Monday, January 30, 2017

The Meaning of My 2016 Knitting

In 2016, a lot of my personal items were damaged by a flood.  This was a difficult time for me, emotionally and physically.  Of course, I kept knitting through the trashing, sorting, treating, cleaning, repairing and restoring that was required.  That I kept knitting, finishing up current projects and starting new ones didn't surprise me.  What surprised me was that I suddenly looked at my stash with new eyes. 

I had a few hanks of yarn that I had chosen for color.  These hanks were pleasant in appearance but overly bright and clashing when knitted up.  Suddenly, during the period immediately after seeing a lot of my personal items looking particularly dirty and soggy, these bright colors called to me.  Something I was never going to knit seemed like the ideal thing to knit.  That was how I discovered that knitting with yarn that is bright and maybe not so beautiful can be helpful in crisis.

Of course, I was reasonable, choosing patterns for accessories that might mix into a wardrobe of neutrals and limiting myself to two projects.  There was a Carlisle scarf with a central color of chartreuse sock yarn.  I found enough sock yarn in my stash to complete the scarf.

Then there was a variegated sport-weight bfl that was a riot of green, yellow, and brown.  I bought some lovely black Anzula Cricket to use with it and produced a Marley shawl that is appalling on the wrong side.

However, the right side is moderated by the black.  Since I only wear such large shawls at home on chilly days, I find the bright colors cheerful on a gloomy day.  The yarn itself is lovely--very soft and comfortable.  If I tire of the colors, I could always dye it black.

I worried while I was knitting these projects that I was wasting my effort.  Now that they are completed, I am happy with them.  I am also happy that they took these yarns out of my stash.

Although these are only two projects, they were crucial in my destashing plan. They took it from a mere reduction of the quantity to more nearly a complete clearing of stashed yarn.  I suddenly became more determined to eliminate my stash.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Finishing up the 2016 knitting

I've always been susceptible to the swings of fashion.  Style trends have an immediate impact on my purchases.  However, when a trend impacts my yarn purchases, it takes longer to show up in my wardrobe--like years longer.  This delay is caused by two factors: first, the time it takes to knit a garment; and second, the task of disposing of the out-of-fashion yarn I own.  Although knitting a wearable item usually doesn't take more than a month or two, using or disposing of yarn I've bought and not used immediately can take years, significantly affecting my desire to be on-trend.

Since my knitting production was being slowed down by a stash of yarn that was old, out-of-date or otherwise not to my liking, I determined to get rid of it.  Some, I knitted up, finishing up hats to match mittens, knitting accessories from yarn left over from sweater projects, and restyling unsatisfactory items. 

First, there was a hat to match those whimsical mittens.  Years ago, inspired by the cover of a Vogue Knitting issue, I worked up a mitten.  It sat as a sort of art piece for years until I decided upon the design of its mate.  The first mitten, in the code of the design, bore the message: I (eye) love (heart) to (II) knit.  The second mitten was graced with I love wool.  I had enough red yarn left over to pair with some worsted weight angora for a similar, if not matching, hat.  There's also a cowl, but it is even less acceptable than the hat.  However, that was one long-planned project done and one small bit of yarn used.  There's more photos of the mittens in this earlier post.

Then there was a cowl to match the hat I knitted when the brioche craze hit. I was happy enough with the hat knitted from leftover sock yarn that I went out and bought yarn for a cowl at the next wool festival.  The yarn is premium alpaca and a joy to touch and wear.

Next, I ripped out an unsatisfactory edging on a shawl and knit a new, softer and simpler one.

Lastly, I knit a stranded hat and cowl set out of yarn left over from another sweater. 
All these final finishing up type projects nearly complete the clean up of my stash.  Encouraged by the result, I planned to completely use or dispose of all the old yarn.  "NO MORE STASH." I proclaimed.

Then nature threw me a curve ball that I turned into a home run.  Never mind that the referee called it a foul, I still hit it out of the park.  I will explain in the next post.