Saturday, August 14, 2010

Still can't find the camera.... maybe I should look in some new places because it certainly isn't in any of the usual places!

So I have been thinking about my stash lately. I truly love it but it is a little on the large side and doesn't have room for any new yarns I may find. I have made several pairs of socks this summer and a sweater (photos to follow as soon as I find the camera!) but I think I need to come up with a plan to enjoy more yarn and lighten the stash over the next few months.

I think I will aim to make one sweater, one pair of socks and one other thing (mittens, hat, scarf) every month through the fall and winter. I will also weave at least one project on the loom a month. It is one of those things that when I have it out I can't believe I don't use it all the time but I don't want to get carried away and say I will use it every week. I just won't do it and then I will feel like I am slacking.

The girls go away to camp next week and I will use the week to take care of the huge pile of paperwork and household projects that have been stacking up all summer. That will leave me free to start working on the mitten patterns I have in mind and by the time the kids go back to school in September I can start dyeing yarn and packaging up kits.

Once I hut "publish post" all these resolutions will be out there for everyone to see, including me! Time to finish that sweater on the needles for August....

Saturday, August 07, 2010

I definitely need to find where my kids left the camera last.

Several large boxes of gorgeous undyed yarn have arrived at my house in the last couple of weeks - all different weights and fibres but all wonderfully soft to the touch. I have sock yarns, worsted yarns and just yesterday I signed for yarn that is destined to keep hands warm come winter.

It is hard to believe I have been thinking about winter this week but maybe that has helped me cope with the heat and humidity. I have been working on a couple of fun mitten patterns that I will get to work on as soon as some of this yarn gets some colour into it. I am thinking of preparing some mitten kits along with all of the tempting sock yarns I have in mind. Some sock patterns would be a great idea too.

My house definitely needs more closets - or maybe that will be the motivation for me to have fun creating beautiful yarn and sock and mitten kits and then get them moving out of my dining room!

Friday, June 25, 2010

First Attempt at Hand Dyeing

One of the things I love best about yarn is the colours. Texture and quality are very important but colour is what hooks me every time. I don't know why it has taken me this long to try hand dyeing on my own. This week I took the plunge and had so much fun.

Things didn't get nearly as messy as I thought they would. My fingernails did change colours, much to the delight of my daughters, but that didn't last long. The important thing was that nothing that wasn't supposed to got stained and the yarn took the dyes beautifully.

I am off with my basket of yarn to Nature's Millworks in Paisley for the Weaving and Rug Hooking Show that starts tomorrow. I will be happy to knit or weave all of this yarn myself if no one is interested in it but if it sells I will definitely buy more base yarn and see if I can find a market for it. Imagine if I could find a way to make my knitting and weaving pay for itself? That would be amazing.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Third Time's a Charm

I was inspired by the Yarn Harlot's blog to pull out my Cricket Loom again. I tried it about a year ago with no luck. I was determined to get things going and to start zipping through my stash.

I found some yarn I had bought for a scarf and thought it would be good to start with - lots of colour and texture so I hoped it would be forgiving of tension errors as I got used to working with the loom. I set everything up, got ready to go - and discovered that I had just made the exact same mistake the Yarn Harlot had blogged about - a little too inspired by her, I guess. I undid it all and started over. I didn't make the same mistake twice - I made a new one the second time and discovered why things hadn't gone so smoothly when I tried it last year. I found some instructions on youtube that were far batter than the ones that came with the loom.

Third time I got it all set up and started weaving and wow! Now I see what all the fuss is about. Even with it being my first time I was able to finish a scarf in two hours. Not two days, two hours.

A couple of years ago I was crazy about Noro yarns. I made a Lizard Ridge afghan with it and more hats than I can count. I have made a couple pairs of socks with it too. It is absolutely the worst sock yarn I have ever knit with but it makes just about the nicest socks to wear, once they have been washed. I think there were a number of bags and purses somewhere along the line, too. I have a few scarves made with Noro Silk Garden but I am pretty burned out of the Noro jag I was on. Trouble is that I still have a bag of it hanging around at the back of my closet. I think the Cricket Loom is the answer to that problem..........

And about three hours later I had this -

It is straightforward, fun, and look how quickly I can enjoy my stash. Yarns like Noro that I am tired of knitting with are fine for an afternoon date with the loom and then they can make their way to a new home. Weaving will never replace knitting for me but it sure is a great alternative for stash busting. Two scarves in a day - and not just any day, but my first day as a weaver. What could be sweeter?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The pattern book has been found - and may never leave my house again after this! What a wonderful relief.

I finished the February Lady Sweater last night. It is blocking now - thank goodness for the Ravelry notes that let me know it would grown significantly when blocked. It is two inches wider and four inches longer than it was when I was done knitting. I think that should make it just about perfect but I won't know for another day or two.

I have two and a half skeins of Malabrigo worsted left - that is about 500 yards. I think I will make a felted bag with it. That should make a nice sized bag and I can try out some of the felted flower patterns I have in a new-to-me book to decorate it.

For now I am knitting some hats for babies that will be born very soon. I found a skein of the Green Eyed Monster's "Weasley's Wizard Wheezes" superwash merino. It seemed like the perfect yarn to use for twins! They should be done in another day or two and then I can send them to the family. I remember how much I loved the hand knits people gave each of our babies - it is fun to do that for other people now.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is killing me.

I have knitting books and loose patterns that I have been gathering since the 1980's. The books sit nicely on the shelf but you know how it goes with patterns - one stuck as a book mark in this book, that print out getting torn crammed between two books over there, the whole stack of loose patterns spilling onto the floor whenever I am in a hurry, never being able to find "that particular pattern" when I really want it.

A few weeks ago I decided I had had enough when I couldn't find a pattern that was always the one that jumped out at me whenever I was looking for another pattern. I went to the dollar store, had my daughter pick out a binder for me (she chose a green one covered in pink and purple butterflies) and bought several packages of page protectors.

When I got home, I took those 20+ years of loose patterns and tucked each one into a nice little protective case and put them in the binder. It was great - sweaters in one section, mittens in another, one for socks - you get the picture. I had just bought several new patterns and was especially excited about how easy it was going to be to keep track of them.

I took the book to knitting group and shared it with some friends there. I got a call to pick one of my kids up from school, scooped the book back into my bag, and carried on with my day. The next few days were busy - I did some knitting but had no time to think about new knitting projects.

Guess what?

I can't find the binder anywhere. I have cleaned up my entire house, even my closet (!) and there is no sign of it. All those patterns - gone. Yarn just arrived for one of the patterns in that binder but it has to wait. I can't bring myself to repurchase a pattern I just bought a couple of months ago. I can't believe that after a couple of decades of being stuffed into nooks and crannies, putting all of my beloved patterns into a protective case was the worst thing I could have done to them.

If you were a binder full of gorgeous knitting patterns, where would you hide?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Great socks.

There are a zillion beautiful sock yarns out there. Many (most?) of them are expensive. Not too expensive considering the work that goes into hand dyeing the yarns but it is nice to find some nice yarns that are affordable.

I love Knit Picks needles in a big way but I am not usually thrilled with their yarns. Some of them are nice for some projects but none of them have delighted me until I ordered some "Imagination" on a whim. This yarn is a blend of wool, alpaca and nylon which means it is comfy, warm and durable. The 25% alpaca content means the socks start to stretch out of shape fairly quickly but they always bounce right back after washing.

One skein gave me this pair of socks - not bad for under $6.00!!!