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.

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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.

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The tip of the Uncia

And it has gorgeous complicated twisted stitches like these.

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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 🙂

What do you think I should do?

 

Intermission 

Our move date is nearly here and the house is filling up with boxes. Stacks of empty ones to be filled and stacks of packed ones ready to be transported across the yard to the new house. 

Studio packing in progress

There is much to do still. I’ve not been very organized about this so far so there is much disarray as you can see.

But for some reason the most pressing obligation this morning was some quiet time with my poor neglected spinning wheel. 

Spinning amidst the boxes

Today I was practicing plying. I’ve spun some fun blue and white merino and filled bobbins. I’m plying my singles into a two ply yarn. I finished the first skein a couple of weeks ago and just filled the second bobbin which is ready to wind into a skein.

I made yarn!

But now the packing calls. Quiet time is over and there is work to be done. My new studio awaits.

An attack of the “tidies”

Do you experience that moment? The one where you walk into a room and everywhere you look there is something out of place or half-finished? This seems to be the state of my studio on a regular basis. Often it means that I’m busy and work is getting done. But sometimes it gets in the way of work. When I need the table surface for a project and it is covered by notebooks, a warping reel, paperwork to be filed and cones of yarn.

This week I reached a critical level of unhappiness and did some cleaning. I’ve got a set of those plastic shelves, the ones from the hardware store that you put together like Legos. They were supposed to be for project organization, to keep the queue visible and remind me what needs to be worked on. They’d turned into a dumping ground: shipping supplies, projects, household/collectible items to sell on eBay, a pile of personal mending, and bags of raw fleece that I thought I’d clean, comb, and spin (in my copious spare time.)

I just can’t afford to give up prime storage space for things that aren’t needed on a regular basis in the studio. So, with some rearranging, some purging, and some putting away I have a space that even has room for more stuff.

I did a second round of this in the rest of the house this weekend. We were having company for dinner and “living space as dumping ground for things without homes” wasn’t working for me. I thought I had a nice organized plan for this, but it turned into more like a relay race with only one runner. I’d start on porch (screened in, three season) with something that should be in the living room. Get to the LR and need to make space for the item, which led me to clean up the bookshelf in the LR. Now there’s a pile of books to be donated (back to the holding shelf on the porch) and space on the LR shelves. Meantime I was picking up stuff that had drifted into the wrong room and returning it to its rightful place.

I stopped at one point to comment that I was sure I had a plan, but that I’d lost track of what it was as one pile led to another and another and another. Two good things: 1) it’s a small house, 2) the guest’s arrival was imminent; otherwise I’d probably still be cycling around. Ultimately some tough decisions were made about things to keep/donate/discard and that feels really good.

That work table is still covered with stuff though.  I have some filing to do.