January 15th, 2008

star afghan

Project Creep

I seem to be suffering from a terrible case of yarn project creep.

Once upon a time I only ever had one knitting or crochet project going at a time. Of course that was when I was poor and could not afford to buy yarn on a whim. It was also before the advent of online yarn stores. Back then I would have to get to a yarn store and spend from a rather restricted budget, and that was if they had what I wanted in stock. It is hardly surprising then that I would buy as little yarn as I thought I could get away with for the project, and find a way to use up any leftovers.

Now things are different. Now I can browse Knitty online at lunch, see a pattern that I fancy making, and five minutes later I can have ordered the yarn to make it from any one of a number of online shops, at least one of which is bound to have something I fancy. And some of the shops have such incredible deals on yarn... and I can be a sucker for a sale if it is good quality stuff.

A big part of the problem is that I no longer buy just barely enough yarn. I got burned a few times by underestimating the amount. When buying yarn for a project you really want to buy it all at the same time so the dye lots match and there is no color variation, so running out is bad. So now, I tend to buy extra especially since an extra couple of skeins may cost less than I routinely spend on lunch. Sometimes I overestimate how much I will need too, especially when substituting a different type of yarn. This summer I bought yarn for two sweaters, and ended up with at least 3.5 sweaters worth. Of course I still have the Must Not Waste Yarn urge in me from when Mom and I had way more desire to knit and crochet than we had yarn budget. So I made a third sweater out of the leftovers of one of the yarns even though it postponed other projects that I wanted to make. I did it again with a sweater for Kaden... I made the planned sweater, and I still had enough yarn left over to make him Chaos, and now that I have that all done but one seam, I still have nearly all the navy blue skein left and much of the light blue from the original project, and I'm thinking that it would make a third baby sweater with the leftovers that are likely from a third project I have the same type of yarn for, except I haven't started the third project yet because of all the extra projects I've been doing to use up leftovers. But you see, if I have three colors of a same or similar yarn I can make something using the slip stitch pattern that my mother devised precisely for the purpose of turning the leftovers from three different sweaters into a fourth sweater. That there is the root of my problem.... my mother taught me how to not waste yarn even before she taught me how to knit and crochet.

It's hard not to get excited about new projects though. I just started Ice Queen, a pretty and practical project. I'm thinking of wearing it under my hat to keep my ears warm on particularly bitter days. The problem is, it is hard not to fall in love with the project and the yarn. The yarn I chose is especially addictive. Maybe you need to be a knitter to fall in love with lace weight alpaca at $5 a skein. The beauty of the project is that I only need one skein to make it. Actually, at 440 yards a skein, I might have almost enough for two, and I bet Mom would like one too.... but two would be tight, maybe I should buy a second skein. But I should not buy that second skein. I have an unfinished sweater and an unfinished shawl on needles. I have yarn for an unstarted sweater for me and an unstarted sweater for the fetus, and an unstarted sweater for psychohist. And all of these projects will generate more leftovers. Leftovers that I will feel compelled to make into something else because wasting yarn is a crime, even if it's $2.50 a ball cotton/acrylic blend. Hey, I could make the fetus a sweater out of that, cream is a gender neutral color.

Perhaps I need professional help. I bet I can get a lot of knitting and crocheting done in a shrink's waiting room.