During the early days of the pandemic I was forced to accept many changes, one of which was that my favorite knitting activities were going away for an undetermined amount of time. Fiber fairs and knitting groups came to a screeching halt. But I put my "big girl panties" on and vowed to not whine about. After all it is a world wide event.
Just make the best of it my "better self" advised.
After a few weeks of making 'the best of it,' I decided to find the silver lining the cloud that is pandemic isolation. It was the perfect time, after all, to focus on and reduce my current large yarn stash rather than finding ways to add to it. Knit and crochet more, give away more and stop buying more!
(I would like to see a show of hands of those who listen to their "better selves.")
In April I thinned out stash resulting in several grocery bags full of yarn delivered to a local thrift shop! Excellent. I began and finished a simple garter stitch blanket of doubled Caron Simply Soft acrylic - of which I have gobs! But I couldn't rid myself of the idea that "pandemic feelings" had been knitted into that item. It's going to the thrift shop.
I dug deep in my stash again to finish a scarf in silk sport weight yarn for my daughter. The scarf is with my daughter now and the left over yarn is going to the thrift bag.
I started a second blanket using more Caron Simply Soft in a simple yet interesting design. I like it better. And I don't have any bad feelings being knit into it. The skein shown will also be included in the stripe pattern.
Yes, all signs say I am going in the right direction.
Then the dam burst - well ... not a sudden explosion, but more of a trickle that grew into a flood and then an explosion!
In early May Maryland Sheep and Wool went Virtual on the web. I told my "better self" I should support the small business yarn vendors who were taking a HUGE hit from cancelled fairs. I shopped! I purchased enough yarn from Briar Rose Yarns to knit 2 good size afghans in chunky wool and 4 chunky wool cowls. Having done my patriotic duty I put the breaks on once again. (Notice how I slipped in words like "patriotic duty" to characterize an increase in my stash.)
This summer the Michigan Sheep and Wool festival went Virtual. I got an email announcement from Briar Rose Yarns that she was participating and offering a discount. Patriotism isn't a one time event, right? In deep diving into my yarn stash in April, I found a shawl pattern and yarn I purchased years ago from Briar Rose and I wanted to start that project. But I discovered the pattern required 2 skeins of Briar Rose yarn and I had purchased only 1 at the time. Feeling moved to do my patriotic part I "attended" the Michigan event and got my two skeins.
But I felt the slippage. Corrective action was needed. The brakes were on. Don't open any emails that boasted of fiber festivals. Done!! Don't open any emails from yarn vendors. Done!! Temptation controlled. I was feeling pretty noble.
Then I came across a random blog post (not one of my regular blog friends) where the writer had just finished The Queen's Blanket CAL (Crochet A-Long.) (I should have backed away from the computer immediately. I didn't).
At first I thought I was looking at weaving, and then I discovered it was 'mosaic crochet stitch' design. Seriously, it was stunning! I visited the instruction video by the blanket's designer on how to do mosaic crochet - and I was hooked ( ... sorry!). You need only 3 stitches to do this blanket: chain stitch, single crochet, double crochet! (I could feel the water beginning to trickle over the top of the dam!)
I could DO THIS!
The pattern on Ravelry came in two sizes: small and large. The CAL was over, but the pattern was available for purchase AND the instruction videos that accompanied the CAL were also available. I purchased the pattern. Surely I must already have the yarn I need for this in my stash! I checked! Nope. Sport or DK weight was suggested (and a lot of it) and multiple complimentary colors were needed. (You would have stopped at this point, right? I didn't.)
I checked on line again. The CAL had been supported by pre-made kits in 3 color ways in each of the two sizes. A long list of shops carried the yarn - but at first glance they were all in the UK. ("Seriously, stop now." the voices in my head said as the flood waters began to race past.)
I tried to order a large kit (yes, large, what the heck) from a UK shop and during the online purchase I kept getting blocked. (A 'sign' from my better self that said don't do this.) I emailed the shop to find out why they blocked me from ordering. The shop quickly responded saying "due to shipping problems and the expense, they were not shipping International orders of the large kit. So sorry." Well, darn! Darn was not the word I used, but you get the picture. (I am the Sign of The Ram - Aries, and once in motion, the Ram never stops. I made myself busy by "planting" dynamite under my dam.)
Then I googled the yarn limiting my search to only a US supplier - and I found LoveCrafts - a UK company with a US presence. They had the kits. YES!! It was not an International order. I purchased that yarn - ALL 6,000+ YARDS OF IT!! (BOOM!! No more pesky dam! And I jumped up and down a few times on my "better self" just for good measure.)
Excitedly I "tracked" the package as it made its way to me through the postal system - except it didn't make its way to me at all. You see the address I provided had a 20175 zipcode which is in Virginia. My zip code is 21075 which is in Maryland. So there it sat in Virginia much to my frustration for whole 3 days - not moving an inch. I called the Virginia post office. Yes ... they had had the package but it was on it way back to the sender as "Undeliverable." (By now I was pretty sure I was being punished by my "better self" for purchasing another 6,000+ yards of yarn!)
I called LoveCrafts and explained the situation. THEY WERE WONDERFUL! The customer service rep confirmed with the Virginia post office that the first package was on its way back to them - and LoveCrafts immediately sent out another kit to me at the right zip code!
They were so wonderful that I wanted to go right out to them AGAIN and order more yarn!
(Oh wait ... )
So I am rebuilding my "dam" and resurrecting my "better self" so I can survive this pandemic isolation.
Who knew pandemics had so many hidden dangers
beyond getting a very contagious, life-threatening virus!
I sure hope this pandemic is over soon.
Very very soon!