Rules for Feeding the Stash

Friday, March 31, 2017

WIP: Guernsey Wrap

I brought one other project with me when I went to visit my friends last weekend- longtime readers might remember that these friends brought me back some gorgeous Donegal Tweed from their trip to Ireland a couple years ago. It's been sitting in my stash since  then while I tried to figure out what exactly to make with it. I finally decided that it would be perfect as a Guernsey Wrap, and I cast on the day before I left.

I was a bit nervous working with this at first- it's a single ply, and a bit thick and thin, and it broke several times during the cast on. Fortunately, that seems to have been a result of my propensity for tight cast-ons, and I haven't had any issue with it since then.

I've made it through two repeats of the first chart so far, and I'm loving it so much. We're definitely coming to the part of the year when I won't need a big cozy wrap, but I'm still super excited to have this great memento of my friends' trip!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I'm Back!

Hello, friends! I am back and I had an amazing time in the cities. My friends and I watched cheesy 90's movies, did arts and crafts, ate pizza, went to the Arboretum, and all sorts of other shenanigans. It was a really great trip, and I got quite a bit of new knitting done.

I brought two new projects with me, so I'd have an easier one and a more challenging one. This is my easier project: a crop top version of Drift. As soon as I got past the yoke on my first Drift, I knew I wanted a short sleeved and cropped version. I mentally assigned this yarn to it pretty quickly-it's Colinette Jitterbug, and I had a skein and a half sitting in my stash waiting for destiny. The half skein is quite a bit darker than this full skein, so once I get to the stockinette part I'm going to start alternating them so I don't end up with a big colorblock.

I have about two more repeats in the yoke left on this, and once I get to the underarms it will go really quickly. Every year at the end of winter I start craving more warm-weather knits, so it'll be nice to have this ready for summer. Since I'm back home now, my little Drift Crop Top will have to get put on the back burner while I finish Chaverim, but it's such a charming little knit that I hope to be back to work on it very soon.

Linking up with KCCO

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Prepping for Go

Hi friends! I leave tomorrow for my vacation to the cities, so  there won't be posts on Friday or Monday, but I'll be back in a week with tales of adventure and hopefully a nice pile of bus knitting.

I've been keeping on with the first sleeve on Chaverim, and it's going more quickly than I anticipated, which is always refreshing. I'm almost to the bit where it gets really fun, so that will be waiting for me when I get back. As will a new ball winder, hopefully- I ordered it yesterday, and hopefully it will be smooth sailing from here on out and I'll have a pattern ready for you all in April.

I'm still in the middle of Pandemic, but I decided to bring a few poetry books on vacation with me- firstly, because they're a bit lighter and easier to carry than a hardcover, and secondly because I have more than a couple dozen poetry books out from the library right now and I need to get some returned. Someday I'll learn how to show restraint in the library, but apparently it's not going to be any time soon.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On to a Sleeve

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Mine was very busy- I almost feel like I need another one! Fortunately, I have a short week this week because I'll be visiting my friends in the cities, and I'm really looking forward to that.

I finished the collar of my Chaverim on Friday night, and realized that I hadn't calculated the sleeves yet, so I ended up leaving it home on Saturday and bringing along a couple of other projects to work on in the car and during the show choir showcase. It was a nice break, and I'm hoping to get this sleeve half done before I leave in a few days. I'm going to need to wind one more skein of this yarn to finish the sleeves, but that will have to wait for now. Sadly, I dropped a picture frame on my ball winder a few days ago and broke it, and I think it's not repairable, so I have to order a new one. I'm hoping it will be waiting for me when I get back from my vacation and I can get back to work.

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, March 17, 2017


Hey, look! I crocheted a thing! My octopus is finished and it has eyes and I am absolutely thrilled with how it came out. It still doesn't have a name- I've been calling it Octopus for the time being, and I'm afraid it's going to stick (I have a stuffed tortoise that I've been calling Turtle for eight years now), but I haven't completely given up on finding a good name.

I crocheted this following Leah's Realistic Crochet Octopus pattern to go with her Realistic Squid sample that I adopted. Now, crochet and I have a tenuous relationship. Crochet generally makes me say some very unkind and vile words (this coming from a girl who got called out for her language by a bartender) and I usually only do it when I really want the FO and can't figure out a way to get it otherwise.

This pattern is the first crochet pattern I have ever read that did not make me cuss once when I was crocheting it. I did not think one unkind thought towards Leah or towards the project itself. It is so clearly written and approachable that I actually enjoyed every part of it. I didn't even know it was possible to enjoy crocheting, but here we are.

Ravelry Page: Octopus
Pattern: Realistic Crochet Octopus by Leah Coccari-Swift

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Yarn Along

It's a good thing that the collar only needs five more rounds, because I'm running out of ways to photograph a white blob, and I'm sure you're all sick of looking at it. The good news is, I have a real, honest-to-goodness FO to share on Friday, and I'll have tons of knitting time this weekend, so hopefully the next time you see Chaverim it'll be looking pretty different.

I'm still trucking along on the tidying front, and it's really starting to wear on me. My room looks like a herd of cocaine-fueled rock-star-wannabe frat boys went on a rampage. But at least my closet is somewhat organized. I'm also using this cleaning bender as an opportunity to check my stash for wee beasties, which probably wasn't the best idea.

I'm still reading Pandemic, but I've got some poetry books lined up for car reading this weekend too. I have way too many library books checked out right now, and I really ought to get some finished and returned. I'm hoping that Sunday can be a lazy day and I can get some reading done, but there's just too many books and not enough hours in the day!

Linking up with Yarn Along

Monday, March 13, 2017

Adding a Collar

Well, my Chaverim sample is looking a bit different, isn't it? I finished the body Friday evening, and picked up stitches all around for the collar. I'm a little more than halfway through the collar now, and hopefully I'll get the first sleeve started in a couple days. This next weekend is a show choir weekend, so I'll have eight hours in the car and several more hours in an auditorium to crank out some serious sleeve action.

I didn't quite manage to get everything done I'd hoped to this weekend, but I caught up on six loads of laundry, reorganized my bookshelves, organized my fabric stash, and made coffeecake without over-baking it, so I'm calling the weekend a success. I still have a bunch of tidying and cleaning to do, but I'm hoping to get short bursts done over the next couple of weeks. My goal is to have my space totally clean and organized and reset and ready to go before the spring cleaning bug hits, so then I can focus on other things around the house.

Linking up with KCCO

Friday, March 10, 2017

Sweater Progress and Weekend Plans

My Chaverim sample is coming along nicely- I've got ten more stockinette body rows, then I'll pick up stitches all around to do the bottom hem and neckbands in the round. Then it's on to sleevesville. I'm getting a little nervous about finishing before my arbitrary self-imposed deadline- I'm leaving to see my friends in just under two weeks, and I'm still on the body- but whatever I manage to finish before I go won't be waiting for me when I get back, so it's not like there's much at stake here.

This weekend's going to be a nice relaxing one- the next month gets kind of crazy, so I'm looking forward to doing some tidying and some baking and lots of knitting. I also started a new book this week that I'd like to finish- Pandemic, by Sonia Shah. I'd been trying to read a novel for the past few weeks and finally made it a third of the way through before realizing that I wasn't ever going to get invested or interested in it enough to make it through the next 400 pages. It's been a while since I've had to quit a book like that, but I'm zooming through this one- it's equal parts interesting and terrifying, and right up my alley.

If I'm really clever and responsible, I'll take the time to pound out a first draft of this pattern this weekend. If I don't get a draft out before I leave this to go visit my friends for a few days, it'll be so much harder to get the pattern writing gears cranking when I get back. Also, like I said, the next month's worth of weekends gets pretty busy, so if I don't do it now, I don't know when I'll get the chance to sit down and get this part done.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day to all of the magnificent, hardworking, passionate women out there! Today I decided to give a shout out to some of my favorite women around the knitting blog circuit-our community has so many incredible women in it (especially since this is such a women-heavy industry) and I definitely don't give everyone the number of shout outs they deserve!

Brandy @ What's not to love? She designs gorgeous, gorgeous things, dyes incredible, playful yarns, and is a doctor (not that kind of doctor)! She even started the dyeing part of her business, Long Dog Yarns, while she was in the final stages of her PhD! I mean, if I had a tenth of the drive and time-management ability Brandy does, I can't even imagine.

Leah @ Leah is a fantastic designer-some of my favorite finished objects come from her patterns-and she also has the distinct honor of writing the only crochet pattern that doesn't make me swear up a storm.

Teresa @ Teresa is Leah's partner in crime the Great Northern book, and she's a fierce designer as well. She is a crop top queen, and she's spending this year reseraching and analyzing sizing standards as part of her Knit Petite Project to help all knitters figure out their fit pitfalls and make garments that accomodate their bodies.

Cory @ Cory is one of the best pattern writers I've ever come across, and she is a genius at bringing dozens of sources of inspiration together into one carefully edited pattern. She also really knows how to have fun with clothes and fashion, and it was her blog that encouraged me to explore my own love of style and fashion more.

Heather @ When I first met Heather in the blogosphere, she was a geologist, sewer, knitter, crocheter, and all around badass. Now she's all those things and she owns a yarn store. I don't know how she finds enough hours in the day to run a successful brick and mortar shop and sew and craft, but she does, and seeing a new post pop up or getting a message from her always puts a smile on my face.

Joan of Dark @ Joan was one of the first online knitters I ran into back in college, and she's a constant source of inspiration. She's funny, she's smart, she has amazing adorable animals, she runs a coffee shop, does roller derby and aerial lyra, and still finds time to write knitting books! Her blog and patterns really inspired me to be creative and have fun with knitting, and her general outlook on life constantly motivates me to try new things and find the things I'm really passionate about.

Holly @ Holly has been my tech editor for two years now, and every day I'm thankful for her. She is better at math than I could ever hope to be, on top of just being one of the nicest people I know and an amazing designer. She's also got a crasy amount of drive-on top of designing and tech editing, she's also a realtor and avid rock climber, and her adventures always make me want to pack up and hike through a national park for a week or two.

I hope you all have a fantastic International Women's Day, and that you all have a chance to appreciate and thank some of the fantastic women in your life!

Monday, March 6, 2017


Yup, the sweater body is growing. I'm somewhere in the neighborhood of nine inches past the underarm, out of eighteen total, and I'm  trying to keep my momentum up. I definitely needed my little crochet break this weekend, and as soon as I get eyes for him (or her), my new octopus friend will make their blog debut.

Anemone's birthday was this weekend, so I got to make a spectacular series of kitchen disasters in preparation of her birthday brunch. You know in paper towel commercials, when people don't put the lid on the mixer and stuff flies everywhere? Yeah, I did that. Flour, sugar, eggs, and butter everywhere. I was still finding spots a day later. And then I made a repeat performance the next morning while making the frosting. Powdered sugar everywhere.

But it was good to see Anemone, and we had delicious brunch and cakes, so it was all worth it. To round off the weekend, yesterday evening my mum and I made strawberry jam and I managed to not splash and burn myself horrifically, so that's nice. Although I did drop a cookie sheet on my foot and bruised it, but that's way more preferable to burning your skin off with boiling sugar, so I'll take it.

Linking up with KCCO and Yarn Along

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday I'm...Crocheting?

I know, I know. I'm a knitter. I have, at best, a tenuous relationship with crochet. I have called crochet by some very rude names, and I have used some very rude words in its presence. What on earth could move me, someone who gets so stressed out by crochet, to break out the hook?

Well, it's cephalopods.

A few weeks ago when Leah was destashing some of her old samples, I brought Mr. Squidly Big Squid into my life and home. And he's a good little buddy. But perhaps a little lonely. Cephalopods are really special, magnificent creatures, and I noticed Mr. Big Squid feeling a little out of place among Kevin the Unicorn and Turtle the Tortoise.

I've had this yarn sitting in my stash for a while, and I've been struggling with what to use it for. Sometime last week, the idea popped into my head to hold all three strands together and make a giant octopus buddy for Squidly, and last night I sat down and began doing exactly that. So far I have the head and mantle finished, and I'm about halfway done the first tentacle, so sometime this weekend my cephalopod collection will increase by one and Mr. Squidly Big Squid will have a buddy.

This pattern is beautiful so far. I haven't had any trouble following it, despite being an anti-crocheter (I did have to ask Google how to do a magic ring and an invisible decrease, but that was it), and looking ahead, there's a great photo tutorial for sewing all the octopus pieces together. So if you're into cepholopods as much as I am, Leah's crochet patterns for Squid and Octopus are the way to go!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New Pattern: Brizo

Happy March! I have a new pattern out today, and I'm really thrilled with it.

Brizo is all about keeping the ocean sun and wind in the coldest, greyest days of winter. Large gauge seashell lace plays up the spirit of the beach while super bulky yarn keeps the winter chill at bay. Drape it once or wrap it twice, Brizo's got your back until beach weather returns.

I have such a love for large gauge lace-to me it's just the right mixture of pretty and funky, traditional and trendy. We all need a little brightness and cheer in the middle of winter, and a great beachy (but cozy!) cowl has been just the ticket for me.

Brizo is worked flat and grafted, and the lace pattern is both charted and written out. It's available in my Ravelry Store now.

Also, since it's Malabrigo March, all my patterns are 25% off with the code "malmarch17" The code is good all month long, and it works on all my individual patterns (including Brizo!) as well as the ebook for Granite

Linking up with Yarn Along