I have been very grateful for a little online thread on Ravelry set up by a fellow knitter and avid fan of Vogue Knitting, coilycurly. This knitter, to honor Vogue Knitting’s 35th anniversary, has set up what she is calling the “Anniversary Challenge”. According to the ‘rules’, contestants are to knit one project from the VK magazines, from each decade since the publication’s start, from the years ending in 7. That would be a total of four projects to fulfill the challenge and at the same time, honor the magazine for its longevity in bringing high fashion and current designers to the forefront.
Since being home in retirement, I see, touch, and feel my yarn collection much more than when I was working. In fact, I might even say I avoided looking at my yarn as it seemed to yearn for my attention. Yearning yarn of yesterday has become quite the playmate for today. Corny, but true. Sorting, organizing, thinking, wondering . . . this is what we knitters fill our minds with. I am finding these scrap remnants a fun challenge in how to incorporate them into patterns I love. Here are some recent attempts in three different ways:
This past year, I have made a conscious effort to utilize the growing stash that is forming. I don’t mean the stash of yarn waiting to be worked on with particular projects in mind, I am meaning the remnants or leftovers of yarn from already completed projects. I call the first the stash and the latter, the remnant stash. To help me think how I could utilize these scraps, I have organized them into bins according to their weight.
It began with wanting to knit my daughter a Christmas present. Not being a fan of surprises, I did not want to present my daughter a knitted garment she hadn’t seen. Having to start somewhere in the investigation of what to knit for her, we began with patterns I had saved over the years. Our tastes are different as are our lifestyles, so I did not think she would actually choose any one of these yet I did think these patterns would lend some inspiration. Well, I was wrong. The bear sweater by Tiny Owl Knits stopped her dead. In my queue for a few years, she fell in love with it and visualized hers to be in the colors that are seen in the pattern. I found a great visual to help with the face.
As space is the constant, I continue to ‘play’ with different configurations on how best to store my hand-knits and how best to organize the stash. Consequently, the look in the yarn room keeps changing as I now use one room and its closet for both. Questions I ask myself: How can I store my obsession without looking like a hoarder? How can I see my full stash when it is time for creating? How can I treat my hand-knits to the best care for longevity? Light in the room? And, so forth.
In drilling down for answers, I’ve been reading. Topics such as: How do you store hand-knits? Is there a special way to fold sweaters? What shelving and/or containers are best for breathability of natural fibers? I am asking these questions because my hand knits are my wardrobe. I am noticing that when I pull out a sweater I haven’t worn in a while, I am seeing fold marks. Do people steam out those fold marks? Is that healthy for the fibers? Is there a way to prevent what seems like permanent folds in a garment? You see, I can go on and on with questions like this.
Topic: Wardrobe Planning. YES, I plan my wardrobe! I never thought to write about it. This question of wardrobe planning came up in the blog world and I am only too happy to answer. In short, I believe wardrobe planning, like everything, takes a certain amount of self-control and focus. The process for me begins with retiring belongings, otherwise known as cleaning out or donating, for the obvious purpose of organizing but in a knitter’s case, this careful consideration informs [knitting] project choice. Ravelry acts as a record-keeping system. What does this mean?
Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs. The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work. In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces. So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.
For a project that pretty much flew off the needles, it is interesting that I have so much to say about it. I have lots to say not due to any pattern issue or yarn dissatisfaction, but rather the changes I made in how I constructed it. From long tail cast on to sewing on the seam binding along the back neck, I feel these changes led to its success and will lead to the garment’s longevity.
I think I have more questions than answers after finishing this project. This will create lingering in my mind. The topic is crochet. This is definitely the most challenging project I have made in crochet as it involved gauge, fit, shaping, and color changing within a row, none of which I am sure I did correctly and none of which I’ve ever done, before. Also, technique in sewing the crochet pieces together. What I knew however is that this pattern would be a great way to use up some remnant stash with its offering of color possibilities. I have plenty of remnants from past projects of small bits of color however I knew I did not have enough of one color for the main body. Purchasing only three skeins and using those scraps, I thought this a great way to stretch yardage. I did go with the yarn used in the pattern for this main color (MC), a silver grey filatura-di-crosa- zarina-chine.
It was a hot summer. Record-breaking in fact, in our neck of the woods. Knitting is at a minimum for me during the summer due to heat, not to mention the warmth of the summer sun is a constant force of beckoning. Who doesn’t want to be outside during short summer months? On the other hand, the knitter in me is always looking to move forward with the stash and there is the cool of the evenings.
I thought linen; lightweight and stays in the theme of summer. I’ll pull the linen from the stash to work up. I’ve had this bundle for a number of years, had never knitted with linen before and wanted to give it a try. I had purchased it for a darling top that caught my attention with it’s open stitch weave and detached cowl. It is amazing to me how an experienced knitter can always find new things to take on. Between the new yarns, new-fangled stitches, and that never-ending flow of patterns, there is ALWAYS opportunity for taking on something new.
Every so often you hear from a friend from the past. This was the case the day I received a lovely message from a colleague who had retired a few years before me suggesting a get together. She thought of me in particular as, like all of us seniors who are trying to keep our bodies and minds moving, she wanted to learn something new. She must have remembered that I crocheted as her suggestion was that we meet, chat of course, and I teach her how to crochet. Perfect, I thought.