In some countries they might call it yarn, but here we tend to just call it wool. For the longest time I didn't have a wool stash. The process would go: decide to knit a jumper, choose pattern, buy wool, knit jumper, repeat process at some time in the future. But that all changed when I came in contact with two wool stashes that were being culled. The first was a close friend's mum, who was then battling and has since lost her battle with cancer. I basically got first option on any wool my friend chose not to keep. The rest went on Ebay. The second was a much bigger stash. So much so that when my friend's aunt died, he and his wife had a huge wool sale, raising money for the water project their son was working on in Bali. I offered to help on the day, and needless to say, came home with . . . you guessed it, heaps of wool!
Probably close to a year had passed, and I still hadn't started knitting, quite a problem in a year devoted to crafting and culling. And it's easy to see why the old process was so much wiser. When you choose to knit a garment, there's often a direct relationship between the pattern and the wool it is designed for, which makes for a perfect fit. Sure, it's possible to take an 8 ply pattern and use a different brand, but many wools don't even tell you what ply they are, and when you start looking at international patterns, they speak a whole different language again!
So how to break the knitting drought? Something flexible about size, shape, and needle size? Something that will use exactly the amount of wool you have? You guessed it, baby, a scarf! This scarf took me about two weeks and came with me to ballet and acrobatics lessons, soccer practice and of course kept me company while watching TV. The best thing about knitting a scarf in winter is that once it's long enough you can wear it and knit it at the same time!
Finding a second project proved more of a challenge. It went something like this:
Find something potentially suitable for 12 yo. and ask, what do you think about this?
"I don't like it"
What don't you like about it?
Ok. So no knitting for you. Next I find a lovely riding-style jacket I thought I could make for myself. Until I realised by the size needles it uses it must be a 12ply. Mine of course being 8ply.
Third attempt: find a really beautiful cabled pattern for my 7yo. Would look lovely in the mauve wool I had picked up with her in mind. Except then realise not quite enough wool and biggest size of the pattern may no longer fit her by the time it gets finished.
Eventually settled on a simple hooded jacket for her; it's a variegated wool that calls itself "plum" and is looking quite pretty as it is getting knitted up. There's an adult quantity of wool so there'll be heaps left over, but at this point, I'm just happy to be knitting.