I was tooling along on a cardigan project last week, knitting slowly and methodically, in no particular hurry. The temperature outside was a balmy 70 degrees F and the leaves on the trees had only recently begun to burnish. Then I looked at the calendar and caught my breath.
Then end of September. The very last week. That means that soon it will be October.
Hallowthanksmas season is upon us.
Oh crap. It’s time to start my Christmas Knitting!
I stuffed my half-finished cardigan back into its project bag and pelted upstairs to my craft room. My stash bulged before me.
Oh crap. I really need to do something about this stash.
The drawer full of hand-spun yarn overflowed its edges, cascading onto the floor.
Here’s the hand-spun stash after I scooped the bags up and put them back in the drawer. Sadly, this isn’t exactly all of it. There are a few stray hanks hanging out in other areas of the craft room. My theory is that if I don’t put them in the drawer they aren’t officially part of the stash yet and, therefore, not yet part of the problem.
And that is the biggest problem of them all.
I vowed then and there: I must begin knitting Christmas gifts. And would begin it today. And ALL of them would be knit out of hand-spun yarn!
Angels sang at that moment. My chest ached with the Hallowthanksmas spirit.
Then reality set in .
You know the problem with hand-spun yarn? Particularly the hand-spun yarn of a beginner? You never really know what you’ve spun. I consider it a success if I manage to spin yarn that is relatively smooth and even. I don’t have any more complicated goals like grist or usefulness.
You know the other problem with hand-spun yarn? There’s never enough of one color to make you feel secure when choosing projects. That one project that would work just great with this yellow always exceeds your yardage by some small but significant amount.
The solution, I decided, was to knit lots of small things. Projects requiring 200 yards or less. Fingerless mitts. Hats. Cowls. Boot toppers. Mittens. Baby stuff.
Oh my god, I could finish a project in two or three nights. Or even one night! I haven’t done that in ages.
“I’m going to use SO much of this stash,” I cackled with glee.
My hand-spun stash exploded out of its drawer as I sorted madly. Lots of vaguely DK/Worsted. Lots of Sport/Fingering. Even some Lace I was very proud of. I shoved the finer yarns back into the drawer. The surest way to reduce volume quickly was to tackle the DK/Worsted.
That very day I cast on a pair of ultra-simple fingerless mitts: Camp Out Fingerless Mitts by Tante Ehm. Within a day, a completed pair rested in my lap. I felt a little drunk on my knitting power. One gift down. I cast on another pair. And a couple of days later, those were done too.
See the cute little stripes? That’s chain ply at work. Fiber is Frabjous Fibers in the Balsam colorway. These mitts are SOOOOO easy. And so forgiving if your yarn is not exactly even.
Now for something a little different. I’ve never knitted a beret before. I pulled out my book of Weekend Hats and cast on Greenery Beret by Melissa LaBarre. An easy lace pattern, but so much more entertaining than the mitts. It flew off the needles in three days.
Look! More chain ply. I love how the stripes showed up in this hat. It looks like a flower. It looks planned. But it wasn’t. Fiber is Lorna’s Laces Shepherds Wool. Don’t recall the colorway.
I feel a little drunk with my success. Three projects down in a week. That hasn’t happened since my teenage days of knitting cotton wash cloths.
But, knitaholic that I am, I just want more. More. MORE!
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