Friday, October 26, 2012

Knitting Ambition

Cephalopod Bugga! "Spanish Shawl"

Is knitting compatible with laziness? Well, sit there, you knit. Great lazy way to pass the time, especially if the TV is also on (which automatically adds to the lazy quotient of any household activity, much as adding rocks to a box makes the box dumber and dumber). But finishing what you knit...urk.

I went to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival last week. Here it is 7 days later, and I've taken no pictures of the new yarns I bought. I didn't have much time, being out late 4 out of the past 7 nights; but I did fondle the stuff, examine it, sort it, dream about what I'll make of it all. I tried to make my purchases with specific ideas in mind...shawl, cardigan, hat. I won't do any winding until I've taken pictures of the entire enormous heap.

But my Ravelry queue shows so many WIPs, so many UFOs, that guilt is starting to cloud my vision. A whole mess of projects I started in the past few years are just sitting there. Some are recent small things that made great carry-around knitting for bus and subway. A hat and a scarf are ready for finishing this weekend; a baby sweater for a friend just needs buttons. Yesterday when I picked up a hibernating project bag, I found a small cowl, nearly done, inexplicably tucked into the bag containing the latest Husband Sweater, utterly forgotten. That has to be a bad sign...I never even added it to my Ravelry project page.

What else lurks in my project bags?! The half-finished black lace alpaca top-down cardigan that I'm afraid to try on, partly for fear of breaking the delicate yarn, partly for fear it doesn't fit right and I've wasted a whole lot of work. Also the brown-and-green Classic Cotton thing I've been struggling with for at least 3 years, frogged and re-did at least hard would it have been to just start with a nice lace cardi pattern? I've got lots! But no, I wanted to do My Own Thing and improvise. Sometimes that works pretty well, but I think I have to face the facts: these days I don't have time to waste trying things and ripping back and re-knitting. I want instant gratification! So after I finish the hat, scarf, cowl and baby sweater, I'll have another look at some of those UFOs and see if they need frogging or finishing too.

Cos then I've got all that fresh shiny uh 2009 and 2010 Rhinebeck yarn to play with...!

Not to mention all the Cephalopod Yarn I've been buying...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Knitting up Rhinebeck 2008: Creatively Dyed Shawl

One-skein projects seem to be my New Thing. I grew up thinking of yarn as Sweaters. Now and then I'd buy a couple of skeins just for a scarf, but mostly I bought 1000+ yards at a time, picturing stacks and stacks of gorgeous cardigans and pullovers. I mostly bought yarn on sale so I could afford to indulge in 10+ skeins at a time -- a big body needs lots of yarn to cover it adequately -- and sometimes ended up scratching my head wondering just exactly what I was thinking, buying so much gray alpaca or so much really hideous lattice ribbon. (Having the Smiley's Yarn sale close by every year, where bags of 10 skeins are all you can buy of the better stuff, wasn't helping.)

It took Ravelry and Rhinebeck to really coax me out of that Sweater mentality, and over into the land of Accessories. It wasn't a difficult transition, really. As an incurable Yarn Magpie, I was completely blown away by the acres of wool at Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool, and I could only afford some of the available yarns in Sweater quantities. Once I realized that, about halfway through my first visit there, I relaxed. I could buy a bigger variety of gorgeous yarns if I bought only a couple of skeins instead of 4 or 6 or 10! Besides, how many Sweaters can one rotund person who dislikes being overly warm wear, realistically?

 Creatively Dyed was one of my very first discoveries at Rhinebeck 2008. I bought lots of that yarn, and didn't worry too much about what I would make of it. Sock yarn is so versatile! I imagined hats and scarves mostly. I had never knitted a shawl then...well, that situation has certainly changed.

I've filled my Ravelry queue with all manner of lace shawls, from dead simple to ridiculously elaborate. So far, I've only made smaller ones, kind of starter shawls, testing my patience for lengthy repeats and ever-changing lace charts. Many simpler ones are perfectly suited to sock yarns, like the Demiluna, which is a half-circle rather than the triangle shape of many shawls. So confronted with a beautiful crazy-colored CD yarn I simply HAD to knit...and still refusing to knit socks...I decided to make a small, simple shawl from the skein of Carnival that I had to had to HAD to have. But now that I've scratched the itch and enjoyed using half the skein to make this awesome thing, I have to do the right thing. That's right. I'm going to give it to the young daughter of a friend. It belongs on a sweet young girl. I can't wait!!