Stashless knitting is the new black.

Before I get to the juicy bits in this entry, I’m pleased to introduce you to my latest pair of socks.

If Lily Pulitzer went camping, this is what she'd wear

Finished Object #6 for the year; this ties me with last year’s output with three whole months to go. Stats: Trekking XXL, Color 107, my standard sock pattern with the German Twisted cast-on and the Sherman short row heel and the grafted toe I love so much. Total time to completion: a month and a half. I feel as though there’s at least one-third of a ball left, so I could have made the legs much longer than my preferred 7 inches. I feel a pair of toe-up socks coming on, simply to avoid the yarn wastage. On the bright side, I can add another partial ball to my collection in preparation for my Stashbuster Spirals.

Since all I do is talk about knitting around here, I thought there was little left unsaid, but I was wrong. Ten knitterly things you don’t know about me:

1. I am the only knitter who doesn’t harbor a secret fantasy to own or work in a yarn store. Perfect stash, yes. Yarn store, no. I am too bossy for retail, and I would only be able to tolerate requests for cheap novelty yarn for so long. I wouldn’t mind living closer to a yarn store, though. A knitting friend of mine turned down the opportunity to live in the apartment over her LYS this week, and I remain flabbergasted she showed such restraint.

2. I’m yearning to be a stashless knitter. After the recent discussion that sprouted over at Knitting Simplicity regarding my admission that I’m harboring a fugitive four years worth of knitting, I have been testing out the idea that stashless knitting is the new black. I think there would be such delicious freedom and lack of guilt buying the materials for the next project I’d like to work on when I’m ready to start it and I actually need them. I’d make an exception for a small posse of sock yarns, but that’s it.

3. I’d love to work for a knitting magazine. Dear Pam Allen, please hire me; I am a kickass editor and I’d like to knit staff projects for Interweave along with Ann Budd. Imagine it – a knitalong with Ann Budd. We could braid each other’s hair and gab about American Idol between yarnovers (bonus points if you get that reference). Dear Trisha Malcolm: I am not sure I fully understand the appeal of Vogue Knitting, but I own the big book and I buy at least one issue a year, so I’m really trying. If you hire me, I promise not to make fun of any patterns in the magazine.

4. With the exception of dishcloth yarn, I kind of hate cotton. This is the biggest dichotomy in my personality. I am more than a little fiber snobby, but I knit with the most pedestrian yarn there is and love it. Other cotton? Not so much – the fading, the hand, the firmness, all combine to make me go “ick.” To be fair, I seem to remember touching some Blue Sky Organic Cotton last year and liking it, so I may revisit the issue. I also have half a ball of Tahki Cotton Classic to swatch with because I keep thinking about mitered squares.

5. Elizabeth Zimmerman may be may favorite knitting writer, but I probably won’t knit very many of her patterns. Don’t get me wrong, I love Elizabeth’s Percentage System, and I think the Baby Surprise Jacket is kntting genius, but tunic sweaters are not my thing, and I like my garter stitch in limited quantities. Nonetheless, Knitting Around is like the best novel to me.

6. I find stockinette beguiling; ribbing would be my second choice. I like a challenge as much as the next person and I own a cherished copy of Aran Knitting by Alice Starmore, but I love just being able to pick up a project in progress and knit, even if I only have a little time. No fussing with a chart, no thinking about where I left off, just knit, knit, knit. Nice. Perhaps this is why my husband’s cabled sweater has languished.

7. If I could knit just one thing for the rest of my life, it might be socks. Socks have it all: a chance to sample lovely yarns in manageable quatities, portability, the quick gratification of smaller projects, endless pattern variations and technical challenges – they are, as the kids say, the bomb. Plus, even though many sock patterns are easy once you have mastered the basic technique, nothing impresses a civilian like sock knitting.

8. These are my favorite colors. I’m sure there’s some sort of personality analysis you can do with these squares to show that I’m either going to be President of the United States or a serial killer. I think I was a Winter at one point, if that says anything to you, but now pink and orange sock yarn just makes me swoon. mycolors.jpg wintercolors.gif

9. I save scraps of yarn, even small ones. It seems weird to me to throw away even short lengths of yarn after I’ve cut them off an end that’s been woven in, so I have a baggie of “yarn lengths too short to be a partial ball.” Perhaps someday, I’ll make them into a great Magic Yarn Ball, knit it up and felt it into something fabulous. For those keeping track of my eco-friendly tendencies, in addition to yarn scraps and listening to enviro-podcasts while knitting, I also save and reuse plastic picnic silverware as lunch utensils. Alert the media!

10. Even though I love the knitting books I own, I have knit very few patterns out of books. This always surprises me every time I come to the end of a project and am choosing a new one – I have so many patterns already that you’d think my eye would no longer roam, but I’ve owned Knitting on the Road for two years and have yet to make anything out of it. Knitting in the Old Way, Scarf Style, Wrap Style, and every damn issue of any knitting magazine in my house – I’ve made nothing. Yet you’ll have to pry Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’ book out of my cold, dead hands before I give it up, and if Kathy Zimmerman ever writes a knitting book, I’m first in line – I will step over you (after I have knocked you down) to buy her cabled goodness. Perhaps 2007 will be the year of knitting from my pattern stash.

Before I leave you, I urge you to check out the Lonesome Skein Knitalong, a short-term group dedicated to helping you get the most out of your stash diving with patterns for small amounts of yarn. If you are a fan of the knitting links I am constantly putting in my sidebar, know that I have shared some of my very best pattern finds with this group – if that doesn’t entice you to check it out, you’re a knitter made of stone. Who doesn’t like a good pattern? Obviously, I can’t resist.

10 thoughts on “Stashless knitting is the new black.

  1. holly

    I have no desire to own or work in a yarn store either. It’s just retail of a different flavor, really, and i am not good with people if exposed to them for extended periods of time.

    I also want to be stashless. It’s going to take a while, though. When i started knitting, it was if i was worried i would never find a yarn i liked again. True, i may not find that exact one again, but i may find one i like just as much, or even better. And i may find it at a time i am actually ready to start that new project.

    I will have to check out the lonesome skein along. I do have some lonesome skeins (usually leftovers) that need some love. Of course, they may need to find love from someone other than me.

  2. Karen

    Your trekking socks are great!!! I love the color. I just finished a pair in #105.
    Your ten things list is very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I have a serious thing for socks too.

  3. grumperina

    Thanks for answering – I loved your answers, you are a very funny writer! You know, I have no desire to own a yarn business of any kind either… I simply don’t have the patience and (truly) I’m not laid back enough, hehe :).

  4. Christine

    I’m feeling the need to go stashless, but it goes against my upbringing. You should see my Mom’s fabric stash.

    I love those colors, and should note that the new colors in my bedroom are among the ones that you selected.

    I’ve said before that I want to work at a yarn store, but I was wrong. I just want a yarn store so close to home that I could sit there all day and knit with people. Chatting & knitting & fondling all the new fiber when it comes in. But no need to own it or work there. However, if they paid me to sit & knit, I could totally go for that!

  5. Barbara

    Comrade!!! I could have every one of those 10 knitterly things, only not half as well as you have. This is my first visit to your blog, but it won’t be the last.

  6. jess

    I love those socks! 🙂

    I’m totally with you on #1, #2, #7. 🙂 I’m working on the stashless knitting now. Slowly.

    Your bottom row of colors just happens to be my current fall color obsession — I painted a wall in a room we’re renovating that orange shade, and I am looking into that green and brown and blue as accents (and that grey is always one of my favorites). 🙂

  7. erica

    I’m a little late in commenting here. I’m just doing a routine Midwest Knitters ring check but I couldn’t help but notice your list. I too would love to be a stashless knitter but working in a store with a large discount killed that dream quickly. And I too have many books with few patterns knitted from them. Some of them are just too beautiful for me not to buy, they’re my art books. Finally, I love “boring” stockinette, too.


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