Needle Readiness

Late last Sunday afternoon, I ran down to my sewing room to raid the stash.  My purse project, this rice stitch dishcloth, was just about done.  (That’s Knit Pick’s Dishie in Nettle).

Rice Stitch discloth

I needed another purse project for the coming week, and I had next to no time to choose something.  No time to swatch, print out patterns, or buy extra needles if I needed them.  I needed something to have ready to knit just as soon as the current dishcloth was cast off, and no time for any prep work.

What happened next was like a knitterly version of Bruce Springsteen’s “57 Channels and Nothin’ On.”  My sewing room cabinets are full of yarn.  Not just leftovers and yarn with no particular future (although that contingent exists, of course).  Most of my yarn is earmarked for particular projects.  In many cases, I already have the patterns for the yarn in my library.

Matching up patterns to yarn is great, and I felt pretty smug about conducting that exercise a few months ago when I did a major stash clean-out.  What I realized last Sunday, though, was that matching patterns to yarn is just the first step.  I rummaged through my stash for candidate purse projects.  There was the Orenburg lace shawl yarn sitting there.  Nope — I needed to print out the pattern and mark up the chart and place it in a chart holder.  No time for that.  There was the cashmere/silk/merino laceweight destined for an easy scarf.  Nope — I hadn’t done a little swatch to figure out the needle size, and the yarn needed to be wound, anyway.  How about the sockweight merino planned to be a garter stitch shawl?  Not that, either.  I needed a free set of size 6 needles, or to go buy an additional set.  And on and on.  I wasn’t hurting for candidate projects, but none of them were needle-ready.

I sighed and grabbed another skein of Dishie to make another dishcloth.  Dishcloths might be dull, but they are practical, and needle-ready.  I cast on this bee stitch dishcloth:

Bee Stitch dishcloth

Of course, later this week, I found myself in much the same predicament.  The bee stitch dishcloth will be finished soon, and I’ll need another purse project.   I didn’t have loads of time to get something needle-ready, but I didn’t want to do yet another dishcloth.  I sat down and did a quick swatch to determine needle size, and cast on this Midwest Moonlight Scarf in Green Mountain Spinnery’s Sylvan Spirit, colorway Blue Opal.

Midwest Moonlight started

I promptly parked it, but it’s ready once this other dishcloth comes off the needles.

Lesson learned, though.  If I want to have an easy purse project at the ready, I need to pay closer attention to needle readiness, and take the time when I have it (primarily, that would be weekends for me) to do any swatching, print out patterns, and so forth so that these projects are ready to grab and go.

Now that I’ve finished this year’s big fleece hat project, I’m going to take some time next weekend to set my sewing room straight and get a few projects needle-ready.

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