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.

 

Crochet, Current Projects, De-Stashing yarn, Knitting

Completed Things.

Remember how I said I finished some things??

Now I have pictures to prove it!

This pattern is a test for Tanja Luescher from Knitted in Switzerland designs.

Yarn: Paton’s Lace in the colorway Bonfire (a personal favorite! I just love the color combination!)

Yardage: 672 yds

Weight: a little over 4 ounces

Measurements: 180 cm wide, 72 cm long (that’s about 62×27″)

I couldn’t decide which photo I liked best, so I’m showing you all of them!

DPS1 DPS3 DPS5

Like the finished product? It’s available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/229887886/luxury-medium-weight-knit-ombre-shawl-or?

Project #2: a little corner to corner blanket

Yardage: 492 yds

Yarn: I think it’s Red Heart Boutique Treasure – I LOVE the squishiness of this yarn – you don’t usually find that in an acrylic yarn. I don’t know what it is for sure, though, since it was in a mill end bag at Jo-Ann’s.

Size: 27″ Square – just a little snuggly blanket!

rainbow1 Rainbow2

Like the finished product? It’s available here: https://www.etsy.com/listing/229887607/ooak-bright-rainbow-snuggle-blanket?

Current Projects, Daily Life, Housekeeping

Flash Your Stash 2015

A few years ago a tradition of “flashing your stash” was created, and if you weren’t aware of it before, it can be a really fun way to keep track of the yarn & projects you have. It’s kind of like spring cleaning for knitting and crocheting people, especially since we seem to be prone to amassing large quantities of yarn without realizing it, because it’s just so darn pretty!

Here’s my stash flash for this year:

Sport-super bulky

WIP&Fabric

SF1

SF2

So. Obviously something needs to change. I’ve already come to that realization (see the post below about changes being made over this summer), but doing this stash flash confirmed it for me. I’ve obviously gotten into the habit of just buying yarn because it’s pretty, starting projects, and not finishing very many of them. These aren’t really character traits I want to be known for; I would rather be someone who exercises self control, and finishes what she starts. Therefore, I will be working SOLELY from what is in these pictures for the foreseeable future. There’s absolutely no rational reason why I shouldn’t use what I have and finish the projects I’ve already started. I’m really excited to show you all progress photos as these goals are achieved!!

Have you done a stash flash yet this year? What does it look like, and what did you learn from it?

Current Projects, Daily Life, Designing, Knitting, Paid Crochet Pattern, Paid Knitting Patterns, Promotions, Reviews

Indie Design Gift Along 2014

I know i’ve been bad about posting regularly on here, but there’s a good reason! I’ve been preparing for the Indie Design Gift Along on Ravelry!! <– that’s a link to the Ravelry group. You should go check it out now. It’s ok, I’ll wait.

waiting….

Ok, you’re back now, and you realize how fantastically awesome this is going to be?!

(for those of you silly people who didn’t go check it out, here’s a brief rundown)

Do you know what that means?! That means almost 300 designers are having a massive sale together! That’s 3,822 patterns that are on sale. And then, as if that weren’t enough, we get to all have a massive knit along/crochet along to make christmas gifts together!

So. Much. Happy.

Must knit All. The. Things.

*sigh* I know I won’t be able to make all the things, but guess what? I get to include my designs in the sale!! You know how I said i’ve had a good reason for being AWOL? Check out the new patterns I was getting tested and published:

BWIS KPSIS Whalecowledited_small2

These are (from left to right): Black Walnut Infinity Scarf, Karen: A Puff Stitch Infinity Scarf, and A Whale of A Cowl

(aka examples of how my photography skills have improved *facepalm*) These patterns and more will be part of the sale (that starts in just 2.5 hours, at 8 pm EST – I’m so excited!! There’s a countdown clock here, I keep looking at it!)

So, what can you expect from me through the end of the year? Interviews with designers, project photos, me squealing with joy when someone has interviewed me and I feel like the most legit designer ever, and just generally a lot of yarn-y goodness!

 

p.s – like my new logo?!

 

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?!)

 

Crochet, Current Projects, Modified Patterns

Modified Cuffed Baby Booties

One of my favorite baby shoe designs is the Crochet Cuffed Baby Booties Pattern by Repeat Crafter Me. It’s a sweet and very versatile pattern that i’ve used a number of times.  One of the issues i’ve run in to, however, is that when you cuff the bootie, and sew the button on, it’s really difficult to get the baby’s foot actually in to the bootie.  My solution? I’ve created a cuff that actually buttons, but looks very similar to the one in the pattern.

Here’s my shoe:

Full Buttoninaction

Want to know my secret? You’re in luck! Here’s my modifications:

Work bootie pattern through rnd 13 as written. Cut yarn and finish off (I also like to weave in my ends as I go, just so there’s no awkward fiddling with a tapestry needle and ends inside a completed shoe).

Right Foot

  • Row 1: Join Color 1 in 6th st to the right of the back seam. sc around, DO NOT JOIN! Ch5, turn You will now work back and forth across the cuff instead of in the round
  • Row 2: sc in second chain from hook, and in each ch and sc across. Ch 1, turn
  • Row 3: HDC in 1st st, and in each st until you have 2 sts left (you should have worked 24 HDCs), ch 1, sk next sc, hdc in last stitch. Ch 1, turn
  • Row 4: sc across, finish off.

::Theoretically, these 3 rows could be repeated as many times as you want for a taller boot::

Left Foot

  • Row 1: With Color 1, Ch4. Without turning, work your next sc in the 6th sc to the left of the back seam on the bootie. Sc in every st around, but DO NOT JOIN! Ch 1, turn. From this point on, you are working back and forth in rows instead of in rounds
  • Row 2:Sc in Every st across (26 sc)
  • Row 3: HDC in 1st st, ch 1, sk next sc, HDC in next sc, and all sts across . Ch 1, turn
  • Row 4: sc across, finish off.

Sew buttons on, weave in ends. Ta-da! Functional booties!!

Like what you see, but don’t have time to make them yourself?

Come explore My Etsy Shop! You’ll find these booties in multiple color choices, and so much more!

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!

 

Daily Life, Reviews

Too Many Choices

I’ve come to the (rather obvious) conclusion that there are just too many blogging/site hosting platforms out there for me to choose from, and it’s getting annoying. All I want to do is have a blog, potentially link patterns I write and projects I make, and maybe, eventually, register my own domain name and sell finished work from it.

I tried blogging on here for a little (and I do mean little) while, tried a month on Indie Made (without much success) and am just tired of trying all these new things.

Blogger was easy, but didn’t look professional

This is a little more difficult, but isn’t really conducive to selling finished work (from what I understand – I may just be wrong)

Indie Made is great for selling, but the blog look sucks, and you have to add your own tracking with Google analytics – plus you have to pay monthly for hosting, and I’m just not there yet, because I’m still working on things like SEO and building my product line. Even as I type this, I know that my SEO sucks and not many people will even see this post.

 

Bleh. I guess i’m coming back here for a while, because I made ZERO sales on Indiemade, and i’m not paying for something I don’t make money off of (right now, anyway)

 

With that said, I’ll be back to blog here probably 3 times a week (that’s my goal) and I’m still selling work on Etsy in case you’re interested

Anybody have experiences you can share? I’m obviously befuddled and frustrated. Thank you if you kept reading this angsty little rant to the end. Thank you even more (I’d give you a cookie and a gold star if I could) if you actually comment!

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