Sunday, March 27, 2011


Textile people, like all technically minded folk, tend to use a lot of jargon. Each discipline has its associated terminology that tends to make auslanders scratch their heads in bewilderment or cringe with the idea that they are excluded. The words are a foreign language to these non-doers.I remember early on in my previous life working as a lab biologist feeling rather lost and ill at ease with each new research project until I learned the "code". Knitting is the same, as is crochet, dyeing, weaving, and spinning. People use mysterious words like "blocking" and "gauge", "mordant" and "oxidation", "shed" and "heddle", "carding" and "staple". These terms all mean something to the crafters who pursue these activities.

Charts for knitting are no exception. For some types of knitting, such as lace, there are weird hieroglyphics, each pertaining to a particular stitch. Written instructions for charts such as these are not much better. The stitches are abbreviated into acronyms such as SSK. K2tog, PSSO, M1, YO, etc.The internet has caused the phenomenon of acronyms to blossom, even outside of crafts and other activities: LOL, ROFL, BRB, TTFN, etc, all have made the process of communication via a keyboard more efficient.On various craft boards, people talk about having SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy), or LYS (Local Yarn Shop) or KAL (Knit Along). You can google "knitting acronyms" and come up with many sites that will cheerfully help define these shortcut terms.

As the handful of you who have read my blog know, I talk frequently about my yarn stash, which is very much and entity of it's own--rather more an archeological dig than mere hobby supplies. To that and I have coined what I think is a new acronym: NMITS. This stands for "Never Made It To Stash". Now, I have to say that what makes a yarn qualify for NMITS status is somewhat nebulous.

The yarn I made my sapphire capelet out of definitely qualifies, as I cast on a mere four days after I bought it, worked solidly on the project until it was finshed, and blocked it right away. The only yarn from this project that became stash is any that was leftover. Leftover yarn is a beast unto itself and I won't go into that here as I think of leftovers as a different kind of stash. Others may disagree, but will let it lie for now.

I am currently working on a quickie project called the After Hours Shawl. The shawl uses a single skein of sock yarn. I bought it last September, with every intention of doing a Knit Along with it, but didn't get around to it. Well, as of last weekend, I am. Still, six months have gone by since my purchase. Then again, I had it out, not bagged up, the skein wound into a ball, along with the accompanying beads and pattern in a project bag, ready to go at a moment's notice. In fact, it was mainly impulse that prompted me to take it up last weekend. I have also brought along on several trips as part of a "mini-queue" to start if the previous project wound up in time. So does this qualify as stash? I would say not. Then again, neither was it really a UFO (Unfinished Object), since I have not cast it on. I am choosing to label this NMITS. My true stash of recent purchase is bagged up in project bags and stored in bins. Most of it is pretty easy to get to, but not as easy as this was.

I will say that some of the yarn I have that is currently NMITS may be bagged and binned in the near future and some things I have out currently have come OUT of stash bins, but this shawl project never went to the true stash, nor did some other things in the pair of project bags I am currently working out of. Still, I am proud of myself to going to the NMITS pile recently and actually DOING a project. About 80% of the After Hours knitting is done, plus blocking. Then, of course, it will be bagged and stored until weather and occasion permit wearing the shawl, but that is another story.

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