July 12, 2012
Good Morning friends, and it is a very good morning, full of hope and possibility - or maybe it just feels that way because I'm in beautiful Vancouver drinking a cup of coffee and looking at the North Shore Mountains, instead of out riding a bike. (Don't worry, I'm still training. I'm headed to the stationary bike in the gym in a few minutes. At least I've never fallen off one of those.)
Posted by Stephanie at July 12, 2012 12:30 PM
It must be how beautifully yesterday went that's got me in such a great mood, because I'm not even totally stressed out about the knitting pickle I find myself in, and make no mistake, I should be. Yesterday morning I got up and surveyed all that is in the works around here, and I made a big pile of knitting, I packed Omelet, and Lizette, and the stuff to start Flow, and then a sock and then another skein of sock yarn, and then thought something like "Oh right, that sweater for Marlowe" and started to add more yarn, and then wondered if I should bring my wheel, because it is the Tour de Fleece.
Then I stepped back, looked at that, and I can't really explain what happened next. I suppose that I overthought it. I suppose I looked at the last eighty-seven thousand times that I've packed way, way more yarn than I needed, and I thought about the last week, where I thought I was going to get so much knitting done and didn't hardly get any, and I looked at my itinerary and thought "You're busy doofus" and then I did something that in retrospect makes me wonder if I hit my head harder than I thought on that last ride.
I took out the baby sweater yarn. I took out the sock - I forgot about the wheel, and only packed Omelet, Lizette, and Flow. (I did put a package of sock needles in my purse just in case there was some sort of emergency. I am still somewhat myself.) I've been trying to finish those three things for weeks, and despite my best effors, they've been un-finishable. Heck, Flow was un-startable. It was more than enough I told myself. Don't overpack, I said.
I zipped the bag, and left.
About an hour later, having been through security and posted to the blog, I sat in the airport waiting to board my flight, and I took out my knitting. I realized instantly that I'd made a mistake. First of all, I thought there was another chart to do on Omelet. I don't know why I thought that, there isn't. There's never been. I had only about ten rows and a cast off to go - and knitters, it was a 5 hour flight, and- I realized with horror, It was the only knitting I had in my bag. Panic swept over me like a wave before I got a hold of myself.
There was nothing for it, and somehow it all worked out anyway. I finished the knitting on the plane - the last few stitches as I landed in Vancouver, the cast off as I arrived at my hotel.
Obviously it needs a proper blocking, but I'll worry about that when I get home. I was right smug with how it all worked out, and I turned to pick up Flow and make a start on it.
Flow's that cool tank from Norah Gaughan, and I love it. It's a simple knit, making it a really good foil for Lizette, which is sort of at a fussy part. I thought it would be a great thing to have to just churn away on - and I took it out of my suitcase, cast on, immediately realized my needle size was wrong-ish, and did a little gauge swatch. Totally wrong. I had 5mm, I need 4.5mm, and I can't believe someone who's been shafted a million times by this an experienced knitter like me didn't pack a range of needles - or swatch first, but that's another affliction. I tried not to panic. In my teaching stuff there's a pile of needles for students to borrow if they're stuck. Surely one set was 4.5mm? Nope. I resolved to worry about it the next day, and went to give my talk at the Vancouver Library. They look like this, and a big high five to Amanda and Fiona of Knit Social for doing an amazing job. (They seem like the kind of women who would always pack a range of needles.)
I had a very nice time giving the talk - and then went back to the hotel and knit for a tiny bit. Since I coudn't start Flow, I worked on Lizette. I knew I had a million repeats of a chart to do before something else happened, and then two whole sleeves, so that was enough knitting to hold me.
Wrong. I have only a few repeats of a chart to go, and the sleeves are tiny, and I have all day today to get through and not only that but tomorrow is a travel day and Lizette is not going to cut it, and now that I think about it, I think that Flow isn't either, not when you think about coming home again, and really, why didn't I think about that? I'm trying not to panic, since there's a craft store near the hotel, and after I go to the gym I'm going to walk over and try to get some needles, and tomorrow I land at A Verb for Keeping Warm, and I'm pretty freakin' sure I can get a backup skein there to take on the plane home, in case I finish all of this.
The crazy thing is that as I typed that, I know what's really going to happen. I'm going to be so worried that I'll run out of knitting that I'll buy more knitting, but then I won't run out of knitting after all, because I have been doing this for a while and I'm probably right, and then ....
I guess I don't have to ever really wonder why the stash doesn't shrink.
A Verb for Keeping Warm... now THERE's a happy place... I envy you the visit, and love their website... hope the trip goes well there...
The Olympic committee doesn't seem to mind if Ralph Lauren uses the word "Olympic" on his $55 tee shirts and other items of apparel (all made in China)!
... I can soooooo appreciate you! I feel that way EVERYTIME I fly... and inevitably, I pick wrong when I overthink... I don't care if people think I overpack - I'd rather do that than be without something... I'll shoulder the extra weight for that lightness of knowing I'm not missing anything...! Keep on Yarn Harlot... and who cares about remaining calm?
I think it might be a plot by the stashed who is always worried about extinction...but really we all know that neither your stash nor many of ours is in any danger in that direction!
I was SOOO excited to see that you were coming to my area on Friday until I realized that I won't be here. We are going to the Eastern Sierras for a long weekend with friends. I am having similar packing issues which won't be remedied with a craft store nearby since there aren't any... The Eastern Sierras are fairly rural. Hope your projects go perfectly. if you didn't manage to knit at the speed of light there would be fewer yarn volume fears... Just saying. Really sorry to miss you.
Always pack the extra sock yarn. :) We've all been there.
I'm right there with you. Threw some clothes & knitting into a bag to meet Mom at ER; have been sitting here so long that I finished the black hole sweater back. Pulled out Wingspan to find a splintered bamboo needle. Thinking of frogging part of sweater back to avoid diverting some of the morphine for myself.
This happened to me once..I was so un-nerved that now, my beloved family makes sure I have a bag with needles & sock yarn in every vehicle we own! They will even ask, unprompted, "Mom, do you have your knitting? You sure that's going to be enough...there may be traffic!" Sock yarn...never leave home without it!
I bet you could have just asked your room full of knitters if anyone could lend you a pair of needles if you promised to mail them back when you got home. ;-)
"The Olympic committee doesn't seem to mind if Ralph Lauren uses the word "Olympic" on his $55 tee shirts and other items of apparel (all made in China)!"
LOL -- see how it's all official like? That means they have a contract that spells out who gets what money for what. That is, he gets to use the logos for something officially connected and a piece of the money goes back to the USOC. That's sort of the whole point.
ROFL. Seriously Stephanie, you can make me laugh like no one else. I love it, you are going to finish all you brought and not be able to start on the 'extra' you brought.
It's just nice to know that regardless of how much 'experience' you do have, you are still human. ;)
PLEASE don't fall off the stationary bike. I hear some have seatbelts....
Joanne - I'm pretty sure the Olympic committee is getting their cut from Lauren.
Going through the same mental calculations right now preparing for a vacation. You have scared me. I think I will toss in that extra project after all.
Having no project to work on while traveling .... no, the world doesn't need that ...
Joanne - I'm pretty sure the Olympic committee is getting their cut from Lauren one way or another.
Have you ever thought about just sleeping on a plane?
I am of the opinion that there should be a knitting shop in every airport for just such occasions!
Steph, thank you so much for your talk last night. I haven't laughed that much in a long time! You were very informative and entertaining while we all did rhythmic repetitive motions and produced seratonin. Thanks for a wonderful evening. Come back again soon.
Enjoy the view of our North Shore Mountains.
After all these years of reading your blog and wishing you would come to Vancouver, I would have to be on vacation the day the tickets went up (and sold out in 5 minutes!) for your talk and classes here in Vancouver. Sigh. Hopefully, you will be back soon. Pretty please. (Knit City ladies ROCK, though, we are super excited for Knit City in October).
Now, if you were like me (which I hope to the Universe you aren't), the only thing this would teach you is to completely overpack on knitting. Every trip, for the rest of your life.
There are worse problems.
I'm more than a little surprised that you didn't just tuck one tiny sock skein in your purse with needles. You are, after all, the reason I don't leave home without an emergency sock in progres myself.
line from a feminist song...."the littlest decisions are the hardest to make." You just sang my theme song! Corrections on top of old corrections.... what if Victor Frankl is right and we carry this equation to the extreme...
what will happen to us if we run out of yarn? Let's RUN out of yarn.
At the airport In Queenstown NZ they actually sell yarn. I just about fainted when I saw that!
Wow...can sort of relate...i always overpack my knitting and reading needs but i feel the same way. I'd rather have something to keep my hands and mind busy than none at all. Good Luck and keep cycling.
Just wondering if would simplify your life if you simply committed to travelling with a couple (or three) skeins of sock yarn and left everything else at home. If the weather so far this summer is a measuring stick, then surely there'll be enough hot days left to finish Lizette and Flow and still wear them!
is it crazy to ask . . . couldn't you just read a book on the plane?
I'm not sure why this is making me laugh out loud. It truly is a sad situation for a knitter to find herself in. So so sad. Heeeee heeeee...
Ahh, the difference between realistic knitting expectations, and unrealistic expectations.
For a trip slightly unrealistic is a good strategy, what you are working on + 1 other project works great for me.
You might have taught me that . . .
and about a hundred knitters are going to bring you sock yarn or size 4.5 needles
I am just about ready to start packing my knitting for a week at the lake. I'm not sure if this helps my perspective, or makes me slightly paranoid...
My name is Donna. I am a knitter. I understand.
I just returned from a family vacation where I packed two knitting projects -- worked on one of them, didn't touch the other, and then busted into my mother's stash to steal yarn to start on the way home for the baby of a friend who arrived early(and whose birth announcement I caught on Facebook while I was within shouting distance of my mother's yarn closet).
There is a logic used by knitters that isn't readily understandable to civilians.
Big cheer for the completion of Omelet.
I'll bet someone in the audience had 4.5 needles and would have been thrilled to give them to you.
I don't suppose it occurred to you that Verb might also sell knitting needles in the appropriate size? :)
Happy flying and I'll see you Sunday! (with sock yarn, and a plethora of needles!)
So I'm currently on a 2 month trip away from where most of my knitting supplies are... turns out I have a lot of yarn here too, but almost no needles. Everything I do here has to be on US 1 or 1.5 DPNs, or US 7 (fairly short) circulars. Unless I want to brave the 3.25mm straights that are in my mother's last (incomplete, from 20 years ago) project... one of which has a rather interesting bend near the tip. At least I have yarn, I guess? And I've got about 15 hours on airplanes between now and going home... Not enough of my yarn is sock yarn. Yet :P At least I have sock-appropriate needles...
(also, Vancouver has a great tea company - Murchie's - if you have a chance. They also sell coffee, since we all know how much you depend on that stuff, but I don't drink coffee so cannot tell you how good it is).
Note to Natalie: You did such a lovely job straightening out all of those needles. Probably be a really good idea to create a fully stocked travel kit for Stephanie to leave in her suitcase (along with a spare ball of sock yarn for emergencies).
Steph, You've got way too much on your plate right now, let Natalie make this happen.
I did just the opposite last week. I packed 5 projects plus my drop spindle and only worked on two projects plus the spinning. To top it off, I bought three skeins of souvenir yarn. The stash is growing, plus now that I'm spinning I'm creating more yarn to add to it.
The most logical post I've ever read :)!
I totally get the overthinking part and wanting to pack too much and then not packing enough. My family just does not get it although they humor me.
A Verb has EVERYTHING, and it is all beautiful. Enjoy!
I always over-pack knitting. Much better to travel with too much knitting (is there such a thing?) than too little.
It was a pleasure hearing you speak last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. While I sat there and performed my rhythmic repetitive motions I finished the cuff of my peerie flooers mittens (Kate Davis) and read this line: "Switch to smaller needles..." Ahhhhh!! I didn't bring smaller needles. So I just sat and listened and fidgeted. Thanks so much for your humourous perspective on knitting. You're very funny both in person and in your books/blog.
I just got back from a trip for which I seriously overpacked, knit-wise. Over the three weeks I stayed with the parents, I made two scarves, a pair of mitts, a hat, one mitts-and-scarf set, one hat-and-mitts set and a purse with shoulder-length strap. Also a washcloth.
The purse, the hat and one of the scarves were made with yarn I bought at the yarn shops we visited while I was there. I came back with the yarn I packed but hadn't used -- a skein of worsted-weight tweed, three skeins of different handspuns and two skeins of sock yarn -- plus three more skeins I bought at an LYS.
Oh, and I'm finishing up yet another pair of mitts from the purse leftovers. Clearly, I overbuy as well as overpack, lol.
Man....I wish I was on that spin bike next to you....although you would have kicked my ass (i bet)....it would have been the greatest spin ever!
And you would want the stash to shrink...why?
hehe - I 2nd what JodyO says, why would you WANT the stash to shrink??!! :)
I can so relate--there is no such thing as packing exactly the right amount of knitting for any trip! Could it be a conspiracy?
Not having enough yarn is scary, but I believe it can't last long for you. :-) Efficient packing is an attractive goal, but not worth the risk for me. I'd rather be mocked for bringing too much, than to run out of knitting! On a different topic, I really admire your fortitude with the bike riding. Good Luck! Are you at least getting incredibly fit and toned as well as covered in bruises?
Omelette looks gorgeous! I am totally jealous of all those ladies, and wishing you'd come closer to Louisville than Vancouver! :-)
Wow, Stephanie! All that circular reasoning reminds me of the series of children's stories: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie; If You Give a Pig a Pancake; If You Give a Moose a Muffin -- that series.
So once again you made me laugh outloud as I believe your talk is "Your brain on Knitting" You my dear are hilarious and someday I will tell you a story that you might find humorous too since you were the one that said,"knitters buy the best tools you can" and I got the point. Enjoy Verb for Keeping Warm, what wonderful yarn you will have to pick from. Just got even tinier annapurna for the new knit along. Hope you have a great trip.
Have you ever knitted anything from Twist Collective patterns? I like that Laresca, cute,very cute , so darn cute!,
The first person to open a yarn shop in an airport will make a billion dollars. The first week.
Maybe when you travel you could carry one of those sets that have all different sizes. That way you'd never be stuck. I'm sure Vancouver loved you!
Thank you for a wonderful evening. I'm looking forward to my class tonight and laugh as I pack my knitting like you do.
For the photo..i'm the one at the back waving to you. You did a great job capturing all of us!!
What did i expect from your lecture? A laugh, a smile, a few stories and a nice evening.
What did i take from your lecture? So much more! You could have easily been speaking only to me and reinforced the therapy that my knitting has been to me these past few years. I'm so lucky to have found it and I'm soooo blessed to have the very special friendship between my grandmother and me....thanks to our knitting!
Steven A. at 2:10 pm: In March 2010, I spent the entire night sitting in a car in the parking lot of a Kauai community college waiting to see if and how hard the tsunami generated by the monster Japanese earthquake would hit the island. I knit on a pair of socks all night long, lighted only by the overhead lights in the parking lot, until we finally got clearance to go back to our vacation rental in the morning. A book wouldn't have cut it at all; the knitting was immensely soothing. I love to read, but there are times...
Just so you know, my daughter managed to fall off/over with a stationary bike and broke her toe. But then she is a klutz and there was a phone and a dog involved too.
Unblocked, Omelet really does look like the texture of an omelet, and a fancy one at that.
Stephanie, I just loved your talk last night. Someone couldn't go and I got invited to buy their ticket. Who could ask for more?
Oh, about Calgary? I lived there for 4 years. If they ask you to go During The Stampede? Go. You will discover why you Can Too go back! Calgary has Seen Everything.
I plan to knit more and in public.
...about that stash shrinking thing...
I began weaving to shrink my stash of laceweight yarn because I just can't seem to knit lace shawls. They defeat me at every turn. Even our resident knit night lace doctorette can't help my affliction. So, I got a loom. And got more yarn, and more yarn and...well
My stash aint goin down either.....
"A Verb for Keeping Warm" ...best ever store name! (wool, knitting, spinning; fits all)
I can't imagine you going to A Verb for Keeping Warm and NOT buying something.
Besides, the only way you're going to get your stash to shrink at this point is Machine Wash Hot, Tumble Dry Hot.
I enjoyed your lecture and lesson today. I don't think I've laughed so hard ever. Glad my extra needles could help you.
You know the Purl-Mcfee law of knitting (much like Murphys law elsewhere)...had you left the travel knitting as it was, there WOULD have been a 2nd and fussy chart to Omlette, Lisette would have had long sleeves and a skirt to match and Flow wouldn't..well..flow. There is no greater travesty than traveling (especially to give talks on..ahem..knitting) and not being able to have a perfectly good reason to buy local yarn souvenirs. The yarn heard you were coming. It would be rude not to stop in and visit.
LOVED hearing you speak last night! Loved the humour, and that you reference neuro plasticity and have (I believe) a completely scientifically supported reason for knitting. I unfortunately am still in the swearing-like-a-creative-longshoreman phase. Newbie. Waiting for the zen state to creep up on me. Still have hope.
hmm, I have often thought that somehow someone should open a airport knit kiosks or shops Wool fumes calm crappy flyers down, lower blood pressure, take one's mind into the future and into the lovely stitchey details. I would find every airport knit shop for my forgotten bits or under-estimated bits. hmmm, what would be a good name...?
*hearty laugh* It may be 5:50am in the morning at this time, and I may be a sleepy teen who needs WAY more than 5 hours sleep, but you have succeeded in making me laugh. Congratulations!
Loved the post, as usual. At Bluesfest last night in Ottawa, a woman was turned away because of her knitting needles!
Cecelia @12:52...how about something like Flights of Wool? (Dang, this is sounding better and better. Must consult w/LYS about airport franchise.)
I like to think that having the tools to make good coffee is part of what enables a morning to be full of hope and possibility. It certainly works for me! :)
The string theory involved with calculating the mass of your stash can be boiled down to - you must maintain either the volumn or weight, which ever is greater or the universe will become unbalanced. More complacated calculations come into play when adult children move out and free up space, creating a vacuum that causes the stash to expand.
As a result, yarn stashs can only grow and never truly decrease. So the expanding yarn stash is not truely the fault of the knitter but is simply the equalizing of the universe.
Beleive it or not, this is good for you. On this trip, focus on something else. Yes. Take a vacation from knitting. It will refresh you, and allow you to break up the daily routine. This is not a bad thing. AS much as I love to knit, I NEVER take it on a trip. I knit every day at home, and need a vacation from knitting, as much as a vacation from the daily grind. When I return, I have a renewed interest in vigor in it (that;s knitting, not housekeeping.)
Wait--you'll be at Verb *tomorrow*??! I was told Sunday, which I can't do, but I can be there tomorrow!
Isn't the Vancouver Library stuning? I saw it for the first time about 2 weeks ago and was blown away. And they have so much going on all the time.
This is why kntting is harder to pack than clothes. I personally always pack the primary knitting, the secondary knitting (one of these should be at least semi-mindless), the back-up knitting, and the emergency ball of sock yarn and needles hidden in my purse.
And that is just to go to work in the morning. You want to talk about for a road trip?
My stash doesn't shrink either and I don't have travel to explain any of it. My stash is a 100% correlation to the idea that if I give gobs of money to my local shops that they won't close down. Knitting and sewing commerce at its finest.
We had to evacuate from the Waldo Canyon fire here in Colorado Springs on June 26th and I FORGOT MY KNITTING! Sitting in the traffic jam with hundreds of other evacuees I remembered my knitting bags were in the living room and all the other stuff to pack was in the dining room. We evacuated to Centennial, CO, where my daughter lives and where there's a very nice LYS Colorful Yarns. I printed a pattern from my Ravelry library and then bought yarn and needles - comfort knitting.