Friday 30 November 2018

My calendar-free advent

Since March, I have seen adverts for indie-dyed advent calendars all over Instagram and Facebook. I love yarn (you might have noticed) and have been tempted by several of these delights, each one containing 24 surprise mini skeins that can be opened one day at a time in the run up to Christmas, but have resisted. I have had a yarn advent calendar for the past two years (two years ago I had three - one acrylic one from Paintbox Yarns, an Opal sock yarn one, and one made from mini skeins from my stash; last year's was an advent calendar swap, so I had twenty-four 5 g minis from a friend, and she had the same from me), and while I really enjoyed the excitement of opening the advent calendar every day and seeing what yarn I had, I wasn't enamoured with actually using the yarn.

The first year I had a yarn advent calendar, I had grand plans to add two squares to my sock yarn blanket every day. I did manage to add a few squares, but two squares a day resulted in not much time to knit anything else, and I got a bit bored of knitting garter stitch. I never did make a plan for what to do with the Paintbox Yarns advent calendar, and the balls are now live in a Kilner jar to make a lovely ornament in my living room (it’s the jar of mini balls I use for my Yarnometer photos). And last year I did knit a whole pair of socks over the course of advent using the minis from the calendar, but I only used a yarn from a few of the days as I don’t like the look of scrappy socks all that much, so used a neutral yarn to tie all the yarns together, which meant I only used about a third of the yarn, and the remaining balls are still living in a bag.

December isn’t a month in which I have a huge amount of free leisure time, with present shopping, festive food to be made (making mince pies with my kids is always a highlight of the festive period), school activities, socialising and generally enjoying the season, and I find setting myself the challenge of using all the yarn from an advent calendar to be an added stress I can do without. So this year I am doing something different, and over the course of December will be knitting a special project just for me, the Soul Warmer

I bought the kit for the Soul Warmer cowl while I was at Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March with the intention of knitting it over advent. The yarn for it (bought from Martin’s Lab, just this once I’m using the exact yarn used in the pattern) is lovely, and the pattern only requires 438 m of fingering weight yarn, which feels doable for a finished project that I will love and wear. I’m really looking forward to getting started tomorrow!

How do you feel about yarn advent calendars and scrap yarn projects? Do you have a special project to work on over the festive period?

Wishing you a peaceful advent, happy knitting.

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