Archives for posts with tag: knitting

Don’t get me wrong: I love knitting. I knit every day, except when I don’t. But I think about knitting every day, many times a day. It’s become such an important part of who I am. I’ve met great people through knitting. I learned to knit at the start of 2009, and by the end of the year I found a great knitting group, the members of which are the core of my friend group here in New York. People I’ve met at knitting retreats and workshops have become dear friends as well. I owe my hobby a big debt of gratitude for all the great things it’s brought to me.

But, my hobby also brings with it the fostering of my tendency to collect and consume things. Not necessarily Martha-Stewart-visiting-tag-sales kind of collecting, but definitely a retail-therapy-slash-eat-my-feelings kind of consumption.

There’s this thing called de-stashing, where you have yarn you want to get rid of and so you find people who want to buy it from you. Of course, you bought the yarn from someone else in the first place, or at someone else did before giving it to you, and it’s highly unlikely you’re going to re-sell it for more than – or even for the same price as – what you paid originally. So when you de-stash, you’ve basically rented the yarn for a while before finding someone else to hold onto it. I’m tired of renting my yarn.

In 2017 I’m going to stop growing my yarn stash. In fact, I want it to get smaller. This doesn’t mean I’m not going to buy yarn this year, because I’m guaranteed to buy yarn this year. There will be something I want to make that I don’t have the right yarn for yet. There will be some gorgeous yarn I see at Vogue Knitting Live or some sheep and wool festival or a yarn store in a city I’m visiting (souvenir yarn is totally a thing) or in a friend’s stash and I’m going to buy it and it will be beautiful. I may or may not have an idea of what I want to make with it. Hopefully I will, but it’s okay if I don’t. But, for every yard of yarn that finds its way into my stash this year, I’m going to remove two. Elizabeth did this last year, and her success has inspired me. How I remove it is up for grabs: I can make something with it, gift it to someone, de-stash it, donate it, or just plain throw it away.

Deb pointed me toward a knitter on Ravelry, Zarah, who takes a great approach to thinking about the calendar year and what she wants to achieve, yarn-wise and in other parts of her life. A lot of what she has to say about 2017 rings true to me. She’s going to knit from stash, but recognizes she will acquire yarn, so she has a one-in-three-out policy. Zarah’s plans for taking more photographs, cooking and taking care of herself, and just living with fewer, more meaningful things, is also very much where I want to be this year.

In addition to my yarn stash, I want to work on projects I’ve already started. I’m not committing to finishing any number of WIPs this year; I hope to finish those I feel motivated to finish, but I also know I will be inspired by new patterns, or new-to-me patterns, or old-to-me-and-I’ve-been-wanting-to-knit-them patterns, which will take time away. My goal is to work on a WIP at least once a week, for an hour. Some weeks I’ll spend lots more time on WIPs that others – just since Monday, for example, I’ve been knitting almost exclusively on my Loden, and I’m loving every minute of it. I wonder why I put it down almost 18 months ago? The yarn (Swans Island Pure Blends Fingering) is sublime and the pattern is soothing, but with a few fairly complicated rows to keep me thinking. I can’t promise I won’t put it back down before I finish it, but I’m into it for now.

I also have some plans about spinning and weaving more, and about other crafty pursuits but I think I’ll talk about those another time. Here’s a hint to one of the other pursuits:

IMPROMPTU, Emma Thompson, 1991


So, I’m nearly two months into my plan for knitting world domination Jared Flood patterns exclusively-ish, and I figured I should write a little about it. 

My main motivation for what I’m calling Floodgates 2014 was to impart some structure to my knitting, and hopefully curb my magpie tendencies. I’m so easily distracted by new patterns or new yarn, I’ve found myself amassing a bunch of WIPs and very few FOs. I figured if I limited my options to a finite list of possible patterns, I’d actually finish some stuff and use up some of my stash.

Once I decided to do this, I toyed with the idea of just knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns. EZ is, obviously, amazing, and there’s so much to learn from her stuff. Then, I thought about designers who clearly take inspiration from EZ, and I immediately thought of JF. I love his aesthetic, his own knitting is lovely, and any pattern of his that I’ve knit (or at least started knitting) has been a real joy. (Note to self: finish the bind off on Oshima, and complete that vest already.)

I did a search on Ravelry for everything JF has designed. I was able to rule out some of his patterns – menswear, for example – and made a spreadsheet of everything else. Then, I thought about what I could actually accomplish in a year’s worth of knitting. Realistically, I can’t do more than maybe four sweaters in a year. I can finish a sweater in less than three months if I’m fairly monogamous with it, but I’m going for a bit of quality AND quantity with this project, so I knew I needed to keep my sweater goals to no more than four for the year. JF has a lot of lovely shawl patterns, which I really love wearing, and so many nice hats, so I knew I’d have little trouble filling out my knitting time with plenty of smaller-than-sweater-size projects as well. Throw in a few pairs of mittens and I’d be on my way to developing a nice wardrobe of winter stuff.

Around the same time I was devising my Floodgates plan, I began thinking about participating in the House Cup on Ravelry again. I’d stepped back from the Cup a while ago because I felt a little stifled by it (and also because I found myself making stuff I didn’t particularly want to make, just for the sake of making something). But, I knew my Floodgates plan would mesh well with the structure of the Cup, and would result in some points-worthy projects, so why not do my part to help Slytherin retake the cup? So, I rejoined and am enjoying all the positive aspects of the Cup, not the least of which is that it motivates me to actually finish things in a reasonable amount of time. 

I said above that I planned to knit JF patterns exclusively-ish. I’ve decided I can cut myself some slack by not requiring I ONLY knit JF patterns – there are plenty of things I like to knit that he hasn’t designed much for, like socks and children’s clothes (fingers crossed he’ll remedy at least the former of these; I suspect there won’t be many sock patterns in his future unless Brooklyn Tweed decides to introduce a sock yarn). So, what I’ve done thus far is to shoot for one higher-yardage (400+ yards) JF piece per month, one or two smaller (150-250 yards) pieces, and then to fill out my Cup responsibilities with smaller things like washcloths or blanket squares, both of which will eventually be given as gifts. I’m also planning to knit a nativity scene for myself, so I can add those to my queue through the year as well.

The Cup operates on a three months on, one month off schedule, starting in January, which makes for three terms a year. My goal is to knit one sweater each of two terms as my big “OWL” project, and a complicated shawl as the third OWL (unless a new JF sweater patern comes out that particularly speaks to me), along with the one high-yardage/two small-yardage projects per month. I’ve mapped out my plans for the year:




Looking at this list right now is a little sobering, because I thought I’d completed more things by now! So far, I have only two JFFOs:

Juneberry shawl



and Seasons Hat


My Sempervivum shawl and Bray sweater are well underway and will be done this month and next month, respectively. I really need to kick things into high gear over the next week and next month to really make a dent in the rest of my list. I’ve started my Guernsey Triangle, but it will be a struggle to finish it this month.

I’m glad I’m putting this all down here, as it’s helped me to step back a bit and think about where I am in my plans, where I’m headed, and how to get there!

Say you’re having your knitting group over for a Sunday gathering, where margaritas will be served. Obviously, you want to plan your knitting carefully. Tequila and lace, tequila and cables, tequila and any kind of pattern involving a chart is a bad idea.

Tequila and 3×1 rib socks, on the other hand, is an excellent idea. Plain stockinette socks don’t do much for me, and that little bit of ribbing makes them stretchy enough that they’re guaranteed to fit my Flintstones-esque feet.

sweet tomato stripes

Or, you know, the feet of a recent high school graduate. I was binding off the second sock in my sister’s kitchen, when my niece (who just graduated, and whose party was the reason for my visit), hinted she might like to have the socks. She tried them on — her feet are about a size smaller than mine in length, and are definitely not Flintstones-esque — and they fit perfectly.

Obviously, they were meant to be hers. And now they are.

Feet + socks

Raveled here.