Friday, 18 March 2011

A quick brown yoke top jumped off my needles

Bad play on words?  Well, this is about my knitting and not any typing exercises nor hedges.

This post is really the second part of my previous post, about my stash, suffering from startitis and the soul-gnawing result of too many WIPs that I seem incapable of reducing in number.

Startitis and me: we seem destined to remain footpath companions for a while longer on that long and winding road that's called life.  You know, that mysterious unwinding of a path that's meant to be about progress and learning and developing stuff 'n things as you get older and grow in maturity and... yeah right!

I think I'm learning that I like to indulge in the exact same things just as much now as I did yonks ago.  I've always been a passionate collector of 'stuff'.  Most of the time useful stuff, but stuff nonetheless.

Once I realise that specific types of 'stuff' are not that useful, I might even get myself to the point of getting rid, in a very gradual and cumbersomely slow approach of course - this type of thing just does not come easy: I might need it!  I might want it later!

A few weeks back I made a decision on my WIP number problem and my yarn stash's amazing ability of multiplying as if by magic... (cough, cough).

The decision is: blast it! (or other words to that effect but I don't want to type it, the one that starts with an f)

Blast it!  I'll just go for it.  I don't care how many projects I start, if starting one is what I want then the effing heck: I'll go for it!

And startitis worries: take yourselves by the scruff of yer necks and be gone!  You can go annoy someone else for a while.  Not me!

Which is a very long way of telling you about how the last three projects came about, and a labourious way of saying: I started three new tops.

And Haha: I finished one of them too!  Now how's that for jumping off needles?

Best thing: all three projects use up yarns from my humungous stash.  Worst thing: I had eight balls of Debbie Bliss Prima in navy which turned out not enough so I bought another six.  Whoops-e-doodah, slight fail of attempt re that stash-reducing thingy...

Here's the one that seems to have finished itself somehow:

A sudden urge had me investigate short-sleeved tops on Ravelry.  I found about 5-6 that I liked and then I started a navy round yoke top.  Ran out of yarn, ordered more, started a brown one (different design) while waiting for more navy yarn to arrive.

That's how that the brown project came about.

I enjoyed knitting it so much that I kept going once I got the navy yarn.  I am not as keen on this brown Lion microspun yarn as I am on the navy one, but I enjoyed the pattern.  I might make this again in a different kind of yarn.

Insights about momentous things like WIP counts and an ever growing stash

This is a post in two parts.

About that startitis thing...
A thought: I have two annoying problems to do with knitting: I have way too many WIPs and I've got a way too big stash.  Which means I have a real bad case of startitis -plus- ! the means to indulge in it too.

A bad combination?

I've been trying to reduce the number of my works in progress.  I have to say that that doesn't work.  All I do is to -not- list a new project on Ravelry if I get the feeling that I won't be finishing it any time soon.  Cheating is what I call that.  Also, my WIP number has stayed the same for way too long.

I won't go into the reasons why.  That'd be repetitive and therefore boring. 

Second problem: that stash of mine.  I reckon it'll take me ten years (if not longer) to get to the end of what I've got.  Knowing that I'll buy more during that time.

But I had a bit of an insight on that today.  It might even help to reduce my purchasing urges.

Ages ago I bought a rather nice ball of Lana Grossa yarn in a black and grey mix that's called Solo Meilenweit.  No idea what to make with it, and it was also a bit more expensive than I liked, but I still had to get it. Tss.  Major slap on wrist for that one.

Last year I went to Germany and made it a point to visit the local yarn shop, as you do.  They specialise in Lana Grossa.  I hadn't come across that before: a shop that buys from just one yarn brand.  Strangely enough although I liked some colours, I didn't necessarily also like the yarn they came in.  It was usually too chunky - most of the current offer was all Autumn and Winter yarns.  I like 4 ply or lace yarn best.  But I did find 300g of a nice sky blue cotton (left over from their summer offer from months earlier), some dishcloth cotton and a single ball of wooly yarn in a nice black and grey mix - so I bought all of those.  It wasn't that expensive, so I'm pretty pleased with my purchase.

I even managed to use up the six balls of blue cotton, on a sleeveless top.  Even more pleased with that!

Today, this morning, I had occasion to look at the Lana Grossa from Germany again.  While my eyes fell on that other ball of wool in black and grey from Lana Grossa that I bought quite a time before that...

You guessed it, it's the same yarn.  Meilenweit!  And not just that: the same colour number too!  Only difference is: the dyelots and the name on the German one is not just 'Solo' but 'Solo Tono'.  But the colour number is the exact same!  They BOTH say: 5208 and the most galling thing about the second one is that it was a little less than half the price... If I'd known that...

Now they're too similar to make a pair of socks out of each one of them, and they are not alike enough to be able to use them for the same project. I would have to say that buying both of these is a bit of a fail.  This raises the normal question of: "what the heck am I going to be doing with this specific part of my stash?" to the same questioned intensified by the power of two, at least...

The most intriguing conclusion I have come to from this is something else though.  This is supported by looking at my Ravelry projects page: there are the same kinds of colours over and over again.  I will never buy an orange or a beige.  I won't have to hold myself back very much from buying a green: I just don't like most greens.  I won't be buying the vast majority of browns either or any other colour with is very muted or sludgy or has a strong tinge of yellow in the mix.  These are just not my colours.  Instead I will go for the same colours over and over again.

I already concluded that I do not need another pink 4 ply yarn.  It's not difficult to guess why: I've already got four of those.  And there are lots of other fibre/weight combos that I already have in most of the colours that I would buy if given the temptation.

Conclusion: it's a good idea to mentally review my stash before buying something new.  Chances are that I've got it already.  If not the exact same thing thensomething so alike there's no point in buying another - because that would just lead to the 'what to do with it' question as above.  And feeling rather a bit sheepish. Ahem.

So my insight: there is an end in sight to my stash buying!  I won't by buying up any single thing I ever come across.  This is a relief.

It also makes me enjoy my stash more: the majority of yarns are those that I will be using, and those are the ones I'm looking forward to rediscovering as the perfect yarn for a new project. But I will be using most of it: I am happy to feel quite sure of that.

Which is where my next post comes in.