After & Onward

After the limited quantities of yarn that came in this year (by comparison to previous years) as well as the Great Destash, I feel myself craving very few purchases.  But that doesn’t mean grabby hands aren’t looming, especially with the allowance of superwash once again. I need to mitigate that.

After the success and rewards of 2016, I feel another weighty goal is necessary for 2017. Something with similar motivation.  Something that presents a similar challenge.  Something that taps into my overall goals for 2017.

After much consideration, here are my goals for 2017:

  1. No Nylon (or synthetics).
    Nylon is a polymer – a plastic basically. And that means it is a petroleum based product.  In light of the stand off at Standing Rock and the Trudeau government approving two of three proposed pipelines, I feel the need more than ever to reduce my use of petroleum based products.  And this action just makes sense to me.  I’m not a sock knitter and should I become one, I already own heaps of yarn with nylon. Wool wears well and suits the majority of my preferred knitting.  Plus, it is biodegradable!
  2. Work from the stash you LOVE.
    While I truly adore my stash and don’t think I could bear to part with any more of it, it’s still substantial.  And abundant.  That means I need to make a concerted effort to utilize it. Many patterns are populating my Ravelry queue that I want to knit, that I have reserved the yarn to knit, and it’s high time I do so. Ever wonder how long you could knit, if you just knit from stash?
    Gross, right? Just me?
    The hoarder stands alone.
  3. One purchase of Superwash yarn is allowed prior to Knit City 2017.
    (That’s October 1st and 2nd)

    While I tried to block out much of the incredible colourways being created by seriously talented dyers for the bulk of 2016 (survival techniques, yo), I have begun stalking a few and I need to scratch the itch. And yup, I will adhere to goal number one for the year when I do place the order. This is basically to ensure that I don’t fall off the wagon which is goal number two with a thud.
  4. The built in loophole: Yarn for Softsweater testknits is permitted*.
    *Provided I don’t have appropriate yarn in my stash.
    (That’s a fairly substantial proviso!)
    I am a pretty big fan of Sylvia, the magician behind Softsweater Knits.  Over the course of 2016, I was fortunate to build a friendship with her and cheer on the publication of her first book, Shawl Joy. Plus, I just freaking love her designs. I love lace knitting.  I love the rustic yarns that inspire her.  They just suit me and I wear her creations a lot.  An inordinate amount of time has been spent mulling over this loophole over. I discussed it with my husband and nearly wrote a pro/con list. When I realized it would look like this:
    Pro: I LOVE her patterns.  I LOVE knitting them. I LOVE wearing them.
    Con: I’d probably buy the yarn anyway so…fail.
    I thought it reasonable to allow for it.
    Who’s Type A? Seriously.
  5. Embark upon a new knitterly path.
    It’s vague, I know.
    An idea has been percolating for a while now and recently a further aspect of it struck me.  It’s vital to me that I explore this further and get this idea into motion.  Once it has legs, I will share more.

Onward into 2017, I look forward to new lessons garnered.  I anticipate a struggle and welcome the reward.

Onward into 2017, I feel a renewed passion for knitting. I wonder what the year ahead will bring to my outlook on yarn and this craft.

Onward into 2017, I wish you lessons, passion, and reward.  May you find success in your goals and what you endeavour to do.  Wishing you oodles of cheer & a very Happy New Year! xo





Inspiration & Motivation

“As a society, we’ve trapped ourselves in a kind of reverse Fordism.  Instead of paying workers well enough so that they can afford good, honestly-priced products – as Henry Ford endeavored to do so his workers might afford to his cars – we pay them so little that the only food they can afford is junk food destructive of their health and environment.
-Michael Pollan

In October 2015, I sat in a lecture hall in Vancouver, BC listening to Clara Parkes present her lecture The Great White Bale.  I was riveted.  I couldn’t even knit as I listened to her experiences in the genesis of Clara Yarn; it was inspiring.  Towards the end of her lecture, Clara read the above quote from Michael Pollan and I nearly fell off my chair.  For years I’ve been mindful of our diet, chosen local and organic, and made dietary choices not only for the betterment of my health, but the environment, too.  Why had I never considered the sheep, farmers, or environment when buying my yarn??

I cannot even claim ignorance on the subject either.  I’ve listened to the podcasts, read articles about the treatment of yarn, and heard firsthand about what the chemical does to the yarn and afterwards our planet.  However, not a single piece of information landed as that quote did that Friday night.  I adore Michael Pollan; I’ve read his books, his articles and listened to his Ted Talk. In Clara delivering the quote, two of my worlds, my passions, collided.  A friend sitting across from me saw it how it affected me.  In that exact moment, literally, I knew my goal for 2016: my year of knitting clean.  No superwash. No synthetics.  Yarn where I can identify the source.

Be it from a dyer or a farmer, I want to know where the sheep/alpacas graze and are sheered.  I want to know where the raw wool is milled and spun. When it reaches the dyer, I want to know why it was sought, and if there is any inspiration for colourways.  I am approaching this year as I did when I went to the local farmers market.  I will approach the seller and seek information to better understand the process and product.  I want to know the who, what, where, why and how.  Heck, even the when.

When my little family walks away from the farmers market each week, we feel connected to our community.  We eagerly anticipate dinner, both the consumption of it and the preparation.  We feel gratitude and reverence for the offerings and the hands that grew it.  Simply put, food tastes better for knowing its history!

In my yarn purchases for 2016, I want to feel the same reverence for wool.  I want to be giddy about winding it.  I want to be transported as the yarn moves across my needles and in my hands.  I want to be connected to the farm and the community.

That is not to say that I don’t have those feelings now.  I have shelves full of beautiful yarn lovingly dyed and treated with care.  Yarn that glows with vibrant colour and elicits such joy from me.  I smile like there’s a hanger in my mouth as I pull an adored skein out into the light and hold it to my face to nuzzle. (Yes, nuzzle.  I’m a yarn nuzzler.)  I know many of the dyers, have gotten to know them and even in some cases built friendships.  I’m grateful for these skeins, these dyers, and their genius in their creativity.

Frankly, reading the quote out of the context of the lecture, it doesn’t hit me the same way.  Maybe it’s the #ClaraEffect?  However, I’m honouring the idea, and charging head strong into the new year with fervour.

Perhaps my goal is a tad lofty.  Maybe my expectations are out to lunch.  Alas, I’m diving in ready to learn and ready to be grateful.