Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, February 27, 2015

Several Not Done Things

I hope you all have been keeping warm this week! I've worn fleece-lined leggings under maxi skirts more days than I haven't, accompanied of course by an endless parade of handknit socks, scarves, and shawls.

I took a bit of a knitting break last week, so while there is knitting going on, there's not much knitting progress (at least on the stuff you know about). I put aside the yellow and green shawls last week to knit a shawl for my mother, which is blocking on the futon now and will get photos this weekend. So now I feel a bit behind, since those are my big work projects right now, and I'm trying to get to a point where I feel caught up.

Top Sekrit is progressing well. I finally started on the second part earlier this week, and I think I'll make good time on that. Anemone also wants her Shrowl done by her birthday too, since we have a big weekend planned and she wants to wear it. I'm really enjoying knitting this one-I love the garter rib, and I actually might make myself an oversize scarf out of it.

I have a pair of fingerless gloves blocking right now, too. They're the ones you got peeks of here and here, but I never really talked about them. They were my purse knitting in January, and they've been sitting in the to-block pile for a couple weeks. So I'll talk more about those later. I also got a big box from KnitPicks this week that has the yarn for a summer sweater I'm planning, but that can't get started until I finish the shawls. 

Hope you all have a good weekend ahead of you, I know I'm looking forward to it. I have a healthy knitting to-do list drawn up, and it will be nice to plunk down in front of some Netflix and get stuff done.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

New Pattern: Inter-Cardinal

It feels like I've been waiting to release this pattern forever, and I'm so glad to finally have it out in the world. Inter-Cardinal is a light cowl worked in four different textural patterns. I absolutely love it in this yarn-Malabrigo Rastita-but the stitches would definitely liven up a less variegated yarn as well. Each stitch pattern works over a repeat of four stitches and four rows, making it easy to adjust the cowl for different sizes or amounts of yarn.

It's available for $5 on Ravelry now.

In other news, the blog got a bit of a facelift! I didn't want to change too much, just spruce up a few things and fix the header. I am so pleased with how it looks now, hope you all like it as well!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Friend Knitting

Thank you all for your understanding this past week. I'm back to my regular blogging schedule, and I have a bunch of stuff waiting to share with you (including a new pattern on Wednesday, and my blogiversary in five days!).

One of my intentions for this year was to knit more for other people. I've always been a selfish knitter, but I've finally reached a point where if I continue to knit only for myself, I'll never be able to enjoy most of the things that I make. Along with that, there are a lot of patterns I'm drawn to, but won't wear myself, and I feel a lot better  about knitting them if I know someone will use and enjoy them. Both of these projects were knit while I was at my knitting retreat a few weeks ago, for two of my best friends from college.

Up first is the Lowbrow Cowl. I liked this pattern the moment I saw it, and then when I found this yarn in the exact perfect colors for my friend Caitlin, I knew it was meant to be. This took two marathon days of knitting-I got through one skein each day, and it was intense. It's absolutely gorgeous, and so soft, and I'm almost sad to see it go. But it has a fantastic home waiting for it, and I couldn't be more pleased about that.

Ravelry Page: Lowbrow
Pattern: Lowbrow Cowl, by Thao Nguyen
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted, "Tealing Blue"

Up next we have the Cosmopolitan Hat. I've had this skein in my stash for years, and when I came across it during my regular stash tossing last month I knew it was time to finally knit it up. My friend Marin likes red and slouchy hats, so off I went on a pattern hunt. I did modify this a little bit-I took out one ribbing repeat between each cable section, and I modified the brim so that I didn't increase my stitch count when I changed needles. I'm really pleased with how it came out, and I think she's going to love it.

Ravelry Page: Cosmopolitan Hat
Pattern: Cosmopolitan Hat, but Glenna C
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Chunky, "215 Red"

Monday, February 16, 2015

Taking a Break

I don't know how to say this, and I don't want to disrespect anyone's privacy. But right now I feel that my focus needs to be here, in person, and not on the blog.

So I'm taking a short break. I plan to be back sometime next week.

Two Shawls

Well, I didn't get everything done this weekend that I wanted to, but I got a lot done, and there's still half a day left. I'm sitting here with my cup of coffee trying to decide exactly what I want to get done today. I did a lot of layout work on Saturday, and I'm working on a logo(!!), but it's not quite ready yet. I have a pattern ready to go out but for want of a photoshoot, so hopefully we'll get some good light later this afternoon.

The yellow and green shawls are progressing nicely. Green is going exactly as planned so far, which is a relief. Yellow is just as much fun as I planned, but right now it's making me pause and think a little bit (by "think a little bit," I mean "double check my math and decide if I want to trust it"). But I'm loving them both, and I can't wait for them to get sent off into the world. As far as non-design work knitting goes, Top Sekrit is still half done and the vintage medallion shawl is exactly as it was a few weeks ago. I did finish a pair of fingerless gloves that need blocking and photos, and I've gotten some work done on a Shrowl I'm making for Anemone (no, it's not Top Sekrit).

In non-knitting news, I finished reading Jane and the Damned this weekend, which was a romp and a half. Seriously, it's a lot of fun, and very well-written for a book that doesn't ever take itself seriously. I'm planning on tracking down the sequel through inter-library loan-not because there are any loose ends that need tying up, but because I want to spend more time in that universe. I also finished re-reading The Hobbit, which I'd intended to do before the final movie came out, but didn't get around to. Still just as good as it was the first time I read it, and now I think I want to re-read my way through all of Middle Earth. 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Busyness and Balance

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you all have had a good week. I have a three day weekend here, and I am really looking forward to it. I have several things in need of a photoshoot, a pattern to finalize for release, and another one that needs to get written up. I've had a running to-do list for a few weeks full of things that are a bit more behind-the-scenes, but still need to get done, and it'll be nice to have a few days to tackle most of them.

I've had this yarn for a couple months, destined to become the Flower Market Shawl. The pattern was very generously gifted to me this week by the amazing Andi of My Sister's Knitter, and I can't wait to get started. This yarn is more Road to China Light, in Agate, and it will make a beautiful shawl. Which means I'm especially eager to get this shawl done:

My only set of US6 needles long enough for a shawl is currently in use, so I need to hurry up and get this done so I can start Flower Market! I'm almost ready to start the fun part, and this should be a relatively quick knit. But I've got this, another design in progress, some Top Sekrit knitting for Anemone's birthday next month, and another couple of things I'd like to get done in the next few weeks. But it's the best kind of busy, and I'm loving all of it.

Speaking of Top Sekrit, here's a little peek. You won't get more than peeks until Anemone gets them, but I promise it's good. I'm safely on schedule and well on my way to being done with this with time to spare. I'm trying to prioritize and keep a good balance of design work, gift knitting, and fun knitting, which is a bit of a challenge right now, but so far manageable :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Stuff

It feels like forever since I've worked on a new design. I have a couple things coming up in the queue, but I haven't have any concept "in gestation" for a few weeks, and I really missed it.

This little guy is so tiny that he barely counts as more than a cast-on. I love this color, and I can't wait for the finished shawl. It's a variation on a submission that got rejected a few months ago, but I've improved on the initial concept and am more than ready to get it out into the world.

I also have this absolutely delicious ball of yarn to play around with. It's pretty secret for now, so you won't be seeing much more of it until it's finished, but I am having so much fun with it for now. I love all the specks of color, and it's got 10% cashmere, so I can't keep my hands off it!

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Somewhat Unproductive Weekend

This isn't the post I intended to write. I did have a good weekend, but I was not quite as productive as I'd hoped. Exhibit A:

Some knits, without proper photographs, and not in the mail to their new owners. I intended to take pictures on Sunday, but it started to rain before I got the chance to, and continued until dark. So that remains on the to-do list.

Exhibit B, the vintage medallion shawl is in the same condition it was a week and a half ago. I'm hoping that continuing to post about it here will shame me into getting some serious work on it done.

It's not as though I haven't been knitting, though. as demonstrated by Exhibit C, a blanket that is noticeably larger than it was on Friday. It's so cozy, and going so quickly, and I can't wait for it to be done. But I really ought to be working on other stuff, too.

There was also a very successful trip to the library on Saturday. I'm really enjoying Jane and the Damned so far, and I've been wanting to read Kraken for ages.

Hope you all had a good weekend as well!

Friday, February 6, 2015


Oof. It's nice to finally be back into my normal rhythm, after all the fun of last weekend. I did end up bringing a lot of yarn home from the retreat, so I had to do a quick stash evaluation and figure out what to do with it all.

All of the yarn on the right is stuff that I've had in my stash for a while. The blue was intended for a blanket project that never happened, way back in my first year of knitting, and while part of it has gotten eaten up over the past several years, there's still quite a bit left. The grey was on clearance a few years ago, and aside from one or two random projects, I never really figured out what to do with it.

All the yarn on the left is yarn from my best friend from college. She used to work in the craft section of a major retailer, and during a stock clearout she offered me "a bunch of random free yarn." Since there's no such thing as bad free yarn, I took her up on it. There's a bunch of different stuff there, but in weird amounts for attaching them to projects. There are a few skeins not pictured here that I've assigned to projects in my head, but for the most part it's all here.

I'm a firm believer in letting yarn sit until it's decided what it wants to be, so I packed all of this stuff up in the stash and let it think for a while. I don't know where the idea to try to make it into a blanket came from, but once the idea took hold it stuck fast. Of course, I already have a couple of blanket projects in progress, but who doesn't need another blanket?

So far this is knitting up pretty fast. It's still going to be a pretty big time investment, but it is going to be so nice to finally knit up all this friend yarn, and it will make the stash a little lighter.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Our Common Thread Retreat, Part Two

As promised, the rest of my weekend.

The first dyeing workshop was on Friday, and we just played around with liquid and sprinkle dyes. I did three skeins, each one with a base of one liquid dye and layered with three different sprinkle dyes. The first skein is a 50/50 blend of superwash merino and tencel:

The next one is 100% corriedale, which is one of my favorite wools to play with:

Isn't that a fantastic orange? I'm really pleased with it, and oranges are really difficult to dye well. I rounded out the evening with a 75/25 superwash merino-nylon blend:

The Saturday workshop was on snow dyeing. Dyeing with snow is unpredictable, but I always have a lot of fun with it. All three of my skeins came out much more saturated than I expected, but I'm really pleased with the colors that resulted. The first skein was a 60/30/10 superwash merino-bamboo-nylon blend, and it used up the leftover dyes that were in the pan after my wool-nylon blend from Friday was finished, and topped off with a sprinkle dye:

The next two skeins were both 100% corriedale, and each used three different sprinkle dyes:

Both of these were much more intense than I anticipated, but I absolutely love the finished skeins. The dark one is a sort of deep indigo-purple that looks almost black, and it's incredibly difficult to photograph. I'm hoping that it will be easier to capture the color once I knit it up, whenever that is, because it really is gorgeous.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Our Common Thread Retreat, Part One

Oh my goodness! It's been a whirlwind couple of days: I'm exhausted, I have weird acne, and I forgot to wear a mask during the dyeing workshops, so now I have weird colored boogers. But it was so much fun. So without further ado, here's the recap:

First of all, I got lost three times on my way to the lodge, so what should have been a three-hour drive ended up being about five hours. But I got there at about 8:00pm on Thursday. The next few days looked a lot like this, with very little variation:

Beautiful, right? It was a total blast, And very productive. I finished two projects this weekend, and got another one 30% done.

Both of these are for good friends of mine from college. The hat was about 25% done when I got there, but the entire scarf was knit in two days (that was some intense knitting). They both need a good blocking, and better pictures, and then they should both be in the mail to their new homes next weekend.

There were also dyeing workshops on Friday and Saturday, and I always look forward to those. They're led by Tara from The Dyeing Arts, and I love getting to play with yarn and color in that way. I did three skeins at each workshop, so there's a lot of dye stuff to go over, and I will share all of that with you on Wednesday. But until then, here's a sneak peek: