monster vs. monster

May 17, 2010, 3:53 pm
Filed under: knitting | Tags: , , ,

I have a bag set up in our spare room for gathering things I’m getting rid of, things I think other people might enjoy having but that I would never be able to sell – a coat with an awkward hole in the back seam, brightly colored plastic sunglasses, and so on. Sitting on the top of that bag, up until a few days ago, was a giant ball of brightly colored Mary Jane’s Attic yarn. Every time I walked past this bag I would see the yarn and think, “man, I should really keep that yarn.” Then I would remember my two small projects in this yarn, a completely unsuccessful hat (given away) and some semi-successful mittens (worn thrice) and walk away in a huff (see failures below). I have just never been a fan of how this yarn knitted up, and seeing it in my stash basket has always made for much sad, bitter reflection.

But then, last week, I got a craving to crochet. And I realized something. This yarn could be a market bag. If it ends up hideous, I thought, I won’t have to fret over dirt or berry stains. If it’s not hideous, well, great. Either way, a bag would use up every last inch of my remaining yarn and finally get this colorful burden off of my shoulders. And it did. I am thrilled. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you what is quite possibly the world’s first 100% wool produce bag. Come June, I am going to have the warmest, coziest broccoli in town.

An added plus? This bag didn’t come out looking half bad! The climbing trellis stitch broke up the color pooling, and there’s a nice balance between the stripes on the straps and the blotches of color on the crocheted bottom. The straps are doubled, meaning the bag doesn’t hang all the way down to my knees, and they are wide, which means they don’t cut into my shoulders. I could see this bag at the beach…if it wasn’t, you know, for the wool thing. I’m pretty sure wool is afraid of the beach.

In other news, the (very shadowy) picture above represents my stash. In its entirety. But for one wedding present and two works in progress that are currently busting through my sock yarn scraps, this is all the knitting goodness left in my house. What you see there are seven lovely skeins of handspun yarn, and ten or fifteen small balls of leftovers from other projects. It’s possibly the smallest amount of yarn I’ve ever had. I feel so free. And all of it is going into storage for the summer, which makes me feel, well, even freer. But then the questions arise. What do you knit when you have no stash? How do you choose a project when it’s not just a matter of reaching out for the next available skein, but instead requires planning and yarn-purchasing? And more importantly, how do you keep your leftover stash low as you continue to knit?

Answer: knit sweaters all summer. Wool sweaters. All summer. My reasoning? Well, first there’s the obvious discomfort of keeping a warm pile of fabric on my lap in July’s heat spells, but really, I think I can handle that. I have been known to knit through headaches, backaches, and wristaches, in heat, in cold, and in extreme sleep deprivation. I don’t mind discomfort. Next there’s the stash thing. I am trying to keep my summer knitting contained to the summer. I tend to like long sweaters; if I knit from the top down, I can use up as much of my sweater-yarn as possible, just knitting until the garment can’t get any longer. If I do have leftovers, I can make a flower broach to accessorize my sweater. Since I’ll likely only be able to keep my mind on a single sweater at a time, my projects won’t pile up, and this is good for two reasons: one, I am spending the summer in CA in houses that are not my own, and I will not have space for yarn; two, I do not want to bring a whole bag filled with w.i.p.s back to providence with me. I am aiming for a fresh start in the fall, and looming unfinished sweaters are not what I envision. That said, I am super excited for my summer sweater project. I’ve amassed a long list of cardigans I want immediately, if not sooner: from bulky structured ones like shalomsassymetrical, and juliet, to light, wispy ones like pas de vals and the minimalist cardigan, as well as a minimalist imitator, the swinging stripe cardigan, which is first on my summer queue. I’ve also seen a few sweaters with great textured patterns: ruffled rosa, ribbed faverolle, the lacy vine yoke cardigan and the variant 113-117 jacket.

(Photo credits: 1. GaysKnits Sassymetrical, 2.Shalom Cardigan, 3. Juliet, 4. minimalist cardigan, 5. Vine Yoke Cardigan, 6. Drops cardigan)