Tag Archive | yarn

Cleaning House

In January of last year, I started keeping track of my yarn usage. Not super scientifically, just how many skeins in and out. I actually did surprisingly well last year, and it came out about even by the end of 2020. This year has not been so successful. I’ve been feeding the stash a little too generously. Like, the last time I went to put new yarn into my stash, I had to rearrange a little bit to make room because my shawl yarn and sock yarn shelves were so full.

At the same time, I read someone’s blog post about wanting to be more thoughtful about stash additions, and some friends were talking about being conscious of how long it takes you to use up yarn, say one skein of fingering. Unless it’s sock yarn, it usually takes a while.

It all came together and made me decide it was time for another yarn destash. I’ve been knitting for over nine years now, and my tastes have changed, but I still have yarn I bought back then. I still have tons of alpaca, because I love to knit with alpaca, but I can’t actually wear alpaca. So why keep it all? Why not clear out some space and send the yarn off to a new home?

I pulled out probably 75 skeins of yarn, all told. Some of it went to a couple of knitting buddies, but the lot in the chair has been listed on Facebook Marketplace and I’d love to find someone who wants to take it off my hands. The second photo is my reduced stash. Before, all but the bottom two shelves were full of yarn, and the top two shelves on the left side were literally full, to the top. It just didn’t feel good anymore. This new stash feels manageable to me, and lets me see the skeins I love, some of which were just getting buried under other things. Now here’s hoping I can keep this up and be more thoughtful about feeding the stash in the future!

How often do you clean out your yarn stash?

You win some, you lose some

I haven’t really been knitting lately. I’m making more bobble hats for my former boss, but the last one should get done today. I worked on a sock last weekend, the boy’s sock with the leg that is 10 1/2″ long. But mostly I’ve been doing LEGO sorting. The boy loved LEGO as a kid so we have a ton of sets, and all the pieces got jumbled together over the years. Now we are I am systematically going through each booklet and finding the right pieces for each set. It’s endless and boring and mind-numbing and very soothing and satisfying. There’s nothing like finding the last, right piece after searching through a plastic tub for ages. Anyway, that’s where my brain is right now. I don’t know what it means but I’m sure I’ll get back to fun knitting soon enough.

I am still appreciating pretty yarn, and I will show you my two “wins” first. The gray and black is Knit Picks Hawthorne that I ordered on a whim because I was ordering other yarn from them and needed to get free shipping (as one does, right?). The other is Christmas Silly String from BaH Yarns and I bought it on a whim when it popped up on my Instagram feed. I very much would like to knit it next, but first I must finish a bobble hat.

Now for the losses. I have two Christmas presents for the boy that are stuck somewhere in the ether, one coming from the UK and the tracking just says it’s on its way and check back for “regular updates”. Ha. One is from Etsy and there is no tracking number and the seller said “oh yes I’ll get you that tracking number tonight” and never did. I have a beautiful skein of yarn that I ordered from a small dyer whose yarn I love, and I ordered it November 2 and it has not been shipped, has not arrived, and I can get no answer from them through email or Instagram. I want to believe that there is something personal going on to explain the poor service, so I’m trying to sustain some empathy even though I have no evidence to support it. And then there’s this.

On the left is an Instagram photo of a special colorway preorder to support a domestic violence shelter. Good cause + purple = I ordered it. I knew it was a preorder so I waited. After four weeks, I’d heard nothing, so I sent a quick polite email just asking for an update. What do you know, it was ready to ship out that day! It came quickly at least. The right photo is the skein that arrived. One of these things is not like the other. I know colors can vary from one device to another, but I looked at her photo on multiple devices and they all showed purple. And mine … is gray, with flecks of blue and mustard and one big black splotch. Like it? It’s yours for the cost of shipping!

It’s for a good cause, so I don’t want a refund or anything like that. Someone told me I should give the dyer a heads up. If nothing else maybe she’d find it helpful to know that her photos don’t match her yarn? I don’t know. That’s awkward and I haven’t decided if I want to do that. But if I don’t, I know I’ll never order from her again. What do you think? Am I being too picky? Should I send an email or cut my losses and move on?

Here come the holidays

Oh golly. 2020, amiright? Good news: we’re all feeling fine, the boy’s test was negative and my tests have been negative, and the two weeks since possible exposure are up Monday. Of course, we’re very lucky: someone else I know tested positive this week (though honestly, I’m not sure they’re very good about staying home/not socializing etc).

Bad news: the girl is not coming home for Thanksgiving. I know it’s the right decision but I hate it quite a lot, and today it’s hitting me hard as the husband plans the menu and I know it will just be the three of us. I am trying to remind myself to be thankful that everyone I love is still alive. And the three of us are going to be as careful as possible so that with any luck, she can be here for Christmas. (Just let me be optimistic about something, okay?)

My recent ennui has extended beyond this blog and into my knitting. I frogged that cowl and it was satisfying, but I don’t have a new pattern picked out for the yarn. Besides a third swatch for my Oxbow, which is drying now, all I’ve done is make two bobble hats.

My former boss has commissioned four of them for new lab members, which is the only reason I will consent to doing bobbles anymore. But now they’re on hold because I’m waiting for more brown yarn to arrive in the mail. (I wanted to say “post” there. I think I’ve been watching too much British TV. Can I just say, watching Diana on The Crown is quite sad. We’re not too far into the new season yet, but it just makes my heart ache a bit.)

Today, though, today I’m going to try to break through the wall with some Christmas knitting. I remembered I had a sock kit in my stash, plus my new self-striping from Two Sisters is here. Which one to knit first? Oh, and I also got some gorgeous new yarn from the Lemonade Shop the other day. So many yarns I want to play with!

I think today will be a couch/tea/knitting/movie marathon kind of day. And dogs. Always dogs. Here, have a photo of Duncan in his new pajamas. He’s quite dapper, I think.

Happy weekend, friends.

FO Saturday

So I’m a day late, whatever. I actually forgot I’d finished this. It was up in the craft room on the mannequin, waiting for photos. I think I knit this last weekend, when I need a good, quick bulky project. It was billed as a one-skein, two-hour project, and that was almost true. I did only use one skein, but I had to skip a couple rows at the end. And I’m pretty sure it took me longer than two hours, but I was watching Schitt’s Creek so that was fine by me.

This is Malabrigo Rasta in a purple whose name I’ve forgotten, and the pattern is called Why Wait (Rav link). I used size 13 needles but I almost think I would have liked size 15 to give it a little looser drape.

I also finished my first swatch for my Oxbow cardigan, and even though I can’t find my handy gauge-measuring tool, a ruler was enough to tell me it was definitely too loose. So now I’ve got gauge swatch number two about done, and hopefully I can find my gauge tool today. That reminds me, maybe I should add a couple of those to my Christmas list. They’d make great stocking stuffers!

You all will be glad to know that the Zoom calls were fine (though there ended up being FOUR. That’s the most I’ve talked to people in a very long time.) The vet visit wasn’t quite as good. Jack hates the vet so much by now that he wasn’t sure he wanted to get in the car, and then we had to really struggle to get him inside. But we got the meds he needed and he was very happy to come home.

Unfortunately, my fears about Friday the 13th weren’t quite unfounded: we found out that one of the boy’s friends tested positive. Even though they’ve only been around each other in a small group of four, with distancing and masks, it’s enough to make me worry. None of are symptomatic at all, thank goodness. I’d taken a test on Wednesday, which came back negative, and we’ll get the boy tested Monday. So cross your fingers that we’re able to dodge this bullet, and be sure to wear your masks!

Today my goal is to get some chores done and hopefully get the Christmas tree up and lit! Not decorated yet, I’ll do it in stages, but I’m ready for a sparkly tree. Anybody else decorating for Christmas already?

Friday the 13th!

EEK! Are we all bracing ourselves for whatever will come our way today? I know I am. I have three Zoom calls today (I usually have zero) where I have to talk to people and they will see me. And I have to take Jack back to the vet, because his last hot spot healed weird and now he has two more small ones and ARGH. By now he hates the vet so much that even with two of his happy pills, he fights when I try to make him go through the door. Last time it took me three tries to get him inside. I’d love to have someone helping me, so I could be pulling him and they could be pushing him from behind, but the vet prefers only one person per pet right now. Like I said, ARGH. So to heck with trying to worry about looking “good”, today is a comb my hair and wear sweats kind of day!

If I’m lucky, I will have some knitting time today. I have no FOs to share and actually no new knitting photos, so instead I’ll just share my new yarn.

The Cascade Eco is a dark purple that will become an Oxbow cardigan. I started my swatch last night. The middle is a delightful sock set from Ruby and Roses yarn. And I was finally able to get a copy of 52 Weeks of Socks. When I went to pick it up from Yarn Social, some yarn followed me home. The WYS is the Fairy Lights sparkle colorway, and the purple is Old Rusted Chair squish DK. That one is feeding the stash at this point, though I’m thinking a cowl. I do love cowls.

Hope everyone stays safe today! Happy Friday the 13th!

Feeding the stash

The happiest days are when yarn comes! (Just don’t tell Melanie Hamilton.) I got some good mail today from the Periwinkle Sheep. They were donating 50% of their sales to Fair Fight, an organization fighting voter suppression and systemic disenfranchisement based in Georgia. That was a good reason to buy some pretty yarn!

The two skeins are merino single in fuschsia agate, and I’m pretty sure they’ll become a shawl. The highland wool is purple foxglove, and I really don’t know what it’ll be. It’s a little more rustic so I don’t think I’d be able to wear it against my neck or face. Right now it’s there to feed the stash.

I’m hoping to finish my Dissent Cowl this weekend. It’s zooming along and is so fun to knit. I’ve got a good tennis match to watch tomorrow that will allow plenty of knitting time. We recently watched Defending Jacob on Apple TV+. There are eight episodes and we sped through them, loved it all except the ending. It’s based on a book so I might need to read it now!

Happy Saturday, friends.

FO Friday: Manos Alegria Grande

I’m excited to share my latest FO with you today! I got a chance to review some Manos del Uruguay Alegria Grande and I’m always up for that challenge. It’s a yarn I’ve used before, but they’ve released some new semi-solid and space-dyed colorways. I selected one of the resist-dyed colors called Gleam, which is black with purple specks. (Shocker, I know.)

Okay, first of all, what the heck do ‘space-dyed’ and ‘resist-dyed’ mean? I had no idea. The internet tells me that space dyeing is when multiple colors are applied along the length of the yarn which may or may not repeat after a fixed interval. Resist-dyeing is when a substance that is impervious to the dye blocks its access to certain areas of the fabric, while other parts are free to take up the color of the dye. Hm, okay, that sounds fun, and it sure makes some cool yarn. And that cool yarn can make a really cool shawl — look at how the speckles change direction between each section!

For my two skeins, I chose a pattern from Manos called the Serenità Shawl. It’s a free pattern on Ravelry and was designed for two skeins of Alegria Grande. I did the pattern as written and ended up with just a few yards left over. It’s a fun pattern that switches from stockinette to garter to lace.

Knitting with the Grande was a delight, as Manos always is. The Grande is a smooth, thick, squishy yarn. But here’s what I never realized before: it’s machine washable! It’s 75% merino wool and 25% polyamide, which means you could make awesome sweaters in gorgeous colors that are easy to care for! This has opened up a lot of new opportunities for me to use the Alegria yarns in my knitting.

For shawls, I’ll still hand wash, though. This one is a small shawl so I blocked it as aggressively as I could, and wow, the lace opened up beautifully. It’s got a great drape and I’m happy to wear it next to my skin, which occasionally has some wool sensitivities.

I did come across two frayed spots, one in each skein, where the yarn had thinned. I didn’t want to risk it breaking unexpectedly so I did break the yarn to skip those spots. I ended up with a couple of extra ends to weave in but I feel like those two spots are totally within reason. There are so many good reasons to knit with Manos (pretty! soft! colors!) but don’t forget the cool stuff like supporting the skilled women in Uruguay who produce the yarn, or that Manos is a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. It’s just a company I feel good supporting, and you can learn more here.

Thanks so much to Stitchcraft Marketing and Fairmount Fibers, the North American distributor of Manos del Urugay, who sent me two skeins of Alegria Grande (retail value: $52) for free. I received no other compensation for this review. All opinions and photos are my own.

WIP Wednesday

Hello. It me. I’m the work in progress today. And every day, actually. I don’t know know why the blogging hasn’t been happening the last several days. I’ve been knitting, I’ve had time. Just no motivation, I suppose. I’ll ease back into it by sharing my birthday goodies from last weekend!

My work team sent me a box to open during a Zoom meeting, which was fun. There was a Wonder Woman theme, which is perfect. My boss even made the cupcakes (and they were delish)!

Saturday was my actual birthday and I made out a like a bandit. The husband picked out five gorgeous skeins of yarn, plus a couple of enamel pins and a wrist ruler. And dog shoes! The boy bought me a LEGO set, which was a fun reversal after us buying him LEGOs for so many years.

But Saturday was also National Local Yarn Store Day! Of course I HAD to visit my favorite LYS, right? I went out to Yarn Social first thing in the morning, all masked up, and had the store to myself for most of the time. Though I didn’t go around petting all the yarn like I used to do, it was still so nice to be back in a comforting, familiar environment, and I came home with more treasures than I’d planned to.

I also got to have a nice phone call with the girl, who’s back at school, and a small socially-distant family party. The weather was beautiful, I had plenty of time to relax and knit, and I couldn’t have asked for much more. Now if only every weekend could be like that!

WIP Time

No, no, I know it’s not Wednesday, but today I’m talking about my WIPs. Yesterday I had the urge to spread my knitting love to some of my neglected projects. Really, I wanted to knit a little bit on each one, but then I remembered I have like eight WIPs right now and the day was not infinite. I started with a DK-weight cowl and did 14 rows of lace. That’s not very much in DK so it’s not photo-worthy. I knit on a sock, but that was plain ribbing and maybe two inches, and that was fun but I’ll just wait and show you the sock when it’s done. After that, I had the urge to revisit my Mermaid shawl.

I’m using Stephen West’s Sea Swell Shawl pattern, and it’s a lot of garter stitch (yay!) but also a lot of short rows (sigh), so it’s not really mindless knitting. It’s also getting kind of huge and each row takes forever now.

I’m on color four of five, and have five wedges left to knit. It’s equally encouraging and discouraging: I’ve come so far but it still feels like a lot left to go. Now that the weather is starting to cool off, though, I’m getting more eager to wear it, so maybe that will be my motivation to keep knitting. But then I get new sock yarn in the mail, like this new yarn from HaldeCraft, and I get distracted. The mug is hers too; I love her stuff!

Happy Tuesday that feels like Monday!

Happy Mail

What even is today, Wednesday? Not close enough to the weekend, that’s all I know. The mail carrier provided a much-needed boost for my day today, delivering a package from LoloDidIt.

img_8593This is Facebook’s fault. Lolo shared a photo of socks made with the variegated, which is a new Halloween colorway called Beetlejuice, and I had to get a skein of coordinating Wonka purple to go with it. I’d planned to do socks but now I’m thinking a sparkly shawl would be lovely too. I mean, we all know it’s just feeding the stash at the moment, but it’s pretty high on my To-Knit list!