I Love a Good Yarn

Yarns, stories, and sometimes stories about yarn


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Naknicromo day 31: End results/thoughts

File Mar 31, 9 27 52 PM

The knitting is finished on both the projects I wanted to have completed by today, but neither are done, done and done. The Om Shawl above needs to have ends woven in, blocking, and 19 buttons sewn on, so still a good amount of work before I can wear it. And I ran out of grey yarn at the very end, hence the blue edge on the final two rows and bind off. That’s the button hole edge, so I think the extra strip of color will actually look kinda cool.

The Swirl has been languishing for almost a week. Still much seaming to be done, and then the braided tassels for the left front lapel. I think it will look great when it’s done, and I will be keeping my eye out for a nice shawl pin, which it needs if I want to wear it closed. All in all, I’m pleased with what I accomplished this month, even if I didn’t bring either project to the finish line by today.

This setting of deadlines for my knitting is not something I want to make a habit of. I love knitting, I love how relaxing it is. I have deadlines at my job, I have chores that tug at me and can’t be ignored, and I have other obligations that demand my time. I don’t want to subject things I otherwise enjoy to deadlines, and I don’t want to turn them into chores, so I doubt I would ever do another one of these challenges again. I may actually be more productive when I’m not racing against the clock.

And the same goes for blogging. I don’t want it to ever feel like a assignment or another task I have to check off my list. The knowledge that I had to post every day sort of robbed it of its fun. I like challenging myself, but I’d rather the challenge here be quality instead of just quantity.

Happy weekend to everyone!


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Naknicromo day 30: Crafts you’d like to learn

Both of the other crafts I’m interested in would require significant investment of time and money, which would therefore take time and money away from my investment in knitting. I will some day soon try my hand at spinning. I have roving, and I have a drop spindle, and it does look very relaxing and meditative when people do it – people who know what they’re doing. And sewing clothing is the other craft – I could go hog wild in material stores, stocking up on all sorts of great fabrics, with lovely fiber content and motifs, to make patterns for all sorts of wonderful garments.

But, when it comes to spinning, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to create a yarn that matches what I can find in my favorite LYS. I don’t really have the facilities to dye fiber or yarn either, so I’d be reliant on buying roving in the color I wanted to work with. And for sewing my own clothing – to be honest, it’s expensive. Just like with knitting, you’re not saving money by making your own clothes. If you’re truly skilled/talented, you can make garments that fit you perfectly. While you’re learning and honing your skill, though, you can expect that some of your efforts will result in ill-fitting clothes you won’t even want to keep. And god forbid you gain/lose weight to the point that something you’ve made no longer fits. That’s not such an issue with knitting, as even more fitted knit pieces tend to have some give, and positive ease is natural with many other garments, as you want to be able to layer, so it’s a more forgiving garment type – much more forgiving than, say, an a-line skirt or a sundress.

So, for now, I’m happy to focus on knitting. Maybe someday I’ll have enough sweaters, shawls, hats, and scarves. Maybe when I retire, I’ll move to the desert, where I won’t need as many knitted garments as I do in upstate New York. But I hope not.


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Naknicromo day 29: Any other crafts?

We’re nearing the finish line, and none too soon! I’m not sure I love this idea of month-long blog challenges. This one was OK, as it did offer some interesting post topics, but it tended to be a bit repetitive. I really only like posting when I feel I have something interesting, entertaining, or insightful to write – I’m sure we’ve all seen the, “Hey everyone, don’t have much to say today” posts and wondered why the blogger bothered with a post at all. That being said …

There’s this April A to Z challenge I just read about. It offers more flexibility than the Naknicromo challenge, and even gives you every Sunday (except April 30th) off. I’m thinking about it, though I will be on vacation for a week and a half in April and will only have my iPad or phone for doing blog entries on those days, which isn’t ideal. Anyone ever done this challenge or planning to do it this year?

Back to Naknicromo – the only other craft I’ve dabbled in recently is some simple sewing. I made my neighbor a lovely set of eight quilted placemats for Christmas, and I have the fabric to make a set of four for my mother. I would love to go beyond dabbling and learn to make clothing, much for the same reason I enjoy knitting. I don’t often find clothes that really excite me, so I end up buying some really boring, functional fashion. The items often don’t fit as I would want, don’t hold up well, and don’t make me feel fabulous. On the other hand, I love wearing the knitted pieces I’ve made for myself. They are custom-built for my shape and taste, and knowing that I created them gives me a sense of satisfaction that I believe comes across in my demeanor when wearing them. If I could reach a level of confidence in sewing that I have in knitting, I would be over the moon. What holds me back is the fear of cutting fabric – once the scissors have done their job, there’s no turning back, so errors can be costly. With knitting, you can always frog, but with sewing, there might be some very discouraging, irreparable mistakes that come with the learning curve. This, like all things, probably requires starting small and simple, and working up from there.

Hmmm, I think I just addressed tomorrow’s “Crafts I’d like to learn” Naknicromo topic. Darnit!


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Naknicromo day 28: Share your progress!

Ugh, it’s time to share progress again …

File Mar 28, 10 19 40 PM

Swirl: All yarn tails except for about 1/2 a dozen are woven in … hundreds of tails. One sleeve is seamed. More seams to do, and the braided tassels. The sleeves are WAY too long. Some Ravelers noted that in project notes, but unfortunately I didn’t see those comments before diving into the project. I can cuff them, so it’s not a big problem. It should still be a really nice piece.

Om Shawl: About 26 more rows to go. The knitting on this one goes quickly, so I’m hoping to be done by the end of the month. There will still be blocking to do and 19 buttons to sew on, but I remain optimistic!


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Naknicromo day 27: One WIP at a time? Or 100?

I definitely embrace the “one WIP at a time” approach. Right now I have two projects going, and it’s annoying me to no end.

A little over a week ago at my last Swirl knit-along gathering, I was talking with the other knitters about just this subject. I believe, without exception, they all had multiple projects going at once, with some doing more than one large project, such as the Swirl sweater and an Einstein Coat. What’s more, before even finishing the first Swirl, several knitters were already planning their second one.

We discussed the difference between knitters who are geared toward the finished object (that would be my approach), and those who simply love the process, and are happy when knitting anything, regardless of whether they finish the piece within X number of days/weeks. If a large piece takes me longer than two months, or a project like socks stretches out longer than one month, I feel I’m not really being productive. I need that finished object to justify the time I spend on my couch with the needles.

I also need to vary the types of projects. I can’t imagine doing two shawls back to back, or even a shawl followed by a scarf. I even chafe at having to do that second sock, mitten or glove! I’m wondering if this mania for finished objects will diminish at all when I retire (unfortunately, many years from now) and don’t have to squeeze my knitting in around a work schedule. Maybe then I’ll be more inclined to enjoy the ride, rather than rushing to the destination.


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Naknicromo day 26: Projectless yarn you’ve held onto?

I have no idea what to do with this yarn:

file-feb-27-10-00-25-am

Many years ago, my brother won this yarn for me in a silent auction. It came with a pattern for the most hideous shawl I’ve ever seen. Think Stevie Nicks meets the Lion King. Some of it is feathery, some of it furry, some ribbony, some sort of has tassel-like bits coming off it. Together, they were an abomination (I never knit the shawl – but there was a picture on the pattern, which I’ve since discarded), but separately, they’re actually very pretty. I just have no idea what to do with them, so for years now, and until I figure it out, they remain part of my home decor.


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Naknicromo day 25: Favorite yarn to work with?

This is one I can’t easily answer. I have absolutely no preference when it comes to fiber content, weight, color, pattern, brand, etc. I don’t like scratchy yarn, I don’t care for linen, but when it comes to choosing a favorite, I couldn’t really settle on anything in particular.

That being said, I appreciate certain qualities in a yarn. Unlike some knitters, I am not a purist. I will knit acrylics and other non-organic fibers. The reason for this is mainly that you can pretty much be assured that no animal cruelty is associated with the creation of the non-organic yarns. I admire companies like O-Wool for their dedication to cruelty-free products (the owner states on her website, “Purchasing wool from animals that are treated respectfully is very important to me.”), but even they purchase their wool from farms that derive the majority of their income from the slaughter of their animals and sale of the meat. As a non-meat eater, this is a very difficult subject for me, as I don’t believe the meat industry could ever be referred to as “cruelty-free,” no matter how well the animals are treated while alive.

But luckily there are more and more options for animal-free fibers that are still organic. Aside from the standard cotton and linen, many sellers now also offer blends of cotton with other organic fibers like bamboo or hemp, or even banana fiber and soysilk. I’m all about feel, ease of care, and durability of the yarns I work with. If those qualities also come with a guarantee that no animals involved in the yarn production (or post-shearing) process are harmed, then all the better.