January Stash Update

January 16, 2011

Hard to believe it’s been another month. I have managed to keep my resolution to not buy yarn until May, which means I’m a third of the way through! Just four months to go.

There were two points at which yarn came into the house despite the resolution – as I previously mentioned, I was going to allow myself to buy a skein of something nice if I made it to January 6th with the resolution intact. I did, and purchased a skein of Knit Picks Andean Treasure so I could knit the Ariadne mitts (Rav link, not free). The second sort-of falling down was when I allowed my mom to buy me a little yarn as a late Christmas present. I got another pair of skeins of Elspeth Lavold Silky Wool for my Barn Raising Quilt (needs book – Knitalong) and a skein of Cascade Eco+ for my Yosemite sweater (Rav link, free).

Anyway, onto the finished items. First,  a shawl (Rav link) that I actually finished before last month’s stash post, but needed to keep concealed lest the recipient came poking around.

It’s the Autumn Leaves Stole (not free), pattern by Jared Flood. It was designed for the line of SHELTER yarn he’s developed, though I knit mine from Knit Picks Gloss DK. See the sample on the pattern page? Yeah, I knit that. 🙂

Next up is an older WIP that I finally manged to slay before Christmas.

This is a Red Sox-themed teapot cozy (Rav link) my dad requested over a year ago. My knitting is very loose, so knitting this pattern was a kind of torture – Grandma’s Traditional Tea Cosy (Rav link). Nice finished product though.

This scarf (Rav link) is the last of the Multi-Directional Scarves (Rav link, free) that my aunt commissioned for her family’s. Just barely managed to finish it on Christmas Eve.

These last three projects were knit from yarn bought specifically for them. I have scraps left over, but no immediate plans for them.

My first finished project of the new year was this pair of super bulky-weight mittens (Rav link). I knit them from a skein of Malabrigo Rasta that I bought back in May because it’s incredible squishiness and color caught my eye. I had just finished finals and decided to treat myself.

The pattern is free, the Super Funky Bulky Mittens (Rav link, free). I was worried about running out of yarn, but turned out to have enough. I might even rip out the tops and add a few rows at some point – they’re just slightly too short for my hands.

Next up is a hat (Rav link) that I bought yarn for in November (one of my last purchases before making this resolution), only to knit it out of leftovers from my Susie’s Reading Mitts (Rav link). I’ll use the other yarn for something and I was quite happy to use up that second skein of Malabrigo Twist.

The pattern is Ripley (Rav link, not free) by Ysolda Teague. I love her hat patterns, both for their loveliness and her easily understood and well-written instructions.

Next up is a little baby coat (Rav link) that captured my imagination a few months ago. I bought yarn specifically for it at some point when I was trying to pull together a $50 shopping cart at Knit Picks, for the free shipping.

The pattern is the Baby Tiered Coat (Rav link, not free). I have some leftovers, which I’ve thrown in with the rest of my bulky weight bits and bobs, in case I’m inspired to do a stripy project.

I love Sunshine Yarns and her Harry Potter colorways, but I’ve only ever managed to score two skeins by waiting for her shop updates and pouncing as each colorway is posted. This hat is knit from the Hermione color – too pretty and special to make into socks. 🙂

The pattern is the Sockhead Hat (Rav link, free).

My final project for this month is a scrap project. I pulled out some of my nylon-wool blend sock leftovers to make mini-socks for a swap group on Ravelry.

The leftovers are from my Dublin Bay socks, a pair of toe-ups, and some Jaywalkers respectively (Rav links). The mini-socks are from a mash of patterns.

That’s all for this month! Hopefully I’ll be able to report back with similar success in February.


The Pitfalls of Stashbusting

July 8, 2009

Stash – tr.v. To hide or store away in a secret place. n. 1. A secret place where something is hidden or stored away. 2. Something, such as money or an illegal drug, that has been hidden or stored.

If any of you know knitters (or are knitters), you probably know how easily one could replace “illegal drug” with “yarn” in the above definition.

Some knitters don’t have a yarn stash; they buy yarn for a project or two, knit it up, then buy yarn for the next project. If they have any stash, it’s those finicky little leftover ends of skeins they didn’t use up.

But many knitters do have a stash, a cache of yarn they keep to inspire, to pet, or just because their hands move at a slower rate that that of the projects being added to their wishlist.

Many probably come upon their current stash status through honest yarn lust, by buying yarn for the next two (or three or twenty) projects, or being unable to resist anything discounted more than 40%.

However, I have the feeling that there are at least a few knitters whose stash snuck up on them – I have a bag of acrylic yarn of unknown origin, as well as some odd skeins from my mom’s friend’s stepmother’s former stash and have pretty much no intention of using them for anything besides playing with the cats.

For almost as soon as a knitter realizes that their stash qualifies as, well, Stash, they begin to to think of “stashbusting”.

Stashbusting is a noble goal – it’s less expensive than buying new yarn for a project, frees up space…and I am very bad at it.

Case in point: At the end of this past semester, I bought a skein of yarn that I really loved and did not need. I had no purpose in mind for it, just a vague impression of “hat”. But I was determined that this skein would not vanish into the stash, that I would make use of it and soon.

So I knit a hat. The Ganomy Hat, by Elizabeth Zimmerman from her book, A Knitter’s Almanac. A good hat with neat shaping that completely covers the ears, a common hat lack.

I was left with a smallish ball of yarn and this is where my failure always begins. The amount of yarn looked much too small to make anything useful with, but I hauled out my postal scale and weighed it. A few calculations later, I made a horrifying discovery.

The hat had only used of half the yarn!

With some quick thinking, I used the scale to divide the remaining yarn into two smaller, equal balls. Surely there was not enough to make a pair of mittens, but maybe if I mixed it with something?

Alas, I had no good brown or blue yarn that matched. So (and this is the horrifying bit) I bought more yarn to match.

And I knit myself a pair of mittens.

Truly, a nice pair of mittens. Mitered Mittens, also by Elizabeth Zimmerman, from the same book. Not too fond of the thumb, though.

However, there was still some yarn left from the original skein. So, with a heavy heart, I weighed it.

A quarter of the yarn remained.

I’m looking up cowl and scarf patterns as I write this.


  1. A secret place where something is hidden or stored.
  2. Something, such as money or an illegal drug, that has been hidden or stored.

Drive-by Posting

April 26, 2009

I think I’ve qualified for missionary status.

March FOs and Sundry

March 15, 2009

*sidles sheepishly on screen*


Been awhile, huh?

1. Things that have been accomplished so far in the month March, specifically, things that are fiber-related.

First up is something I started near the end of February, in an attempt to deal with some of the random cotton scraps littering my Minnesota mini-stash.

This neat pattern is the NunuYaya Washcloth by Jess Marks-Gale, available here for free. After I finished two of these I had the awful idea of wet-blocking them…out on our porch, where it was readily dipping below 0 degrees at night. This is the result – a star frozen solid enough to use as a shuriken.

Here’s one being propped up by the other. I don’t know exactly what yarn this is – some sort of cotton worsted from the knitting club’s grab bag.

Near the beginning of March, I went a little beret crazy. I started the River Tam, by Jessamyn Leib, as a stash-buster. I wanted to use a skein of Classic Elite Yarns Alpaca Sox that I’ve had for at least two years and I knew I didn’t want to make socks. The stash-busting was a failure – I still have enough for another hat – but I think the project was an success.

The pattern is free, and written for sport weight yarn, so I adjusted by casting on 122 stitches instead of 86. The hat is extremely versatile, you can shape it in a variety of ways, such as the beret above, or my personal favorite, below:

I loved this hat so much that I did something unusual (for me) – I knit it again, less than three days later:

The yarn for this hat has a story. Two weeks ago, I attended a class at The Yarnery, my LYS, as I had been asked if I could volunteer my experience with Japanese in a class on knitting from Japanese patterns. As a thank you, I received the ever-coveted yarn store gift certificate. I managed not to spend it that night, but my strength only held out till the following Friday knit-night. A skein which I’d had my eye on for awhile suddenly became irresistible – one of Misti International’s Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky in the colorway ‘Foxtail.’

I loved everything about it – the weight, the softness, every single color…I spent the ride home on the bus petting it while my friends whispered worriedly. I spent about 3 hours looking for a beret pattern, before giving in and casting on another River Tam, this time with only 58 stitches. It took less than a day, considering the yarn weight, and I’ve worn it every day since that the weather has allowed.

2. Yesterday was Pi Day, March 14, also known as 3/14, the first three digits in pi. A groups of friends came over and one of them used his crazy from-scratch cooking skills to whip up a lemon tart and an odd apple pie. I don’t have a picture of the apple one, but the lemon tart couldn’t be missed.

Yes, that is a pi symbol made of crust in the center.

3. I’ve been playing around with a site called Inkubook. It’s intended for people who want an actual book filled with their own pictures and captions. The prices are pretty reasonable, so I’m putting one together with my photos from Japan. I’ll post when I’m done and have received it, since hopefully it will measure up to the quality I’m picturing in my head.

4. My mother and I spent two weeks chiding each other since she was convinced I hadn’t put a photo of Charlie on the blog, knitting, and I was convinced that I had. Well, she was right. I had posted my picture of Charlie knitting…in a private entry that only I could see.

So here it is:

Just to Watch it Dye

February 25, 2009

The Macalester College knitting and crochet club got together to dye yarn with Koolaid this past weekend, with almost entirely good results.

It was a fun project – two packets of lemonade flavor and two of lemon-lime, plus about 10-15 minutes in the microwave turned this bowl of yarn soup into this lovely skein:

I purposefully put a twist in the skein to get a few white spots. I have no idea what I’m going to do with it. I thought of making a hat for myself, but I definitely don’t have a scarf or mittens to match.

Quite a few interesting results, with few mishaps (some skeins got tangled), but a few odd side-effects.

Moldy hands, for one.

In other news, I did manage to churn out another FO for February.

A cat sweater, from the the pattern Cats Love Sweaters, by Christine Landry, available for free. I knit it from Plymouth Encore Colorspun, my one falling down so far on the No New Yarn Rule this year.

I usually put it on Boomer in the evenings to keep her from sitting in front of the heating vents. During the day however, I just leave the front door open while I’m here so she can lounge on our porch. Must be 70 degrees in the sun out there.

Knit Out 2009

February 21, 2009

Twice a year, knitters gather at the Mall of America for Knit Out, an event geared towards showing off yarn, learning new techniques and maybe meeting one of your favorite knitting book authors.

Last Sunday, a fellow convert and I hopped onto the bus and the light rail, heading for the Mall of America. We had a lot of fun checking out the different booths. We weren’t really interested in any of the scheduled events save one, but by the time that one rolled around, we were more interested in getting lunch and going home.

We did stand in one of the humongus lines encircling the vendor booths for freebies, but the best two items turned out to be easier to obtain – a crochet magazine’s booth was handing out free wooden crochet hooks and The Yarnery, my LYS, had a kiosk where they were handing out 30% coupons.

We checked out the Patons booth, but couldn’t get in the line since the Mall cops had already deemed it too long.

We did have a fun time cringing at the displayed afghans. Someone should just declare orange off-limits for afghans, it never goes well.

A much more pleasing crocheted afghan was on display at the same booth that was handing out hooks:

I especially liked the dotted-line heart in the middle.

Shelly Kang was at The Yarnery’s actual booth, demonstrating the technique for her miter-square sock blanket, which is visible on the table in front of her. I tried to work up the nerve to ask her to sign my copy of her slipped-stitch hat pattern, but couldn’t quite break the internet/real-life barrier.

Finally, on the way out, we happened to pass a fashion show in progress that was taking place near one of the entrances to the amusement park in the center of the mall.

We had a hard time containing our glee at the huge balls of yarn decorating the stage. I wonder if they were real?

In other news, I’ve changed the blog settings so that comments are now nested. That means that, besides just being able to reply to my original post, you can now reply to other people’s comments.

February Finished Objects

February 13, 2009

I know, I know, February’s less than half over. Still, I’ve finished everything for 14valentines and I have nothing I need to knit for the next two weeks. I have yarn and I have projects in mind, but I need a break.

Anyway. Onwards!

First up is the most recently completed (and by recent, I mean a half an hour ago), my Eiffel sweater. It’s knit from Jarbo Garn Tropik, a bamboo/cotton/acrylic blend that is very soft and was pleasant to knit with.

I had some problems starting out with the sleeve increases and it sort of colored how the rest of this went. I found myself second-guessing the designer on every point, only to discover that they were pretty much right on most scores. The pattern is free, available from Knitty here.

Moving back in time, the Adamas Shawl:

I used the pattern recommended yarn for this, since I already had it in my stash, Knit Picks Shadow in Vineyard Heather. I added the beads myself and I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

This pattern is also available for free, here.

Here’s my housemate modelling it:

Finally, the Slippery Socks from four months and a blog ago:

They turned out nice and thick and comfy. Thanks to a friend, I have a whole other skein of Mountain Colors Bearfoot to play with. Maybe a sweater for the cat. This pattern is available here.

Now, I’m going to go take a break.  There’s a hat for my dad and some baby items in the pipeline, but I need a few days of mindless TV first.