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I am not sufficiently disciplined to not want to start something when I decide to stop doing other things. As not starting something when you stop doing something would just be silly, and much too disciplined for me. I have stopped selling on Etsy, reading any number of blogs, checking my email too many times a day, watching too much TV, and other things that escape me at the moment.
The corresponding thing I will start doing (again) is knitting others’ patterns. I am somewhat happy with where my design is, but I feel that if I want to take it to the next level I will need to start knitting others’ patterns. I have never found classes or discussion to be effective ways for me to learn knitting (I learned almost entirely from books): the only way I have ever really learned anything is from knitting it myself.
I was inspired by this article about Tiger Woods last week. I want to live in that pursuit of excellence, and have the courage to cut out anything that is not perfection.
I have also started cooking more and as proof — my shopping list of last week:
I almost think I should start a cooking blog — that may be taking things too far by the time I finished making anything the light would be gone and I couldn’t take good pictures of it.
I just read an excerpt from The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber in the winter issue of Twist Collective (The Softness Myth by Clara Parkes). I think this article is full of good observations — yarn should not just be as soft as possible. I have had the conversation on many occasions about a particular yarn I happen to like and been told it is not soft enough, but I ask you: how soft does yarn need to be?
I confess here that I am quite accepting of scratchy wool and will quite willingly wear a hat that makes me scratch and scratch when I take it off — which of course means a red forehead, but I don’t mind (I generally make sure that any yarn I suggest others use in my yarn suggestions is not too scratchy as I know not everyone shares my particular preferences). All the same, if you live somewhere really cold — please never underestimate the value of good forehead coverage, it really is important — I gave myself frostbite (or something very close to it) walking to work one day when it was too cold for the car to start and will never forget that particular lesson (other lessons, yes, that one, no).
But all the same yarn should not only be judged on being as soft as possible — there really are all sorts of measures of a yarn, and I am happy to see more discussion on the subject.
I have immediately requested said book from the library to check out what else Clara has to say.
I have registered for a spinning course as part of my efforts to become part of the community here, which has inspired me to finish the following skein which I have been “working”* on for several months:
After the course started, I immediately had to start travelling for my job, which is impinging on my spinning time dreadfully.
I need to wash/set it first, but I think I will count the yardage. Maybe I have enough for an eccentric hat. The knitting of said hat will be simple, it will only be eccentric because anything made out of this yarn, when worn on one’s head, must be considered eccentric — it’s the nature of the beast.
*Had sitting idle on my wheel
One of the questions that often arises for me is how to make the best use of handspun, bulky, and novelty yarns
These yarns are often expensive, detailed, and bulky, and there is often not enough to make anything of any great size. I want to make something with these yarns, large enough to be useful, and that shows the artistry in their making.
I find that many crafters approach knitting from the perspective of a spinner or approach spinning from the perspective of a knitter. I think spinners who come to knitting often want ways to use their handspun yarns and want to knit something very simple, which makes sense when using many novelty yarns, but the detail of the yarns can get lost in the stitches.
Knitters who come to spinning often want simple yarns in fabulous colours and fibres to use for more knitting focussed projects.
I have tried both, and both have appeal, but I would like to propose a third way – there are techniques and styles and projects that can make use of beautiful handspun yarns of every description and show them to advantage, and here I must confess that many of my ideas in this area are heavily influenced by Debbie New.
I bought both these yarns from Milkyrobot’s Etsy Store —
Girls Throw Snow (40 yards / 36.5m):
And Earthworm (46 Yards / 42m):
When they arrived I was really unsure about what to do with them. I was worried that they were too intricate to show all their detail and too short to make much if knit by themselves. Every centimetre of these yarns is beautiful, and I would hate to hide whole sections of them behind cables or on the back side of something.
For the Girls Throw Snow yarn I mixed it with some grey fingering yarn I had lying around that matched one of the accent colours, and knit it in an irregular version of Debbie New’s squiggle lace using large needles (pattern):
For the Earthworm yarn I wanted to make things more interesting and combined several yarns:
In a long strip:
That I crocheted together into a scarf at the end using Debbie New’s labyrinth knitting technique (Ravelry link):
I especially like the way the mohair lace weight makes transparent sections.
These projects show these yarns as I wanted them to be shown and have enough knitterly interest to keep mine.
I could probably be induced to produce a pattern for the Earthworm scarf too, if enough of you leave comments on my blog here.
I feel a great fibrous weight has lifted since yesterday. I pulled out the alpaca I had lying around and spun in up in the way I like:
It is thick and thin plied with thread, and it has revived my interest in spinning, even if the fibre is a little too soft to make this kind of yarn in its most perfect incarnation.
What can you do?
I am carting out the wheel right now and spinning up that fibre that has been sitting there for months. I never want to spin regular thin yarn again — I have decided it is not my thing.
Or for that matter this:
(Which I am pretty sure I know how to do as I did that one.)
I got up early yesterday morning to take out the recycling, and I was completely surprised by how nice it was:
Generally I take out the recycling as fast as I can on a Saturday morning, run back inside as quickly as possible and try to forget the whole sorry business, but not this time. I was inspired to run back inside to grab the camera. To give you an idea of how improbably this was at 8:00 on a Saturday morning at -22 centegarde, here is a glimpse of what I was wearing:
Dressing gown, boyfriend’s shoes, coat. As I said later — “for some reason I don’t understand, it was cold, but it didn’t feel bad.”
I also went to the yarn store as I needed some particular yarn to submit a design, and ended up buying enough to make a summer sweater (sweaters in summer make more sense here than they do in many places). It is Classic Elite Yarns, classic one fifty and one of my favourite shades of blue:
I am thinking cardi, lacy, summer, blue — and that is all you are getting at this time.
I have spent almost the whole weekend cleaning and getting rid of unnecessary stuff. It is shocking how many useless belongings I have accumulated. I moved out to Saskatoon three and a half years go with my luggage allowance on the plane and then some more things in a truck a few months later, but to give you an idea it only cost me $800 to move from Vancouver, so we are not talking about that much, but here I am with a house stuffed to the gills.
So here I am getting rid of more. After two days, I have achieved clarity (I mean unclutteredness).
Besides everything else, I got this yarn in the mail recently from Jess and Milkyrobot:
So everything will continue to look up.
I love displacement activity — there are few things in life that make me feel as good as accomplishing my displacement goals.
I have been going through my yarn, and there is some that I don’t think I will ever use. Surely it is wrong and poor economy to hold on to such yarn in case I need it — especially as there is some possibility that one day I will need to pay to live in a larger place to store my yarn. I don’t even buy food in bulk because everything goes bad before the two of us can eat it, and even if it doesn’t it is never fresh anymore.
There is a limited amount I can knit, and I like fresh yarn.
I think the source of my yarn hoarding is that when I learned to knit I was so poor, and I never had enough money to buy yarn: I actually went through periods with nothing to knit. But now I am like one of those people who lived through the Depression and and hoards pencil stubs
Some of the yarn I am getting rid of I am pretty sure no one wants, so it is going to the thrift store. i am not offering it to you, because you can always go to your own thrift store and get something equivalent. There are no treasures in this lot: it is the fibre equivalent of mystery meat.
I do however have some rather nice yarn that I don’t think I will ever use. This is Noro Silver Thaw, colour 1, colour lot B, 50% wool, 25% angora, and 25% nylon, 110m (120 yards) / 50g:
There are nine untouched balls and one that I knit a swatch with and then unraveled (see the last picture).
I listed them in my Etsy shop, but they sold almost immediately.