5 The new Knitpicks catalog arrived yesterday,  and it had some interesting points to make about summer knitting.

I knit in the summer, though I don’t quilt. I knit small things that don’t end up sitting in my lap. Socks are perfect for summer, even though of course Socktober sounds better than Sockgust. Dishcloths. Mittens.

But Knitpicks had more to say than the obvious. They pointed out the usefulness in the wardrobe of knitted tanks. I’ve been questioning that, myself, as I knit the first tank I have knitted this century. I knitted a really pretty cotton tank in my youth, a peach cotton thing in a nice texture stitch. But overall, it seems to me that handknitted things are heavier and warmer than what you want  in tank weather.

I do own one tank, and it is certainly a nice layering piece for the summer. I am too old to walk around just wearing a tank top, but it is great under a shirt. I may sew more. Will a knitted one have the same effect? We’ll see. Knitpiks thinks so.

They also suggest that summer knitting is the perfect arena for practicing new techniques. A couple of skeins of cotton is cheaper than a sweater’s worth of wool, so you can branch out without worry. Make that lace cap, they 30832220say, try that unusual method of decreasing on a bag, without feeling that there is much investment at stake.

I really like this bag that they showed on their back cover. The shape, the color, the stitch… It is from the book Knit Two Together, a book in which I have had no interest at all.

I do not need any more handbags, and I don’t need any new knitting projects, knitting books, or yarn. It is probably too big to be practical, too.

Still, there is a knitting book (Poetry in Stitches) that I have been wanting for a couple of years now. I have been telling myself that I do not need it, but I still want it. I do not want it any less now than when I first decided to be strong and not buy it.

5  How much is too much?

Here is my collection of Simple Additions dishes. I use them all the time, for everything from prep bowls to sauces to centerpieces. But don’t you think I have enough?

Yet, when the nice Pampered Chef lady told me I could have $60 worth of free stuff, I ordered a few more. I don’t have any pink ones, or black ones. I don’t have triangular ones.

That doesn’t really mean that I needed them. But in a couple of weeks here, I will have them. What are the chances that this will fill an unrealized need in my life?

I am working my way up to 40 pieces of clothing — a SWAP for each season, basically. At the point at which I realized that most women owned more than six garments and decided to build a wardrobe, I came up with that number as a normal amount of clothing. I haven’t reached that number yet, after a year or two of effort. Yet I own nearly a dozen bags now.

And am seriously contemplating making another. Obviously, it isn’t about needs.

The acquisitiveness of a collector?

The woman I co-teach Sunday School with tells me that she has a rule for herself: when she buys a new article of clothing, she gives away one of the old pieces she owns. She is very well dressed. When she told the kids this rule, she looked over at me for confirmation. I couldn’t offer it. I don’t shop, as you know, so too much of stuff doesn’t become an issue for me most of the time. We have one towel per family member, one set of sheets per bed (I do laundry daily), one guitar per kid. We have no furniture that wasn’t secondhand or inherited, few luxuries that we don’t make for ourselves.

But the desire of the collector is a different thing entirely. No, I don’t need another square dish — but I don’t have one in that color. No, I don’t need another handbag — but I haven’t made one in quite that shape. No, I don’t need another knitting book — but I don’t have that one.

You know what I mean, you knitters with stashes, you women with 18 pairs of shoes, you men with wrenches of every size including the metric ones…