Go Spring

I’ve been afraid to mention it, perhaps worried that the incredibly mild winter we’ve had this year is really just a red herring waiting to whack us around – but it would appear that this really was the winter that wasn’t, and that what’s happening outside might really, truly be spring.  There’s birds, snowdrops… and more than that, my urge to tidy the stash over the last few days this morning blossomed into an overwhelming urge to wash the windows and walk in the park.  (Those two things are obviously can’t be done at the same time.  You can guess which one won out.)

The urge to tidy things here is overwhelming too, so lets to a quick Q&A from blog comments and mail over the last bit, shall we? (By the way, if I post a question from my mailbox instead of the comments, I never use the persons name,  because they didn’t ask it publicly, unless I asked their permission.  If the question is asked by a few people then I paraphrase, and tell you so.)

What are your thoughts on getting rid of "excess" children’s toys to make room for stash? I’m asking for a friend (me).


You know, there’s a lot of evidence to support the idea that children do a little better with a little less.     For the purposes of you getting more room for stash, I have decided not to extend this argument logically to adults and their toys.
You’re welcome.

What about Joe’s Gansey?
– paraphrased, but mostly perpetually by Presbytera

Joe knows why I am not working on his Gansey, and someday I’ll finish it, when the time is right and all cosmic conditions have been fulfilled.  It’s all up to Joe, although the constant pressure means that at least the minute it’s time, I’ll get it done. (PS to Joe: this has only a little to do with the knob on the stove.)

Has anyone really thought about this all jibber jabber about tidiness? Why do people feel they must limit their stuff if it is stuff they enjoy? Why are we conditioned to feel guilty when we have a lot of stuff? Is the Tidy Bully standing over our heads with a whip? So many rules! So many shoulds! As long as it is neatly kept, why can’t we just keep stuff until we need to use it and let it go when we don’t need it anymore?
– Bonnie

I couldn’t agree more with Bonnie.  This is my stuff, I’ll have exactly as much as I want to (provided that’s been reasonably negotiated with the other people who live here…) and I don’t feel very guilty about it at all, and I don’t think anyone else should either, as long as you’re not running out on making the mortgage payment because the alpaca habit reared its ugly head.  I do feel compelled to point out that Bonnie makes another excellent point though.  "As long as it is neatly kept…" and we’ve all got a different definition of neat.  My stash needs to stay under my threshold.  Yours too, I bet.

Did you see one of the recent Hoarders where the woman refused to let them take her 10 Large moving boxes of packed yarn? I was dying to know what kid of yarn she had in those boxes.

-Cindy H

I didn’t see that one, though my heart might have bled a little for her, depending on what else was going on in her home.  Like anything, there is such a thing as too much yarn (I can’t believe I just typed that) and I guess it’s possible for it to hit pathological levels.  If you’ve filled the bathroom with merino and are now showering with the garden hose year round, you might be there… or like I said above, if your stash is now taking up unreasonable space that belongs to someone else… well.  That might be fair too.  Mostly though, I think that while yarn collections are poorly understood by …. frankly, everyone, if you’re on Hoarders, you might have too much – but yeah.  I still want to know what was in those boxes. 

What the heck is Sock Camp, and why should I care?

Well, whether or not you care is totally up to you, and it’s really hard to describe what Sock Camp is.  Mostly, it’s a dyeing/ knitting retreat. Mostly knitting.  Technically it’s four days at the Resort at Port Ludlow, with two classes of knitting instruction (one with me and one with Lucy Neatby, who’s practically a legend) and one class of dyeing with Tina, where we turn a whole sunlit room on the water into a dye studio, and you splash dye around (with some help) and make deeply personal yarn – and this year the fourth class is one I love.  It’s with Carson Demers, and he’s a knitter and a physical therapist, and he has a special interest and focus on how knitters can knit in a way that will keep them knitting, injury free – for a lifetime.  He’s bloody brilliant.  You take a focused class in the morning, then in the afternoon there’s either a bonus thing (this year we’re going out whale watching)  or a workshop.  (This year one of the workshops is a clinic with Carson, where he’ll critique and work with each knitter to help them in a personal way – in addition to the general class.) There’s also amazing food, every room has a whirlpool bath and a fireplace, and in the evenings we do some pretty amazing stuff.  There’s the talent show, and homework presentation, and you should ask around about the slide show.  It’s amazing. 

Mostly though, it’s hard to explain.  It’s four days in an intimate setting with other like minded people, in a luxury resort, talking about knitting with other people who really, really care about it the way you do. People make friends there they keep for years, and Tina and I love meeting them in an small setting like that.  There’s the sea, and otters doing disgusting things (I can’t hardly talk about that) and knitting on the veranda with a glass of wine, if that’s your thing.  I love Sock Camp.

What’s with the theme? Do I have to dress like a pirate or wear a hat? I hate hats.
– paraphrased.

Yeah, me too.  I won’t be dressing up either, though I can’t speak for the other tutors. It’s a deeply personal choice. I suppose the theme is mostly for  "guidelines" (to quote  Captain Jack Sparrow) and it does add a layer of fun.  (Like the pirate theme was the spark for going whale watching.) Really though, it’s just a knitting retreat.  Nobody wants you to talk like a pirate or dress funny – unless that really makes you happy.  Then go ahead.  Remember that when Tina wears her hat. I don’t think I can stop her.

What’s the difference between Sock Camp and the Knot Hysteria Retreats? Which one should I come to?  I think I’d rather come to a retreat because I don’t care about socks that much.
– Jenny, by way of email. (Permission granted to share.)

What’s the difference? Minimal really.  The Knot Hysteria Retreats usually have spinning, this doesn’t, and the Knot Hysteria retreats are free-standing and just the way Tina and I want them to be.  Sock Camp is run by Knot Hysteria (The company Tina and I own that runs Retreats and Sock Summit) but technically, that company is hired by Blue Moon Fiber Arts (Tina’s company) to run it.  That means that it’s way more Tina flavoured than usual.  (If you love her as I do, that’s a good, but wacky thing. Definitely wacky.)  All the other stuff is the same. As for not caring about socks, I get that, though two points.  First, like we said about Sock Summit, socks aren’t really socks – they’re tiny canvasses to practice general knitting skills on – so we think they’re really interesting. Second, for this Sock Camp, there’s only one truly sock specific class. (That would be mine, but you know how I feel about socks.
) Lucy, Tina and Carson’s classes translate really, really well to general knitting. They are simply presented by way of sock.

I don’t know anyone.
– anonymous (and my subconscious)

I can honestly say that I’ve never known anyone to be lonely at camp – unless they wanted to be.  You’d be surprised how fast you’ll make friends.  Even if it’s only me.

Finally (and I got this one A LOT.)

Sock Camp is too expensive.
– paraphrased.

I know it’s expensive. for a lot of us, it’s too expensive. (The irony is that if Tina and I didn’t run the things, we wouldn’t be able to go either.  We get it.)  It’s a knitting retreat/vacation at a resort.  There’s a chef, and lovely staff, and knitting teachers that we’re committed to paying a fair wage to.  That makes it expensive.
I think there’s no point in denying that it costs a lot, so I think about it like diamonds, or cashmere, or owning a really posh car.  It’s a treat – and not everyone can afford to treat themselves like that.  I wish it was less expensive, but just like cashmere, it isn’t.  If I could make it less expensive, I would, but it’s just not how luxury retreats work.  There’s other retreats, ones where you stay in a cabin, or whatever, and some of those will be closer to the reach of more people, but the truth is that it’s like going anywhere really, really special. If you can afford it, and you love it, and it’s important to you (and it really needs to be all three) then you do it. Or (like me and Paris…) you think about it all the time and save, and hope someday it could change, or that I win the lottery and invite you all for free, which I totally would. 

Is there still room at Camp?
-You, know that I’ve told you all this.

A little, not a lot.  Go here. Hit Register.

How’s the spinning going?
-me, pretending you asked. 

Really well.  The reddish batt from yesterday is beautiful yarn now…

and I’m onto the batts I made with Judith, which I can only hope I do justice to.

Any more questions?