Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, July 31, 2015

Culling the Queue

Today I'm driving west, armed with enough knitting to get me through the weekend. Hopefully the hills will be significantly cooler than it's been on the east side of the state, and I'll get a nice short break from the sweltering heat.

Sometime last fall I got it into my head that I wanted my Ravelry queue to have fewer items in it than my projects page. I've been serious about culling my queue since then-and I finally reached my goal a couple of weeks ago! It's been great to be more intentional about what goes into my queue-there's no more "I don't know how often I'd wear this sweater, but 19-year-old Kat really wanted it, so I should probably get it done before I move onto that exciting entrelac wrap."

My old queue was really unwieldy-I was never going to knit everything on it, especially if I kept adding new patterns! That really started to stress me out-my queue now is a great place for inspiration and planning. It's all stuff that I want, that I have plans for, and that I'm excited about knitting.

I have a better understanding of who I am as a knitter and what I use and love in my wardrobe now, and my queue reflects that-most of the stuff there has been added in the last 18 months! My new queue also reflects that I shouldn't feel beholden to who I used to be as a person and as a knitter. That person doesn't exist anymore-she's turned into Present Kat! (Maybe this is my ego speaking, but I think Present Kat is pretty darn cool.)

So! Are any of you motivated to start culling your queue? Even just one or two items at first-it's definitely hard the first few times, but I found that I almost immediately forgot the things that I had deleted, and if they haunted my thoughts for days after deleting, it was easy enough to find them and re-queue!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Change in Plan: Sick Day Pullover

I started this pullover with the intention of using four skeins of Lion Brand Fettuccini, but after knitting the body up, I changed my mind (surprise!). I was expecting the pullover to be slightly cropped, or to hit just above the hip, and with the extra skeins of yarn, it came out much longer than I expected. It was also heavy-this yarn is sold by weight, not yardage, and each skein is 355g! Plus, there is no consistency across skeins, so there were major gauge/drape changes.

Here's the body before I ripped it all back-I barely remembered to take a photo before I started frogging it, so sorry about the poor quality. It ended up reaching to just about the end of my butt, which just felt long. My plan now is to re-knit the body using the grey skein only, and then do the top part of the yoke and the sleeves in the pink. I think that will give me more of what I'm looking for. The other skeins didn't have as much drape, so I might use them to make grocery bags or a small rug-who knows!

This project is getting pushed to the back burner now. I already mentioned I have to go west this weekend, so I think I'm going to bring my mum's Rocky Coast to work on (I'm still two rows from the end of the yoke!) and my current cowl project, and that should get me through a couple evenings away.

Monday, July 27, 2015

WIP: Yellow Camas

Well, I couldn't put off knitting up this yellow yarn any longer. I decided to go with a hat, because, duh, what's the point of knitting if you don't have a hat for every outfit? But that could just be me.

I decided to go with Camas because, 1. It's hella cute, and 2. I think that the crown looks a little bit like the sun, and I'm cheesy and like to knit things that look like the sun with yellow yarn. I wound up the first of the skeins during play practice last week, and started the garter stitch brim.

It's just a little bit of a start, but I'm already charmed. We'll see how much I actually get done this week-play rehearsals are starting to ramp up, and I have to go west for work this weekend, too. But this whole concept just seemed too charming to leave for later.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Sick Days

I was home sick yesterday with strep, which normally would be primo knitting time, but I've been feeling a little tired this week and I indulged in a 3-hour nap. While I wasn't sleeping, I had a little Twin Peaks marathon in bed with the puppy and started knitting something new.

I got four skeins of this Lion Brand Fettuccini a few weeks back, and I pretty quickly decided that I definitely needed a baggy pullover. It's been on my to-knit list since then, but I didn't know when I'd get around to it. Turns out yesterday was the lucky day-I did a quick swatch, then just jumped in. I'm knitting from the bottom up, and my current plan is to use up the grey yarn, then go to the other whitish skein for the yoke, and then use the hot pink for drop sleeves.

If my math's right, this will have 8-10 inches of positive ease. I was hoping for something cozy and slouchy, just an extra layer to wear with yoga pants and a tank, and I think this is going to fit the bill nicely. It's definitely not what I normally knit-but I'm having fun with it so far! The yarn is all "undetermined fibers," but these skeins all feel to me like some kind of cotton blend jersey-so it should definitely be nice and comfy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

New Yarns

Some of the yarn for the cowl patterns I mentioned last week has arrived, and I'm so excited to play with it. The Madelinetosh tosh dk on the left I'm especially excited to play with-the colors are even more enchanting than I expected. I promise, the pictures do not do this yarn justice. It's gorgeous. On the right I have some Acadia from The Fibre Company. I really love their Road to China, so I'm excited to work with another of their yarns. I love the color of this, too-it's such a creamy and warm neutral-I know it's going to go with everything.

Do you have any delicious new yarns you're looking forward to working with?

Monday, July 20, 2015


Blocking's gotten a little away from me again, as you can see by the little-ish blocking pile I've got there. I really need to get back in the habit of blocking things as soon as they come off the needles. We had a nice slow weekend here-reading and knitting on Saturday, a board game brunch after sleeping in on Sunday (we played Betrayal at House on the Hill, and I ended up being the traitor, and it was a lot of fun), and the whole afternoon whiled away watching old episodes of Rosemary & Thyme.

I also got a new computer this weekend! I know I mentioned getting one a while ago, but I didn't love it, and I didn't want to force myself to get used to things that weren't working for me, so I returned it. I ended up custom ordering one from HP, and I'm so glad I did-it's just what I want, and it works great so far (and it's red!). I already have all my software and preferences set up, and so now begins the long slog of transferring all my data. I worked on cleaning my Music folder yesterday, and wow, was it a mess! I know I have a lot of music, but I had empty folders in there, files without names, folders that were horrendously mislabeled (for some reason, I had "Fiddler on the Roof" labeled as "Ambient Dream Pop??"). I'm also finally getting rid of stuff that I don't like anymore/never should have gotten in the first place (I'm pretty sure I never even pretended to like Big & Rich). I'm probably a little more than halfway done with that, and then it's on to the Pictures folder, which is probably almost as bad.

We also went to Ant-Man on Saturday night, and it was so much fun! Definitely not what I was expecting at all-I wasn't really looking forward to this one, but then I heard several good reviews after the premiere, so I packed up my sock and tagged along with Anemone to see it here in town. But it was a better movie than I expected, with some really great moments, and I'm definitely glad I saw it on the big screen.

Friday, July 17, 2015

In Progress

Wow, this week really seemed to fly by! I have a crazy number of WIPs right now, but most of them are pretty straightforward. First up, we have a collection update! All four hats are knit, charts are made up, written instructions are half done, and I just need to block, photograph, and finish writing the pattern text before these can get edited. I'm looking at a vague release date of sometime in August for the collection-just in time to stock up on knitted hats for fall!

I also have two cowls on the needles-both of these are "swatchples"-the one on the left is in Bijou Spun Gobi Limited and the one on the right is from my friend Tara at The Dyeing Arts. These particular skeins are from her "Goblin Dye Works" line, which means that they're one-offs. Because of that, and because the Gobi is discontinued now, I don't want to do actual pattern samples with them. But I did let myself start swatching, and it got a little out of hand. I love both of these cowls, and they're working up just as I hoped, so I have more readily available yarns on their way to work up real samples.

But Kat, that's a lot of pattern work! Aren't you doing anything relaxing? Of course I am! Mottled Daydream continues to be, duh, an absolute dream (I can't get over how floaty and gauzy this fabric is-love!). Mum's Rocky Coast is plugging along as fast as I can expect given that I've only managed to work on it two rows at a time. I'm two rows from dividing for the arms, so it should pick up then-the whole thing where you "integrate new stitches into cable pattern as they become available" has apparently been a difficult concept for me this time around, so once those pesky little raglan increases are done it should be smooth sailing. I also got pointier needles, so cabling without a cable needle has gotten 1000x easier.

I also managed to cast on a Beach House about two days after the summer issue of Holla Knits came out, and promptly stuck it in a knitting bag to pointedly ignore. I love the pattern, love the yarn, and know I'll wear it all the time, so it's going to be my reward as soon as the hat collection goes to my editor. That should hopefully kick me into gear to get the writing done!

And of course, this doesn't cover the three pairs of socks, or the three blanket projects, or anything else that I'm pointedly ignoring right now. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

FO: SaRy

Last weekend was the wedding shower/bachelorette party for one of my best friends from college. We had a lot of fun, and it was great seeing everyone come together for her and her fiance. They're both such wonderful people, and I couldn't be happier for them. And now that gifts have been given and opened, I can share photos of their table runner with you all!

It took a couple tries for me to figure out a pattern, then a couple more tries for me to decide on modifications (and there are some pretty significant modifications), but I am so happy with how this came out!

The base for this is the Anya scarf pattern-a really great scarf, and I love how well the pattern worked with my modifications. A brief rundown on the mods:
  •  I changed the entire thing to be stockinette based, not garter stitch
  • I added rest rows in between patterned rows for the border diamonds only-originally they're charted on every side-the center motif had rest rows incorporated already, so I just changed those to be purled instead of knit on the wrong side
  • I took out all the repeats of the border diamonds-there's one full pattern repeat, then it goes into the decreases for the center motif
  • Since I added rest rows into the border chart, I had to change the placement of the central motif-now the center motif starts and ends at the third to last charted border row from each end (basically, the ends of the motif line up with the widest part of the final border diamonds)
  • Added 10 rows of garter stitch to each end

Ravelry Page: SaRy

Monday, July 13, 2015


I pulled the experiment yarn out of its jars, gave it a rinse, and hung it to dry in the shower over the weekend, and look at it! It's so bright right now, with just as much variegation as I was hoping for. I'm pretty sure this will rinse out some more and fade a bit-I'm counting on that, actually, but it's still pretty fabulous right now!

There's about 100g of worsted-weight wool here, so I'm trying to figure out what to make with it-my first thought goes to knitting a hat, but really, I'm in the middle of a hat collection, do I need another hat? (Yes, the answer is always yes.)

Right now I'm having a lot of fun just looking at this yarn-it's so bright right now! I know I keep saying that, but look at it! I don't know how much it's going to fade, but I'm thinking it may dull down quite a bit-either way, as much as I'm a control freak in every other aspect of my life, I really have embraced the relative uncertainty of dyeing!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Rehearsal Knitting

Community theater rehearsals officially start on Sunday, but we had a couple of quick dance lessons already this week. We're doing Mary Poppins, and I'm super excited to be a part of this show, and hopefully I'll be dancing my little feet off most of the time. But I know from experience that there's plenty of down time, too, so I need to identify some rehearsal knitting for this summer.

So far this week, I've worked on a couple of hats as well as Mottled Daydream. I'm loving Mottled Daydream, and it's a pretty serious contender for being my dedicated rehearsal project-simple, can be put down in the middle of the row, no charts. The only catch is that I'm really enjoying taking my time with it-it's getting knit up a couple of rows at a time, and that's a nice change from my usual pace. There's also a big part of me wants my mum's Rocky Coast to get this priority, but the high school is under renovation right now, which means our main rehearsal space is without air conditioning-not the best environment to be working on a wool sweater.

So for right now it's looking like Mottled Daydream will end up in my rehearsal bag most of the time, and hopefully I can truck Rocky Coast around when we're in cooler rehearsal spaces. Or, knowing me, I'll start something completely different and bring it to rehearsal.

The possibilities are almost endless.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Pattern: Cam Tee

The Cam Tee is a loose, breezy top for warm summer days and cool summer nights. Constructed from the bottom up, the top features a split hem, cables running up each front side, twisted ribbing up the back sides and on every finished edge, and a wide neckline.

I wanted this pattern to be as accessible as possible, so the pattern is graded for nine sizes (34"-58" at bust), and it includes instructions for knitting flat as well as in the round. There's no complicated waist or sleeve shaping, and the side cables have written instructions as well as charts.

Enjoy, and Happy Knitting!

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Pile of Hats

Gosh, it really was just a week and a half ago that I showed you all a pile of yarn and told you I had the wild idea to do a mini collection. Knitting the samples is one of my favorite parts of designing-a swatch gives you a lot of information, but it's something else completely to see your swatch and notes turn into an actual thing. Crazy fun.

The little pile of hats is growing-I have crown decreases on the third hat, and the entire final hat to knit, then it's back to writing and editing and charting and blocking and all the other fun stuff that has to happen. So far everything has been going really smoothly-I've tweaked some stuff, but mostly because I'm fickle. Turns out that planning ahead in detail really does make everything else easier-who knew! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

On a Friday

If you're in the US, I hope you're enjoying a long weekend. If not, I hope you at least have something enjoyable planned for the Fourth. Or, if you're any place other than the US, I hope you have some fun weekend plans. I am looking at a blissfully open long weekend-mum and I are going fabric shopping today, and then we have no plans for the rest of the weekend.

I don't have much to show you guys today. The white lace project is almost done-hoping to get that finished and blocked this weekend. I have 1.5 hats knit up for my collection, and I'm having just as much fun with that as I hoped. I'm a bit ahead of where I planned to be, but community theatre rehearsals start next week, so I'm glad of the extra progress (we're doing Mary Poppins-I'm in the ensemble and also make an appearance as Queen Victoria).

As I was organizing my yarn, I found that I have 512yds of yarn left over from my Orange Tee (I'm...really great at overbuying yarn). I don't think I have quite enough to squeeze a full-sized top out of that, but I should be able to get a decent crop top out of it. I haven't decided on anything firm yet, but it's fun to think that I'll get two tops out of one yarn purchase. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

FO: Flower Market

Oh man, I am so crazy about this shawl. It is absolutely gorgeous. And the yarn-oh my god, the yarn! It's so soft, and luminous, and it just looks so great in this pattern. Swoon. Super, super thanks again to Andi for gifting me the pattern :) Aren't knitting/blog friends the absolute best?

This ended up taking just over 2 months from start to finish, mostly because I had other stuff that I needed to work on at the same time. But it is so worth whatever time I put into it. I love lace in thicker yarns, and this came out exactly how I wanted. The size is amazing- and the color is so perfect. It's such a great weight, too, and I know I'll get a lot of use out of it come fall. It's just a touch heavier than a fingering-weight shawl, but it doesn't have the bulk of a worsted or bulky-weight wrap.

Absolutely no mods on this one-I used thicker yarn than the pattern called for, but still knit it up on a US6 needle. I didn't add or change anything, and I'm so pleased with it. I just love everything about this project so much-the pattern is perfect, the yarn is absolutely gorgeous, and the whole thing was a complete delight to work on, from start to finish.

Ravelry Page: Flower Market