Category Archives: Stash

How Vanna White Organizes Her Yarn

I officially love Vanna White. Half of the video is about her and her cat! And she talks to her cat just like cat people do – “oh, what do you want to do now? Really? that’s what you want to do? Ok!” Yup, Vanna White has a cat and loves antiques!

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“It’s that time of the year…when we drive ourselves mad…”

Face it – though the elections have just ended and Thanksgiving is still a few weeks away, for knitters (and crocheters) everywhere, the faint sound of jingle bells can already be heard on the horizon. So it’s time for a refresher course on one of my favorite subjects – Selfish Knitting: A Study in Yarnworthiness.

Now you might think this is is a topsy-turvy concept when we are approaching a holiday season where everyone is celebrating the gift of love and sharing and all that jazz, but the concept of Selfish Knitting is not, really, after all, about being selfish. For me, being a Selfish Knitter is about doing what I love to do, and valuing my self worth. One year, I was entirely happy to knit 45 garter stitch scarves and then donate them all to the local Food Shelter as part of my church’s mitten and scarf tree. Now, this may not float everyone’s boat, and some might think I’m crazy, but for me that year, it was great, mindless entertainment. Would I do it again? Probably not. But who knows – if the spirit moved me I might do something fun like that again.

The key to Selfish Knitting is this: Selfish Knitting is about making something with love and joy in your heart, not bitterness and regret. Will you be happy to make a shawl that your grandmother will treasure in her twilight years? Will you be unhappy if you make a scarf and hat set for your benighted cousin who last year gave the lap blanket you knit her to the dog? (True story.) These are the important questions we must ask ourselves here.

So before you go all creative on me and buy a crapton of yarn that you simply MUST KNIT AS GIFTS or feel the GUILT OF OVERSTASHING, or decide you HAVE TO KNIT SOMETHING STUPENDOUS AND DIFFICULT because you OWE HER/HIM/THEM/IT SOMETHING GOOD, it’s time to determine Who Is Yarnworthy.

Knitwear designer Franklin Habit has graciously turned some of the basic Yarnworthy questions of yore into a lovely visual aid (just like those teenage magazine questionnaires we pored over in middle school!), so instead of a boring list of questions I’ll just let you all peruse the glory of the flowchart. And take notes. And find yourself a knitting needle to whack yourself with if you start straying.

To get started, just substitute “Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Whatever-mas” for “Birthday” in the chart below:
Let’s all try to spread a little love instead of a lotta heartache this winter – be a Selfish Knitter with me! (And yes, we have a group.)

 

Belated November Stash Peek

Maybe we’ll just backdate this and then no one will notice that I left this hanging and forgot to publish it before December. Right? Right?!

shuffles feet

Soooo… I’ve neglected my stash for a while, and consequently haven’t flashed any of you since the summer. Wait, that sounds…I’m going with it. The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson has made me slap-happy. I think I hit a point at the end of August of being so stash-happy that nothing I bought or acquired retained my interest for long, and the few things I did get weren’t very exciting stash additions, like extra yarn for a sweater. Yes, like a child with too many toys, I hit Yarn Overload.

However, I’ve firmly exited my yarn coma, as shown by my ridiculous Black Friday purchases from Eat.Sleep.Knit. Let’s just say that when I fall off the wagon I fall hard. BUT – this post is not about the largess of my new stash acquisitions, but rather, a story about the unsung heroes of my stash. That’s right, I decided it wasn’t fair to exclude the semi-boring yarns from a Stash Peek just because they didn’t sparkle or shimmer or smell like unicorn farts when you squeeze them too much. I’ll save the smelly ones for December.

In August, I purchased a bunch of ONline Supersocke, mainly for the purposes of making miniskeins. But one skein just called my name, and I couldn’t bear the idea of chopping it up. I know it has the romantic name “Canadian Color” and the colorway is cleverly named  “1287” like it’s your old high school locker, but the glorious colors in this self-striping bit of magical deliciousness totally make up for the German’s stunted writing creativity.

ONline Supersocke 100 Canadian Color in 1287

After all, it’s important to note that sometimes, yarns that are super-soft and magically delicious just tend to get holey faster (nope, still haven’t darned those). I’m so very impressed with the sturdiness and beauty of ONline’s line of sock yarns. This color is gorgeous, it looks great on my feet, the yarn is never too fat for my shoes and doesn’t knit up weird, and it is just a standard-bearer for a great pair of socks you aren’t afraid to run around the house in!  This is a star sock yarn that often doesn’t get enough lovin’, and I definitely invite you to do just that with them.

They couldn't have called it The Rainbow Connection or something like that?

I confess I’ve got a little obsession going on with cotton. It’s ridiculous, since we get great cotton weather for 1/4th of the year, but I love love high quality cotton yarns. My cotton bin is full up on silliness indeed. My favorite cotton yarn, above them all, is Araucania Nature Cotton and Araucania Patagonia Nature Cotton (the variegated version of the former). Since September, I’ve amassed a great collection of multiple colors of this yarn. I haven’t a clue what I’ll do with a ton of single skeins of colored cotton, but honestly, who cares! It’s amazing yarn, and cotton is getting more and more expensive so I’d better buy it while I can. I’ve used it to make fabulous housewarming gifts in the past, so I’m sure I’ll find a use for it again. Let me just show you the cotton and you’ll see why I love it:

Araucania Nature Cotton in 22, Bright Green

Araucania Patagonia Nature Cotton in 233, Coral Combo

Araucania Nature Cotton in 54, Dark Teal

I could make this post just an ode to cotton, but it’s very cold and it feels like winter and quite frankly I just need a good, hot shot of wool in my diet. Enter the king of them all, Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash. I have a funny story about Cascade. Early in my knitting days, when I was young and inexperienced and thought that a single skein of yarn for $8 was horribly expensive and precious, I touched Cascade and turned my nose up at it. Cascade was not nice to feel at all and I was not a fan of the Peruvian Highland wool. Then came Ravelry, and my self-exploration into the concept of fiber. I vividly remember standing in a secondhand shop and discovering, to my excitement, that I could discern what fiber something was made of just by feeling it with my fingers! Last year I stopped at a yarn store with my best friend and touched the wall of Cascade. I whipped my head around, eyes wide, and said, “It’s soft! I like it!” Much like the appreciation of a fine wine takes some time, so too does loving wool. You’ve come a long way, baby.

Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in 823

Cascade 220 Superwash has come a long way too. It’s the same amazing 220 worsted but with machine washing capabilities! Something I’m discovering I need more, since I accumulated a lifetime’s supply of exotic yarn and then remembered that I really hate doing laundry. Oops. The little beauty I got this November is the first of what I hope are many skeins of Cascade 220 Superwash – I’m on a collect-them-all route, and sort of dream of a big, comfy superwash throw made out them.

Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in 823

Ok, thanks for playing the Stash Peek game with me this month! I’ll give you a peek into my holiday shopping stash in a few weeks, so stay tuned for ridiculous and yummy yarns that have absolutely no purpose except as wall art or something pretty to fill your china cabinet with!

The Beekeeper’s Quilt: Get Your Hexipuff On!

Dear Lord. Stephanie Dosen has done it again. This girl is so talented, my pinkie finger couldn’t compete with the oodles of cute stuff pouring out of her brain on a daily basis. So here’s the deal. I finished making my Mini Mania Scarf in January, and since then I have been gnashing my teeth, desperate for something else to do with all of these miniskeins I have lying around. I started offering those Mini Mania kits in my Etsy shop purely because I didn’t want to stop collecting. It’s what I do. I think, “well, if I can’t keep it because I’ll run out of room in my home and people will call Hoarders on me, I’ll sell it and then feel like it’s going to a good home where it will be loved and snuggled with and appreciated just as much as I would have.” Warning: this is also what makes me an awful/wonderful enabler when I go shopping with friends. I may have a problem.

Anyways, my mental issues are neither here nor there. What is, however, relevant to this blog post is the brand new pattern Stephanie has been working on. Here I am, sad and lonely and not needing another supersized linen stitch scarf. And voila! Entre The Beekeeper’s Quilt! And a new project for me!

The Beekeeper's Quilt, image courtesy tinyowlknits

You just looked at that image and swore in amazement, didn’t you. Don’t lie! I know you did, because that’s what I did! Stephanie made all of these adorable little honeycomb puffs out of scrap fingering weight skeinlets. And then she put them together to form this huge, squishy quilt of colorful awesomeness! So naturally, I had to dig out all of my miniskeins and toss them hither and thither to find all of the perfect colors and textures to knit myself a blanket as thrillingly fabulous as this. The yarns I tend to collect are brighter and darker than Stephanie’s (my wardrobe is probably also brighter and darker than hers) so to adjust for that fact I think I’m going to use one of every color unless it’s a pastel, and then I’ll double the amount of hexipuffs I’m making.

Miniskeins!

According to Stephanie, the blanket she made is three by four feet, and took about 400…500 hexipuffs? I’m not quite sure, I’ll have to investigate this. Anyways, I’m so pleased to discover that each square takes about 4 to 5 grams of sock yarn to knit – meaning all of the miniskeins I’ve got right now are the perfect size already! Yey! I can knit myself silly!

Stephanie’s blanket isn’t just cute-as-a-button, though, oh no, Stephanie is cute-as-a-button as well. Ok, instead of nattering on aimlessly about how in love with this pattern I am, I’ll just show you Stephanie’s amusing and perky video she made in July when she announced that The Beekeeper’s Quilt was going on sale. Because I think that explains it all.

July 2011 Stash Peek!

That’s right, it’s the end of the month again so it’s time to show you what new goodies fell into my stash! First, I must warn you, I am participating in Stephen West’s Mystery KAL this August, and I’ve been on an epic hunt for grey yarn. EPIC. I have been seriously buying up all of the grey yarn known to mankind that is the right color, yardage, weight, etc. My pile is growing absurd. And there are still more skeins of the way that might be my perfect match (eyeroll). I recommend that you check my destash page soon, and you might seen some pretty grey rejects hanging out there. Meanwhile, just look at this ridiculous pile:

Mountain of Grey Yarns

Those are not the new yarns I am showing off to you this month, oh no. The new yarns I am showing off to you are much cooler than the grey rejects. First up on the list, however, is, ironically, a grey yarn. But it stripey! And awesome! And it knits up so cool that I wanna make socks with it rightthisveryminute! The yarn in question is Patons Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in the colorway Blue Striped Ragg, or just Blue Striped. I really like Kroy Sock yarn – it makes a nice, strong-wearing pair of socks, it is pleasant to work with, they have some great striped and jacquard colorways, and the price point is unbeatable. This this colorway glorious or what?

And it knits up so nicely too! That’s what really made me cave, I think. It sort of reminds me of those sock monkeys from your childhood. I know the picture is hard to see on the ballband, but this simple stockinette sock pattern is what made me shell out $10 on the spot for these two skeins:

Patons Kroy Socks Ragg Shades in Blue Striped Ragg

The next yarn I want to show off a bit are these adorable wee little Habu Textiles Silk Roving skeins. Habu, a Japanese company, cracks me up, because they package all of their yarns in such tiny little balls of yarn that you can fit in the palm of your hand. These skeinlets (because come on, at 14 grams per ball they are basically skeinlets) are a luscious blend of wool and silk fingering weight. I think they are calling the yarn “roving” because this is a single ply. Either way, I love the way luxury comes in such tiny packages over at Habu.

Habu Textiles A-112 1/5 Silk Roving in Rosemary

The last thing I have to show off from my stash isn’t a yarn at all, but a gorgeous handmade batt by Inspiration Fibers, a fellow Phattie. Called Clover, this wool batt is made up of a combination Bluefaced Leicester, Tunis, Finn, alpaca and mohair fibers in bright green, natural grey, white, orange and yellow. It’s truly a medley of color, and I can’t wait to have someone spin it up for me (because I cannot spin for the life of me).

Inspiration Fibers Luxury Batt in Clover, image courtesy Inspiration Fibers

Joining the Westknits Mystery KAL-athon

Ok, I’ve got my colors picked out for the Westknits Mystery Shawl KAL and I’m absolutely in love with them. This is the first time Stephen’s ever run a mystery KAL and this is my first time participating in one. I hope that by doing the shawl in little pieces it will make me motivated to actually keep knitting, instead of dropping the thing halfway through when there is no end in sight, as I am wont to do. I think Stephen is pretty excited about this to, given the crazy shawl-only photoshoot he did for himself (there’s not much underneath those handknits)!

Westknits Mystery KAL 2011: Earth and Sky, image courtesy Westknits

There is, however, one little problem on my end. The mystery shawl I am knitting requires three colors. Out of the three glorious colors I have this lovely silvery grey handpun yarn that would make a wonderful subtle backdrop for my more colorful skeins. However, there are only 85 yards of it – definitely not enough to make it the main color. Stephen West recommends that your main color be a semi-solid or solid, so while I have plenty of the Yarn Pirate Superwash BFL in Rain Shadow, that should remain an accent color. The other accent color is Fibre Company Canopy Fingering in Fern, and I also don’t have enough of that to make it the backdrop color (nor do I really want a non-neutral to be the backdrop color).

My question is, does anyone have any suggestions for a silvery-grey fingering yarn that resembles either my Yarn Pirate or Fibre Co. yarn in terms of texture?

My Mystery Shawl yarns

June 2011 Stash Peek!

Yarn glorious yarn! It’s the end of June and it’s time for another stash peek! It’s been a while so I bet you are all dying to see what I have accumulated lately. Well, let me tell you, I’ve got some real pretties I’m sifting through here.  It’s almost hard to pick! Let’s start with the last to arrive first.

As you may know, I went on a little business trip this month and had a blast. I met loads of yarnies and designers, picked up some fun button swag, and squished a good many yarns in inappropriate manners. The best thing, though, far above all, was that I got a green skein of cashmere yarn!!! (Ahem, sorry about the excessive exclamation points. I really love that yarn.) The yarn in question is Mountain Colors Jeannette in Green Apple, and it is truly divine. The DK weight yarn is a blend of cashmere and cultivated silk, and it’s so freaking soft I have no clue how those women over at Mountain Colors dyed it without felting it! Seriously, this stuff is decadent, and I’m so pleased to own some.

The coolest thing about this yarn is how they came up with the name. If you check out the Mountain Colors website, a bunch of their stuff is given nice but sorta basic names like “Weaver’s Wool” and “4/8s Wool.” You get the idea. But this yarn they decided to name after someone specific – a very important woman, in fact. From their Ravelry page:

“We named this yarn after a very important woman in Montana’s state history, Jeannette Rankin. She was the first woman in the country elected to US Congress in 1916, 4 years before women in our nation were given the right to vote. She was very active in the Suffrage Movement and working for women’s rights. She was a peace activist and was the only member of congress to vote again WWI. When we saw how lovely and graceful this cashmere silk was we immediately thought of Jeannette.”

I just think that is so neat. I love having yarn named after someone who made a difference – it just makes it all the more special to me.

Mountain Colors Jeannette in Green Apple

Now, I apologize for repeating myself here, because I know I showed you new Manos yarn I’d gotten last month too, but come on! It’s Manos. And I fell down and found some yarn that is just OMGMUSTHAVE so I actually bought it and paid full price (cue gasps of shock). The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Maxima.

Don’t be fooled by the colorway name here, because this is identical to Wildflowers in Wool Clasica. The only difference is that this is just a merino worsted weight, not an exotic handspun like Wool Clasica is. But when I say “just”, I don’t mean “just”, not really. Because this yarn is GORGEOUS. It’s super soft and squishy and divine with a whopping 218 yards AND it comes in all of your favorite Manos colors! What’s not to love?

Manos del Uruguay Maxima in Meltaway Mint

The third and last yarn to talk to you about this month is sort of exciting for me. I got my first GothSocks! I’m not huge into the stripey black-color-black dyeing craze that is going on right now (nothing personal, just don’t care for big fat stripes), so I’ve never bothered to stalk Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs before. However, earlier this month she had a sneak update that I just happened to be online during, and, intrigued, I fell into her site. And I was hooked. I got myself a wonderfully named Snow White referenced colorway in her Asphodel base called Poisoned Apple. YUM.

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling Asphodel in Poisoned Apple

Then the yarn I’ve been dying to acquire, her Absinthe colorway, came up in a destash in the Oleander base, so I got both in the mail at the same time! I’m really thrilled – both are technically Gothlings, which simply means that they are not her stripeys, but I’m totally cool and happy with that. And I love them to pieces. Check it!

Rainy Days & Wooly Dogs Gothling Oleander in Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Ok, that’s all, folks, so thanks for playing in my stash with me this month!