Every year around this time I get a case of "startitis" -- an "infection" of "gotta make this -- and this -- and this -- and this! NOW!" I find myself cruising Ravelry for ideas, patterns and groups that have set up challenges for the New Year.
As I confessed on my personal blog a day or so ago, it hit me when I was roaming around YouTube, clicking on video podcasts from yarn shops. The first one I looked up was at the recommendation of a customer who was in the Shop last week. She and her daughter were joining a Mystery Knit-Along (MKAL) originating with the gals at Cozy Up Knits out of Grande Prairie (Alberta, not Texas; you can tell because of the "e" in "Grande" 😊)
I went on to explain that one of the symptoms of startitis is that not only do you have to start multiple new projects, but also you find yourself compelled to work on each one all at once. Having a 20-to-30-minute video to enjoy while you work makes it easier to do this -- especially if you have a series of video 'casts lined up that you've never seen, so you can watch them one after the other. You simply spend one video's worth of time working on one project; when that 'cast ends, you switch projects! You have an opportunity to get up and stretch -- get more coffee or a glass of water or whatever -- and move to The Next New Thing.
I ended up starting two projects from scratch using yarn from my stash -- my pre-Crafty Lady stash -- but while I was searching for the right New Things to make to satisfy my cravings, I unearthed something else as well: memories.
Yes, a stash might sit for a long time in your home -- in drawers, cupboards, tote bags, baskets, wherever. It might even gather dust (or at least, pet hair!) But when you dig out a ball or two of yarn and take a bit of time to think about where and when you acquired it, or from what project it's left over, you also release something else: memories.
What triggered my thoughts for this post? I was digging through my sock yarns when I stumbled over a partial ball of bright yellow and another in deep navy, with the 'Regia' label still attached.
Ah yes... Now I remember...
I moved out of Calgary to the tiny hamlet of Mirror near the end of September 2008. Some time not long thereafter, I explored the towns nearest me. By happenstance, Mirror is located almost equidistant between Lacombe in the west and Stettler in the East. Stettler is my go-to town for my artwork -- framing and mats etc. It also has a quilt shop that has furnished me with batting and fabric from time to time. However, Lacombe is my favourite of the two -- having a bit more 'character' in its buildings and shops, a larger library, a good quilt shop, a couple of very good coffee shops, the church where I worship regularly, the lovely parkland around Cranna Lake that makes for pleasant walks...and of course, The Crafty Lady.
|Pattern: Highland Schottische Kilt Hose|
Designer: Nancy Bush
I don't remember exactly when I found the Shop, but my Ravelry records show that in the fall of 2010, I made a major purchase of sock yarn. Sometime earlier that year, I'd met a fellow who was a piper in the local pipe band. He had a mass of lovely black yarn that he wanted made into kilt hose, and commissioned me to do so.
He was so pleased with them that he asked me if I'd make a pair to match the tartan in his kilt, which was navy, red, yellow and dark green.
The socks would have to be argyles, and I'd need to order the yarn. Oh boy. Off to The Crafty Lady I went, with an aged pattern in hand -- a book that had once belonged to my mother. The pattern I chose was the one on the left below: "Highlander".
I needed solid colours as mentioned above, with the dark green as the main colour, navy and red for the diamonds, and a clear yellow for the lines that threaded through the diamonds. The Crafty Lady had nothing at all in the shop -- but Lori was willing to order up the yarn for me. I didn't have a pressing deadline, so I agreed.
Only last week did Lori reveal that she hadn't carried that brand of yarn -- Regia -- in the shop as a matter of course. Blessedly, I used a great deal of it -- but the last of it didn't sell until long after I'd made the hose, and had begun to work part-time for her in the Shop!
Argyle socks are knit flat, in part, and seamed down the back; the 'in the round' portion comes with heel and foot. I'd never knit socks flat before. In fact, I'd never knit any argyle pattern before. Being paid to do this, I jumped in with both feet.
Luckily, the risk to learn and to try paid off, and my client got his argyle kilt hose in early 2011.
Source: Patons #37 - Hand Knit Socks from Beehive
Despite their size, I still had lots of the navy, red and yellow left over. Fortunately, the pattern book was full of other fun multi-coloured socks...so I made him another pair, free of charge. These too were knit flat, at least part of the way. When I gave them to him, I told him that a) he'd already paid for the yarn and b) he was the only fellow I knew who'd wear them!
|Pattern: Double Check Socks|
Source: Patons #37 -- Hand Knit Socks
Some of you might think these projects would put me off knitting socks for a very long time -- but no. I still make several pair a year. Just don't ask me to make anything in argyle any time soon! 😉
Not only will I continue to make socks, I'll continue to add to my sock yarn stash even as I work hard to whittle away at "old" inventory. And yes, the Crafty Lady will still be my go-to place for sock yarn -- even as I click and order rather than visit the Shop in brick and mortar.
Transition time continues -- with everything in the Shop on sale at a minimum of 5% off, and a max of 25% off. This includes the perfect needles and yarn you'll need for socks -- from double-points to circular "shorties" and ones you can "magic loop".
There's still time to book a "how to" lesson for sock-making...or for just beginning to knit or crochet.
And there are four more in-Shop Knit Nights before the door closes. Do drop down to say hello, check out our sales, have a chat, and sit and knit or crochet a bit. Add to your stash of memories while you visit...and take them home with your yarn.
See you in the Shop!
*Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee and customer...who'd rather knit socks than just about anything else. Just, please, no argyles!