Tag Archives: stash

Weekend crafting, 11-12 January

I’m happy to say that I managed to do my hour each of sewing and spinning this weekend with no problems at all. Unfortunately, the sewing was finishing off last week’s Sekrit Project, so no pictures, but the spinning involved plying the Polwarth I’d been working on and it’s come out beautifully.

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I think I got about 90m from my 100g of fibre, pre-washing, so that’s definitely going in the right direction! I love how the colours have come out.

In lieu of any actual pictures of the sewing, here’s some gratuituous yarn porn instead – all the different rainbow yarns and fibre that have arrived in my house in the last week.

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(From the back, that’s KnitPicks Felici from Great British Yarns, fibre and mini skeins from the Yarn Yard, Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock from Modern Knitting and merino sock yarn from Old Maiden Aunt in a rainbow colourway dyed up specially for the run-up to the Sochi Olympics.)

Next week I will start to think about dressmaking again. I am planning a party to celebrate my 40th birthday in May and it would be lovely to make a dress to wear to that. I have a copy of Simplicity 2444 and I think that would make a lovely party dress, if only I can manage to make it fit me.

Colour attraction

Last weekend, Helen of Ripples Crafts tweeted a picture of a yarn she was about to put in her shop which was so pretty I couldn’t resist buying a skein.

Ripples

The colours are gorgeous, but once it arrived it realised it wasn’t entirely dissimilar to the skein of Handmaiden Casbah I bought at Loop last year.

Similar

I’m pretty sure I have other skeins in the same palette, too. Apparently the combination of teal, fuchsia or magenta and tawny yellow is one I’m utterly powerless to resist.

I suppose it’s not surprising that the colours would go together; basically, they’re the three primary colours (red, blue and yellow), shifted slightly round the colour wheel, so the effect is instantly harmonious. And it’s not surprising they appeal to me, as I prefer the complexity of secondary and tertiary colours to the simple primaries.

I have no idea what I might make with either skein. They’re so beautiful as they are, it seems a shame to wind them and knit them up into something that might not do justice to the wonderful colours.

They have answered a question I’ve been mulling over for a while, though. I have two skeins of Yarn Yard Toddy, in fuchsia and teal, which complement each other so beautifully I can’t imagine knitting either one up on its own.

Two

I was wondering about another Daybreak, or something similar, but I’m currently desperate to jump on the Colour Affection bandwagon (well, I will be once I’ve finished Hypernova, by which point I think I might be ready for a break in the A-Z of shawls) and have been trying to think of a third colour to put with them. Obviously, it needs to be a tawny gold, and luckily, I have just the right thing (funny, that…).

Three

Maybe this will be an incentive to get on with Hypernova. It is going to be lovely, it’s just that each row takes about 40 minutes and it’s still growing!

Preferences

It was raining when I got up today, and cool enough to wear a shawl for once.

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Shawl – Abbegale
Cardigan – clothes swap
Top – M&S
Skirt – White Stuff
Leggings – M&S
Shoes – Jones Bootmaker

I’ve been thinking about what kind of handknits I wear the most lately, partly prompted by this post of Mooncalf’s, partly by the fact that I will be moving jobs in a few months and I’m wondering what changes I might need to make to my work wardrobe, and partly by plodding through the first sleeve of my Featherweight Cardigan (which is a bit wider than I expected to be, and means I’m not quite going to end up with the neat little fitted cardi of my dreams).

Mooncalf thinks of herself as a sweater knitter, and was surprised that a review of her blog concentrated mostly on socks and scarves. I am starting to think that I’m not a sweater knitter, and that that’s probably fine. I love knitting socks and shawls; socks because they’re so portable, and because handknitted socks are so lovely and cosy, shawls because they’re such a lovely way to use up beautiful yarn and – crucially – because they’re so easy to wear and a perfect way to add some interest and individuality to a work outfit. Whereas handknitted jumpers aren’t quite so straightforward for me. Partly this may just be because I’m not a good enough knitter yet, and maybe I should just accept that however tempting top-down raglans may be by the time I’ve increased enough to accommodate my bust the sleeves are always going to be too wide, and I’d be much better off with seamed patterns (I do love my Hey Teach!, after all). But handknitted jumpers and cardigans are also often very warm, and can be too much for the average office, and I don’t really want to spend months crafting a beautiful cardigan I can only wear at weekends. Even when it doesn’t end up being a not-terribly-good fit.

I’m not going to give up trying to knit jumpers, and maybe one day I’ll make the breakthrough and be able to knit nice, wearable jumpers that don’t take six months to make. But maybe I should stop being jumper-quantities of yarn, given that I already have enough for about five years at my current pace…

(Later – in fact, having just cast off the first sleeve of the Featherweight, it’s not as flappy as it looked while still on the needle. So it might be OK after all!)

Truly scrumptious

I was going to wear jeans today, but then I realised that it was actually quite warm and switched to linen trousers.

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Shawl – Travelling Woman
Top – Monsoon
Trousers – Fat Face
Sandals – GreenShoes

I’m not entirely sure I like how I look in these trousers (or, indeed, any trousers), but they’re cool and comfortable and work well as weekend wear.

I was up and about much earlier than I normally am on a Saturday, as I was meeting G and driving over to the Fyberspates open day. As well as the opportunity to buy copies of the new Scrumptious Collection pattern book and see the sample garments there was a lot of yarn on sale: Jeni is moving to new premises and was looking to clear some old stock out.

Fyberspates

Fyberspates

It’s fairly well documented, I think, that where yarn is concerned I tend to think that willpower is something that happens to other people, and I’m currently in love with laceweight and building up my stash of that in the same way I was building up my stash of sock yarn a year or so ago. (Almost everything I’ve bought lately has been laceweight, often paired skeins which can become cardigans; I’ve hardly bought any sock yarn.) Unfortunately for my bank balance, there was a lot of laceweight yarn on the sale tables today, and as well as a copy of the book I came away with this little lot:

Fyberspates loot!

From left to right: Nef Lace in green, Scrumptious Lace in blue, Elegance Lace in burgundy, two skeins of merino/silk lace in dark gold, and two skeins of merino/tencel sock in pink, blue and lilac.

Possibly a moratorium on yarn buying until Knit Nation in July might be a good plan.

Organisation

I’m not exactly the tidiest of people. I would love to be tidy, but I always seem to have too much stuff for the space available and end up with things stacked in corners or underneath furniture or piled on the corners of tables and the tops of bookcases and even on the staircase (we are having our bathroom done this week, and the need to clear the staircase to enable the workmen to carry things up and down safely has revealed that there were an awful lot of things – mobile phone boxes, old chargers and so on – which had more or less taken up permanent residence on the bottom few steps of our stairs because there didn’t seem to be any other sensible place for them). On the other hand, I am quite organised; I have a good memory and efficient filing systems and can generally lay my hands on any given item fairly quickly, whether that be books and items of clothing in my house or files and paperwork in the office.

I think the key thing to being organised when overwhelmed by Stuff is systems. As long as I have a good system then I can narrow down the possible location of the thing I want closely enough that it doesn’t take me very long to search it.

My stash is definitely approaching overwhelming proportions these days. Fortunately, when I first joined Ravelry it wasn’t terribly big and I spent a Sunday uploading photographs and logging everything on there. This has been hugely helpful; now whenever new yarn arrives in the house (which happens with quite alarming regularity) I photograph it and log it on Rav before putting it away.

As to the actual ‘putting it away’…well, jumper quantities of yarn are easy, because they can be stored in plastic bags which can be stacked up (mainly behind the coffee-table at my end of the sofa) and are large enough not to get lost. Individual skeins of 4-ply and laceweight yarn are a bit harder, because they need to be kept in something, so I have (currently) five large lidded plastic boxes which stack on top of each other and each hold quite a lot of yarn. I started with three boxes, and have bought more as I needed them, so for a while tended to simply add new yarn to the top box, but I found that it was impossible to keep track of which yarn was in which box and it was taking me far too long to find skeins of yarn I knew I had. I needed a system with more granularity, so a couple of months ago I decided to reorganise things a bit.

I started by emptying all the yarn out of the boxes onto the bed:

Stash!

Even if I had ended up with a system that wasn’t any better than I had before, I think it would have been worth doing just for the sheer glory of seeing all my yarn spread out like that. Such wonderful colours and textures!

However, once I had emptied everything out I arranged the boxes around the bed and proceeded to put the yarn back according to a system. One box for laceweight, one for Yarn Yard sock yarn, one for Knitting Goddess sock yarn, one for sock yarn from other UK indie dyers, and one for commercial sock yarn, non-UK indie dyers and the few skeins of heavier yarns I’ve bought thinking that they might be nice for hats or thicker shawls and scarves.

Some of the boxes are a bit full, but it just about fits.

Stash

The left-hand stack, from the top down, is Knitting Goddess; UK indie dyers; Yarn Yard; commercial, non-UK and heavier weights. The box on the right is laceweight.

And now, whenever I want to find a yarn I know I have stashed I can go to the right box first time and find it in less than five minutes, instead of having to hunt through every box and never being quite sure I haven’t missed it without emptying the whole lot out!

Flights of fancy

This week’s post brought me a magic carpet:

Magic carpet

(The colour representation is not entirely accurate, because purples seem to be extremely difficult to photograph. There’s another picture here but I think that’s also too blue: the actual colours shade from the blue-purple of Cadbury’s chocolate wrappers to a vivid magenta.)

The magic carpets are a new offering from The Yarn Yard (who now has a shiny new shop to replace the one that was hacked). They’re double-stranded sock blanks, which means that each 100g carpet is actually two identical 50g skeins of yarn. The obvious thing to do with them is to knit socks two at a time straight from the carpet, but I’m not completely sold on that idea; I normally use about 60g of yarn to make myself a pair of socks, but to make the most of the wonderful colours of the magic carpet I want to use it all at once. I don’t think 100g is going to be enough for knee socks, and while I think it would look amazing paired with black in colourwork knee socks I think that attempting to knit two-at-a-time two-coloured socks would probably end up with me tied up in the yarn. I’m also not entirely sure I would wear knee socks, and the colours are so beautiful I think it would be a shame to hide them inside shoes. Also, it would make a beautifully symmetrical sideways shawl or scarf. So even though it seems like a shame to wind the yarn into balls rather than knitting straight from the carpet I think I might have to do that (with some help from my friends, as it’s not going to be straightforward to wind!).

What would you make with a magic carpet?

More FOs

My second Ravelympics project was Ysolda’s Icing Swirl Hat, in some gorgeous Fyberspates Scrumptious Chunky which was a Christmas present from my youngest brother and sister-in-law (proof that my wish list post was a good idea!):

This should have been a really quick knit, but it took about twice as long as it should have done because I kept making silly mistakes: I didn’t work enough increases on the crown and only realised once I started decreasing for the band, so I had to frog back half the hat, and then I bound off far too tightly and couldn’t get the hat on my head until the third time I tried (using Jeny’s surprisingly stretchy bind-off and a needle two sizes bigger than I’d used for the hat). Still, I’m pleased with how it turned out; it’s warmer than my Ishbel beret and a better shape than my Opus Spicatum (which I like a lot, but would like even more if it was a little bit slouchier), and it’s almost a perfect match for my winter coat.

And today I finished my husband’s anniversary socks:

Our wedding anniversary was actually back in October. When we looked up anniversaries and found that seven years was wool we agreed that if he bought me yarn as an anniversary present I would make him socks. Unfortunately, by the time the yarn (Knitting Goddess 4-ply sock yarn in semi-solid mustard) turned up I was deep in Christmas knitting and only got round to casting on for the socks on Christmas Eve, and then it took me two months to knit them because the 2.25mm KnitPro circular I was trying out proved to be so pointy that if I tried to work on the socks for more than an hour or so at a time they poked holes in my left forefinger and made knitting of any kind painful. I think I’ll be sticking to my Addi Turbos in future, even though the cables do kink horribly after a while.

The pattern is the Yarn Harlot’s Earl Grey socks, which managed to be the perfect combination of interesting and straightforward. I might use it again for husband-socks, or at least use the idea of plain stocking stitch socks with side cables.

And now the anniversary socks are done I get to start on my personal knitting club. I got my husband to rummage in the large carrier back that contains all the ‘club’ packages, and my first project is going to be Travelling Woman in the Knitting Goddess’s merino tencel from the February sock club:

We’re going away this weekend; I decided that after two cold, grey, soggy months without a break longer than a weekend I needed a change of scenery, so we’re going to Salisbury for a couple of nights. I guess that makes ‘Travelling Woman’ a very appropriate knit!