Monday, March 31, 2014

Step away from the knitting

Long post alert! but with pictures and a Very Important Message, so - yay.  Ready?

Because we will be talking today about carnivorous knitting.  Non-knitters don't really get this, because from the outside it looks so peaceful and passive, but we crafty types know there are a lot more hazards in knitting than just very sharp needles.

sock knitting
Very sharp and pointy needles that no person in their right mind wants to go near, unless they are us.

Knitting is one of those insidious exercises that leads fairly quickly to accumulated supplies and hours spent with our hands full of fiber instead of, say, laundry or spreadsheets.

For example - even with the powerful addition of weaving to my arsenal, plus the Amazing Knitting Planner, I am barely making a dent in the yarn that's tucked away here.  (not buying new yarn is probably the best answer to that problem, but let's not go there.)  I know my yarn stash is not the largest in town, so I'm pretty sure this particular issue is universal among knitters who have strayed from the 'supplies for one project at at time until finished, then shop for a new project' path.

hand dyed sock yarn
Small-batch yarn: it's irresistible

Actually, I had a really interesting (to me, probably not to him) conversation about this with Leslie's husband, who happened to be in town last week, sadly without her.  He remarked on the way this business of yarn dyed in small batches, but appealing to people in very large batches indeed, runs contrary to the approach of businesses who want to grow grow grow, but works anyway.  And this made me notice a truth about our spreading yarn stashes.

Before artist's yarn:
not only did yarn used to be boring, its boring colours and fiber contents were widely available in yarn shops and department stores.  you never bought more than you needed for a given project, because you could always get what you needed for the next one, when the next one was ready to go.

After artist's yarn:
if you fall in love with a yarn, never mind what you're going to use it for, if anything: BUY IT NOW.  because otherwise it will be gone and you will have lost your chance forever.

hello, knitters swimming through yarn to get to the phone or the front door.

Also, when we aren't feeling all gleeful and stuff about all that stashed yarn, we are at risk of feeling a bit guilty and/or overwhelmed by the fact that we will never, ever knit it all, no matter how much it deserves to be knit.

Possibly worse for our living spaces than a growing yarn stash is the time we don't spend on other things because we're knitting.  I don't know about you, but I see knitting as an excellent opportunity to multitask and feel very proud of the fact that I can learn all about things aired in documentaries on TV, or travel to my destination, while making a sock.  Focusing on that makes it so much easier to overlook dust and filing and other distractions that can't be paired with simultaneous knitting, said Mary, whose backup kitchen counter is currently about 1" deep in papers that need to be put away somewhere or other.

And then there's the whole Writing A Blog experience, a hole into which many an unsuspecting knitter has dropped, never to be seen again.

handknit socks

The Writing A Blog Experience

A lot of people mark the anniversary of the day they started their blogs, which makes me feel like I missed something in early February when Hugs turned five.  Yep!  That's five whole years of five posts a week, with only a few short breaks here and there for emergencies.

Some people come for those posts specifically (you know who you are, and I thank you for helping me seem marginally less crazypants for putting in all this time on an effectively unfunded website) and some people come for the many patterns I seem to have written (and I thank them too, because quite a lot of them send me really kind and encouraging messages about said patterns.)

Writing all those posts isn't a hardship for me because a/ I am chatty and b/ I am a writer and this is how I warm up every day.  But sometimes it occurs to me that if I wasn't putting an hour or two out of every twenty-four into prepping material for Hugs, I might not be as far behind on other things.  The thought of this usually leads to the idea that I might perhaps scale back, and without exception, on the day that idea begins to take serious hold I get a particularly nice e-mail or comment from somebody who really, really enjoys my posts or my patterns or both.  So I keep going.

But... I'm thinking this is a good time to change things up a bit. 

This sock is in shock.  Socks get knit with such regularity here, the thought of 'change' is not reassuring.

Changing Things Up Doesn't Mean Stopping

These five-plus years of Hugs have coincided with five-plus years of me pretty much not writing any novels, which is the one activity that makes me happier than knitting, except it's not as portable and pick-up-and-put-down-able and flexible about how many people are in the room talking at you while you work.  But lately... I have been writing again, and it's going well, which means I'm having to dip into all the other buckets to keep the momentum going.

And the biggest bucket of all is the time I spend just knitting.

So: I have stepped away from (some of) the knitting.

And: I therefore have less knitting as a subject for cute photographs.

Which Means: This blog is gonna get awful dull.

which I think would be very sad, don't you?  assuming you don't find endless sock photographs awful dull already.

The Exciting Solution To This Perplexing Problem

Starting now, I will be posting hopefully not-dull things at Hugs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

And I am introducing Twitter Tuesdays and Twitter Thursdays.  Yep, I am dusting off my Twitter account, and on those two days I'll be trying out something that could be silly and fun, or completely humiliating.  Feel free to let me know if it's the latter so as to save me from myself - though preferably not on Twitter - should you decide to stop by to check it out: I am @marykeenanknits.

And in between all of that I am going to go through my stash again and be really, superhugely realistic about how much of it I can knit.

In Conclusion

I'm sure you understand that knitting less does not mean not knitting at all.  I mean, none of us want my head to go exploding.  Also, I still have to weave the monthly scarf, though I will tell you right now the March Scarf is going to be the March/April Scarf because I did say laceweight, right? 

The key is going to be not getting all obsessive about some new and complex project.  So in preparation, as one who packs for a long arduous journey, I've cast on two new pairs of socks for easy pick up-put down knitting.  And tested them to make sure they work, ahem.

I hope you don't mind the change too much.

And if you don't come to see me on Twitter tomorrow, I hope to see you here again on Wednesday!


Jezz said...

I will miss reading those extra make-me-laugh-out-loud posts, and the extra photos of stuffies in funny poses, but that said: YOU GO GIRL!

Trish said...

Go, Mary, go!! (providing the cheering section here)

Mary Keenan said...

Not to worry Jezz: I have a pretty good feeling the missing content will just turn up in longer Monday Wednesday Friday posts ;^) also: there are NEW STUFFIES.

Mary Keenan said...

Thank you Trish!!