Sunday, August 30, 2009

Is this what $400 of yarn looks like?

Actually, this is what about $350 of yarn looks like. Oy. I'm in trouble, because this doesn't include the bin and a half of acrylic I've got in the basement!

It was all on sale. Really, it was. Most of it. Except for the Cascade 220. And the crochet thread. And the Noro...

Ok, how did this happen? I'm supposed to be the one who isn't into having a lot of "stuff." I buy what I need, right?

Apparently not.

It's not like I have mounds of money to spend on this stuff. I try to keep a pretty tight budget (I'm living by Suze Ormand's mantra: people first, then money, then things). I need to put away more of an emergency fund.

I'm going to blame my lack of organizational skills. But I'm gonna change, darn it.

One of the wonderful things about Ravelry (if you didn't already know) is that it has a great application for organizing your queue of projects, and the yarns you are going to use. You can put them in order, move them around, change the yarns if you want... it's been a godsend the past few days to organize all this mess I made.

Seriously, "stuff" stresses me out. I can see how hoarders can get into their compulsions, and I totally get how it makes them feel. It's a responsibility that just gets bigger and bigger until it overwhelms you.

Today, I decided that I was not going to buy anymore yarn, but instead of beating myself up about it (like I normally would), I decided to just be happy. I'm excited about all the possibilities. I think it's going to be a good winter (and spring - possibly into the summer) working through all my "stuff."

Friday, August 28, 2009

I hear patience is a virtue...

I'm working on an improvised crochet design with a Solomon's Knot (aka lover's knot) stitch. I've been thinking about this for a few months now, because I bought a measly 700ish metres of Noro Chirimen while on vacation in Canmore in May. Usually, to make anything worthwhile to wear, I need at least 1000 metres. I searched around and learned about the Solomon's Knot, and thought, hey, that'll stretch out the metreage for me!

I'm making this cardigan/jacket sideways. The plan is to make rows of these lovely flower-shaped knots, and divide them with rows of half-double crochet. Then, when the pieces are finished, I will turn them 90 degrees, and voila! Columns of flattering colours! At least, that's the plan. I CAN NOT WAIT to see how this one turns out!

Perhaps my lack of patience is the reason I bought yet more yarn at Ram Wools today. I looked at my purchases from earlier this week and thought, "You know, I really should have got more than 4 skeins of Atacama... I know I'll need, oh, 4 more... maybe 5..." Then, I was off to trawl Ravelry to see what I could make with it, and well... anyways... I bought a bunch more stuff. I am SO cut off from buying more yarn until I work through this stash!

Speaking of patience, we drive home tomorrow. It's a long, 13.5 hour drive back to where we live, and while I'm not looking forward to the drive, it'll be nice to be back in the comfort of my regular surroundings. I don't want to say goodbye to my parents, though. Every time I see them, I see how they're a little older, a little slower, and I struggle to hold back the tears every single time I say goodbye. I know I could probably move somewhere closer, but... I need to live my own life, I guess. I just always have to remember to take time and save money to see them regularly.

Ok, before I start bawling, here is a shot of my cute little Rascal on the amphitheatre stage at the Forks. Isn't he a handsome boy? Hurray for Winnipeg!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Selfish Knitting Vs. Gifting

I've been working "overtime" lately on projects for other people. It started out with a hat made as a favour, albeit paid for (that sounds wrong, somehow). I didn't really mind doing it. I thought it would be good practice with fair isle, so I made a customized version of the bmp pattern in a hat for a friend, featuring his website.

After that, I was asked to make two more hats, which I whizzed through in a matter of days to get through them.

Don't get me wrong - I don't mind making things for people. I especially like making gifts for people that I care about. Sometimes, however, I think any crafter, be they knitters, crocheters, jewelry-makers, anyone who makes things with their hands, gets snowballed by these requests.

Ravelry has a group called Selfish Knitters, whose battlecry includes:

1) We only knit for ourselves and for people who bless us and hand us boxes of expensive chocolates! Or money.

2) Some people need to learn gratitude or face the wrath of our flinging needles of Death!

3) Selfish Knitters are people who love and value themselves.

4) The person I knit for knows how to appreciate a knitted item–ME!

5) Everybody should be loved. But some people are greeting-card-love-worthy and some people are handknit-socks worthy.

It's been very comforting for someone like me, who is very sensitive to the feelings of others, to know that it's ok for me to put down the baby blanket or the hat or the sweater for Christmas and to play with that new ball of Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy, or gaze at the Malabrigo and daydream about what it will someday become. I don't want the world to lay jewels at my feet in return for a scarf. I just want people to understand that I do this for my own relaxtion and pleasure, and that it is the part of the day I look forward to the most. It can be tiring to give that precious time away to someone else's project all the time. I think that, for the most part, people get that. I just like to remind them every so often.

Of course, first I had to finish this baby blanket - or as I like to call it, a stroller blanket. It's big enough to cover the baby's lap in the stroller, but small enough to someday become his Linus blanket. I hope so, anyway! I made it in Bernat Organic Cotton in the Tea Leaves colourway, and while I really didn't expect the cables to pop with all the striping, I'm still pleasantly surprised at how visible all the details are, at least in natural light.

Now, onto something for me - let's play with some Noro!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Stash Building Day!

I'm home in Winnipeg visiting my family, and while I love seeing my parents and walking around the town, I have to admit that I had been fantasizing about visiting the yarn shops in town!

Drumheller doesn't have a LYS, and the nearest ones are in Calgary. Yarn stores are the first place I visit when I'm anywhere on vacation (there are some WONDERFUL ones in San Francisco, by the way), but it puts me dreadfully behind in my projects. I figure I could be spending my money on worse things!

Today, I was on the hunt for some yarn for my mom's Christmas present. I plan to make her Sweater Babe's Chic Cables and Lace Cowl Neck in a silver grey. I managed to find DROPS Alaska in a silver grey on sale for $4.00 a ball at Ram Wools Co-Op. Score! I can't wait to get started on it. My only worry is that, it being 100% wool, my mom might find it a wee bit itchy, but hopefully a little fabric softener during blocking will help that. I think she will like the big, comfy cowl neck in the winter time!

I first visited Ram Wools last Christmas when it was at its Fife Location. I just about completely bought out their Araucania Atacama in brick red, grey and black. It was a steal at $3.95 a skein - I think I bought 10 skeins! It eventually became my Awesome Clapotis.

Today, I bought 4 skeins of Atacama in that wacky lime green colourway. It's still on sale. I wonder if not many are into it around here?

I also visited Wolseley Wardrobe for the first time. It reminded me very much of a little shop in Edmonton called Ewe Asked for it - quite comfy and homey. Wolseley Wardrobe apparently has been there for many years, which was a surprise to me, as it was around when I was doing my practice teaching around there. (Perhaps Tall Grass Prairie Bakery down the road was too much of a distraction for me!) I walked away with three balls of Elsebeth Lavold's Hempathy (two in golden yellow and one in deep purple) and 5 skeins of Cascade 220 Wool in a lovely burgandy. It's funny - I saw the Cascade, picked it up, put it back, then thought, "I'll just buy two," which then became three, then, oh what the hell, let's get five! So I cleared the shelf, thinking that I'd make the November Ruffle Wrap, but I think I might use it for a cardigan that I fell in love with in a Sears catalogue this year. I've almost wrapped my head around how I'm going to make it, but at least now that I've got the yarn, I'll be motivated to get working on it before NEXT summer!

It's been a happy day. I feel a little drunk with all the lovely colours that surround me now!