ISE 5 - contact made
I've made contact with my secret pal for ISE 5 and received the very good news that not only does she love purples but she doesn't have a hatred of mohair (so many people do!) This means that with a totally clear conscience I can knit her a scarf out of the purple Naturally 12-ply mohair I have in my stash.
It's a great quality yarn and a gorgeous colour. I originally bought 10 balls(!) to knit a poncho out of. Because nothing looks better on an overweight woman than a bright purple fluffy poncho. My only excuse is that it was early in my knitting career and I had the sense to abandon the project before I wasted all the expensive yarn (probably after I had finished and worn the pink and purple mohair jumper that used $240 worth of yarn and made me look like a giant furry berry...)
Mohair is a bitch to unravel and I'm trying to work out if I can salvage what I've already knitted up to use as a scarf for myself or whether to throw the knitted part away so I no longer have to look at it. But I will use the lovely untouched virgin balls for my secret pal. I'll probably use this pattern, a simple lace. My pal wants a big wide scarf she can wrap over her head so I think a light but warm lace mohair number should do the trick.
I've joined the Ravelry Stash Busters group. I haven't yet had the courage to catalogue and list my stash but I know it is bigger than I would like to admit. I should photograph and catalogue it because this means I will have a way of keeping track of what I have and can plan appropriate projects.
I've noticed that a lot of knitters have very large stashes; we buy faster than we can knit; we can't resist a bargain or a beautiful yarn; we buy to make ourselves feel better and end up weighing ourselves down with stuff we don't really need.
A classic example for me was recent 'bargain' Clover promotion pack I picked up. It was fabulous value for money if you actually wanted or needed some of the items but so far everything is sitting unwrapped in my knitting case because I don't actually need any of them. I'll probably end up giving away many of the items as part of the various swaps I participate in. Maybe that is the unspoken reason for the popularity of so many secret pal swaps in the knitting universe. It's a way of getting rid of valuable but generally unwanted knitting stuff one's bought and experiencing the joy of getting a present in return.I never considered myself materialistic but for many years I couldn't resist a 'bargain'. After a while I was surrounded by cheap books I never read (because they just didn't interest me) and clothes I never wore (because they didn't suit me) and yarn I didn't knit (because novelty yarn never looks as good knitted up as in the ball) and I knew I had a problem. I'm proud to say that, barring the odd slip, I've pretty much cured myself of the 'bargain' shopping that cost me so much money and time and space and have donated a lot of my unwanted 'bargains' to charity or the trash. I've cleared out all the cr*p from my yarn stash and given away a fair few of my duplicate pairs of needles (especially the poorer quality ones) but still have a heap of decent quality yarn cluttering up the spare bedroom.
Originally I set myself a goal of having to knit two balls of yarn for every one I bought. And I was only allowed to purchase really good quality yarn in colours I liked no matter what other bargains were around. I haven't been perfect but I've pretty much stuck to my goals. I think I can last out the rest of 2007 without buying any more yarn.
I haven't bought too much in the way of clothes since I started de-cluttering because I am determined to only buy items that fit me and are comfortable and are better than what I am currently wearing (this is a very depressing part of the project).
I've found that I've actually started to enjoy not buying stuff. I used to buy lots of my books for only a few dollars each second-hand, guilt-free from an Opportunity shop that raises money for charity. It was a way of weaning myself off regular bookstores. But the last few times I have visited, even though there have been books I wouldn't mind reading, I found myself able to resist the bargains. I still have a heap of books I haven't read at home and I really don't want to fill up my place with any more crap. I'll buy the classics or the really good books I'll know I read again. Otherwise I am scarily content using the public library instead.
Recently, three things have convinced me that I am on the right path. One was this article that very eloquently explains why spending is no path to happiness and can lead to more unhappiness (there is no religion or psychological babble in it - it's written by a down-to-earth atheist). I love one of the final lines: Happy is the woman who needs only one pair of good shoes and a library card. That's me today. I don't know if I'm happy but I'm happier than when I always wanted more and more and I get a certain level of contentment knowing there is a hope in hell that my home will be paid off before my retirement.
Another was hearing stories of a girl I know who recently achieved her life's dream of marrying someone who is seriously rich. She dresses her one-year-old in designer outfits that he throws up over and quickly grows out of, spends $500 on a skirt and considers buying a $400 handbag instead of a $2000 one a serious budgeting exercise. But she still feels inadequate because she is the "poorest" person whose child attends a certain exclusive childcare group. And she suffers having to drive a brand new 4WD Honda because a 4WD Lexus is out of her price range. I have no doubt that when she eventually achieves the Lexus she will find something else to lust after.
The final thing was talking with someone who cannot enter into most of the rooms of her home because they are so packed with unnecessary stuff she bought to fill the hole in her heart. She cannot even reach the boxes of stuff that other people have offered to pay good money for - if she can ever get to them.