Sunday, March 14, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

…about that funny looking color change in my blue sweater? Mentioned in this blogpost...

And I said I’d talk about it later? Ok, well, now is the time. But first, I want to point out that everything else pictured in that blog post has been finished! Progress, yes indeed.

But about that sweater…well…

I bought that yarn probably 20 years ago. I can’t even remember where. I never bothered to check the dye lots before I started this started project, because I knew better than to buy yarn in different dye lots. Really I did.

Except that I also like bargains, and chances are this yarn was from some bargain bin, and I bought it knowing that the dye lots were different, but thinking I’d use it for two smaller projects, or for weaving, or who knows what. Back in those days, I bought yarn for a variety of reasons, without any real plan in mind.

Fast forward to the present, and I decided that this yarn’s time had come, and happily wound the first hank into a ball and started knitting away without brothering to check the tiny labels.

It’s a rookie mistake, and I can’t believe I made it after all these years. And if you look at the photos, it is noticeable. And I don’t have enough of either dyelot on it’s own to make the sweater. And I surely wasn’t going to rip it out anyway. If I ripped it out, I wouldn’t be reknitting it, that’s for sure.
So I’m knitting on, and chalking it up to experience. I never intended for this to be a sweater to be worn any place special – just something to keep warm in and wear around the house. And who knows, maybe those blues will bleed into each other over time, and a few warm water soaks. Or maybe they’ll get worse.

I’ve started the sleeves now, and the one thing I did do was check the labels now, so that each sleeve will at least be the same, even if they don’t match what’s already been knit.

The yarn, by the way, is Twitchell Mills 2-ply wool. It’s got a rough texture, rather rustic compared to all the fine wools produced today. But I know from the test swatch that it will soften and bloom with washing, and will turn into a very nice finished garment. Not something you’d want next to the skin, but perfect for a cardigan to keep out the chill. I started this sweater last July, and what I should have done all along was make myself knit two rows a day. I would have finished it long before now. I’ll have to try that sometime, and see if it really works!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Rethinking My Knitting Priorities Yet Again

The Knitting Olympics have come to a close, and I must admit, I didn’t achieve the successes that I’d hoped for.
I did make a lot of catnip toys. That was one success. 30 catnip toys more than stuffed a half gallon canning jar. I did get one project ripped out; part of Ravelry’s “Aerial Unwind”. Now that yarn can go back in the bin until I decide to make something else.

But I didn’t finish even one of the Nordic Knitting projects that I’d lined up to work on during the Olympics events. I’m almost done with the Selbu Modern hat, and will probably finish it up in an evening, now that the pressure is off.

What pressure? Well, the pressure of being tied to one or two particular projects, and not having the freedom to work on whatever I liked. There were several projects that I wanted to work on, but because they were already started, they really didn’t fit in with the Ravelympics rules. One was a pair of socks that was in the home stretch. They had been on the needles for months, and a few more days wasn’t going to matter that much. But they nagged at me, and I finally broke down and finished them. Even though that kind of broke my Ravelympic spirit, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. And it made me consider my knitting priorities.
And right now, my priorities seem to be these:

1. To knit for the Etsy Shop, and the Craft Barn. I thought that maybe time away from “production knitting” would be a good thing, but it wasn’t. I like knitting things for the shop. It’s fun. There are some projects that I can knit over and over and over and I never really tire of them. Or if I do I can take a break and come back to them another time. And I have new ideas that I want to try, and experiment with, and see if they will sell.

2. To finish the two sweaters on the pins for myself. I have a wool cardigan more than half done, and a mohair/wool pullover that needs some attention. The cardigan is more than half done, and the pullover is coming along. I’d like to at least wear the cardigan a few times before air conditioning weather gets here!

3. To knit to use up stash. I don’t intend to buy any new yarn this year (well, ok, I did buy 10 balls in January, but with a particular project in mind). I’m still working on getting the stash organized, and it’s a little sad to think of yarns that I bought 20 or more years ago still sitting on the shelf. So I’m trying a First In, First Out plan of attack when I can. The wool for the blue cardigan was an example of that. Perfectly good yarn, purchased 20 years ago, and why hadn’t I used it sooner? It will make a wonderfully warm sweater.

4. To knit for gift giving. I really need to get moving on this. My plan for Christmas 2010 is to make a variety of items – socks, hats, bags, scarves, etc, and take them all in a big basket to the Christmas gathering, and let the family pick out what they would like. That way I still have fun the fun of making gifts, without the anxiety of “will it fit”, “is it the right color”, “is it something they will like”. I thought that putting together a nice stockpile of items would help see me through any gift giving occasion. But I need to get moving to make it happen!

Now that we are tilting toward Spring, I feel the need to make changes. To be more organized. I think reviewing these knitting priorities will help me keep my goals in sight, and not feel so overwhelmed by all the projects I take on. We shall see!