a girl and her boy

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Knit the Stash 2011: the Sock Yarn

Like any self-respecting knitter, I have a stash to be proud of. It’s full and constantly demanding more storage space and knitting time. I’ve added to it since beginning my most recent phase of knitting in 2005 and it’s currently contained in a plastic tote, two wicker baskets, and a few travel bags. It contains sock yarn, sweater yarn, “I have no idea” yarn, and hand-me-down yarn. Some of it is lovely wool or bamboo, some of it is blended, and some of it is acrylic that I’ve grown out of using. I’m attached to all of it and that’s why the stash is massive.

However, it’s time to make something of the collection, thus the Knit the Stash 2011 challenge. Over the next several Saturdays, I’ll be posting photos of the stash and thoughts on how the yarn will be used. Some of it will be knit up according to the original plan, some of it will be re-purposed and matched to a new and wonderful pattern, and some of it will likely be given away (I love blog giveaways!). I may also give away many of the knitted items.

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all the sock yarn in my collection, less one that's in a knitting bag in my car

 

I wrangled up all the sock yarn. All told, there is wool for 13 pairs of socks, maybe more with leftovers.

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Jawoll Magic Superwash

 

Sock Stash #1 – Jawoll Magic Superwash

I purchased this gorgeous superwash blend at A Yarn Over Marblehead December 2010 when I was shopping with my friend Alison B to get stuff for a cowl and mitts. This is a cute little store that has a good selection of yarn in a range from wool/acrylic blends for the timid beginner to high end designer wool for those heirloom projects. There was a single cubby for the Jawoll Magic Superwash and I was immediately drawn to the skein I adopted. I picked it up off the shelf immediately and carried it around the store for forty minutes before I made a final decision. The colors are perfect for spring and I can’t wait to have it knitted up and on my feet! I need to find the perfect pattern to showcase the colors. I’m thinking a simple rib would work.

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worth a second look - Jawoll Magic Superwash

 

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Knit Picks Stroll in Grass

 

Sock Stash #2 – Knit Picks Stroll in Grass

I’ve had good luck with the Knit Picks sock yarns. I know some knitters don’t like it, and that’s fine, but I have no problems with it so far. It’s priced well and my socks knit up their wool from a few years ago are just fine still. I loved this green color and it will work well for showing off a pattern with texture. I’m thinking a lacy pattern.

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Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi

 

Sock Stash #3 – Knit Picks Stroll in Hearth Multi

There was a sale and I got this for a good price. Orange has been my color this year. After years of avoiding orange, I’ve been craving it!

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Knit Picks Essential in Lumber Jack Tweed

 

Sock Stash #4 – Knit Picks Essential in Lumberjack Tweed

A basic sock yarn that will show off a nice textured pattern.

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Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed

 

Sock Stash #5 – Knit Picks Essential in Inca Gold Tweed

Another basic sock yarn for a textured pattern.

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Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox

 

Sock Stash #6 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (blue)

I love this yarn. It has wool and bamboo! How can it get any better? The colors are soft and calming. I’m thinking a simple rib stitch pattern for this.

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Plymouth Yarn Sockin' Sox

 

Sock Stash #7 – Plymouth Yarn Sockin’ Sox in ___ (brown)

This is the same as the other Plymouth yarn. Brown is such a nice color for socks, especially in the fall with a wheat colored sweater and a bright scarf.

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Austermann Step

 

Sock Stash #8 – Austermann Step

I love this yarn! I’ve bought a few skeins and knitted it up into socks, all for gifts, and loved every moment of knitting with this stuff. The wool is infused with aloe and it softened my fingers while knitting. I can just imagine how it would be for the feet!

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a hand-spun hand-dyed gift

 

Sock Stash #9 – hand spun and dyed wool, green

I was given this wool as a departure gift when I left my teaching position in Maine. My mentor teacher was also a knitter and she spun and dyed this for me. Aww!

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a hand-spun hand-dyed gift

 

Sock Stash #10 – hand spun and dyed wool, purple

My mentor teacher from Maine spun and dyed this one for me, too!

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Cascade 220

 

Sock Stash #11 – Cascade 220

I bought this stuff out of the “orphans” basket at Fiberphilia in 2007. I intended to make socks out of it, and still do, but I’ve started and frogged a few other projects with it in between.

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self-striping sock kit dyed for me as a gift

 

Sock Stash #12 – hand dyed wool, multi

Another hand-dyed gift from my mentor teacher in Maine. She used one of the self-striping kits from Knit Picks and went to town with the dye! It’s a crazy hodge-podge of color and I love it!

 

Opal

Sock Stash #13 – Opal

I bought this yarn at the Yard Goods Center in Waterville, ME back in 2007. I just cast on a pair of socks with it out of the Nancy Bush book, Knitting Vintage Socks.

* * *

So that’s the sock yarn stash! I’ll be knitting exclusively from the stash this year to whittle down the collection.

I also have a book goal but I’ll be writing about that on Sunday.

What are you working on this year? What ideas do you have to use what you have and save money? What are  your productivity goals?

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February is for Finishing

Yes, I know. I know. The rules for February is for Finishing included having a list up by February 1. Well, I did have a list. A mental one. That list has just one thing on it.

I am *going* to finish this cross-stitch piece this month even if it kills me, which it won’t. It just might keep me sleep deprived, that’s all.

Since this photo was taken in January 2010, I’ve picked it up and worked on the wing and ribbons at the bottom of the piece and they’re now up and around the sleeve just under the earth. It’s pretty much a matter of finishing the ribbons, fixing the hair and wing gap, filling in the earth, and attending to the flowers. I can do that.

I couldn’t find the original photo that came with my pattern and this is the best image I could find for the finished piece online:

When I’m done with it, I have a plan for what to do with it. After I finish and attend to some details, I’ll fill you in. It involves preparing it as a gift for someone who has done a lot for me.

I began this cross-stitch piece in high school, freshman year I think. My best friend’s mom pulled the thread out of her own collection, gave me a hoop and needle, and put the first stitch in for me. I’ve thought of her every time I work on it and thank her for the wonderful person she is and example she was to me as I wandered blind in high school. Emmy, your mom is awesome, but you knew that already.

Emmy’s mom, Susie, is mother to everyone that walked through the doors of her home. Nearly every time I was over, there were a few extra kids in the house visiting Phil, Em’s brother, or just hanging out. People loved being there. I loved being there. I felt loved and welcome. I felt accepted. Em’s mom had a way of making every person feel special and capable of doing extraordinary things with their lives. She showed this love by word and deed:  she made every one of her “kids” a graduation quilt with a special message handwritten and sewn on. I have mine tucked away in a special storage bag in the closet waiting on a home where I can get a quilt rack to display it honorably. And she knew how to enjoy life and laugh. God. I don’t think I laughed as much or as hard anywhere else. Susie Estabrook, you are one of my greatest inspirations. Thank you for everything!

After I’m done with the cross-stitch piece, I have two sweaters, two cropped cardigans, and pair of socks to finish knitting. Hopefully I can keep the voices in the stash silent while I get this stuff done so I don’t add to the UFO list. Speaking of the stash, I have the goal of, other than specific items requested by people and funded, I am knitting and cross-stitching out of the stash strictly this year. As soon as I gather my courage to sort through the basket and two buckets of yarn, I’ll post photos of the stashed goods and post pictures and intended projects. Keep me honest and knitting!

Accountability and a few Thank You's

Blogging, it seems, is mostly about keeping oneself accountable. When I wasn’t blogging, I felt no “obligation” or “motivation” to do the things I enjoy doing and then talking about, y’know, running, knitting, crafting, reading, adventuring; in other words:  being mindful and observant and engaged.

Since dusting off the blog I’ve already found myself perking up some and looking to my big pile of UFOs (for non-crafters/knitters, that means unfinished objects) and half-read books and reflecting on my recent shenanigans out and about in the greater Boston area. So much stuff to take note of and talk about! So much stuff to appreciate.

Speaking of accountability, there are some big things I’ve done that I’m very proud of that I’d like to share:  I’ve almost been in the north shore area for a year (it’s been a full year since I started visiting, July will be my 1-year anniversary of living here) and I’ve managed to keep afloat financially. When I moved down here, it was after leaving my teaching position in Maine and leaping into the dark hoping to land on something solid. Now, I don’t have a teaching position (yet), but I have been able to earn enough to keep my bills paid and pay off my minor medical debts from last spring. Granted, I have had help from friends along the way with small floating loans, but I did it. I did it!

Last spring when I was meditating and sending out my intentions and asking for help, I asked for a teaching position, but knowing it takes a while to get established, I also asked for just enough income to meet my needs and to be of service to others. Whelp, I certainly got what I asked for. My current position is all about service to some of the neediest students out there. And I’m making just enough to make ends meet and set some aside for future months. I’m feeling my teaching position just around the corner, too. This fall. C’mon, cosmos! Let’s make it happen!

I’m almost done getting my Massachusetts certification. I’ve paid off my non-student loan/car loan debt. Stayed current (mostly) on my bills. Built a solid social and professional network. All while having a helluvalot of fun at the same time!

I want to thank the people (not naming names, but you know who you are) who have helped along the way. I couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you for supporting me and encouraging me and giving me a stern talking to when needed.

Progress has been Achieved!

The cowl is done! Now for the bands around the armholes and blocking. It fits perfectly and looks great. And it is oh-so-warm!

Next up for non-sock project (NSP) is the lace watch cap in Knit Picks Elegance in Raisin with the scarf to follow. The two sock projects are slowly but surely getting there.

Survived Week 1; Looking forward to Week 2.

Alright. One week down. I’m not going to count how many left because that’s pessimistic and I’m aiming to be positive!

Good things from the first week of school:

  • didn’t get up or arrive late once
  • didn’t forget my photo copies
  • I’m in my own room all the time!
  • I know what I’m doing, mostly.

Things that need improving from the first week of school:

  • need to keep names straight – I know their names, but for some reason I’ll look at a kid and call them by another name… gotta stop this
  • constantly tired and haven’t been running once and I’m starting to feel the pudge develop that I’ve worked hard to get rid of this summer
  • gotta spend less time on work and more time on me when I’m home

So that’s school stuff.

In my own news, I’ve felt awful the last week from allergies. My ears are plugged and my sinuses are dripping. And my meds are not keeping up. I feel worn out and dehydrated all day long despite napping and drinking 3 or more 32 oz. bottles of water. Blargh. This is the only part of this time of year I don’t like. Well, no, that’s not quite true.

There’s one other thing that I don’t like and that’s not having cool enough weather to wear my woolens! I pulled out all the cold weather gear and got it washed up over the last two weeks to get it ready and I haven’t been able to use it. Not that I expected it, but it’s a tradition of mine (new this year!) to pull out and wash the woolens when the first leaves turn orange and fall. I’m going to like this tradition.

I’ve been plodding away on the lozenge socks for my FIL and have finally made it past the heel and gusset. Once I get past that it’s just a few sittings to done. For some reason, the leg takes forever. Especially for men with big feet. It takes more stitches to get the length and it takes foreeeevvvveeeer to make progress. But it’s nearly done now and I’ll be on to sock number two before SSS kicks in. Luckily now that I’m back in school I’ll make more consistent progress by bringing in knitting to work on during my 40 minute lunch break. Lucky me! I eat in about 15 minutes and then knit for 25. I like it. It’s a good stress reliever during the day.

I still have to finish the button bands on Abby’s cardigan. I’ll tackle that this coming weekend. Further, I have Justin’s hat and scarf set that I started last winter when we were visiting for the holidays that I have to finish, my cowl-neck vest, and a few other projects. I’m going to try and move through as many of these before casting on new projects. Let’s see how long that lasts.

That’s it in my neck of the woods. I’d have pictures but I lost my camera. It’s got to be around here somewhere…

Holy Progress, Batman!

I cast on for Abby’s cardi last night and am making major progress. I’m loving this cardi! I’m keeping this pattern around for future projects for sure.

One thing I failed to take into consideration until after I got past the lace-bit is that I’m knitting with a cotton-blend and not wool as the pattern calls for. I nearly panicked, but then remembered the vast and wonderful resources available through Ravelry. Within two minutes I had my problem resolved!

What I did is instead of ripping out my work and starting over, I simply switched over to US size 4 needles after the lace which was done in US size 6. The fabric is more firmly knit which will decrease the cotton-droop. Speaking of the cotton, I’m really enjoying working with the Lion Brand Cotton-Ease. When I began knitting “real” projects and made the commitment to only knit with good yarns, I mentally crossed Lion Brand, and most stuff found at chain craft stores, off the list. Out of the feeling of urgency I went to Michaels and purchased the Cotton-Ease. And well, I actually like it, so far. We’ll see if this holds true after washing and blocking the sweater.

Further, this sweater represents my first successful lace knitting! My previous attempts were during the days of twisting my purl stitches and not doing yarn overs correctly. I now feel brave enough to tackle a few lace projects that I’ve attempted but put aside in the last few years.

Specifically, about four years ago I attempted the Lace Watch Cap and Scarf designed by Karen Braun found in Handspun Handknit Caps, Socks, Mittens & Gloves. I tried and tried for months to get it to come out right. Now I understand that it was simply because of the twisted purls and incorrect YOs. I pulled the book out, read the pattern over, and I now know that I am ready to revisit this project.

In celebration, I took some of the wedding gift money, with Allan’s permission of course, and ordered some yarn to knit it with. I ordered Elegance Yarn in Raisin. I can’t wait to cast on for this again!

But, this project will have to wait as I have a backlog of projects. Let’s list it to see how deep it is (as of now, I’m not sure until I write it down…).

These are all things that are on the needles or need some finishing:

  1. Abby’s cardigan
  2. Abby’s socks (will cast on after cardi)
  3. Abby’s hat (will cast on after cardi)
  4. Ken’s Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern
  5. Cabled Cowl-Neck Vest
  6. Grammie’s Cowl (needs to be frogged and reknit with more stitches)
  7. Oak Ribbed Sock (set aside to make Ken’s socks)
  8. Justin’s scarf and hat set

Okay, not too bad. Now for the things that I purchased yarn for that I either started or put off:

  1. Sheldon the Turtle for Justin
  2. Lacy Shrug (had intended it for my wedding… oh well)
  3. and probably others…

And now for the yarn that I’ve purchased with intentions of using hopefully before this coming spring:

  1. Opal sock yarn (for me)
  2. Austermann sock yarn (for Allan)
  3. Knit Picks Palette for Allan-socks
  4. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Allan-socks
  5. Knit Picks Essential Tweed for Jen-socks
  6. plus other things I can’t think of because they’re buried so deep in the stash…

I have a lot of knitting to do this fall and winter! Yay! I’m going to create a page on my blog to keep this list and update it.

So, I’m off to knit!

Knitting News

At my reception, I found out that my cousin Tracy’s baby is being baptized on Sunday. You know what that means, baby knitting!

I scoured Ravelry for patterns, and found a bajillion I love. The winners for this project are:

From Woolly Butts: The Chiara Cardigan (rav link)

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

Photo Courtesy of Woolly Butts

This cardigan will be knit in Lion Brand Cotton-Ease in colorway 149 Stone and, for accents, colorway 112 Berry. The edgings and the stripe in the middle will be in the berry color.

I’m also going to knit up some Better-than-Booties Baby Socks by Ann Budd.

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Photo Courtesy of Interweave Knits

Beyond knitting for baby, I’ve been making progress on the Gentleman’s Socks with Lozenge Pattern for my father-in-law. I had to rip them out and start over because I goofed on the lozenge pattern during graduation – I thought I had the pattern memorized. Oh well. It’s coming along well.

Gentlemans Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Gentleman's Socks with Lozenge Pattern

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I’m also making progress on my cowl-neck vest. In a few more centimeters I’ll be ready to graft the shoulders together and start on the cowl. After I get knitting for baby done, I’ll finish up the socks and vest. Maybe another 2-3 weeks on these?

Cowl-Neck Vest Progress

I also have a bunch of projects I can’t wait to start. And I also have a ton that have been on the back burner for a while. Such is the way of knitting, though. Too many interesting projects and not enough time to get them all done.

For one, I can’t wait to get going on some Cap’n Crunches. I’m going to use my Mission Falls wool to make some of these (the striped socks just were not working – this is a much better use of the wool!).

photo from Ravelrys Cap Crunch pattern information page

photo from Ravelry's Cap' Crunch pattern information page

I better get knitting…