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State of the Stash: Lighter

12 August 2011
  • Me: Mr. Trask, I am a yarn addict.
  • Mr. Trask: What was your first clue?
  • Me: I have yarn stashed in secret locations all over the house. [pause] But then that was because of staging the house. So I’m probably okay.
  • Mr. Trask: …you were hiding the yarn so that people from the outside wouldn’t see it, and you think that means you don’t have a problem?
Teddy Aghast

"What's that, Aunt Kathleen? You didn't buy ANY yarn?!?"

I thought I was almost finished with the de-stashing. I was surprised – I was amazed – I was relieved. Then I looked under the guest room bed. What was there? Plastic boxes of winter clothes, and airtight boxes with…yarn. So – the giveaways will continue until the packing outlook improves.

Results of last week’s giveaway: Yana won the Canopy; Robin (a different Robin) won the Mochi Plus; Tall Blond Knitter won the Dream in Color/Artyarns combo; irishshamrocks won the Dazzle. Yana has been doing some great stuff to connect knitters through Google+, so check her out if you’ve made the hop from FB to G+. Meanwhile, Kitten with a Whiplash, a past winner, blogged about getting the package from me, and the miraculous health benefits she saw soon after the yarn’s arrival. [Important Note: No correlation has been established between receiving free yarn and an improvement in any back problems.]

It’s been quite the week here in the Knit Like You Mean It household. We visited our lovely new nephew up in Massachusetts; we were approved for a little terraced house in Oxford; our house here went under contract; we researched US-to-UK shipping companies; and I went to a yarn shop without buying any yarn.

Maze Swatch I

Maze Swatch I. Mr. Trask took this photo, which is why it's from such a great height. I look tired, perhaps from contemplating all the packing we must do.

Yes, you heard me correctly. I didn’t buy any yarn. And it wasn’t one of those crummy yarn shops where they sneer at you and chase you out with a pitchfork if they don’t know you. It was one of my favorite yarn shops, The Creative Stitch in Hingham, Mass. And they had an incredible wall of sock yarn. And some Jamieson & Smith Shetland goodness. And an unbelievable array of Sublime Extra Fine Merino Wool DK. And and and…

Yet I didn’t buy any yarn. It’s not just because I will have to ship everything I own across the Atlantic in six short weeks; it’s also because I feel like I have enough yarn. Or, at least, I feel I have more control over my yarn. I have three projects on the needles, and I’m swatching for a fourth (see? I’m not completely reformed). I have some yarn waiting in the wings for other projects, too. That’s actually abundance. As much as I loved having a stash in which I could “shop” on a moment’s notice, I’m also excited about having less yarn. I’m getting a better sense of what yarn I do have and what project I’ll tackle next. My friend Emily is knitting more now that she has less yarn; I feel I’m doing the same…although that could be because I’m still knitting for the Saffron Walden Knitted Maze.

What of the maze, you ask? Well, I mailed off my first big piece this week, and am knitting another big piece this weekend. Speaking of which, now is the time to mail off your pieces if you have them – Sophie and Co. are starting to piece together the donated knitting (world’s worst-ever finishing project?). Mail them to Sophie Durlacher, 32 South Road, Saffron Walden, CB11 3DN, United Kingdom. Let me know you sent a donation, and choose some yarn from my stash!

Schieffelin Point Shawl

The Schieffelin Point Shawl on British Airways: Garter stitch is excellent for watching movies on tiny screens.

Meanwhile, I am knitting the Scheiffelin Point Shawl, a free pattern by Kate Gagnon Osborn of Kelbourne Woolens. It’s been ripped out and re-knit several times – most notably when I discovered, about 6 inches after an increase row, that I had worked said increase row twice. Now, I am about 2 inches from the end of the knitted-on border, and have had to buy a fourth skein of yarn. Here’s the question – do I just finish the border and call it a day? Or, given that the shawl feels a little short, a little like a shawlette, do I rip back the entire border and work another inch or two to give it some length?

Becky said I should re-knit only if I don’t have another project that’s raring to go (I’m still not sure whether I do or not – does that mean the answer is no?). Danielle said I should knit the border, then rip it out and weigh the yarn that made up the border, then knit until the remaining yarn weighs what the border yarn weighed, then re-knit the border. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I’d given away my yarn scale. Tell me in the comments: rip, add, and finish, or just finish?

Giveaway Aug. 12

This week's stash giveaway: from left, Noro, Alchemy, Debbie Bliss, and Rowan/Thistledown. Enjoy!

This week’s giveaway:

As always, stored in airtight containers in non-smoking, one-cat household. Yarn frozen for 24 hours before mailing. Comment on the blog by Tuesday, August 16 at noon EDT to win; all winners chosen by the Random Number Generator.

26 Comments leave one →
  1. 12 August 2011 9:35 pm

    Dude, I got a mention in your blog! Yay me! And I was actually knitting just before I read… Trying to get the UFO’s under control in my house – right now I am working on a Damson shawl that I started about a year ago. If I can’t knit one shawl out of beautiful sock yarn, what on earth am I going to do with the rest of my sock yarn? Hey- congrats on not buying anything and on the lighter stash. Onto the knitting! -Emily

    • Kathleen permalink*
      12 August 2011 9:38 pm

      Emily! You must vote on what to do about the knitted-on border. I do decree it.

  2. Michelle permalink
    12 August 2011 9:39 pm

    If any of them are heavy enough for kid-friendly scarf making, Annika is mad of the trail of yet more scarfs. She’s starting her yarn addiction early. LOL.

  3. Krystal permalink
    13 August 2011 8:41 am

    I am a bit of a knitting perfectionist, so I think you need to think hard about whether you would wear a shorter shawl/shawlette, or if it would taunt you every time you put it on and you would always wish it was longer. If you’re ok with it, you could carry on. If not, rip it back and add another 2 inches. Also to consider – if you stop now, is there enough remaining yarn to make anything else, or will it just sit around? If not, more reason to knit more into your shawl!

    P.S. – holy Alchemy, soooo pretty!

  4. Eve permalink
    13 August 2011 10:19 am

    Hmmm …. Also trying to reduce stash here after moving (DC to WI) and discovering exactly how much sock yarn I have. I must have fed it after midnight!

    With your shawl your description makes it sound like you would rather have something bigger so I vote for ripping back and adding length and then redoing the border. Base on my own experience, if the sizing isn’t quite right you won’t wear it or enjoy it quite as much …

  5. Cindy B. permalink
    13 August 2011 11:06 am

    I like longer shawls more than shorter ones… Love the alchemy or Debbie Bliss – either of those would be perfect for the hats that I knit for fundraising for TNT… ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. 13 August 2011 11:12 am

    ooh! i love that shawl..i would say rip it back and make it the length you desire..i find that i always regret it when i dont listen to my knitting instincts..i have tons of projects that i dont wear because of it..look at that alchemy! its gorgeous!!

  7. Dovile permalink
    13 August 2011 12:09 pm

    It’s a difficult choice about the scarf. If it were mine, I’d either rip it back and re-knit as it should be, or finish it as it is, give it to someone as a gift and knit myself a second one, in proper length.

  8. 13 August 2011 12:51 pm

    Okay here’s my take…. You said yourself that you didn’t even notice the error until 6 inches later. In shawl knitting, six inches is a lot of length… It’s not like a scarf, or a hat for example. I say that you finish the shawl as is because you have other things to be thinking about right now, like your move, and tying up the loose ends of things here in the States (as hard as that is). I think that your knitting should somehow reflect the rest of your life… Finish those three projects on the needles and stop swatching for a brand new one. You get to start something new once you’re feeling more settled in Oxford, with yarn that you buy there. If you don’t like something about the shawl, you can always give it away to someone who won’t notice the error ๐Ÿ™‚ Stick with the momentum you have and finish it!

  9. 13 August 2011 1:50 pm

    In the great shawl debate, I’m not for either option – yet. I’ve never been one to follow a pattern through without some mods, and I’m definitely not a fan of the frog, I’d see if I couldn’t extend the length by adding more rows to the border. If you could lengthen the “leaves” of the border by a few rows and add another row or two of the mesh, would that give you the length you desire? Or would it throw off the symmetry of shawl if the border were too long? Anyway, my second choice would be to add rows at the neck, if I had enough yarn. That would also require some fiddling to make the border work.

    You see what I’m willing to put myself through to avoid ripping out, and I’d probably try my first idea – rip it out – try my second idea – rip it out. Then make the decision you are faced with now. So please disregard everything above this line. On the other hand when I saw your picture with the “first swatch” I thought what the hecky-decky could she be knitting that requires a gauge swatch that size? And that’s just the first? I guess someone who’d be willing to swatch that much would be wiling to reknit the border if it came to that.

    I don’t want to seem fickle, but I am totally, rapturously, unabashedly in love with that Joshua Tree yarn, and your adorable new nephew! Have you negotiated with his folks about taking him to Oxford with you? Wait, that would probably mean having to destash a few more pounds of yarn… tough decisions all around you this week! As always, thanks for the generous giveaways.

  10. 13 August 2011 2:13 pm

    Right, so I totally misread the problem… But I stand by my answer- just finish up and move on. If you don’t get more length after blocking, and if there’s just no way this will work for you then just give it away as a gift. Does it at all match the measurements in the pattern?

  11. 13 August 2011 4:55 pm

    I’d LOOVE to give any of your yarn a new, happy home! Also, try not to stress about all the stuff you have left to do…it’ll happen! Congratulations on progress on both homes!

  12. 13 August 2011 5:42 pm

    I can’t believe you are still de-stashing! I sure hope you are able to make your move without too much difficulty. As long as you are trying to unload your skeins, I’d be happy to give them a forever home here! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Kathleen permalink*
    13 August 2011 5:47 pm

    I feel like I’m going to be de-stashing forever! But there is an end in sight (sigh). Thank you to all of you who are willing to give the stash a home!
    Clarification on the shawl: I have followed the pattern correctly (and ripped back a few times to make sure I did). It just looks like it isn’t going to be as large as I’d like a shawl to be. So…I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll finish and block and reassess. Still want to hear any and all advice!

  14. 13 August 2011 6:12 pm

    If it was me I’d probably rip and re-knit, but I’m a perfectionist. If I wasn’t especially attached to the yarn, I might finish it as is and give it away – keeping something that didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to would bother me, but in a situation where there wasn’t a glaring mistake finding somebody else that it’s right for can be a good option.

  15. 13 August 2011 6:27 pm

    I vote to rip and re-knit. A pain in the butt now, but you’ll be happier with the results. Congratulations (in no particular order) on the new nephew, selling your house, and being approved for the new digs in Oxford!

  16. techremedyroxy permalink
    14 August 2011 1:53 pm

    Finish! I rip more than I finish but I’m trying to change that <3.
    Congrats on all of the above good news xoxoxo

  17. 15 August 2011 3:19 pm

    So, I had to reread your post after the bit about your not purchasing any yarn at The Creative Stitch. Not only because those words, coming from you, are difficult to digest, but also due to the fact that it is just another reminder that you will be moving in a few short weeks.

    This blog is making it very difficult to allow myself the comfort of denialโ€”a state in which I prefer to exist for now.

    That being said, your shiny new nephew is absolutely beautiful (congrats!) and I am happy that things are moving (yes, I said it) along for you with your housing. I’d be honored to provide any bit of your stash save haven.

  18. 15 August 2011 4:15 pm

    I just thought of this – if you rip out the border and add more rows to the body of the shawl, will you be adding more increases? If so, you’ll have to adjust the border pattern somehow when you knit it back on, to account for the extra stitches. Hope I’m not too late with this thought.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      15 August 2011 4:55 pm

      That was exactly the thought I had, and although I was pretty sure I could work out how to fix it, I decided not to get all crazy. Shawl is finished and blocked – just have to weave in the ends. I’ll post a photo for you guys!

  19. 16 August 2011 2:24 am

    Congrats on not buying any yarn. That surely must be a great achievement. I was going to say knit the border even if it means buying more yarn, but I see that you have already finished the shawl. When will you post photos?

    • 16 August 2011 2:24 am

      And forgot to say, lovely line-up of yarn in this giveaway. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  20. Rebecca permalink
    16 August 2011 4:14 pm

    I’d just finish it and call it a day. There is really very little that can get me to tink back more than 2 rows of a shawl. I’m sure it’ll still fit.

  21. 18 August 2011 2:20 am

    Wanted to let you know your package arrived today. It has two skeins of Artyarns and a huge skein of Dream in Color Starry. I love, love these because I only work with acrylic. Thanks so much for the giveaway and I will let you know what I make with this yarn.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      18 August 2011 8:49 am

      Hurrah! I’m so glad it arrived, and so glad you like it. More yarn coming soon…

  22. Anna Johnson permalink
    24 August 2011 9:11 am

    Beautiful color you are using for your shawl!! I totally hate ripping back but I know it will bug me till it’s perfect!! You know everytime you look at it, you WILL KNOW, aaaghh! I am making a scarf right now for my husband and it is ALMOST PERFECT but there is ONE stitch that is purled instead of knitted and it’s bugging me but I am willing myself to keep it there…ohhh the dilemma of it all!

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