Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How I taught my dragon to count

Deep Stash Departure Yardage
Since last tally: 2,379 1.35 miles
Total: 2,756 1.57 miles

I have a competitive smudge.  Not a streak.  No, it's just a smudge, like a little war paint under the eyes.  (Though, I believe the modern stuff is called concealer, and I rarely do makeup, but of course here I'm speaking figuratively.)  Because I constitutionally despise confrontation, and see most competitions as glorified strife, I am selective with the ones I participate in.  A win isn't just a win but a means to an end.  I'll fight a war to gain a better peace.

Drachenfels Shawl

Now, in whittling down this stash of mine, the greater peace is gaining greater space in my house as well as reducing the clutter in my mind.  To that end, then, I'm participating in a couple of competitions that spur me on to knit and crochet and knit some more, and to shop my stash to get it all done.

For a few years now, I've played along with the creative--genius, really--organizers of the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup on Ravelry.  Every three months (with a month's break between "terms"), a clever set of volunteers head up a fiber lover's Hogwarts, complete with Houses, classes, quidditch matches, and advanced studies like OWLs and NEWTs.  The stories these folks concoct to inspire the participants are worth more than the price of admission (FREE).  I've already plowed through thousands of yards while playing this game.

Then recently, while listening to a few knitting podcasts, which I do sporadically, I found out about Stash Dash, another stash-shrinking competition started by The Knit Girllls.  It's running between May 22 to August 14 this year.  This, like its name states, is a decent, flat-out run I can do inside my marathon, so I've jumped into it.

Both the HPKCHP and Stash Dash have a similar rule about counting yardage/meterage when more than one strand of yarn is held together while knitting or crocheting.  All strands are held as one, the logic goes, so the one length they lend themselves to is what is counted, not the lengths of the individual strands.  I can understand this, well, line of thought (pun not intended, but I didn't edited it out).  I don't entirely agree with it, but these are their games, so their rules.

My marathon, however, does not take that route.  Because, and follow me here, ALL THE LENGTHS that leave my stash are no longer in my stash.  What yardage was there before I finished a project and is not there afterwards, I count.  Whether I hold a yarn single, double, triple, or by a half dozen to arm knit, each yarn's length has been removed from the stash.  It gets counted.  Case in point, the shawl that has taken me over the mile and a half mark just this week:

Drachenfels Shawl

My version of Melanie Berg's Drachenfels Shawl (Dragon Rock, in English) was knit with lace weight yarn, all from stash.  Two of the three colors came from Deep Stash.  In order to thicken the yarns and meet the gauge for the sport weight yarn the pattern calls for, I held each color threefold by working it into a Navajo ply.

So, a shawl that would have taken about 1,150 yards in sport weight, took three times as much in the lace weight.  When I submit this project to both the HPCKHC and Stash Dash, I'll say it took a Concurrent Length of 1,150 yards/1,052 meters.  It's Stash Departure Length, however, is 3,451 yards; it's Deep Stash Departure length (for the two yarns that come from Deep Stash) is 2,379 yards.

I count it the longer way because that is how many yards are not in my stash anymore.  The greater goal of this marathon, after all, is stash reduction.  As of today, I have a grand total of a mile and a half missing from my Deep Stash.  And I don't miss it, and that is the point.  That is the win I'm striving for.

Drachenfels Shawl

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