Friday, 11 March 2011

New beginnings

Some time ago, when I started my adventure with knitting, I did what every eBay-addict will do. I went online, searched for yarn and then bough most random selection of yarn you could get. Anything that I considered cheap.
I then went on Ravelry and wanted to employ my shiny new yarn to make a beautiful garment. Considering the fact that all I ever knitted was, erm, a square “handbag” I made when I was 12 years old, this was not the best idea. I always considered myself a doer and hence the idea of knitting a multicoloured scarf never cross my mind. I settled on a vest. Yes, a vest.

Step 1. Order any yarn that is under 50p per ball on eBay.
Step 2. Gauge is some fancy French word that means another type of cheese, probably.
Step 3. Yardage is something that only mathematicians and astronauts are concerned with.
Step 4. Yarn is yarn, simples right.
Step 5. DK, fingering and chunky are just the sub-names of the companies, right? See step 4.
Step 6. Pattern is like a recipe, you follow the general instructions but you tweak it as you wish.
Step 7. Who needs shaping armholes when you can simply bind off some stitches and then continue knitting?
Step 8. There’s absolutely no need to count how many stitched you bound off on the first armhole, you will just estimate what you need to bind off on the other one.
Step 9.  Weaving is another fancy word. What is wrong with a simple knot?
Step 10. Blocking? My dictionary doesn’t extend to using this word in knitting terms.

Result is this:

The ribbing in knitted in super chunky yarn.
Some stripes are DK weight, some are fingering and some are aran weight.

Believe it or not, I actually made back to this vest. I sew it together but frankly because differences in yarn, the stripes didn’t much and it was shaped like a vest for a camel with extra room in the back.

Nevermind, I thought. I can start again knitting something smaller and I’ll get going from them. My then-still-boyfriend asked me to knit him a squirrel. Since I had some of that random yarn left over, I picked brownish-red and white. The white was 100% acrylic in chunky weight and brown was DK cotton blend with slight sheen. Don’t ask.
At that time, I had one pair of needles on beautifully universal size 5mm. It actually never occurred to me that finished measurements of the squirrel were supposed to be like, 2 inches tall. So I happily started working on 5mm needles and with chunky yarn.
Oh, and obviously I never heard of dpns or mattress stitch at the time.

Drum drum drum may I please present the gigantic squirrel. It’s nearly 8in tall and it’s very very wonky.

Needles to say, I gave up knitting for nearly three years. I have only recently started and gradually I learnt new techniques and methods. I can actually calculate my yardage estimate now, yay!

But, the point of this post was that I still have shed lots of yarn from the period that I was buying because it was cheap. I would buy anything that was around £1 mark. As a result I have very random selection of balls of yarn available.

Thanks to Rav and my desire to get better at knitting, I started exploring different yarns. The further I ventured, the more I started to appreciate the quality of yarns and how much difference they make to whatever I’m knitting. When thinking about the ratio of weight vs. price I started thinking in terms of not skeins, but in terms of finished products. And while £5 per 50g ball of lace yarn is something that would make me freeze and think that knitting is only for posh people three years ago, I know can appreciate the effort put into knitting. Not to mention the pleasure of wearing high quality merino wool scarf, that when Topshop was selling, I would be willing to buy at triple the price
Hence, I’m very happy to say that I’m now a proud owner of Malabrigo Worsted in most gorgeous shade of Hollyhocks.

So, my, slightly late resolutions for 2011 is to use up my all most of stash to replace it gradually with gorgeous, super-soft, scrumptious yarn.
Therefore, no buying yarn* until stash is reduced unless it’s something I will definitely use, either for myself or for a gift for someone.
And I vow to make 11 knitted items made of yarn in my stash until the end of the year. I will share my WIPs as I get along.

*Chocolate is allowed in any quantities to ease the stress and to help resist temptation

Now time for a happy song that I’ve been listening to this sunny morning:


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