Monday, December 28, 2009

Damson No Longer in Distress

Damson Shawl
Originally uploaded by craftytails
The holidays are finally over and the car remains in poor condition. The result? A lot of knitting time at home.

Officially, I decided to go shawl-crazy. There are dozens of skeins in my stash, begging to be used on projects other than socks. Most of the yarn has been dyed in short color repeats and may not adequately show off stitch-definition. This calls for a lot of experimentation.

The reason for the new craze is the completion of the gorgeously simple Damson shawl. Instead of using the bamboo blend initially earmarked for the project, I decided to start over with superwash merino. The change in game plan was a good one, indeed. When I used the right yarn, the problems focusing on the pattern quickly went away. It's funny what a little enthusiasm will do.

As penance for my selfish knitting, I am now working on a long-promised scarf for my aunt. She requested off white wool and this is absolute torture for someone like me, who prefers vibrant colors. I settled on the Midwest Moonlight scarf in Cascade 220. Due to the difference in gauge, I cast on 33 stitches instead of the recommended 49. If I have enough yarn left over, I will also make her a hat as an apology for being delinquent.

Another project in the works this week is the mass purging of books and miscellaneous craft supplies. In order to simplify my life, many items need to be either sold or donated to make my home less overwhelming. Perhaps if I make enough money, the car repairs can be expedited. If the financial compensation ends up being low, at least I can feel a little more sane in my own environment.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Caught, Bagged and Tagged

After being trapped in my home for an entire week during the holidays, I decided to organize my craft supplies. This meant embarking on a project I have had in the back of my mind for quite some time.

Several huge sales a few years ago prompted me to purchase enough yarn to make a bunch of sweaters. The fiber was dropped into the recesses of deep stash, never to resurface. Needing to simplify my life, I went through everything last May and got rid of any materials that would never realistically be used. This purge was intended only for the acrylic yarn gifted by well-meaning friends and family. Recently, I turned a critical eye on the rest.

First, I located the boxes of 1 and 2.5 gallon Ziploc storage bags from the last stash overhaul. The smaller bags were designated for tiny projects like scarves, hats, toys and gloves. Larger bags held a sweater’s-worth of yarn. This was the primary focus. I managed to assign patterns to almost every big batch of fiber from the same dye lot. I wrote project information on large note cards. Each card had the name of the project, approximate number of skeins needed, intended size, gauge, list of notions/tools and miscellaneous notes. (Will I need to download errata? Have other bloggers complained about the garment stretching after blocking? Does the designer typically write clear instructions?) We know the drill.

When I managed to track down all of the patterns and transcribe the necessary information, the note cards were placed in bags with the yarn. All of these bags were then put in their own clear plastic storage tub, away from the other tubs containing unassigned skeins. The photo was taken partially through the process and doesn’t show the end result. My yarn collection is quite scary and I am not entirely sure it’s a good idea to expose the entire mess to the world.

When I had a roommate last year, yarn was sneaked into the house surreptitiously at odd hours when she was not present. Even though I didn’t go overboard with purchasing, the addition of any new materials would have sparked a discussion where she would be confused but accepting and I would simply be ashamed. Assigning projects will help me work my way through the rest of the stash and prevent potential yarn binges. If I feel like making a sweater, there are at least a dozen options waiting for me. An accessory? Right there in the tub containing single skeins of yarn. Love the new system so far and hope it continues to work the way I intended.

My knitting life has been revitalized as well. Searching through boxes, I have located most of my UFOs and can finally work on finishing everything. Single socks are bagged with their needles and sweater pieces have been located and stored in the same place. Huzzah!

Speaking of knitting, the Damson shawl has been ripped back and re-knit, only to discover a huge mistake about ten rows back. I will have to frog hundreds of stitches to correct the error and hopefully I will be able to find the patience. The pattern is extremely well written and the screw-up occurred as a result of my own lack of attention to detail. I may write about this later in detail when I can correct the problem and continue the pattern. Keeping this project with me during social visits was a huge failure. Apparently, I can only do mindless garter stitch while talking to people. There are plenty of charity blankets to work on, so looks like they will be my next go-to items.

Finally, a dear friend sent me this wonderful link on CNN about urban knitting. Some of the items I knew about- others I didn’t.

Edit: Blogger has once again rejected HTML tags, so here is the link: