THE GREAT SEPTEMBER NEEDLE HARVEST
THE GREAT SEPTEMBER NEEDLE HARVEST It's that time of year again! Here in Phoenix the temperatures have plummeted to a brisk 98 degrees, and in New Jersey it's even colder. Illanna says it's only 90 there!! Brrr. She's knitting a thick scarf....while sitting right in front of the A/C, of course! Most knitters are looking forward to the cooler weather because we can get back to what we really love....knitting with wool!!! Wool Fair Isle sweaters, cashmere scarves, alpaca hats and mittens....those are the things that make our hearts race. And during the long, hot, sticky summers we miss them. Sure, we can continue knitting all summer long with cotton and silk, rayon and bamboo, and often we do just that! But no summer tank, no matter how cute and cool, can compare to a fuzzy, sheepy pullover that just oozes warmth and love. Fall and winter bring about so many knitting opportunities that it makes our wooly heads spin. First there are all of those projects we've been wanting to make for ourselves, such as stylish cardigans for school or the office. And once the fall and winter knitting magazines appear we get lost in their pages, imagining each warm item in turn, first on our needles and then on our bodies.
It is usually not long before our thoughts turn to something else. We may even panic a bit. Holiday knitting! Should we, or should we not? We remember how quickly those days come and go each year, and maybe, just maybe, this year will be the one for us! We'll start early! In September! We'll get a good little pile of gifts made, long before Thanksgiving! Hey, if we start immediately, we can even have most of it done by Halloween!!!
It's just so exciting, all of this dreaming and scheming! We can't wait! What shall we do first? Gather yarn and our favorite books? Should we start swatching? Head to the yarn shop? Look on Ravelry to see who else has been bitten by the wool bug?
Illanna and I have an idea. Join us if you like. We like to start the official knitting season with a little something we call the September Needle Harvest. You know what we mean. All of your needles are in current projects (see photo above-yes, that's 2 complete Denise sets, PLUS the bags from extra cords we've bought, all mysteriously missing). Some of these projects are so old and/or neglected you can't even remember if they were supposed to be a scarf or the sleeve of a jacket. Needle Harvesting usually starts with the Needle Hunt. You need to start that perfect sweater IMMEDIATELY! But you know that your favorite size 7 Addi Turbo is stuck in last year's must-have project. Still there, after 7 months of neglect. You feel shameful. You really do want to finish the old thing, but you also really, really truly want to start your new love! Oh the guilt! What do you do? Sometimes I put the stitches on a piece of string with a note reminding me what size needle I was using. But every time I do that, I know deep down that I will probably never get back to the poor project. It's too easy to be seduced by something new.
Kiki Luscious and the Gorgeous Ms. Illanna are teaming up to propose a support system for this year's Needle Harvest!! Help us out! Let's gather all of our projects on the needles (or as many as you feel comfortable admitting to at one time) and we will harvest those needles together!! Remember, the main objective of this project is not to stir up guilty feelings or even to finish projects, it is to Free The Needles!!! We're working toward empty needles, lots of empty needles! It's all to provide a clean slate for all of that winter knitting we want to do.
THE GREAT SEPTEMBER NEEDLE HARVEST will officially begin on September 1, 2009 and will finish on September 30. We are challenging ourselves, and you, to see how many needles we can empty in those 30 days. Please sign up if you are interested. Just leave a comment any time between now and the end of September, just so we know how many people are participating. You can also sign up on our Ravelry group by clicking the icon below. In addition, we will be awarding random prizes as incentives to Free The Needles! Illanna suggested sending you our unfinished projects, which is a creative way to get rid of them!
So, how do you harvest knitting needles? There are several ways, and I am sure that everyone has a favorite method. I mentioned the "string in the loose stitches" way, which has been only marginally successful for me. Illanna tends to actually finish projects in order to rescue (or harvest) the needles she needs. You could swap out your favorite needles for ones that you aren't so fond of, but work fine as stitch holders. You could use actual stitch holders, or just rip that needle out of your knitting and laugh like the mad rebel you are!
For the purposes of this pseudo-KAL, we will accept any method you choose. Some of these choices have added bonuses, such as:
A: completing the actual project. You may want to do this if you are almost finished with it, or if you remember just how much you love the piece, or are surprised to see that it will take only 2 or 3 hours to have another beautiful sweater in your collection. Illanna and I are hoping to do this at least a few times this September. We'd like to have a small stack of finished items to replace at least part of the huge stack of neglected knitting in progress we have right now.
B: reclaiming the yarn. This option may be the most fun of all! Talk about stress relief; you just have to rip out the needle AND the stitches. No worries! Re-wind the yarn into hanks or balls and you suddenly (Tah-Dah!) have the main ingredients for a new favorite project-empty needles and free yarn!
Other needle-freeing methods include:
C: placing the stitches on stitch holders, Denise cords, or waste yarn. Make sure to make a note of what needle size you were using, and pin the note to your knitting. You may think you will remember. You won't. Trust me. You may want to think long and hard before choosing method C. You will free a needle, at least temporarily, but you will still have the unfinished item. Make sure that you are OK with this! You may want to reconsider, and use the GREAT SEPTEMBER NEEDLE HARVEST as a reason (or excuse, if you'd rather) to get rid of the project once and for all.
If you don't want to finish it or reclaim the yarn, you may consider getting rid of your UFO in another way, such as:
D: turning the item into something else. Have the body of a wool sweater almost done, but it isn't turning out the way you'd imagined? Instead of being disgusted and stagnated every time you look at it, bind off and toss it into the washer. After felting, sew it up into a cute tote bag. Sleeves can become legwarmers for a little ballerina. Almost any rectangular piece of knitting can be sewn into a small bag or decorative pillow. At the LusciousGracious household, we have turned out our share of pet and doll blankets, eyeglass cases, and fabulous creatures made from cast-off or failed projects. See what you can come up with-just look at the piece in a new way!
E: getting the UFO out of your house, out of your stash, out of your life. This method may offer you the most relief. You may be able to pass the unfinished item on to a willing friend who would be happy to finish it or reclaim the yarn for something different.
And finally, you can always:
F: throw it out. Drastic? Maybe. Consider how much you want to never see that darned thing again. It happens. You can keep it to yourself. Just take the needles out, open the trash bin, and never look back.
If you come up with any other ideas, share them with us!! We want to work together. Freeing needles takes a village. It's harvest time!
Please keep us apprised of your progress!! Every time you free some needles during the month of September, you can be entered in our drawing! Just send us a photo or a link to a post about what you've done and how you did it. Take lots of photos...you should be proud! If you don't have a blog, or are neglecting the one you do have (did we mention that LusciousGracious has been dormant for a LONG time?), just leave a comment here with the specifics of what you did and we'll enter you in the drawing. Or check in weekly on the Ravelry Needle Harvest site.
For now, while we are waiting for these last lazy days of August to pass, Illanna and I are going to make a list of what we'd like to do with our unfinished projects. We may even count them, if we feel brave enough! Let us know what you think, and please join us! Get ready for September 1 - we'll see you at the Harvest!!!