This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Into Each Life. . .

. . . some rain must fall. Last night my computer crashed. Big time. I got the dreaded Blue Screen Of Death and a black screen thereafter. I kept it open all night, and there was a little note at the bottom of the screen telling me that the computer was trying to repair itself and that it would take more than an hour.

This is a disaster for several reasons, the most pertinent here that the catalogue of my yarn stash was on my desktop, and not backed up (because it was a working document, added to each day). I've done almost everything that I can do with my computer, save one, the course of action I call The Nuclear Option. The one I haven't tried yet says Reset your PC or see advanced options. I used this option once before on this particular computer. It set my computer back to factory newness. No Word program, all my pictures disappeared, anything that wasn't backed up on a flash stick gone. Forever. I do not want to lose any pictures that might be on my drive, and I certainly don't want to lose my catalogue. I've done 11 of 25+ boxes, and certainly don't want to do them all again. That way lies madness.

But catalogue them again I shall if I must. I really need to get a handle on what yarns I own, what colours I keep (mostly blue) and what I can make for people now that I'm living in the south, where the temperatures in January hover between 55 and 70 degrees. Wool is not so necessary here as it was back in New England. I've also discovered bags with enough yarn of the same dye lot to make sweaters, since I can think of no other reason for having 15 skeins of the same dye lot. Though I hardly need sweaters down here. I suppose I could make a list of everyone I know and make hats and scarves with all the one and two skein yarns I've got. And there are some special projects for which I've bought yarn but never started, like the 2 skeins of Gilded and the 2 skeins of Fathom Madeline Tosh Pashmina, with which I'd like to make a double sided scarf with a fleur-de-lys design. I should get started on that. But, without the damn catalogue, I don't actually remember which bins contain that yarn. So if I decide to go with The Nuclear Option, I'll be starting from scratch.

The one good thing from which I can take comfort is that my file of patterns, acquired over the years, mostly from Ravelry, are in a folder on my Google Drive. Those, at least, are still accessible.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again

The cataloguing of the yarn continues. Eight bins have been done, and two more will be added tomorrow. I'm actually enjoying this process. Every other time I've tried to catalogue my yarn, I collapsed in a sodden heap of ennui. But I'm chugging along, and I'm discovering yarns I'd forgotten I'd owned. Some really pretty ones, too. I guess I don't need to buy more yarn for a while. At least until the next Sheep and Wool festival I can go to.

Today I went to Bornside Yarns and joined the knitting group. It was mostly ladies of a certain age, and two other men. Very cozy. I started knitting again today after a six week hiatus. I found a hat in Cestari wool that I started, probably in 2009. I was a few rows away from beginning the decreases, so I brought it along and got it to the point where it's now on DPNs. Interestingly, while there, Miss Bette showed us some colour sample cards from a rep she'd just met recently, and they were from Cestari Farms. I passed my hat around so people could get a feel for it. It's a pretty rough yarn, probably better for sweaters than hats, but I was informed upon purchasing it (way back when Lucy still owned Mind's Eye Yarns) that it would soften up upon washing. So it was serendipitous that I found it whilst cataloguing.

While walking to dinner with Brandon tonight, I mentioned that if I can afford it, I'd like to do a quick weekend whirlwind trip to Boston for Mother's Day weekend, to attend the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. He has this insane idea that if I bring new yarn into the house, then he can bring lots of bacon into the kitchen, the kitchen which I would like to keep kosher (don't ask, no, I'm not Jewish, I'm Jew-ish). I immediately informed him that any yarns purchased while on holiday don't count toward one's yarn stash, because it's vacation yarn, a memento of your trip. Some people buy t-shirts, some people buy key chains, and some people buy yarn. Everyone knows that vacation yarn doesn't count as part of one's stash, but I had the hardest time convincing him about that. I'm not sure I have yet, but I shall. Because we all know that it is a fact of life (a "thing" as some friends would put it) that yarns purchased on vacation are not counted as part of the stash, and even people on yarn diets have dispensation to buy yarn on vacation.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Cataloguing My Stash

Well, here it is, the nineteenth instance of January, and I still haven't knit a stitch. Bad knitter! No doughnut new yarn! What I've been doing, instead, is cataloguing my yarn collection. I have over 25 bins of yarn, and have always been daunted by how much cataloguing that would take. But I need to do it, because I have absolutely no idea what I have in my stash. So I created a spread sheet, and I got to it with avengeance yesterday. I've catalogued three bins so far, with a plan to do a bin a day! My spread sheet headings are as follows:
Brand. . .Colourway. . .Actual Colour. . .Fibre. . .Weight. . .Skeins. . .Yards. . .Notes

I included Actual Colour because some of the Madeline Tosh colour designations, while creative, bear no relation to what they actually are. Witness Optic (white with black spots), Manor (green), Moorland (mossy green). The Neighborhood Fiber colour designations, named after neighbourhoods in the DC area are also unrevealing: Fells Point (emerald green), Georgetown (cobalt blue), or Truxten Circle (deep purple). While I love the Neighborhood yarns, I think these designations are even worse, because at least some of the Tosh designations give you an idea (Betty Draper's Blues, or Fluoro Pink). This means that I have to catalogue in a room where there is a good source of natural light, which is not easy to find in our house. Shotgun houses have windows on only one side because there is another domicile against your windowless wall. Of course, the houses are so close together that we keep the blinds closed all the time, so really, the only place where I have good natural light is the kitchen, where the internet doesn't reach, or the living room. I'm sure I'll manage.

I have long thought about cataloguing my collection, but was always put off by its shear size. It's only gotten larger since that first inkling that perhaps I needed to get my act together. So I've taken my own advice from my tutoring days: A thesis is a collection of related papers, each chapter representing a paper. If you can write a ten page paper, then you can write a five chapter thesis. So, my thinking goes, instead of looking at 15+ bins of yarn and thinking, "ONOES! I can't do this! It's too much yarn!" I am instead thinking, while I'm unemployed, I can do at least one bin a day, perhaps two. So I did three the first day, and when I get home from the library this afternoon, I'll do another one or two (because there are other chores like laundry that need to be done). So far, in the first three bins, I have a total of 193 skeins of yarn. I think the extent of my stash is going to surprise me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

From Boston to New Orleans

It is hard to write a knitting blog when one isn't actually knitting. The day after Christmas I packed a van, and the following day, along with two friends, left Boston to move to New Orleans. My friends have since returned home, and I am struggling (still!) to unpack everything I owned, most of which had been in a storage unit for four years. It is sort of like Christmas morning, as I have no idea what is packed away in each box. I own a lot of pottery, and it's good to be reunited with it, though some of it is going back into its wrappings, because honestly, what was I thinking when I bought the eighth pitcher? Sure, they're all beautiful, but I don't need that many hand thrown pitchers.

Knitting. I haven't picked up the needles in about two months,  now. I am only now beginning to feel the urge to knit again. I had stopped before the holidays because I was so tense from the impending move that I feared it would affect my tension. But now I'm in my new home, and while there is certainly a lot more unpacking that needs to be done, some of it has to wait until I can acquire a new bookcase. I own a lot of books, too. Along with Christmas ornaments. Really, I have to stop buying these things, or at least get a library card. Yarn isn't the only thing in which I indulge.

One of the nice things about living in this particular apartment, located in the Fabourg Marigny, is that I am only a very short block from Bornside Yarns. I've stopped in and visited (though I didn't buy, because I am short on funds and I realised, after moving it, just how much 30 or so bins of yarn really is). I don't think I need to buy yarn for a while, and Brandon has threatened to bring a rasher of bacon into the house for every skein of yarn I buy. I shudder to think what a sweater's worth of yarn would do, since this is a major threat to every kosher vegetarian. Still, it might be nice to knit my stash, rather than just add to it. And I do have a good collection of Madeline Tosh, which I can't buy down here, since no one carries it. Thank the knitting gods for Webs!