The Yarn Destash Resolution: 3 Month Report

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…

Yarn stash.
Behold the yarn 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!!

Details of the mitt.
I’ve made two pairs of mitts, these fabulous mitts above for a Knitworthy niece and a pair of thrummed mitts. Okay, these projects really were fussy and slowed me down. They were a lot of time and work, but will be prized possessions for years to come. Total skeins used: 2
Cowl on wooden bear.
In the gloomy days of winter I whipped out two different cowls, a Clinkerbell cowl and this Dissent Cowl. Total skeins used: 3
Finished sweater on the Mother of Cats.
The big workhorses in stash depletion were two sweaters that took time to knit, but really ate up the yarn mileage. This Sturgill sweater and the Daelyn were both knit from the top down and were fast knitting once I hit the stockinette-in-the-round portions of the sweaters. Total skeins used: 12

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.

Cat sleeping in shawl.
Seriously. Every project I knit has pictures of him as close as he can get to the action. This is a shot of him on my Color Study shawl. 
Cat and toy mouse.
So of course I made a little mouse using yarn from the Daelyn sweater.

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.

But that is another post.

The Thrum Adventure

I started this year with a commitment to reduce the size of my stash and a fuzzy notion of attacking some knitting projects that I had never done before. I thought that I would like to learn how to do double knitting. Maybe some herringbone stitch. Definitely, thrummed mitts.

Mitts and cat.
It was cold this weekend so I worked steadily all day Sunday on the thrummed mitts and got them done. This is my son’s cat Daxter checking them out.

I was really motivated to knit some warmer mittens, and I’ve heard that thrummed mittens provide serious warmth. They just look so cool, they can felt and mold themselves to fit hands well, and then there is the insulation factor. My Raynaud’s has gotten worse over the last year and I have some concerns about digital ulcers. Nope. I don’t want one of those!! I need to be able to function in the cold without taking risks with my fingers.

Cat and roving.
My BKB Deb gave me this merino roving from Malibrigo. Perfect for thrummed mitts!

I found a promising pattern online, Warm Paws by Carol Ullmann, dug out some worsted weight yarn from the stash, and watched videos on YouTube to learn about knitting in thrums. Pretty straightforward, and the pattern gave excellent instructions too.

Loop of fiber.
The staple length of the merino in the roving was pretty long: 3″-4″. It was also pretty darn soft and lofty. I pulled off little strips about 6″ long and then folded them into loops.
Making a thrum.
Each loop was pinched in the middle to make a bow, and then twisted to hold it together. I quickly discovered that my thrums needed more handling to keep them from shedding on the mitten, so I added a little water to the center of the loop (where my fingers are gripping it) and then rubbed it briskly with a finger on the back of my hand or wrist to make the wool felt in the middle. Hey, I have scleroderma, and I can’t twist the loop between my fingers, but that would probably work for another person. 🙂
Thrums
The prepared thrums were pretty hardy once the middles were felted and I could make several ahead of time. In this shot you can see the felted middle in each thrum.
Inside of the mitt.
Once knitted into the mitt the loopy thrums stayed in place and behaved themselves.

The finished mitts are just fantastic and fit like a dream. I wore them as I drove home from my son’s last night in the cold and snow; my hands stayed warm and for the first time in a long while I didn’t have a Raynaud’s attack during the drive. I’m still researching battery operated warm mittens, but in the meantime these thrummed mitts are going to be a game changer for me. The way that merino felted so quickly I figure that I can just stuff more loops in to increase the insulation as needed. Here are my project notes.

So, how am I doing on my New Year’s resolutions? I can check thrummed knitting off my list, and with this project I have now removed 14 skeins of yarn from the stash. I’m pretty sure I will make the goal of reducing the stash by 50 skeins this year. Of course, not every project is quick to complete. Check out how I’m doing on the fabulous, colorful mitts (that would make a unicorn cry with envy…) that I’m making for my knitworthy niece…

Mitts
Those bobbles and braids are slowing me down, but look at how cool they are going to be!! Here are these project notes.

Happy knitting everyone, and I do hope that the weather is behaving for you.

MacKenzie Speaks: WIP Progress

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat on knitting.
I’m dozing on the new sweater. Don’t you think that this color red looks good with my fur?

Last week I reported on the explosion of WIPs that happen as the Mother of Cats abandoned all good sense and cast on one project after another. So many projects going I can hardly find a place to nap! The Mother of Cats has been busy knitting all week long but she hasn’t managed to get even one little project done. Not one! I keep nagging her to knit faster, but it seems that even that isn’t enough to get things finished around here.

Daelyn Sweater.
But she is making progress on her new sweater!

I like this sweater a lot. Every time she puts it down I move in for some quality sleep. The color is nice, but it’s a standout for just being nice and warm with some optimal squishiness too. There is a lot of this yarn in the stash and I’m hoping that she uses the extra to make a new blanket for my bed. I deserve a new blanket!! Never was there a cat more patient and understanding than me!

Mitt
She did get ONE mitt done.  I had so much fun chasing the little furry thrums while she was making this.

There was a little halt in the sweater when the Mother of Cats realized that she needed the needles being used in this mitt to knit the sleeves of the sweater. Oops. She knitted like crazy one afternoon to finish the mitt so that she could go back to the sweater. Now we have only one mitt, and the other one will have to be knitted when the sweater is done. Did the Mother of Cats think of this when she went all crazy and cast on all of these projects? No. She did not. She should listen to me more and concentrate exclusively on meeting my needs. I need cookies more often. I still want a mouse! I keep reminding her every time I check out the garage, but she hasn’t gotten me one yet…

Cowl on cat.
The new cowl is coming right along too. Check out the fun pattern.
Cat wearing knitting.
It really isn’t comfy to wear yet. She needs to take these crazy needles out so I can really cuddle in the yarn. This one is really soft and warm!
Snowy pine.
Look at the icicles in the trees. I wanted to go out to play in the snow, but NOPE! I didn’t get to have any fun.

It got cold and snowed early last week, and the Mother of Cats stayed home a couple of days because she is such a baby. I guess I should be fair… the weather forecast was broken. It was supposed to snow only an inch, and instead there was almost a foot of snow! She did shovel the walks and found these fun icicles in the pines. They made her think of the socks she is making to match her Clinkerbell Cowl, so she also worked on them one evening.

Socks
She is now starting the heel.

That’s it. Do you see all of this knitting that has been going on, and NOTHING is finished. Okay, there was a mitt done, but she needs to do the other one to wear it. Lazy Mother of Cats. She needs to devote herself to one thing at a time. She needs to listen to me more.

She needs to get me a mouse!!

Sigh.

I’m such a good boy.

Can I have some cookies now?

>^..^<

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

MacKenzie Speaks: An Explosion of WIPs

Hi. I’m MacKenzie.

Cat and knitting.
Look at how far away from the knitting I am! The Mother of Cats is being mean to me.

The Mother of Cats and I have been making really good progress on her new red sweater. I’m in charge of her yarn while she works because the sweater is getting so big that it whaps me in the face while she is working. I think that the Mother of Cats should just be more careful. She is hard to train, but I keep working with her because… cookies!

Sweater
Do you see how much progress we have made?
Sleeping cat
I try to supervise her closely, but frankly all this red is kind of exhausting.

It is kind of hard on me to never be able to sit on the Mother of Cats lap while she is working. This yarn is not as soft as some of the others that she uses, and she says that knitting with this yarn makes her wrists hurt. What a whiny Mother of Cats! She needs to toughen up some more. Maybe she could catch me some mice in the garage… that would make her wrists feel better. Nope. She won’t even consider getting me some fun mice, but she did look around for some other projects for knitting breaks.

Cat and roving.
I reminded her of this really soft roving that her BKB Deb gave her.

That roving is really soft. It would make a great bed for me. Maybe a new cat blanket?! Did she use it for that? No. She did not!

Thrummed mittens.
She used little scraps of the roving to start making these mittens.

The inside of the mittens will have scraps of the roving to make them really soft and warm. She says these are called thrums. I want this for my bed! Why doesn’t the Mother of Cats do what I want? So difficult, the Mother of Cats!

Mitt Cuff.
The Mother of Cats then got bored and started on these wild mitts for her knitworthy niece in California. She wanted to experiment, she said, and needed to work on smaller needles.
Cat paw on knitting.
Ha! There is no way she can keep me off her lap while working on these. There are two balls of yarn! Maximum yarn chomping opportunities!

The Mother of Cats is getting ready to do the thumb for the wild colored mitts, and decided to take a break to plan the knitting on her computer. She says she is thinking. She is just lazy. She hasn’t been petting me and giving me cookies as much as she should. Lazy.

Dissent Cowl
Do you see what she did last night when she should have been catching me a mouse or getting the cookie container out? She started another knitting project! This one is a cowl. Thank heavens it has two yarns. You know how I feel about yarn chomping and extra balls of yarn.
Socks
Don’t forget, she still has these socks going. She takes them with her in the car to work on when she to sit around in doctor offices.

So that is what happened this week. There are so many projects going I can’t keep them all straight. There are more projects than I have cat toys!! Crazy! Completely unacceptable. She needs to go out and get me some more toys, or at least some premium cat nip, or a live mouse at the least.  I really want a mouse! Why can’t I have a mouse!!

I don’t think that the Mother of Cats loves me. She should stop knitting and get me that mouse right away!!

I’m such a good boy!

Can I have some cookies now?

>^..^<I

Notes from the Mother of Cats:

I just couldn’t help myself. The yarn for the new Daelyn sweater is hard on my wrists and the ends of my fingers are getting sore. It is wonderful yarn, but not superwash and I think that the mohair is making is a little rough on my fingers. Never mind, I told myself, just cast on another project for a break.

Things immediately got out of control:

  • The thrummed mittens will be fabulous. The Ravelry project page is here.
  • The colorful mitts for my niece (Which I blogged about a few weeks ago) are being invented using a booklet from Blue Moon Fiber Arts and another knitter’s project for inspiration. I’m working out the Fair Isle chart for the thumb on my computer now. My project notes with all of that information is here.
  • The socks are being made using the patterns in the Clinkerbell Cowl. Think of them as little clinkerbells for my feet. 🙂 My project notes are here.
  • The cowl is the Dissent Cowl. The minute I saw it I knew that I had to start knitting it. Right now the US government is experiencing a partial shutdown, and friends and neighbors around me are struggling because of it. I am also a child of public servants who spent her entire work life working for her community as a medical researcher and teacher, and I dissent!! I absolutely dissent! I plan to wear this cowl as much as possible and hope I don’t have to head off to public demonstrations in the street, but if it happens I will be sporting this fabulous knitted replication of RBG’s dissent necklace. My project notes are here.

I only managed to use up one new skein of yarn this week, but I’m just knitting on and should get some of these projects done eventually. There should be a big jump in the skein count then. Woohoo! Crazy knitting, a serious case of castonitis and stashbusting at its best. It must have been the super blood wolf moon. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.