Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Woe is Me, Not Enough Stash

As I mentioned below, I've totally lost my mind, and signed up for 2 lace knit-a-longs, Spring Shawl Surprise, which starts January 1, and Secret of the Stole ii, which starts, I think, January 16. Both projects require approximately 1500 yards of yarn, or .85 miles of yarn per project. I spent Saturday at the shop contemplating my choices, but the thought of winding 1500 yards of Zephyr off of the cone at 6:00 p.m., after a day of boyfriends, husbands, and nephews coming in and saying, "um, I need some yarn . . . uh, for a scarf maybe, I dunno . . .", wasn't appealing. I must have something in my stash, mustn't I?

So, after a hearty meal with the Tall Boyfriend at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, I decided to visit my stash, and spent some quality time with it. The doors of the closet flew open - and BOOM! It was an explosion, a tidal wave of yarn:
I didn't suffer any injuries, although I felt like I was visiting a stranger - is this all I have?
Ok, I know, I know, it LOOKS like a lot of yarn, but when your stash doesn't have what you're looking for at that particular moment in time, is it really a big enough stash at all?

Here is my laceweight - as you may be able to make out - there's great stuff in there. 880 yards of Black Bunny, 1400 yards of a lacey lamb like thing with some cashmere thrown in for good measure (the squishy red balls), 3200 yards of merino/tencel from Skaska (in red), 3200 yards of lovely brown cashmere from Hunt Valley Cashmere, Lisa Souza alpaca, 1500 yards but very variegated, 3200 yards of a purple/red merino from Cherry Tree Hill, 900 yards of Laci from Blue Moon in a gold colorway, 1200 yards of golden bamboo from Habu, 1200 yards of mohair from Habu, a variegated Shetland, 880 yards of alpaca in a cream color, some left over pink Misti Alpaca, another big hunk of Mohair, that I don't even remember what it is, and I don't have the label anymore, some Sea Silk, and 1500 yards of skinny skinny Yak/Silk.
And then there's my Anne - always suitable for a laceweight project, but only 1150 yards per 2, and I do have mostly twins in there.

See, my stash is too small - I don't have 1500 yards of anything. Ok, I could chop down those big hanks of 3200 yards - but I know there's going to be a gigantic project I'll need it for (i.e., I have the red merino/tencel saved for Frost Flowers and Leaves from Gathering of Lace, and I think the cashmere is for Forest Path Stole), and if that gigantic project doesn't happen, well, then I'd have to find something else to do with the rest of the hank - what? knit with the same yarn twice? Nah. And, I just think the variegated, Lisa Souza and Cherry Tree, is too big of a risk for a mystery project.

So, what did I learn from my long visit with my stash. Here are a few things:

a. I'm just going to have to break down, and darn, buy yarn for the 2 projects in January;
b. I have too much sock yarn, and I'm never going to knit it all:
Socks that Rock, Black Bunny, Mountain Colors, Opal, Online, miscellaneous Shetland from MSW, on and on - how many pairs of socks are there that are never going to be born - 19 or 20. I know that 19 to 20 skeins of sock yarn is miniscule to many stashes out there, but for someone who doesn't really knit socks . . . foolish, no more sock yarn for me.
c. Where's the sweater quantity? I stash very little sweater quantity yarn - and I think, the next time I'm on the fiber festival circuit, rather than picking up the random sock yarn, I'm going to shop for sweater quantity in those homespun yarns that I love, like the Alpaca I used for Wicked. Not pictured, but in the stash, is sweater quantity in Morehouse Merino Bulky, and 2 sweaters in progress - one in Koigu, and one in Karabella marble. The Koigu sweater my be ripped in favor of becoming Jeannie from the new Knitting, and the marble, well, it's such an easy knit, I'll get back to it someday.
d. I don't have as many unfinished projects as I thought I did - in my knitting bag downstairs, I have a half dozen, at least, unfinished socks, or unpaired socks. As far as sweaters - I have Martha, in progress and definitely to be finished, the Koigu and the Karabella. I have a Rowan shrug in its final lap, and a Blue Sky Alpaca Silk Shrug, also extremely straight, boring knitting - all will be finished in time, except . . . for the socks. So, sock yarn - I love looking at you - but I'm done with you. As you can see, I've done careful analysis, and you're voted out of the stash.
e. I have a lot of leftover yarn from finished projects, and I have Merrill's castoffs, many miscellaneous skeins of Silk Garden. I need to find a good mix and match project . . . something to think about.

All that stash - and, it's like walking into my closet full of clothes and saying, "I have absolutely nothing to wear." Feeling guilty about my gluttony, I lovingly returned the stash to its moth proof bags, organized by weight, and color: Don't feel too bad for it - I'm sure I'll find projects for that "meager" amount of yarn someday . . .

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not a Nut, But a Swan

It may be Nutcracker season, but here is the debut of my Swan Lake - ta da!
I had never really been interested in knitting stoles. It seemed really boring - in fact, it was really boring - Kimono Shawl, which was really a stole, was a snore. This, however, was a fantastic knit. The point at the beginning was a challenge - I really had to keep my eye on the chart, as there's really no repeat.
I love the wing - if you remember from my Icarus knit, I love shawls that make me feel winged, about to take flight, and pretty, like a butterfly.

So while the Manos blanket is growing, and Growing and GROWING, there's only so much garter stitch you can do without turning your brain to mushy mush, so I've signed up for 2 lace knit-a-longs starting in January, Spring Shawl Surpise and Secret of the Stole ii. Spring Shawl promises 10 different stitch patterns, 1500 yards of yarn, and patterning on both sides - definitely not a humdrum experience. Secret of the Stole II is a themed knit-a-long, with a "hint" each week as to the theme of the stole, again, another 1500 or so yards. Why 2 knit-a-longs? you ask - wasn't one enough? Actually, there was supposed to be three, but, alas, I have been black balled from Secret of Bad Nauheim.

I've never been black balled from anything - it's really a blow to my little ego, and a strange source of shame. I feel like someone took away my marbles, or picked me last for the kickball team. And how did I end up on this road to exile? A series of very unfortunate events. I missed signing up for Secret of Chrysopolis. I was sad, as I watched everyone's shawl grow, and bloom, and become more and more beautiful every day. So, when the pattern was released for purchase, I bought it, using my paypal account, on the first day. The website is in German, but I figured I knew my way around, because it's just a ZenCart template. My officemate, however, is convinced, that I somehow hit a button that said, "Release all of my information all over the web, please." The day after I received the pattern, I got an email from the proprietor of the website, "What is this? You get the pattern, and take back your money? What kind of shopping is this?" Huh? I thought, take back my money? I checked my paypal account - there were over 40 unauthorized transactions on my paypal account. Noticing that my account had been compromised, Paypal had reversed all of the transactions. I checked my bank account - overdrawn - and going very down down down the drain. And fees! Once all was said and done, I ended up with no money for over a week while Paypal and the bank investigated the fraudulent transactions, and I'm still in negotiations with my bank over the $600 in fees.

In the meantime, the proprietor of the website then banned me from Secret of Bad Nauheim, and sent out an email to the list serve, with all of my email addresses - I must be a trickster if I have multiple email addresses, and informing everyone that I had welched on the $7.20 transaction. Obviously, I resent the money, hopefully she got it. I received an email a few days later, completely in German, that left me befuddled, obviously, since I can't even spell aufertersein. I emailed it to a friend of mine who does speak some German, and she said that the email was sympathetic to my paypal misery, but wanted to know if my account was restored so that she could process the order for the wool. What wool? I wrote back, in English, that I hadn't ordered any wool, and again apologizing for any problems caused by the fraud on my account, the time delay in receiving her emails, and the language barrier. I hope we're all settled up, because I really truly would never steal a pattern.

In the end, the pattern ended up costing me $307.20 - the $300 in fees that my bank does not feel like it should reimburse me (it refunded half), and the original $7.20.

And now the real dilemna - do I knit it. I love it, but do I really knit it? It seems like its nothing but bad luck now. But it's so pretty - do I knit it?

While I struggle with this dilemna, I also really love Anne Hanson's new pattern,the Irtfaa Faroese Lace Shawl, like Ene, eene, une, ena, I don't know how to pronounce it, but I love it -

I think my chocolate brown cashmere would be lovely. But, again, a dilemna - I have to use my newly restored paypal account to buy it - argh!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Anyone Want to Commit Me Now?

Stop everything! Mad knitter at work. All ongoing projects must cease and desist - insane project underway!!!

So, I was happily knitting along on this (which in and of itself is a knitting crime - I am THISCLOSE to finishing Swan Lake):
Martha, from Rowan Studio 2, in my new favorite yarn - Manos Silk. Yes, you heard me - Manos SILK - a wool silk blend, that comes in around 4-6 stitches per inch. This single ply is smooth smooth smooth, and feels like budda. I couldn't have been happier knitting Martha.
Here's a closeup of the lovely cable:
This yarn is perfect - perfect for fair isle (see mittens below), perfect for cables (see that detail!), and perfect for sweaters - it's really the perfect weight. Could I say PERFECT one more time????

So once you've found perfect, why have I abandoned this project in favor of another. Because madness is at work I say! There is no other explanation other than a bit of the crazies have hit me. The tall boyfriend and I were watching t.v. the other night, snuggled under the blanket his grandma had crocheted for him years ago - a blanket built for one. Wouldn't it be nice, he said, if we had a blanket that was big enough for both of us? I sat up - the wheels began to turn. I can do that, I can knit that. I saw Rambling Rows, I saw the BIG VERSION, I had big visions - I have a big boyfriend after all.

So, while I was working at the shop on Saturday, before the mad rush that was the crazy holiday shopping day at Rosie's, I started pulling Manos off the shelf - Brick, Stellar, Gold, Navy, and Olive. The Stellar, Gold and Navy are for him - Chargers colors. The Brick and Olive appeal to my taste (hmmm - notice that it's the same olive as the Silk Manos above - oh Martha, I will not forsake you forever).

It's fabulous! It's gigantic! It's expensive!! It's totally insane!

The only thing more crazy than this blanket - that John C. Reilly was nominated for a best actor Golden Globe for Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Both make me speechless.