Sunday, 12 April 2015

Beginnings (Love Your Blog Challenge)

The second post in the 'Love Your Blog' series, inspired by A Playful Day.

Like all good discoveries, I stumbled on blogging almost by accident.  It was a diary with an audience, a place to throw out ideas and receive feedback from like-minded bloggy folk. 

I certainly didn't expect anyone to actually read it.

For me, the beginning is the most exciting part (the end, the most satisfying).  This applies to all things, not least knitting.  

The pleasure of finding that perfect yarn; and the stitch which suits it perfectly.  Sitting with the skein in your hands, eyes closed, feeling what it wants to become.  Is it soft?  drapey?  does it feel like it wants to wrap lazily around your neck or is it a hardworking, sturdy yarn which would work hard to keep you warm on a bitterly cold day.

Obviously, we don't all start this way.  I'm a yarn-starter.  There are pattern starters, stitch starters and those who throw themselves in head-first and start a different way every time.

This skein of golden joy is 100% silk from Dye For Yarn.  It was one of my guilty purchases at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival, a yarn which I couldn't possibly walk past without gravitating towards.  I needed to touch it, to pick it up, to buy it.  Rarely am I so drawn to a skein, and so it had to come home with me.  Being a yarn-starter, I know what this yarn will be - what it needs to be.  You don't make a hat out of a skein like this.  I'll keep what it'll grow up to be secret for now :p

The Yarn-Starter
This method involves the grabby yarn hands.  You love yarn - you see it, you want it, you buy it.   This, whilst incredibly fun at the time, leads to stash overload.  Maybe you're disciplined and don't let your grabby hands get the best of you until you've finished your current project, and if so you're a better knitter than me.

The Pattern-Starter
Ah, so you're the considered type.  Can I stretch it to the "slightly more sensible" type?  You get pattern first, yarn later.  This will obviously cut down on the (ever more terrifying) growth of the stash monster.  You could just have ended up with a stash of patterns instead, which makes you just as insensible as those yarn starters up there. 

The Yarn & Pattern Starter
Ach well.  Maybe you'll get through it all one day.

Each new pattern I begin to design is a mini adventure all of it's own.  I'll inevitably bite off more than I can chew and need to learn a new technique, attempt a new cast off, knit a new swatch for the giant swatch-blanket-to-be.  

Each new person we meet bring new ideas, opinions, talents and inevitably a funny story or two.  Harking back to the last love your blog post, but how far would we get without the advice and support of those around us?   

New(ly washed) bedsheets, new socks, new notebooks - all things which make me very, very happy.

Not to say we should endlessly chase beginnings!  There's nothing so satisfying as a well-done project, be that at work, for a hobby, with a friend, cleaning the house...  The ability to chose a project and stick with it is required if you ever intend to finish, and we all love the satisfaction of casting off that final stitch to lay your newly knitted cardigan/hat/shawl out in front of you, to wear it in front of the mirror.  To show it off in your LYS or on ravelry (or your blog). 

Which kind of starter are you, and why?


  1. I tend to be a yarn starter that dabbles in being a pattern starter. Shawl patterns usually get me, I finally had to start storing them based on shape, then yarn weight. But my first love is yarn, even before I could knit I would beg for balls of yarn at the store and make odd little "dolls" from cheap acrylic. It is a rare occasion for me to leave a craft store without at least one ball of yarn in my cart, and if it does happen people question my health lol I have several balls that are waiting for that just right pattern, a few have found them but others just sit and settle. And i have no problem with that. If I could, I would fill the house with yarns and only use a few to knit hats, I'd be happy as could be surrounded by fiber. From humble, machine made acrylic, to hand painted sock blanks, I just love how much creativity is hidden in such an innocuous form. It's one thing to see those bright vivid hues all tightly wound, it's another when you can convince someone to reach out and touch it. Especially if they aren't a crafter, their face when they see what softness can be felt is worth having a few balls lurking around my chair (or in my chair, if I am to be honest). Or to walk down an aisle and see a fresh green that is perfect for that expectant baby, the deep maroon that looks amazing with your mothers skin tone, or the bright blue that will bring out your best friends eyes in a hat. I'm content to have it sit there and remind me of why I purchased it, even if said baby has outgrown that amount of yarn, your mother would never wear a shawl even with that colour, and your best friend hates hats. You still have it, you have the reasons why you purchased it, and it can sit there and inspire you again on your dimmest day.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to write a novel in the comments!!

    1. No apologies necessary! This is exactly how I feel, and you've put it magnificently :D

  2. I am most definitely a yarn starter too! It is all about the yarn. What I do with it is secondary and when I buy yarn that speaks to me, I know I will wait to knit with it until I come across the right pattern.

    I have also turned into quite the yarn snob, I realised. I feel bad about that because I keep thinking every type has its merits - but I don't believe it. There is yarn that will do, but why opt for that (unless price is an issue) if there is true beauty out there and lots of it?

  3. I love this!

    I used to be a yarn starter. Then I became a pattern starter. Now.... I guess if you go by what I hoard, I have WAY more patterns than I could ever use, many more patterns than my yarn stash could complete. Any time a pattern I like is on sale, I buy it. If a pattern book has more than about 3 patterns I love, I buy it (because the book is more economical than buying each separately, right? and I should support designers? and publishers?). And patterns are much less expensive than yarn. But that doesn't mean I don't have a lot of yarn, too!

    The nice thing is I think I'm reaching an equilibrium where I can shop my yarn/pattern stash and put together projects without having to buy something new, and it's a kind of comfortable place to be. But then, I just bought more yarn (as in, 10 minutes ago), so I think I'm trying to fool myself.

    I figure there are a lot worse vices, so it mostly doesn't bother me, but I probably should stop buying either one for a bit! And actually start some projects, rather than plan more.

  4. I love both patterns and yarns but I can't buy either without planning for the other. So yes the yarn stash is quite small, mostly leftovers from previous projects. And I usually cannot have more than one project on the needles too, I feel almost certain I won't go back to the first one! I seem very severe on myself:))

  5. Lovely post! I honestly don't know which I am. Probably a pattern starter. I tend to get overwhelmed in yarn shops, but if a new pattern collect drops? I am planning outfits left and right!

  6. Both. Definitely both. It depends on the day of the week, and the availability of the loot (will I ever see it again?). These days I'm getting better at leaving the yarn and pattern with the seller until I'm about to start. Unless of course I stumble across something that is just stunning...

  7. I think I'm both. My stash monster is ever growing and I just can't stop myself thinking on the next project, whether its a pattern I've seen or yarn I've picked up somewhere! Btw, that yarn is stunning...x

  8. I'm a yarn starter through and through. It never occurs to me that at some point in time the lovely yarn I made a grab for needs to be knitted up, and that there are easier ways to work out what to knit. You have a great eye, your photography is stunning!

  9. I love this way of looking at things. I'm a little of both, but mostly Is that a thing? Definitely more of a pattern-starter than yarn-starter. I tend to be drawn primarily to form before colour or yarn, so I'll know what I want, go hunting in my stash for something that will work, get distracted and end up picking a completely different yarn, which then transforms itself into something completely different from where I started!

    But I'm drawn to shapes and angles more than anything, and yes, I do have an overwhelming pattern stash! I think it runs to four lever arch files these days, because you never know what you might want to make next!


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