Friday, January 29, 2010

Waiting on the Yarn to Arrive

My first shipment of yarn from the sock club is due to arrive any day now. The online boards I read are abuzz with who has gotten theirs and who hasn't. I'm strangely reminded of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, which strangely I read (for the 84,000th time) last week. There are many a spoiler threads where people post pictures of what the shipment contains and I'm having a really hard time staying away from them, but I will resist- I want to be surprised when I open my box. Since Clint and I don't really exchange gifts I feel like this is Christmas. Sometimes we tell each other something we want and then the other goes and gets it. But rarely do we give each other true gifts. So I'm excited because I feel like this yarn is a true gift since I don't know what it will look like. Maybe in subsequent months I won't be so restrained and I will look at spoiler threads, but for now, I shall remain untainted.

Because I was so anxiously awaiting my sock yarn, I actually went online and purchased two more skeins of yarn form The Backwards Loop because it always comes really fast and I knew it would arrive before the Rockin' Sock Yarn. I ordered it Monday evening and it was here waiting for me yesterday after yoga. I didn't even get a picture of the blue because my camera battery was dead and I couldn't wait; I balled it and cast on a shawl for my mom. 

All of a sudden I am OBSESSED with shawls, or shawlettes, I should say. I noticed there is a group on Ravelry for those dedicated to knitting 10 shawls in 2010. If you had asked me a month ago if I would ever knit a shawl I would have said you were crazy, but now I can barely focus on anything else! I hope I can divide my attention when the sock yarn arrives. So I'm thinking of joining that group and trying for 10. If I made my first in a week, then surely 10 in a year won't be too troublesome...

Monday, January 25, 2010


Ever since I told my parents about giving up knitting for Lent, they haven't been fans of the idea. I'm not even really sure why. My parents have NEVER been the type to meddle in my business. All my life they have provided me with support in the endeavors of my choice, but they're always very reserved. So I'm very confused why they're even voicing an opinion on what I consider a non-important (from their point of view, not mine) topic.

Having them question my decision of course made me question my decision. Several times in the last couple of days I've thought about how easy it would be to NOT give up knitting. But then I think, that's why I'm doing it in the first place.

I asked Clint why he thought my parents were being so vocal, but he didn't know. But he disagrees with them; he wants me to give up knitting for Lent because he's looking forward to spending more time with me. It's so funny, when I'm knitting, 90% of the time I am with Clint (on the couch watching TV), but I know what he means: my attention is definitely primarily on the knitting. I wish I could be one of these people that multi-tasks easily, but I'm not. Like when I hear about people that can knit in meetings and still be active participants, I can't relate at all. I have to be fully present to one thing. 

On another aspect of resistance...I did not go to the yarn store this weekend. Instead I pulled out my white Through the Loops socks that were supposed to a November knit-along. I had a renewed interest in them, maybe because of all my pent up anticipation of the arrival of my first sock kit (which should be here any day!!!!!!). Anyway I got a significant amount done - maybe I'll even finish before the sock kit arrives...


One night last week I got obsessed with knitting this gorgeous hat I keep seeing on Ravelry. I guess one of the things holding me back from knitting is I would have to knit with two colors which I've never done for real. I mean I've made items where a second color starts at the start of a row, but that doesn't really count as color work because it's really easy. The hat would involve fair isle which means I would have two colors of yarn work simultaneously. 


I started researching different techniques and it appears that the most efficient method is to use both hands, ie. knit Continental and English at the same time and keep one yarn in each hand; much easier said than done. I practiced a little bit and it went better than I thought, but it was really slow. Knitting the other way is like writing with your non-dominant hand. It's been so long since knitting was difficult that it was hard to stick with it. Then I considered, if I learned Continental would that count as knitting during Lent? ; )  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FIrst Shawl: Complete


I completed my first shawl last night. Shawl is a pretty loose word; what I made is not nearly as big as what I would consider a "true" shawl. But I like what I made because I can wear it as a shawl around my shoulders or backward around my neck and wrap it. It's being blocked right now and is almost dry, so I'm hoping to wear it today when we leave the house. And we have to leave the house because we barely did yesterday.


For my shawl, I used Madeline Tosh sock yarn - it was my first time to knit with Madeline Tosh and it was a dream. Every time I find a yarn like this, I think, where has this yarn been all my life? It's so soft, but still has some weight to it and the depth of color kept me entranced the whole time I was working with it. I think I'm going to end up calling the shawl "Goldilocks and The Three Bears" because of the browns and golds. And besides, Goldilocks was a traveling woman (the original name of the pattern) in a way.


I realized when I was very near finishing that I had been completing my yarn-overs incorrectly the whole time. I though this was a lesson I had learned when I made the orange socks in October but apparently not. I don't think anyone else would be able to spot this mistake, and I did keep it consistent, so I guess that will have to be okay.

I told myself this morning as I was waking up that I deserve to go buy new yarn since I completed a project. Although my first sock club shipment arrives this week (!!!!!!!!) and obviously as soon as it does I will be casting on some socks. My goal is to complete that pair of socks before Lent starts and I think it's highly possible I can...if I don't have new yarn and other projects to distract me. My heart is saying, go to the yarn store - you deserve it; but my head is saying work on something already in progress.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Lenten Sacrifice

So every year I think about giving up something for Lent: some years I actually do it. Growing up my mom always encouraged me to try it and usually I would by giving up something silly and purposely doable, like Cokes or candy, which I didn't really consume much of to begin with. I am and never have been super religious, but the idea of Lent has grown increasingly interesting to me as I grow older. 

I gave up eating meat for Lent in either 2002 or 2003 and it was a REALLY rewarding experience. My roommate at the time participated with me and we helped each other out. We learned a lot about vegetarian cuisine and actually continued to abstain from eating meat for about a year afterward. Even now, I try to limit my meat consumption and go through long periods without eating it.

My brother and sister-in-law regularly participate in food fasts with their church. I noticed when I was with them over the holiday break that my sister-in-law was having an unusually difficult time with her decision this time. She would excessively salivate over everything she saw us eating and I started thinking and wondering why she was participating in the fast. I mean I know fasting is difficult, but it's something you're choosing to do and I believe that you should humble yourself. 

So in an effort to stop judging her, I started to think about what I could give up myself. I went through all my normal ideas: meat (again), alcohol, etc. but none of them seemed hard enough. I thought, what is something that would be REALLY hard to live without for 40 (46) days? Knitting. I do it everyday, I think about it all the time; I want to talk about it constantly. Not knitting is a true sacrifice for me.

I'm afraid that instead of just being a relaxing hobby, knitting has become a security blanket for me. It makes me feel good and I want to bring it everywhere, even when it wouldn't be appropriate. Or I'll be out with friends and think, I'd rather be knitting. There have even been times recently when I have chosen knitting over social outings. Sometimes I worry that I'm ignoring Clint in favor of knitting. I've also noticed lately that I'm insatiable; I finish a project and I don't even enjoy the end result - I voraciously start a new project. 

I've also been thinking, what else could I produce if I directed my creative energies in different directions? I haven't embroidered in a long time. I haven't been reading or writing nearly as much as I want to because I'm always knitting. And I'm also excited for the possibilities that exist that I haven't even thought of yet.

I would like to say that during Lent, I will update my blog daily. I can picture the posts: Day 10 - Withdrawal, Day 18 - Was I Crazy?, etc. but I don't think it's realistic. I also need to decide what to do about Sundays. I've been doing some research about Lent, just to know what I'm getting myself into, and I found out that some people exclude the Sundays of Lent and treat them as "celebration" days or "mini-Easters." The websites I have found state that Sundays should always be a day of rest and your sacrifice should be suspended, but that plenty of people don't abide by this and continue their Lenten sacrifice throughout the entire time period because it's easier. I was kind of excited by this prospect at first, but if Lent is about sacrifice then I don't think I should take the easy way out. I don't know, but I still have some time to decide before Ash Wednesday.

As a reward to myself (is that allowed?) I signed up for a sock club. I have wanted to participate in one before, but I have always been hesitant because of the cost and commitment, but with the sacrifice in mind, I told myself to go for it. So starting the last week in January, and every other month after that for the year, I will receive in the mail a shipment of beautiful, hand-dyed sock yarn, 2 sock patterns and other surprise goodies! I think the most exciting prospect of this venture is that I will have no say in the colors of the yarn that come to me. I don’t know why it’s so thrilling to me, but the idea of someone picking colors for me intrigues me. I guess because I’m hoping to expand my color palette and be exposed to colors I wouldn’t normally pick out on my own.