When I first came up with a blog schedule, Fridays were Follow Fridays, where I recommended someone to follow here on WordPress or elsewhere on social media. My Friday posts have been spotty, at best, and I have a Pinterest board of fiber art funnies that I’d love to share, so I give you
Funny LOL Friday – I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.
I can’t decide whether or not I’d like to try knitting with similar knitting needles. Perhaps with the right birds …
30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 12: Where do you keep your stash? Post pictures!
I’ve been in denial: I really didn’t think my stash was this big (or this disorganized). I really need to sort and organize everything, and part with the yarn I don’t particularly like.
This is where I keep my stash officially, an armoire in The Yarn Office, the room formerly known as the formal living room.
I always think of my stash as being on the top shelf inside, but the bottom shelf has some yarn & FOs even though it’s taken up mostly by old journals and project bags and other stuff. The yarn and fiber bumps sitting on top of the armoire are my haul from MDS&W this year. And there is yarn in a few of the bags stuffed into the corner next to the armoire, yarn I was going to donate but then used to make a yarn ball wreath for my front door in 2010/2011. There are also 2 bolts of upholstery fabric tucked in there I’m never going to use – the sewing machine and I have a very tenuous relationship – and should donate.
My satellite stash is a basket next to my spot (my precious spot) on the couch and has yarn for current or upcoming projects. The big basket does have some FOs, but it’s about time for me to sort through this and return things to the
mothership main stash.
The Yarn Office has another stash section. Two of these bins have batts that I’m selling in my etsy shop, also called The Yarn Office, one has leftover Knit Picks Comfy from a baby blanket projects my knitting group did, and another has sample skeins from a natural dye class I took in 2011, along with subsequent natural dye samples that I did on my own.
Here is the fiber basket stash that lives next to my wheel. The white fiber is targhee that I’ve had for 6 years now and the red is fiber I got in my knitting group’s Christmas exchange in 2011. There may be more hiding in the basket; I didn’t want to look.
This isn’t really my yarn – I’m just fostering it for a little while; it’s yarn my friend Cecily gave me when she was packing to move and realized she was never going to crochet. I think I need to pass this stuff on to someone else who would enjoy them more.
I almost forgot about this basket in The Yarn Office; it has most of my handspun, with some hand-dyed yarn & part of the commercially-knit sweater from which it was unraveled. I did that back in my thrifty/green yarn days, 2008-2009.
Except for the fabric and notions in the two closest bins and the giant tub, this is all fiber that I’ve processed from raw fleece (or plan to process). Also, there’s is an alpaca fleece hiding in the corner that’s peeking out from between the bin towers. Shhh – don’t remind my husband.
And I almost forgot; I have two drawers in a dresser upstairs that have yarn in them, so I guess that makes them part of my stash.
Most of this is from before 2004. Note the vintage yarn label on that skein of Knit Picks from when they first started their own yarn line. Also, the purple is Valley Yarns Berkshire; I used it to make the sweater on the Fall 2007 cover of Interweave Knits but didn’t like the end result and have been doing various other things with it since then.
Most of this is from before 2004. The orange thing is a sweater my grandmother knit, but orange isn’t my color and I unraveled part of it because I needed orange for something else. The pink is 100% wool I ordered for making felted slippers in 2003ish. I got the Dale of Norway Baby Ull (the small white skein) for a fair isle hat I never made, although I did use all of the blue I got with it for something else. There’s a partially finished modular blanket made with long-retired yarn, the hat that’s my first attempt at colorwork that’s too small to fit all but the smallest of human babies, and the swatch from my first sweater in 2004.
I really need to sort through everything, organize, and donate/gift a lot of it. I hate not being organized, but when you live with 4 guys (well, now 3 since my oldest went to college), cleaning and organizing everything can be really frustrating – it seems like I’ll clean something, turn my back, one of them will wander by, and I turn back and boom: the clean thing is now dirty again. While it does occasionally bother me, they have taught me that there are more important things in life than having a clean, organized house.
Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is this weekend in West Friendship, MD, which is within easy driving distance. This is my 8th time going; I’ve gone every year since 2009. My friend Becky & I left my house at 7am, stopped for coffee at Starbucks, and arrived at the Howard County Fairgrounds just after 8.
We set up our camp chairs in the Pavillion area (between the Dining Hall & Barn 1) so we would have a spot staked out where we could rest and get away from the inevitable crowds and then high-tailed it to the Main Exhibition Hall. Becky wanted to check out the Miss Babs booth, but the line was already out the door at the back of the building, at least 20 people deep. We looked at the yarn and fiber from afar and moved on to the maple booth (Justamere Tree Farm? Checkmate Farm? I wish I had snagged a business card). I grew up in Vermont, so maple sugar candy is one of my favorites. This farm sells a limited amount of the candy and it’s the better, darker kind with more maple flavor. I got my 5 pieces and am wishing now I had bought some syrup or maple sugar as well.
Then we went to the Claymonster Pottery booth. Last year Becky got mugs and (maybe?) a yarn bowl there and both of us love the pottery; it’s very quirky. Claymonster was still setting up, so we formed a line behind a lovely woman named Ashley and her family. More people joined the line behind us. When it came time to open, Cat (I think that’s the name of the potter behind the monsters) teared up because there was a line of people waiting to swoop in & buy her stuff, a first for her. I absolutely love her stuff, but still haven’t found just the right piece for me. Becky got a Yarn Yeti mug. A yarn yeti, IMO, looks a whole lot like Cthulhu.
Next we wandered down into the field where the Lower Corral Vendors were set up. All the rain we’ve had (9 or 10 days with rain every day) made for a very muddy field. We stopped into the Dragonfly Fibers booth and I fell in love with her MDS&W exclusive colorway, Salt Marsh. It really is the color of happiness (her motto/tagline). I got some fingering weight sock yarn and some fiber to spin. I had to. A few booths down in Hobbledehoy, I found the Marigoldjen fingering weight/sock yarn. The skeins look very similar in the picture; they’re both in the Kaleidoscope colorway, but one skein has some subtle sparkle in it that’s hard to capture in a picture.
Then we made our way through the rest of the barns, stopped by our chairs briefly, and went back to the car to drop off our purchases. Becky didn’t want to lug around her Claymonster purchase or risk breaking it (that would be my luck). I also really needed to get my dirty chai from the car (chai with a shot of espresso). When we re-entered the fairgrounds, we walked through the Outside East & Outside North Vendors. The mud was really bad through these fields. So bad that they were putting down loose hay to help with traction. And I realized that the suede sneakers I had chosen to wear were a bad choice; cleaning mud off of suede is going to be interesting. But I’ve had the sneakers for (probably) 10 years, so it’s also not a big deal if they’re ruined.
We walked through the (I think) Bingo Hall, which is where all of the contest entries are – my favorite part of MDS&W. I wish I had taken pictures of some of the yarns & finished objects. There was a commercial felt bag with a square panel of hand-knotted wool sewn onto it, with a galaxy shape in the wool. There were a few shawls that were cleverly done, one that used art/novelty yarn mixed with regular joe yarn, another that had a really neat lace pattern & a deep blue color. There were other neat things that I can’t remember now. Next year: pictures of my favorites.
We stopped by the Bee Folks booth and after 3 years of saying I’d get honey from them because they’re local and I’m on their email list and buying in person would be way better than buying online from someone local, I finally got honey. There was a lull in the crowd and the crowd around the booth was light instead of the 4-5 people deep ring that’s usually around it. I can’t wait to tell my husband “Honey, I got honey!”
Then Becky & I got lunch and sat in our chairs while watching a hand-sewn fashion show on the stage in the Pavilion. I had an entirely unsatisfactory lamb sausage – $9 for lots of gristle – and a cup of sugar water + half a lemon (“hand-shaken homemade lemonade”). Yes, I’m bitter. Also, I did not walk through one of the lamb barns while eating lamb like I have in the past. And yes, I have a weird sense of humor – I do indeed think that’s funny.
We started talking about leaving. The crowd was getting thicker, Becky was chilly, I was running out of patience and, as an introvert, was coming close to my people limit for the day. We decided to pop back down to the Main Exhibition Hall and take a better look around since not all of the booths had been open on our first trip through there. I ran into my knitting & spinning & roller derby friend Karen, who I haven’t seen for a few months. I explored the Spunky Eclectic booth and almost got fiber, but then decided not to. I said to Amy (Spunky Eclectic proprieter) on the way out “I love your stuff! I follow you on Instagram!” which was made even more retrospectively awkward by my realization that I follow her on Twitter – she’s not even *on* Instagram. I went back later, just before we left, and got those 2 braids and had I nice chat with Amy & her husband when I checked out and was 100% less weird and awkward.
Becky wanted to pop into the Jennie the Potter booth and so I followed. I picked up one of the tumblers and immediately knew I had to have it. There are raised lines in the blue bottom part of it, so I got immediate sensory feedback I wasn’t expecting. There are also raised white dots that arc over the blue dots. Jennie actually ran my checkout and I told her how much I loved the tumbler – she was very appreciative because it takes a lot of process to make them.
And then Becky and I went back to the Pavillion, packed up our chairs, navigated our way through the now substantial crowd, and left just as the sun was coming out. Aside from the mud, I think this was my best shopping year at MDS&W. I usually don’t fall in love with so many things, I get yarn blindness where everything looks the same. But the things that I got all jumped out at me and all needed to come home with me. I’m grateful that I can afford these things and grateful that they popped out at me. Now to plan some projects and drink some tea out of my new tumbler while eating maple sugar candy (yum!).
I’ve been working on another cowl, this time in herringbone stitch. I tried herringbone stitch a long time ago, in 2008 or 2009, and had a lot of difficulty knitting it. I think I was using right-sized needles for the yarn which was too tight; this time I used much larger needles than what’s called for (US size 15 for bulky yarn vs. 9-11 recommended by the Craft Yarn Council) and it’s much much easier to knit.
I posted a progress picture of the first cowl last Wednesday, finished the cowl on Friday, wrote the pattern up & sent it to my tech editor friend on Sunday. My project pictures & notes are on Ravelry, of course. Anyway – to make a long story short: the pattern is ready, but I’m not. The cowl is knit like a regular scarf, from end to end (rather than long side to long side), so to finish it and make it a loop, it has to be grafted. I just used regular kitchener stitch to graft the first cowl and if you know where to look, you can see what looks like two rows of stockinette breaking up the herringbone pattern. I want to see if I can graft it in pattern somehow, which I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around. I should probably be practicing on a swatches and working it out on paper instead of starting a whole new scarf.
But I couldn’t help myself – I needed to try this yarn. It’s Cherry Tree Hill Bunji, a chained tape yarn that’s so elastic it’s like knitting with soft, silky rubber bands. I got it in a stash sale on Ravelry along with the Noro Akogare I’ve been using; both are bulky weight and both are discontinued, which probably isn’t the best yarn to design patterns around but I enjoy the challenge of using the yarn in a way that highlights its best qualities. And buying yarn from a stash sale makes me feel like I’m helping the seller and I know I’m getting a good deal on the yarn.
Bunji is bulky yarn but so thin & stretchy that I swatched it on size 10 needles, which was too tight. I upped my needle size to 13, which was better but still not right. I ended up with size 15, which is what the pattern calls for and will make a better example of the finished cowl, and I’m knitting unnaturally loosely for me so I don’t stretch the yarn too much. I’m still not getting gauge, but it’s close. And it’s only a cowl – gauge isn’t quite so important for sizing and fit of a scarf or cowl.
The finished fabric is super stretchy but loose and still dense enough when it’s slack to not too look lacy. It’s very soft, much softer than I expected considering the texture of the yarn. I posted a macro of it last night to Instagram; I like that it shows the chain ply & color transitions in detail. One of my friends said it looks like something from the sea, which I hadn’t thought of before. The colorway, according to the seller on Rav, is rose reds – that doesn’t really suggest the sea to me. But it does look like coral or an exotic underwater plant. What do you think?