There’s something about the start of a new year that seems to promote people to take up new challenges and push themselves to see what can be accomplished over 12 months. Here on January 2nd or 3rd next January seems like a life time away, even though we know full well that it is literally just around the corner. Optimism is high and once the cloudy fog of the New Year’s Eve party clears, it feels like the beginning of the year is a chance for all of us to start fresh, right the wrongs from the last year, and hopefully end the year better than we started it.
Knitters are no exception to this. In fact, us fibre folk are perfectly suited for this kind of behaviour. Unlike other people who say things like, “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to save more money” those of us who surround ourselves with yarn have a decided advantage in this area. Our goals are right in front of us in unknit form, taking up the entire living room closet, two baskets under the coffee table and the side table. (Maybe in your house it’s not in exactly the same places, but you understand what I’m saying. Let’s just run with it.) It stares at us, mocks us, begs for our attention, and at least for me, occasionally throws itself on the floor at my feet when I go into the closet for other things. We all have a stash. Even if you are a very new knitter, you have a stash. It’s not a dirty little secret. if you knit, you stash, and the rest of the knitting community knows it. (I understand if you don’t show your stash to non-knitters. They just wouldn’t get it.)
In my circle of friends and knitters, many of us have come to the realization that we have too much stash. I know that some of you will argue with me on that point and say that you can never have too much stash. What happens if there is a major sheep shortage in the world and then the alpaca and llamas go too? What if your furnace breaks down at three a.m. in the worst blizzard of the decade and you won’t be able to have the repair guy show up for days? You have ready-made insulation and really what else are you going to do while trapped in you unheated house waiting for your spouse to dig you out of your front door so you can go out into the frigid winter air? (You laugh, but it happens. I was seven, my dad had to go out my second story bedroom window, the furnace worked the whole time and the wood stove had lots of split trees. It took my dad and my uncle 2 hours to clear a path to the door. Then they went and dug out my aunt. I was unfortunately not a knitter at the time. What a waste.) My husband has started to refer to my stash as the Other Retirement Plan. He’s not wrong. None of this changes the original point that many of us have decided that we have too much stash and we all want to tame it. (We have one friend who is managing this wondrous feat. I need to be more like her.)
So the 12 in 2012 challenges are starting. The group of us seem to be pretty well spread out over the ranges, from completely realistic and sane to are you out of your mind? Maybe you need to have your meds changed kind of crazy. For once, I’m not in the crazy camp. (I know that’s hard to believe.) My friend Tanya over at Nonlinear Solutions is making 12 socks. Not 12 pairs, 12 socks, 6 pairs. Completely reasonable given her life and the time that she had to devote to knitting. Another friend has decided to join in the Lettuce Knit Challenge of making 12 sweaters in a year. That is still not insane owing to the decision to include sweaters of all sizes from infant to adult. My friend on the other hand is getting up there on the crazy scale as she has decided to make 12 adult sweaters since she already has all the yarn for it in her stash. Another friend is making 12 afghans. She will argue that some of them are already started and 1/3 finished. I argue that 12 afghans is still 12 afghans and that is something I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around. I’m pretty sure that she already has most of the yarn in her stash too. (All joking aside, both of these women are wonderful knitters. And while I could never imagine doing either of two challenges, they both may get it done.)
Me? I’m doing 12 shawls. There is nothing crazy about this. I knit 7 shawls last year without even thinking about it. I knit shawls the way other people knit socks or hats. I don’t do major lace work shawls. It’s just not my thing. I like some lace, but all lace makes me cry just thinking about it and I can already feel my left eye starting to twitch just at the thought of it. BTW – If you are a lace knitter, I bow down to you.
My first shawl is ready to rock. The yarn is wound, the pattern is picked, and I am doing the absolutely unthinkable and finishing the last few rows on my Flamboyan before casting this one. My other 11 shawls are picked and there has already been one change as I won a copy of the Walnut Grove pattern yesterday and I want to include it. But things are set and ready to go. I want to use as much stash as possible for this little challenge. I know I have the yarn for at least 6 of them in my stash already. I’m sure there’s more but I just haven’t paired up the rest of the patterns with yarn yet. It is part of the goal to get more balls out of the stash than in in 2012.
So here it is. My January 2012 soon to be shawl :
Yarn: MCN Sock
Colour: And Then Oz Kicked Jacob in his Delicate Girly Wolf Parts. The End.
Wish me luck.