I have a confession to make. I’ve been lying about my size for years. It’s not as big as I lead people to believe. My yarn stash, that is. If you look around my house, you won’t find a closet full of yarn, nor skeins stuffed into every nook and cranny. Sure, there is probably more wool here than in your average household, but I don’t hoard it. Not because I don’t want to. But because I can’t. To be honest, I just can’t afford to. Good yarn can be pricey and I’m not willing to resort to using cheap acrylics in order to get a yarn fix.
The internet is replete with photos and tales of other people’s yarn-buying habits, though. Memes about stash-feeding abound. And it’s interesting how yarn collections are discussed as simultaneously a source of pride as well as shame. It’s like “I am so pleased with how crazy I seem”. While I can relate to those stories in theory, the reality is: I don’t have that much yarn. So maybe I stretch the truth sometimes, or exaggerate slightly, to sound a little nuttier. As though my authenticity as a knitter is predicated on insanity. Wool over groceries? Woah, that’s hardcore. She’s the real deal.
Of course, I’ve never chosen wool over groceries. Being an adult is a struggle sometimes, but luckily I’m more responsible (or boring?) than that. The fact that I don’t have a wide variety of yarns stored up in a closet naturally has implications that manifest in my knitting. For one, usually I will choose a pattern first and then purchase an acceptable yarn for the project. Things don’t always go as planned after swatching. I might then add the yarn to my stash, but more often than not I try to find another pattern that will work with the yarn. Much less commonly will I buy yarn on a whim – with no pattern in mind – and add it to my stash. If I do, then it must be a very, very special yarn with which I simply could not bear to part. The problem with that is, I have a tendency to be way too precious with it. I become too apprehensive to knit it up for fear that I won’t do it justice.
Such was the case of the big red barber pole hanks from the Mineville Wool Project. It was love at first sight. When I saw them hanging at Linda’s Craftique last winter, I knew they had to be mine. Odd, considering I rarely opt for such vibrant colours. Particularly red. I had no idea what I wanted to turn this gorgeous yarn into, but I splurged and bought it. There it sat, in my stash for a year. I would frequently take it out just to admire it. Squish it. Sniff it. Rub it against my cheek. And I never stopped scouring the depths of Ravelry in an attempt to find the absolute. perfect. pattern.
No patterns could ever possibly meet my expectation though, because in my mind the yarn already existed in its most flawless form. To convert it into something else would degrade it. What kind of silly rationale is that? It’s about time that I leap over this mental hurdle and showcase its beauty. After all, if my fear is that the project won’t do the yarn justice, what kind of service am I doing it by keeping it behind the closed door of a cabinet? The yarn deserves to be on display. No better place than on my body.
With the Millisande pullover complete (Honestly, it is! I will get the photos up soon enough), I’m ready to cast-on a new project. Yes, I’m feeling another sweater. Ha, and I was worried earlier about not being considered crazy enough. I believe I am set on the West Coast Cardigan by Jane Richmond. It has all the elements that I’m looking for in a sweater now that Millisande is complete. In fact, it seems to be the complete opposite of Millisande. It’s a cardigan rather than a pullover. It has stranded colour work rather than cables. It has a garter stitch collar. It’s knit up in a huge gauge. Worked from the top down. With one similarity: both sweaters are knit in one piece, in the round. I don’t want to make a sweater right now that I have to sew together. I’m not that crazy.
Holding the yarns double, I made a small swatch. Gauge is good. The colour contrast is marvellous. I would use the red as the MC and the white as CC. My only concern is that the red and white will appear too festive. I don’t want to look like a candy cane. But the red is quite a deep cranberry with lighter areas that fade to a salmony pink, so it should work out nicely. For the CC, the yarn is hand-combed, handspun Coopworth from a fleece that Cory bought me as a birthday gift in 2015.
Overall, The West Coast Cardigan looks like it will be a quick and satisfying project. With spring around the corner, I’m really looking forward to having a nice bulky cardigan to wear out without a jacket while the weather is still cool. So I’m about to muster up the courage to cast on and finally use up this precious yarn. Here goes!