Crunching Numbers

I’ve been crunching some numbers seeing as how my yarn buying will be resuming in just a few days. After knitting only from the stash for one year, I thought it would be interesting to see if I made any dent in it at all. Here’s the final tally –

Originally I had in the stash 58590 yards of yarn. (WOW!)

In the last year I have knit almost ten miles of it – a whopping 17037 yards.

I have swapped away 5304 yards.

I was given 3084 yards as gifts and 4909 yards through swaps.

That leaves me with 38216 yards of yarn left in the stash.

Gee. I didn’t even cut it in half….

Guess it’s time to clean it out the old fashioned way. I am a no-clutter kind of gal and I figure that whatever I haven’t used in the last year isn’t worth keeping for another year. Well, at least that is how I look at my closet and my kitchen. The stash is a little different, but I do need to trim the fat. I have lots of shopping ahead of me and it is time to make some room.

So, how about a giveaway?

I put together a grab bag of yarns that I don’t figure that I will ever use. It will be mostly Knit Picks, but there will be some other brands and some mystery yarn and some half balls leftover from projects long finished. There will be something in every weight from lace to bulky in a variety of fibers, mostly natural.

Anybody interested? Comment on this post and I will randomly select a winner on Monday, January 1st.

There. That brings the stash to a more reasonable level.

Stash enhancement begins anew on January 1st. Where to go shopping first? Eatsleepknit? Cosymakes? Jimmybeans? Knitpicks?

Twenty Twelve is gonna be a lovely year!

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The Stash Dwindleth, Yet Hope Remains

Despite my itchings and cravings and yearnings for new yarn, I have been very good about not buying new yarns. It has not been easy, my friends. The stash is shrinking alarmingly and my knitting has changed because of it. I no longer browse patterns for inspiration and then go stash diving to find a suitable yarn. No, my Dearies, I have to first go stash diving to see what is there and then look for a pattern that inspires. Granted, there is still a little of everything. I have sock weight and lace. I have bulky and worsted. The sport weight and DK are all used up except a few cottons, but that is okay. I have wool and alpaca. I have superwash and cotton blends. It is just that they are all old news, uninspiring, boring if you will.

And that is why when I was given a $25.00 gift certificate to eatsleepknit, I went a little crazy.

Okay. A lot crazy.

Can you say cashmere?

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Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock *Midnight*

And, while I was there, I got some sock yarn for a gift of socks for The Man (gift yarn=still legal).

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Handmaiden Fine Yarn Casbah Sock *Ebony*
Also cashmere.

Then, I broke a few rules in my yarn diet. I got these, also.

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Cherry Tree Hill SuperSock Select *Dusk*

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Sanguine Gryphon Traveler *Gaudi House* (already cast on, but we will leave that story for another day)

Hey, you know I had to get the free shipping!

Ahem.

And now back to your regularly scheduled Stash-a-thon.

Snuggle Cocoon Thingie

I bought some yarn last week.

Well, technically, it isn’t really yarn.

It is a T-shirt.
A T-shirt that happens to be cut into one long, continuous strip and rolled into a ball to look like yarn.
(I got it from The Cable Company on etsy.com)

But it’s not really yarn.

And this is what I made with the not-yarn.

It is a gift for a friend who is having a baby in August.
In Dallas.
Who wanted a cocoon.
A bulky weight cocoon.

I think the T-shirt not-yarn should be cool enough while still retaining the awesome look of a large gauge of bulky yarn (but it’s not really yarn), don’t you think?

I realize that it looks small in these photos, but I am using a 12.5 pound baby to model a newborn size cocoon, so I guess it will work for my dear friend.

For a pattern? Well, I just winged it. I cast on 4 stitches on size 15 DPNs and started knitting a ribbed tube with occasional increases to the top. Easy Peasy.

Sorry to spoil the surprise, Candi, but I am so excited about this and these pictures are too cute not to share! It will be on the way to you tomorrow.
Hope you enjoy it!
ūüôā

The Stash Project Update

I have been really good. Everything that I have knit so far this year has been with yarn from the stash.

But, I have had to make some interesting substitutions, and abandon some knitting plans for new projects.

Jaali is a good example of this. Last year, I bought this yarn:

Malabrigo Lace Sealing Wax

…to make another Wispy. Or maybe a Featherweight Cardigan. Or maybe a Whisper Cardigan.

In any case, it was supposed to be a cardigan, preferably one designed by Hannah Fetig, because I love her patterns so much. I even bought the patterns in anticipation.

Then, I got the pattern for Jaali… and had no yarn to cast it on. And it had to be cast on. Right. Now.

So, I sucked it up, grabbed the yarn from my stash, and, holding it double to make it fingering weight (in case you missed it, there is the interesting substitution I spoke of earlier) and cast on post haste.

I don’t regret it. I mean, just look at it!

I fall in love with it more and more as each (ever decreasing, hallelujah) row is completed.

But, it is taxing to keep up with this whole New Years Resolution thing.

So, my brain is trying to trick me into buying new yarn, without buying new yarn.

Taking part in Ravelry swaps was one strategy – and it worked well. I got some new yarn (plus other goodies like tea and notebooks) and that was fun.

Then, my brain tried to figure out the fastest way to knit all the yarn that I have so that I will have to buy more. (Uh, not gonna happen.)

Then, my brain got really generous with Christmas knitting, since buying yarn for gifts would be a “legal” purchase (thankfully, my common sense won out on that one – I have enough knitting to do without adding a bunch of gifts with a deadline!).

But this newest ploy is just genius. I am thinking that maybe I need a new hobby. What if I got into hand-dying? Is it really a yarn purchase if I buy naked yarn for dying? I don’t think so.¬†¬†I think I might be onto something here.

Just don’t tell The Man…

The Sewing Corner

With the addition of the piano this weekend, my sewing “room” became my sewing “corner”. It is a little more compact, and the stash got sorted and rearranged. Here it is – my corner of the house:

As you can see, it is more of a knitting corner, but the sewing machine sitting there draped in my unfinished quilt top reminds me that I can sew, too. When I need to wind some yarn, I push the machine back, bring the swift forward and wind away.

And, of course, there is stash here:

and stash there:

and more on the shelves under and over the knitting library:

and in baskets on every surface:

So there it is. Bursting with inspiration and potential and all kinds of creativity.

And, now I get to listen to live piano while I splash around in all that wool. Does it get any better than this?

The Clause

I bought yarn this week.

It was totally legal, thanks to the clause.

And, I quote: “1. If, when planning Christmas gifts, I cannot find the right yarn for the gift in my stash, I may buy the yarn required.”

Okay, okay. It isn’t for a Christmas gift. But, it is for a gift. And I honestly and truly did not have the yarn for this gift.

That, my friends, is a pile of Palette from Knit Picks (bark, lipstick, almond, salsa heather and forest heather).

And, here is the story….

When I was making that cute little elephant top for the new baby, my dad was here visiting. He was somewhat impressed with my colorwork skills and quickly put in a request for a hat for his birthday. He described what he wanted – earflaps, pointy crown, lots of colorwork, some deer – and so after he left, I hit Ravelry, looking for the perfect pattern.

It isn’t there. But I found one that should work with some tweaking.

I have until his birthday in July, but when I realized that I was going to have to buy yarn, well…

Swap

Swap |swäp| (also swop)

verb ( swapped , swapping ) [ trans. ]take part in an exchange of : we swapped yarnie goodies; give (one thing) and receive something else in exchange : swap this skein of yarn for that one

I just participated in a stash swap (to freshen the stash without actually buying yarn) with some wonderful gals in the Knit Picks Lovers group on Ravelry. I sent out some of my yarn, a boxy bag, stitch markers, some patterns and a DPN project holder and today, recieved this from my swap partner:

A quick inventory reveals this woman’s great generosity:

Yarn:
Bare fingering (totally awesome, because, as she pointed out in her note, I am on a yarn diet, so I can dye this the color I need later. Yippee!)
2 skeins Gloss Lace carrot an excellent shade of orange
2 skeins Louet Gems Fingering bright red Рto make the winnow socks (very excited about this)

Printed patterns in box:
Carmen Bananas
Carmen in the City
Tilt a Whirl

plus Patterns gifted to me through Ravelry this morning:
Jaali swoon Рthis is going on the needles tonight
Bitty Booties (for the bun in the oven)

Notions:
embroidery needles
stitch markers (the open ring kind – love!)
pencil case (I am always looking for another bag to hold notions)
project bag (with cookies on it – so cute)

Fun stuff for me:
Jasmine white tea (boiling water right now so I can try it)
note cards that say ‚Äúdream in chocolate‚ÄĚ (oh, yeah!)

Fun stuff for the kids:
pencils/crayons/glue sticks/book marks (Peter Cottontail) and a Bible song book with CD

If you have never participated in a yarn swap, you are missing out. It is so much fun putting together a box for a stranger, and then such a treat when you get a box from them in return. I had so much fun, I already signed up for another in the Cuppa Tea? group! ūüôā

 

 

Ball Winder Heaven

So, what’s a gal to do when she get’s her tax return back, but has vowed not to buy any yarn?

She buys a really-super-awesome-heavenly-slap-yo-mama ball winder.

I needed lots of prodding from the man. It was a big price tag, and I had a really hard time hitting the final “Submit Order” button.

But, I will never need to buy another ball winder again.

Sigh. Heaven.

In case you are wondering how I chose this one, here were the contenders:

  • Knit Picks Ball Winder $19.99 – Totally out of the running. The one that I had lasted one year, and most of that year it felt like it was going to break any second.
  • Royal Ball Winder $54.00 (at Knitpicks.com) – I was leaning toward this one, except that it is plastic and looks a lot like the one that just broke. The Man vetoed it promptly.
  • U-nitt Metal Ball Winder $37.95 (at Amazon) – This is a metal ball winder, and looked promising. Until I realized that it doesn’t spin the ball, it winds the yarn around the ball with a moving arm. Too many moving parts. I didn’t trust it.
  • Strauch Ball Winder $130 – Sturdy and wooden, the two requirements that I had, but it doesn’t look very ergonomic, does it? I can’t imagine turning that crank for very long.

And the winner is …drumroll please….

The Heavy Duty Ball Winder by Nancy’s Knit Knacks $199.99 – it’s wooden, sturdy, and winds a serious ball. Plus it is beautiful.

Here it is in action!

Tee hee! Now I am off to wind every skien of yarn in the house… twice!

psst! Mysti! You know you want to come over and try it… ūüôā

True Generosity

As most of you know, I have vowed to knit only yarn from the stash for a whole year. I will not be spending one single cent on yarn until 2012.

This is a very good goal, both for my brain and my budget.

And, so far, I have enjoyed the challenge. When one must knit only stash yarn, she finds that she must use a greater amount of creativity than if she could just buy yarn fitting to the project she desires to knit. It is fun to make it work. It is stretching me. Plus, I have so many nice yarns that I am happy to use up. I really don’t need to get any more yarn. The stash is full of lovelies that are yearning to be crafted into the next work of art.

But, this has also had a less than desirable affect on me.

You see, I am generally a very generous person:

You’re out of tea? Oh, no, we can’t have that. Here is 1/4 lb of Earl Grey to get you by.

No row counter? How do you keep track? I have three – take one, please.

You want to learn to knit? I have plenty of needles and yarn. Pick one. I’ll teach you with good needles and soft wool.

And, I am an enabler.

Want to try Malabrigo? Feel this. Nice huh? Knit a little of it. Now, I have you hooked.

Sure, it may have cost me a skien or two, but I am more than happy to spread the wooly love around. If I have it, it is yours. No problem.

Until now. A strange stinginess has come over me. I want every yard. Every inch. I have none to spare. This stash has to last me the year, and I may not have enough. Get your own. Especially the Malabrigo.

I guess that means that I am not really all that generous. True generosity is selfless, isn’t it? True generosity would give you my last skien of Madelintosh. True generosity wouldn’t hide the laceweight when you mention a desire to knit a shawl.

I set out to save money and use up what I have. And I have turned into a greedy, yarn hoarder. Or, maybe I always was a greedy, yarn hoarder. But now the mask is off and I have been shown a side of myself that definitely needs some work.

Maybe I will work on it next year…

The Princess Gets Hers

Last winter, I knit each of my five kids a sweater. Well, everyone got a sweater except The Bookworm, she wanted a cape.

This winter, I set out to do the same.

Here is the last of the five – The Princess gets hers –

Diamond and Bobble Sweater from Petite Purls in Patons Wool Wisteria and Dream in Color Classy Wisterious

Three things about this sweater:

1. I wanted to do a top-down, round-yoke pullover. I wanted the pattern to be free, easy and basic. I wanted to incorporate stripes. Do you know how hard it is to find a pattern that fits that description? I had to settle for a bottom-up, round yoke cardigan. Other than that, it was a fine pattern. Petite Purls has some really cute stuff.

2. Using up the stash means that this knit had to be striped, and also that I held my breath the entire knit, wondering if there would be enough. I had to modify the contruction a bit, as well. I knit the body, yoke, buttonbands and collar first. To do this, I had to do a provisional cast on for where the sleeves would be. Then, I picked up the provisional stitches and knit each sleeve, top-down, until the yarn ran out. Three quarter sleeves were not part of the plan, but it works just fine.

3. I wish I could have made this in my size. I love the colors, the shape, the buttons, the sleeves. It looks great on Emma, and she is thrilled. But I can’t help but be just a bit jealous! ūüôā

Each kid got a sweater this winter – (all of these can be found in my Rav Notebook)

I can’t wait to start on the Winter ’11-’12 Collection! ūüôā