Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A clean yarn drawer is a peaceful mind

I've been writing a lot over the last week, and working away in the back of my mind has been a stash tidy session: destash, knit up, log on Ravelry, contemplate, decide. Gradually working through the stuffed plastic bags that have been clogging up my drawers and my mind for the last year, and thinking, do I really want to take this with me? What have I learned in the past three year's knitting?

A case in point: cotton. It turns out I don't like it, much. Particularly not in heavy weights and in cheap varieties. It hurts the hands and doesn't shine and hangs heavy off the shoulders in a shapeless fashion. It is only ideal for babby knits, but, it turns out, I have no patience for babby knits. I am not a doting grandmother type. Not me. So farewell, entrancing package from two years ago: I've posted one bulging parcel off to a babby-loving friend who'll appreciate you, and one other is ready to go, and a sense of guilt that I never finished a babby knit has gone with you.

And then there's that other cotton, which is indeed heavy, but is not cheap and is complex and a rich rich green: Gedifra Marokko, which I had picked up on sale in KaDeWe in Berlin two years ago (I am made of fancy, I know).
Gedifra Marokko
Chuck, gift or knit into a bag? But I don't really do handknit bags: they sag and get grubby and don't have enough pockets. Or... I could trail Ravelry late at night for possible saviours?

Hallelujah. The yardage is exact, to about three metres or so; it'll be short and indacent, but I can wear it over a light cotton vest, and the colour will still be perfect. Type into Ravelry, photo, keep.

And so it goes. There are a few yarns I might yet part with: this sheen-less laceweight Lavenda, for instance,Lister Lavenda, another eBargain that is sitting about unloved: pure wool and vintage she may be, but she's also unshiny, fine, unsexy.

And that brings me to the point, I suppose: eYarn is not necessarily the way forward, because no matter how knacky the pattern, how perfect the gauge, what makes the garment is the yarn you use, its sheen, how soft it feels against the skin, its halo, the play of its colours. All the things you can never tell in an eBay photo. So do I regret all the eYarn? Of course not. It was my learning yarn, without which I would never know that I have no room in my life for mohair, that tweedy yarns are glorious and fun but to be used sparingly, that there is a great difference between cheap cotton and fancy cotton, that pure wool is not all alike, and possibly most importantly: the yarn on which I discovered what I love to knit and what leaves me cold and unloved. Ditching a half-knitted baby dress or scratchy scarf is much less painful when it only cost €3 in the first place. And sometimes, you even hit lucky...

Henley in progress

As with the patient Russian angora-wool, who waited her time in the back of drawers and is finally knitting up into flickering-flame glory, three years on. Sometimes, stash patience really is a virtue. But given how fast my life moves, usually not.


Anonymous said...

Oh yes, wrt the eYarn thing, it's why I own some yarn which looks perfect for knitting candy canes... I swear it looked orange in the photo.

The Henley is looking gorgeous.

Prof. Askey said...

KaDeWe sells yarn? I had no idea--and this from a woman who has spent FAR too much time trolling KaDeWe.
One more place to yarn shop.

la glitz said...

But Gretchen, you struck GOLD with that fabillis purple tweed!

Prof. Askey - it's over the road from the main shop, and down in the basement. Look for Kurzwaren! It's not the best selection - mostly Gedifra and Lana Grossa, and some RYC - but if you can't make it out to Fadeninsel, KaDeWe is pretty good for a quick fix.

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