Saturday, June 30, 2007

Screw a Yarn Diet

Here's the deal. I have been beating myself up about how much yarn I buy for as long as I've been knitting. I didn't realize it until I went back through my blog gathering photos of old projects for Ravelry (which rocks, btw, if you are still on the wait list be patient, they are adding new people constantly). Way back when my posts sounded exactly the same as they do now - constantly justifying my yarn purchases. Screw that. Why do I do that? I enjoy buying yarn! It's currently my only money sucking vice. I rarely buy clothes or shoe anymore & I have no clue why I feel the need to justify it to myself - obviously to myself since not THAT many people read my blog - and to people that I knit with. Or other knitters who by & large buy as much as much yarn as I do. It's not that much & for goodness sake, no matter how many podcasters / bloggers compare yarn to crack, at least it literally isn't CRACK. I mean, it could be worse.

There has also been some discussion of yarn snobbery in my local group lately. It seems that someone made a comment that they went to a meet up where many people were using Red Heart & other forms of acrylic & that it was nice that it was about the craft & not about the yarn. Hum. That made me do some thinking.

I use acrylic & acrylic blends as much as any other fiber when appropriate. Acrylic at the LYS isn't any more expensive than acrylic at Walmart. Should I be snubbed when I'm paying the same yard per yard for similar yarn because I went to the LYS? Gee, I sure hope not. I'd rather support a local woman owned business before a billion dollar conglomerate any day of the week. Right now I'm making a Lucy in the Sky cardigan. The yarn that I'm using is an acrylic / wool blend that I got at a LYS for less than $50. Am I more or less noble because of this? Would it be snobbier if I had used Karabella Aurora (the yarn I'm looking at for another sweater on my wish list)? I guess I don't get it. For me it's about the process & making something for myself that I enjoy making & will enjoy wearing. This time around it's a cheap acrylic blend. Watch out, next time it might be expensive cashmere. I don't expect the women I knit with to comment either way - quite frankly it's none of their business. But they wouldn't do that or I wouldn't knit with them, you know?

I guess I equate yarn buying to the way I buy clothes. I buy some of my clothes at Walmart or the thrift stores. They are perfectly good clothes & I wear them a lot. They are totally useful & I wash them a trillion times with no problems & I don't worry much about them because they are sturdy & durable. But sometimes I just want to go to Nordstrom & plop down a pile of money on a nice sweater. I have to hand wash it & care for it differently. I'm ok with that because I deserve it & it has a place in my closet just like my less expensive clothes. Same with my stash. I have all types of yarn in there & it all has it's place. Knitting for me is about the craft. But golly - it's also about the yarn. One of the features that I love the most about Ravelry is that you can search for a pattern & see what kind of yarn everyone used for that project. I love to see the range of yarns that were used for the same thing, it doesn't make the project any more or less beautiful. Work with what you can get, you know?

I think meet ups are a great place to view / touch / exchange yarn experiences - that's one of the the things that love about meet ups! I love that some of my friends buy yarn that I may or may not be able to buy or may or may not WANT to buy. I like to be "in the know" about my yarn choices & that is one way that I learn more. I like to be able to touch & feel yarns that I've heard about or have seen on the internet. Sometimes it makes me want the yarn more, sometimes not. Not every knitter has the same color & touchy feely preferences - I might not want the yarn someone else buys but I enjoying seeing it. I enjoy seeing the joy it brings it's owner. I think that's part of the knitting camaraderie & experience.

I know in my life that I won't always have the most expensive house, clothes, car, shoes, handbag or yarn. I love the women in my life that have more & less than me & I don't judge them either way. I'm surely not going to stop enjoying the company of women who chose to spend $500 on their handbag because I'm a $20 handbag kind of girl. To each her own I say - I'd rather spend my money on yarn. And I am. And I'm not apologizing for it anymore so say goodbye to the yarn diet ticker & purchasing guilt forever! Good riddance I say!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

More yarn, finished socks & why I haven't been blogging

I'm starting to think that I'm more of a yarn collector than a knitter. Yes, I bought more yarn. A lot of it. Well, Patrick is getting this bonus at the end of the week. Ironically it nearly coincided with all of my LYS annual sales. It just so happens that 2 of the shops have nearly the same anniversary date (though very different years in business) but they put their whole shop on sale. So naturally the other smart shop also does a sale at the same time while all yarn shoppers are in spendy mode.

Last year I bought loads of yarn that later got destashed or is still sitting in my stash. This year I had a plan. I made a list of things I knew I wanted to knit & decided to stock up on that yarn so I'll have it in my stash. Here is what I got:

From the Woolie Ewe - sale was Memorial day weekend & they had 35% off of the whole store. Everything. I think I was pretty good considering. Rust Silky Wool for a sweater, Jojoland cashmere in emerald green that I find highly an impossible color to find in yarn, more Baby Alpaca Grande - I love that yarn. The acrylic needed to do the crochet Larger Than Life bag from current the IK Crochet magazine, a few needles, and those adorable leopard purse handles.

From The Shabby Sheep and Passion Knit
Passion Knit had everything 35% off the whole store so I got some of the Handmaiden Sea Silk & enough Silky Wool in deep purple for a sweater. I have been wanting some of the Blue Sky Cotton so I got that as well. From SS I got more Manos in a color I normally wouldn't buy but think it's GORGEOUS - Panda Cotton - a book & a DPN holder that I've been eyeing anyway.

Yes, I know it's lots of yarn. But really it was at least 35% off. So if I was going to buy it know the drill.

And then there is this:

My inlaws frequent garage /estate sales & they came across a spinner. She hand spun all this yarn & decided she wanted to start anew so she sold them this whole box for $10. It is some BEAUTIFUL stuff & I plan to do a hodge podge scarf with it. I sure hope it comes out like I imagine.

In that spirit, I'm changing my yarn diet ticker. Instead of keeping track of how long it's been since I bought yarn & fixing it all the damn time since I haven't completely stopped, I'm going to do a 90 days without buying yarn drought. Really. No yarn. In a week or so when I'm POSITIVE I'm done. I have a hard time making that commitment when I have a big slush fund coming my way......

I finished my Hedera socks. I freaking love them. I must admit I was bored out of my mind by #2 so I really can't imagine how people knit the same pattern over & over. It was a great pattern - easy to remember & fun to knit, not too tedious - highly recommended.

Why I haven't been blogging - because I've been hanging out on Ravelry. If you are a knitter/ crocheter/ fiber person & haven't signed up yet - what are you waiting for? They are in beta & the wait list is about 6,000 people long, it will only get longer. They started adding people at an alarming rate & I imagine it won't be long until more & more are added. They are moving as fast as they can without crashing the site - please be patient. I have heard some disturbing things about messages they are getting - it's a free service, people. They are in beta. Be patient. I know - easy for me to say since I blindly took an invite when they were offered at the very beginning, but seriously, ugliness will get you nowhere fast. Put down the pitchforks & be supportive - it will be worth it, I swear. I have organized my stash, my projects, my future projects, found projects that I didn't even know that I wanted to knit, met new people, kept in touch with other people that I knew already (manda!) It's awesome. Really.