OTN are several projects. I have some gorgeous Mega Boot Stretch by Lana Grossa in red that's going to be that textured argyle sock. This is definitely the right yarn for the right pattern. I started the first sock last night and only got the cuff done because the girls had taken my car to the Durham Fair and where is my notebook? Yup, sitting in my backseat. The family teases me that I live out of my car. Now it's truly everyone who knows this...
Also on the needles is a scarf in a simple lacy pattern. Mom had some Knitpicks Shimmer lace weight yarn in denim. She tried several times to make a lace shawl, but she can't stand counting those darn yarn overs. So she gave the yarn to me and I've had it bouncing around for about a year now. I originally started the pattern in single strand, but even with only a size 4 needles, it was too fine. I was thinking along the lines of an Irish Wedding Ring lace where, when you're all done, you can pull the scarf through a wedding ring because the yarn is so fine, but that wasn't going to work with this particular yarn and this particular pattern. So I doubled the stranding and that solved the problem. What's amazing is that it's a variegated yarn with several shades of blue and I happened (this was sheer chance and not design) to begin the skeins at just the right place so the color changes are working together. The colors change at almost the same time. Now, maybe by the time I reach the center of the scarf, they'll be out of synch, but they're working together now and it's coming out very nice.
Let's see... Shelby's fingerless mitts. Started one pattern. yech. Started another. Nope, not that one either. Finally went back to the very first pattern that I'd worked in the Latvian style and mixed up the colors of navy blue, yellow, red and white. Finally got a match. Style is working. Color changes are working right up to the base of the hand. I went from a background of white with the first design in blue and the second in red and then changed to the main part of the mitts in an intricate design of blue and yellow. But the change from red/white to blue/yellow was so sudden, it was jarring. Hmm... how to fix it? Easy. I frogged back all the blue/yellow and began the section with a braid to frame the design. Whew! Easy fix. I'm now at the point where I'm adding the plain blue gusset for the base of the thumb. Yup, it's not Latvian anymore, but I think it's going to be perfect for what I'm doing. I figure enough rows to get the thumb in there and then either one whole pattern or a pattern and a half to reach over the knuckles and a bit onto the fingers and then I'll finish it with another braid, again to define the design. So keep your fingers crossed that the end result matches what I see inside my head.
I think that's everything that's on the needles right now.
Took a vacation day on Friday so I could beat most of the crowds at the Durham Fair. Spent about $200, but I got most of my Christmas shopping done. And even a few birthday presents since my MIL's birthday is this coming Friday and oldest daughter will be 18 before the month is over. The only person I didn't get anything for was my darling hubby...
While at the Durham Fair, I ran into my teacher, Laurie Sanford. She was co-chair for the Fiber Committee (new this year at the fair) and she yelled at me for not submitting something. I hung my head in shame and admitted that I don't get to spin as often as I'd like, but that wasn't an excuse for her. I did tell her, though, that I did look at the entries and was going to enter some of my yarn, but I hadn't gotten around to making that decision until the very day that all the entry forms were due. So I promised that I'd enter next year. A goal. That's what I need. I can enter some of my handknit items as well as some of the fiber I've spun and, maybe if I can get off my duff and actually knit up some of my own yarn, I can enter that as well. So I have some ambitious goals for this coming year.
Which brings me to a subject that I promised I'd discuss. Stash. What are they? How do we keep them from cloning whenever we turn our back?
I used to be really bad about stash control. I had huge 40-gallon Tupperware containers of stash. Worse was that I'd buy yarn simply because I liked it and it would sit there for years without even a project in mind. I don't know if anyone else can say this one, but I honestly had a stash of lavendar wool that I'd bought my first year of working (so we're talking around 1984 or so) because it was a closeout. It sat around with nothing to do and no project in mind for over a decade. I finally turned it into an afghan which I still have. Weighs a ton which is why I don't use it because it weighs enough to keep small children from breathing, but it's still in my house.
That was the yarn that turned me around. I no longer buy a yarn just because it's gorgeous. Frankly, there will always be gorgeous yarn. I'm a pain in that I have to fondle the yarn before buying. I venture into a yarn store and feel my way around the shelves. As I work more and more, I'm finding that I'm even more tactile than enticed by color. If it doesn't feel right, I simply won't work with it.
Oops. I'm meandering again, aren't I? Stash control. I don't buy a yarn if it doesn't speak to me about what it wants to be. If there's no project in mind, then I can't have it. Plain and simple. It could be the loveliest yarn since the Hope Diamond, but if it doesn't have a plan, it doesn't come home. Second is that I only allow myself so much. I usually buy in bulk as opposed to each project on it's own. When I buy, I spent $100+ or could be $200+. But, and here's the kicker, each yarn has a project and I have to complete at least 80% of the projects before I'm allowed to buy more. I might purchase yarn for a shawl or a sweater (I can't WAIT to start doing colorways in sweaters) and then yarn for 5 or 6 pairs of socks. All at once. Big bill. But then I'm not allowed to buy more until I've completed (not started, mind you, but completed) the majority of the projects.
It's hard. Don't get me wrong. I could escape to various yarn stores every weekend and drop $100 a week on yarn. But then when would I finish them? No, the purchase of more yarn is my incentive to complete the projects I've already got. And the quickest way to get more yarn is to complete the projects I've already purchased.
Example -- I have one "project" left from my old stash when I bought the yarn last weekend for the new projects. It's some lovely Lis Souza in Joseph's Coat that I know will be another pair of socks. I haven't decided on a pattern or if I'll even use a pattern for it, but I know this yarn will be socks. And I can make a pair of socks (if I really work at it) in 4-5 days. So it's time to get more yarn. Hence, my trip to Country Yarns and about $120 for new projects.
Last night, I saw a pattern for a dropped stitch shawl. I think this would be wonderful in alpaca for Aunt Lois and my mother-in-law for Christmas. Shouldn't be too time-consuming to make. A couple weeks at best. (The dropped stitch garter shawl from Folk Shawls by Cheryl Oberle) I made a shawl for Mom last Christmas, so it would be nice to make one this year for the other two ladies in our family. Anyway, if I want to get them made by December, then I have to get to work on the projects I just purchased. See? Incentive if I want to complete the shawls in time to wrap.
I don't see the restrictions of not being able to buy more yarn as a punishment. Rather, it's all in how you view it. I know that my reward for completing projects is the ability to fund new ones. And I knit away, happy and content, because I know that there are always new projects to drool over. And since I can't get to them until I finish the ones I've got, I just keep knitting because that's the only path that will get me back to the store (or Internet site)...
Think of Dorie in Finding Nemo. Her mantra was "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..." Well, I've turned that into "Just keep knitting..."
To relate back to the title of this (yet again very LONG) post... is your stash half empty or half full? I don't think of all the wonderful yarns that aren't in my stash. I think of all the ones that will be there once I complete what I've got.
Comments? Any other topic I can cover? Write and let me know if any of this helps.