Blog, Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, De-Stashing yarn, Knitting

Attack of the Stash! (Part 2)

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about stash acquisitions and use over the past year (2017), as well as my theories about why crafters tend to amass huge stashes of their favorite materials (for me, that’s yarn).

Today I want to talk about plans for working with the yarn I have, and will also be sharing my annual stash flash.

Typically “Flash Your Stash” happens at the beginning of April each year, but that makes absolutely no sense to me since the year starts in January. I much prefer to do a stash flash at the end of December/beginning of January, because to me it just makes more sense: new year, new stash flash, and the counter of used stash starts over again.

For those of you who are unaware, stash flashing is the process of dragging out all the yarn/fiber you own, laying it in one place, and taking a visual accounting of it. For some, it requires more than one large photo as their stashes are not able to fit into one large flat area. The location of choice seems to be one’s bed, as it is a large-ish, flat-ish surface that provides a reliable point of reference from year to year (assuming you keep the same size bed).

My stash has evolved over the years, but the largest change has been this year. Here’s a progression for you:

2014: Mostly worsted weight, commercially available yarns. There’s a tad of bulky, sport, and fingering weight thrown in there, but not much. Most of this was gifted to me from an elderly family member who was getting rid of yarn, and I had NO clue what to do with it.

2014 Stash part 1

2015: TONS more worsted weight acrylic from box stores. Most of the gifted yarn I donated, but I apparently felt the need to buy ALL. THE. YARN.

2015 Stash Flash part 12015 Stash flash part 2

2016: The trend continues. I’m only going to show you the worsted/bulky weight, because the rest of it didn’t fit on the bed, and was on shelves and in drawers.

2016 4-6

I’d like to note at this time that I obviously have a very high turnover rate. Most of the yarns in these photos change from year to year.

2017: The beginning of the sock stash, and the lessening of the heavy acrylics.

Stash jan 2017 divided

Today’s Flash: Holy cow. This is TOTALLY different from previous years! This time there’s handspun, ALL weights of yarn, and an obvious focus on light weight wools & indie dyed yarn.

Marked Stash 2018

So why the difference?

Well, I’ve only been seriously designing patterns for about 2.5 years, but I think that has a large impact on the choice of materials that i’ve been making. Because i’m designing and publishing patterns (as opposed to just knitting/crocheting as many by others as I can), it forces me to slow down and consider the choices i’m making. I have to choose the perfect yarn for each pattern – to best emphasize the stitches, the shapes, etc. I have to ask myself whether the yarn will photograph well, be desirable/available for others to buy and use, and whether I feel it best represents me as a designer and a person.

Over the course of some personal analysis, I’ve discovered that I value quality over quantity, and community over commercialism. What I mean by that is that I really enjoy supporting the independent community of pattern designers, yarn dyers, and textile artists in general. I would much rather buy from and work with a mom who’s dyeing yarn in her kitchen than from a corporation. I love to interact with other artists and makers, because I feel that a large reason why the indie dyeing/designing community is so wonderful is because of all the inter-connected support that happens within it. I get a lot of support from other makers, dyers, and designers, and this year i’ve been focusing on giving that support back.

Another reason why I have less stash right now is that I’m going to be moving in the Spring to a much smaller home. I’ll go more into that in another blog post, but we’re essentially moving to a tiny house, and I just can’t go on buying yarn all willy nilly – there won’t be space to store it, and probably isn’t space to store what I have now! That leads me to my next train of thought, which is buying and using with a purpose.

Theoretically, I have enough yarn currently in my stash to last me for about 2 years without buying more if I continue to craft at the same rate. Right now my stash is at about 43,000 yds, and for this past year I used approximately 20,000 yds in projects this year (and there were more than a few projects where I didn’t record yardage used). I feel I should also mention that these numbers do not include WIPs and yarn attached to WIPs. I deduct yardage as projects are finished, but the photo is only of full skeins. WIPs are something I will have to tackle again before we move, but right now I find them a tad overwhelming.  I’m working on 1: finishing projects that have already been started, or 2: frogging/chucking projects that (if i’m being honest) will never be completed for one reason or another.

So what’s my plan for this upcoming year? I’m not going to be unrealistic and swear that i’ll never buy yarn this year, because that’s just silly. I love yarn, I love the colors, and I love the inspiration I find from looking at it, touching it, and admiring it. I am, however, going to shoot for a drastic stash reduction. My plan is that for every new skein of yarn want to bring into the house (defined as 100 gms), I must first get rid of (or use up) 3 skeins. My hope is that this rule will help me carefully consider what i’m bringing into the house, and whether or not I REALLY want to buy the yarn.

I have to say, it’s very satisfying to see the stash total go down. Being able to look at the number from month to month and constantly seeing a lower number satisfies something in me along the lines of checking off boxes on a to-do list. It may just be yarn, but it’s still immensely satisfying to make and meet goals.

 

What are your yarn/stash resolutions for this year? Do you have any? I’d love to hear about your plans!

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Blog, Uncategorized

3 years?

IMG_20171206_103315_773.jpg

Blogging consistently has never been my forte; it’ll take you about 3 minutes to scroll down and confirm that if you don’t believe me! I’m not really ever sure what compels me to start or stop blogging, but I think this time it has to do with a feeling that i’ve lost touch with the world of writing. (I can hear you now – “she’s going to write an essay! Maybe if I close out the window now I’ll escape!” Have no fear, dear reader, I have no desire to bore you to death!)

Lately i’ve been vlogging/podcasting pretty consistently on YouTube (Here’s a LINK if you’re curious) and while I do enjoy that, I’ve also found that videos require a certain amount of active conversation that leads to less forethought than I can put into a blog post. In writing, I can begin a post, come back to it and tweak it, and make sure I have exactly what I want to say to you all corrected before I post, rather than making some show notes and speaking “live” as I do in podcasts.

I’ve been told that I need to choose EITHER blogging OR podcasting, but I don’t think i’m going to accept that. I enjoy podcasting, AND I enjoy writing – so there!

 

ANYWAY (as my grandfather was fond of saying, when he’d rambled too far off topic as I just have), I expect that this blog will feature things like yarn and pattern reviews, projects, my new designs and yarns, and whatever knitting/fiber arts related things I may be into at the time I write. As for a timeline, I’ll be figuring that out as I go!

For now, I’ll just sit here and announce my intention to begin blogging again, and then probably start writing a new post as soon as this one goes live! See you soon!

Blog, Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, De-Stashing yarn, Housekeeping, Knitting

Progress!!

No Photos yet, but I just wanted to share my progress with you!!

This morning I frogged 8 WIPS!!! I also re-arranged my WIPs so I can see what I really have left.

So, that’s a big deal.

Also, last night I finished and blocked my first shawl ever, wove in the ends on a second shawl, a sweater, and a blanket, and i’m really excited! I’m on a roll here – I’m really enjoying finishing up projects, because I have such a super huge list of things I want to make.

It’s actually really freeing to look at a project, realize you’re really not interested, not going to make it, and to just frog it!

My de-stash is going well too. I’ve given away over 8lbs of yarn, which means I’ve probably gotten rid of over 5,000 yds.

Destash totals (I only tally yardage once a project is 100% finished, including blocking and weaving in ends):

April 2015 (so far): -1,165 yds

YTD Yards Used: -9,371

YTD Yards bought: +4,000

Net Yds: -5,371 (woo hoo!!)

Blog, Crochet, Daily Life, Food Allergies, Knitting, Parenting

Perspective

de-stash415

Today has been one of those uber busy, non-creative, mom is running errands type of days.

Little Bear had to go to the allergist (food allergies! yay!!..), which went amazingly well, I mailed out some de-stash yarn, which was a total plus (hooray for more space!!), and then had lunch with my mama… before going food shopping.

Plenty of normal everyday type stuff, but then I received an e-mail from a hospital I asked about making baby hats for, and was told that the need lapghans/small afghans for cancer patients, and those undergoing chemo treatments. It kind of puts things in perspective, when you realize that those who are stuck in the hospital with a prolonged illness would love to have the day I just had.  I’m tired, but they’re exhausted from fighting for their lives.

Guess my day was pretty good after all – I got to spend it with a happy, smiling Little Bear, and got to see my mama!

Tomorrow is surgery day, so I won’t be around tomorrow, and likely won’t be around for a couple days after that. Prayers are welcome (it’s just a minor hernia repair – nothing crazy!), as always.

Blog, Current Projects, Daily Life, Spinning

So.. I have a spindle and fiber.. How do you actually SPIN yarn?

There’s plenty of things in life that we know what they should look like in process, but just can’t quite execute ourselves. Have you ever tried to cut your own hair like the hairdresser when you were a kid? Exactly. You know what it looks like to get your hair cut, but you can’t do it.  Spinning isn’t like that. North American culture (for the most part) doesn’t use spinning, or even know about it beyond sleeping beauty pricking her finger – and even that’s on a wheel, not a drop spindle!

I got a comment on this post I wrote about making my own drop spindle, which for some reason didn’t show up on the site, so i’m not able to respond to it there. I’m sorry Katie, whoever you are, I hope you see this post!

-Katie asked: What did you do after you made it?  I mean to spin it and all.  I have never attempted this or even thought I could do it.

-Answer: I’m a super beginner when it comes to drop spindling, so I can’t necessarily tell you how i’ve perfected my technique, what to do, what not to do, all that. BUT! I can show you where i’m learning from!

The internet is fantastic, and i’ve found a number of excellent spinning videos, and i’d like to share a couple of them with you (and what i’ve learned from them).

Absolute favorite tutorial: Abby Franquemont, hands down. This video will help you with drafting, basic spinning, and understanding what in the world people are talking about in other videos when they explain spinning.

You have to be able to draft the fiber before you spin it

The Paradise Fibers Intro Tutorial – I really like this one for its details, and not making you feel silly!

Megan La Core – She also has an entire series on spinning

This isn’t so much a tutorial, as a fascinating video of a very experienced Navajo spinner/weaver. I find it extremely helpful to watch

people who are skilled at what i’m trying to learn, and to listen to their advice, because it stays in my head when i’m attempting to spin.

 

So here’s what i’ve learned so far:

-Spinning (at least the basics) isn’t the difficult part – consistent drafting is.

-Consistency takes practice – your first spinning isn’t actually going to come out looking like machine spun yarn.. because it’s not machine spun. Did you miss what my spinning looks like right now?

Image It looks like twisty wool. (I’ll post better pictures soon. Promise.)

-Watching experienced spinners (even when they’re not doing tutorials) is an awesome way to learn what spinning should look like.

 

Katie, I hope this helps, and that you saw this!

 

Anyone else have good spinning tips? Like I said, i’m still a super beginner! I can use all the help I can get!!

 

 

 

Blog, Knitting

NaKniSweMo2013

This year i’ve decided to participate in NaKniSweMo (National Knit a Sweater Month) which is based of of NaNoWriMo (National Write a Novel Month).

In NaNoWriMo, you have to write a novel in one month that has at least 50,000 words in it.

In NaKniSweMo, you have to knit a sweater with at least 50,000 stitches in it…but here’s the challenge: there’s no such thing as automatic stitch count like there is automatic word count!!

So, I cast on a sweater on November 8th Isis Tailcoat Ravelry Link.

I’ll be attempting to take pictures of it and keep updating my progress on here as the month goes on, but it’s a black sweater, so pictures are a little difficult!

Total stitches knit as of right now: 10,301

Blog, Knitting

Regarding why Ruth should only make vests.. and perhaps small puffy things

I love handknit sweaters. Love. I find them fascinating to make, look at, and all around enjoy… at least that’s what I always tell myself when I cast one on!

The body goes well, and I love seeing the progress, which usually goes fairly quickly, and then I get to the sleeves.

Someone remind me why I knit sweaters again?

This is what it’s supposed to look like:

The wonderful Therapi Sweater by Stefanie Japel

Here is what it currently looks like:

Notice the difference?

No sleeves! (Or collar, but i’ll get to that)

Off to force myself to knit sleeves, when what I really want to do is make a million hexipuffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt

Like so:

Blog

In which new options are explored

So I discovered that I didn’t like the old blogging platform I was using, so i’m going to attempt to move the majority of the previously posted knitting patterns, etc. over to this new site!

I’m still getting use to WordPress, so please pardon the empty pages and slight wonkiness of my page until I get things 100% up and running!

Blog

10 Stitch Blanket

Hello, my name is Ruth, and I have a yarn problem.

I’ve known this for a while, but when I get stuck in Jo-Ann’s for about an hour and a half, that really confirms it to me- especially since I spent all of that time fondling yarn and deciding what lovely things I could make with it.

Long story short, I am beginning work on a new baby blanket for my SIL who is not due for a LONG while yet, in hopes that my start-itis may be overcome if I have 7 months to finish it.

Pictures to follow, but for now…

Check it out: Frankie Brown’s 10 Stitch Zig-Zag Blanket