Impulse buying yarn was something I made a concrete decision early on in my knitting journey to avoid. And usually I am happy with that decision. In fact, musing over the perfect yarn and pattern combination and planning a new project is one of my very favourite parts of the process. I then buy what I need for the project I have chosen - in theory, no waste, no enormous stash, no unsuitable and frustrating substitution issues. Sounds so simple and minimalist.
But I also believe strongly in supporting independent retailers and buying local. Especially when local is also lovely. So when Sue and I went on a little pilgrimage to Chipping Norton and to The Fibreworks, which is a lovely place, it seemed rude not to buy anything. Especially as I am still in the middle of the cardigan that will not grow and am bored to tears with it and in great need of a little knitting light relief.
And a ball of Debbie Bliss Milano called to me in all its speckly wrapped wool goodness. And I wanted it. Even though I had no idea what I wanted to knit with it.
You can imagine the internal dialogue. But, I rationalized, it is still winter, and chilly. And one can never have too many pairs of mitts. And look - these would match so many things, with all their coloured speckles. But I knew, even without checking, that the yarn was too fine for any of my 'go to' mitt patterns. Never mind - I picked up some tealy blue Lang merino 120 - voila! Held together they would be just the right weight. Dilemma settled, purchases nestled in bag.
Got home, cast on. But it didn't take too long to realise that I was not on to a winner. The fabric emerging from my needles was far too stiff and without the required level of stretchiness (is that even a word?) for a mitt. Doom. But I loved the two yarns together. And now I had four balls and no plan.
Although as I contemplated my error, a tiny thought came to me. Just an inkling at first, and then a fully fledged plan and so a bag was born instead.
And I am so so pleased with it. The stiffness that was unbecoming in a mitt suddenly transformed itself into structure that was perfect for a bag. And although I fudged the instructions from a pattern entirely unsuited to the materials I had at hand, it has turned out just fine and dandy.
Perhaps being constrained by the limitations of one's stash is the path to knitting creativity, rather than my beginner style knitting by numbers and associated terror of deviating too far from the prescribed path. Sometimes good things come to those who let loose.