Crochet, Daily Life, De-Stashing yarn, Designing, Knitting, Uncategorized

Attack of the Stash! (Part 1)

Stash is a topic that comes up often in the fiber arts world – how much do you have in stash? Do you have a stash? Are you “stashing down”? All of this gets discussed quite often, and usually there’s at least a few people who will make a comment along the lines of “you can never have too big of a stash” or “what is this ‘too much yarn’ you’re talking about?” in a sort of tongue in cheek manner that acknowledges that knitters/crocheters/crafters have a propensity to by loads more yarn/fiber than they can currently use, or possibly use in many years. We even have an acronym for having a massive stash: SABLE, or “Stash Amassed Beyond Life Expectancy”.

So why do we do this? Why is it so common for knitters and crocheters to have massive hoards of yarn, fiber, tools, and patterns? I have a few theories, because I’ve been examining my own purchasing habits this year, and i’m not terribly happy with what I’ve discovered.

Let me start out by showing you where i’m coming from. This is my “Stash Flash” from January of this year (2017).

Stash Jan 2017

In the usual “Stash Flash” fashion, I took out all the yarn I have and laid it on my bed. I’m not 100% sure why a bed is the go-to location for stash flashing, but my best guess is that it has something to do with being a large (ish) flat surface that is somewhat removed from little fingers/paws. It also gives a great size comparison to help judge/compare quantity. The bed in this photo is a Queen sized bed, and the yardage on that bed is somewhere in the neighborhood of 55,000 yards.

Here’s how it was divided up:

Stash jan 2017 divided

As you can see, there’s some higher quality light weight yarns, but the majority was dominated by yarns that are very readily available from box stores – Paton’s, Caron, Premier, that sort of thing. Fairly affordable, hard wearing, basic yarns.

(I feel obliged to mention that this is NOT a yarn-snobbery post comparing high and low quality yarns. It may come off that way in a minute, but it’s not, I promise!)

My best guess for why these yarns are stashed is because box stores are GREAT marketers. They send coupons strategically in the hopes that customers will make large purchases, and obviously it works! It’s very common in online groups to see people posting a “yarn haul” photo with more yarn than is in the picture above, complete with “and I had a 40% off coupon for the whole thing!”

Well played, marketing strategists, well played.

Obviously I’ve fallen prey to this strategy. Why else would I have half a bed full of yarn that is ALWAYS available in stores that are 20 minutes or less from my house? It’s not actually that difficult to find them – you get in the car, go to a very nearby store, and all the yarns on the left side of the bed are available.

Anyway, I decided to track my yarn usage habits for this year to see what I could learn about myself, and my buying, using, and spending habits. My method wasn’t terribly accurate or scientific, but I think it got the job done. I decided to use the Ravelry “stash” feature to track yarn in and out. I entered all the yarn I have (minus the scraps that are too tiny to count) into the appropriate page.

(If you haven’t used this feature, i’d highly advise it, and you’ll see why in a minute!)

The stash page looks like this:

Stash

You can see at a glance all of the yarn you have without having to dig through buckets, or however you store your yarn. This is especially helpful for people like me who have enough yarn that they can’t actually remember what they have, and end up buying duplicates!

At any rate, if you look closely in the upper right hand corner of that photo, there’s an “export to excel” button, and Ravelry will do the math for you – it adds up all the yardage of the yarn you have, subtracts the amount you’ve used in your project pages, and you can get a total yardage number. This was the method I used to track usage.

My goal for this year was to end up with a deficit of 400 yds/month, so that at the end of the year, I would have gotten rid of just shy of 5,000 yds of yarn (leaving me with 50,000… what can I say, I guess it was a 10 year plan!). So each month I downloaded the excel file and this is what I came up with:

Total De-Stashed: -14, 446 yds
January: didn’t tally
February: -2,027 yds!
March: -537 yds (whew. Squeaked by!)
April: Starting at 50, 057
May: Forgot to check
June: +947
July: Starting at 57,544
August: Forgot to Check, but gave away/donated over 10,000 yds
September: +1,027
October: -4,561
November: +112
December: starting at 43, 089

Obviously some months went better than others, but today I decided that while it’s great that I  have lowered my total yardage number, I wanted to know how much of the yarn I have right now was purchased in 2017. The number I came up with? 23,481 yards. And that’s just the amount that’s remaining – I used a BUNCH of newly purchased yarn  this year. That means that over half of the yarn in my stash was purchased this year. WHAT?! What in the world possessed me to purchase so much yarn in a year when I claimed that I was “stashing down”?

Well, let’s look at what was purchased:

Stash edited

Right. Everything except what is scribbled out up there is a new purchase from January 2017 on (or a swap, or gift, or whatever). What I see up there is EITHER “oh my goodness, it’s one of a kind indie dyed yarn and i’ll never ever be able to get this again ever!” OR an overambition for projects in which my eyes were bigger than my stomach, so to speak (my hands clicked faster than my needles?). Also, there’s a LOT that isn’t up there because yarn got used or gifted.

So what did I use this year?

Used Stash

Loads of indie dyed yarn, some handspun, and just a tad of commercial yarn. (More than this was used – I apparently just didn’t move it to the “all used up” category, or just removed it from my stash when I had used it up).

So this begs the question, why did I go from having a stash of largely commercial yarn to an almost 100% conversion to indie dyed yarn? (This is where it’s going to look like yarn-snobbery. Brace yourselves.) I tried indie dyed/higher quality yarn for the first time this year. Before this year the best quality yarn I had used was the occasional bit of Knit Picks wool (which, I feel, is perfectly good yarn. I’m not knocking them), but the majority of my work was done in commercial (read “acrylic”/”acrylic blend”) yarns. This year’s discovery of beautifully dyed wool created a bit of a hog-wild rush to play with all the pretties, and to design with them as well.

Here’s my new designs from this year:

2017 Designs

Do you see what I see? If you see fingering weight indie dyed yarn, you’d be right! It dominates my designs. Apparently I’ve been sucked into the popular culture of indie dyed yarn and didn’t even realize it! I’ve even begun dying yarn myself because I enjoy it so much. It feels like art where you don’t have to get the shapes and lines right like you do in a drawing or painting. It would seem that I love dyeing yarn and designing with indie dyed yarns because I love the freedom of it, and the unpredictability of it.

So why do people have huge stashes of yarn like this? My best guess is because it’s inspiring. Looking at beautifully dyed yarn is like looking at a museum full of inspiring artwork and wanting to learn to paint so you can create your own masterpiece. At least that’s how I feel – maybe you don’t feel the same. When I look at the yarns sitting in my drawers (because that’s how I have them stored right now – in two desks and a couple boxes), I see the potential for new designs and projects. It’s like sitting in front of a landscape with a blank canvas – I know what I want to make and how it’ll work out. That’s also why I end up buying the yarn – when I see a skein of yarn, I know what I want to design or make out of it.

My conclusion? There’s lots of reasons why people buy yarn, but my reason is because i’m inspired. The colors and the texture speak to me, asking me to transform them into something amazing.

The next post in this series will be about my reaction to my buying habit realizations, and what I’m planning for this upcoming year (likely with an updated stash flash photo if I can manage it without my little hooligans grabbing all the yarn!)

What are YOUR reasons for yarn stashing? Do you stash, or find yourself buying yarn for no reason other than that it’s pretty? I’d love to know your thoughts.

 

Advertisements
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!

Uncategorized

Textured Circles Blanket Pattern

Here’s the tutorial for the JAYG method I just re-blogged. I highly recommend you go take a look at this site – it’s awesome!

BabyLove Brand

20130718-133134.jpg

Enjoy my Textured Circles blanket pattern!

I used two strands of worsted acrylic to make this blanket and a size 10mm hook – yarn and hook are optional but will greatly affect final size. Mine is 16 motifs and 68″ square.

Note: This square is a slight modification of the Circle of Friends Square by Priscilla Hewitt (Ravelry).

Related posts:

Main Page for this piece (view Gallery or order custom piece) – here

Tutorial for the Flat Braid Join used on this blanket – here

Simple Lace join tutorial – here

Celtic Lace Join tutorial – here

Guide to weaving ends for this project – here

Let’s begin!

20130204-102018.jpg

Chain 5 and join with a slip stitch to make a ring. SC, CH2 (counts as a TR) 15 TR in ring. Join with a slip stitch in the second CH above the first SC. Cut and finish off. This is…

View original post 515 more words

Uncategorized

Celtic Lace Join

Wow, guys, I think i’m going to have to make this blanket! I saw the photo of this blanket all joined up on mooglyblog.com, and gasped because it’s so beautiful! I’ve always hated joining granny square (or any squares for that matter) because the sewing takes forever, but this? TOTALLY worth it! (and it looks quick and fancy, too!)

BabyLove Brand

20130907-124521.jpg

I originally made this join for my 13th Textured Circles piece, but I ended up re-working that to attain my final measurement.

This join can be used for any type square! Enjoy!

View original post 479 more words

Uncategorized

Scrappy TARDIS Afghan Pattern With Chart

Check out this AWESOME TARDIS BLANKET that my inner geek is loving! I don’t know whether it’ll be knit or crocheted, but I’m definitely making this one! Right after I finish my tote of projects, of course…

HappyHooker's Blog

002Finished afghan is 150 x 200 plus a one row sc edge.

Note: I made mine with the background being scraps of yarn (Every color but blue, because I didn’t want the background to blend with the TARDIS). You can do a solid background, if you’d like. If you do use scrap, make sure the yarn is all the same weight and material. It’s not a good thing to make anything with both worsted and bulky (unless that’s what you’re going for.) Likewise, if you use a washable acrylic and a non-washable wool, you may end up with unplanned shrinkage in places when you wash it.

Materials: H Hook and worsted weight yarn (Vanna’s Choice Colonial Blue, Black, and White for the TARDIS, anything you want for the outside.)

Using background color, chain 151. Sc across. Follow the chart for the rest of the afghan. After the last row is…

View original post 102 more words

Crochet, Current Projects, Daily Life, Knitting, Uncategorized

Projects, projects everywhere…

One of my goals for this year has been to cut down on the number of active projects that I have going at the same time. I’m great at starting projects, but i’m really not so great at finishing them. In light of that [not so surprising] revelation, yesterday was spent frogging old projects that had been sitting in a plastic tote for almost 3  years (literally – 3 years!), and finishing up one blanket that I made the squares for while still in high school. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a “before” picture of the tote, but you can use your imagination. This is all that was left after the frogging and blanket assembling:

wpid-imag1329.jpgNice mostly empty bucket with reclaimed yarn, yes? A couple projects did end up getting tossed, due to the fact that I think moths might have been at them, and it just wasn’t worth it to risk my stash!

wpid-imag1327.jpg

Here’s the blanket that I assembled last night – my taste in colors and design has obviously changed since high school, as you will see as we start to look at my current projects!! (get ready for lots of pictures!)

In the spirit of trying to finish up projects that have already been started, I re-filled the tote (the one I had just emptied) with projects (I took pictures first!) and have decided that I am going to knit/crochet only from that tote until it is empty, and then fill it again. It includes mostly already started projects, with yarn for one new one, and once I get the supplies for one commission project, that will be in the tote as well. My hope is that this will give me motivation to get rid of my old projects, either by finishing or frogging – it forces a decision. So, without further ado, here are the projects in my tote! I hope that I will be able to post finished pictures very soon!

wpid-imag1321.jpg  wpid-imag1331.jpg  wpid-imag1345.jpg wpid-imag1353.jpg  wpid-imag1341.jpg

These five are my blanket projects they are (from Top to Bottom, Left to Right)

The Sock Yarn Blankie, by Shelly Kang (started in May of 2010), Owl Obsession, by Marken of the Hat & I, (Started April 2014), a scrappy blanket of five strands held together knit on US 50s that I have no pattern for, because i’m just making it up as I go along! A Purple Crocheted Lace Baby Blanket, by Baby Dear (Which I so believed I wasn’t going to finish, I deleted it from my project page on ravelry!, and a square for an ongoing test that i’m participating in, so the pattern is not yet published.

wpid-imag1333.jpg  wpid-imag1334.jpg

These Two are my Mitten/Gl0ve projects:

Ringwood gloves, by Rebecca Blair, (started who knows when..), and a KnitPicks kit: Woodland Winter Mits (Started on my honeymoon.. December 2011!)

wpid-imag1338.jpg wpid-imag1344.jpg

Sweater Projects! The Rose Trellis Shawl Vest by Vera Sanon (to be started soon – and will actually be for me!!), and another KnitPicks Kit – The Corrie Fair Isle Vest (Started while I was still in high school – I’ve never gotten up the courage to steek it! Hopefully this filling a tote thing will force me to..)

  wpid-imag1346.jpg  wpid-imag1360.jpg

A couple random projects: Dragon, by Stacey Trock and Norma’s Bag (Pattern is my own – modeled after a picture I saw, but the pattern is no longer available, so i’m making it up as I go along!)

 wpid-imag1349.jpg  wpid-imag1358.jpg

Feet! A Slightly adapted version of DROPS 150-4: Little Red Riding Slippers and a pair of Galilee Slippers, by Tara Murray

wpid-imag1352.jpg

Last, but not least, projects that only need ends woven in, or blocking.

Hemlock Ring Blanket, by Jared Flood (Which is such a pain to block, but so pretty when it’s done.. I just really, REALLY hate blocking this pattern. I made two of them before blocking one. If I had waited to block the first one before making the second, i’d have never made a second one!)  A Brunello Cardigan,  by Amy Swanson, (This has been done for.. at least 3 years? Only requiring ends woven in and blocking. Such a slacker..), That thing that looks like unicorn vomit is a Lafayette Shawl, by Julie Farmer, and just the TARDIS portion of Bigger on the Inside by Kate Atherly, because I really wanted a TARDIS scarf, but not a shawl..

Keep in mind!! These are NOT (I repeat, NOT) all of the projects i’ve started – just the ones i’m actively trying to finish in the near future! Phew!

How many projects do you all have going on right now?

Have you ever been a monogamous knitter? (If so.. teach me?!)

 

Current Projects, Designing, Uncategorized

I’m finishing up my PhD!!

No, really, i’m finishing my PHD!

my Projects Half Done!!

 

There will be pictures soon, I promise! I have soooo many projects i’m in the midst of, you wouldn’t even believe it! Ready for my list (because i’m totally a list person…) I’ll link patterns when I can, but some of these are either my own pattern, or i’m test knitting for someone, so the pattern’s not up yet!

This is me:

knitallthethings

1. Squirrel’s Paradise Lace Baby Blanket Test Knit – Finish cabled i-cord bind off over 650 (ish) stitches!

2. Crocheted princess hat with braids and crown – add braids, make crown, ship to customer!

3. Doctor Who double knit blanket squares (5) – Start… make… finish.

4. Samantha, the big Fluffy Teddy Bear – Make Legs, attach appendages, give to Sister in Law – this pattern is a mix of two: Sam and Jif

5. My orange Wool of the Andes Spinning Project (as seen in the post below this! Ravelry Link for those interested)

6. A Pink Mesh Cotton Beach Bag – Make and add handle

7. Fluffy Rainbow Colored Owl Obsession Blanket – Add White parts and sew together

8. A Rainbow Infinity Scarf that i’m designing – Make 85% of it, and get pattern tested, publish pattern

9. A crocheted bag that i’m designing – make 50% of it, and get pattern tested, publish pattern

10. Lafayette Scarf – Finish other 50% of it (I’m using 1 skein instead of 2, I think, for a scarf instead of shawl)

11. Blue Serenity Blanket – Finish the last 25%

12. Waterfall Blanket – Finish last 40%

13. Jude Bag – Just Add Lining!!

14. Cabled Slipper Boots – Make 1 foot, and 2 tops

15. Color Block Blanket – Make the other 50% of the squares and sew together

16. Cool Kid Cowl – Knit 20% more and Finish off

 

There’s more, but I think you get the picture for now!! This isn’t even including the ones I WANT to make – That’s another list in and of itself.. maybe you’ll get to see that sometime too!

 

Stick around, you’ll be seeing a lot of progress/ finishing pictures of these projects and more soon!

 

Crochet, Uncategorized

Awesome Spring Giveaway!!

Spring Collage

I’ve just started a new giveaway for my Etsy shop!! Springtime means lots of new products will be coming, and the weather is starting to get nice again- but still a bit nippy! Things coming soon to the shop: Summer scarves, headbands, purses, more styles of phone cases, and more!

Check it out:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Crochet, Uncategorized

Moogly Contest!

So I know i’ve mentioned Mooglyblog.com before, but check out what Tamara is doing now! I love it!

A “Crochet for Cancer CAL”! You really have to go check it out for yourself- especially because Red Heart Yarns is sponsoring a drawing for everyone who participates (according to the rules, of course!) Seriously, such a cool incentive, and a great cause!

There’s links to tons of free hat patterns that can be used, and if you didn’t believe me about the Red Heart prize…

Join the Crochet for Cancer Crochet-a-Long: Make hats, do good, and maybe win a prize! :D

This is the picture from mooglyblog.com!

Crochet! Now! Go to Moogly! Be Excited!

http://www.mooglyblog.com/crochet-for-cancer-cal/

Uncategorized

Coffee, A Breeze, and other delectable treats

Today I did something wonderful…

I woke up without an alarm clock!

I got up on my own,

When I wanted to.

Oh happy day!

Oh happy

happy

day

!

By the way, did I mention that i’ve been doing 3 weeks of “practicum” teaching? Yeah, i’ve been getting to teach poetry and literature to wonderful kids in grades 6-8.

Yeah. Poetry.

Today I get to go back and watch 7th and 8th graders do their first poetry slam ever!

Spoken Word Poetry is what i’m talking about, in case any of you are missing out on this wonderful thing.

I think it is now my favorite form of poetry.. or at least tied for first.

GO WATCH IT!!

Also, i’m sitting here with a cup of coffee in my hand as a cool breeze drifts through my window. It’s June, and a cool breeze is drifting.

Oh happy, happy, day 🙂