Right at the start of this year I cleaned out my yarn stash and made myself face a brutal truth: there is a lot of yarn in there. Maybe more than I can use in my lifetime. Maybe I should start to make a conscious effort to decrease the size of my stash…
Thus a New Year’s resolution was born: get at least 50 skeins of yarn out of the stash!! I made some basic rules, started a spreadsheet to track my progress, cast on some projects and got into action.
After 3 months I am happy to report that I have made some significant progress. Really, I’ve done a pretty good job of cleaning yarn out of the bins above. I’ve actually emptied two bins!!
Have you been keeping count? The above projects used up a whopping 17 skeins of yarn and there were some other small projects that used up 4 more skeins over the last three months; 2 shawls and a pair of socks.
Did you do the math? So far this year I have knitted my way through 21 skeins of yarn!! I am well on the pace to finish off 50 skeins before the end of the year.
Through all of this knitting my trusty feline sidekick (and taskmaster) has been at my side and on my knitting, kneading the fabric into shape (with his now cut off claws!) and chomping on my yarn.
So there it is. Three months. 21 skeins of yarn used up. Things are going well and I’m feeling pretty good about getting at least 50 skeins cleared from the stash.
It was with this cocky and self-assured “I-am-a-knitting-machine” attitude that I went to the Interweave Yarn Fest last week and hit the marketplace with my BKB Deb. Oops. You might say that I fell off the “buy no yarn” wagon.
I’ve been just cranking on my What the Fade?! shawl for the last week or so since I last wrote about it. Once I had bid the brioche section at the top of the shawl goodbye it was garter time… lots of garter. This is really easy knitting even with the fun of the fading, and MacKenzie and I have just settled in to binge watch Netflix and crank out the rows of changing colors.
Here’s the thing… I’m doing a lot of dreaming about yarn colors and projects while I’m knitting. It makes things worse that I still have the fabulous Western Sky Knits yarns that I bought at the Interweave Yarn Fest last month still out on display to encourage my dreaming. I already blogged about this yarn: check this out if you want to see my fabulous dream-inducing colors! I’ve been reorganizing the yarn stash and going through my patterns between bouts of knitting, and then I kind of slip into a garter stitch, color-induced waking dream state where I match color/yarn ideas with patterns to decide on projects.
So, with no further ado, let me introduce you to the line-up of May and June projects:
See why I’m knitting so fast? Look at these fabulous yarns and great patterns! Actually there is a lot more where this came from. I just checked, and I have 25 items in my knitting Queue on Raverly, 1,122 patterns in my library, another 159 patterns in my Ravelry shopping basket, and a world class yarn stash. This is all kind of overwhelming if you think about it too much, which is why it is hard to finalize decisions. The last couple of days things just fell into place and I made a list of knitting decisions and kitted up the yarn with the appropriate pattern.
Then I went back to knitting my fade and dreaming of what to do with the colors I have left over. Dreaming of yarn and the beautiful, useful objects that I can make from them.
What can be better than that?
In case you’re wondering… I am still in the middle of testing to clarify the cause of my worsening scleroderma-related symptoms. This week I head in to see another doctor and will get my echocardiogram done; after my heart is sorted out I can get the pulmonary testing that I need. Right now the discussion is mostly about my heart, but they are still gathering data so no definitive diagnosis yet. Through all of this I’m just rocking my knitting and refusing to worry about what I can’t change. Tomorrow I’m planting more flowers in my garden! Peace on, everyone!
A couple of weeks ago I had trouble breathing, called my doctor’s office, and the nurse there called 911 for me. Wow. What an experience that was. Okay, it was a little surreal to be frank. One of the things that happened was the paramedic, after he had placed a needle in my arm vein, attached me to heart monitors and then placed me on oxygen, told me how much he liked my watercolor paintings of cats. What? This is really happening? Panting for air, I struggled for a moment to think of what he was talking about.
Those aren’t really watercolor paintings, but they sure do look like it, I suppose. They are actually art quilts made with handpainted fabrics that give them their “watercolor” look.
The patterns for the quilts came from McKenna Ryan and I bought them at a local quilt store years ago. Over months I slowly assembled the fabric stash to get the colors that I wanted, and then I created the quilts in my own colors to make them show cats that I have known and loved over my life. These three cats are Morgan (the yellow sunflower cat), Zach (the tuxedo cat) and Teak (my beloved Siamese cat). I love these quilts, especially because of the quality of the dyes on the fabric and the way the colors work together.
So, do you think that I am a sucker for handpainted yarn? Oh, my lord, that would be a huge YES!
The week after the exciting and exhausting ambulance ride my BKB (best knitting bud) Deb and I went up to the Interweave Yarn Fest to do some quality shopping.
Don’t those yarns look a lot like the colors that are in the quilts?
I saw these yarns and I was gone. I didn’t even do my usual pass through the entire yarn show before buying anything. I just started piling up the yarn that I wanted and that was that. I bought 11 skeins of fabulous, water-colorish yarns and wanted more. Let me show you what I got.
Here’s the thing. Looking at these yarns, I realized that they are the colors of the quilts. Watercolors. Colors that make me smile inside. The colors of sunshine, flowers in the garden, cats, and summer days. I look at these yarns, I imagine the projects that they will make shine, and I begin plotting the knitting. And the flowers that I will plant in the garden next month. And the people that I will gift the knitting to. Some projects that will last as long and give me (and hopefully others) as much joy as the watercolor quilts that I have on the wall.
This is so annoying: here we are at the end of another week and I have NO finished objects to show off. How can this be? The house is littered with projects that I have started or are planning to start soon… I tell myself that I’m just organizing and it will all come together soon. There’s no reason why I can’t have more than one knitting project cast on, right? As long as I’m in single digits I don’t have a problem! Seriously, that is a true statement: ask any knitter. I am reading books like crazy. Lots is going on, but I’m struggling to put together one theme that would be suitable for a blog post.
So, why don’t I just show you my week? Really, it will be fun. Here are all the moments of the week that prompted me to pull out the camera.
This evening I finished a fingerless (production knitting) mitt that I started last week and cast on another pair of socks. I now have four knitting projects in progress and a warped loom that I can start weaving on next week. Whew! There’s a lot going on.
Stay tuned for next week. I’m sure I’ll have something done by then. 🙂
Last Saturday I went to the Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado with my friend Margie where we met up with other friends (AKA fiber addicts). I’d been looking forward to this outing for weeks, and had organized myself with specific shopping goals. Yeah, whatever. This is one of these deals where it is best to not over think things. Still, here’s what I hoped to accomplish.
Hunt for some great gradients or ombre yarns that I could use for shawls.
Buy unique yarns that I probably won’t see in my LYS.
Make arrangements to visit the paco-vicuna Gulliver who is a resident of Jefferson Farms. I have 6 ounces of his very expensive roving that I want to spin up for a lacy shawl. OK, this is one of my New Year resolutions. I’m also terrified to start on this project without some lace spinning lessons. Maybe I can make arrangements for a class while I’m there…
Score some great new patterns.
Run wild with my friends!!
With every intent of exercising some self control I entered the marketplace with Margie and stopped dead at the first booth. OMG! Yak yarn! Dyed by Ms. Babs in a colorway called Red Rock Canyon. The exact colors of the national parks in Moab, Utah. Oh my goodness, I just love Moab, and I really love those colors. Here it is.
What wonderful, soft yarn. This is yarn that a person can fall asleep while clutching in happy exhaustion at the end of the day (true story). Out came the credit card and this yarn was mine!
In a booth nearby I met Chris Switzer and learned that she was teaching a class on how to spin camelid fibers this July. I had to wait until Monday to sign up for the class, but I did. The class is July 18th, so I still have time to make sure my spinning wheel (which was sadly dropped last year) is in working order again.
Other yarn acquisitions included:
After hours of gabbing, playing with fiber and catching up with friends we called it a day. I didn’t get much more yarn, but there were some other great finds. These included:
I met the owner of Jefferson Farms, which is the home of Gulliver, the paco-vicuna that I have fiber from. She is happy for me to visit him and to facilitate our meeting she is transporting him up to the Denver farm this week. Look forward to a post about paco-vicunas and Gulliver!
I never did find a great yarn gradient, but boy did I find a great pattern to use color gradients with. The pattern is called Beyond the Pale, and it is from Wolly Wonka. I saw it knitted in three different color combinations, and it is stunning. I already have it in the Ravelry shopping cart, and I’ll be buying it tomorrow.
I love to knit cables. Really, I do! There was a booth with the most wonderful patterns with Celtic cable work from Black Water Abbey, which is located in (gasp) Aurora, Colorado not far from my house. I bought several patterns. The most wonderfully soft tweed yarn (Brooklyn Tweed) that I have ever handled was in another booth. I’ll be buying some of that down the road to knit the patterns that I bought from Black Water Abbey.
You know, I did meet all of my goals for the trip. I didn’t get as much yarn as I wanted, but I made lots of connections and am inspired to get going on on many, many different projects. How fun it was to be in a place where everyone was wearing a hand knit or woven shawl/scarf and carrying a knitting project. It was great! I was with my peeps!!
What a weekend I had! I spent all day Saturday hanging out at the Interweave Yarn Fest in Loveland, Colorado (only a 90 minute drive for me, so of course I went!) with some of my best knitting/spinning buddies. Wow! What a great time that was, but I have so much to talk about I think it needs to be its own post. Exhausted, I arrived at my younger son’s apartment for dinner and ended up spending the night there (OK, I fell asleep clutching some of the unbelievable yarn that I scored…). Yesterday we hung out, made lasagna, and I watched him play the video game of the month (it is still Destiny!). Last night I came home to my house and the cats, crawled dizzy and still exhausted into bed (with my bag of goodies from Yarn Fest) and remembered that I do have a chronic condition as the cats feel asleep on top of my aching legs. Whatever, it was totally a great weekend. 🙂
I was a happy knitter as I settled in to finish the April 2015 socks. Some mistakes were made (OK, I forgot to change to smaller needles when I made the second sock’s toe. This is a mistake that I can live with. If it wears out too soon I’ll cut the toe off and knit a new one with the correct needles. Fearless knitting goes a long way!), but I’m happy with how they look. Here they are.
Tomorrow I am going to starting winding all of my new yarn and it will be time to cast on for the next project. Woohoo! Knitting paradise here I come!