Hello, hello! Scarlet Knitter reporting for duty, here, broom in hand, ready to dust off every corner of the old blog, get rid of the spider webs that have taken over the place in the past few weeks, and bring a little sunshine in. I didn't mean to be missing in action for so long, especially since a fair amount of knitting has been taking place in the meantime.
I had been leery of resolutions in recent years; they just carry too heavy a potential for guilt, and knitting (or blogging about it) doesn't need that extra burden tacked to it. And so I embarked on this new year of knitting with no other resolution than my long-standing commitment to knit from stash first and foremost, if not exclusively.
When I paid a visit to the market at Stitches West last February, I had this one resolution in mind, so my few purchases were done carefully and judiciously. I made a bee-line for Miss Babs' booth which was packed with like-minded lovers of beautifully dyed yarns. Ordering online is all well and good, but nothing beats seeing and feeling those gorgeous skeins in the wool, and playing with various color combos. This is the one I had to bring home with me:
A very "me" combination -- mind you, the red is a deep lipstick red and not quite as bright as on this photograph. The yarn, Caroline, is a blend of merino, cashmere and nylon. Dare I say more?
After the market, I lingered at the hotel bar which was overtaken with knitters. Everyone, perched on every stool, lounging in every chair and sofa, was wielding needles or a crochet hook, and a good 85% of the patrons sported knitted shawls of every shape, color and stripe on their shoulders and around their necks. Those who didn't wear shawls had vests or socks that they didn't mind flashing at the slightest invitation. Honestly, the bar scene is a major draw of Stitches events for me -- and that's even before a full glass of something good is placed in front of me.
Chatting with strangers is another major draw in that situation. Standard pick-up line: "I love your ___ (cardi, kerchief, stole...). Where did you find the pattern?" From then it's an easy transition to the market, best booths, best finds, best classes, what's your name on Ravelry, and other intimate details of our lengthy crafty adventures. I love just about every minute of this wild party.
One of my encounters at the bar made a lasting impression. She was wearing a lovely sleeveless shell, made of entrelac fabric that she had knitted with a variegated yarn with long color repeats. The colors were summery, tweedy brights and the effect was very nice. We discussed favorite local shops and various projects, past and present. During our conversation, she mentioned that she was a monogamous knitter, and just like that, I started to feel nostalgic for the time when I, too, stuck to fewer projects at a time.
Back when I was a more disciplined blogger, I followed an easy system which I called the rule of 3: no more than three projects on the needles at any one time, usually an easy, automatic-pilot one, a more challenging item, and finally a swatch for a future project down the road. This system gave me just enough variety while ensuring that projects did get knitted instead of abandoned on the side of the road for an indefinite time-out. Progressively, especially with the advent of Ravelry, I started to accumulate UFO's, which has meant that bags of stuff have been allowed to congregate in what is supposed to be my neat and tidy knitting corner of the TV room. (Insert loud snort of your choice here). Bags holding not only yarn, but needles hostage, I should add.
On my drive home from Stitches, I thought again of that beautiful word, "Monogamous", and just like that, I decided to make it my 2016 resolution. I have a feeling it will still be the order of the day in 2017, but I am fine with that. In order to become monogamous, I need to refrain from casting on for (too many) new projects and to prioritize and focus on those bags of shame that have taken over my knitting space. That night, I counted two blankets, one pullover, one cardigan, one jacket, one sock, three shawls. I probably forgot another blanket or two, if I am to be absolutely honest. That's a lot of needles waiting to be liberated, a lot of belated baby gifts, a lot of bags waiting to be folded and put away.
Since that day six weeks ago, I finished a shawl:
And another shawl:
I am making good progress on a cardigan too. Lots of pictures to follow.