Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lesson Learned

I am certain that I am not the only knitter who has experienced the following phenomenon:  Learn to knit.  Realize there is a whole big world of breathtakingly beautiful yarn in local yarn stores.  Fall in love with gorgeous variegated colorways.  Begin to acquire lovely variegated yarn.  Start knitting. Realize that variegated yarn may be gorgeous in the skein but that I don’t actually wear multi-colored clothes.  Wise up and learn to buy solid or semi-solid yarns and chalk up the unused variegated skeins to a learning experience.

Although I learned my lesson quite well when it came to yarn, I was not clever enough to apply this logic to fiber.  I recently posted some lovely fiber purchases.  Here is one of them again.

I started spinning this braid almost immediately after I came home with it. I finished spinning and plying early this week, and I have sat and admired my pretty skein for the last several days.

Last night, I wound the yarn, and began knitting what I intended to be the first of many log cabin squares for an afghan.  I stumbled across the most beautiful afghan on Ravelry a few weeks ago—(picture HERE)—a blanket of blocks, each of which was knit with a different handspun yarn.  I’m pretty sure discovering this project is what jolted me into my current spinning fervor.  I love this blanket.  I want this blanket.  I’m totally going to copy it.  It’s the perfect use for spinning.  I can spin several different colors and it will all have a specific purpose.  I like things to have purpose.  Spinning yarn just to sit in a drawer doesn’t work for my goal-oriented personality.  Anyway, so I started knitting.  I got a few rows in, and even from this little bit, I realized it was way too colorful for me.
Since I don’t have to wear the afghan, somewhat variegated is acceptable, but I thought of what this square would end up looking like, pictured a whole blanket of variegated squares, and felt a little nauseous.  I’m not sure “ugly” is the right word (although it very well could be), but whatever it would be is definitely not how I’m picturing this project.

I thought about a few other recent fiber purchases, all of which I sort of intended to use toward the blanket project. 


Um, no, pretty sure none of these are going to work.  Each braid has simply too much color contrast.  While walking away from pretty painted fiber may be difficult, it must be done.  Lesson learned.  Again.  

It could be worse.  I could have learned this lesson after the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Taking the Hint

I've been spinning like crazy for the past several days (a post for another day), but I decided today that I wanted to start a new knitting project.  I've had a cute vest pattern in mind for awhile and  perfect yarn from last year's Maryland Sheep and Wool festival--Brooks Farm Solo Silk.  I started winding the first 400 yard skein.  There were ten knots.  Seriously.  Ten.  Discouraged but determined, I decided to forge ahead and just deal with the idea of weaving in a lot of ends.  I went to buy the pattern.  The site was experiencing problems and wouldn't let me check out.  I sent a message to customer service and they got back to me super quickly.  The site is still not working for me, so now I'm waiting for a paypal invoice and they'll email me the pattern.  Okay, great, but a few hours have gone by, and I want to start knitting NOW.

Moving on, I decided I would start a Clockwork scarf, another project I've been planning for awhile.  I've had a deep red skein of yarn for several years now.  It's only 330 yards so not enough for a shawl on its own.  No problem--I'll get a pretty contrast color and make Clockwork.  Perfect.  I ordered another skein of the same yarn--Three Irish Girls Kells Sport Merino, which arrived a few weeks ago.  This was the first time I ordered directly from Three Irish Girls, and I was so impressed with the package, I had to take a picture. 

So nice, right?  I'm in love with the tape measure.  But I digress--okay, back to the scarf.  The yarns look gorgeous together, yes?

And having struck out with the Crystal vest, I decided tonight was the night to start Clockwork.  I bought the pattern, downloaded the PDF, and was immediately struck by:
     Color A--420 yards
     Color B--295 yards

420!!!  WHAT?!?!?!?!?!!?

I don't have enough yarn.  Each skein is only 330 yards. That sucks.  And it was right there on the pattern website, which if I had only read, would have saved me buying a pattern that I won't be using anytime soon.  Crap.

Fine, universe, fine.  Have it your way.  No new new project.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Catch up

Last month my knitting took a little trip.

That would be the view from the apartment I stayed in for a week in mid-March in Cullera, Spain (a small beach town outside Valencia).  I felt like I knit very little on the trip, but knitting-wise, it was a major success.  My needles made it through both security checks in Paris, and I finished Flamboyan.

I said the finished shawl was either going to be awesome or really ugly.  I don't think it ended up as either.  I was rather underwhelmed by the finished product at first.  Even though the yarns are nice individually, together I thought they looked sort of drab.  I was a little bummed that after having made a couple great choices pairing yarns, I was back to my old tricks of bad combinations.  What the shawl has going for it is its nice size, and it feels amazing after blocking. Both yarns are a bamboo/merino blend (Sanguine Gryphon Kypria and Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling Ricin) with beautiful drape and sheen.  Over the past few days, the shawl has really grown on me. 

It's not take-your-breath-away beautiful, but that's okay. It's finished, it's wearable, and I feel a little better about taking on more intarsia projects.  Since I have yarn waiting in the wings for Chadwick, a little more intarsia confidence is a very good thing.

At the end of 2010, I joined a group challenging knitters to knit 12 projects completely from stash yarn in 2011.  Flamboyan puts me at three.  More importantly, however, it used two skeins of sock yarn.  My own personal challenge to myself this year is to knit down my stash of sock yarn.  I don't have a specific goal in mind; I just want there to be less by the end of the year.  I'm in a sock club that sends one skein every month, so at the very least I have to knit up or destash one skein per month just to break even.  Here's where I stand as of today:

New skeins acquired since Jan 1:  7
Skeins used up:  3
Skeins destashed: 5 (2 sold, 3 gifted)
Current score:  -1

I figure this little challenge is like golf--the lower the score, the better I'm doing.  Not too bad so far, but definitely room for improvement, and with my new spinning obsession taking significant time away from knitting, it could be an uphill battle.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I might have a problem

I have tons to catch up on, and yet I've been terrible about actually sitting down to write.  However, I happen to have an excellent excuse.


I hadn't touched my spindles in months, but I picked one back up a few weeks ago.  It's all been downhill from there.  I can barely put my spinning down lately.  I spin while watching television, spin in the kitchen while trying to cook, spin before I go to sleep, and even spin for a bit in the morning before I leave for work.  The last one is really crazy when you factor in that I won't take the time to eat in the morning since I'm always running late.  I spin while the dogs are asking to play, I spin when I should be cleaning, and clearly I've been spinning instead of blogging.  Hell, I traveled to Spain a couple of weeks ago and finished a knitting project, and yet I'm sitting here writing about spinning instead.  I'm seriously hooked.

My addiction became even clearer last weekend when I headed to the annual Homespun Yarn Party.  I circled the room twice and gorgeous as it all was, I was remarkably not tempted by most of the yarn.  For most of my time there all I was thinking was that my stash really might be a little out of control if I could actually be at fiber party and not buy yarn.  I don't think that's it though.  I think I was just fixated on something a little different.  I came home with very little yarn, but with a new spindle and these beauties:

Yup, all I want now is fiber.  The Maryland Sheep and Wool festival might be dangerous this year.