Tag Archive | yarn stash

Whoa! Destash!

I got a whim today, a whim to go through my yarn and get rid of what doesn’t bring me joy. I’ve been pondering it for a while, but kept telling myself it wasn’t hurting anything to keep it all, and I had the space, so why not keep it just in case I ever needed it?

Well, I didn’t really have a good answer but I decided I needed to go through it all anyway. This is close to where I started. (This is an older photo. I’d added more yarn between this photo and today. So imagine this plus some.)

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I pulled out a LOT of acrylic, mostly stuff I’d bought back when I was making things to sell. Also, I tend to prefer natural fibers to acrylic now, so I only kept my very favorite acrylic blends. I pulled out a lot of cotton and blends. Even now in the heat, I don’t find myself wanting to work with the mercerized cotton. I don’t tend to wear the things I have made with it. I only kept kitchen cotton in the colors that are actually in my kitchen, and the cotton blends that are soft and drapey.

Then I moved into the good yarn, the wool and blends. If it was itchy, I pulled it out. A few yarns I pulled are gorgeous; I still loved the look of it. But I’d used some of it and didn’t like knitting with it or wearing it, so there was no point keeping it. If it was a color I would never use, or a weight I’d never use (like one skein of sport weight?), I pulled it. I was ruthless but it wasn’t painful at all. This was what I had in the end:

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That’s a LOT of yarn. I mean, it’s kind of ridiculous when you see it all spread out like that! I’ll bag it up and see if I can sell it locally for a bit of money, and in the meantime, I’ll enjoy my newly organized stash. It’s gorgeous!

 

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Even looking at the shelves makes me happy! This is all yarn that I love, that I can see myself using. I even found a skein of Madtosh that I forgot I had! And that right there is a good reason to get rid of stuff I was keeping just for the heck of it: I can see what I have more easily, I can see the yarn I chose with intent, and I know that I could pick anything from my stash and be happy to knit with it.

p.s. yes I know it’s still a crazy big stash! I’m okay with that!

Giveaway: Kraemer Yarns

My wrap is done, and it’s gorgeous! I love it! If you love it too, read on, because I have a giveaway for the yarn and pattern!

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A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Stitchcraft Marketing about a review opportunity. Of course I jumped on the chance, and agreed to review Kraemer Yarn’s Perfection DK. I could choose from a selection of patterns; I chose the Mother Earth Wrap because I find shawls and wraps so marvelously wearable, plus I love the comfort of knitting garter stitch. It was so exciting to get the box in the mail, and I loved the presentation. The yarn was wrapped in red tissue paper closed with a charming sticker which had my name hand-written on it. It’s just the kind of touch you don’t see very often any more, and it made it feel like a gift!

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The pattern is a new one called the Mother Earth Wrap by Beth Aidala, and I think it’s meant to be a shawlette-sized wrap to wear around your neck. Mine is…not that, but that is only through fault of my own. Let that be a lesson to you: always check your gauge if you care about fit! Thankfully, this is the kind of piece that fits fine regardless of size. It would be marvelous to wrap up in when I’m feeling chilly. You could choose any six colors and I loved the bright colors they used for the sample: Bright Blue, Cobalt, Puddle, Spring Rhyme, Sprout and Flora. But of course three of mine had to be purple. I picked Jelly, Evening Song, Shy Violet, Sky, Tweet, and Elegant Gray.

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The Perfection line is 70% acrylic and 30% wool. I cast on immediately and right away I was struck by the feel of the yarn: it felt like wool to me, not acrylic, and I liked that a lot. As I’ve progressed in my knitting obsession, I confess I’m a bit of a yarn snob, and I don’t always like the plastic-y feeling of some acrylic. I didn’t get that from the Perfection. It wasn’t as soft as some of the merino I’ve used, but it felt good in my hands as I knit. I liked that tiny bit of texture that made it feel woolly. When my needles slipped out of stitches, I never dropped any; I could pick them up without a problem.

Even though I was only doing garter stitch, the yarn is crisp enough that it would have great stitch definition, making it a solid choice for intricate details like cables. At $6.99 for 260 yards, it’s extremely affordable when you need a lot of yardage. Also, it’s available in 71 colors, so this would be a great staple yarn for your stash. I could definitely see myself using this for sweaters and blankets.

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Another benefit to this yarn is that it’s machine washable. Mine went in on the gentlest cycle, then in the dryer on the lowest heat for a gentle tumble dry, and it came out beautiful. The stitches didn’t shrink or get floppy, the yarn came out soft and cozy, and the wrap, while still extra-large, retained its shape.

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My only minor issue came with the pattern; it stated to knit each color for 12″, but it wasn’t clear to me where I was supposed to measure. One of the sides? Up the middle? I got conflicting advice from knitter friends, so I measured based on how I interpreted the pattern’s instructions. Instead of measurements of 72″ by 16″, mine is 104″ by 22″. However, my gauge is also not 15 stitches and 30 rows = 4′. It’s more like 16 stitches and 36 rows = 4″. So I should have done the swatch first. Otherwise the pattern is simple enough for new knitters, and makes for relaxing TV knitting. I would just like to see the pattern have more than one photo, including one showing where/how to measure, and some that show the wrap laid out, or otherwise fully extended.

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Okay, so my wrap is done, and I’m gifting it to a good friend who’s been admiring it as I worked on it. Now it’s your turn! I have a complete set of the yarn identical to what I used, plus a color pattern, and I’d love to send it to one of you. It’s been in the box, wrapped in tissue, safe in my craft room since it arrived, so it will come to you in the same condition it came to me!

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TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me if you’ll be keeping the wrap for yourself or giving it to a deserving recipient, and if so, who is that person?

FINE PRINT: All entries must be submitted by 6 pm CST on Wednesday, May 9th. All entries must be submitted on this blog. Winner will be announced by 10 am CST on Thursday, May 10th. Winner will be selected by random number generator from entries that played by the rules (see above). Please include your actual email address in the comment form so that I can contact you if you win. I will not save email addresses or sell them to anyone. If winner does not respond within 7 days, I will draw a new winner. Shipping via USPS first class. Additional shipping options or insurance will have to be paid by the winner. US residents and APO/FPO only please.

A special thank you to Stitchcraft Marketing and the folks at Kraemer Yarns who sent me six skeins of Perfection DK (retail $41.94) plus the Mother Earth Wrap pattern ($5.00) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

Craft Room Update

I had a whole long Sunday without any plans, and I really thought I’d get a lot of knitting done. Instead, I cleaned up and rearranged my craft room! After my photography class last weekend, I wanted to get a photo-friendly spot in there, since it’s a north-facing room (prime light). So I was ruthless in cleaning out stuff I never use, making a donate pile and a trash pile, and then I pulled out a small rolltop desk I never used anymore. When I was done, my room felt bright and airy and big!

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I need a small table to fit in the corner there, and then I can build a light box and it will be the perfect place to take indoor photos! Here’s the other side of the room, complete with dogs.

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Oh, you want to see the yarn too? Okay! It’s an embarrassingly large but delightful stash. I’ve thought about pruning out all the acrylic (the bottom two shelves) but figure it’s not hurting anything, and maybe I’ll need it someday.

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Same dog, different spot. Now my room is lovely and I’m very tired and grungy, so I do believe that means it’s time to clean up and rest with my knitting.

Not the Woolfest

Yesterday was the Winter Woolfest in Wamego, Kansas, and as of last week, I was planning to go. The husband and I were going to make a little daytrip out of it and hit some antique stores on the way. But then the weather got super cold and slightly unpredictable, and the people in my house had other things they wanted to do, and I decided I could skip the Woolfest this year. I didn’t really need more yarn, anyway.  So what did I do with my day instead? Can you guess?

Yep, I went to my LYS. Saturday came and I saw the photos of all the vendors on Instagram and all the pretty yarn and I felt a little sorry for myself. They had just added a lot of stuff to the clearance section, so I figured I could find a deal or two and satisfy my yarn craving. Well. Haha. That didn’t exactly happen. But man, I had a good time! I spent over an hour just walking the aisles, touching the yarn, admiring the yarn, imagining projects, pondering the possibilities, and trying to control my urge to BUY ALL THE YARN. I came away with two new Addi Turbo circs from the sale section, and a whole bunch of yarn.

I got two skeins of a silky sock yarn, Diversity by Plymouth Yarns. It’s an acrylic/polyester blend that feels completely different than wool and I think it’ll be great for warmer temperatures. I also gave in and bought another skein of Madelinetosh A.S.A.P. in Seaglass because I loved the first one so much. (You can see the Seaglass Cowl here.) These skeins went into my stash for future knitting. The rest of the yarn I got immediately went onto my needles.

Because I love the Seaglass color so much, I bought a skein of Tosh Sock so I can have socks to match the cowl. I started with a wide ribbed cuff while deciding on a pattern. Finally, this morning I chose the Marpleridge Sock from Kate Atherley’s Custom Socks book. I just haven’t gotten to the pattern part yet.

They’re not progressing quickly because of course I cast on other socks too. In the sale section I found some sparkly Stiletto sock yarn from Plymouth Yarns. I’ve used it before, in a different color, and think it’s so pretty. But they’re a little too itchy for me, so they went to the girl. Hence, these will also be socks for her. Just like the other pair, I’m using my favorite sock pattern, the Vanilla Latte socks. I’m sure she’ll be pleased.

Finally, my last new project was a bit of a splurge. I got it in my head that I wanted to make sock monkey socks; basically I just wanted to make socks inspired by the colors. It was super hard to find the right main color. It really should be a grayish-brown, or a brownish-gray, and ideally it should have some color variation and/or texture, like a heather or a marl, something like that. But I couldn’t find anything like that even at my huge LYS. The closest I could find was some Frolicking Feet in Raisin, a warm brown with subtle shade variations. I paired it with Cascade Heritage in Snow and White, and while it’s not exactly what I was picturing in my head, I think it’s close enough.

I’m using Hermione’s Everyday Socks for these, to give the body extra texture without making it too complicated. I’ll do a red heel, and a toe with both white and red. And the fun thing is that I’ll have plenty of red and white leftover to use for more socks, or as solids for when I want to do contrasting heel/toes with variegated or striped yarns.

Now I’ve got lots and lots of knitting to keep my busy during the next two days at home. We got fresh snow this morning and tomorrow’s a work holiday, so I’ll be found on the couch, snuggled up with a blanket, a dog or two, and some yarn.

Did any of you make it to the Woolfest? Was it wonderful?

My New Local Yarn Store

People, yesterday was a big day for me. You remember I recently moved to a new city, and the only crafty store I could find was Michaels? And that the yarn selection at Michaels is, well, it’s kind of crap? I mean, there’s some okay stuff, but it’s just a really small selection, and…it’s not GOOD yarn. Well! I have found salvation.

I had lunch with two long-time friends yesterday. They came to see my new house and then we went to Rock & Run Brewery, a locally owned pub. Great drinks, great food, great atmosphere. I loved it. Then one of my friends asked if I’d been to Corbin Mill yet. (It’s an old mill with several crafty shops in there; I thought there was quilting and beading and antiques.) I said no, not yet, hadn’t had the time. “Did you know there’s yarn there?” she asked me casually. Nonchalantly, like it was no big deal. Are you kidding me?? Six weeks I’ve lived here and had no idea I was two minutes away from a yarn store?? It was decided: after lunch we were going to the mill.

So we did and it was marvelous! It’s called the Old Mill Stitchery (see, that doesn’t scream yarn. No wonder I was confused.) The yarn section wasn’t huge but it was fantastic. Lots of Classic Elite Yarns, Berroco, some Shibui, and more that were new to me. Even the Berroco, which you can find in most LYSs, was really well-represented, with yarns I hadn’t seen before. There were samples hanging up everywhere, gorgeous complicated knits. As I wandered through petting the yarns, I chatted with the lady working there. Apparently the store has been there for 20 years or so, though I’m not sure if it’s always had the yarn. She was the needlepoint lady; the knitting lady would be in the next day, as would a knitting group. Oh, and get this: I had JUST missed a yarn tasting by a day or so. And the next one won’t be until spring. Argh. You can bet I signed up for their mailing list immediately.

The hard part was that my friends are not knitters. One is a rug hooker, so she appreciated the large section of dyed wool. The other is not crafty. As she said, we can make it and she can buy it. So I didn’t want to torture them too long. We browsed through the yarn, the wool, the little antique store section, and saved the bead store for last. Lots and lots of pretties! I can’t wait to go back and look for materials for some new stitch markers. I didn’t wait long for the yarn. As soon as my friends dropped me off, I let the puppies outside for a few minutes, then drove right back up to the yarn store. I even had some birthday money to spend! An hour later, it was gone, but my arms were full of these luscious treasures. IMG_3371Araucania Ruca Solid. This is 100% Sugar Cane. What?? I didn’t know such a thing existed. I don’t usually buy much brown yarn, but this one reminded me of milk chocolate. It’s also extremely soft but what made me buy it was the drape. It feels very elegant, and I think this will become a gorgeous shawl. Bonus: it was 50% off!IMG_3372Classic Elite Yarns Chateau. I’ve played with this yarn before and it’s heavenly. It’s so lightweight and soft, it’s cloud-like. It’s mostly baby alpaca with a bit of bamboo, so of course I love it. Alpaca is my favorite. This is going to become some kind of striped scarf for me. IMG_3373I’m a fan of sparkle so this Ava by CEY caught my eye, and I snagged the last two skeins of silver. I haven’t decided if this will become a project by itself, or if I’ll use it as an accent on other projects.IMG_3374More sale yarn! This is Kodiak by Berroco, another new yarn for me. Another bulky, super-soft alpaca blend; this is obviously the type of yarn that speaks to me more than any others. It was all 50% off, I loved all the colors and I couldn’t decide which one to get. I also couldn’t afford to buy as much as I wanted, so I got a pink, a cream and two dark grey, and I’m pretty sure they’ll play together to become some kind of cowl/scarf thing.

It was such a fun day, and it pleased me so much to find such a wonderful creative haven so close to me. I’m not normally a very out-going, social person, but I do think I’ll go up there one day and check out the knitting group. It might be neat to have some new yarny buddies.

Here’s the downside: I came home and started putting my new yarns away, and looking at my gorgeous gorgeous stash actually made me sad! I have so much beautiful yarn, and I’m afraid now that I’ve got SABLE (stash acquisition beyond life expectancy) and that’s not okay, because I want to have time to use all these fantastic yarns I’ve collected. Does anyone else ever feel like that? I either need to knit more often and faster, or I need to stop buying yarn, and not buying yarn isn’t going to happen, so I better stop typing now and start knitting.

Except I’m tired of all my WIPs. Time to cast on for something new?

I’m Dreaming of Life After Christmas

This morning, I spent some time in my craft room. I missed my yarn stash. I admired my beautiful yarns and wished I had time to knit all the things right now. Since that’s not possible, I settled for pulling out a few of the skeins I want to knit with soon after Christmas and getting them wound and ready. I’m picking based on the yarns, not the projects or the people. Just the yarns that are calling to me. I can’t wait.IMG_3406I’ve got some Berroco Borealis in there, some Manos del Uruguay Maxima, some Skacel Simpliworsted, and two Nerd Girls Yarns. See that blue and green back in the corner? Yep, that’ll be first.

What about you? What are you looking forward to making after the holidays?