It has been since I last bought yarn!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


It's weird to only have one project on the needles at the moment because there's really only so much you can say about a stocking stitch blanket.  Things are going quite well.


Pictured here is 13 inches of blanket- and as of this post, all ends (minus the yellow) are woven in!  You would think that I would be downright miserable and BORED knitting something so simple, but I'm not.  Not even a little.  I can't wait to sneak in my little colorful rows and in general I'm feeling pretty good about this little blanket adventure.

So good about this that after today, I'm going to put it away.  WHAT???  Yes.  This was a fun January distraction and will be extremely easy to pick it up and get back into it at a later date.  But, there are other pressing needs that need to be knit and I'm just the girl for the job.  Starting tomorrow I'm casting on the Mystery Mittens for February as well as a baby blanket for a friend due in March.  I'll use this fun little blanket as a reward for finishing up on those items... hopefully IN February.  (I don't know who I'm kidding that I think I'm going to knit a blanket in 3 weeks.  HAHAHAHAHAHA Jen.  HAHA.)

Since that's all going on in the knitting world... I thought I'd share another crafty story with you.  Growing up- my mom was a crafty lady, and many, MANY hours of my childhood were spent at "Fabricland".  (Mom's "crafter obsession of choice" has always been sewing.)  In fact I had many friends that knew what a trip to Fabricland meant: 3 hours of your mother looking at fabrics, changing her mind, waiting in line to cut the fabric and flipping through COUNTLESS pattern books- all while you are not-so-secretly DYING of boredom.  HOURS of my childhood were wasted in Fabricland.  (THANKS MOM....)

Remember- this was in the dark ages before cell phones or gameboys or things children have now to entertain themselves.  Entertainment at Fabricland was looking at the Halloween costumes in the back of the pattern books and dreaming up your Halloween costume for that year.  This would last all of about 5 minutes.  My very, VERY, patient father has done many things I'm sure he would have preferred not to but he puts his foot down on basically one thing only- he won't go to Fabricland with my mom- because he is certain he will die of boredom.

As I said- I wasn't the only one who would spent hours in a Fabricland with their mother, essentially waiting for a quick death to make the endless fabric store suffering stop.  My husband also shares this memory with his mother in a Fabricland.  As I got older, I began to appreciate and (gasp) enjoy my trips to Fabricland... and when I first moved to Calgary I even had my own member card!  (Which has since lapsed b/c I got obsessed with knitting instead and thankfully you don't need a member card to get deals on yarn! ... although I would totally buy one if I had to.)  My husband cannot drive by a Fabricland without shuttering- and he will go to a yarn store with me, if I promise to keep it short.

I give you this incredibly long back story so that you understand why this next part is such a big deal.

I took my kid to his first trip to Fabricland.... and he enjoyed it!

Fabric 2

Grandma showing him a lovely print...

Fabric 3

Parker loved Fabricland on his first trip.  To be fair; a) he's 14 months old and any time he gets to wander in a store and touch things freely and have old ladies gush over how cute he is, he's in his element and b) he can't talk so he can't tell me that he's suffering in his own personal hell.  I won't kid myself.  I think Parker's statute on limitations on this place is going to be brief.  Fabricland for a 14 month old is CHRISTMAS- so many textures to touch (if you have clean hands... which he did) and colors to look at, and the bolts of fabric are too heavy to pull out so you can let him wander down the isles and take a good look at things.


I imagine the novelty of Fabricland, or for that matter yarn stores, are going to wear off pretty quickly when he has to stand there bored out of his mind while I contemplate the difference between "sky" blue and "baby" blue.  (SORRY KID- IT'S A RIGHT OF PASSAGE!)  Husband and sister who still carry their Fabricland scars and never did quite see the fun in going are horrified.  Sister has accused me of child abuse and husband has forbidden me to take him again, saying (and I quote), "worst moments of my childhood- don't subject our son to that!"*

So yes- my week has been interesting and fun- and Parker is slowly learning about his mommy and her crafting lineage.  (haha)  Next post should be a little more knitting related- but thought you'd enjoy his first trip to the dreaded Fabricland.

*Knowing husband's mother as well as I do (the famous MiL)- let me tell you... he's being dramatic.  She would never purposefully torment her children... unless she could get 60% off on Fabric.  ;-)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Getting It Done

Okay- so we've had a frank discussion about stash and now it only feels right to show you a few completed things that I keep teasing about and let you know what's happening with the stash buster blanket.

Let's begin on a high note- FINISHED SOCKS.


Pattern: Balearique Socks by SpillyJane
Yarn: The Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga in "Sooty Dancer"
Needles: (Of all the dumb things I've done... I didn't write it down... I genuinely DON'T KNOW- small ones?  I wanna say US 2.)
Thoughts: This is a great pattern, where I should have really taken the time to learn how to cable withOUT a cable needle.  I found the cables piddly at times, and it required some patience to knit through the leg.  Also- these socks are for a man (Hi Dad!)-  and I think I would have attempted to knit them a little longer.  Especially because I did end up having leftovers and could have done at least 10 more rows (probably) on each leg.  The yarn was DREAMY to knit with.  Oh man, once the stash is a little smaller... I MUST get my hands on more.


The dark color doesn't really show the cables to their best most showy advantage- but they're for a man and so I felt I needed to balance the cables with a dark color to make it more "man friendly".


It feels good to get this done and out of the stash.

ALSO?  The January hat is FINITO.


It's cute isn't it?  This is the first time in a long time I felt very strongly that this hat needed a pom pom.  Bonus- pom pom's are great little stash busters.

And finally, the results you've been waiting ever so patiently for- the stripey blanket is started and ON the needles.


YUP.... decided to go with the skinny yellow rows vs. the thicker ones.  This is all just plain stocking stitch and this thing just ROLLS in on itself... I thought by now it would be heavy enough to stop rolling up, but I guess not.  It's kind of a neat blanket, although I've already instituted the "weave in ends after 3 color bands" rule because otherwise I'll be weaving in ends FOREVER at the end and I will be very knit depressed by the end of that project.

I have moments where I panic that I'm not going to have enough yarn to make it to 30" inches on this blanket (we're at 6" so far) and I'm already trying to come up with a contingency plan should I find myself requiring more colors.  I guess we'll just see where I end up and come up with a plan from there.  Cross your fingers.

I'm going to keep plugging away at this for a while longer (very easy knitting) and in February I'm starting a mystery project.  Mother in Law has requested mittens and selected her colors to match her coat.  I get to pick the pattern!  So I'm going to be very mysterious about the project, and will try to find some creative photos to take that won't give the whole thing away.  (MiL just spent a week in my basement helping me paint our playroom... to say that I really need to make this woman nice mittens is an understatement- she gave up a lot of time to help me, I need to pull out the fancy pants stops on these mysterious little numbers!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Stash Analysis

On Dec 30th my in laws took "the boy" for the day, and husband and I were left with an unusual day of "doing whatever we'd like".  I spent the morning having a heart to heart discussion with my stash.  It seems every new year, I like to get into my stash and "assess the situation" if it were.  I've gotten a lot better with working down yarns in my stash... but there is still a long way to go.  One of my resolutions is to keep whittling down what's there- and I'm hoping from time to time this year, I can bring up a picture and discuss what's hopefully missing.  Ultimately my goal is keep just a few things in my stash and buy yarn as I need it... locally to support my local shops.  I achieved my previous goal of being able to close the drawers to the stash holder... now I'd like to empty one... entirely.

My stash can easily be grouped into 5 categories...

1) Sock Yarn/Fingering Weight stash


In the bottom left hand corner is the Wollmeise in all of it's splendor.  I will not allow myself anymore Wollmeise indulgences until at MINIMUM 2 more skeins find their way out of my stash.  (I will not hoarde... I will not hoarde...) There also seems to be a decent amount of self striping stash that needs some chipping away at.  (Although truth be told, it's the stuff I don't mind hanging on to the most- self striping socks are the perfect "I don't know what to knit so I'll just knit a simple sock" project to "cleanse your palate" for new projects.)  There's also some Madelintosh (top purple-y skein) and the much obsessed over "Butter Peeps" (top yellow) that still hasn't achieved it's destiny.  It helps that I knit mittens a decent amount now and that I frequently stash dive for at least one color in here.

2) The Natural Sport/Worsted/Thick Yarns


This is made of any natural fibers, (wool, alpaca, silk... etc).  I'm hoping to cut my teeth on a large "throw" for my living room with the big purple mound on the right hand side- conveniently in the colors my decorator is suggesting.  The light blue stuff on the bottom has been stashed for far too long and it needs to be summer sweater of some kind.  I'm hopeful that the navy and red in the top left will be my first "double knitting" blanket and DAMN do I regret buying the grey multi-color in the bottom right.  (One of those "WHAT THE HECK WAS I THINKING" and "drunk on 75% off" situations.)  I don't have a purpose for that... but it haunts me and I want it out- OUT... OUT... DAMN YARN!

3) The Cotton Collection


This is another piece of stash I can sort of forgive for being there- a dishcloth is one of those "quick and dirty" projects that help you "take the edge off" when you're looking for something new and fast.  Unlike the self striping yarn though, I do not plan on replenishing this.  No more dishcloths- until I have the time to sit at the door and wait for the husband again.  (I'm guessing this won't be the case until Parker is 21 and moved out...)  It would be lovely to say "this is gone now" and move on.  I kind of not-so-secretly hate knitting with cotton... so the sooner it's gone... the better.

4) STASH OF IMMENSE SHAME (Acrylic collection)


Yup.  I have it.  Truthfully I have busted down a LOT of it- thanks in part to charity knitting projects. I've committed myself to knit an entire WCOBB blanket myself using what's in this pile and the pinks on top will hopefully be gone after I knit a bunch of charity hats for Rockyview hospital.  Beyond that I'm not entirely sure what to do with this lot- but I am greatful that I at least see a large portion of it will be on it's way out this year.  My goal is by then end of next year not to have acrylics... at all.  I can do this!

5) Leftovers


These are the "too plentiful to throw out" bits and bobs and odds and ends from various projects that probably bug me the most.  I feel like I need to use up a whole skein of yarn to count it as used and so a lot of this stuff just kind of sits in my stash, getting under my skin and I don't really know what to do with it. (One can only knit so many baby hats.)  Last post I was asking about a potential blanket that would eat up a lot of this stuff (another post on another day) and I think there's enough in here to get me thru a few pairs of mittens.

My goal this year is to whittle away at this, and the rest.  I'm not committing to not buying any yarn at all- I have too many gift certificates and baby blankets that need to be done to say such outlandish things... but I want to keep chipping away and free up the space.  It's great that I can store my yarns in one bin... but there's a lot up there that I don't particularly feel much love for.

I've learned a lot about yarn stashing over the years.  I go to the sales with ideas that I want to execute on, I try really hard not to let a "deal" impair my practical stashing.  Yes- 75% off is a great deal IF YOU HAVE A PROJECT FOR IT... not so much if you don't and it just sits in your stash... laughing at you.

If I was really smart, I'd do this kind of stash analysis exercise BEFORE I go to a sale... reminding myself about what happens when a "deal" goes to one's head... but it takes time, and that's something I don't have in premium amounts any more.  I'm hoping to revisit these pics sometime this summer, and blur out what I've used, in a way hold myself personally accountable for what's going out there.  So there you have it- that's what's sitting in my stash these days.  What yarns do you have in your stash that you're sort of "meh" on???

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Thick or Thin?

Alright I'm crowd sourcing!

As I mentioned last blog- one of my goals is to whittle away at my ever growing "excess" left over situation.  One of the ideas I had was to do a blanket.  Since I'm far to anal retentive to go "random stripe", I gathered together similar colors and came up with a "scheme".

Here's what's I'm working with:


Here's what I came up with:



Here's where I need your input:

Do you prefer the THICKER STRIPE (between the blue and purple) or the THINNER STRIPE (between the purple and grey) of yellow to break up the colors.  (Bear in mind that I will more than likely crochet a YELLOW border around the whole thing when it's complete.)

Poll closes on Jan 6- stay tuned for what I end up doing!  Thanks for your input!

In other plan details- I've decided NOT to do a garter border on each side, I don't like how it changes the shape and since there will be a crochet border anyways, it just works to leave it.  I'll do a crochet cast on in the same color to give myself a nice and easy border to crochet with later.

(The point of this project is to bust out some leftover stash... so I'm only using stuff that are directly in my stash right now- and not planning to buy anything to balance.  Yes- I wish the lighter grey was lighter...  but too bad.  It's going out of the stash so I will use it!)