Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stashing My Stash ...

Organizing my stash has been something I've needed to do for sometime now. I have thankfully acquired enough of a stash to actually have to do this. At the beginning of last year, one of the things I barely had anything of was fingering weight yarn. I made it a goal when buying yarn to focus on building my fingering weight options rather than continuing to build my lace weight collection. When I first started knitting, a scarf was my first project. You can read about that here. (This was my very first blog post and was the entry that won me the contest with Knitting Daily's "Blog It To Win It" contest that was held last October).  My second project was a lace scarf. This one...


Its difficult to see the pattern because of the yarn and the pooling of the yarn. But it was only my second project ever and I was still learning. My third project which I was knitting at the same time I was doing this second scarf above was the Diamond Fantasy Shawl. I knit it for my former Mother In Law (hard for me to refer to her as that but since my divorce was finalized on 12-20-13, that is the reality. Really, I just call her Mum) who lives in England. Here's what it looked like...



I knit it in sock yarn and in retrospect, had I known then what I know now, I would have chosen either something more tonal or a solid. I loved this pattern though and think I'd like to knit it again sometime. For it being the 3rd thing I'd ever knit I was extremely happy with the outcome. I guess my point is when I started knitting I ran straight to lace knitting and then to lace weight yarns so that's what I started collecting first when I started building my stash. I did lots of stuff in lace the first couple years of knitting. Learning how to knit socks opened up the door to the unbelievable amount of incredible sock yarn out there. Now to me, there are yarns you knit socks with....like this....


And yarns that are marketed and labeled as sock yarn that I would never knit socks with. I would shawls with it. That would be something like this...


Although marketed as sock yarn, it is fingering weight yarn that you can do anything with. You aren't restricted to knitting socks just because that's what the label says.

A little over a year ago I really got excited at the thought of knitting lace patterns with beautiful tonal fingering weight yarn on slightly larger needles. Really, you can knit any pattern you want with any yarn want as long as you accommodate the needle size and amount of yarn you have to work with. So, I had all this lace weight yarn but I was really getting into fingering weight but didn't have much of it at all. I can always shop out of my Mom's unbelievable stash (seriously, she could start a yarn store with the amount of yarn she has) but I wanted to start to build my own. At the beginning of last year I started focusing on buying more fingering weight yarns. I think I can honestly say that, with few exceptions, the incredible fingering weight yarns being put out there by indie dyers have become my favorites to work with. And certainly since I started designing my own patterns, the indie dyers are who I go to first. I have collaborated with three of them on three designs I've done and they are amongst my favorites. I worked with Brooks Farm Yarns on Mannington, with Wooly Wonka Fiber on Petit Jardin, and with Phydeaux Designs & Yarns on the yet to be released Teaberry Crescent. Unfortunately, I cannot yet share pics with you of the finished Teaberry Crescent, as much as I'm dying to do so! The Brook Farms collaboration was actually done with a DK weight yarn. It turned out beautifully. I am also so blessed to be able to say that I am doing a 4th collaboration and this time with Crave Yarn. Let me tell you, Crave Yarn is absolutely incredible stuff. I am looking forward to seeing what I come up with for these yarns. If you have the time, go and check out all of these dyers, I think you will be just as impressed as I am with their creations.

Over the past year, after placing focus on fingering weight yarn, I did happen to acquire a little...


Having designed quite a few crescent shaped shawls, I know that mine usually take between 600-700 yards so whatever I bought, I needed two skeins. So everything you see in the picture above, the Ziploc bags contain 2 skeins of a colorway. I had it all in 3 different places and if I was looking for something in particular I would have to check all three places to find it. There had to be a better way to do this. I decided to organize by color. Purple and blue and similar hues all went together here...


The reds, rusts, and browns and similar hues all went together in another new bin my Mom picked up for me today...


And the greens and similar shades all were all put together...


I feel so much better knowing that it will be much easier to find what I'm looking for now! Many people have asked me how I store my stash. Each skein or pairs of skeins are put in a Ziploc baggie and then, as you can see, those baggies are then placed in plastic bins for safe and bug free storing.

I started working on the wee sweater for the wee one who will arrive in early May. I was thinking I had plenty of time to do this but my initial goal was to have this finished for the baby shower which means I need to get a freaking move on with this thing. It is going to be so cute! I'm doing it in Knit Picks Shine Worsted which I had not worked with before but gladly and happily will again...


I went with cream colored because it is unisex. The fiber is 60/40 Pima cotton and modal. I had not worked with cotton yet nor modal for that matter and its wonderful to work with. It has a good hand and good stitch definition. The reviews on the Knit Picks site for this yarn are very good. It supposedly wears very well, doesn't pill and is safe for machine washer and dryer which is important for a new Mom. My gauge swatch was perfect first time out of the gate on size 8 needles...


So I CO for the sweater and gave it a go. Its such a cute design. I am still new to garment knitting so its tough for me to tell what liberties to take and what not to. I am following the directions word for word. It seems to be going just fine. Here's a pic of the yoke....see the slip stitch detail? I LOVE that about this design...


Its going to be a tiny little thing and hopefully, shouldn't take long to make. I don't think it will require much blocking either but we'll see. I will keep you posted with updated pics as it moves along.

I spent some time with Dilshani yesterday and she was having a rough day. They say your second day is your worst and she was not very comfortable at all. I haven't talked to her yet today but I suspect, and pray, that she is doing a little better. Her Mother In Law Sandy has been there since this past Saturday to help care for her and yesterday she was making therapeutic rice bags. You know, the ones that you can put in the microwave and in the freezer depending on how you want to use it, and the rice inside holds either the heat or the cold. She made me one! I have such bad problems with my neck and shoulder areas and lower back so she made one for me! She made a little pillow case for it yesterday and it looks like this....


I've had it on my lower back since I woke up today. Its so wonderful. THANK YOU MOMMA SANDY!!!!!!! I had been meaning to get a selfie of the two of us together but I just haven't done that yet. She is a lovely person and full of lots of fantastic and unique qualities. I have enjoyed getting to know her a bit over this period of time that she is here. She lives in Virginia and I think she will be here until Sunday when she has to leave. She is a sweet lady and I plan to stay in touch with her when she leaves. Just as Dilshani and her family have become family to me, so has Sandy. It's like we've all known each other for a very long time.

 Miss Audrey has been enjoying my yarn a little too much so I try to keep her distracted with other things. She's sleeping now but earlier she was on my lap as beautiful as ever...



It's a beautiful day here in Albuquerque on this Thursday. I hope you are all getting a chance to knit or do whatever it is you want to do. As for me, I will be knitting for a wee person and hoping to finish this sweater very soon, maybe just a couple days. I'll keep you posted. Until then....Knit On!

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