The Knitting Journeyman

Gathering Up One Thread At A Time As I Weave This Web Of Mine.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Yarny Tales

     I am simply in awe of the things going on in my life right at this moment.

     To say I am a yarn whore is an understatement.  I am the one to whom everyone gives their left-over yarn.  When Grammy dies or Auntie Em moves on, I inherit their yarn.  I have driven over an hour to places I have never before thought of going to collect yarn that has been stuffed into attics and into basements, simply so I could have more yarn. Because, as a knitter, you can never have enough yarn.

     Yes, I do as much charity knitting as I can.  Charity knitting does not count towards my personal knitting goals or stats.  If I am not doing it for me, I don’t count it…except to keep track on the database for Bev’s charity challenge, of which I have been a member since, I think, 2006. 

     I had told both my daughter and my mother I would go through my yarn and give them each some.  Along with the searching the house for things to donate to the abused women’s charity that is coming next week, I figured I would go through my yarn. 

     Now, I do have SABLE (stash accumulation beyond life expectancy)…and I have wanted to wean that down, and charity knitting hasn’t made as much of a dent as I would have liked…not between all the moving and the yarn being in storage rooms inaccessible to me for the most part.  Plus, I will still buy yarn rather than stash dive for projects, simply because it is easier.

     I think the idea really started weeks ago, when we visited Kirkwood Knittery.  All those beautiful yarns. I walked out of there, having spent over a hundred dollars, on just a few skeins of yarn…but the whole quality issue kept coming back to me.

     This is why those sweaters I find at the thrift stores aren’t worth as much to me anymore.  They may be cute.  They may be made from incredible yarns.  But in real value, they don’t have much worth.  If I had invested the time in myself and made the sweater myself, choosing the pattern, choosing the yarn, working my silly fingers raw if need be…then that sweater would be so much more valuable – and I would wear it more.

     As I searched through the house for more clothing, and other things, to donate this past week, I filled no less than three 33 gallon garbage bags, with more clothes.  One whole bag was full of sweaters.  I have roughly 10 sweaters left.  Ten.  I used to have probably ten times that amount, if not more.  I kept the ones that I really love to wear, which stunningly enough are the very simple ones.  I kept the ones w the best fibres.  I have one lace alpaca cardigan that I will not part w, no matter what.  Things like that, I kept.

     We won’t get into how many pairs of jeans also got tossed this time around either.  I can’t believe, after as many times as I have gone through my wardrobe of late, how much I tossed out without a flinch this time.  Honestly, at this point, R could move into my house and we’d have room for his clothes—and the man does not have that many clothes either.  Even w me buying him stuff.

     The yarn stash.  I went to my favorite local yarn store, The Weaving Dept, yesterday.  The Barn was open—and we went there first.  I bought my carding combs.  As well as an Ashford spinning book.  I figured it would be a good thing to have a book specific to my spinning wheel.  All I’ve done is skim the thing and my head is just spinning, there is so much in it.  Nancy #2 of course demonstrated the carding combs.  Every time I go there, I learn so many things from this woman.  Things that are not in books or on videos.  Did you know the carding comb you hold in your left hand—you hold as if you are about to stab someone in the chest? Hehehe.  Nancy said few people forget that when she tells it to them that way.

I also bought some fiber too.  Only 8 ounces.  Oh, come on.  I have to support my lys.  Really.

     Then, then, then, I went into the main building.  In the quilting store on the first floor, I had to restrain myself from buying a pattern for a purse, although I may go back.  It’s an Amy Butler pattern.  I love Amy Butler.  I did buy a little needle felting kit.  It’s a sheep.  It’s a beginner’s kit.  It comes with everything I need to felt said sheep.  I’ve wanted to learn needle felting for awhile.  So, again, supporting my local shops…and curtailing myself from really going hog wild around the fabrics and patterns they carry.

     Upstairs, into the yarn vault…I found it.  I found the yarn for my actual wedding shawl.  I bought two skeins, at $20 a pop, and I didn’t even flinch.  It is a merino/silk/nylon/silver blend.  Kraemer Sterling Silk and silver sock yarn.  I bought two skeins of ‘heavenly blue’.  I didn’t realize what the name of it was until I brought the label back to R’s house so I could do some research on things.  I have roughly 840 yards of this beautiful and sumptuous yarn with which to work.  I am in heaven.

     I bought this mohair, this ultra thin, brilliantly red (although the tag claims it as magenta—the actual shade of red was too pale and too pink) mohair, made in Wales.  I don’t have the tag here w me, so this is about all I can tell you.  It’s from Wales.  This yarn actually SPOKE to me.  I have to come home w you, it told me.  I HAVE to come home w you.  I’d be perfect for some frilly little something wrapped around your neck and draping over your arm, the arm with my own dragon tattoo on it.  Welsh yarn.  Welsh dragon.  Apparently, my dragon is in need of company.  Either way, the skein came home w me.  Just one skein.  It was more than enough, after all my other purchases. 

     I bought a set of leather double point needle protectors, so I could take them home to show R so we can make our own.  Yes, I really did that.  I bought a shawl pin, so my subconscious will shut up about it and I can move on until I am proficient enough w working woods to make my own.  Didn’t see that one coming, did you?  I am going to have to find my own wood working kit now.  R doesn’t have anything at his house that will help w the small and the delicate work I want to be up to for the dolls and other things.

     I bought some flax and wool yarn as well, simply because it was made of flax, it was beautiful, and I wanted to try it.  Again, no labels here w me, so details later on.
     I even bought a pattern book, at $15, for one pattern.  CEY Autumn Book 1.  One test knit vest in the store and I buy the whole book—without even flipping through it, without batting an eyelash.  There are other things in there I want to knit as well.  That’s just an afterthought, oh thank goodness.

     I came home.  Stashed my new fiber in the bench of the kitchen table (mwahahaha)—I love having bench seating w storage there.  Now both seats are full of good wool yarn and wool fibers—and alpaca fibers too.

     Then, the bee buzzed into my ear and sat down upon my bonnet.  I went downstairs, and sort of never really came up again until R called and we had to go home for dinner.  (Pearl Café, omg, beyond excellent food and incredible service)

     I started out by finding a small book box from moving to put yarn in to mail to Ma.  I was SHOCKED at how quickly the box for Ma and the smaller box for E filled up.  I really hadn’t touched the surface of my stash and yet, I knew I was willing to purge out a whole lot more.
     So, I found a medium sized moving box.  In under twenty minutes, I had half filled that box.  I stopped only because R called and we were going out to dinner.  I am going back today and do the same thing all over again.  I know I will have more than just the box for Ma and the medium sized box full by the time I am done.

     First, I am letting go of all that attic yarn.  Which, scarily enough, is quite a bit.  I want to keep most of the red heart and simply soft I have, simply because that is what I make the dolls and so on out of, for the most part.  The first rule I established was—if I didn’t buy it myself, it goes.  The next rule, since my dad did buy me a lot of stuff when walmart near his work decided to do away w their craft department, became if I like it and can use it, it stays.

     Do you know I found alpaca yarn in my stash?  Wool I had forgotten about?  I have so much really good yarn—and I couldn’t find it for all the donations and attic yarn and stuff I bought for specific projects that I was saving for something later on that I now just want to get rid of because I don’t like the memories it holds.  I found some gorgeous kettle dyed SOCK yarn that I know I received as a gift while we lived in MD.  A whole hank of this absolutely gorgeous stuff that needs to be wound into a ball …and it always had make me a scarf written all over it.

     Not only did I go on the yarn purge (and oh yes, if you want some yarn, I cannot promise you what kind you will get, but it is not all granny’s attic yarn, far from it, just drop me an email and let’s discuss things…my only request is you pay for shipping, but otherwise, you can have it…and if you’re local, please, come get some, honest), I decided to go through the hats and scarves and whatever else we have that I made for the family that we don’t use or need—and mostly to make room for new stuff too—and I threw all that into the donation bag for the abused women.  I do not knit ugly for charity.  The only times I do not really focus so much on colors or combinations is when I make the cage pads for pets.  I focus more on sturdy for those.  But otherwise, I honestly try to make things for charity that I would be proud to wear, to give my own friends and family, and that I would be proud to see on someone walking down the street and claim as my own.

     I think the going through and purging my yarn stash—to showcase more of the good and quality yarns that I actually DO own—has been more amazingly clarifying and freeing than any other purge project that I have undertaken thus far.  To shed these layers of yarn, to keep only the best, the highest quality, that means something.  I am finally taking real pride in me.  I am finally truly respecting myself.  I am finally finding that equilibrium and that happy place.  I am so glad of it.  It’s been a long harsh road, but all the troubles from the past are falling away, one by one.  As with the purging of the yarn, as the not best quality stuff is removed, the higher quality stuff is revealed.  Now that I have found where the real ‘I am’ lurks within my psyche…I am proud to have her here, out in the open, reveling in this new and wonderful life that we are creating for ourselves here.

     Blessings to all.