Well, it's been awhile- and for good reason! In the two months since I posted last, the fiancee and I have been in 10 different states, have spent at least 38 hours driving across all of those states, had a car break down en route (and subsequently sold to a salvage yard), had a hard drive crash, and have had to adjust to humidity. The last few months have been trying, to say the least.
And speaking of that humidity- once we got to Iowa, it was hot. It was very very hot. And, lets just say that I wasn't exactly in the mood to have the wool project I was working on touching me, let alone covering my lap.
But, of course, I couldn't go without any crafts! So, I whipped out the book of iron-on embroidery patterns that I've had for years but have barely used, and made a few coasters and a small wall hanging.
It's cooled off some in the past few weeks, so my needles are back to clicking... on this lovely lace shawl! I'm using a merino/cashmere/alpaca blend, and it's heavenly. I'll post pictures when it looks more like a shawl than it does now!
So what have you been working on in the hot summer heat? Let me know in the comments!
My fiancee and I are moving at the end of the week. Friday morning to be exact.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to get a jump start on my packing. My stash of yarn was already in a big 50 gallon tub and a couple of extra baskets, so I figured I would consolidate into just the tub. Easy peasy, and then it would be done and out of the way.
Why did I think that I wouldn't need to get into my stash for two weeks? What was I thinking?
My nice neat, orderly stash and all of my knitting supplies were tucked away, with only the cardigan I've been working on out and in action.
Then I got a custom order on etsy. It, of course, required yarn that was on the bottom of my newly organized tub o' yarn.
I managed to reorganize pretty easily. Then, last night, my fiancee reminded me about the birthday present I needed to make. By moving day.
The gift was a stashbuster, made by holding several different red yarns together that were leftover from previous projects. It required seven different yarns.
Recovering from that wasn't so easy. The stash was in shambles.
So, this morning, 48 hours away from the move, I have to reorganize again.
So, in order to make the best of the situation, I decided to show all of you just what my stash looks like!
I'm sure that many of you noticed that those aren't the skeins or balls that you're used to knitting with! For the last year, I've been working at this great local yarn shop in Portland, OR called Yarnia where the yarn is custom wound on cones! It's really neat process where you're able to select up to six thin strands of all different fibers and colors to combine into a completely unique yarn that's one of a kind! You should all definitely check it out!
Oh! I'm so excited! For the past few months, I've been working on creating a line of Newborn accessories. They'll be for sale on Etsy in the next few months, but I couldn't wait to share this action shot of one of my samples!
In August of 2007, armed with only 3 skeins of this, straight size 7 bamboo needles, and this pattern, I hopped on a plane to Sweden. I wasn't coming back until January.
I thought to myself, "Intricate fair isle project, that should keep me busy for five months."
Apparently, the stress of packing for such a long trip had made me temporarily insane.
After finishing the fair isle portion.... on the plane.... I lost much interest in the project. To this day, it sits at the bottom of my stash, waiting to someday be completed.
So I had to find yarn. In a foreign country. Where I didn't speak the language. Thank god I found this place.
It was called Marias Garn then, and it was amazing, as I'm sure it remains. They had dozens upon dozens of sock weight yarns. I had yet to try socks at this point, and so I bought two skeins of a gorgeous alpaca yarn and quickly whipped up a pair.
I was in love. How had I thought that such thin yarn would be tiresome or difficult? Sock weight yarn was my new best friend, and socks were my new calling.
I bought enough yarn for six more pairs, intent on making holiday presents for my family and friends. What a naive knitter I was.
I worked my way through two more pairs before leaving. I had grown sick of the pattern, sick of the self-striping yarn that I had thought was so amazing just months prior, sick of working the ribbing necessary for cuffs. I was sick of socks.
Nevertheless, I cast on for my fourth pair. These were a bright blue, with yellow and orange stripes. They were to be a present for Erin.
Less than a few weeks after returning to the United States, Erin's dog ate the first sock right off of the needles. I took this tragedy as a sign, and the sock yarns went into the bottom of the stash.
Now, more than two years later, my stash has grown substantially. What used to take up a shoe box now has a dedicated 50 gallon tub and several satellite baskets.
Having a large stash is a delight when the mood strikes, and I suddenly want a merino and silk mobius cowl. It is not a delight when I am packing to move across country, and throwing out tee-shirts and books and movies to make space in my compact car for my yarn.
So, I have been stash-busting. And the sock yarn that hasn't gotten more than a glance in two years had to be dealt with.
Luckily for me, the brand that makes this particular sock yarn apparently felt my pain. I had three colors left, and they had a pattern that requires three different colors!
I hadn't tried gloves before, mostly because I'm not a glove person. I am very much a mitten person, although these may change my mind on that score.
I love them. The pattern does have its flaws, notably that the edge rolls, hiding the delightful chevron pattern. To attempt to remedy this, I added a picot edging. You can see in the photo below that the left glove has picot edging and the right one doesn't. I added the edging on the right one after I took these shots.
I like the appearance, but now the edging sticks out in a funny manner. I have yet to block them, though, so I think that that will help.
Overall, the pattern was simple and easy to understand, and it reminded me of why I loved sock yarn to begin with.
If you're planning on making this pattern- I'd definitely recommend at least 6 rows of garter stitch at the cuff!
I own exactly one knitting book. I guess I should amend that. I owned exactly one knitting book. Now I own two, or six, depending on how you look at it.
The solitary knitting book on my shelves has, for years, been Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen. I bought it on a whim in college when I was part of a charity knitting group.
I don't typically use patterns from books. I always end up only liking one pattern from a book of twenty, so I don't bother with them unless I find a pattern on Ravelry that I can't live without. I do like having reference materials around, though. I have been looking for a stitch dictionary for a while, but had difficulty picking one out.
So again, on a whim, I made my decision. I bought The Stitch Collection by Debbie O'Neill. It's not just one book- it's five booklets. Each deals with a different category of stitches: knit and purl, rib, cables, lace, and specialty stitches. I saw it in Vogue Knitting a few weeks ago and I was intrigued.
So I drank the kool-aid. And it tasted pretty good.
I do have a few issues with it, of course.
The marketing revolves around being compact. From the back of the box set, "Many of us never leave home without our knitting, but space in our bags is at a premium. So why tote around a big, comprehensive stitch book when you need patterns for only one stitch type?" Unfortunately, the idea of space being at a premium didn't extend to the individual pages of the book. Images of the stitches are small (2.375x2.25 inches), and on 90% of the pages, there is an abundance of white space. It kind irritates me that the books emphasize smart use of space, but they don't seem to take their own advice.
Each book is color coded- the knit and purl book is all orange, for example. This extends to the yarn used for the sample images.
Sarah's Knitting PSA: If you ever find yourself writing a stitch dictionary, please don't do this. Choose colors for samples based on how well photos will show the stitch definition. Not all of the booklets are afflicted with this problem. Some of the colors photograph really well. Others don't. Maybe this would be alleviated if the photos were bigger.
Overall, I think the books are good. The images leave something to be desired, but am I glad I bought it? Yes. If only to make my knitting library a little more substantial.