My Mad Hatter March challenge has come to an end. I am thankful to have accomplished my goals and have learned some new tricks, but also ready for a new adventure. It is one of those times where you get so focused on what your doing it can be a little disorienting when you stop for a minute to look around. I have nothing going on. Okay that’s a lie, I am headed to Stitches South as I type this post. I guess I should say I have no idea what I am going to knit. Okay that’s a lie too. I know its not going to be another hat:)
I also started spinning… okay correction “spinning crappily” a friend graciously let me borrow her wheel with some practice fiber and I signed up for a learning to spin class at a local yarn store. In the meantime I downloaded a Craftsy class on the topic which is fairly amazing. The attempts at spinning are getting a little better and everyone in a while I watch 30 minutes of the class and play with the spinning wheel.
On the knitting front…I had a few ideas for what to do next but really I haven’t come up for a breathe since I finished my last hat. I finally wound a couple of skeins of yarn and thought I would swatch for a few sweaters and see what happens. I am still in experimentation mode because I think the gauge on a couple of the sweaters is going to a be stretch. I am going to play with needle size and I think have to swatch a couple different times.
Hoping to get some knitting in during my trip to Stitches South but will have to see what happens. One thing is for sure, no yarn is in my future but I am “muling” some fiber for a few lovely friends back east.
I have been stewing on this for a while. That sounds so ominous. It’s more a “I can’t believe it” type of moment. I didn’t have the “OMG!” moment earlier because of how I knit. Let me explain, normally when I am knitting I make something out of my queue or a test knit and I maybe move it to the gift pile but likely move it to my front closet. This is how I have amassed a nice collections of hats, mitts, shawls, wraps, and sweaters. This month’s hat challenge though has made me rethink this because I have had to look at the knitwear a different way.
There is a large pile of hats sitting on the coffee table of my living room. I think there might be about 9 hats in total. The other day I went through them in greater detail and sorted what would be “gifted” and “kept” it left me with the realization that just a little over half of the items I have knit were going to be given away. There it was I was confronted with the ugly truth that I would keep 4 hats ( when you put 1 hat in your closet you kind of forget about it ( the “Set it and Forget it” mantra from that old infomercial) but when you have to find a place for 4 your mind bends a bit and you have a “WTF!” moment).
I have been knitting for roughly 6 years so there are plenty of hats in my closet…. the thought of adding another 4 kind of gives me a cold sweat (not literally); because it means bigger things, like “Where am I going to store all of the sweaters I have yarn for? “or ” Why the hell would anyone need that many sweaters?”
We all ask the question ” Who is Knitworthy?” but I think the question should be what am I really going to do with the stuff if I actually knit everything up. I don’t subscribe to the “Art of Tidying” up philosophy, but this sudden epiphany has made me reevaluate why I knit and that I shouldn’t be caught up in the amount of $’s or time spent knitting an item… because when it comes down to it…. There is just not enough room and likely with global warming not enough days during the calendar year where I could wear a sweater.
So…. this month I have been busy making hats. At last count I have finished 9. It’s been going okay and I have had the opportunity to tinker and try a few things. The first is the alternating long tail cast on. I like it I can’t believe I haven’t used it before and it was fun to learn worthing new. I also tried a new method for the tubular cast on.
My favorite way is the one described in the Brooklyn Tweed patterns but it can be a little finicky (ask me how I know); in my humble option it has the cleanest and prettiest edge. I have also tried doing Judy’s Magic cast on which can work well, but both have been kinda “meh” when I need to use it in the round. I have been trying one that I found from Knitty (Knitty’s cast on) and I really like it, it isn’t as clean as the Brooklyn Tweed one but it seems the easiest to work in the round (and you while you you still need provisional yarn there is no need for a crochet hook).
The other thing I picked up is not starting a cast on with a slip knot. I thought “What the heck? I’ll give it a go and see what happens.” It turns out that I like what happens. It makes of a nice clean edge.
Okay now on to the procrastination… one of the hats I picked apparently uses the brioche stitch and I don’t know how to do it but will have to learn how. I started the Craftsy class, stay tuned.
I suppose it was inevitable that if I were going to make all these hats that I would have to have at least one “Yarn Chicken” episode. I mean that is my goal right to use up the the giant stash of yarn that is sitting upstairs, right?
Then why does my heart race everytime I see the ball of yarn get smaller. I have an ever growing amount of anxiety when I look at the yarn that I supposedly can knit up my Scrollwork. It doesn’t seem big enough to finish the hat, worsted weight yarn goes faster than a sock yarn. I think I might need to start saying affirmations outloud: ” You are trying to use up all of the yarn, and running short while not the goal actually helps you with this goal”
As I write this post I keep eyeing the small ball of yarn. I think it’s giving me the evil eye. One thing is for sure the only way I am going to find out if I will run out of yarn on this hat is if I try to finish it.
Here is hoping that I don’t have a panic attack trying to finish hat number #8!
I honestly don’t know if anyone reads this blog.. I am always surprised when someone tells me they do, but I thought rather than rambling about my Mad Hatter March Challenge I would share something I have learned about knitting when knitting colorwork patterns.
A lot of people don’t particularly enjoy weaving in ends when it comes to knitting with multiple colors ( I know there are people out there that do, intact I have a friend who thinks it is kind of meditative). One option is to carry the yarn up the work (knitting in the round it is usually at the start/end of the round and when knitting flat on the right side). It can be nice not having to weave in ends, but it can also be complicated if you are working with more than one color. On Saudade I am knitting with 5 different colors and am knitting them off the wound skeins and I have decided to carry them up the inside of the hat and not cut the yarn… That’s not the tip…..
My tip (many of you probably know this already) is to keep the yarn on a “short leash.” I liken the amount of yarn from the ball to the needle as a version of a leash. I tend to keep all the yarn very close to my body and where I am knitting so that the yarn doesn’t have room to tangle. It makes it easier to navigate and manipulate the different colors so you can reduce the amount of tangles.
Now it can be a pain to carry 5 balls of yarn.. so I am picky as to where I decide to knit colorwork when I carry the yarn up the work but it can also be pretty nice to have a way not to have to cut yarn weave in ends, and minimize tangles( That’s just my opinion for what it’s worth)
Mad Hatter March is going full steam ahead and I just started my seventh hat Saudade by Ysolda Teague. I am determined to finish the twelve hats I slated ( yes, there was the Oonski I finished in February but since it is my blog I am counting it in the twelve I want to complete).
Of the remaining hats Saudade is one of the two hats that are knit on smaller needles and use sock yarn. It took a while to determine the colors I wanted to pick(lots of back and forth) and there won’t be a huge dent in the stash but they are on the list. It’s been really fun to see what I can do rather than saying I am going /have to do “X” as a goal and watching my Ravelry queue get shorter is pretty great ( I even managed to go from down a whole page in my queue!!). I’ll likely resist my goal as the month progresses, maybe I will go for broke and just see how many hats I can get out ( i.e a stretch goal), or its entirely possible that I get sick of hats and decide to so something else.
Okay you may think you know what I am going to say( that you think I am struggling not buying yarn), but I am taking this in a different direction. Do you know how much knitting it takes to use every last ounce of yarn? It is pretty ugly. The spending money on yarn thing not a big deal… the knitting stash thing also not a big deal… but using every little bit of yarn … frustrating….
It should be simple right? Knit up quick projects and go through the left over yarn….you know the little egg shaped left overs you have from your one skein or colorwork project. Its never enough for something but just tends to take up a little space. Pretty soon you have a basket in the living room or air tight container in a closet full of these. They reproduce like Tribbles and you find them all over the house.
So yeah, I’m am having a hard time to knitting my stash… I even have an example It took me 3 projects to knit up every last inch of a skein of navy worsted yarn. I finally resorted to using the last bit for a pompom on a hat(not pictured) I am knitting for my “Mad Hatter” March challenge.
Safe to say that this stash down thing is going to take awhile….. What’s your favorite way to use scrap yarn?