Tag Archives: stash

This is what we’ve been preparing for!

Y’all, the last two weeks have been wild.

We’re in Seattle, and I’ll start by saying, we’re totally fine.  (Other than a little cabin fever, of course.)  Schools are closed until late April (so the kid’s playgroups are closed), the Zoo and museums are closed and, well, everything is closed.  And (as of the time I’m writing this), we’re supposed to limit gatherings to 10 or fewer people, which… is rough.

We’re taking lots of very long, very quiet walks (there are very few cars on the streets), watching movies (I can pretty much recite Frozen at this point), reading lots of books, and working in the yard.  It’s real weird.

But, if ever there was a group of people ready for mass quarantine, I think it’s knitters.  After all, what have we been accumulating our stashes for, if not this?

So, in honor (?) of the pandemic, let’s talk scrappy projects.  Just because we can’t make it to our LYS’s doesn’t mean we can’t make something beautiful.

First, the classic, the ne plus ultra, the epitome of scrap projects, the Beekeeper’s Quilt.  I’ll be honest, I’m not sure that anyone has ever actually finished one of these projects, but dang, if it doesn’t look satisfying.  And what a wonderful way to burn through scraps!

the beekeeper’s quilt by tiny owl knits

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And, if we’re talking color-mixing and using up scraps, we can’t not talk about Stephen West.  This sweater asks for bulky, or DK, or sport, or worsted, or lace-weight yarn and would lend itself to using just about as many colors as you want or have.  Perfect for end-of-the-world stash-busting!

Penguono by Stephen West

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Maybe you want to go a little less wacky than Stephen West (which I get- his style isn’t necessarily for everyone).  I bet you could dig through your stash and make a gradient of sock yarn.  And, if you had a little mohair to hold with it, all the better!  I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous reverse stockinette pullover that features a beautiful gradient and an eye-catching slipped-stitch yoke.
Sorrel by Wool & Pine
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But maybe you’re not up for a whole sweater right now- I get it, you need to be in a certain head space to cast on a sweater, and we might not all be there right now.  Maybe you’re looking for nothing more than a big, squishy, cozy triangle shawl that is just this side of being a blanket.  I know I always want to retreat into a cocoon when I’m stressed, and I think this shawl might just be the most socially-acceptable to cocoon yourself up.
Nightshift by Andrea Mowry
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I hope you’re staying safe (and sane)!
What’s on your to-knit list for the next couple weeks?

New Year, Old Yarn

I’m not doing any new year’s resolutions this year.  Not for any real reason; mostly because I never can think of a really good resolution.  But, I have been thinking of working on getting my stash down.

I mean, I often (almost always) knit from my stash, but I’ve still managed to end up with a surprising amount of yarn, just sitting there in my studio.  Sure, a lot of it is single skeins, but I’ve got surprisingly large amounts of several yarns, and even some pretty special single skeins.

It seems a shame to leave them just sitting there.

But here’s the issue- I’m completely out of ideas for patterns that I might use for these yarns.  Here’s hoping that one of you have a magical idea to help me use up some of this yarn.

First, I’ve got 360 yards of a super special, sport weight wool-angora blend from Local Color Fiber Studio.  It’s glorious and soft, but looks really crunchy and natural.  I’ve had it for a year or so, and get it out every time I’m looking for a new project.  I still haven’t found just the right pattern for it.  I’m this close to just making a garter triangle scarf, and calling it a day.IMG_2519.JPG

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve got 5 and a half skeins of super soft, super chunky Knit Picks Swish Bulky.  It’s leftover from a sweater I designed earlier this year (keep an eye out!), and I don’t think it’s enough to make a second full-sized sweater.  It’s such a pretty green, though, I really want to use it for something.

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I’ve also got a full sweater quantity of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted, a nice wooly workhorse yarn, in sapphire blue.  I’m currently working on a design in the same yarn, so I could just re-knit the same pattern again in blue, but I think I’d like to do something a little more interesting instead.

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Continuing on the Knit Picks jag, I’ve got a giant bag of Hawthorne, my favorite sock yarn from KP.  This is a tricky one, though.  I’ve got about 10 different colors (that don’t necessarily go together), a handful of full skeins, and a bunch of partial skeins.  I’m currently thinking I might use it to crochet an afghan, but that’s really just because I can’t figure out what else to do with it (apart from knitting one thousand socks).

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I also found these three beautiful, peacock blue skeins of Knitting Notions Classic Merino Bamboo, a sport weight wool-rayon blend that is beautiful and shiny, but almost impossible to photograph.  Between the three skeins, I’ve got almost 1500 yards, which has got to be enough to make something wonderful, but I haven’t been able to figure out what to do with it since I was gifted it several years ago.  Will 2020 be the year of the Peacock yarn?  Time will tell.

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Have you done a deep dive into your stash lately? Find anything good?

And, seriously, if you have any ideas for my yarn, I’d love to hear them!

Kitchen Confession

I have to admit to something.  Something I’ve been neglecting for far too long.  Something… gross.

My dishcloths have officially turned into dishrags, in the worst possible way.

It’s real grim in my towel-and-rag drawer.  I didn’t think it was that bad, but now that I’m thinking about it, most of my “nice” dishcloths were wedding presents.

We got married 9 years ago.

Yikes.

I thought about posting a picture of the old rags, but I decided against it for 2 reasons.

  1. You really don’t want to see them.
  2. I don’t want you to judge me.  Because… oof.  They’re real grim.

The nicest ones are “only” bleached out from years of washing.  The worst are stained with curry or chocolate (or who knows what) and riddled with holes from being used so many times.

So, in a fit of practicality (and avoidance of the projects I’m “supposed” to be doing), I’m breaking out my bin o’ dishcloth cotton.IMG_1293.JPGThere’s plenty of yarn in there, but none of the colors are terribly cohesive, and there isn’t a ton of any one brand.  I’ve always had grand plans of working up a lovely set of fancy matching dishcloths and towels, but… clearly that hasn’t happened.

So instead, I’m grabbing colors at random and making big ol’ single-crochet squares until the yarn runs out, then switching to the next color.  They might not be the fanciest dishcloths, or terribly interesting to work up, but they’ll do their jobs well enough, and I’m enjoying burning through my stash yarn.  IMG_1301We’ll just have to see how many I make it through before I get bored- so far two and a half, and I’m still going strong.

Have you worked on any really practical projects lately?

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

So, I’ve been trying to prune some of my stash.  I used up a bunch of that blue Provincial Tweed for my big old sweater that I finished the other day.  I knit that fair isle sweater for my kid a couple months ago, using up a lot of leftover sock yarn.  And, I’ve made a couple scarves, cowls, and other little in-between-big project projects.

Sometimes I actually use up my yarn.

Sometimes I end up with more yarn than I started with.

So, I’ve had these two little balls of purple yarn for years.  (I got them to make a baby sweater for a friend’s kid.  I think she’s in kindergarten now.  It’s been a while.)  I lost the label, and couldn’t figure out what kind of yarn it was, but I know it was superwash and baby-appropriate.  So I though, “Hey, let’s use up this yarn and make a cute little purple sweater for the boy!”  Seems like a good idea.

Except that I apparently have no idea how much yarn a baby sweater takes.

You’ll notice that I ran out of purple  just about halfway through the sweater. (I knit it bottom-up, so it’s easy to see where I ran into trouble.)IMG_1226.JPGI also kind of guessed on the size, so it’s very, very big on the boy.  Of course, he’ll grow into it, but I was kind of hoping he’d be able to wear it now, when it’s cold out, instead of in 6 months when it’s a million degrees out. (Well, 80.  We live in Seattle after all.)  Oh well.img_1205And, I ended up having to buy a whole big skein of sock yarn to finish the top part of the sweater.  Because, of course, I didn’t have any yarn that matched that particular shade of purple in my stash.  So now I have 3/4 of a skein of sock yarn to add to my stash. So much for paring down my collection.img_1230At least the kid seems to like his new sweater!img_1200How do you use up your yarn?  Or do you just keep buying it, like I seem to be doing?

Captain’s Red

I’m not doing anything as formalized as New Years Resolutions this year, but I do have some vague goals I’m going to try to follow this year.  I’m going to try finishing up some WIPs that have been sitting around my office for too long, I’m going to try learning some new techniques, and I’m going to use up more of my stash.

Ha!

Me and every other knitter.

But, I suppose it can’t hurt to give it a go.

I went spelunking through my stash of sock yarn (it’s started overflowing its box lately, and I’ve been meaning to clear it out).  I found a bunch of small skeins (and even more half-skeins) of sock yarn, left over from projects over the years. Not enough to make a pair of socks in any single color, and generally I dislike making socks with too many stripes or blocks of colors.  (I get really peeved when I have to weave in lots of ends.)

But I did find a couple half-skeins of Knit Picks Stroll in Black and an almost-full ball of Firecracker Heather.And you know what’s tomato red and black, right?

(What’s that? You don’t?  You’re not a big old nerd halfway through Star Trek: The Next Generation?)

It’s Captain Picard’s uniform!The red yarn was almost perfectly the right color of “Command Red”!

Now I just have to decide- is this yarn going to be a pair of Command Red socks, or maybe a Command Red hat, or maybe even a tiny Command Red sweater for a baby nerd?  Choices, choices.

Have you dug through your stash lately?  Find anything good?

The Island of Forgotten Projects

I’m proud of my little stash of finished projects.  It’s satisfying to see them all folded neatly, ready to be gifted at the next holiday.

But, I have a second stash.  A secret stash.  A shameful stash. A stash that lives in the bookcase next to my desk (I started keeping everything there in the hopes that having to look at it every day would spur myself into doing something to take care of it…  It has not worked yet).

It’s my stash of unfinished projects.

I’m not even going to show you everything, because it’s that embarrassing.

There are several pairs of socks- I decided halfway down the brown sock’s cuff that I didn’t love knitting the pattern.  (I actually really like how the pattern’s turning out, it’s just a pain in the butt to do), and the black/pink socks were being knit at an insanely tight gauge… I don’t know why I decided to start a pair of socks on 0’s!  I never knit with anything smaller than 2s! Not my smartest moment.

Then there’s the box overflowing with my Mama Bears.  Which are in turn overflowing with stuffing because I realized that I don’t have any of the right colors of yarn to finish sewing them up!  (I’ll probably just use some other scraps I have laying around, but there’s a part of my brain that thinks that if I just let the bears hang out in the corner for a little longer, they’ll magically grow extra yarn.  Yeah… that’s how that works.)There are even some projects that are so old, I’m pretty sure I started them before I moved to the new house… almost four years ago.  This scarf, for instance.  I started it as a way to use some pretty fun-fetti-colored yarn I spun.  But, then I decided the scarf was turning out too narrow.  So now it lives in a project bag on a shelf among the other half-forgotten projects.Look!  I even stole the needles from this project… that’s how little confidence I had in myself to finish this project.  Sigh…I know I’m not the only one with a shameful WIP stash.  Make me feel better!  Tell me what you’re totally going to finish… (some day)

Papaya

Woo!  I’m free!  I finished all my “work knitting!” (For now, at least.)

It’s weird- it’s like that feeling I got back in college, right after Finals Week.  Every minute has been taken up with studying, or thinking you should study, or worrying that you’re not studying enough.  But they you finish your last exam, and BAM! you’ve got nothing particularly important to do.

It’s both very freeing and a little bit unsettling.

When I have that feeling, I like to go into my closet and see what kind of yarn I have waiting for me.  I’m not a huge “Stash Person.” I generally don’t go out and buy a big bag of yarn “just because.”  At most, I’ll buy a skein or two of sock yarn as a splurge, but that’s about it.

But, hidden deep at the bottom of a pile of yarn in the back of my closet, I found a treasure.

A bag of 11 balls of Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Sport in Papaya Heather!I literally have no idea when I bought this, or what I bought it for.  It must have been years ago.  I almost never wear pink, and I never wear orange.  I don’t know what would have possessed me to buy so much of this shade.  (It really is pretty, but it’s just not a color I normally go for.)  Maybe it was on sale?

I’ve got 11 skeins, though. Which means I can make something cool.  A sweater maybe?  Or a smallish throw blanket?  Or a big shawl?

What do you think I should do with my surprise stash yarn?

Have you ever been surprised by what you found in your stash?

Treasure

Ssh…

I’m going to let you in on a secret!

In the corner of my studio, behind a small bookshelf (that is currently holding a half-dozen half finished projects instead of books), there is a small wooden chest.If you pull that chest out, and open it up, you’ll find something amazing.All the homeless projects I’ve made over the years!I’ve got prototypes, and one-off projects.  Socks  that turned out too small or to big.  Hats that are too warm for Seattle.  I’ve got scarves that I really wanted to knit, but don’t really want to wear and more dishcloths than I could ever use.

(I’d show you everything, but I know I have friends and family who read this blog and might just receive some of these items as gifts in the future…and I’d like to preserve the surprise at least a little bit.)

I don’t usually think about what I’ve got stashed in my secret chest, but it is satisfying to open it up from time to time to see the result of all my hard work.  And, it’s particularly handy when I get invited to a baby shower/birthday party/whatever at the last minute- I can pull out a pair of socks I knit in 2012 and look like I did a heck of a lot more planning than I really did.

Do you have a finished object stash?  Or, is this a symptom of my hoarding tendencies?

Apparently It’s Leftovers Month

I feel like I’ve been talking about using up leftovers a lot lately.  I suppose, I have been trying to use up my stash before I go buy more (I’m almost out of space in my yarn bins).

And this week isn’t any different.

Over the years I’ve collected a bunch of Lion Brand Fisherman’s Wool in a selection of natural heathered colors from off-white to dark, chocolate brown.  I’ve used this yarn in a bunch of projects- mostly blankets, and no matter how carefully I plan, I always end up with a bunch of half-skeins leftover.  I even had several half-skeins of the same colors, but different dye lots.

I had to figure out what to make with this ragtag bunch of yarn.  Anything fancy, like a sweater, was out because of the weird amounts of each color yarn.  Anything that took a lot of planning was out, too- I wasn’t in the mood to do a lot of math on this one.

So, I arranged the yarn in a gradient from lightest to darkest, dug out my crochet hooks and just started making a granny square.

And kept on going- using up one skein after another.  (The little bits leftover are going to turn into another Mother Bear– I think I have a problem.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe blanket ended up about 4 feet by 4 feet- a nice size for a lap blanket or maybe a baby blanket (though I don’t know if I’d give a baby an itchy wool, non-washable blanket).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOllie seems to like it.  He saw me taking pictures and came over to give it the official “Dog Seal of Approval.”OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA And then he fell asleep- because he leads a very high-energy, stressful life.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat have you been doing to use up your leftover skeins of yarn?