I don't know if it's my age, general state of mind, the last year and a bit, the influence of my partner - who does not care for clutter - or just that I've comprehensively tun out of space, but I'm very keen to have a proper clear out at the moment. An overabundance of possessions in my small flat feel oppressive, and with books, it's a constant reminder of how much I haven't read.
A younger version of myself really disliked letting things go, especially books, but I can honestly look at all the earnest doorstop on feminist theory that I bought in my twenties and know that I'm never going to read them now. If I find I really want to know what Camille Paglia thought about something I can google it. I'm clearing out a lot of miserable memories about how awful the first world war was too - it's not just that I've read too many of them, it's that I also have a better understanding of what awful actually feels like. There are also duplicate books on the pile, books I loved but probably won't read again, books bought by a version of myself I hardly even recognise anymore, and books I'd still quite like to read but know I won't (The Count of Monte Cristo - I don't have the patience to sit through the film never mind tackle this doorstop).
The good news is I have a much better idea of what's sitting on my shelves now, and it feels a bit less daunting. My yarn stash is a more complicated story, but there's a similar abundance of actual yarn as there are books.
I have already learnt something really important about knitting a jumper - and although this is probably obvious to every other knitter ever, I hadn't properly appreciated it before now. The planning stage for a larger garment needs to start with buying the yarn, and buying a whole lot of yarn 9 months previously and leaving it in a bag somewhere has not cut it in this case.
I knew I wanted to knit something in reds, I made a Fisherman's Kep a couple of years ago that I was thinking of as a swatch, I liked the slash necked jumper in Mati Ventrillon's book which I got my hands on when I was in Shetland last autumn, and I already had a good bit of Jamieson's Sunrise (which I like) so that seemed like an obvious main colour. I clearly remember happy sessions in Lerwick choosing more colours, but not how I anticipated them going together. I think I must have had an ombre effect in mind, but I'm not sure.
I also realise belatedly that I hadn't really considered how much extra yarn I might need for the alterations I had in mind for the pattern. Looking at my progress so far there are issues with how some of the reds sit together - the pattern is lost. I'm not over bothered by this, I'd already accepted there would be problems and I'm treating this as one giant swatch to judge all future jumpers by. Overall the reds are working more or less as I hoped and that's enough. It doesn't make sense to buy more yarn when I can hardly fit the stash I do have in my flat, and no sense at all to spend more money right now.
What I should have better considered is just how much more yarn in any given colour I would need for a large jumper than I would for a hat to a pair of mitts, or even Fair Isle socks. I have an impressive choice of colours in my stash, but not often more than 3 or 4 balls in any one shade and that's not enough for this project.
When I'm done and have a better idea of exactly how much yarn of each shade I can expect to use (diligent notes are being kept) I'm going to have a think about how best to buy yarn for the next jumper I might want to make, ideally I can see and squish the yarn before making a final decision, it's also cheaper to buy yarn in Shetland than from Shetland - the delivery charges aren't bad but it all adds up.
If I can settle on a couple of good all round shades I would quite like to buy them on cones from Jamieson and Smith. They're a really good value way of buying and would mean there's always a lot of something to plan around - but they'd also be quite a commitment so they have to be the right colours.