As forewarned recently, freelance writing is taking up much of my free time these days, leaving precious few hours when I just get to let ‘er rip and knit away on something without thinking about what else I should be doing. I find this lack more than a little tragic, but I have updates nonetheless:
From the “food for thought” department I offer my latest post over at Knitting Simplicity, The secret? You can only knit so much. I took the time to flash my stash in a different way because it occurred to me that I needed to have a different way to measure how much yarn I had. Not four tubs worth, or vaguely “three sweaters and some projects” but the nitty gritty: how long was it going to take me to knit it up? Now I know, and it’s made me a lot more aware of the difference between knitting and acquiring yarn (which is not really knitting, no?). I feel no need to live the life of a knitting monk and forgo all luxury, but with four years worth of knitting upstairs, I think I should at least use at the same rate at which I buy.
From the “I love the Interwebs” files, I got an e-mail this weekend informing me that I had made $2.39 because someone bought a t-shirt I forgot I had designed and stuck on the internet for the world to see. Dear Person Who Obviously Has The Same Sense of Humor as Me: thank you for making me laugh – if I see you on the street, you’re getting a hug even though I’m not that kind of person. As for the rest of you, feel free to join the Knitters on Wry Humor Club by purchasing a shirt if you like – who am I to say no to the snark? [I had a whole little explanation here about how I hadn't mentioned the shirt before because I'm generally anti-commerce and anti-blog ad, particularly for my own blog - but 80 percent of the explanation would be that I simply forgot the t-shirt was there, so I'm putting my "knitting and money" soapbox away for the remainder of this entry. - ed.]
From the “are you done yet” department, I bring you what I like to refer to as “one plus” Trekking socks. Without a heel as a cue, I am at the stage where, to a civilian, the second sock could be anything, so it’s very handy to have sock number one to pull out and show the uninitiated that I am not making some sort of super-fancy toilet paper cozy. [Note to the Toilet Paper Cozy Knitalongers: I am not mocking you, I am simply stating my priorities. Send hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org - ed.] It should also be noted that though imperceptible to the outside world, progress is being made on the Retro Rib. Soon, socks will be busting out all over here, and my knitting street cred will be firmly re-established.
From the stashbusting files, I bring you the thing that is captivating me more than any other during my oh-so-few free hours: The Meadow Flowers Shawl from Knitter’s Stash. Before I tell you about the project itself, it’s probably worthwhile to deconstruct what I consider to be my perfectly normal 15 minutes of project obsession (or, how I knew it was time to start knitting lace or die of longing):
00:01: Find new project on Internet, in this case, the Leaf Lace Shawl; note that I also
blame credit the Evelyn Clark knitalongers for the outbreak of lace knitting fever in my house – they have a photo of not one but five lovely Leaf Laces on their home page.
00:02-00:05: Google around for images of the project (why is no one making the Stacy Pullover from Big Girl Knits, or Cozy from Knitty? Very, very hard to feel the project love when you want to make something that has not taken the Interweb by storm).
00:06-00:07: Join the Yahoo group for the knitted item, often discovered when Googling for FO pictures. If there is no Yahoo group, read the entire group blog. This, of couse, blows the 15 minute plan out of the water, but I now consider myself perhaps one of the greatest living experts on the Ribby Cardi without actually having knitted one – yet. Ribbing variations, knitting in one piece, making your own zipper stops? I’ve got you covered.
00:08-00:12: Scour EBay for the appropriate yarn at the best price. Google “[yarn name] yarn sale”. If the total project cost is more than expected or desired, research yarn substitutions. Consider limited stash options.
00:13-00:14: Consider selling off some of the stash to fund the new project. Cringe at the idea of getting pennies on the dollar for perfectly good yarn.
00:15: Resolve to finish current projects and love what I have; file away project obsession on the “someday” list. For the curious, the someday list currently includes Jane Ellison’s Lizzy cardigan (in Silk Garden, rather than Silver Thaw, I think), knitty’s Cozy, and the Color on Color Scarf from Scarf Style (otherwise known as “the scarf that made me buy the book”), among other things – I have enough yarn that is not for projects on the “someday” list that it makes me want to acquire yarn slowly because as evidenced by the 15 minute bonanza above, I have no trouble finding new things to knit in a big hurry.
Which brings me back to Meadow Flowers. I love the Leaf Lace Shawl, but thankfully no impulse purchases were required – I had stashed away an equally pretty pattern with what I consider to be a very clever knitted-on border. If I’m lucky, my Meadow Flowers will be very similar to the lovely version that Susan knitted in 2004; I bought the same color of Twinkletoes from the same vendor on Ebay. Helpfully, I did not make any notes about yardage when I wound it into a ball, so I am winging it – when it looks like I’ve used 2/3 to 3/4 of my yarn, I’ll begin the knitted on edging. I’m also using a size 5 needle rather than an 8 because I like the idea of more substantial fabric. While not quite a mindless project, the Meadow Flowers has many plain or nearly-plain rows, so it does not require laser-beam focus at every moment. Huge amounts of not-quite instant gratification and a first lace project that will look beautiful – and it only took me two years to get around to starting it.