Starting over?

I’m in a lull between knitting projects. One was just mailed, another is drying and two await feedback from clients before I can proceed. So I’ve been tidying in the studio. Putting away the needles from the last projects, filing project notes and clearing the decks. A couple of weeks ago I was looking for something in the studio closet and I came across a box labeled “Teaching Materials”. A quick look reminded me that it was notes and swatches for classes I’d either taught or proposed at a local yarn store. I was in the middle of something, so I just left the box on the floor to be dealt with “later.”

Today turned out to be that day. I hadn’t just shoved it back into the closet because I noticed that many of the swatches were sitting on stitch holders. No wonder I can never find enough of them when I’m in the middle of a project!¬†The store has closed and I’m not teaching these days, so a reclamation project was in order. I put the live stitches onto yarn holders, zipped the samples into storage bags and filed the notes.

Reclaimed stitch holders and markers

The extra balls of yarn were headed to a storage bin that’s a bit over-full already. So I gathered some of the like yarns into more storage bags. I identified some partial balls to donate for kid crafts, and shoved the rest back onto the shelf for another day.

As I moved through the studio, I kept walking past a tote bag with an in-progress project. It’s a Hap shawl that I started about a year ago. I’ve been thinking about this project in the last few days and wondering what to do about it. I love the pattern, Uncia, and definitely want to make it. But the yarn was a poor choice. You see, I was in a hurry. We were heading out for a long weekend at the ocean and I knew I’d have quiet knitting time so I chose a pattern that was complicated. I’ve been trying very hard to use up yarn I already have before buying new for a project so I selected some sock yarn that was the right weight, or close enough, for what the pattern specified. I knit on the project during that weekend, and pull it back out once in a while when I have time for it. And every time I think that this isn’t the right yarn.

The pattern calls for a 100% merino super wash yarn. The yarn I chose is a super wash merino/nylon blend. It is not tightly spun and is a bit splitty. Not impossible to work, but not as pleasurable as the right yarn probably would be. Even though the pattern yarn is superwash, I’m worried that my yarn is not going to block out well, won’t open up and show the intricate stitch work. So, why haven’t I just ripped it out to start over? Because I’ve already done this much.

The tip of the Uncia

And it has gorgeous complicated twisted stitches like these.

Detail of stitch work

And I think about all that work I’ve already done. On the other hand, the saner hand, I may never be happy with it if I finish it with this sock yarn. And if I don’t like it then what was the point? It’s not like I’m anywhere close to done yet, there’s miles to go on this.

So, there are some options.

  1. I could block the work in progress and see how the yarn behaves. Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.
  2. I could rip the whole thing out to reclaim the yarn and wait until I find something more suitable.
  3. I could put this aside and find new yarn and make the “rip it out” decision later.

When I started writing this, I was sure it was option 2 and had not even thought of option 1 yet.

Or maybe, I’m just trying to justify a yarn purchase ūüôā

What do you think I should do?


The burden of stuff

I was going to write about knitting, but “stuff” has been on my mind this week. ¬†We have a three-ish season porch. During the winter I store on it the things I need for my farmers market booth (table, display racks, etc.) These normally live in the shed but we don’t shovel a path there. ¬†Usually other random bits end up there as the snow creeps in, and there they stay for months. As soon as Spring springs I want my porch back so I start moving things back to the shed.

In addition I’ve been working through boxes of stuff from my childhood. These came to the porch last summer and I was successful in selling some things on eBay, but when I ran out of time and energy for that the boxes ended up living on the porch for the winter.

I bought a new loom late last fall and as there was no room in my studio for three floor looms one went to, yes you guessed it, the porch.

It is April, and warmer, and I’ve been reclaiming my porch. ¬†Some old magazines went to the recycle bin. ¬†The loom is compactly stored in a corner until I can make room in the shed. ¬†Books were sorted into the library¬†sale donation pile. ¬†The back of the car is full of donations and recycling.

And I’m back to the childhood boxes. ¬†Most of it is my doll “collection”. ¬†I expect there is little to nothing of monetary value there. ¬†Many pieces were gifts or inexpensive souvenirs I picked up on trips. If I never saw any of it again there is a good chance I wouldn’t even miss it. ¬†Yet every time I open one of the boxes there is a memory of a place and time. Or of the giver.

I’m not a hoarder but neither am I one to throw away everything. It is an especially difficult decision about¬†things that are not worn out. ¬†If I had plenty of space I could leave the stuff boxed up out of sight and not give it another thought. But that’s not really a solution, it just defers decisions.

For whom am I keeping these things? I don’t have children to inherit them. The dilemma¬†isn’t about sunk cost, any expense was decades ago and long forgotten. Other than one or two very special pieces, I don’t envision putting them out on display.

Why is this so very difficult?  Comments welcome.  Suggestions about doing more eBay (or similar) selling, not so helpful.

And because no post is complete without a weather report.  Last week was gorgeous.  Warm and sunny.  Lots of snow melted.  New birds have arrived (goldfinches, grackles, cowbirds) to my feeders.  This week is starting out raw and rainy.  Rain is welcome as I would like a green expanse rather than the brown lawn that winter has left behind.  The raw part I could do without, but it is all part of April in Vermont.