Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Stash, Joy and Instant Gratification!

I adore instant gratification. In fact, sometimes even instant gratification takes too long! But currently I am in the midst of gift knitting – a situation necessitated by the fact that Christmas is not actually very far away (cowardly readers, please put your fingers in your ears now and go ‘LaLa La la alalalalalalalalala’ for the rest of this post). Others, read on for some ideas.

Firstly, can I recommend to you the fabulous Buttonhole Bag from Mason-Dixon Knits. It takes around 3 hours to knit one (I’m currently on my fourth in a week!). It is deeply satisfying and the Lamb’s Pride Bulky that I bought on sale at Yarns Online much earlier this year (supposedly for slippers and stuff) has met its destiny in a series of bags. I haven’t felted them yet (but intend to in a few days), but have felted the Lamb’s Pride before and feel fairly confident doing so again.

Unfortunately, I’ve used up all my stashed Lamb’s Pride Bulky (although I have some worsted left) and am finishing of the last bag with 3 strands of Jet knitted together. I may have to buy some Cascade bulky or knit smaller bags with different wool and smaller needles – a 10mm circ is hard to beat for fast knitting!

So I have managed to denude some stash wool and obviously feel deeply virtuous about this. In addition to the bags, I am knitting my third dishcloth/facecloth in a week. Although the first one used the feather and fan pattern, the next two I have returned to my simple basketweave pattern.

Basketweave dishcloth:

1 ball Anchor Magicline Cotton
4mm circ

Cast on a multiple of 4 stitches (I generally find 52 is about right).
Knit 4 rows
Next row (establish pattern). Row 1: K4 *P4 K4* repeat until last 4 sts, K4
Row 2: K4, *K4, P4 * repeat to last 4 sts K4 (PS This works for 48 or 56 sts – if you decide on 52 you’ll just have to adapt)
Repeat once more, then rep Row 1 again (5 rows pattern)
Now Change to second basketweave. Other than the 4 sts each end which are always knitted (garter stitch border), you’ll be knitting the purls and purling the knits, so

Row 1: K4, *K4, P4 * repeat to last 4 sts, K4
Row 2: K4, *P4 K4* rep to last 4 sts, K4

Once again, rep these rows then row 1 again

Keep doing this, switching every 5 rows until either you get sick of it, or you’re nearly out of cotton. Then Knit 4 rows and cast off. Try to leave enough of a tail to crochet in chain stitch for about 2-3 inches (5-7cms), join up to make a ring and weave in ends. That’s it, you’ve made a dishcloth with a little loop for hanging up!

I’m making stacks of these as my travelling knitting currently. I stick the ball in my pocket – having centre pulled it – and knit. If I need to I run the stitches to the centre of the circ and stick that in my pocket too, whenever I have to do motherly stuff.

I knocked one of these off during some driving on Monday (no, I was a passenger – I haven’t yet perfected the art of knitting while actually driving the car – although I’m pretty good at knitting and walking!), and finished it off while spending an hour selling raffle tickets for the school fete.

The Fete has rather taken over my life, and I will be glad on Sunday evening when it’s all over. While I am happy to do its public relations and write copy for papers and radio stations, I’ll be even happier when I get those bits of my life back. And if I think it’s bad for me, I don’t think the P & F President has slept for a month!

In addition, once the last bag is finished (I’ll be sad when I give them away), I’ve a tea cosy to knit (for the swap) and the second secret sock to finish. By which time it will be the election and I’ll be working all day – this means knitting time!

Then it’s almost Christmas and proper summer and I can do some recreational knitting for a while!

Just before I forget, the No Guilt Stash Manifesto has been adopted in Casa Tinkingbell! If I can’t get the button to work, pop over to Bells to read the manifesto!

No Guilt Stash Manifesto

I will neither defend nor apologize for my stash. My yarn brings me joy, and therefore brings others in my life joy.

Through my hands I do good in the world. I knit with love for friends, family, and strangers. Yarn is my medium.

I promise not to let my stash acquisition interfere with personal relationships or financial health; yet neither will I give in to pressure from significant others to reduce my stash.

I will not judge others' stash. I can admire it, be inspired by it, even covet certain skeins, but it is not my place to pass judgment on quantity or quality.

I recognize that stash management is personal. I fully intend to knit my beautiful yarns, but I refuse to be guilted into doing so on anyone's schedule other than my own.

I understand that it may take many years for a yarn to reveal its destiny, and that yarns that have been in my stash for a seemingly long time just haven't met their correct pattern. I won't feel guilty about this.

I also recognize that yarn can have many destinies. It can be a reminder of a special trip, a friend, a time in one's life. It can be comfort or inspiration. It doesn't always need to be knitted to fulfill its destiny. I accept that some yarns in my possession may never be knit by me.

I believe in the karmic properties of stash. I willingly share with other knitters, and I realize the stash, like love, will grow when it is shared.


Bells said...

I'd forgotten to check the MD book for christmas ideas. Ta muchly Tinks.

And yay for the manifesto!

Double yay for the pattern!

Jejune said...

I refuse to knit for Christmas, don't need the stress, but that Buttonhole Bag looks brilliant, and great dishcloth pattern too!

Good luck getting though the Fete - ugh. I'm glad my kids are long past those primary school days!

Alwen said...

LaLa La la alalalalalalalalala can't hear you, can't hear you

Five Ferns Fibreholic said...

It's a vicious cycle....knit up stash then have to go buy more yarn to fill up the holes left by knitting up stash.....Thank God it never ends...

A Bag that can be knit in 3 hours???? That's worth looking into.

Donna Lee said...

I am not knitting for christmas either. I don't do well with deadlines. I figure if I get some socks done and want to give them as gifts, then it's good. If not, that's good too. The bag is adorable. I have never felted anything and I think I could do that bag.

MadMad said...

Those are some great ideas! Good luck with the fund raiser; I feel your pain - I'm in the final crush for one here, and it's killing my computer time!!! Can't wait till it's over!