Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The "Not-So-Secret" Secret Projects
Over the next 5 months you might be reading (but definitely seeing on Instagram!!) about the handful of knits that I'll be plugging away on. These knits are kind of a secret. But not really. You see, a few of them are going to be teacher and support worker appreciations gifts, and a few will be my donation contribution for my kiddo's school's year-end fundraiser (the school relies heavily on fundraising to finance the extracurricular activities and supplies that most public schools do not do). These knits will mainly be shawls, with a few scarves or cowls thrown in for variety (more for my knitterly sanity than anything else). I highly doubt any of my kidlet's teachers or support worker reads this blog so I think I'll be safe in posting about the projects I'll be knitting for them. As for the donations, well, if fellow parents from my kiddo's school just happen to see beforehand what I'm crafting for the annual fundraiser then hopefully it will just generate some interest and the chance for a higher bid in the auction. So can you see why these knits are kind of a secret, but not really?
Even though the end of school is not for another 5 months I thought I would get a head start of this gift knitting. I had visions of myself freaking out at the beginning of May about needing to whip up at least 3 gifts in a matter of weeks. To avoid putting such unnecessary stress and pressure on myself I thought if I gave myself 5 months to leisurely knit up 3+ gifts I'll be laughing in the end. But only if I make a concerted effort to actually work on these projects on a daily basis. I figured if I can produce one shawl a month, by June I'll be golden and will have enough to gift and donate without breaking a sweat. This gift knitting is the main reason why I had to take it easy on the sock knitting steam train that I was on earlier this month.
I have to admit though, I'm actually pretty excited about these projects. My plan is to knit up some of the shawl patterns that I've had in my queue f.o.r.e.v.e.r but always overlooked when it came time to picking out what to knit up next because I either can't really see myself wearing the shawl or because I'm feeling quite guilty about the amount of shawls I already have in my bedroom drawer that I don't get to wear much as it is. I'm totally viewing this round of gift knitting as an opportunity to finally knit up those patterns as well as the yarns that have been languishing in the stash just dying to be knit with - all sans guilt.
So what patterns have I picked out so far? Right now I've got a Spectra on the needles. I absolutely love this pattern and how it looks, and have watched knitty friend after knitty friend whip it up in varying colourways. I've always refrained from knitting myself a Spectra simply because, as much as I love colour, I generally tend to grab the more neutral coloured knitted accessories as I head out the door. I think I would wear Spectra maybe once or twice after it's been blocked but then I can see it being pushed to the bottom of the hand knit pile, never to feel the softness of my neck again. What shame that would be for such a beautiful knit!!
I also have my eye on Metalouse. Again, such a richly textured and multi-coloured piece that I just can't imagine myself wearing more than once or twice. I've seen monochromatic versions but I think this pattern deserves all the colours to really have that oomph. After perusing all the projects on Ravelry, I've settled on a yarn/colour combination that I think is bold yet wearable, and that I just so happen to have in my stash.
Also on the radar: Daybreak. Hmm...I'm sensing a Stephen West theme going on here... Anyhoo, this is another pattern that I've been dying to knit up but just haven't. Why? Too many colour combination possibilities that I can't make up my mind. This is a shawl that I would wear and can see being in regular wardrobe rotation, but what colours would I chose?? I'll let you in on a little secret: there are several, and I mean several, skeins of yarn in the stash that I've purchased solely for the intent of being turned into a Daybreak. Really. I always tell myself, when purchasing a single skein of anything with no real project in mind, that I could always turn it into socks (if fingering weight...it's usually fingering weight) or it can be a Daybreak. But seriously, how many Daybreaks can one person have?? So by knitting one, maybe two, of them for gifting purposes I can fulfill that internal need to make Daybreaks in certain colour combinations. A guilt-free two-fer, no? Well that's how I'm going to view it as!
Aside from indulging in some selfish knitterly reasons, I'm hoping that these patterns will produce knits that come off as impressive and maybe a little "hard" - as in, it was hard to knit (but really they aren't/weren't) - to those who don't knit (or even to those who can't get pass quick knits?). The patterns are actually quite easy, it's the yarn that's doing all the work and making the projects appear impressive. Heh heh heh...but no one needs to know that info!! The Spectra shawl has already proven to be quite the fun, potato-chip knitting that I actually wouldn't mind if I had to knit up again, and so far I've received a fair amount of compliments on it. Excellent!! That's the kind of response I'm going for!! I just hope that the teacher I have in mind for this gift will like it as well!
To help myself out a bit, I've already sorted out all the yarns needed for each project and bagged them together, all ready and set to go so that I can just randomly and blindly grab a new project when I'm finished with the last. That way I won't have to go diving into the stash and potentially getting distracted and wanting to cast on something that isn't for gifting. Smart, right? And by pre-bagging the projects, I kind of feel like I've created a little self-imposed "shawl club" that quite resembles the Yarn Harlot's self-imposed sock club - which I have to say, is ingenious! I may have already done this exact thing for all the socks I plan on knitting this year for the Socks With Sarah KAL.
Pro-tip: pre-bagging your projects with the yarns, pattern, and any and all vital materials needed to complete said project may just help you to use up stash and may possibly prevent you from purchasing more (cause who hasn't told themselves they don't have the "right yarn" for a project when they know full well that they have a closet/drawer/shelf full of perfectly good yarn??), especially when you're trying to go "cold sheep" for the next few months in attempt to save up for a big knitterly event. Hmm...ask me about this in a few months though. Just in case.
Is anyone else trying to get a head start on their teacher gifts? Or, if you're a gifting knitting machine, what patterns have/do you knit that are a hit? I'm hoping that by knitting all these shawls that I won't get burned out by the end of it and that I can continue this sort of gift knitting throughout the year. After all, my kiddo will be at this school for another 5 years, which means another 5 years of teachers, support workers, and fundraisers. And on top of all that, I have to start thinking about the kiddo's intervention team that we will soon be working with. I'm thinking I better start filling up my "to gift" box since it's a little...ahem...non-existent!
Time to remedy that!! ♥