Well hello there. Are you knitting? That’s a silly question, of course you are.
This owl visited for a few hours last weekend. A couple of times an hour, he’d shake off the snow, and then go back to sleep.
I never cease to be amazed by how prolific and tireless and devoted knitters seem to be. Even when I was knitting around the clock (or that’s what it felt like) while I was working on the books, I don’t think I was as productive as many of the knitters I see on Ravelry. Once in a while, I take a little tour of Ravelry, and check out some of my favourite knitters, and I simply can’t believe how many completed projects I see.
My apologies for neglecting the blog. I was thinking, Oh it’s just because 2016 was such a busy year. But looking back over Tricksy Knitter, I realize that actually, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 were the really busy years. 2016 was the year that I really got back into the groove of working a day job and things calmed down a little. Charles and I ran our own businesses for so long, that by the time we got back to day jobs, we just kind of decompressed and started to enjoy things like Weekends! Vacations! and all that other normal stuff. It has been nice.
I start my first book! I’ve never written a book before and I’m totally stressed out! Seems like a great time for Charles to take a new job. In another province!
Phew. Thank goodness that’s over. Seems like a great time to… Start my second book! It’s like having children. Everyone tells you, Well, the second one will be easier. Why do we think it will be easier? Why do we say these things? Second children and second books are just as difficult as the first ones.
I finish writing the second book. Phew. Time to take a break, right? But wait, this seems like a great time to re-start my career! I get a new job! I’m totally stressed out! My second book, IG Knitting Sweaters is published!
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And here we are, in January 2017. Full of plans for the year ahead. Taking the time to look back, I’m surprised by how much we’ve done.
Confession time: I haven’t been knitting much at all. Or crafting anything, really. There was a brief spate of origami at Christmas. I learned how to crochet a ball, that was fun. But somewhere between 2015 and now, I just…paused. Partly because I had knit so much that I got a little burnt out. Knitting is, after all, repetitive. Also, when you take an enjoyable hobby and turn it into a business, your relationship with the hobby changes. It’s hard to enjoy making something for it’s own sake. The pressure to monetize a craft can take over: SEO! ecommerce! ad revenue! commission! marketing! branding! Bleh. It can take the fun out of it. I didn’t feel free to knit from other people’s patterns because I was writing my own. I didn’t feel free to make something that only I would like. I wanted to make designs that appealed to everyone.
Recently, I’ve been taking stock of the creative areas of my life. I’ve pulled out artwork (by others and me) and bought frames. We put the art on the walls. I went through our massive bead collection and culled out the mess, getting it down to just a few favourites. I organized all my painting and drawing supplies. I charged my camera batteries and dusted off my lovely Manfrotto tripod.
The knitting is a little more difficult to take stock of. It’s not a task that can be done in an afternoon. I’ll round up a couple of bins of sample knits, and think, Oh, this isn’t too bad, I don’t have as much as I thought. Then I’ll open a closet and find three more massive bins packed with sweaters. And most of the sweaters are a size small, so I don’t wear them. It’s a bit silly, tbh.
It is (mostly) a pleasure to take stock of my yarn stash. So many lovely yarns that could get turned into something nice, someday. But again, it’s not the work of an afternoon. We knitters deceive ourselves by squirrelling away bins and bags of yarn in the oddest places. The office. The bedroom closet. The dining room credenza (Why?). The TV cabinet. My stash is much much larger than I will ever admit.
So, this weekend I faced The Stash.
It’s quite cathartic to get all the yarn out and pile it on the floor. But it is like painting yourself into a corner. Charles checked on me from time to time, delivering wine and companionship.
It’s a good feeling to get things sorted into clear bins and stacked. I have a large pile to give to charity. Some knitter out there will be pretty stoked to find that at the second hand shop. I discovered a few things. I have more worsted weight than I thought. I have a lot of fingering and sport weight. I have a lot more lace than I should have. I love lace yarn, it’s so delicate, but find really fine work is hard on my hands and my neck because I have to be so careful.
There is some really beautiful stuff in my stash, it was nice to be reminded of it. Some of it I bought for myself, but a lot of it was sent to me by yarn companies for sample knitting. So it’s guilt-free. As long as I keep it dry and wrapped up, it will keep for a future day when I feel inspired.
A note on keeping your yarn wrapped up. Most of my stash was in bins or plastic bags. I’d rather not have so much plastic, but it really does help protect yarn from moths. I had one basket, a lovely old picnic basket, containing a picturesque collection of lace yarn. It was the only time I found evidence of moth. Luckily, there was no real damage. I shook everything out, bagged the yarn, and put it out in the below freezing weather for a couple of days to be doubly sure that any critters were frozen.
ADVICE: Only use baskets for storing yarn if you are actively and frequently using it. A basket of wool sitting undisturbed is a buffet for moths.
So now that the studio is organized and the yarn is tidied up, time to think about stash busting…