Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, October 30, 2015

Happy Halloween!

I promise, I'm wearing my Halloween scarf today, but I didn't have time to take modeled pictures last night. I'll wear it tomorrow as well, and I'm feeling very festive and spooky.

My thumb is trapped in an immobilizer right now-I've had intermittent hand problems for several years now, and this feels like a pulled tendon, so knitting's on a bit of a back burner. Actually, I haven't knit at all the last two days. So that's no fun. But I know from experience that I want this to heal up as quickly as possible, and that means rest.

I hope you all have something fun planned for this weekend-even if it's not especially Halloween-y :)

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Some Assembly Required

Every year for my birthday, I like to get myself something special. Last year, it was my second set of lobe piercings, and in years before that it's been things like a pricey bottle of my favorite adult beverage or a new outfit (complete with shoes). It's my way of treating myself to the occasion, and I realize that my birthday has come and gone already, but the last six weeks just ran away from me and here I am at the tail end of October and I haven't told you what special something I treated myself to.

This year, I bought a sweater.

I'd seen this yarn at Athena Fibers a few time, and I'd been really attracted to that aggressively bright yellow, and when I was hanging out in Sioux Falls with Anemone for our traditional birthday shenanigans, I decided to dive in and buy the lot. (I ended up getting the whole batch for more than half off, so I'm clearly destined to be clothed in a ferociously yellow alpaca-merino sweater. I promise, it's really bright-incredibly difficult to photograph, but definitely a bit neon. I love it.)

I've got enough here for a cozy pullover, and probably a matching cowl as well. I have plans for the sweater already, and I've told myself I can't wind these up and cast on until mum's sweater and the accidental sweater are done. Which wouldn't be terrible, except I have just the sleeves left on both (ughh sleeves). I did manage to get the idea in my head to have this yellow one done by Thanksgiving, since I like wearing new knits for holidays and I'm addicted to giving myself ridiculous deadlines. With luck and determination the next few weeks will have some serious sweater action going on-just in time for winter!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Almost an FO: Halloween Scarf

The Halloween Scarf is done and blocking on the futon! These pictures are from earlier though, while it was still light enough out for photos. I love the cooler weather, but I do miss being able to take photographs well into the evening.

I'm so happy with the scarf so far. It's too long for the futon, so it's looking like the whole thing ended up a bit over six feet, which is going to be stellar. I'm glad I got it finished this weekend-I realized on Saturday that it would need a long time to dry with the high cotton content of this yarn, so hopefully it's well on its way to being ready to wear.

Friday, October 23, 2015


It's just over a week until Halloween and I still have only half of a Halloween scarf. The Accidental Sweater has half a body now, and it's going to go hang out on the bookshelf for a few days while I finish the scarf and the other stuff I needed to get done this month.

So, as much as I hate feeling like I need to WIP-Down (although even with all these finished I'll still have almost 20 WIPs stashed around the place, so "down" is a relative term here), here's my plan:

1. The Halloween Scarf needs to be done by Halloween. Full stop.

2. That Top Sekrit garter stitch thing I was making for my friend? It needs seams and a blocking and to go in the mail. Bad Kat. Your friends deserve better than this.

3. My friend's hat and gloves. Those need to get finished, blocked, photographed, and final pattern notes written so I can put them in the mail too. Fortunately, the hat just needs crown decreases (ugh), and I already have one glove done.
4. Mum's sweater. It's officially getting below 40 overnight now, and this needs to be done. Unfortunately, I have a hate/hate relationship with sleeves, and that's all I have left to knit. Darn.

Maybe a bit ambitious for just a week, but I'm sure with planning, dedication, and plenty of coffee it should be doable. And once I get these things done, I get to work on sweaters for me. Yay!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Not Quite a Crowning Glory

 Have you ever had a project go perfectly smoothly-everything went great, the project was charming, it was knitting up quickly, you enjoyed the process-and then right at the end it hit a brick wall?

That's where I'm at with this hat right now. The body went great, every time I've tried the hat on it's fit comfortably, and now I'm at the crown decreases and nothing works right. I have a picture in my mind of how I want it to look, but so far the numbers aren't crunching as smoothly as I'd like.

I could do something ridiculous and crazy and difficult and end up with a hat that looks fantastic, but since I plan to release the pattern for this I want to avoid that. I really want all of my patterns to be enjoyable to knit, and while I'm not fundamentally opposed to knitting some black witchcraft into my own projects, I think it's a little unfair to thrust that upon innocent knitters who didn't do anything wrong and just want a cute hat.

I'm not quite at full crazy from this yet, but there's been a lot of mumbling, and I have weird little notes I can't decipher scattered all over the place, and really, I'm probably not too far from full crazy right now. Send coffee.

Monday, October 19, 2015

An Accidental Sweater

I hope you all had a pleasant weekend! I spent most of mine cleaning and getting ready for winter/hibernation mode, and while it feels good to have stuff done I also wish that I had another day off! Saturday afternoon I organized my stash and made it all fit into its bins, and I don't know if the wool fumes got to me or something, but I accidentally started a sweater.

I know, how do you accidentally start a sweater? But there it was, all this yarn, and I knew I wasn't going to do anything else with it, so I sorta just...cast on. (For those of you wonderful dears ready to jump and hold me accountable, my friend's hat is almost done, the gloves are started and in my purse, and I got sleeve #1 on mum's sweater started.)

As soon as I started this, I started deluding myself by thinking "It'll just be a quick sweater." Guys, we all know there's no such thing as a "quick sweater," but...this is actually moving along at a nice clip. Like, half the body is done already, and it's not going to have long sleeves, so unless something terrible is lurking somewhere, this might actually be a quick sweater.

I feel a little bad, because I have other stuff that needs to get done this month, and I'm trying to rush three quick patterns together (ha!) to release in time for the Gift-A-Long this year (oh yeah, apparently I've decided to do that this year). I haven't been able to put this down for long. I used to knit random stuff all the time-I'd pick a yarn and just make it up as I went. It was a lot of fun, but not something I've done too much of since college, and it feels good to be doing it again.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Half a Scarf, and Some Other Things

Gosh, are we really halfway through October already? My Halloween scarf is progressing nicely, and it's coming along just as I hoped it would. I'll admit-I was a bit nervous at first that the colors wouldn't look quite-so-Halloweeny once knit up, but I'm happy to be proven wrong. This has really been a delightful knit so far, and I'm very excited that after some weighing and some quick and dirty math, I have enough yarn to knit the pattern as written, just at a larger gauge. For a while I was afraid I'd need to cut out a repeat on each side, and I really wanted a nice long scarf, so I'm super excited about that.

This is just past the halfway point now, but I'm going to have to put it away for a few days to get some other things knit. A friend of mine from college asked for a bulky hat and some fingerless gloves, and the yarn for those just arrived, and the needle for my mum's sweater sleeves just arrived in the mail as well. Hopefully though, these projects won't take too long and I can still get everything done in the next couple of weeks. The hat should be the work of a lazy Saturday, the gloves can hang out in my purse, and...mum's sweater is at that unfortunate point where I have the smallest pieces to knit, but the largest amount of sweater to carry around. So I'll have to come up with something creative for that.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Patterns: Pelligan and Kermit

My two new cowl patterns went live this week-just in time for cowl season! It's definitely been starting to get a little grey here, and it's definitely cooling off. I've already shared a bit of my inspiration for these, so here's more of the nitty-gritty.

Both patterns have options for 100g and 200g of DK-weight yarn. Since these were inspired by and designed for special yarns, I wanted them to be easy to work up, regardless of whether you had one or two skeins. I also wanted them to be easy knits-special yarns don't need a lot to look beautiful, and there's something so satisfying about curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and some beautiful yarn and just settling in.

Pelligan uses a textured eyelet rib stitch to make the most out of a luxury blend. The 100g option will make a lovely cowl, and if you have 200g you can make a luxurious scarf that's even more delicious doubled up.

Kermit uses some staggered rib patterns to break up favorite variegated hand-dyed yarn. With 100g you can knit up a light, 6-inch wide scarf, or get into serious cuddle territory with the 200g 12-inch wide option.

Both patterns are available on Ravelry. They're both $5, but until Sunday night at 11:59 if you buy both you'll save 25%, no code required! Happy knitting :)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Long-Term WIPs

I have a lot of WIPs, and sometimes balancing them all can be an adventure. Maybe a couple of times a year, if I'm really lucky and I really apply myself, I can get down into the single digits. Barely.

I started my Beach House exactly two days after the summer Holla Knits came out this year, plugged through the short rows, and then stuck it in a box. And now it's fall, and it's getting cool, and I don't have any long sleeve shirts to layer under this, so a mesh tee is definitely not the thing I need right now.

It's refreshing to be knitting mesh again. I've been doing so much garter stitch lately, it's nice to have something just a step above that, but still comfortable knitting. And I have other projects lined up for October that I need to start this week, and this top will not be done before I have to put it back in its box again.

I think the point of long-term WIPs is that there there for us just when we need them. In the middle of chaos and deadlines, I have a fun red mesh top. In the middle of Xmas planning and holiday craziness, I can curl up under a blanket project and get one more corner turned. When everything on my needles has been aran or bulky for as long as I can remember and I need something light and pretty to take the edge off, there's a shawl waiting for me.

I feel like sometimes our WIP baskets can make us feel guilty. Something in us seems to want to say that we need to finish things on an arbitrary itinerary, or else bad things may happen. I love unreasonable deadlines as much as the next knitter, but not all WIPs are an albatross around our neck. Not every sock that has been waiting for its mate so long that you lost the yarn is a failure.

I like to think that old WIPs become our friends-the best kind of friends, where you can not see each other for ages, and then pick up right where you left off. There's a journey in the making of things, and long-term WIPs are like extravagant road trips with roadside attractions and tourist traps at every exit. I think that these long-term WIPs are where we best get to enjoy that journey, without worrying about the destination.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Thoughts on Fall

I've been putting off saying it out loud because I didn't want to jinx anything, but it's really fall outside now! I'm hearing that we're not going to get a real frost here until the end of the month, which is good news for me-I have several knits that I've promised to people "before it snows," so as long as the ground stays clear I have a little more knitting time.

I love fall so much-winter is probably my favorite season, but that's most likely because fall around here usually only lasts about 5 days before it snows. Everyone is getting so much more excited about knitting and wearing knits-I love seeing the parade of sweaters, scarves, and socks I've knit for people slowly coming out of their storage bins and re-entering the world.

Summer always feels so busy and rushed, and I love that the cold gives us an excuse to slow down again. The cold allows us to bake bread from scratch again, and take the time to let it rise. We love soup in my family, and it's cool enough now that we can keep a giant pot of vegetable soup on the stove, simmering all day-totally unimaginable in the summer!

So, for as long as it lasts for you all-enjoy fall! Because winter will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Tale of Two Cowls

I have two new cowl patterns coming out this month, and while they're pretty different from each other, they share a source of inspiration and are tied together in my mind.Both of these cowls are inspired by yarn: actually, they're each inspired by the exact yarns they're knit up in here.

First is Kermit-the yarn here is some dyed by my friend Tara. It's from her "Goblin Dye Works" line, which means that the two skeins I had were the only ones that would ever exist. I knew that I wanted to take full advantage of the color action going on here, and I wanted the change between brown and red to be the focal point. I toyed with a couple of different ideas before settling on some staggered ribbing, and I'm so pleased with it-it has a lovely bounce and drape, and it's so easy to wear with most of my fall outfits. I love a nice plain pattern for gorgeous dyed yarns-sometimes you just need to let the colors sing, and not detract from them too much with a complicated stitch pattern.

Pelligan was similarly inspired by some special yarn-I managed to snag the last two skeins of Bijou Spun Gobi Limited at Athena Fibers, and I loved the feel of the luxury blend so much, I knew it needed a pattern that would let those amazing fibers shine. I love the texture I got here, and it adds just the right amount of interest to a cowl where the fibers are the true stars.

Both cowls are worked in DK weight yarn, and since they're both meant for special yarns, there will be options in each pattern for 100g and 200g amounts. Kermit will be offered as a six-inch wide scarf, as well as the foot-wide option here, and Pelligan will have options for this cowl length as well as a full scarf. I just need to block the final samples and do a photoshoot, then these puppies are ready to go! I haven't decided which one to release first yet-which do you guys think? Or should I just go big and send them both into the wild at once?

**ALSO: The Great Northern Kickstarter ends on Friday, and there's still a ways to go to make this book a reality. If you haven't backed yet, I definitely encourage you to go check it out-there are still some amazing rewards up for grabs, plus the warm happy feeling you'll get for supporting such an incredible project. If you've already backed, but want to increase your pledge, Leah's willing to combine rewards to make custom backer levels if you see something else you want! Info on getting a custom reward is at the bottom of this blog post, so go check it out!**

Monday, October 5, 2015

I Made a Skirt!

I've really been wanting to get into sewing more lately, so yesterday I put together a simple skirt with some stash fabric I got out of the remnants bin. I'm proud of it-it took me half the afternoon, and I fearlessly seam-ripped a couple of times, but I'm not super thrilled with it. Regardless, it's the first thing I've sewn in a couple years, and it's the first really wearable thing I've sewn.

I copied one of my favorite skirts-it's a handmade one I picked up in a thrift store, and I wear it at least once a week. Sadly, this fabric doesn't have as much drape as the original skirt, which was tough to tell before I sewed it up. I'm really proud that I put together four panels really well, and while the inside is kind of gross, the panels are attached with French seams, and while they're kind of rough on the inside, they are technically successful.

The hem is pretty even (if a bit stiff and awkward), and I got the skirt to fit how I wanted it. Ultimately what I'm most unhappy with is the fabric itself-like I said, it's from the remnants bin, so I really can't be too upset with a barely-successful $1.50 skirt. It was labelled "unknown," but it feels like some kind of synthetic blend. I love the color, but wearing it in this fabric feels a bit like a circus tent or parachute. It's just too stiff in the wrong places to really work.

So maybe I won't wear it much, but it was a great learning experience. I have a couple more projects lined up to try, and I know I just need to keep at it to improve. I'm a really terrible student-I hate the actual learning process and just want to skip ahead to actually knowing how to sew!

Ugh. That hem is just gross. I'd probably love this skirt a lot if it wasn't for that weird, stiff, awkward-looking hem. Any actual sewists have any quick and dirty tips for a hem that might look better? This is just plain folded up twice because the fabric will fray if you look at it sideways, but maybe I'm missing something.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A Scarf for Halloween

Halloween is a really big deal in my family. It's definitely the biggest holiday of the year for us, and I may or may not have Halloween decorations up in my room year-round. If you remember my last "Feeding the Stash" post, over the summer I bought three skeins of yarn because "it looks like Halloween." I fell in love with a shop sample of Rockslide, and I really love the concept of reversible or garter-based crescent shawls. So I bought this yarn with the idea of making myself a new scarf for Halloween, with no plan other than it being garter-based, nearly reversible, and crescent shaped.

Despite only having those three criteria, it actually took me a while to find something that felt right for this yarn. But then Hop Brook came out, and it ticked all my boxes. It's not as reversible as I thought I wanted, but it's otherwise just as I imagined, and I think it will size up really well.

Despite having a crap ton of stuff that I should be working on (the white garter stitch, pattern samples, mum's sweater, and, oh yeah, Xmas is approaching), I'm really excited to see how this scarf turns out. I'm probably going to have to make a strategic plan very soon to tackle my WIP situation and get some kind of realistic schedule for Xmas and pattern samples, but that's a challenge for Future Kat, and for now I'm really enjoying this project and watching those fantastic autumn colors change.