It has been since I last bought yarn!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Getting Organized

(Pour yourself some tea/wine, this is a long post.)

I have been a knitter for approximately 10 years, give or take a few months here or there. In that ten years I have knit all kinds of various things. I have also amassed a yarn stash. The fact that there is a stash is not really a surprise to anyone- (except to my husband, who has been around for the same amount of time but continues to be shocked at stash enhancement)- but it still warrants a discussion.

This was my stash management system this morning at 10:00 am. (The light in this room is awful... brace yourself for not so great photos today.)


This has been my main system for the ten years that I've been knitting. Adding boxes and filling them up. The three largest boxes broke down into acrylics, sport/worsted natural fibers, sock yarn. The various other boxes contains scraps, pieces, full skeins etc. When you put out all of those boxes it looks like this:


Needless to say, this is a highly inefficient system because it requires digging and rearranging on any given day. I probably access my stash at least once a week and the system in place requires more time than necessary to get to certain spots. Hence, my yarn stash started getting stuffed into various spots in my house because it just took too much time getting into the boxes and organzing and looking for more shoeboxes to stuff things in. Aside from the stash, it sat,unslightly, in various locations; by the couch, (WARNING: EXTREME UNTIDY PHOTOS FOLLOW! I am generally a neat person, but things have gotten messy. If you are senstive to mess of any kind (MOM) you may want to scroll ahead quickly.)


on our office on a desk.


It takes waaaay less time to just dump the stash in these locations versus digging to China in the stash management system I had in place

Finally I had enough. I'm not entirely sure what's gotten into me lately- but I am on a purge/clean/organize kick. This week the linen closet became an example to what other linen closets aspire to be. Same with my kitchen cabinets- and I knew the yarn stash was next. First up was convincing the husband that I needed storage.

The husband has always been resistant to a more permanent, refined storage system, I think because he feared that it would encourage me to fill it up the bins. Buying stash storage means acknowleding that there is stash to be stored, and he wasn't particularly a fan of this concept. However, after a somewhat civil disussion, we agreed that getting something was a good idea.

Enter- this baby, from Walmart that ultimately looked like it would fit the stash. (It would be appropriate to look at this and have the Hallejuah Chorus playing in your mind...)


I assembled it giddily and went to work culling and organizing. (Husband took this action photo... not my sexiest look...)


I did manage to get everything that counted as a full/mostly full skein into the drawers... barely. Just barely. I kept the same system, acrlyic on the bottom, worsted/sport natural fiber in the middle, sock yarn on top. I am not going to lie to you- these drawer open, but only after I do some maneouvering. They are full to the point where they don't open easily.

I was still left with a million odds and ends I couldn't part with which require more jamming items into drawers and ultimately admitting defeat and adding back in the plastic bin/shoe boxes.


Here you see on the right, my Knit Picks Comfy leftovers from various blankets and on the left, yarn left overs that I cannot part with even though I have no idea what I'm going to make with them. I absolutely need to get over my fear of running out of yarn. Absolutely- because this amount of leftovers is completely unnecessary. GAH... more yarn!

So when all was said and done- I went from this: (GAH!)


To This! (Sorry for the lighting)


You'll see that the large bing of leftovers is on the bottome, but since I don't get into there very often, that's okay. The drawers are neat and organized.

On the top I have an additional bin for needles, all DPNs (why do I have 5 pairs of US size 2 bamboo needles?), circulars, and crochet (boo!) hooks. I also have a shoebox of notions- like ribbons, buttons, and various other things that I rarely use, but needed to keep around.


It's considerably more organized and I feel A LOT better about things going forward.

The piling has tidied up considerably- here's the same spot by the couch, only containing the yarn that's up "on deck" for the next project. (You'll hopefully be meeting this blanket next week!)


I'm feeling a LOT better about this system, and also less guilty now that my house is less engulfed by stash piles. This little project does, however allow me a little perspective. There is still a lot of stash in there. I am motivated! Here's my goal: cull the stash down to the three drawers. Get rid of the bottom leftover box and be able to fit those in the drawers. My ultimate goal is to have those drawers open easily. That's attainable right? I need to knit at least one sweater from the wool box and one blanket from the acrylic box and this could happen for drawers 1 and 2. Drawer 3 may need a "summer of socks" to get it going, but I can do this. I can be efficient. I am motivated!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

White Blanket


It's done! It's done! It's done! Say hello to the white blanket. (Which was technically done (blocked) on Jan 16, but I'm finally getting around to telling you about it!)


Pattern: Baby Blanket by Sirdar Spinning Ltd (1600)
Yarn: Knit Picks Comfy Sport in white
Needles: US 6
Notes: Pretty simple pattern, but quite pretty results. This definately benefits from the border, which just completes the overall look of the project.
Listening To: Replay by Ken Grimwood

Getting this blanket off the needles freed me up to work on some new stuff. Firstly, the football blanket is well under way and moving along progress wise.


It's probably not going to be as large as the blankets I regularly make, but I still think it's going to be cozy and cute. And just knowing that I'll be able to finish it in reasonable time, has helped move me along. Oddly enough I'm really inspired to knit other blankets right now, (WHAT!? I know... I don't get it either), so getting this out the door will allow me to move onto another project. There is, afterall, another baby due in April.

In other project news, a few ladies in my Knit Wits group have entered a "Hat Pact" where we've committed ourselves to knitting one hat a month. It's a change from my hat a week project that I didn't participate in last year but I felt that one hat a month was certainly something I could maintain and would get me back into the volunteer ring at Rockeyview hospital. SO, with that in mind- meet the January hat.


Other than that- since the knitting on the football blanket is rather mundane (but cute all the same) my brain had begun brainstorming on ideas for my Stampede entry this year. I have a few ideas in mind, and we'll see how that pans out as my time frees up after the blanket. I need to get this blanket out of the way before I can really allow myself time to daydream what's next.

Monday, January 17, 2011


My cries for help have been answered. And, without even reading my blog, my husband has staged an intervention on the blanket.

I’ve spoken here a few times how I’m very fortunate to have a husband that, while he does not knit or express any interest in learning, takes a keen interest in what I’m doing and offers thoughtful and helpful suggestions when asked. He knows the difference between garter stitch and stocking stitch and has given me thoughtful knitting gifts such as the Addi Clicks I got this Christmas and the much coveted Signature Needles DPN’s from last year. This is a man who once spent an entire New Years helping me create a graph for a Chinese symbol for the family, so that I could knit a blanket for friend’s new baby.

He has also, from time to time, been the voice of reason when I’m trying to convince myself there isn’t a problem, by gently, but firmly, confirming my worst nightmare that something is in fact wrong. I trust my husband’s opinion, and while there are going to be times we don’t agree, I value the input he injects into my projects. The husband has impeccable taste (*insert “he married me” joke here*), and so his comments are taken with every bit of consideration that they deserve and often times he gets me thinking in a new, and often better direction.

I got up early on Sunday am and I began swatching the Rider symbol, and found myself sorely disappointed with the results. I was utterly frustrated, because I didn’t know how to improve upon it and I didn’t want to waste a bunch of time “designing”. (I just need to knit the damn thing.) I stared at the Stapms chart for a long time and my brain couldn't figure out what I needed to do to reverse the logo. At this point husband felt it was safe to speak up; “I think you’re over-complicating it with the Stamps and Riders logos- what’s wrong with footballs and the baby’s initials?”

The answer is nothing. Nothing is wrong with that idea. He even went further to suggest color choices and wouldn't you know it, that afternoon I found myself in Gina Brown's, buying Berroco's cotton/nylon blend yarn and by the end of the night cast on to begin.



It'll be pretty, but simple. The brown squares will have footballs, the middle square will have a "Z" for Zachary and the blue squares will be simple, plain, (FAST!) stocking stitch. It might not be as big as the usual blankets but it will still look great. I'm beginning to suspect that his announcements about "not knowing anything about knitting" are a ruse. This is someone who is learning a lot about the craft through osmosis. Who knows- maybe by the time we retire he'll have his very own pattern book out and we'll all be swooning over his patterns!?

... um, maybe not. But- it's nice to know that I've married someone who is a) not afraid to speak up in the face of sheer lunacy and b) someone who has a great eye and insightful ideas.

Thanks for the intervention babe- I'm feeling a little more saner than I was this weekend! :-)

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is Wrong With Me?!

Remember all the agonizing I went through when designing Baby Beef and the Magnum Opus? Remember all the whining and moaning about not knowing what I was doing and the ripping back I had to do because it was a pattern I was adapting on my own and I wasn’t sure what was what?

Why in the hell am I thinking, seriously, about doing it again instead of choosing a beautiful, EXISTING pattern, that is so much easier to knit?


When I search Ravelry for “blanket” I’m given approximately 9,600 patterns to choose from. NINE. THOUSAND. SIX. HUNDRED. patterns. And of those NINE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED patterns, I, apparently, am completely unsatisfied with my options, all nine thousand six hundred of them. What in the what!?!?!?

Is this a knitting sickness I don’t know about? This isn’t starteritis, nor is it second sock syndrome; this is it’s own particular brand of lunacy. Delusions of grandeur maybe?

I have 3 babies on the “blanket radar” right now. I have 1 blanket ready to go, should I ever get around to blocking it. Baby one was born early this year, and HE is throwing a wrench into my plans. I kind of thought HE, was going to be a SHE. Suddenly the white blanket isn’t quite “he” worthy. (Let’s not discuss how I’m gender stereotyping- I am. I’m not sorry.) In the back of my head I selected this particular pattern just in case “he” was not a “she” and I could give it to the guaranteed “she” being born later this month. (Surprise Anne?) That leaves me blanket-less for a good friend who had the audacity to have the wrong sexed baby. (HOLLY!!!!)

Selecting a blanket can go two very different paths for me. Sometimes I see a pattern and am wholly consumed. I must knit that pattern and nothing will stop me. I can usually adapt it for the mom I’m knitting for and away I go. This was the case for the Rainbow Squares (of never ending garter stitch), the Leafy Blanket, the More Than I Can Chew Blanket and even Pink Insanity. I got the yarn and I got down to business. Easy peasy.

But other times my brain just goes completely off the rails. And nothing, absolutely NOTHING is right- and I choose to adapt (usually dishcloths) a pattern. Suddenly this new little mister needs a football blanket and no one has had the good sense to design something that incorporates mom and dad’s favorite teams; the Stamps and the Roughriders. WHAT!? WHY HAS NO ONE DONE THIS!? MUST I DO EVERYTHING MYSELF!?

Apparently the answer to that is yes. I must do this myself. Thankfully I’m not feeling as ambitious as I was with the Magnum Opus. I’ve found a football pattern (Rav link), a Z for the baby and even a mustang (Rav link), that if I reverse it (because why make it easy on myself?) looks like the Stampeders logo. I’ve even found a kind soul in Saskatchewan somewhere who charted out the Roughrider logo (Rav link), so I can play around and make it work for me. (I’m sure with calamitous results the first 22 times I attempt this.) I’m thinking every other square will be lovely, easy, simple stocking stitch. All I need is the yarn and a color inspiration. (And on this rant tangent: WHY is it in my head the color inspiration is BROWN?! A new cute little baby boy DOES NOT EQUAL POO COLORED BROWN. Actually… scratch that, I think that’s actually all they do for the first 3 months….)

I am left with no choice but to traipse over to the yarn shops this weekend and buy me an unknown quantity of block-able yarn in poo brown, hopefully at a price that does not cause me a further conniption.

Next week, when I’m on the blog telling you my envitable sob tale of failure, I want you to give me no sympathy. I want you to remind me that I brought this on myself. There are NINE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED other options that I could have gone with, and instead I went this route. I need a little tough love right now…

… and maybe a doctor because there needs to be a cure for this problem. And fast.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Catching Up to 2011!

Whew... that was a long time between blog posts! Sorry about that folks- we were in the coldest place on the planet (or so it seemed) for New Years, (Regina), and then immediately after we hopped on a plane to warm up in Maui for a week. Since I'm not particularly keen on advertising my holidays on the blog- you were left with some prolonged radio silence. BUT... never fear! New year, and there's lot to share! (And yes, potential house robbers WE ARE HOME NOW... sorry to disappoint. I know you're eyeing up my Wollmeise stash!)

WHERE to start? Let's start on something easy, Dishcloths.

I've been knitting these dishcloths several weekday mornings, while I "patiently" wait for my husband, who is usually about 10 minutes behind me in the morning. Instead of nagging him to "HURRY IT UP"- I've been knitting these. Simple, easy, and easy to pick up or put down that doesn't require much in the way of thinking. There will be more of these in the new year- although I've made quite a dent in my dishcloth cotton stash... which I suppose was the point.


Pattern: Ballband Dishcloth (Made famous everywhere, but mostly in Mason Dixon Knitting. I've linked to a free pattern though, that is the same thing.)
Yarn: Lily Sugar and Cream Cotton- (which I seem to have a decent stash of)
Needles: US size 7
Notes: I LOVE THIS PATTERN. It's easy to remember and to knit and the results are always smashing. These will be for my baby sister, who desperately needs to replace the old ones I made her.

Oh but that's not all friends! Before the new year was out I finished the Cashmere Therapy shawl. It is beautiful. It is soft and it is heavenly and OH I couldn't be more happy with it.


Pattern: #24 Lace Stole by Erica Schlueter (Vogue Knitting Early Fall 2010)
Yarn: JoJoland Cashmere- 2 skeins So SOFT- I just want to smush my face in it ALL the time.


Needles: US 9 for the cast on, cast off and US 4 for the pattern
Notes: So simple. It's a great pattern to try out lace knitting and not get overwhelmed.
Listened To: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland, Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Schteyngart and Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green


I also squeezed in a little time to keep working on the insufferably adorable Willie Sweater.


AND started a new 2011 project, Pointelle, from Cookie A's new book.


Speaking of Cookie A's new book... guess what I got for Christmas this year?


Once again, family members have out done themelve in the SPOIL department and I am flush with lots of inspiration, knitting needles AND Loopy Ewe gift Certificates. I can't wait to dig in and try out my Addi Clicks! Also... did I mention that I got the new Cookie A book, Knit. Sock. Love.? Did I also mention that MiL had it SIGNED for me? NO?


That was pretty awesome. My parents and my sister also helped round out my collection of Vogue Knitting books- that I always look to when I'm in need of inspiration.

WHOOPS- almost forgot to tell you I hit the Boxing Day Yarn Sale again this year at Pudding! A usual, had a great time with my fellow yarn salers, and walked away with some yarn for a new baby due in April. (It. Never. Ends.)


10 skeins of Rowan RYC Cotton Jeans in "Batik". (Yeah 75% off!!)

So yes, you could say I'm pretty set for 2011. I'll try and do a stash photo shoot sometime this month so we can look ahead and start planning projects for the new year. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!


Also- there's going to be changes on this here blog for the next little while. MiL & FiL also got me a book on google blogger and I will hopefully be able to burn through that and pick up some tips to make this thing a little more "me".