I saw an entertaining contest on Skeins Her Way last week, devised by Ali (you may remember that beautiful fitted tank top she designed for Blue Sky Alpacas?)
Ali was generously offering both yarn and pattern for this to some lucky blogger. All you had to do was post a list of your summer knitting goals on your blog and then link it to hers to be entered in the draw. And you got to organise your knitting life into the bargain - always a tempting thought.
Of course Celtic Memory wasn't organised enough to get it sorted by the closing date (May 31) but the idea got me thinking all the same. And I decided to give some attention to what, if any goals I might have for the long sunny days ahead. What new projects, what stunning patterns, what amazing achievements, that sort of thing. Might not be in for the contest, but could at least make a LIST, right?
Only - it hasn't worked out like that. Oh the glass of wine, the chocolate supply, a tottering pile of knitting books and constantly sliding magazines were all got ready for a bit of armchair knit-dreaming, certainly. But all of a sudden I got up again. Sophy Wackles slid crossly to the floor, Tasha darted out of the way, Muffy blinked, checked that the chocolate hadn't fallen into reach, and went back to sleep. Several copies of Interweave Knits fell sideways and knocked over the pile of books. But I was already halfway down the stairs by that time (I only know what happened by interpreting the thumps and bangs).
I went down to the workshop/utility, also known as The Stash Room. Down here are a great many - a GREAT MANY - large clear plastic storage boxes, stacked on the floor. These storage boxes contain coned yarns. On the shelves are smaller clear plastic boxes with balls of yarn. Mostly they're stored according to colour, but a few have 'oh for heaven's sake where can I fit this, let's just shove it in here' mixed collections. I stood there. I looked around. I saw all the crates and boxes full to bursting point. I saw the pop-up laundry containers which I use for sorting yarns for particular creations, all full. I saw the carrier bags from France, from California, even one from a trip to London last year, all with their own special collections of yarn. I remembered (I tried not to, but it insisted on sticking in my mind and returned with force the more I tried to push it out) that a rather large consignment of new yarn, bought wholesale for dyeing purposes, was due any day. And I thought -
CELTIC MEMORY, YOU HAVE TOO MUCH YARN IN YOUR STASH.
I know, you've had this moment too. I've seen postings, read threads in Knitter's Review Forum. Everybody gets these moments of dreadful clarity when they realise that even if they knitted from now until Tibb's Eve, they would not get through one tenth of the stash. Not even one tenth of the good stuff, the stuff you really really love, and could spend the whole evening fondling. (Let's forget about the disasters, the 'what in heaven's name was I thinking when I bought this' type of yarn. We all have plenty of that. Remember novelty eyelash?)
And while I think of it, do you have yarns that are too good to use? Far too beautiful, far too expensive, far too special to be used for anything as mundane as actually knitting up into something? Daft, isn't it? I mean - isn't that what they're for? But still we hoard them, chuckling as we count them, for all the world like a wretched old miser shivering while he checks his gold. One day, one day, I promise, I will use that cashmere, that alpaca, that silk. One day.
And so here is goal No. 1.
NO MORE YARN. NO! NONE! ABSOLUTELY NOT! NOT A SINGLE BALL!
So heartsick is Celtic Memory at the swathes, the heaps, the piles, the stacks, the overflowing overprovision of yarn in this house, that not one more scrap or inch of the stuff will be purchased, stolen, borrowed or traded for the foreseeable future (foreseeable means about one or two months, doesn't it? Doesn't it? And it doesn't include sock yarn, I think that was agreed by an international summit, wasn't it? And stuff you've ordered before The Enlightenment doesn't count either, does it,? Because you can't send it back. Well you can, but you won't get your money back, I shouldn't think.)
And, closely linked to the foregoing, is goal No. 2:
I WILL REDUCE THE STASH. I WILL, I WILL, I WILL.
To this end, I immediately got started on creating a new Celtic Memory composed yarn. After all, that's what I bought most of those really beautiful unique yarns for in the first place. It took most of the day and involved hauling out so many cones and balls that the whole room looked like a bomb site. (It still does, because when the yarn was finally finished and skeined up, I couldn't face tidying up. Not just yet. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe never.)
This one is called Wild Roses of West Cork, and was inspired by the lovely little pink and white sprays of bloom which can be seen on the hedgerows of every lane and boreen around here at the moment, now that June has arrived. It took absolutely ages to find exactly the right combination of different pinks shading from pale to deepest rose, not to mention the myriad greens you get in the foliage, from emerald to almost-grey. Then there were the dew-spangled cobwebs to incorporate as well, to give the proper effect. By the time it was done to my satisfaction, the Celtic Memory temper was getting frayed and the dogs were yowling for high tea
DH obligingly took several pictures of it out in the garden, although it was extraordinarily difficult to get one which showed all the colours accurately.
I tried a close up myself later on, but still couldn't get all those lovely greens to show up as beautifully as they do in real life. Oh well. Best I could do. Listed it on eBay, under Celtic Memory Yarns. There! That's one start on the stash anyway. Next week I think I'll do one in midsummer night colours - those blues and purples you get in the dark sky when the night is short and the light never quite disappears. There are stunning evenings like that in Connemara at this time of year.
And here are goals Nos. 3 and 4.
TO FINISH SOME OF THESE PESKY PROJECTS THAT ARE HANGING AROUND.
NOT TO START ANY - ANY - NEW PROJECTS UNTIL GOAL 3 HAS BEEN REALISED.
Because not only am I suddenly disgusted, disheartened, disenchanted by the sheer amount of yarn stashed away in that basement, but I am appalled by the fact that there are so many - SO MANY - WIPs. So no more projects until some of these behind-the-sofa horrors are hauled out into the cold light of day and DEALT WITH.
The Norah Gaughan asymmetrical jacket in charcoal alpaca, for example. That was so far back I can't even recall the issue of Interweave Knits (or was it Vogue?) which had the pattern. But I do remember the excitement, the urge to get going on it right away - oh yes, I do remember that. Got half way up the back, I did... Can anyone remind me of the issue in which it appeared? I know that particular publication had lots of lovely knits in charcoal, all displayed by a stunning grey-haired model. Do let me know if you can remember.
And the Anny Blatt. Anyone remember the Anny Blatt? Heavens above, that one was going before I even started blogging! I was inspired by an AB magazine in France last spring and bought tons of yarns to make this multicoloured little crop jacket with cute three-quarter sleeves that had cunning little slits on the cuffs... I shared the ups and downs of that pesky jacket with you, dear readers, and especially the ghastly moment when I realised (not for the first time and almost certainly not for the last) that any pattern which required you to pick up evenly a terrifying number of stitches all around the edge of the jacket could only end in tears.
Which it did. I tore it from the needles and hurled it into a basket. It stayed there. Until today. When I hauled it out and spread it neatly to be photographed.
Does anyone have a handy hint for sewing up a jacket of many colours? The seams I've done will have to come out - they look like a toddler with a crowbar needle bashed them together with rope. Maybe a neutral fine yarn, light grey or something? Advice would be welcomed here!
I still like the colours a lot. It would be quite a useful addition to the wardrobe, since it would spice up any plain top and trousers. But the neck is far too loose, and the bottom edge is very wide and wavy. It needs firm control. Have I the courage to tackle that 'pick up evenly all around...' again? No. No, no, and no.
Maybe an i-cord? Yes, that's a thought. I could make it on that little French knitting spool thingie which worked so well for the Celtic Vest.
Yes, that CV was something at least which was finished. Mind you, it wouldn't have been if Angeluna hadn't steadfastly nagged me, and I was too scared of her to point blank refuse. (I haven't dared to tell her that the buttons were not in the right positions, and I unpicked the i-cord to sort it out, and it's been lying there since. So not quite an unqualified success after all.)
But I do have one nice little success to report. The Aran Sandal Socks are done! Yes, they really are, and I am very proud of them indeed. Lavold's Silky Wool worked up very well. I think I'll make these again, perhaps in a bamboo blend, which would also show off the stitches effectively.
Thank you Tania for helping me with these in moments of extreme difficulty. The pattern does have a few errors in it, and although most of them become clear with a bit of commonsense, that particular problem with the heel wouldn't have been sorted without your generous help. I owe you! And I have to make them again now, because it would be a bit of a waste not to after learning all that stuff! They'd be rather good in knee-length, wouldn't they?
Now there is the Entrelac Stole in Prism to finish, and then courage will be gathered somehow to approach both Anny Blatt and Norah Gaughan. It has to be done. It will be done.
The only difficulty now is how to incorporate the Summer of Socks KAL into this new stern regime which has been established chez Celtic Memory. Got to take part in that. WANT to take part in that. Can't imagine summer without taking part in that. But - no new projects? Impasse!
But wait a minute - if sock yarn doesn't count, then presumably sock projects don't count either, right? YAY!