October 2, 2011

Internal Rules and Current Projects

I know I wrote last time that my next post would be on something different.  That was last week.  I'll get there at some point, I promise.

For now, however, I'll cover something that's currently on my mind, and in the meantime cover what I'm working on now (as well as a couple of past projects).  Therefore, I present the first set of my Internal Rules for Knitting.  These are some rules that help keep my knitting under control, which means they're broken half the time.  Anyway:

1) I will only buy yarn if I have a project in mind for it  After all, this is what I ended up with the first time I didn't do this:

Yeah, that's a current picture of some ugly Lion Brand Swede sitting in my stash

I told myself after that little incident that I would never buy yarn on a whim again.  I would wait until I had picked it for a specific project.  Especially if it was on sale or cost a pretty penny. This would keep my yarn spending under control, and make sure I use what I buy.

However, it also seems that it's quite valid to make an exception when I feel bad about returning yarn to my LYS because I was allergic to it and bought the substitute yarn online.  That's how I ended up with two skeins of this:

The yarn is Madelinetosh's Tosh Light in their Baltic colorway, which I am rather attracted to.  That shawl is the first skein, and came out of the fact that I bought this yarn on a whim.  This, of course, leaves the second skein just sitting there, because while I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to knit lace, I'm not touching it again any time soon. It's this pattern, no modifications. My notes on it here.

It also seems that I'll make an exception I find out some distance relative is having a kid, and I have lofty goals and loads of motivation that I'll make dozens of baby things.  That's how I ended up with all of this:

At least I got a project done for said baby, though it only took one skein of that grey yarn in the back (Bernat's Softee Baby in Gray Marl by the way, though if you can't stand acrylic, don't get it.  It works up like acrylic, though it softens up in the wash)  That sweater is a modified version of this pattern. For notes, go here.

2) I will not spend more on yarn for a project than it would cost me to buy the finished product retail.  This will make my knitting practical, and save me money.  Well, sometimes.  It turns out that an alpaca sweater can retail for $130-140 dollars, which of course is only a little higher than I spent on making this:

However, spending a year and making several projects while twisting your knit stitches is priceless. But that's another post.  This is a modified version of this pattern.  My notes here.

It was also a gift to my mom, so I really didn't care about that one so much.  Given that she's spent more than that making a crochet bedspread that I grew to not like pretty quickly, among other things.  However, it also seems that the rule goes out the window if I like the colorway, which is how I ended up with this:

Project notes are here

This is my current bus project.  The pattern is the Milk Maiden Pullover from Brave New Knits, and it's one of the only reasons I bought the book.  The yarn is Madelintosh's Tosh Sport in their (new?) colorway Fathom. I officially love this colorway. Look at it, my favorite color combination, just slightly variegated enough to be interesting. It's perfect for this pattern too. I had to get it. I don't care if I can get a sweater for $40 bucks and this cost me almost $70, it's worth it. And I'll break rule number 1 if a Madelinetosh Sock onesie pops up in this colorway. Or this colorway gets discontinued. Love, love, love.

And yes, I've modified it, since I modify almost everything.  Why I tend to modify everything is another post, though. Back to the rules.

3) I will use up most of my stash before buying more yarn. Yeah, never managed to follow this one:

Most of my stash. It's a combination of whim yarn and extra skeins from other projects. It lives under my bed and out of my mind for the most part.

The only thing that makes me feel better about that is that it seems that most people I read about online have much larger stashes.  Hey, mine (barely) fits in a Tupperware container. Then again, they seem to have much nicer yarn in their stashes too. Yay?

And now for a rule I'm actually not currently breaking:

4) I should only have one bus project and one at-home project at a time.

First, I'll define what I mean by 'bus project' and 'at-home project'. Bus projects are, obviously, projects that I can do mostly on on the bus. This means that they get worked up faster, but they tend to be simpler. Though 'simpler' is a bit relative, as I have no problem including some sweaters in this pile, as you can see from my bus project above. If it fits in my briefcase and doesn't require either being chained to the pattern or a chart or a lot of color-work, I can usually do it on the bus. Lots of stockinette or very repetitive patterns are a plus here, though I have done drop stitch lace, finishing off projects, and cables on the bus successfully. On the other hand, at home projects are usually things I want to make, but are way too big and/or complicated to work on on the bus. This officially started when I made that lace shawl above, as I realized that in order to make a lace shawl, I was going to need to be chained to the pattern and be able to finish a row in a sitting. I can't do this on the bus without really annoying my fellow passengers. I decided to spare them.

I'm now working on this:

My project notes are here

This is the pattern St. Ciaran from the new and expanded version of Aran Knitting. I'm not really mortifying it (gasp!), though I'm using Berroco's Comfort Worsted to make it instead of a wool-based yarn. This is because I'm making it for my brother, who's still a kid and still trashes things. Therefore, it had to be 1)washable and 2)not too expensive to make. I picked the pattern out, though he approved it. I like torturing myself, though I'm not finding it too hard at this point, just tedious. I should be working on it right now.

I'll go do that.

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