of Lent until I have none left….” This is simply a challenge to myself. I have beautiful yarns that I want to get to. Every yarn I own is something I deliberately kept while sorting through it, worthy of my time. I want it all to become something. I have a project planned for almost everything in my stash and for those I don’t, I love it enough to help it become something amazing. When it’s all said and done, I am happy with the amount I have and when it’s all gone, you bet I am going to have a blast restocking those four allowed bins with even more yarny goodness.

And so it begins....

My name is Melissa and I'm a yarnaholic. It's been 7 days since my last yarn purchase. I was supposed to be completely DONE buying yarn on April 1st, but I hit my first challenge when purchasing one specific skein of yarn (for someone else) and this lovely little bit of sparkle caught my eye and I fell for it's promise of becoming something great. It went into my basket, into my car and into my stash. However, I will count is as a nothing in my quest, as the day I was supposed to be swearing off yarn purchases, I was in the hospital with my baby boy and I didn't get a chance to make a last purchase. So yeah, we're even :)

I have a largish, but not horribly huge, stash of yarn. I love it all. I started this year with way more than I have now as a result of putting all yarns I did not feel any love for into a donate box. When it was hauled away I wanted to squeeeeeee with delight, kind of like when a person that doesn't really fit in at the party leaves and you can really get down to business once they leave the building. The music goes on, the good drinks come out and everyone left is happy to just relax and be.

This blog is about yarn. Why I love it, why I hoard it and what it becomes. The challenge I have issued to myself is to buy no new yarn until EVERY. LAST. inch of yarn I currently own is gone. You read that right. I am not even going for two skeins out, one in. This is my 5K. This is my sugar addicted, caffeine loving self saying "No coffee" although this actually might be a little more painful. But I can do it.

The challenge outline:

Goal: Purchase no new yarn from April 2011 until all yarn currently in possession is gone. ALL four lovely bins worked into something beautiful or given away if I deem it not worthy of the time that would go into knitting it.

Exceptions to rules: I may buy yarn to finish a project that was started with yarns already in my stash. This includes yarn to compliment the yarn already in stash. I already have a purchase I need to make (a carry along yarn that goes with a top I am making a friends' daughter). If I am asked to make a gift, I must make every attempt to find something in the stash to make it with. If that is not possible, someone else must purchase the yarn and give it to me. When buying yarns I need, I have a tendency to allow some "good deals" to sneak into the box being sent to me, so to avoid temptation in that area, I will not be having any yarn sent to me. I can buy needles, patterns, and other extras to help complete projects ;)

Trades: I will still participate in my favorite yarn swap on Ravelry, Karma Yarn Swap. I can trade yarns already in my possession for other yarns as long as what comes in is lesser in yardage than what goes out. Whew!!!

Why? Because I have beautiful yarns that need to be worked into something. Because I have a tendency to go way overboard when I like something and just for once I would like to have NO stash and pick out a gorgeous project and HAVE to buy yarn.

The plan is to knit bigger projects, and then put all leftover yarns back into the bins. Once larger projects are complete, I will assess what can be made with leftovers. Any small bits will be made into Magic Yarn Balls with a Russian join and knit into something super fun.

This is my challenge to myself. I welcome you (any of you out there) to come along for the ride. It will definitely be hard! But a wee bit fun too!

Welcome to my blog!