It’s the summer of knits. I want to knit it all. All the time. So many projects are lying around so many rooms of my home. I can go anywhere and have something to knit. So far I have two socks started, a hat, scarf, shawl, crocheted dragon toy, dishcloth and a crocheted summer top.
So far I’ve finished three pairs of socks, a hat, two crocheted cowls, two knitted cowls and some dishcloths.
So many more projects to go.
The other event that’s taken three weeks and many emptied plastic tubs is the reorganization and inventory of the stash closet. It was not until I began this project that I realized truly how much yarn I had. So much that I probably won’t run out until my life does. This was both reassuring and disturbing. So I could knit for the rest of my life – probably – without spending another dime. But there were some skeins in my collection that I didn’t want to spend any time with – this was discouraging.
So, last night, I did something I thought I’d never do – listed these skeins on the local rummage sale site. And in another surprising turn of events, much of it sold. That Kon Mari business is not for the birds. I felt much more free. My closet is slightly less full, and I can concentrate a little more on what I actually want to knit. And perhaps this will help decide future yarn buys – because while I may not need any more yarn I’m sure I’ll want more.
I have a goal of 25 percent stash reduction this year. Possibly not realistic but I’m knitting my brain out to try to meet it.
As we do during this time of year my holiday to do list is frequently running through my head:
Write the letter.
Send the cards.
Finish the shopping.
Wrap the gifts.
What gifts am I making for people – can I get them done – should I even try?
It’s on a continuous loop in my head. Each year I swear I’m not going to fall into the crafting trap. But then I argue with myself that it would save money. I have the patterns! I have the supplies!
But what I really want for Christmas is a calm holiday. Full of crafting that is not also full of stress due to a looming deadline. Just happy stitching to celebrate and enjoy the holiday season like I see in so many of the Instagram photos and blog posts I admire.
And I want to spend the new year stitching things that reduce the supply inventory, make room in the stash closet and end up being used by someone who really needs or wants the finished product.
Good luck to me and good luck to all of us in search of crafting peace this holiday season. I wish you just enough to do to satisfy the itch to create.
I spent the last two weeks sewing together 24 felt ornaments and beading them with very small beads. I then moved on to embroidering 24 numbers on little felt strips.
I enjoyed this because I sat in my sun room with the natural late fall light falling in the windows. My favorite movies played on a secondhand TV I recently acquired. Periodically the VCR in the TV, which no longer has a door, would make a sound as if it were trying to eject a non-existent VHS tape. I forgot what that was called and almost typed DVD. This would have been more climactic if it made the noise each time I completed an ornament.
Regular readers of this blog or my life will know that I am often running right up to a deadline with a major project like a hand-sewn Advent Calendar. However, due to a frantic sewing session on Friday, this calendar was completed well ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline. The best thing about it though is that Niece 1 helped put on the Velcro and asked me to teach her to sew, and Niece 2 wanted to help me sew on the numbers. She is three but promised she would be careful. Then she proceeded to try to cut one of the non-replaceable felt strips in half.
In the midst of a large project like this you have moments of wondering is it all worth it? Will people appreciate this gift I worked so hard to create? Will I actually go blind sewing 30 sequins on this star? These are all valid questions, but the true reward was not completing the project, although I was probably too proud of myself for doing it. It gave me all the good holiday feels to spend time with those two girls I love so much and have them share in the family tradition of taking on projects that are too large when there are not quite enough days left to finish them without causing permanent bodily damage.
Friend of the blog Kristen shared this article showing scientific proof that knitting makes you feel good.
Unless you’re currently picking up the dropped stitches of a Fair Isle sweater or frogging a lace project you know in your heart this is true.
But now science says so and a group of knitters in Australia have knit a brain in support of our craft causing people to perk up. Russell Crowe uses his knitting for anger management.
And we’ve all seen this shirt:
People don’t understand how often knitting saves lives. I often hear comments that knitting is for grannies. When you think of your traditional granny don’t they usually seem calm and a little high on chocolate chip cookie fumes? That they’re willing to share?!?!?
It’s just a shame the yarn shopping isn’t covered by insurance.
In recent times Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting (See her book review here) implemented 15-minute blogging on her site. The Mason-Dixon posts have increased in frequency. This is good news for me as I love their blog. So, in an effort to increase my own pathetic blog efforts, I am doing the same.
When last we met I lamented Camp Loopy, a summer program sponsored by an online yarn shop, that encourages knitters to do three projects over three months. I had finished zero projects at that time. Not so any longer my friends. Witness the Color Affection and Raglan sweater.
The color affection is a shawl. The raglan sweater is a raglan sweater. Both were knit with sock yarn. The Loopy Eye, camp sponsor, excels at sock yarn. These were the June and July projects respectively. (We will not discuss when these projects were completed.) The August project still bides its time in a bag waiting for its number to be called. Patience grasshopper.
Do you have any failures turned successes you’d like to report? Original deadlines will not be shared with the public.
For the last two summers I have participated – sort of – in Camp Loopy. It is a knitting camp sponsored by yarn company, The Loopy Ewe. Basically, they create rules you have to follow in knitting three projects over three months. It is a good way for them to get people to buy yarn and a good way for people to finish three projects during the summer. There are three deadlines. This is the problem.
Last summer the extent of my participation was selecting patterns and buying yarn – yarn that is still in my stash I might add. This summer I selected the patterns, bought the yarn and actually started the projects but I have made zero deadlines. One Color Affection shawl is three-quarters of the way done because I moved on to the second month’s project. I am nearly to the point of separating for the armholes of a Radian Yoke sweater three days after its deadline. And I have the supplies ready to start a Catkin in the colorway of the sweater of this link. I guess there is some hope I might finish this but it’s doubtful. I would like to wear the Radian Yoke at least once before the snow flies. It’s a short-sleeved sweater. I am very disappointed in this project, probably more than I should be. And probably because I have a sweater, an afghan and two scarves waiting to be finished. And never mind the yarn shop’s worth of yarn that I am apparently storing for some yarn apocalypse. Do not worry people. If it comes, I will be ready. There’s also the binder of projects I REALLY want to knit that have received no love beyond getting their own binder. While I have enjoyed working on the Loopy projects I had hoped to whittle down the stash this summer but that hasn’t happened. Maybe next year.
Photo from annshayne.com
In cheerier news, I recently finished Bowling Avenue by Ann Shayne of Mason-Dixon Knitting. She writes about a woman who returns home to Nashville to sell her dead sister’s house and then gets caught up in the Nashville flood. It has a lot of humor, sympathetic characters and plenty of knitting. And the writing is pretty good especially for a first effort. Shayne began writing the novel a year or two ago and self-published it. She is well-known in the knitting community and I can’t help but think book sales received a boost from the loyal knitters, but it was worth my money. I was sorry to leave the world she created.
Ahoy, my lovelies. We’re about to embark on a voyage to Sock Island and back. Or Sock Hill or Sock Oblivion. Sock Seattle – wherever you want to go with Sock attached to it.
If you are one of the two readers of this blog you are aware that one of my goals for 2012 was to knit more socks. And I have accomplished that in a big way people. Since the first of the year I have finished five pairs of socks. Yes! I am the champion. I nearly have enough handknit socks to wear one every day of the week. Since my state has been like living on the surface of the Sun this summer I have not worn many socks since March (?) but I could if I wanted to and that’s what counts. Let the parade begin.
This is the most recently completed addition to the Smith Sock Family but it is destined for adoption. It was crafted for one of my students who convincingly begged for a pair. Done. The pattern comes from the Big Book of Socks by Kathleen Taylor and was the first fancy sock pattern I’ve tackled. The book is truly big and chocked full of sock patterns in various, sizes, colors and styles from kid to Christmas. I enjoyed knitting this pattern. The ribbed effect it produces is very easy on the eyes and very easy to produce. Kathleen also wrote clear instructions for the short-row heel which I finally understand even though I took a short-row heel class at the much-revered Sock Summit last year in Portland. I will be making more socks from this book. She has several patterns for worsted weight socks which I guess would work with boots or the Birkenstock. It seems like they would be thick for the regular shoe. I’m sure Kathleen knows best.
Here are some lovely tweed socks made with Knitpicks Essential Tweed in a colorway that appears to be burgundy. These were made using the Yarn Harlot’s Basic Sock Recipe from her book Knitting Rules. I have made several socks using her very detailed instructions and I like them. I figured out the ideal number of stitches to cast on and my socks now fit like a dream. I love her recipe because she tells you how to fit the socks to your feet. Very helpful. I loved working with this yarn and have enough leftover for either another pair of socks, an American Girl something or a festive addition to the heel, toe and cuff of a subsequent pair. That pattern is also from the Big Book, tra la.
These were made from some Paton’s self-striping yarn. I love the colors and pattern. I wasn’t so sure at first but these are probably my first or second favorite socks. This is the pair that finally had the right number of stitches to fit and feel like they were going to stay up. I am excited to wear these once the ball of fire cools down a little.
These are more socks from the Harlot’s basic recipe – I was on a roll. The yarn is more from our friends at Knitpicks. This is Felici in Marsh or something. I think this colorway has been discontinued. They do that frequently with the Felici yarn so now if I like it I buy it. Fall into the consumerism trap much? Yes, yes I do.
My current sock project is a selection from my Yarn of the Month Club. I have ripped it out twice. Once I screwed up the pattern, the second time the sock was just huge so I’ve gone down a needle size. I was very impressed with the pattern (the little I knit of it) and proud of how well I knit it. Photos to come! It’s just a baby right now.
I have been remiss in tending to this blog and was shocked to realize my last blog post happened in March. I had hoped my vow to blog regularly would be stronger. Oh well, here’s to new beginnings.
But first, a soapbox. It appears that the members of the U.S. Olympics Committee think knitters are, in the words of Kay Gardiner on her Mason-Dixon Knitting blog, “ruining the Olympics.” Here’s a snippet from a letter they wrote to Ravelry.com, which hosts its own Ravelympics during each installment of the Olympic games. Knitters pick a project and try to complete it during the course of the games. Here’s an excerpt from the letter Ravelry received from the Olympics claiming copyright infringement:
We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games. In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work.
Keep in mind that the afghan marathons and scarf hockey occurs while paying consumers watch the games and their accompanying advertisements. And keep in mind that the person writing this letter is probably not a knitter so he or she doesn’t know how awesome or life-changing it is. They are probably just boobs.
In response, the knitters are making Stephen Colbert a lifetime supply of socks if he does a People Who Are Destroying America segment about this. His twitter handle is @StephenAtHome. If you feel strongly about this subject please tweet and ask him to support the knitters. Or make him a pair of socks. He wears a size 11.
Will this case of rampant boobery by the Olympics make me not watch? No. I will giggle uncontrollably when I hear reports of the truckload of socks arriving at Stephen Colbert’s door. And I will relish the upcoming apology from the Olympic Committee to knitters everywhere following the storm of bad publicity that’s already been unleashed.
The lesson here? Mess with the knitting and it will mess with you.
Let’s take stock people. Tomorrow is the vernal equinox – meaning equal hours of day and night – and the first day of spring – meaning time to clean out and take stock. And so, I will conduct a brief review of the progress of my knitting resolutions.
1. Knit more, play on the Internet less.
This has happened to an extent, mainly because I rarely look at the Internet at night anymore. Nighttime is knit time – among other things. 🙂 I have added far fewer patterns to my Ravelry favorites recently. But I haven’t been knitting from any of those saved patterns either unless you count American Girl clothes, which I do. Much more progress could be made in this area. I am currently wanting this fairly badly: tea leaves
2. Make more from the yarn of the month club.
Success, albeit slow. I recently completely a set of fingerless mittens and am working on a hat from the club. Had I been in possession of or known the location of the size 4 needles I do possess, I would probably be nearly done with the hat. I’ve also wound all the yarn for the kits I already have. They are ready and waiting in the bedroom. I’m trying to decide between a scarf and a shawl and when I get the current pair of socks done I’m moving on to the yomc socks.
3. Make mittens.
No mittens have been made unless you count the fingerless mitts mentioned in the No. 2 entry. However, I have conquered my fear of making thumbs so hopefully completing a pair of mittens is in my future. The yarn still languishes.
4. Replenish the Drawer of Advanced Planning.
I have kicked number four in the rear. After pillaging this drawer at Christmas, I diligently worked to beef it up again. It currently includes two baby sweaters, a skewed shawl, one neck warmer and a pair of fingerless mittens. I cannot believe I have presents done for so many various people this early. Bring on Christmas! It will not make me its bitch this year. It won’t!
5. Finish last year’s projects.
I did make a great stride here in finishing long-promised and expected golf club covers. I charted two of the designs for these clubs, had big problems when trying to teach myself stranded knitting and basically knit each cover two to three times. I also had problems with the pom-poms and decided they wouldn’t hold up under the frequent and manly removal from their golf club resting spots. So I scrapped them. They were delivered in February to a huge fan fair and warm reception. This isn’t technically last year’s project it’s more like 2006’s project. But they are finally done – huzzah – and I can now move on with my life.
Regarding other projects from last year, I’ve finished little things, but no big things. The world’s longest-running blanket project is still running, I am not done with my Placed Cable Aran sweater and I need to do more work on a Christmas sock I started for someone in November. Oh well, the year’s not done yet, but unfortunately for the sweater and blanket, winter is.
6. Charity Knitting.
Nothing done here. I was supposed to knit a hat every month. No hats so far. But again, the year is still young.
7. Become more comfortable with sock knitting.
I’ve become more comfortable with my basic sock-knitting pattern and can finish a pair in under three months (it’s usually the purse knitting) but I’ve yet to try any more sophisticated patterns. That’s my plan after the current pair is complete. By the way, here’s the first sock of the current pair watching the Summit League Tournament.
And that concludes the knitting resolution update. I’ll admit I’m sort of impressed with myself. Here’s to an even more productive second quarter.