Baaaad Sheepies

I have another confession to make: I harbor a deep-rooted fiber addiction. I love textures, colors, and a surprising combination of different textures and/or colors.

My first signs of this addiction started when I began hoarding fabric as a teen. Influenced by my knitting-obsessed older cousin whom I admired, I taught myself to knit many years before this fabric hoarding began. But fabric was my love, my life, my passion. Perhaps in part because I had easy access to a fabric store but not a yarn store. Or perhaps because we were living in the Dark Ages of knitting from my birth onwards to college, when it was just so hard to be excited about the limp and lackluster yarns available.

So despite my inability to sew, I favored collecting yards of fabric over skeins of yarn. Sometimes, I even hacked up these pieces of fabric and performed dodgy sewing operations using the hideously awesome 1968 dusty rose Singer my grandmother gave me (the very same Singer I was a fool to relinquish to a sewing store when I tried to get it serviced and they convinced me to buy a Janome). Sadly, I had no guidance on the art of sewing—every one of my creations was ill-fitting and poorly seamed. Let's just say that it's rather disenchanting to create ugly garment after ugly garment without the ability to easily salvage all that fabric you hacked to bits. This is where knitting should have entered, for with knitting you have the ability to frog and save that yarn over the once-cut-forever-gone issue of sewing. Yet, none of the yarns were very exciting. I continued to collect yards of fabric, hoarding them away and taking them out once in awhile to pet and admire.

And then—after I moved into my first apartment in college—I finally developed an obsession for knitting. There was a yarn store a mere block away from me, so I bought two skeins of some green yarn just shy of crossing the line to novelty yarns. I dusted off the needles (also inherited from my grandmother), and started a simple ribbed scarf. Then The Manflesh stole my scarf, and I had to make another. And then another scarf, just because. And another. And finally some gloves since I was bored of scarves. And then a sweater, because I was bored of gloves. And soon I was knitting regularly each Winter.

At about this time, we were on the cusp of exiting the Knitting Dark Ages—better fitting patterns were slowly starting to appear. Knitty was born. Debbie Stoller hit the knitting scene dashing like a cheetah on fire. With all of this and a yarn store a mere intersection over, what followed was a decent into madness, made slow only by my poor college and jobless post-college existence during the next four years. The yarn overtook my fabric stash, creeping and crawling out the closet and into my floor space. The Manflesh started to complain. And we all know, when The Manflesh who hoards scraps of metal he plucked form the street starts to complain, there's a serious issue at hand.

But the worst was yet to come. Then came the job and money. Just try and guess how fast a small collection of waste yarn from past projects exploded into a yarn stash entity in a mere year and a half. It wasn't pretty. I know there's worse out there, but it wasn't pretty. I even attempted a weak de-stash via Etsy, selling off 12 skeins of Jamieson yarns that were going to be made into a colorwork Trogdor scarf before I decided they were too scratchy.

Lately, I've been better. I still buy yarn, but I actually went back to the store and returned 3 skeins of Cascade 220 because I knew that I only needed one U-Neck Vest (from Fitted Knits). I also knew that if I can't pick the right color the first time, I ain't gonna get it the second time from the same yarn store with the same color stock. And then there was that Knitty-Noddy email, the one that tempted me to buy some special HandMaiden Sea Silk in special extra large yardage amounts with special colorways made just for them at a special price. I'll admit that I refreshed the damn secret webpage millions of times the entire weekend, whimpering as each special colorway depleted. But I never bought a single skein.

Then something like this blasted No Sheep for You book has to come along, and they actually have the nerve to host a fiber swap! How the hell is a fiber addict ever going to resist? Especially a fiber addict who's addicted to Bam Boo by Classic Elite (and has hoarded multiple skeins in every single colorway)?


More Knits, Misc

Tagged as Essays

Battle of the Bulk

My Forecast cardigan is getting really bulky and hard to tote around. Especially so when I shove beer from the work fridge into my bag (Tip: Never leave beer unattended in the employee fridge when you hire a writer). I almost—almost—took the sweater out of my bag and stuffed in a skein of Lane Cervinia "Softer" and size 11s for the Airy Wrap-Around. Almost. But I resisted. I knew that as soon as I set Forecast aside, I'd never finish before the cold weather vanishes. And I might not even finish it for a very, very long time considering my project distraction track record. Accumulating free beer, on the other hand, can wait a day.

So far, I've made a few modifications to the pattern. The most notable is that I'm using a XOXO cable pattern from Barbara Walker's A Treasury of Knitting Patterns instead of the bobbles. Those bobbles just didn't do it for me. The cable, on the other hand, keeps the circular texture of the bobbles, but in a way I find more aesthetically pleasing.

XOXO Cable

I also lengthened the body ribbing, but I think I might lengthen it even more when the sleeves are done. This is because I am cursed with an unusually long torso. The fact that I'm 5'11" tall? It's all because of my torso. If it weren't for my torso, I'd be an average 5'7".

And lastly, I used a triple border for the sleeves and end of the body rather than a double. That wasn't planned—it just happened because I was only loosely following the pattern. For the body, it doesn't make much of a difference. For the arms, however, it does add bulk. I don't think I'll rip out the first sleeve all the way to the first triple border and fix the bulk. I do think I'll go back after I finish the second sleeve and decrease a significant number of stitches at the cuff. I have tiny wrists, and the border makes them feel very cold and very tiny.

$7 Horror

I have a confession: I keep buying the new issues of Vogue and Interweave off the newsstands. I even know exactly when each issue will be available.

Since newsstand issues are nearly double the price of subscriptions, a sensible person would just get a subscription already. There was a time in my life where it was more sensible to buy from the newsstand. That time was when I bought an issue of either publication once every blue moon—due in part because I didn't like 99.9% of the projects. That 0.1%? That's when I actually bought an issue.

I really hope this means the two magazines are getting better, rather than my taste getting worse. I have my doubts, though, as I noticed I have a tendency to hoard these knitting magazines. And when I think back to the number of completed projects made from said hoard of magazines, the grand total is zero. But I can't just toss them. No. They'll be vintage some day, and then I'll have a stash of vintage knitting magazines to call my very own. Of course, I'll be more than vintage by that time, but never mind such small details.

Every time I go to the University Bookstore and buy one of the knitting magazines, I get the same cashier. It must be fate. Every single time he rings up my magazine, he launches into this story about how when he was a child, his mother used to go to Fred Meyer's and buy really cheap yarn. And nowadays, they're selling a fancy knitting magazine for $7! The horror! And in response, I tell this cashier each and every single time that they still sell cheap yarn at Freddy's (and Walmart, and elsewhere), and that this magazine has most certainly been around longer than his mother.

He has a short memory, that cashier. He's also going to force me to buy a subscription so I don't have to have another conversation about the travesty of a $7 fashion-knitting magazine.

Um...May I Have One, Please?

From joshjakus, these woolen bags manage to embody my three favorite design principles: style, function, and eco-friendly material. They store flat when completely unzipped, and are made from two layers of industrial wool felt scraps (hence the eco-friendly). There are a variety of styles and sizes available, but I'm partial to the tote version of the "Um" line.

A limited number of white pieces are also available for half-price as they are made from discontinued white felt that has been deemed "too delicate for the retail environment."

Via TreeHugger.

Shake 'Em Up

As far as I'm concerned, there are two major knitting magazines in the U.S.: Interweave Knits and Vogue Knitting International. I define these as such because they are the most widely available in newsstands and other non-knitting focused arenas. While Vogue often has creative, funky, and not always practical projects, Interweave has just the opposite. However, I'll admit right here and now that I've always been more fond of Vogue for its out-there designs and enthusiasm for pushing limits. (Sorry, Interweave, but you're just a little too much like bland potato soup for my tastes.)

That's why I was very pleased to have checked Eunny Jang's blog late last night to see that she is now the new editor for Interweave. I only recently found her blog (I managed to resist following craft blogs for longer than I'd have imagined), but I'm her newest fangirl. She comes across as ingenious, funny, and sweet. Not to mention her projects and pictures always make me want to lick my laptop screen. I really can't think of a better knitting ninja to lead Interweave than Eunny.

Because magazines plan a year ahead, it will take some time before we can see the real editorial hand with which Eunny will grace the magazine. However, I really do hope that Interweave will displace Vogue as my favorite knitting rag in the near future.

Lantern Festival

Today is the Lantern Festival, as well as the last day of Lunar/Chinese New Year.

The Masochistic Knitter

Hey, that would make a good book name. Mine! No stealing!

Here's a riddle for ya: What does a craft ninja do when said craft ninja has a boring non-craft-related job that consists of sitting at a blank computer screen and willing her coworkers to give her work? Answer: Read craft blogs! Lots of them! Especially ones pertaining to knitting!

During the many knitting blogs I read while bored at work, it came to my attention that a certain cover pattern from the most recent Vogue Knitting (Winter 2006) has been giving knitters a lot of headache. A lot of headache. Did I mention the headache involved with this capecho? No, there's some honest-to-god headache here. Some people have managed to tame it, while others merely worry . But the headache is there, hiding under the surface, whether they admit it or not. This ninja knows. Oh, this ninja knows.

And of course, once I saw two people mention their problems, I went and searched deeper and deeper into the Google depths, drinking up the horror stories like the latest high cholesterol episode of Desperate Housewives. Hell, I even went beyond Google and straight to Flickr and Craftster for my gluttonous desires.

You know, after watching all of this drama, I just can't refuse. Forget the fact that I have two Christmas gifts to finish for the Manflesh Mother. Forget the fact that--while close--I still haven't finished the Manflesh Mother's birthday present. Forget the fact that just last weekend I ordered yarn for knitting Forecast, the Airy Wrap-Around from Fitted Knits, and the American Beauty Rose Capelet from Knitting Over the Edge (originally for a friend's wedding). Hell, forget the fact that I have a screenplay draft to finish, a trip to Rome to save for, three short stories to write, and a dog to feed. In my current drunken stupor, I'm gonna buy the yarn for this headache right now! soon as I figure out what yarn to buy....

Just one more reason why having a boring full-time job is a bad thing: too much money, and too much time to think about spending that money.