The Year of No Yarn Buying

And there you have it. The last time I bought yarn was exactly one year ago today. I actually thought the anniversary was tomorrow, but I checked the receipt for that last purchase, and it was March 15th, 2014. It was this gorgeous Peace Fleece lace, which I still haven't finished. I got as far as swatching and knit a few rows, and it has been a UFO since. I am not one bit sorry I bought this yarn, since they sold out of it quickly and it hasn't reappeared since.
That will get back on the WIP list at some point, if I ever finish the Evenstar thing that I showed in my last post.
Now, about not buying yarn. This has been very instructive. The first few months were really tough. It has gotten easier as the months have gone by, though I found myself doing a lot of internet window shopping the past few weeks, thinking “Yay! I made it a year! Now I can buy yarn!”. But I haven't really found anything I need, and when I find something I WANT WANT WANT, I go look at the stash. Still at 336,405 meters of yarn. That doesn't count most of the handspun that I've made. It's pretty clear that I mostly buy yarn just to have it, not really to use it for anything.
So I'm in for a little while longer. Who knows if I'll make it to 2 years and the pretty pink badge, or 3 years and a platinum badge. But for today, I don't need to buy more yarn. I'm off to do a few rows of Evenstar.


WIP* Of The Day

I posted a photo of my Evenstar on Facebook yesterday, and got a nice “I love the cream color” comment. The problem is that it’s not cream, it’s a pale aqua blue. Of course then someone had to ask “is it really blue or is it white”, which cracked me up. But I’m easily amused.

It is notoriously tough to take photos in the Pacific Northwest in the winter time and end up with anything close to the right color. Fortunately we’ve had some gloriously sunny early spring weather here, so I dragged my lace outside and got a few photos. There are some shadows from the trees, and our patio table is filthy, so I covered it with a white towel, since I am way too lazy to clean it now when it’s not going to be warm enough to eat out there for awhile.

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I’m posting all of those, since I can. Of course it’s not blocked, so you really can’t see the lace pattern all that well, but that is pretty close to the right color. Click on those to make them bigger so you can see the beads!

Beads! Thousands of them! The edging to this sucker is taking forever, and it is very boring, let me tell you. It’s knit sideways onto the shawl, it’s a simple 20 row repeat, I have about 22 repeats left. Each repeat has 50 beads. Yes, I know how many rows and beads that is. It is going to be stunning once it is done, but this is just the really boring part. And I sort of have to pay attention for a couple of reasons. First, it is fine thread, and it’s a cashmere silk blend, so it has no memory and wants to jump off the needles if it gets a chance. And then I have to focus on putting on each bead. So it’s not really good TV or movie knitting. It’s not really whisky knitting either for the same reason.

If it looks like there is a stray white thread in there, there is. After I finished the body of the shawl, I put in a fine lifeline since I’ve never done a knitted on border before. I figured if I screwed it up, I’d have somewhere to go back to. I probably should put one in now after one of those repeats as well. When I get all the way around the circle, I will have to graft the beginning and ending of the edging together, so there will be a lifeline there as well.

And just because I can, here is Lewey. He wandered outside while I was taking photos.

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By the way, Wintergrass was a total blast. We had a great time. There were lots of great bands, including some old favorites and new-to-me groups. My favorite of the weekend was Mark O’Connor, who is a terrific fiddler/violinist. He is originally from the Seattle area, though has never been to Wintergrass before. He is a fabulous musician, and plays in multiple genres, including jazz, swing, classical, bluegrass, and American folk. I have been following his music career for years, so it was fun to see him perform. And we got to meet him after the show, he is as nice as he is talented.

My other favorite, which was one of those new-to-me groups, was Steel Wheels, a band from Virginia. They are very high energy, and great musicians. They were a crowd favorite, so hopefully they will be back. Give them a listen, this was one of my favorites that they did.

And another one. This is not as good of a recording, but this was simply electrifying live.

If you want to see some photos, check out my husband’s blog, One Eclectic Guy!

*Work In Progress for you non-knitters!

John’s Old Friend Sweater


And it’s DONE! It is about time, is all I have to say.

Project Details:

Pattern: Old Friend Pullover, Peace Fleece pattern by Peg Richard

Yarn: Peace Fleece worsted, color Violet Vyehchyeerom, 6 skeins. Close enough to BLUE.

Needles: Swallow Ivore straights, 5.00 mm (4.5 mm for ribbing)

Started: August 1, 2013

Finished: February 7, 2015

For: John

Modifications: the pattern as written has ribbing on the bottom, but a rolled hem on sleeves and cuffs. I did ribbing to match for all, and did a tubular cast on and bind off. I also brought the neck up a bit, the pattern as written has a bit wider and lower crew neck.

What I Learned: Well, it’s a pretty simple sweater pattern. I don’t think I like the dropped shoulder construction so much in this heavier yarn, but John loves it. I finished the neck last night and tossed it his way, I’m not sure he’s had it off since. And I adore Peace Fleece, but I already knew that. I suspect this will be a well-loved and well-worn sweater.

Here are a couple more photos.



Sewing Up

This is one of those knitting tasks that most people hate, as evidenced by the growing popularity of top-down, knit-all-in-one-piece sweater patterns out there. No finishing! No seams!
Where's the fun in THAT, I ask? Hand sewing seams is one of those things that is easy to do once you learn to do it properly. It also provides some structure to your sweater, especially if it is knit in a heavy wool yarn. And if you have the right tools, it's a snap. Those clip things do wonders to get things lined up and hold it all together while you are sewing. The brand name of these is Knit Klips, by Susan Bates, you can find them in many knitting and craft shops.
Here's my favorite book for instructions as to how to do a variety of seams.
The other handy tool is a perfect sewing needle.

Mine is a sterling silver handmade needle from Celtic Swan.
It's hard to get a good photo of that, here's another one.

And yes, since you are wondering, I do have a couple sets of the sock needles in silver as well. I covet everything in her shop. And she is local, from nearby Lopez Island.
Back to sewing!


Already Sidetracked

I started the big Dredging Out project of 2015 this AM. The stuff around here has gotten a little out of control, it’s time to de-junk. I started with my office.

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Right. Maybe I should have started with a different challenge. But this room is such a holy disaster that it is dragging me into psychosis. I finally got the clutter off the top of the hope chest to get it open.

The Hope Chest of Doom. Really.


Yes, that is my mom’s hope chest. And no, that’s not going anywhere. One of my nieces will probably get it as I get closer to the ultimate retirement. It is currently full of totally useless junk instead of being available for useful storage.

Here are just a couple of examples.

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The tassels are from my graduation from high school and medical school. Don’t ask me why I kept them. And no, I have no idea where the college one went. It’s probably in the depths of the hope chest.

The little ceramic girl was made by my mom. Yes, it’s cute. No, I’m not keeping it. At this point in my life it is just clutter. Sentimental clutter, to be sure. I don’t need this to remind me of what a wonderful lady my mom was.

And yes, I got immediately sidetracked into a blog post. You should see how much time I wasted coming up with the ultimate Dredging Out music playlist.

I figured you’d all want to see all the junk I discover. Just wait until I get to the knitting stuff. Yes, some of that is going out of this house too. I have more knitting bags and tape measures than any one person will ever need.

Back to work.

John’s Old Friend Sweater

I have been working away at this one for a long time. You wouldn’t think a plain stocking stitch heavy worsted sweater would take so long. I finally finished all the knitting today. Here it is (minus one sleeve-not enough clips!)

Now it goes into the washing machine for a soak, then blocking, then sewing together. I think my old friend will look dashing in his Old Friend!



Good morning from Mexico!

We've been here all week. Guayabitos is a small town north of Puerto Vallarta, we are in a lovely bed and breakfast right on the beach. This is a very low key place compared to PV, not much to do besides hang out, stare at the ocean, and occasionally muster up enough enthusiasm to walk into town for lunch or dinner. I brought my flute so I've been able to practice, and of course the knitting.
And it's time for breakfast, so I'm off.


State of the Stash

Here are the results of my Cold Sheep Project for last year. The last time I bought any yarn was February 15th, 2014***, so I am coming up on the 1 year mark soon! For the record the last yarn was this:


And I immediately started a lace stole and haven’t worked on it since. Too many other things going on!

So, I knit or gave away a total of 4701 meters worth of yarn. I bought 1476 meters (that pretty red lace). So the net out is 3224 meters gone from stash. I have 337,503 meters left in the stash, give or take a few thousand in accounting errors. In looking at my database, there are a few yarns in there that I might not have subtracted when they were used up. It’s a close enough number.

I was very tempted to buy new yarn to celebrate the new year, but I went in to my closet and looked at all of those ridiculously stuffed yarn boxes. And considered the stark reality that if I only use up 4700 meters of yarn a year, I am going to have plenty to last me for a very, very long time. I have committed to not buying yarn just because it is pretty or shiny, or because it’s 11 PM and I’m bored. I might consider buying yarn for a specific purpose, such as a gift if I don’t have something appropriate, but otherwise there is bound to be something in that 337,503 meters that should satisfy my new project itch.

What about you? What is the state of your stash?


***Edited later: And the blog doesn’t lie, most of the time. That February date sounded wrong to me, so I searched back a bit. I bought that pretty red yarn on MARCH 16th of 2014. So I am coming up on the one year mark, just not as soon as I thought.

Because I Can


Pink And Sparkly!

I've been trolling around online yarn shops again. I almost caved once or twice in the past week. It's been a bit of a stressful week or two at work, which I'm sure is part of the trigger for retail therapy.

Fortunately, next week I hit the nine month mark without buying yarn, so I stepped away from the computer. Instead, I trolled around Ravelry and found a nice new shawlette pattern. After a false start or two, I found the perfect yarn in my stash to match.


The pattern is Heaven and Space, by Martini Behm. It calls for sport weight yarn, and this is a bit finer than that, but it's all good. It will just be a bit more scarf-like.

And yes, I'm supposed to be studying instead of knitting (or drooling over yarn online). You know what they say about all work and no play.


Crazy Woman Socks

And another pair done!


Project Details:

Pattern: my own jerry rigged sock pattern, tweaked over the years. Plain vanilla socks. I cast on 60 stitches at the cuff. Top down, flap and gusset heel, nothing fancy.

Yarn: Mountain Colors Weaver's Wool quarters, color is Crazy Woman. This is not superwash wool, so these will have to be handled a little more carefully, but it is lovely, squishy stuff. It's about sport weight.

Needles: 2.75 mm sterling silver double points from Celtic Swan.

Started: January 9, 2014

Finished: November 28, 2014

For: Me!

What I Learned: I've learned that I really should be knitting socks faster. I've got an aging sock stash that are starting to wear pretty thin. These will be very appreciated given the cold weather we've been having.

I was snooping around online at shops that sell this yarn. I opened up the handy dandy yarn database that catalogues the yarn I already have. I have this same yarn in eight more colors, to make eight more pairs of smooshy warm socks. Maybe I'll go cast on another pair right now.

Test Post

Now this is driving me nuts. My post from yesterday is really screwy on both of our ipads. John was playing photographer and took the photos of me wearing Colro Affection holding the camera sideways. I uploaded them, and in my photo software (Lightroom), they automatically rotate. When I upload to the blog using WordPress, I have to flip them manually, since they come in sideways. I posted from my desktop computer, rotated the photos, published the blog post, and everything looks hunky-dory.

Then John tells me they are sideways when he looked at the Knitting Doctor site on his ipad. I rolled my eyes at him, but sure enough, he's right. So I'm going to post one of the photos again, using my ipad and the Blogsy software I use to see if it happens again

Here goes. If this works I'll go back and fix the previous post.