Fickleness, Thy Name is Knitter

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I’m in a CLEAN ALL THE THINGS phase at home.

Organize, organize.

Sweep, vacuum, dust, cough.

I’m de-cluttering as fiercely and quickly as my husband will permit.

  • Out go the old snow boots, too small by 1.5 sizes.
  • Out go the rock-hard tubes of epoxy and shoe glue.
  • Out go the college notes from classes I barely remember taking.
  • Out go the VHS tapes, unwatched for nearly a decade.
  • Out go the stash of small boxes I never remember to use for wrapping Christmas gifts.

I’ve successfully destashed a goodly portion of my yarn  and knitting book collection too. It feels fabulous. But there’s plenty more yarn where that destash came from. In looking at what I decided to keep, I am struck by my own fickleness as a knitter.

A few months ago I was completely addicted to stranded colorwork. Complex, rich, and painterly. Nothing else would do. I acquired a huge assortment of small, single skeins of yarn in fingering and sport weights, confident I would plow through them in a matter of months.

Only now, a few months later, all I want to knit is lace. Ethereal and feminine; insubstantial as cotton candy; full of air and light. Colorwork feels too heavy for me and completely unappealing. The problem is that my current stash cannot support a lace affinity of any considerable length. If this continues, I may have to buy more yarn.

Buy more yarn? Gah! That’s what I’m trying to avoid.

But my muse-cum-troll growls for lace. LAAACE!  What can I do but feed it?

Meanwhile, that colorwork stash isn’t going anywhere. I thought about jettisoning some of it, but it is a well-chosen collection. And knowing my muse-troll, it can’t survive long on cotton candy. Sooner or later, it’s going to want something heavy and rich. Sooner or later it’s going to howl for meat.

My stash will be ready.

 

Destashing is Good for the Soul

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I have a tendency to horde yarn. When I buy yarn, I invest it with possibilities: a story of what it will be someday. It’s hard to give up those stories.

So I tell myself a new story. The story of a woman discovered smothered in her guest room by her own stash. And all that yarn, once full of possibilities, is now full full of vomit and maggots. Useful to no one. Except, possibly, the maggots.

For the first time in my knitting life, I am doing a destash. I have carefully reviewed every hank and skein. Anything that doesn’t give me a spark of joy (followed by a blast of pattern ideas) I am going to jettison. This is yarn that, hopefully, will find purpose in someone else’s stash and someone else’s yarn stories.

Have a good life, my little woolies (and non-wooly brethren).

The Destash – Seriously good prices, folks, with shipping included (US only)

Take a gander. There are some nice yarns here looking for loving homes. Here is just  the top of the destash page. Trust me, there’s more.

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Four Little Yarn Turtles

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Four little yarn turtles

All in a row

Two big ones

A small one

And baby without a proper shell

  
Cat crashes the photo

Great furry body 

Dwarfing the frightened turtles

It’s an irresistible compulsion 

To follow the turtles

Wherever they go 

Two yarns, both alike in dignity

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It’s amazing how fiber choice and spinning technique can change the appearance of your finished yarn.

Both of these yarns were dyed by the same dyer (Into the Whirled) in the same colorway (The Woods).

Both were spun from carded roving. But what a difference these other characteristics make:

                               Yarn 1                                      Yarn 2

Fiber                       Merino/SW Merino/Silk              Masham wool

Spinning style       Worsted                                    Semi-woolen (I think)

Plying                     Chain (3-ply)                             2-ply

Weight                    Fingering/sport                          Aran/bulky

The shine of the silk really comes through in yarn 1. All of the colors seem extra-vibrant.

In yarn 2, all of the colors seem warmer and more muted.

Fascinating, don’t you think?

* Disclaimer: I only spun yarn 1. Yarn 2 came to my happy hands from a fellow spinner who was cleaning out her stash.

Spin Guilt

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After several months of no spinning, I’m back with a vengeance. And before I’m allowed to spin any new singles, I’ve tasked myself with plying the singles I’ve already spun. I need to free up some bobbins. Perhaps not the most artistically inspiring mission statement. But sometimes pretty things spring from necessity.

First came this 2-ply blue merino. 886 yards. One strand of tonal blue. One strand of a more variegated fiber in ocean colors.

blue merino cropped

 

Next came this rainbow Corriedale from Gale’s Art. I spun these fine singles for a class last summer, then never used them. I split the roving into thin strips so I would have lots of short color repeats. I spun the singles chain-ply to retain the stripes. 606 yards.It looks vaguely Koigu-ish.

colored corriedale cropped

Last of all came this golden brown BFL/silk. The singles had been sitting on the bobbin for a long time waiting for inspiration to strike. But I’d never been able to find something else appropriate to ply with them. So I decided the best thing to do was to ply them with themselves (chain ply) and move on.

BFL silk cropped

Spinning woolen like it’s worsted

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Tried a new experiment this week. I had a bunch of hand carded Corriedale left over from a previous spinning project. I decided to try spinning it worsted.

I know, I know. Why go to all that effort to card it by hand only to ruin it by spinning it the wrong way?

I don’t think I ruined it.

Right now a problem I have with my worsted spinning is keeping it from getting too dense. Sometimes a gal wants to knit a hat that won’t drown her if she falls into the lake.

I also wanted to see how spinning the same prepared fiber would behave with this other technique. Really see it, not just believe in the physics of it.

Here are my results.

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Plump but not poofy three ply. Sturdy but not heavy. I wouldn’t knit socks with it. But a sweater would work. And in the aforementioned lake scenario I probably wouldn’t drown.

The Stupid Button Band Betrayed Me

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It’s hard to conceal my ire. I was so proud of how this Reverb cardigan was turning out. The purple yarn was lovely. The pattern was easy to follow. I knew the cardigan would look super-hip on, and would go with most of my wardrobe. But the button band betrayed me.

I don’t have any experience with button bands. So far, I’ve managed to avoid knitting cardigans that require buttons. I pretended that I preferred the open look. But the truth is, I was afraid of the button band. And now I know I was right. Button bands are pure evil.

  • Button bands stretch unpredictably and throw off your measurements. 4 inches between button holes. Oops, looks like you have 5. 5 is ok right?
  • Button bands lull you into thinking five buttons will do…until you try on the cardigan and realize you really need seven.
  • Button bands keep you from appreciating your brand new very pretty cardigan because something is just slightly “off”.
  • Button bands are so hard to satisfy. Put the button too far to one side, and the whole thing stretches like a scallop. Which would be nice if that was something I wanted. An artistic statement, prehaps. But it’s NOT.
  • Button bands wait until you have the cardigan all blocked, with the ends woven in, to speak up and tell you something is wrong.
  • Button bands remind you that your stomach is not as flat and firm as your dress dummy’s stomach. They’re rude little buggers.

Stupid riggin’, friggin’ button band.

Here’s the cardigan. You can see the issues I’m talking about.

I guess it’s time to remove the button bands, reknit them, and do the finishing all over again.

But not now. Not today. Today I shake my fist at the universe.

Tomorrow I’ll take apart my cardigan.