Thursday, January 31, 2013

Going With the Flow

Sometimes, when you’re working on a knit or crochet project, you run into problems. The gauge isn’t right and the garment is either way too big or incredibly small; the yarn you’re using is actually self-striping instead of gently variegated and you end up with splotches or stripes in very unfortunate shapes and places. Or maybe the pattern told you that only five skeins of yarn were required to make a particular sweater, but you’re realizing now that it’s more than halfway finished that that is complete nonsense; unfortunately you got the yarn more than a year ago and trying to match the dye lot is impossible. Grrr.

That last example was quite specific because, as you might have guessed, that particular problem is mine. After deciding that I wasn’t going to procrastinate any more I started a sweater that has been sitting in my queue for over a year. The pattern and yarn was given to me as a Christmas present in 2011 and since then has been tucked away in my stash waiting. I started it two weeks ago today (Thursday) and at first it flew by. Before I knew it I was shaping pockets and separating for the sleeves and then knitting the sleeves! And then I hit the wall… Last night I realized that I only had one more skein of yarn left and I wasn’t even finished with the first sleeve. Uh oh. So after racking my brain and cussing a little I took a deep breath and shrugged my shoulders. What can I do? I can make the best of it using the materials at hand.

We still have the brand and color of yarn that I’m using in stock at Yarnology, but the dye lots are very different. The current batch is a little lighter, a little more of a tweed than mine but I figure that if I use it on the collar and the button band it will look like a design choice. Which is what “mistakes” are anyway right? Design decisions. It’s not worth stressing over the things we cannot control. That takes away the relaxation aspect of this hobby. I must confess, however, that while I was attempting to restart my sleeves tonight (yes, I ripped out the one I had almost finished so that I can knit them two-at-a-time) I had the strongest urge to throw it across the room. When it gets to that point it’s just healthier to put it away for a while.

Crafters face problems like mine all the time and handle them in different ways. Some rip out and start over, some just finish and give it away so they don’t have to look at it anymore, some start something brand new so that the pain of wasted time isn’t so great, and some, regrettably get frustrated and give up the hobby. Problems are going to occur, that’s a truth that has to be acknowledged in knitting as in anything in life. As hard as it is to accept after putting twenty hours into a project, sometimes you have to rip it all out. No one is perfect and no project is either. The ripping (or “frogging” as many call it) can even be therapeutic. Although I tend to get a little weepy seeing my stitches unravel so easily. I suppose the lesson here is to just go with the flow. Control over some things is out of our hands and the sooner we acknowledge that, the easier it gets. I love knitting. I get frustrated sometimes, but even though my sweater will be a little two-toned I’ll still have something warm to wrap up in this spring. I’ll be proud of it either way. And that’s what really counts.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


            One of my resolutions for the New Year was not to procrastinate. On anything. I’m known for putting things off whether it be making a doctor’s appointment, doing homework, or returning phone calls. And now that I have this blog, I’ve noticed that I’ve begun to put off writing new posts. I make excuses like "I have nothing to write about" (so not true), "I don’t have time", or (when I’m being really truthful) "I’m just too lazy". It’s no surprise that I’ve already broken my resolution many times in the first twenty four days of 2013.

After my very long Christmas post, I felt all blogged out and though I meant to write about my yarn-related goals for this new year we’re in, I never got around to it. Shame on me. But there’s no time like the present, right? So here we go. Over the last couple of days I’ve been going through my stash of yarn which has grown considerably over the past year and is now threatening to overtake any available space in my bedroom. The sad thing is is that I really hadn’t noticed how large it had gotten. When you work in a yarn store and see shelves upon shelves of yarn every day you’re a little desensitized. Coming home to a few bins and boxes of yarn doesn’t seem like a big deal. Until you lay it out on your living room floor to take stock of it all. I suddenly realized that I probably had over a year’s worth of projects in front of me. And that’s if I didn’t buy any more yarn, like that’s going to happen. I’m happy to say that I didn’t have a panic attack, but I did seriously reevaluate my obsession with yarn. New resolution! Use up the gosh darn stash!! Most of the yarn in it is meant for specific projects, so before I get crazy and buy the brand new yarn for the brand new pattern, I have to remember all the gorgeous stuff I have waiting back home. I have other yarn and spinning related goals for 2013, but busting my stash is probably the most important one. It’s always fun to buy more, but it can get us yarn junkies in trouble…

Besides sharing a couple of my most important resolutions, I also wanted to briefly mention that soon I will be celebrating my two year anniversary with Yarnology. I’m not sure of the exact day that I started working there in January of 2011, but it was towards the end of the month that Gaby asked me to come in on a Saturday and start training. I remember that I was nervous and deathly afraid of being asked a knitting question since I really only knew how to knit and purl at that time. I’ve been knitting since I was around nine years old, but making a scarf was as far as I had ventured. Kelly was teaching a class that day when I arrived and I remember Gaby making a big pot of coffee and serving it around to everyone. That’s when I knew for sure that I loved it there. Yarn, friendly faces, AND coffee? Sounds like heaven. Since then I’ve grown as a knitter, a salesperson, and as a person in general. I honestly can’t imagine my life without the people I’ve gotten to know and the craft that is now such an essential part of my life. I’m so grateful for the opportunities that Gaby and Kelly have given me and I look forward to seeing what the next two years will bring!