Friday, August 26, 2011

yarn diets don't work

They say that diets don't work.  If you refuse yourself your favorite things to eat--say, chocolate--eventually you end up feeling deprived.  And when you're deprived, you feel hungry and sorry for yourself and like you deserve a little treat.  So then you end up eating a bunch of stuff--say, pretzels and cheese and popcorn and ice cream and PBJs--trying to compensate for missing out on a little bit of chocolate.

Guess what?  It works the same way with yarn, too.

Two weeks ago, I had this interpersonal struggle about whether or not I should by some good yarn at an extraordinary price.  It was on sale for three days and I had the perfect project for it--Angostura from Little Red in the City.  It was a serious craving.  But I knew that I had plenty of yarn and projects waiting for me.  I made a list of my stash and my queue, and that sobered me up a bit.  I didn't buy the yarn.

So I should feel virtuous, right?  All righteous and proud of myself?  Nope.  I feel sorry for myself.  Poor little me without a new vest for fall.  C will have a new vest (I'm about 95% finished with his Skye Tweed Vest), but not me.  Sob sob. 

Guess how I comforted myself?  I bought some yarn.

I got some Berroco Vintage, which I've been wanting to try for a while.  It's not as nice as the merino/alpaca might have been, and it was more expensive.  But I do think it will make a lovely vest, and I'm glad (relieved?) that I can start on a new fall vest for myself.

And guess what?  I got a few more things, too.  I went shopping with my mom, one of the only knitter friends I have, so she bought me a couple of things.

This is Cascade Baby Alpaca Chunky, and it is amazing!  This is for a Shawl Collared Cowl, a pattern I purchased in Never Not Knitting's fall sale.

Mom also bought some for me to make her the same cowl.

So I missed out on one sale, which would have given me a merino/alpaca vest for $18, and I ended up with three projects of yarn, worth about $60.  The moral of the story?  Yarn diets don't work. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My one and only

I tend to have several things on the needles at once.  Kelly Petkin from Knitpicks has said that you should have seven things going at the same time: something simple for public knitting, something complicated, and about five other categories.  I don't think it through that much.  I just have so much I want to knit, and I don't want to wait.

But this August, I am putting all my knitting energy behind one thing and one thing alone: my husband's wool vest.

I originally tried to design a vest for him.  I put in many hours swatching, making calculations and writing out notes.  But I chickened out.  I am not a pro at cables, and I was really uncertain about how it was going to turn out.  So I went back to the Skye Tweed Vest pattern by Kathy Zimmerman.  So by the time I started this vest, I was tired of thinking about it. 

I was nervous that it was going to take forever, and I really didn't want to string along poor Hubs, taunting him with a never-finished vest.  So I decided that I better just knit like the wind until it was done.  And now I'm pretty excited to see how it's going to turn out, so that's motivating me, too.

This will be the third thing I've made for him.  I've also made a pair of socks, which were very successful.

And a hat, which was mildly successful.  True to form, C lost it upon wearing it the second time, so I only got this picture of him.

It's much harder to lose a sweater than a hat, though, so I think this one's going to be more successful. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I have a problem.  But not really.  It's not like a serious problem.  It's more of a characteristic than a problem.  A personality trait.  You could perhaps call it a habit, if you must.  I like to buy yarn.

Cascade 220 (from sale!) for February Lady, Bliss, and Evendim

Ooh, just typing out that admission sent a pang of guilt through me.  But really, where is the harm in buying yarn?  I use it.  I use it quickly.  Perhaps not as quickly as I buy it, but still.  Plenty of other people buy yarn, and a lot of people buy way more than I do.  And it's relatively inexpensive, especially compared to other pastimes, such as, say, golf, or antique car collecting.  So it's really not anything to be concerned about, right?

Palette for Ivy League Vest, Telemark for Ida's Kitchen Hat, Cascade 220 for C's vest, random sock

I buy most of my yarn online, since I've only recently moved to a town where I can actually get to an LYS in under an hour.  I bought several skeins last month from WEBS.  The price of Cascade was going up, and I had to make my purchase before the price increase.  (My mom said, "It's an investment.")  I had projects in mind for each group of skeins I bought.  But when the box arrived, my giddy feelings were matched by feelings of burden.  When was I going to be able to get to these projects?  How long would it take me to knit through the WIPs and things already in my queue?  Why was I obsessively stock piling more yarn, when I already had lots of lovely things I can't wait to get to?

Even as I was admiring my purchases, I said to my husband, "Honey, please don't let me buy any more yarn.  I know I'll want to, and I need you to hold me back."  He rolled his eyes.

Cascade Eco + for Alderbrook, Cascade Eco for Hemlock Ring, Deerfield for Cedar Leaf Shawl and hat, Berroco Alpaca for shawl, Malabrigo silky wool for Branching Out

Well.  Yesterday, WEBS announced that their deal of the day (and weekend) is Stockbridge, a 50% merino, 50% alpaca, 109 yards for $2.59!  My mind started spinning, planning what I could make and imagining the soft and the warmth and the color.  And how inexpensive it would be!  I mean, a vest of merino and alpaca for only $18!

I found my husband.  "I want to buy this.  You're not supposed to let me."

"No way."  More eye rolling.  "You're not putting that decision on me.  That is entirely up to you." 

Cascade Superwash for Abby's Blanket, vacation souvenir sock, 40 year old handspun wool gifted from aunt via mom for I Heart Aran

Well.  What am I going to do?  Add to my stash and my burden?  Buy some lovely yarn at a fantastic price that I will love knitting and will eventually become a beautiful garment worth 4 times the cost?  What a problem!  Well, not really a problem ...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

FO ta-da!

I have been making a zillion shawls this spring and summer.  I'm curious to see how I'll wear them once fall returns and the temperatures drop below a million degrees, or whatever it is right now.  I knit the Cladonia shawl as part of the Through the Loops summer shawl KAL.  This really is great summer knitting.  I used Malabrigo Sock, which was bascially amazing, in colorways Lettuce and Rayon Vert.  Lettuce was almost shimmery, like it was made of different layers of the same green.  Rayon Vert had more variations in the main hue, with flecks of green emerging from the purple.

A lot of the reviews on Ravelry said the yarn was terrible about tangles, but I had no problems.  I knit it on US 5 needles, and it has incredible drape and squishyness.  I think I could pull the whole thing through a napkin ring. 

This shawl is playful and elegant at the same time.  It seems to have a slightly retro carnival feel to it, but it also reminds me of something Victorian.  It was a lot of fun to knit.  I love the semi-circular shape, which might be more wearable than the triangle.

I was worried that the pico loop edging was going to be never-ending, but it turned out to be my favorite part.  It was hypnotic and soothing, and each one was like a mini-creation.  I was sorry when I ran out of them!

I ran out of pins while I was blocking it, and I couldn't find my spare tin of them in all the moving boxes we've yet to unpack.  So I pinned as many loops as I could, and then tried to lay out the rest of them so that they were open.  I think it worked pretty well.

In sum: an inspired pattern, decadent yarn, a fun process and a unique FO!  I will definitely be knitting more Through the Loops designs!