Tag Archives: yarn

Smoke and chocolate

Knitter, blogger and urban gardening adventurer Crazy Aunt Purl has something radical to say about saving money:

I have found over and over again the number one way to increase the amount of money you have in the bank is to just stop spending it.

More than once, I’ve thought about doing just that — the way I think about, say, climbing Everest on a package tour; or getting my back and shoulders and arms tattooed like a Japanese gangster’s, all covered in secret ink under my clothes; or throwing out all my clutter and painting my floors and walls white like in a chic Swedish apartment; or what it would feel like to walk on the moon and whether it’d feel crunchy under my feet; or the first thing I’d do if I became President.

Continue reading Smoke and chocolate

Oh, dear

I just stumbled on Artfibers’s brick-and-mortar today. It’s two blocks from my work. That could be trouble.

Fortunately there’s a gym on the way to the yarn store, which means a good opportunity to blackmail myself with workouts when, not if, I slip up and buy yarn.

Bless his heart

Justin and I were talking today at lunch about clutter and about consciously trying not to buy lots of stupid things we don’t need.

“Um, speaking of mindless consumption,” I said, “I won another skull on eBay.”

“Oh, good! What’s this one like?”

“Well it’s supposedly a cross between a Jacob’s, like my weird four-horned one, and a regular sheep,” I said. “It only has two horns, but they’re sort of … doubled. Like, two horns on each side growing right next to each other. You can see sort of a seam running down the middle along the length of the horn. And at the very end, for the last couple inches, they split into two tips. It’s beautiful.”

“Awesome!” he said. “See, that’s a stupid thing to collect that’s actually awesome. Like, it’s useless, but it’s really cool. I wish the whole house were full of that kind of thing.”

“Unlike my yarn,” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, don’t you think the yarn situation’s a little out of control?” I said.

He looked at me like I had said something stupid.

“No. That’s not it at all,” he said. “Your knitting is awesome. It’s not like in 50 years, you’ll have a houseful of yarn, like you would if you collected figurines or something stupid. You make things, and they’re really cool, and the yarn is your supplies. I think it’s really cool.”

Now this is the kind of person who deserves a custom-designed sweater.

Yarn diet: Officially broken. Gross-out diet: Officially begun.

Thanks, Knit Picks. That was $50 right there, almost all of it black and red yarn because I basically don’t buy anything else. I should know better than to even go to the site at all — I’ve only been to the site maybe three times, but ended up buying stuff every time. Dang.

While I’ve probably gained another four or five pounds of yarn, I did somehow lose a pound of myself. It probably has something to do with decreased appetite. The first factor is pretty simple: I went off the Pill. Within a few weeks, my mad and desperate cravings for junk food started to subside and I could finally drive down a street without mentally cataloguing all the desserts available at each fast food restaurant I passed. I’m not a big comfort eater; I eat when I’m hungry, mostly. The pill just made me hungry all the time.

Also, last night I started my first batch of soap made from the 21 pounds of lard I brought back from a big campout last summer. It was a “Leave No Trace” event, so we couldn’t just ditch the bacon fat, and there was a lot of it. Everyone in our camp had to bring a pound of bacon, and there were over 50 people in the camp. When you have that much grease, you have to dispose of it like hazardous waste — or use it!

You ever watch Fight Club? Remember the scene where Tyler Durden is throwing bags of yellow liposuctioned fat to the narrator? It looked like that. Lemme tell you, staring at pure, congealed fat the consistency of room-temperature butter for that long, it’s not hard to picture the jiggliest parts of your thighs looking like that on the inside. Talk about diet motivation. After scooping four pounds of lard into a bowl, melting it down and stirring it with lye water for an hour, it’s safe to say my appetite is suffering.

The whole kitchen smelled like the grocery store in Clear Lake that’s been deep-frying food in the same building for 30 years, and my hands still smell like the insides of the rubber gloves I wore when I was stirring the lye water. I never want to eat again.

I made yarn again!

Equipped with the drop spindle and roving Sarah provided after my first spinning lesson, I sat down yesterday and spun for the second time. The results were wildly different from the ropy, very-thick-to-very-thin, kinked and twisted blobs I came up with when I started. This one is a bit thick and thin, going from very fine all the way up to fingering weight, but at least it looks like it made up its mind somewhere early in the process of spinning that it wanted to be yarn. Unlike the alpaca I spun the first time, which I think wanted to be a trapeze artist or a motorcycle racer, what with all the flying and leaping and dodging about.

Handspun yarnThe boyfriend was surprisingly and loudly enthusiastic about a tiny ball of yarn the size of a tangerine. “That’s amazing!” he said in that voice he only uses for things he desperately wants to buy, things he is excited about eating and things I have made that are exceptionally cool. “The colors are great! That looks, really, really good. Wow.”

I like the boyfriend a lot today, by the way.

Holy cats, am I ever into spinning. It was amazing seeing how the blobs of color on the roving turned into long stretches of color, and to see how those colors interacted with each other when I plied the yarn. I can’t wait to dye my own, either, since it means I’ll finally, finally I’ll be able to generate yarn in the colors I like. I love the textures of handspun yarn, but oh my god the colors of almost everything I can buy completely repel me. I like dark, solid colors and tone-on-tone gradations, and not much else.

The vile color combinations that dominate the shelves and online stores make me wonder just how the hell people come up with this stuff. I imagine some opportunistic fiber-arts pusher, arms full of boxes of “Easy Knitting” books and stupid knitting notions with sheep on them, knocking over a tray of dye bottles onto a nearby bag of roving.

“Ah, hell, what do I do with this?” he says. “Wait, I’ll just dump some more purple on top of it, name it after a female historical figure or an annoying stereotypical personality trait associated with women, and pretend I did it on purpose.”

Seriously, it’s like someone ransacked my mom’s closet to grab her most embarrassing outfits and turned them into string. That’s not to be taken lightly: I’m talking about a woman who wore outfits that combined purple, gold, polka dots and stripes in a single outfit. You know those women of a certain age who do that Red Hat thing where they wear purple, go to restaurants, laugh like fiends and make lots of noise in public? My mom had to tone down to blend in with those ladies. It took me years to admit that my favorite color was red, just like hers, because I was so deathly afraid to admit we had anything in common.

In my book, wool should look like it’s suffering from ennui and is maybe considering existentialism as both a philosophy and wardrobe. Neon colors are for hair. So homebrew yarn looks like it just might be the perfect thing to keep me broke, isolated from non-fiber-arts folks, and spinning and knitting in front of Invader Zim, Futurama and innumerable bizarre French movies for the rest of my life. At least the house will be well insulated with the bag and bags of roving I’ll have stacked against every wall.

I want a spinning wheel, of course, but there are some other expensive things I want first (a Canon DSLR, a Fiat 850, and a Nabaztag, for starters), so a wheel will have to wait. In the meantime, I want a drop spindle of my own. Nerd that I am, I want to make one. It’s ancient tech, and I figure that if people who had to burn cow shit for fuel had the smarts and materials to make spindles, I can, too — especially with things like craft stores, hardware stores and power tools at my disposal.

Now if only I can figure out where in the house I can jam the one-pound bag of undyed Corriedale I have my eye on, I’ll be set. The yarn stash is out of the question, because adding to it means trying to mess with the laws of physics and that’s not really a place where I’m comfortable pushing the envelope. Maybe in the big stoneware pickle crock?

The yarnening

OK, so I cracked. Just after declaring I wasn’t going to buy more yarn, I did. I’d been planning on getting the yarn for a couple months, and after a stressful few days, I broke down and bought it. In spirit, it was like checking items off a list: the Rowan “Tapestry” to make a gift, and the other yarn because it was almost exactly what I’d pictured for a project I’ve had in the works forever. There was no true recreational shopping. So why do I feel like I broke?

No more damn yarn

At least, not for a while. I officially have enough yarn.

First off, I have about about five sweaters’ worth of projects lined up: enough for Tubey, Rogue (will my pile of Araucania “Nature Wool” work for that?), the Hourglass Sweater from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, and whatever projects will take up a thousand yards of glossy cotton and my precious, precious stash of black Noro “Cash Iroha” I shelled out too much for on eBay. Cash Iroha is my darling that I love, love, love, and it is discontinued, and I had to have it, cost be damned. Once it came in, the yarn spent a week on the floor next to the bed while I alternated between patting it lovingly and hiding it under clothes so it wouldn’t remind me I’d spent $75 I really didn’t have on a yarn I had no idea what to do with.

But it’s been a couple months, and I’ve matured, right? I actually didn’t buy anything on the big yarn excursion last weekend, and I like to think it was because nothing really screamed take me home and not because I only had, like, $2 in my pocket. But it’s true, nothing really made my heart jump. I base my claim of increased maturity on the fact that all shopping has been like that for me recently: I go to the store, I wander aimlessly around, I paw idly at the merchandise, I maybe pick up a couple things and carry them around the store for a while, and then I put them back where I found them.

Even thrift stores hold less allure, since after years of cruising thift stores that smell like old shoes, garlic bins and ancient cigarette smoke, I’ve landed enough awesome old stuff that new awesome old stuff doesn’t really register. Yeah, old fruit crates are great, but my bright yellow Coca-Cola crate is better. Sure, those old coffee mugs are amazing, but I’m only interested if I can get a whole set, and could they possibly be any cooler than my mid-’60s Franciscan ware teacups and saucers and creamer?

It’s gotten harder and harder to justify bringing home new stuff when I have so much great stuff at home. After a year of viciously weeding out sub-par and mediocre possessions, what I have left is pretty damn good. Sure, Rowan Cashsoft is great at the store, but I’ve already got all the Cash Iroha and a sweater’s worth of sport weight merino-cashmere blend at home, and in better colors, to boot. And I just realized that I’d forgotten about the merino-cashmere blend, which means I have six sweaters’ worth of yarn.

I’ve got impulse yarn, too: a whole milk crate of oddball and single-skein purchases from the deep-discount sales at the yarn store where I worked, in everything from superchunky alpaca to lace-weight merino. I haven’t added much to the box in the last several months, except for two perfectly reasonable skeins of Classic Elite “Inca Alpaca.” Staying out of yarn stores and staying off eBay helped with that, as did going back to school and not having any money.

With any luck, all this newfound, non-shopping, non-impulse-buying maturity has spread to other areas of my life, like knitting. Because with all this stash, and an entire winter wardrobe’s worth of yarn, and being a pretty technically proficient knitter who worked at a yarn store and helped out with knitting lessons, you’d think I’d have actually, y’know, knitted a sweater by now.

But I haven’t. Not one. Not one in the 2.5 years I’ve been knitting.

Why? No attention span. I cast on, I knit maybe an inch, I immediately ditch the project in favor of something fast and gratifying, like a hat. And then another hat. And another. It’s a good thing I have so many friends with cold heads and a taste for the skulls or animal ears that usually decorate my designs.

So far, I’ve had a lot of big ideas and bigger impulse buys and nearly no follow-through, which is kind of how I live lived my entire life. That way of living doesn’t fit so well anymore. I end up wandering around Goodwill, feeling restless, finally understanding that buying more crap doesn’t make me feel better, and potential doesn’t feel as good as accomplishment.

So no yarn-buying, at least until a couple sweaters from now. I’m making an exception for the sweater I’ve promised my boyfriend for Christmas/birthday, because he wants it in black and the only sweater’s worth of black yarn I have is the Cash Iroha, and he’s not getting it, no way no how. And more importantly, no squealing about yarn diets and de-stashing. No blog buttons, no -alongs, no overexposed snapshots of storage containers bulging with yarn, no transcriptions of conversations with incredulous non-knitters about my compulsive purchases. I don’t need support from others to keep my spending in check. What I want is awareness and appreciation of the things I choose to bring into my life.

I’m finding out, in small ways, what it feels like to live that way. Since I filled my little hand-bound recipe booklet a few months ago, I’ve been tucking folded-up, food-stained recipe printouts into it and thinking there must be a better way. A month ago, as I unfolded bits of paper looking for a cookie recipe I’d doctored to my specifications, I thought “Y’know, I’d really love to have one of those little metal recipe boxes for index cards. One of those little old-school ones they just don’t make anymore. Something kitschy, that even my mom thinks is old-fashioned.” I could almost picture it in my head, almost hear the solid little thunk the lid would make when it closed. I dug out the recipe I needed, jammed the booklet into the spice rack next to the garlic bowl, and decided not to change a thing about what I was doing until the right answer came along.

A week ago, at the Salvation Army, I found this:

Recipe box
The lesson: Hold out for what you want, and when it shows up, take it. Especially when it costs 50 cents.

Field trip: Yarn-store indoctrination

Field trip! My buddy Sonya, a self-taught knitter who’s been soldiering through knitting and learning about yarn pretty much on her own, hadn’t been to a real yarn store until today. I finally bullied her and her sister, a novice knitter whose determination to learn about knitting is eclipsed only by Sonya’s, into going to two yarn stores today. Yesss.

I worked in a yarn store myself for about a year, and one of the unfortunate side effects is that the novelty of yarn stores starts to wear off. Most decent stores stock a lot of the same basics, so it’s easy to wander around going “Yeah, yeah, yeah, seen it,” acting terribly blasé in the face of acres of yarn. It also meant I had unholy amounts of access and exposure to the best products and an employee discount, so I just plain got used to being surrounded by yarn and I funneled healthy chunks of every paycheck into my stash.

It’s not uncommon; the same thing happened to my brother when he worked at specialty food places. The pizza-joint job meant he ate so much pizza that he finally stopped being interested in it forever, and the Swensen’s job ruined him for ice cream, something that my twelve-year-old self refused to accept when he told me about it. I’m not that bad — no way no how am I immune to yarn — but clocking in at the store every day did make a dent in the freakout that happens to a lot of folks in close proximity to incredible yarns. I have to get that yarn-store buzz vicariously now, and get other people high by dragging them to the most dazzling yarn stores I can find.

Commuknity, on the Alameda in San Jose, didn’t disappoint. It’s huge and airy, with distinct areas within the store: an entryway, a couple of yarn and book sections, a knitting area with hot tea and flashy couches, and a separate area for lessons and classes. The areas flow together really nicely, giving a really open feel to the place, but are defined enough that you don’t feel like you’ve accidentally wandered into a mail-order warehouse lined with shelving.

It’s also invitingly set up, with the yarn intelligently arranged by content and type, not just brand. There were samples everywhere, all clearly tagged with pattern and yarn information. Man, I appreciate the hell out of that — it’s nice not having to track down staff just to ask “Um, what’s this made of?” And the Addis! Dude, if you’re into them, they have the best selection I’ve ever seen of Addi Turbos. Dang.

I nearly drove Sonya crazy with overload. It was her first time seeing a lot of these yarns in person and I kept walking up to her, sticking balls of yarn in her hands and walking away, which completely threw her off her pace. I just couldn’t help it — I kept getting snared by all these alpaca yarns and new cashmere blends. It seems like yarn manufacturers will put any amount of cashmere yarn into their yarn blends, no matter how puny, just so they can stick “cash-” into the yarn names somewhere, but there are a few winners. Rowan Cashsoft, dude. Wow.

Sonya’s sister had gone in intending to buy a bunch of yarn for presents, and ended up with a bagful of yarn for herself. Exactly the way it should be, I said.

After that, we hit up Knitting Arts in Saratoga. It’s a completely different feel: the store feels teeny, since it’s a long, shotgun-style space with a narrow storefront. The front little knitting area was filled with knitted samples, gorgeous yarns in rich colors, and knitters who seemed pleasantly crotchety. (Sonya and I like our knitters full of humor and bite, like us.) It’s warm and cozy and has fewer of the plain old basics (except Lamb’s Pride, which it has a bunch of). The place reminds me of the luxury yarn store where I used to work: slightly higher prices, superior customer service and a real dedication to stocking hand-dyed and artistic yarn.

Sonya fell hard for some Lorna’s Laces 50% wool, 50% silk in a really stunning colorway, and I think I insisted a little too hard that she get it. She had $40 from her sister to buy herself yarn with, and the one hank would take nearly all of that, but she was way too in love with the stuff for me to let her get anything else. She got distracted by a pretty great deal on a bag of Rowan, but I kept telling her to put it down. “You can justify a deal anytime,” I said, “but you can’t always justify buying what you really want. Buy the one you love.”

And it worked! She seemed a little stunned when she plopped down her cash for it, since she’d never blown this much on a single skein before, but by the time we got out the door she said she knew she’d done the right thing. She fished the hank out of the bag and during the whole drive home, she rubbed it against her face like it was an especially fluffy and amiable kitten and cooed about how beautiful it was. Dunno about you, but that says “right choice all the way” to me.

My local yarn store, Rug & Yarn Hut in downtown Campbell, is gonna be next. It’s a cozy, informal place, not really the best for people who need hand-holding or who insist on artfully arranged yarn displays. You can’t beat the comfortable attitude, though, and the staff are more like actual friends than salespeople. There’s even a kiddie pool full of sale yarn at the back of the store, and no trip there is complete without kneeling in front of the pool with a couple other determined bargain hunters, chucking bags to each other (“Hey, there’s more of that mohair you were looking for!”) and giggling.

Trip report: West Valley Alpacas

Dec. 2, 2006: Four knitters set out on a day trip to Esparto, Calif., in scenic Yolo County! Our destination: West Valley Alpacas, a working alpaca ranch, for their annual holiday sale.

Alpacas have goofy hair
Alpacas ho! Seriously, alpacas have the best hair you’ve ever seen.

I first found West Valley Alpacas through their booth at the giant mega fiber-arts convention Stitches West a couple years ago (next one’s in February at the Santa Clara Convention Center, yo!) and had wanted to engineer a field trip to the farm ever since. And this! This was the year! Many knitters and non-knitters alike expressed interest in the trip, but due to double-booking, lack of finances, apathy, disorganization or lack of publicity (I am not always the most organized trip planner), most folks backed out and only four of us made it. Sweet! This meant everyone could take one car and we could all head out together.

Alpacas
This is the alpaca version of a defensive huddle.

We met at Sarah’s, piled into the Mercedes I borrowed from my parents, armed ourselves with coffee and David Sedaris audiobooks, and hit the road. All did not go perfectly smoothly, though. Right around San Francisco, my buddy Sonya encountered the horrific stomach virus I brought back with me from my Thanksgiving vacation. As is typical of this particular plague, it struck with incredible speed: as she says it, just as she was thinking “Um, I think maybe I’m not gonna be OK,” the uncontrollable vomiting hit. We pulled over and cleaned up, and Sonya bravely insisted she wanted to stay with the road trip. “Alpacas or death,” we cried, and we chose alpacas!

The drive to Esparto takes about two hours. Once we turned off the freeway, we followed the directions from the West Valley Web site — all farm roads and directions like “Turn left on Road 25 (dark blue silos and a graveyard on the right-hand side)” and “Left up the driveway IMMEDIATELY before the little concrete bridge.” We bumped up a little unpaved driveway and saw fences, chickens, a gray barn and goofy, goat-sized animals with fluffy hair and sock-puppet necks! We’d found it!

Another alpaca
All I wanted to do was pat the alpacas’ fluffy heads. Seriously, look at this alpaca’s head: it’s like a fluffy sphere with ears and a nose poking out.

The place is like a pocket ranch. It’s tiny! The main building is amazing. The store part is a lean-to extension of an open-sided barn full of mysterious alpaca-ranching gear. The store itself is small, neat, and packed with alpaca yarn and spinning wheels. I definitely had a soft spot in my heart for the refreshments table that held little cookies and a Crock-Pot full of mulled apple juice. The cashier’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when we told her we’d driven up from Redwood City. I don’t know if alpaca ranches are used to the idea that fiber nerds with a love for goofy-looking animals will drive that far for a fluffy fix.

Sarah out-knit-nerded all of us at the spinnings wheels, trying out a sexy double-treadle wheel while I stared, fascinated. Watching a human being turn handfuls of fluffy animal hair into yarn is like watching a blacksmith at work: there’s this incredibly awareness that you are next to an ancient art that long ago helped people survive. Sarah must’ve been equally impressed: she got that same acquisitive glint in her eye that I’d see when she put away the new Jo Sharp yarns when we worked at the yarn store together. You guessed it: momma bought herself a spinning wheel.

Meet Coriander, the one on the leftShe also bought a bag of fiber from one of the alpacas! Just to make the whole experience even cuter, the bags aren’t labeled by color; they’re labeled with the name of the alpaca that provided the fiber. Sarah’s was from Coriander, which she thinks is the light gray one in this photo.

I opened one of the little bags of combed top (that’s washed, brushed fiber that’s ready for spinning) in a dark chocolate color and fell in love. Dude, patting combed alpaca top is like patting the fluffiest, most freshly washed and thoroughly brushed baby alpaca in the whole world. Amazing. I bought it, of course, and am already hitting up Sarah for my first spinning lessons.

After we poked around the store and stocked up on yarn, we got to take a tour of the alpaca pens. Ten or twelve of us were led into the alpaca pens and were given a quick rundown on alpaca etiquette. Even when alpacas are handled daily and relatively tame, like these were, they’re inconsistent and opinionated about how much they like people. You’re supposed to put your hands behind your back and move slowly to keep from freaking them out. I cruised up with Sarah’s Treo to take pictures (like an idiot, I’d forgotten a camera) and the alpacas decided they liked me. They also decided that they loved Tracy.

Tracy gets alpaca kisses
An alpaca sniffs Tracy, our alpaca charmer. Tracy got alpaca kisses; I got several alpacas nuzzling my armpits while I tried to take pictures.

The ranch staff told us that the female alpacas are the most chill. The castrated males were more stroppy, and were penned separately where they could rear up and spit at each other. We were told that alpacas hum when they’re stressed, and that alpaca humming can mean anything from “I’m unhappy” to “He has more food than I do” to “I don’t like this” to “He’s getting more attention than me.” When they’re really upset or mad, they huff air at each other as if they’re going to spit, and when they’re really upset, they eject chewed-up food from their stomachs and blow it at their opponents.

“Yup, they’ll vomit all over each other if they get really mad,” said one of the ranch staff as he showed off the breeding males.

Kneeling alpacaOne alpaca decided that today she liked people, so she flopped down in the middle of the little knot of visitors and let herself be petted. Her fur was plush and inches deep; pressing on her side felt like pressing down on a pillow. My whole hand could sink into her fur. Wow. I started to understand why alpaca yarn is so amazingly soft and lofty and squishy: it’s because alpacas themselves are soft and squishy!

By then, we were getting kinda crapped out. It had been a long day of driving, and Sonya was trying hard to be brave in the face of illness, but it was tough. She spent half the time lying in the car with the seat all the way back, feebly wishing aloud that she were dead. We took pity on her and headed back home, stopping for pasta on the way back and finally making it home a bit after dark.

I dropped Sonya off at her house, where she collapsed in bed. She told me later that when her manager wouldn’t cover for her at work the next day, she had to come in still seeping spores of the terrible death plague out her pores, so she carefully, deliberately licked all his office supplies. She made sure to lick both the caps and the barrels of the highlighters, since he’s the only one who uses them. My hero!

Conclusion: Alpacas are every bit as cute as you thought they were, and this spring, we’re going back for more! Sunday, May 6, 2007 is West Valley Alpaca’s next open house. They’ll have demonstrations of spinning and shearing, so if seeing a weird-looking animal strapped to a table and shaved is your kind of thing, make sure to save the date!

Unpopular knitter opinions

  1. Sheep are not cute. They smell bad and are stupid. If they were people, they’d be the kind who couldn’t chew gum and walk at the same time. They’re so abysmally stupid, unwrapping a stick of gum while standing perfectly still would probably take fierce concentration to keep from going all wobbly and accidentally falling down. They’d also be the kind of people with large, clumped shit-stains on the seats of their pants.

    There are good reasons for sheep to stay around: they make wool, the littlest ones taste good, and I like collecting their skulls. Yes, we like knitting. No, that doesn’t mean we have to develop a slavering, obsessive fetish for everything that supplies our hobby. You don’t see annoying, pointless little knitting gadgets with cartoons of silkworms or cotton bolls or hemp leaves on them, so why sheep?

    (Alpacas, though, are totally worth the fuss, but that’s because they’re bratty, weird-looking animals that look like they have fluffy sock puppets for heads.)

  2. Learning to knit (in the round, lace, backwards, Fair Isle, intarsia, Continental, etc.) is not hard. It is not as hard as learning to drive. If you can learn how to conduct a large metal object capable of carrying your body at dizzying speeds next to other cars capable of smearing your body across the road with just one wrong move, you can handle whatever knitting hurdle is barring your way. Knitting will probably be easier, actually, since you won’t have your dad white-knuckling the door handle and yelping like a wounded Chihuahua every time you goof up.

    Learning is not hard. Giving yourself permission to learn is hard. I saw this all the time when I worked at a yarn store: people would get mad or embarrassed when they didn’t get things right the first time and would give up, saying “I just can’t do this. It’s impossible.”

    It’s not. Just give yourself permission to screw up as much as you need to, don’t be embarrassed about asking for help, and stick to it. You’ll get it.

  3. It’s not OK for things I make to look handmade. I want the things I create to look exactly how they look in my head. I don’t imagine things that are sloppy or poorly made, so I don’t want the finished product to look sloppy or poorly made, either. Telling me “It’s OK for it to look handmade” only makes me want to rip the whole thing out and start over, which I’ll probably do, anyway. It’s a lot more work, but unqualified success is worth it.

  4. Internalized snobbery sucks. All of us have some acrylic hand-me-down yarn or some craft-store cotton buried in our stashes. Sure, it’s not luxury materials, but that kind of yarn can be incredibly practical. It’s not a crime to own it or use it. If you use it, don’t be ashamed of it, and don’t apologize.

  5. Reverse snobbery sucks. Y’know how people talk shit about Red Heart yarn? It’s not because they’re trying to tear other knitters down. It’s because Red Heart is actually kinda crappy. Sure, it’s cheap and it comes in lots of colors, but acrylic is scratchy and plastic-y, it pills, it melts when exposed to flame, and it makes your armpits turn into swampy stench factories. Hatred of bad yarn is not hatred of the people who use it. Just because people don’t have many good things to say about something you like doesn’t mean they’re a bunch of elitist jerks who think you only knit crap.