Stash and sadness

April 19, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recently I sort of put myself on a stashdown, because I have accumulated quite a bit of yarn in anticipation of my move back east. Unfortunately, one of my favorite LYSes is closing, and my backorder will not be filled. And since they’re closing, I ended up placing an order for some Rowan pattern books, as well as some more yarn, because otherwise I might not be able to easily get those pattern books again.

I’ve never been to the LYS, because it’s located very far away, but their online selection was stellar. I first heard about the store from an internet friend whose friend owns the store. She mentioned that her friend’s store was struggling somewhat due to the economy in that region, so it doesn’t really come as a surprise that they’re closing now. They had excellent prices and great customer service, and now the employees will be looking for jobs elsewhere in a region where jobs are quite scarce.

They’re having a 25% off sale, so I will order some Kidsilk Haze to make a sweater as they have the color I want in stock. I may also get some more Rowan Purelife Organic wool “just because.” So not only am I sad that people are losing their jobs and that my second Rowan source is closing, I also feel a tiny bit guilty that I am going to be increasing my stash to boot!

Assuming that the backorder can’t be filled (it was from a bit ago), I think I’ll place the special order through my favorite actually-local yarn store. I know I can’t keep every wonderful store in business through my spending and sheer force of will, but I’m not willing to cave quite yet. For the customer service quality alone, it’s worth it to me, as I’ve found that small stores on average are much more responsive to customer needs. Of course, this past weekend I was hanging out with some knitter friends, and they had some horror stories of poorly-run local stores, so just because it’s local doesn’t mean it’s ethical. And of course, larger companies can be ethical too. Basically, being an informed consumer requires a lot of effort. Thankfully, though, now that I can knit and read at the same time, my research doesn’t cut into my knitting time, and that’s definitely a positive in all this sadness.

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Being realistic

April 13, 2011 § Leave a comment

A few days ago I cleared out my favorites on Ravelry, to get it down to a “reasonable” 496 patterns that I like. Some are inspiration, of course, but there are even more things I’d like to make that aren’t even on Ravelry and suddenly you can see why I have way, way, way too many favorites. Plus there are all the designs I’d like to create. And even if I could knit/crochet all these projects, honestly, I can’t imagine owning — or worse, storing! — around ninety sweaters.

However, Ravelry also has the queue function, with which I am MUCH stricter. I try to keep it down to 30 projects maximum, or one page. But sometimes I am not as strict as I would like, and I’ll directly start a project and bypass the queue. Sometimes I even do this with a project I haven’t started to work on. Generally gift-knitting is the most likely to spawn directly onto the projects page, probably in some misguided attempt to pretend I am more productive than I really am…

But anyway, earlier I went through my queue and removed three projects. They still live on in the favorites, but it did make me a bit sad to delete them. The odds are that new projects will sneak their way in and the formerly-queued will languish, unknitted.

However, by removing two cardigans I was able to add a beautiful pattern from Rowan 43, the lovely Gabi pullover in Kidsilk Haze. It would be my first laceweight project, and I think I’d learn a lot more than I would knitting a second or third cabled project, as much as I adore cables.

I also added a beautiful blanket that I WILL FINISH (I have quite a few partially-finished blankets languishing back home, it’s embarrassing). It’s a log-cabin — well, half-a-log — and is in all-garter. I consider it my farewell-to-the-Midwest blanket, since all the yarn is made in Michigan at a small mill, Stonehedge Fiber Mill. Their worsted/aran-weight Shepherd’s Wool is one of my favorite yarns, and even though it is sold in Alexandria, Virginia at a very charming yarn store not too far from where I’ll be moving, I will forever associate it with my very favorite yarn store here. Since taking this shot I added in a new color and had a very fun conversation on Ravelry about the Shepherd’s Wool palette. I think if I work on it when I don’t want to focus on a pattern stitch I should be able to get it done quite quickly.

Day 7: Your knitting and crochet time

April 3, 2011 § 2 Comments

Write about your typical crafting time. When it is that you are likely to craft?

I am not a one-project type of crafter. In fact, I am even able to begin stashing up for a craft I haven’t even started yet: machine sewing! A couple weeks back there was a sample at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts and so I bought the corresponding pattern, and then on Friday when I was back there again to buy eco-felt and fabric glue, I saw they were having a 99¢ Simplicity pattern sale, and so bought four more patterns. It’s what a group on Ravelry likes to call being “pre-process,” because we pre-processors don’t just like the process of knitting (or any other craft), but the planning and the anticipation beforehand. I do own a sewing machine, though. And have so far held off on buying the fabric, but that’s really only because the fabric stores around here aren’t as good as the one I love in Maryland.

Anyway, that means that I often have at least three projects on the hook/needle, and typically more, so I can tailor my project to my mood, my surroundings, and quite possibly even the tide. I usually have one simple-ish project to sort of carry around and that I can work on while reading forums and such online, or that I can set aside quickly if I have downtime while playing WoW. Simple hats and mittens work well because they just go around and around and around. Then I like to have something a bit more complex, such as the Red Velvet Cake shawl’s lace portion in particular (“Terra” by Jared Flood, really) that I can knit while watching Netflix. I also like these projects for the rare times I get to go to knitting groups and activities.

I also usually have a project lurking around that I’ll work on when I want some quiet time and can focus, though really it is more that I want to get the project done so I make myself sit and focus. I admit that I tend to gravitate toward simpler projects because I like to read or watch TV a lot of the time. It makes me feel like when I’m doing those activities that I’m being productive. « Read the rest of this entry »

Day 6: Something to aspire to

April 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

Is there a pattern or skill that you don’t yet feel ready to tackle but which you hope to (or think you can only dream of) tackling in the future, near or distant?

I haven’t yet run across any techniques or skills that, with dedication, I haven’t been able to learn, but I do have to say one trait I really need to work on is patience. I have started a broomstick crochet cardigan, but then reached a tiny bump in how to keep moving forward, grew annoyed, and then stuck it on the couch. That’s usually where WIPs get stashed, along with miscellaneous balls of yarn.

So basically, I aspire to finish a sweater/cardigan this year, maybe even two, considering I have enough yarn for two to three more sweaters than the cardigan already on the needle + hook (if that sounds weird, it’s because it’s broomstick crochet — it involves a crochet hook, and then also a large US 19 knitting needle to act as the broomstick, because actually crocheting off a broomstick handle might be kind of annoying). Oh, and I do have two huge shipments coming in of yarn for a large sweater and a crochet cardigan, because I have a Rowan problem. Organic cotton and British Sheep Breeds chunky. Lurrrrrve. Ahem. Yes. Sorry.

In terms of what I admire, I will admit that there are a few designers whose style I don’t particularly like, but whose projects are quite simply a feat of skill and persistence. Colorwork sweaters in particular I tend not to be that wild about (with a few, generally Fair-Isle-yoke, exceptions), but I take a look at my relatively simple sweaters in comparison and wonder, “Why can’t I finish a sweater sized larger than ‘six months’?” I’ve certainly knit long enough, in terms of time and yardage/meterage, to have knit a sweater. I just haven’t had the patience and persistence to do it yet. It might also have to do with the fact that I seem to have the attention span of a gerbil on speed.

Of course, that leads me to wonder about what makes anyone think s/he is a knitter/crocheter, a true one. « Read the rest of this entry »

Jour 5: Et maintenant une chose complètement différente

April 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

C’est le jour des blagues — Poisson d’avril!

Voici une laine qui s’appelle Abril, ou avril, et qui ressemble à un poisson.

Breaking one’s yarn budget sounds better in French…

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