Sunday, January 18, 2015

Deep Stash Marathons

We're approaching the third week of the new year, so my resolution is right on time. And with a new year comes a new Deep Stash challenge.  Why?  Because that yarn isn't going away by itself.  Another Deep Stash 9 challenge won't cut it, however.  DS9 eliminated a mere 5,178 yards out of the more than 33K of what I considered deep stash last year (yarn acquired during 2008 and earlier).  In addtion to what was left over from DS9, I am increasing Deep Stash to include 2009 and 2010 yarn.  My philosophy is that any yarn five years or older in my stash is mature enough to be out on its own in the world, being worn or admired or clogging up someone else's stash.  With the inclusion of those years, however, the total yardage of my Deep Stash has swollen into something horrendously huge.

That is, marathon huge.

Okay. two marathons huge.

Yes, Deep Stash has enough yardage now to cover the length of two marathons--92,290 yards.  Apparently, I went bat guano crazy in 2009 and 2010 and thought I had to insulate my entire house with nothing but yarn, thereby almost tripling my yarn stash at the time.  (I have not literally stuffed the walls with yarn, of course.  It's harder to get to that way.)

So, here's the plan:  I am focusing my efforts on Deep Stash, and I am going to see how long it takes me to work my way through 46,145 yards of yarn, one marathon's worth.  I know, I know.  I have at least two marathon's worth.  For that second amount, then, I'm going to see whether I can give away, sell, and/or toss an additional 46,145 yards.

Gah!  The very idea sends my electrolytes plummeting!

I might not be able to do the concurrent marathon; I might be too yarn flabby or hooked on it or whichever pathology the DSM-V might pin on me.  But I think I must try.  Both challenges will make my basement craft grotto look so much bigger.

A few guidelines and allowances:

  • The focus is on Deep Stash, but I may work with newer yarn from time to time, either from newer stash or brand, spanking-new yarn.  I would like to keep DS work to three out of four projects, though.

  • I may buy new yarn without a project in mind.  However, I want to finish the race(s) with more yards eliminated from the stash than what I take in.  My ultimate goal from June 2013 hasn't changed; I want to fit all my stash in my dad's old bureau.

  • A bad picture of my dad's old bureau.

    There you have it.  This isn't a resolution that can be contained to 2015.  More than likely it will extend into the next three or four years.  After doing a lot of math for this post, I discovered the most I've knit in one year is 12,072 yards.  Now that I'm not employed at a yarn store, I can knit my own yarn more often, yet I'm not as motivated to finish projects quickly by shop sample deadlines.  I'll have to figure out how to "pace myself," I guess.  I will endeavor to keep the blog up to date with my progress...for myself and for the sake of my throngs of readers.

    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Throwback Thursday, vocab edition

    Last August, I had taken to a spot at a local university's library.  My quiet corner was a place where even the list of chores I kept in my head had to shush as I read and sometimes wrote for awhile each week.   After the fall semester began, I discovered several tables had been set up near my spot.  A used book sale was underway, each book only one dollar. 

    I’m a sucker for a bargain, but I have no room at home for more books.  I’m a wannabe book worm with shelves of the things still needing to be read.  Yet, whenever my concentration wandered from the book I’d brought from home, there the sale tables lay in wait for me.  Did I get up and find another spot to avoid temptation?  No.  I am stubborn.  I was not going to buy a book.   

    So I just looked.  Once, to stretch my legs, I trailed up and down the aisles closest to my spot, my neck bowed and cricked as I read the titles.  Fortunately, many there were the library's copies of outdated textbooks or about computer languages deader than Latin and with no hope of being as interesting.  The tables stayed up for weeks, and I found I could ignore them pretty well, eventually.  Because I wasn't going to take any of them home.

    Then came the day I wandered too far.  In my defense, I believe my spot was occupied when I arrived at the library, so I went hunting for another one.  I happened to wander by the end of a book sale table I hadn't bothered with before.  More textbooks, more tired reference works, I'd assumed.

    Two colossal volumes caught my attention.  Three words on both spines stopped my heart.  And feet.

    ...Oxford English Dictionary

    THE Oxford English Dictionary?  No.  Not here.  No one would sell those.  Well, maybe two of them, if that's all there was...


    What.  You mean...that is to say, you mean, the version where all the umpteen volumes are in just two books?  The one that wouldn't occupy miles of shelf space in any given home, like mine?  That one?  THAT ONE?!?!

    Oh yes.  That one.

    Oh my ever-loving God.

    Seriously, folks, I actually looked up to see if anyone else was about to swoop in for this prize.  Had no one else seen these here all this time?  I touched one, lifted it, set it on the backs of WordPerfect manuals (or whatever was underneath it, as if I was paying attention), and I opened it.

    Compact OED opened

    Understandably, you may not get why I love this dictionary.  I’ll explain.  This compendium is the chronicle of the soul of the English language.  I pored over its pages in college as if reading the secret diaries of my mother tongue.  The OED is not just a book of definitions.  It reveals the definitions' ancestry and the first known use of words in writing.  The dictionary deepens literature and breaks some of its codes.  It's only a little bit of a stretch to say that all the thousands of dollars spent on my higher education was worth it, just to be introduced to these books.

    And now every single word in them could be mine for two dollars. Total.

    You're damn straight I took those books home, schlepping them to the other side of the campus--I'm telling you, the English Language weighs a ton in late summer--where my car was waiting.  I found room for them on our shelves.  It was only two books, after all.  And I've lived happily with them ever since. 

    Says she, like this was a proper fairy tale.  No, I didn’t match soul-destroying obstacles with overcoming heroism; I pounced on a pearl worthy of a greater price, and I’m not sorry.  I’m sharing my geeky confession with you to help you understand why I want to present rusty ol’ words from the OED, and why I’d rather do this on Throwback Thursdays than toss grimace-inducing photos from the late twentieth century onto my Facebook feed.  If I share more OED words, they won’t come with lengthy explanations like now.  Really.

    So, with the help of a powerful magnifying glass and a bit of paraphrasing to unpack the dictionary’s abbreviations, today’s TBT Vocab Word from the good people at Oxford:

    Repai'ring -- (a noun derived from a verb, rare.)  The act of going or resorting (to a place); (obsolete) return; (obsolete) place of repair or resort.

    Earliest recorded use in 1375 by John Barbour in The Bruce:  "Heir I saw the men..mak luging [making camp].  Heir trow [true] I be their repayring.

    Page 2493 of the Compact OED

    I now own such a treasure because of my repairing to a library. 

    Deep Stash Marathon Ticker


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