Well well. Have I really skipped the entire year of 2015 without posting once? You would think I would have something to show for it – more money, a new person in my life, another excellent hobby – but no. Just same old me doing the same old stuff.
Truth be told, I did knit a bunch of things in 2015. Not as many as I’d like, of course, but there were a lot of long flights and some solid weekends upstate where I powered through a lot of projects. Was there a common theme? Not especially, if you look at the FOs – mittens, throws, lots of hats. But if you look at the yarn, my objective is clear: get. rid. of. all. that. fucking. yarn.
I admit it, I have a touch of hoarding disorder. I like to think of it as Temporary Pack Rat Syndrome, since I like to hold on to a lot of shit and then one day I snap and throw it all away, because I truly like simplicity and lack of clutter. When we lived in Park Slope, I kept all my yarn in bags behind the couch, out of sight. But occasionally a guest would look back through the windows…and then down…and then shriek in horror. Rightfully so, there was a lot of creepy looking yarn back there. It was the physical manifestation of my compulsive yarn purchasing.
Around a year ago today, I had a “snap” moment and actually threw out a bunch of yarn. It was cathartic, but still there were a handful of skeins I just could not part with. Some I just had too much of, some was just too soft and beautiful.
Two projects worth mentioning: one, an easy knitting and highly customizable hat pattern from Joelle Hoverson’s Last Minute Knitted Gifts. The fun part about this one is getting creative with stripes, patterns, earflaps and most notably colors. I got rid of ALL of my leftover skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (check out the new website on Debbie! said as Samuel L. Jackson from Pulp Fiction, i.e., check out the big brains on Brad!). Here’s one sample of probably 5 hats I made.
I also had a lot of leftover Loops & Threads Cozy Wool super bulky yarn in various colors, but mostly an off-white, not quite ivory. This is essentially the Michael’s store brand, and it’s very similar to Lion Brand’s Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, which I adore. The Michael’s brand tends to be slightly less expensive, which is a little nuts because Michael’s is 50% wool and 50% acrylic, and Lion Brand is 80% acrylic and 20% wool. Oh well. Either way, the acrylic makes it nice and washable without a grody wet wool stank.
I’m continually impressed with the Purl Soho site and selection of patterns (not to mention their yarn – swoon – more on that in a subsequent post). Most of 2015 was mild and pleasant, not exactly the kind of weather where you’d need mittens (esp knitted in super bulky, where they turn out like oven mitts, see another project of mine). However, I knew the day would come, as it did, and these mittens have been invaluable during morning and evening dog walks. This is the Ancient Stitch Mittens pattern (they have a scarf version as well), and it was a pretty fun little pattern to learn. For whatever reason, my thumbs ended up in the middle of my palm, but that’s probably my mistake. They still work, and are still so pretty.
In conclusion (I guess in beginning and conclusion) 2015 was about being more efficient with yarn, and doing so via Joelle Hoverson and her Purl Soho empire. Not a terrible way to spend a year! And oh yes…one big change in 2015 – we adopted another labrador! Sweet old Rocky passed away in August 2014. We were terribly heartbroken, but our hearts have been mended by one large, sweet 7-year old chocolate lab named Mobley. We adopted him via Labs4Rescue, a fantastic group of volunteers who were able to secure a foster in Shreveport, LA, where he was found as a stray wandering the streets. Being heartworm positive, he was on the euthanasia list until L4R pulled him. Since January 17th, 2015, he’s been enjoying the good life of snuggling, napping, chewing bones and chasing squirrels in Brooklyn and upstate in Barryville. We absolutely adore him.
One other big project I completed earlier this year was a huge-ass, extremely cozy (at times, downright hot) cardigan from a pattern I found on Ravelry, Kyoko Nakayoshi’s Bobble Cardigan. It’s almost incorrect to call it a cardigan, because it’s like wearing a gigantic blanket. It’s a Slanket, no question. But I loved the big shawl collar, and the bobbles were pretty fun to make – oddly enough, I think the bobbles actually took up a decent amount of yarn. I had originally knitted a men’s sweater (the rolled collar pullover from More Last Minute Knitted Gifts, thanks again, Joelle), but it was a bit long for Greg, and frankly hot as balls. I knew Greg would never wear it, so I frogged the whole thing and started over with the same yarn.
And perhaps this is my biggest issue, my obsession with Bulky weight yarn. Why do I like it? Am I a lazy knitter? It does knit up quickly, and I like to make throws and cardigans, but I never really like clothing items (or even hats) made from bulky yarn, because they make me look bulky. It’s not good to take on airplanes (or even to a local watering hole where I like to while away an afternoon in the winter), mistakes are spotted easily and it often fuzzes like crazy. Why do I gravitate towards it?
Alors, because: it looks better in the store. That’s it. I see those smaller, stringier yarns…they look small. Not warm. Skimpy. Spindly. Like things I don’t want to knit. Those bulky yarns…they’re voluptuous. Sumptuous. Supple.
I must avoid this temptation, this sinful approach to yarn that will only result in fat, less wearable projects. I solemnly swear, from now until…my 38th birthday, or something…I will not buy any more bulk yarn. It will not make me happy. It will not make me a better knitter. It will not make me voluptuous, sumptuous, or supple. Lord, or rather, Andrew Luck, give me strength!
My husband used to joke about a guy I used to work with, whose name, when said aloud, seemed to command the title, “Male Prostitute.” I never knew what the reference was, and I imagine he’s probably forgot it anyway. But one always seems to stumble upon great names that requires another great employment title. Trapper John, MD, is a good example. My best friend grew up in Orange County and knew a “Thomas Thomas”, or Tom Tom, and the inimitable Becky Doubledee, who was also lucky enough to have a giant DD sized set of cans.
In the same fashion, my husband often applies those sorts of titles to the knitting projects I’m working on at any given time. This particular project began with a visit to Seaport Yarns in the financial district, where I used to work and would often spend a quick 20 minutes or so during a slightly slow afternoon, whenever that happened. Seaport Yarns is a great store – lots of selection, and the lady who runs it is incredibly knowledgeable about yarn and gauge and all that crap. For example, I was looking for a Tahki Stacey Charles, and she suggested an alternative yarn, which has since become a favorite with me: Plymouth Yarns. The Baby Alpaca Grand, which is, of course, a chunky yarn, is so soft and delightful and much easier and less essspensive than the TSC, it was an easy choice. Plus, she had lots of nice colors at Seaport, and I selected a pretty dark heather gray, color 403, to make my Lacey Throws. The pattern was found easily and for free on Ravelry as the Happy Birthday Throw, by Emily Ivey, using Lion Brands Thick & Quick…to be continued in the next post.
But for now I give you the Happy Birthday, Lacey Throws, you naughty thing, you’re soft and comfy, and while you do tend to leave some lint on the couch, I like you anyway. You were fast and fun.