Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Many Ways That Stash Multiplies

I have been thinking lately about the many different ways that my stash grows.  Let me enumerate:

It appears unrequested at my home.

This is the least common, by far.  Every once in a while, I get a gift of yarn (not very often, despite many hints dropped).  I have received sock yarn a few times and once I received 2 skeins each of 3 different chunky yarns (those became a shawl).  Joe, if you're reading, Valentines Day is this week, and sock yarn is always appreciated.

On three separate occasions, I have been the recipient of the remaining stash of someone's recently deceased mother.  The logic seems to be "she loved to knit, you love to knit, you will love her yarn as much as she did".  Usually this stash is heavy into Red Heart and the like, but I often get a few gems as well.  My mother-in-law's last knitting basket became mine this fall.  Along with the Red Heart (most of this has already become scarves for charity), there was a softball-sized ball of black eyelash (perhaps one of my friends will enjoy using it for their charity knitting), a few yards of super-bulky pink chenille (will be repurposed as ribbon for wrapping presents), a cone of baby blue lace-weight merino (I see a wedding ring shawl or two in my future), and half a cone of ivory single ply lace-weight silk.
What remains of Ming's stash
It comes as a gift with purchase.

These have been more frequent lately, especially since British knitting magazines are available at Barnes & Noble.  In addition to the Amy Butler kit I received with my Rowan magazine subscription last month, sometimes the magazines I buy at the store include yarn.  The latest was 6 25g balls of fingering weight yarn along with an issue of Knit Now.  There were several patterns utilizing this yarn in the magazine; I plan to make a baby sweater that uses up all of the yarn.
Knit Now kit (included yarn, pattern booklet, & needles)
It arrives every two months as part of a subscription.

I have just started my 4th year of the Rockin' Sock Club.  This means 6 times a year I get a shipment of yarn sufficient to make a pair of socks (plus a few patterns, at least one of which is for socks).  Many of these get knit up within a reasonable period.
Rockin' Sock shipment in late January
I have subscribed to two more clubs this year.  I just received my first shipment from Cookie A's club (it comes with 2 cookie recipes in addition to sock yarn and 2 patterns).  Today I signed up for Laura Nelkin's Beaded Jewelry Club (offered through Patternworks).  The first item is a necklace kit, which should arrive in 1-2 weeks.
Cookie A shipment (yarn is from indigo dragonfly)
I purchase yarn for a specific project.

This is how the Comfort Sock for the border of my Barn Raising Quilt arrived in my stash last month.

This is also how some more yarn will arrive in the next few weeks.  I have fallen in love with several sweaters, and somehow just happened to buy the yarn on line.  They are the Thistle Cardigan (from Martin Storey's Scottish Knits), Chloe's Vest (from the Spring '13 Interweave Knits), a cardigan in Bliss Cashmerino Aran from the February '13 Simply Knitting (design by Amanda Jones), and the Great Oak Socks (from the January '13 issue of Yarnwise; this yarn (Smooshy) was in part to round up my Webs order to the next discount level).

I succumb to yarn fumes.

This is how most yarn gets in the door.  Stitches West is always dangerous to my credit card balance due to the overwhelming number of yarns available to fondle.  I always end up with a big Webs purchase, in large part due to the excellent sales support from Andra, the Berroco sales rep.  Local yarn stores also get me that way -- I came home unexpectedly with 100g of Shibui Staccato last week, with no specific project in mind (I'm leaning toward a pair of cabled gloves).
Shibui Staccato
This is why trying to reduce stash is a losing proposition:  it's like trying to plug 12 holes in a dike with only 10 fingers!


I have finished my Spiral Blanket.  Joe spotted it while it was blocking on top of Kerry's bed.  I think he likes it, because he kept asking who it was for (I had planned to give it to him for Valentines Day).  I  discovered last night that if you fold it half, it makes a warm and attractive shawl, so I may be borrowing it from him.
Spiral Blanket before blocking
My next project is jointly for the Use It or Lose it challenge and for the 2 KnitLit Chicks Kardigan challenge.  This is the Thistle Coat (on the cover of A Season's Tale) knit from Rowanspun Aran (not to be confused with the aforementioned Thistle Cardigan, which is knit in Rowan Fine Tweed).  I found it completely kitted up (including buttons and extra yarn) in a drawer with another, less ambitious sweater project that I had considered for these challenges.
Thistle Coat (on the left)

Thistle Coat sleeves in progress
Having that project in my knitting bag has freed up some room for my latest purchases...

Sunday, February 3, 2013

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie (TM) or How I Find Myself Down Another Knitting Track

When the kids were small, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was one of the favorite books in the house.  If you don't remember or know the story, it shows how doing the next logical, make-everything-a-bit-more-perfect step can quickly get you to some sort of unexpected extreme.

This happens not infrequently with my knitting, which may partially explain why so many of my knitting projects have stalled out.

This past week, I was working away on my first project for Use It or Lose It challenge period #2, a Boneyard Shawl from some Brooks Farm merino/silk blend that had been in my stash for over 3 years. I have 810 yards of this, not quite enough for a long sleeved sweater unless I add in another yarn, and since I already have vests in similar colors (blues and black), I decided a shawl was in order.  This is what it looked like about 40 yards in:
Boneyard Shawl in BF Four Play
I was in my living room knitting away when I glanced at the stacks of knitted squares I store on the lower shelf of a coffee table.  They are all knitted from leftover fingering weight yarn (socks mostly), and it occurred to me that I might have almost enough to make a throw.
Squares on the coffee table shelf
I had 40 completed squares, so I promptly dropped everything and knit 4 more.  This is how 42 of them look together.
42 sock yarn squares
I am now thinking that 49 or 64 squares will be a great finished size.  I've even bought a few balls of Comfort Sock in gray for my assembly/edging yarn (see the two balls in the stacks photo).  These are my second stash addition for 2013.

As I was knitting my squares, I flipped through the rest of the Knitalong book where the pattern for the above squares (Barn Raising Quilt) came from.  The Spiral Blanket caught my eye.  It would use much more of my Brooks Farm yarn than the Boneyard Shawl would (unless I made the shawl HUGE), and besides, I already have a shawlette in similar colors (something that slipped my mind when I cast on the shawl).

Last night I cast on the blanket, and about 100 yards in, this is what it looks like:
Spiral blanket WIP
I think I will stick with the spiral blanket, at least for my Super Bowl knitting.