Confession: I shop at Michael’s

Since I picked up knitting a whole year ago, I’ve spent an incredible amount of money on yarn/knitting related purchases. So much so, that I’ve had an intervention (thanks, Rob!) I am a sucker for beautiful hand-dyed yarns, thoughtful notions, and the fanciest needles, but I’ve had to take a giant step back because THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE!

Here’s a rundown of what it was like a few months ago:

Skein 1: $30.00
Skein 2: $30.00
Skein 3: $35.00
Addi Sock Rockets (with a longer cord to knit two at a time): $14.00
Project Bag: $45.00
Skein 4: $30.00
Shipping: $12.00
Notions: $20.00
Shipping:$9.00

Total (off what I can remember, I’m sure there was more!) : $225.00
THAT IS A CAR PAYMENT’S WORTH OF KNITTING GOODIES!

It’s really a downer to think that my hobby might be causing a financial crisis, but doesn’t everyone say that the first step is admitting it’s a problem? Well, it’s a problem. Here’s my giant a-ha moment:

After purchasing some gorgeous Voolenvine last month, I was eager to cast on some Fine and Dandy socks and I went stash diving to find the perfect contrasting toe. I found it in Purl Soho’s Line Weight 100% Merino (… dumb idea). So I began knitting and soon realized (as I was completely done with the foot of the sock) that the Line Weight is a terrible idea for a toe/heel! I’d wear right through it instantly. As I put my knitting down and considered my next step, I thought about my other socks, and how much money I was literally walking around on. It was shocking. I tried to snap out of it, but instead went on a frogging rampage.
I frogged every.single.WIP. Every one. I felt like a woman gone mad as I sat on my carpet completely surrounded by all these stunning, tangled yarns. I could feel tears of remorse coming on and my cat looked terrified, so I just sniffled,picked myself back up, and tackled the giant re-caking process. As I re-wound these five skeins, I felt slightly more centered, and I had a strong sense that something had to change. My desire to have new, better, trendiest, best, was going to put me in a place that I didn’t want to be in. I didn’t want my hobby to feel shameful! (Please click this link to see what it felt like and follow knitboy1 on instagram because it’s a bunch of hot men and yarn)

So I’ve slowed my consumer roll/role, and in doing so I’ve learned that a stash should be like a closet. If I were to fill my closet with expensive, beautifully tailored, and “trendy” pieces,  I would actually not have much to wear. If I were to supplement some unique pieces with a couple white tees, Old Navy Jeans, and Marshall’s finds, I’d have a cohesive, wearable, and much more stylized closet!

Enter my trip to Michael’s. I needed a durable toe for those beautiful Voolenvine socks I was going to recast on, so I found a hilariously bright and sparkly Vanna White brand 100% acrylic yarn that would not only compliment the pinks in my Pandora skein, it would be durable as a sock’s heel and toe. It cost me $3.99. On my way to the register I saw they were having a sale on charms, and I thought “Aren’t charms similar to progress keepers?” Sure enough they were, and I got a set of 12 (!!!!) for $4.99. I also bought a black and white version of a 90%/10% Acrylic/Nylon yarn to use as contrasts for future projects at $2.99 a skein. These pieces would essentially assist the yarns I already had in my stash, and make them a bit more practical.

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I write all this to say that, in an ideal world, I could keep up with the Knitting Joneses. I could afford to buy those skeins and make those projects by their KAL deadlines, but I don’t live in an ideal world. And once I realized that I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone, I felt more at peace with everything. I know that I will buy fancy things in the future, it’s in my nature, but I hope that each of those purchases will be made wisely, and maybe they’ll end up being part of a high brow/low brow knitting project, who knows?

 

 

 

 

 

Voolenvine, The Doodler, and #joiningthecircus

First things first: Hey new comers, don’t worry you haven’t missed anything, but on the off chance that you’ve got a few minutes to spare, you can scroll down and read my totally fabulous blog posts about knitting, and even get to know a bit about me on my… About Me page 😉 !

WHOOF! WHAT A WEEKEND! There is a ton of information to cover, so I’ve got a bunch of photos to keep you all entertained while I try to make sense of my weekend of “Firsts.”

Many of you may know, that I’ve struggled through my Doodler. I cast on during my vacation in Florida in November, and was so excited to see Clue 1 blossom under my crossing needles. As the weeks, short rows, and eyelets went by, each clue brought with it a new set of challenges for a newbie like me; the shaping of clue 1, clue 2 and the cabling, the sheer volume and monotony of 500+ stitches, the final design choices, etc. This project wasn’t for the faint of heart, and many a time I found myself having to put it down, refocus (sometimes cry a little), and ultimately psych myself up to pick up wherever the hell I’d just left off. So it is with an immense amount of pride that I present to you all, my finished Doodler in all it’s purple Hedgehogian glory (friggin FINALLY): image

I will be the first to admit that there are more than a few mistakes in this piece. I dropped stitches and picked them back up in a wonky way, I maybe didn’t do the right number of y0’s in clue 3 so it may be off, blah blah blah. IT IS BEAUTIFUL and incredibly large, and I love it more than anything.

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This weekend also brought me to Westfield, NJ to visit my very own Yarn Dealer/ Extraordinaire, Karen of Do Ewe Knit for Kristin of Voolenvine’s Trunk Show. HOLY CRAP it was magical! But before we end up in Jersey, I think it’s only fair that I relive a little of my trip with the (in)famous ladies of Legacy Knitz:

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From 1:30 – 3:30 am the “night ” before our voyage, I was knee, elbow, thighs, needles and 300 stitches deep into binding off on the monstrous Doodler, in a last minute effort to get it finished for the following morning. I failed, guys. At 4am I stumbled into bed, bleary eyed and upset, and as soon as my head hit the pillow, my alarm clock went off to wake me up for the trip.

Enter Chelsea and Sue! I can’t tell you how much I love these girls. Aside from being awesome podcasters, they’re such funny, kind, and talented women that the ride was bound to be filled with hilarity and knitting and love! What we didn’t expect was Ally’s (my) childhood motion sickness to make a dramatic appearance. I didn’t puke, I promise, but I’m pretty sure I tried my hardest to cover it up and in doing so might have almost passed out. A chewable Dramamine a few hours later, and we were IN NEW JERSEY!

If you have a chance to make the pilgrimage out to Do Ewe Knit, you won’t be disappointed in it’s yarn selection and in the fun you’ll have with owner and self admitted Hedgehog addict, Karen. It was Karen’s belated birthday celebration (happy birthday!!):  image

and, and, and it was Kristin of Voolenvine’s TRUNK SHOW! We arrived shortly after the initial frenzy to find a paltry ten skeins left (if that), in every single colorway we’d wanted, in a variety of bases! I swear, the Knit Gods were shining down on us that day. As we sort of, scooted our way around the SUPER full event, we met with and hugged a bunch of incredible knitters. Almost everyone was wearing knitwear they’d made and they were stuh-ning! As we chatted, we found small circles and interjected into conversations about colleges, and pizza, and of course yarn. I could spend a whole day listing the amazing people I met, but I’ve got too many podcasts to watch. Speaking of podcasts, I got to share some couch time with Sharon of TVKnittingStichMistress . She was so funny and knowledgeable that if felt like an impromptu class man, and then she pulled out a spindle and a beautiful hunk of fiber and began a spinning demo. TALK ABOUT FABULOUS! I don’t even know how it happened, but I think I misheard Sharon say that spinning was making her consider joining the circus, and the hashtag was born. Yesterday taught me that in a way, knitting and knittERS in particular, are their own little “circus”. We are colorful, and bring joy to others, we enjoy the life behind the mysticism, and we maaaaaay be a lil kooky. But we love each other, and we support each other. We understand how only those with big hearts gravitate towards painstakingly crafting one of a kind gifts for loved ones. *Sigh* Here I am romanticizing knitting again!

Here’s Chelsea relishing in her purchases:

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I can’t end my Jersey talk without mentioning just how wonderful it was to finally get my hands on some Voolenvine. The yarn is delicious and smushy and beautifully saturated, yes all of the things, but really I was super impressed with the woman behind it all. Kristin was so funny ya’ll! If her podcast didn’t want to make you befriend her immediately and sequester her into joining your knitting group, meeting her definitely will put you over the ledge! So keep your eyes peeled for her future endeavors, and if we learned anything from our voyage: GET THERE EARLIER THAN EVERYONE ELSE!

Here’s the best couch chat to ever exist:

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And just as we were leaving, the KG’s shed their light on us once more, and Karen received a long awaited package from Molly of A Homespun House! It was filled with a bajillion skeins of Molly’s beautiful yarn all the way from Germany! (Side note: Karen and Molly sold out of Mirth before we unpacked it all. WHOOPS!)

Jersey, out.

I hope this post inspires someone to attend a knitting event, get out there in your community and find your very own circus, peeps!

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The Weight of UFOs

First off, hello to all the new knitters stopping by! I have to give a thankful shout out to the ladies of Legacy Knitz! They are probably 50% responsible for my success as a knitter, and now they’re responsible for about 50% of the new traffic on this site, and I’m entirely grateful!

Secondly, it has been too long since my last post, and so much has gone on since then. I’ve had an Instagram rant about the differences between “throwers” and “pickers”, I’ve bought way too much yarn, I’ve connected with so many other knitters, etc. So yeah, welcome back and sit tight:

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As a new knitter, now officially one calendar year old, I am constantly experiencing new things. Most recently I was able to correct a dropped stitch for myself, no YouTube needed! Sure it wasn’t perfect, but using that part of my brain, the one that now sort of understands the mechanics of knitting has felt like using a muscle I never knew I had. One of the other “muscles” I’m working on is the mental capacity to fight boredom. I said it! I said projects can be boring sometimes! I know it’s taboo to utter those words aloud, much less in print, but it needs to be said to be honest about this post.

I AM GROWING BORED!  (I can’t help the drama, it’s in my bones)

To clarify, I am not growing bored of knitting, not even a little bit! I am bored of working through items to completion. I am bored of having an item on my needles that has become a chore to finish rather than a joy to work on. It has nothing to do with the pattern, nothing to do with the selection of yarn and colors, and everything to do with my obsession for “new,brighter,different.”

Guys, it’s been a struggle to work through The Doodler for me. It’s just so friggin large and I’m so ready to never utter those words again, and I LOVE the pattern! I love WestKnits, and his creativity inspires me to continue trudging, but I am actively having to work my brain around the nagging desire to cast on something else. I don’t even know what!

Which bring me to a thought that’s been aiding me in my quest to FINISH (dammit): The physical weight of a large project on a set of needles is nothing compared to the emotional weight of an unfinished object. The disappointment in never finishing, the feeling of “giving up”, the waste of a lot money in both the pattern’s purchase and the super luxe yarn I’ve got to have, far outweighs the tangible heaviness of a project. So… boredom be damned, I am picking up those needles this afternoon to continue wedge 3 of the third clue of The Doodler, and at the end of the project, I’m casting on something in the chunkiest yarn I can find and finishing an object in one evening’s time!

ACTIVE WIPs:

The Doodler by Stephen West of  WestKnits : Hedgehog Fibres Skinny Singles :80% DONE!

The Boyfriend Hat by Purl Soho: Purl Soho Line Weight

I highly encourage everyone to introduce themselves on the Knerdz page! I want to get to know all of you who visit!

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Westknits (and Rob) Changed My Life

Okay, so perhaps the header is a bit dramatic, but it’s true and I’ll tell you how!

I picked up knitting as a way to unwind while still creating something useful. I enjoy learning, I enjoy quiet time, and I deeply enjoy beauty, and I feel knitting is like a big amalgamation of all those things and more! BUT, I am a self proclaimed C-OW (Cast-on Whore,) that can’t seem to stay on a project long enough to fully complete it. I thought it might be “Second Sock Syndrome” for the longest time, but I’ve since stopped knitting socks and now the problem has grown out of literal proportions. I am out of project bags to house my half completed items and if I take up one more square inch of our apartment with WIPs Rob might light it all on fire.

Enter Westknits 2015 MKal : The Doodler

I was apprehensive about beginning this project, even going so far as to pose a question about it on Ravelry, but after some chatting with Chelsea (and sneakily waiting to see everyone’s finished Clue 1), I decided I was in! Eyelets? Psh, gotcha. I-cord edging? Iiiiinteresting! Getting to use my new Hedgehog Fibres yarn in a fun new pattern? SOLD.

So I happily caked up my yarn, lugged it with me in my carry-on to my Miami vacation and eagerly cast on at my mom’s home… and then cast on again… and again…I had to cast on four times before finally getting it right. I kept misreading, or knitting incredibly tightly, or losing counts and getting fed up, but I trudged on! I kept tinking and frogging and restarting, and with each time I felt stronger and more confident. I’ve never truly felt like a knitter who had instincts to follow, but this casting on process has shown me that I do have at least some general knowledge of what I’m doing, finally.

I grew a bit disillusioned as the clues kept getting released and I was (and am still) so far behind, there were even times when I was sure I wasn’t going to finish but, being the thoughtful man that he is, Rob talked me off the ultimate f*ck-it-all ledge. He surfed Instagram and found photos of some of the beautiful finished Doodlers out there and kept tagging me in them. He pointed out that I’d never done cable knitting before and could use the ease with which the pattern was written to my advantage and learn cabling from Stephen West’s instructions! And so, it is through his coercion that I am picking up my Doodler today and will continue knitting with a new vigor and determination.

I never thought I’d actually quote Barney Stinson, but “[knitting] Challenge accepted!”

And that’s how Westknits changed my life… sorta.

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GreenbugKnits’ The Doodler

 

 

The Last Dregs of Summer

Ah, summer. Summer is like a horrible ex-boyfriend to me. I thoroughly enjoy missing it during the colder months, but when we get back to each other, I am suddenly aware of how ill fitting we were in the first place. I’ve enjoyed lovely days spent in the sun, by a pool, and days spent driving with the windows down, the wind dancing in my hair, but when it boils down to it, I am a person who enjoys winter and all of its gezellig.

I was born on a tropical island, known for its weather and beautiful beaches, so naturally people always question me about choosing to move up North, and I always reply with this: “There is only so much clothing you can take off to battle the heat.” I think discovering knitting was a natural progression for someone who deeply enjoys layering it on, as opposed to stripping it off. Something about taking that warm, delicious yarn between my fingers and creating something that will sit flush against the skin to provide warmth and comfort is both sexy and thoroughly rewarding.

Yes, I just described knitting as “sexy.” Obviously not every project carries that connotation, but there is a sort of satisfaction that I get from knowing that someone is going to use the object for warmth. And now I sound like a giant creep!

Creepiness aside (how did we even get there?!), creating garments to combat chilliness is something that resonates so strongly with me, much in the way that sad ballads and break up songs are always on my playlists. Is knitting as masochistic as listening to Death Cab for Cutie while staring out the window during a thunderstorm? Probably not. But it sure as hell warms my heart just as much.

I can’t say I’m not entirely sad to see summer go, we had some great times, but as the nights get longer and air grows colder, my heart begins to yearn for the coziness of evenings spent with great company in front a fire, knitting and chatting and sharing, because there is no where else we’d rather be.

Growth

I’ve always thought of creativity as a muscle that required work, like it should be trained and fueled properly to reach it’s maximum potential. So naturally I gravitate towards projects that encourage that kind of work. I’ve recently purchased The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and though I have yet to actually begin the grueling sounding twelve week program, I’ve adopted one if it’s core teachings in my short perusal.  The “Morning Pages” as she calls them, are her corner stone for beginning the unblocking of our creativity before beginning the real work. The general idea is that one sits down upon waking and quietly free-writes for three whole pages (front and back). Let me be the first to tell you, IT IS TERRIBLE! It is so difficult to sit there silently and write non-stop for three pages, I’ve written “I’m sleepy” over and over until my brain wandered on to something else. In a world where we’re so consumed by every kind of distraction available, it’s unsettling to sit with your brain and a notebook while chugging your first cup of coffee, but it is incredibly necessary.

It’s probably a placebo effect, or it’s having to get up earlier to accomplish my pages before going to work, whatever it is, it’s made me sensitive to that little voice in my heart that says “hey it’s totally cool to spend a few minutes staring up at the sky and making cloud shapes today.”

There is also something about summer that lends itself to retrospection and an influx of creativity for me. The hazy, lazy, days encourage me to slow down. There is just something about the particular noise in the air on a ridiculously hot summer afternoon, it’s the sound of a fan running, or of children playing, or of a bug buzzing in my ear, that makes me want to contribute to the world.

… … …

I say all this to justify that I’ve been knitting my hands off this week!!!! Like WIPs be DAMNED, I will have at least one FO this weekend and I could not be prouder. My right thumb requires more moisturizer than should be legal, my hands are hurting, and I broke a needle (intense), I’m just a happy little knitter.

WIPs :

Speed Bump Socks on Paton’s Kroy Ragg: 30% fininshed.
Sunshine Shawl : 40% fininshedClassic Vanilla Socks (with k3p1 ribbing, for Rob) : 40% finished.
Wisp on Kidgloss/Kidsilk (for Laura): 20% finished

FOs:
Dice bag for Dana