Friday, March 2, 2018

Consider the haul

Yesterday evening, it started snowing again.

As of this moment, it still hasn't stopped. I haven't tromped outside to attempt to measure it, but there's pretty impressive accumulation on top of the waste carts - I'd say at least six inches there. And more snow just keeps on coming.

Now, the sort of cloud cover that brings non-stop snow doesn't allow for sunbeam photography, but it's still decently bright out, so the light in my front room isn't bad today, so I grabbed some pictures of my recent stash additions.



Again, these were purchased as mystery grab bags from Sweet Georgia Yarns - two came in a 'Dyepot Surprise' packet (the orange skein and the green-blue mix), while the other three came in a 'Misadventures' packet.

If you went back to me back in 2007 or 2008, when I was really starting to get into the swing of buying yarn online, and suggested that I buy some yarn without even having seen a picture of it, then-me would likely have written you off as insane, or really foolish, at least. I would read about yarn clubs, in which subscribers pay a sum up front and then receive regular shipments of mystery yarn over some period of time, and then-me would shake her head at the folly of others. It made no sense to me. Why would you pay good money for something you haven't seen yet?

Clearly, something in my attitude has changed, since I've now made a mystery purchase leap twice.

I wouldn't say I've completely changed my tune - I don't think buying yarn sight unseen is a good strategy for sweaters, for example. (Though, to be fair, I'm pretty sure no one has ever made that suggestion.) But for smaller accessories, like socks, mittens, cowls, there's an advantage in mystery bags - they can help you bust out of a colour rut. When I'm yarn shopping, I tend to gravitate to one region of the colour wheel - I go for reds and browns a lot, and also grey (not really in the same area of the colour wheel, but whatevs). While there's nothing wrong with buying what you like, the result is that you end up with a lot of knitted things that have a certain sameness to them, thanks to the unifying palette. Again, nothing really wrong with that.

But. A few years ago, during a Tour, I noticed that I was getting a lot of reddish socks in my sock drawer. I was using an iPhone 4 as my camera at the time, and that camera tended to play up blue tones, which made many of the reds take on a pinkish tinge, and I vaguely remember using the phrase Tour de Pink or something like it when blogging that round. I thought I should try to get out of the all-red sock drawer I was headed for, and I deliberately bought some yarns in other colours to shake things up. Still, I notice whenever I'm browsing yarn, I gravitate to the same palette - reds, browns, greys.

Mystery bags force you to shake things up. All your colour selection power is removed. This has potential to be disappointing, to put it mildly, as it's certainly possible to get a batch of yarn that you hate. My two forays, however, have been extremely positive - even though my failure to actually use any of the accumulated yarn might suggest otherwise. Both times, I have been extremely happy with what I received - and I will freely admit that I would not have purchased any of them in my own browsing. If I had been choosing, I would have bypassed all of these, and been the worse for it, because I'm completely smitten with them. My sister's latest stripy socks should be done tonight or tomorrow, and I am sorely tempted to start winding up some of the mystery stash for socks for me. (I'm trying to postpone that party in favour of finishing off my mum's birthday socks. Her birthday was 11 February, and I'm hoping to get these done before her Chinese (Lunar Year) birthday, which is roundabout 11 March, I think. Details on Chinese birthdays have always been sort of vague in my family.) I relinquished colour control, and am giddily pleased with the results.

I guess Elsa is right - sometimes, it's better to just let it go.

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