Sunday, November 29, 2015

A Fiber Review: Louet Gotland Top

Sometime last fall, I received a very generous package of spinning fiber from Louet North America thanks to the lovely folks at Stitchcraft Marketing. One of the fiber samples in that package was a squishy bag of gorgeous steely gray Gotland top. About two weeks ago, I finally pulled it out to spin. I finished the singles on Friday, and yesterday I started plying. Considering that it was a total of 8 oz. and I'd spun the singles fairly fine, this plying is going to take a while, but I've made a decent start.

Gotland sheep are a very old breed established by the Vikings in what is now Sweden. Their fleeces are fairly uniformly gray, and the fiber is typically fine, long, and lustrous and curly rather than crimpy. Spun worsted, this fiber has a lovely sheen to it.

The fiber from Louet was a delight to spin. I decided to spin a two-ply fingering-ish weight yarn, so I split the length of top in half and spun up two bobbins on my miniSpinner. It was a very easy spin. The fiber was beautifully prepped -- and clearly not over-prepped, because it still had a lovely sheepy smell to it. It drafted effortlessly and contained very little in the way of VM; this is the grand total of what I pulled out of all 8 ounces:

That little pile there is probably the size of a quarter, for reference. While spinning this fiber, I really felt like I was spinning something closer to the sheep that it came from, and it was really a delightful experience. I'm really excited to finish plying and see the finished product, because I have a feeling this yarn is going to be really gorgeous.

Thanks so much, Louet and Stitchcraft Marketing, for giving me the opportunity to spin this beautiful fiber!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Let the Holiday Knitting Commence

I hadn't planned on doing a lot of holiday knitting this year, but I got swept up in the excitement of the Gift-A-Long and suddenly find myself with a bunch of projects planned! But before the holiday knitting could start, I had a baby gift to finish. I spent Thanksgiving morning in my pajamas, watching the Macy's parade, and finishing up the sweater. I had enough yarn leftover that I cast on for a small coordinating hat in the afternoon, and that was finished by bedtime. This morning I found and sewed on a button, and now the set is blocking.

Pattern: Boy Sweater by Lisa Chemery (with improvised hat using same stitch patterns)
Yarn: Handspun superwash merino (from Crown Mountain Farms, colorway In the Skies)
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm) and US 8 (5.0 mm)
Started/Completed: November 19/November 26
Mods: slightly altered the placement of the arm decreases and switched the side of the button hole

This pattern was a quick, easy knit, and I enjoyed it just as much the second time as I did the first time. Despite its name, it's just as suitable for a girl as it is for a boy. The only change I made to it to make it a girl's sweater is to move the button hole to the opposite side of the collar.

The hat was really just a quick improvisation. I cast on 84 stitches, worked an inch of twisted ribbing for the brim, did about four or five repeats of the textured stitch pattern, and then worked stockinette for the crown decreases. I did a bit of I-cord at the top and made a little loop -- easy peasy. I still even have some yarn leftover!

Now that the sweater is done, I'm ready to start my holiday knitting in earnest. I've already got the handspun brioche cowl on the needles for my mother, and this morning Rainbow and I made a trip to my LYS to pick up yarn for the other gifts. Here's what came home with us:

The three skeins of blue on the left are Cascade 220 that she selected for her new sweater, which will be a long-sleeved version of Romane and Roman. The red in the middle is Louet Gems Sport in Burgundy for another Nara hat, this time for my sister-in-law. The smaller blue skein is Malabrigo Sock in Impressionist Sky, which will become a Biscuit for my mother-in-law. Finally, the two skeins on the end are Malabrigo Worsted in Pearl and Black Forest for a new design.

Clearly I have a lot of knitting to do, so I'd better get started! I'll end by reminding you that the Gift-A-Long sale wraps up this evening at 11:59 p.m. Eastern, so this is your last chance to save 25% on my selection of 20 patterns using the coupon code giftalong2015. Be sure to check out the other participating designers' on-sale patterns, too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gift-A-Long Knitting

We are now officially well into the first week of the Gift-A-Long, and I am well into my (so far) two GAL projects.

I cast on for a Nara hat for Rainbow on Friday and finished it on Sunday evening, no small feat when you consider that I couldn't knit on it when she was around because it's intended for a Chanukah present.

N.B.: Color is not at all accurate.
I really enjoyed this pattern. There's just enough stitch pattern to keep it interesting, and when you're done with the lace and the twisted stitches, you're ready for the bit of stockinette that's above it. I started to panic that I would run out of yarn about halfway through the hat even though I should have had plenty (the pattern calls for about 170 yds. for the size I made and my skein of Quince & Co. Chickadee should have had 181 yds.), so I did not add extra length that I would have liked to have added. I ended up having plenty of yarn leftover, so I probably could have thrown in a few more extra rounds, but I'm happy to have not had to play yarn chicken at the end. I stretched the hat a bit when I blocked it, so that should give just enough slouch.

This pattern is going on my recommended list (and you can still get it for 25% off through Friday!). In fact, I'm very likely going to cast on another one for myself using some handspun that's been languishing in a WIP that I'm ready to rip out.

Before I can start knitting for myself, though, I have another GAL project to finish. My cousin gave birth to her second daughter last Thursday, and so I immediately cast on for a sweater for her (normally I would have knit one ahead of time, but my cousin and her husband chose to be surprised by the baby's gender, so I waited so I could make an appropriate yarn choice). I'm knitting Lisa Chemery's Boy Sweater again, this time in handspun superwash merino that's been marinating in my stash for many years. It was spun from an 8 oz. bundle of fiber from the now defunct Crown Mountain Farms; the colorway was called In the Skies, and it's a beautiful blend of blues and purples with the occasional shot of hot pink. I love how it's knitting up.

Colors also completely off
I am knitting the 6 month size for this, and as you would expect, it's going very quickly. In fact, if I can keep up my pace, I might even get it done by the end of the week so I can send it off to the recipient this weekend. Considering she lives in the Chicago area and they just got a big dumping of snow over the weekend, she's going to need a warm wool sweater!

These were really the only two patterns I was planning to make for the GAL, but then Rainbow announced that most of her sweaters are too small, so it looks like I'll be casting on a new one for her. I found (and she approved) Romane and Roman, and our plan is to head to my LYS on Friday to pick out yarn. I'll let you know what we find!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Contrasts in Color

I've felt a renewed urge to spin this past week, and I've actually got more than one project going, which is unusual for me. First, I started spinning the 8 oz. of gray Gotland. I managed to get the first bobbin done this week (that's 4 oz., though it doesn't look like much because the bobbin is so big).

I've started the second bobbin and am hopeful that I'll get it spun up this week, especially with the time off for the holiday. It'd be great to be able to get this plied by next weekend. I'm really enjoying this spin. The fiber is beautifully prepped and drafts effortlessly, and there's a lovely subtle variation in color.

Because I can't spin all gray all the time, though, I've been alternating between the Gotland and the Southern Cross Fibre Corriedale you saw last week. I managed to put a couple more layers on the bobbin over the weekend; I'd estimate I'm roughly a quarter of the way through the fiber at this point. The bobbin doesn't look a whole lot different from the last time you saw it, so I'll wait to take a photo when it looks a bit more substantial.

Meanwhile, my next shipment for the FatCatKnits Mixed Blessings club showed up this past week, and I was very excited to get it. The famous couple for this round was Anna and Mr. Bates (of Downton Abbey). I selected superwash Targhee for this round because I enjoyed spinning some of it during the Tour de Fleece this summer.

Anna is the green/gold/brown/purple colorway; Mr. Bates is the blue/red/brown/gray. I have absolutely no idea how to spin this, and fortunately with two projects on my wheels, I have time to ponder. I'm open to ideas!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Pattern Release: Double Positive

Inspiration can come from the strangest sources. You may remember from my series of posts about designing that I'm often sketching out ideas and jotting down rough notes. What I don't think I mentioned is that I sometimes take photos with my phone when I'm out and about and spot an interesting pattern or architectural feature. One of those photos is the inspiration behind the pattern I published today:

This cement inlay (I'm not even sure what its official name is) was installed in a part of the sidewalk that happens to be on my walk to work sometime in the past year. I walked over it twice a day and then one day looked down and noticed what an interesting pattern it had. So I snapped a picture and then went home to start playing around with charting.

I thought this pattern would be a great one for double-knitting, a technique I learned several months ago and have been fascinated with ever since. Double-knitting is, in the words of my tech editor, a little bit of knitting magic. You end up with a piece of fabric that's double the thickness but has no wrong side, and one side is the reverse image of the other. If it were photography, you might say that one side was the negative of the other.

A play on words gives you Double Positive, my new cowl pattern. It's double-knit and has two motifs that look like plus signs in the pattern.

This cowl is worked entirely in the round, and it starts with a special two-color cast on (I've included a photo tutorial in the pattern to show you how to do it). Once you get the hang of double knitting, it moves along pretty quickly, and the end result is an extra warm accessory to wrap around your neck. You can wear it as one long loop (perfect if you've got one of those coats that's open enough at the top to let cold air seep in) or double it for a snug fit.

The yarn I used in the sample is Yarn Hollow Tango, a really dreamy blend of 85% Polwarth wool and 15% silk. Polwarth is one of my absolute favorites to spin and knit with. It's soft and very squishy -- very suitable for next-to-skin items. The addition of the silk makes it softer and even makes the yarn glisten just a bit. Tango comes in very generous skeins of 330 yards/302 m, and two skeins are more than enough to knit the cowl as written (you'll only use about 230 yards of each color).

If you've never done double-knitting before, I highly encourage you to give it a go -- I think you'll find it's quite addictive! If you're the sort who learns visually, I can recommend Alasdair Post-Quinn's Craftsy class, Adventures in Double-Knitting.

If you're looking to learn something new, I hope you'll give this cowl a try!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's Almost Gift-A-Long Time!

It is almost time for the third annual Ravelry Indie Design Gift-A-Long! What exactly is the Gift-A-Long (or GAL, for short)? Think of it as a six-week knit- or crochet-along to get ready for the holidays focusing on the patterns published by independent designers. There are KAL/CAL threads for a number of categories (hats, scarves and shawls, sweaters, baby items, etc.) along with games and lots of chatter. Basically you can come join the group and have a big cheering section while you cast on and try to finish your holiday gift crafting in time!

This year, the GAL will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, November 19 (that's tonight!), and run through 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday, December 31. To qualify for prizes, all projects must not be started until 8 p.m. tonight and must be finished before midnight on New Year's Eve.

In addition, the GAL kicks off with a pattern sale. This year, there are 335 participating designers (including yours truly), and each designer has selected between five and 20 of his/her self-published patterns to put on sale. From 8 p.m. Eastern tonight through 11:59 p.m. Eastern on Friday, November 27, those selected patterns will be 25% off when you use the coupon code giftalong2015. You can find out which patterns each designer has selected by visiting that designer's designated GAL bundle (mine, for instance, is here). It is important to note that while these patterns are discounted for the sale portion of the GAL, all participating designers' patterns are eligible for the KALs/CALs, and all paid patterns (including those that might have been published in books or magazines) are eligible for prizes.

So, what can you do now while you wait for the GAL to start? Well, go join the Ravelry group, for starters. You can also peruse the list of participating designers here or search the group bundle or Pinterest boards that will go live shortly before the official GAL start. And of course you can raid your stash and find the yarn and needles you'll need to start when the clock strikes 8!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Theme Is Handspun

Since wrapping up my mitten spree, I've discovered that the projects I have on my needles have one big thing in common: They're both being knit out of my handspun. There's the brioche cowl that you've seen (and frankly it doesn't look much different from the last time you saw it), and then there's a pair of socks I started toward the beginning of October that I then proceeded to ignore for about a month. I finally pulled them out again last Friday, and they saw a good bit of attention over the weekend. Now they're my lunchtime knitting project.

The yarn is FatCatKnits superwash Targhee that I spun up during the Tour de Fleece this year. I'm not doing anything fancy with the socks, as per usual when I knit socks with handspun; really, I just want the yarn to shine. I'm using 70 stitches and size 0 (2.0 mm) needles. I did two inches of 3x2 rib for the cuff and the rest is stockinette. It's a bit hard to see, but I've just started the gusset decreases.

Tonight I'm hoping to cast on for yet a third handspun project. Rainbow has been asking me repeatedly to make her a pair of fingerless mitts, so I'm going to make her a pair for Chanukah (which is coming up rather soon, so I'm starting to feel a bit of pressure). As they're going to be a present, I'll only be able to work on them when she's not around, which means during lunch at work or in the evening after she's asleep. I'll be using this FatCatKnits Targhee in Hungry Horace that I spun earlier this year.

This yarn is roughly sportweight, and I'll basically be winging the pattern. I have measurements of her arms, wrists, and hands, so I don't think it will be too difficult. I'm thinking of putting a single repeat of the lace pattern from my Corbusier Socks on the back of the hand for some interest. Considering how quickly the mittens knit up, I don't think I'll have any problem getting these done in time. Plus, this is a fractally spun yarn, which means I'm always going to knit one more round to see what happens to the colros.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Finishing, Starting, and Planning Ahead

Yesterday was Indie Knit & Spin and it was a lot of fun, albeit an exhausting day. I did sell a number of skeins of handspun as well as several patterns, so I think it was a successful day. I still have most of the original pile of handspun, far more than I will likely ever knit, so I'm contemplating what to do with it. I may just mark it for sale on Ravelry, or perhaps I will open an Etsy shop. If you have any thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them!

I did not buy very much yesterday, mainly because I was manning the booth on my own for much of the day. I did come home with two new things. First, a new Doctor Who-themed project bag from StarKnits:

Outside fabric

Inside fabric with pocket
I also picked out this 4 oz. braid of Targhee from Gwen Erin Natural Fibers:

Targhee is one of my favorite fibers to spin, so I'm looking forward to getting to this one.

But let's get back to actual finished spinning. This was finished up last week but not in time for my Sunday post, and it took almost all week to get a picture (this time of year makes it very difficult to get decent photos of anything during the week). This is my finished 80% superwash merino/20% trilobal nylon sparkle from FatCatKnits in two colorways, Sam and Dean. This was the first shipment in the current installment of the FCK fiber club, the theme for which is Famous Couples. Sam and Dean are the brothers who are the main characters in the TV show Supernatural. I decided to spin up each color on its own and then do a combined chain ply. To do this, I held both strands of yarn together and alternated which strand I pulled the next loop from as I plied. This did some really interesting things to the colors in the finished yarn.

The finished skein looks to be about DK weight and roughly 284 yards. I must admit that I was not a huge fan of the colors in the fiber, but I'm intrigued by how they mixed when plied. I'm really curious to see how this will knit up.

The finished yarn is not as soft as it could be, giving the merino content. I think this is due to the sparkle, which I found a bit bothersome as I was spinning. The last time I had sparkle in fiber from Ginny, it seemed to be much finer and very well blended. This sparkle was long pieces that stuck out, and I found myself pulling them out altogether at times. You can see some of them poking out in the photo above. I'm sure they'll be less of an issue when the yarn is knit and washed a few times.

Meanwhile, I am planning ahead. I really wanted to start something new last night, so I pulled out my Southern Cross Fibre October shipment, Corriedale in a very autumnal colorway called Splendour. I split the top into four long strips and am spinning them in order for another one of my pseudo-self-striping sock yarns.

I'm also hoping to spend some time later today getting started on another spinning project for the natural (undyed) fiber spinalong that Lisa of Fibernymph Dye Works and the 90% Knitting podcast is hosting. I am somewhat ashamed to say that I've had some fiber from Louet North America that I was sent to review probably a year ago and I'd just about forgotten about it, so I am ready to start spinning it. I have 8 oz. of this beautiful gray Gotland that I'm going to spin into a two ply.

When I pulled it out, I also discovered a spinning project I'd started long ago and forgotten, another bit of review fiber -- 2 oz. of camel/tussah silk that I started spinning on my Bosworth mini.

This one won't count toward the spinalong as it was started before today, but I think if I spend a few minutes a day on it, I can finish it up rather quickly.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

It's a Sickness

I have a confession to make: I can't stop knitting mittens. They are the perfect thing for instant-gratification knitting, and after all the thin yarn I've been using lately, using worsted feels like I hardly have to put any effort in at all.

I cast on for another pair of Waiting for Winter Mittens on Tuesday night, and even considering that I didn't have as much knitting time as normal the last two nights due to spending some of the evening doing preparations for the festival this weekend, I already have one mitten done and a good start on the second.

I'm using the skein of Spud & Chloe Sweater leftover from Rainbow's sweater for these. It was untouched, so I could have returned it to the shop, but I liked the feel of the fabric after it had been washed so much that I thought it would be wonderfully suited to being a pair of mittens. My LYS is gathering some mittens knit for its mitt-along to send to Laura Nelkin's drive to collect warm winter items for Syrian refugees in Europe. The last day they're collecting stuff is this Sunday, so I'm feeling a bit of pressure (though I doubt I'll have much trouble finishing a second mitten before then).

Meanwhile, I pulled a neglected project out to work on during my lunch breaks this week. Remember the sparkly handspun brioche cowl that I started for my mom way back at the beginning of October?

Trust me when I say that it looks much better in actual daylight, a resource that has been very limited around here lately (if the sun does come out, it's usually when I'm at work). When I do actually sit down and work on this, it grows fairly quickly; the challenge is finding the time. I am looking forward to the long weekend over Thanksgiving to churn it out.

Forgive me if I'm starting to sound like a broken record on this, but I do want to mention just one more time that Indie Knit & Spin is this Saturday. If you are within an easy driving distance, I'd really encourage you to come -- it's a great little show. There aren't a ton of vendors, but the vendors that are there are really great, and I like that it's a show with a lot of selection much not so much that it's overwhelming. I'll be sharing a booth with my friend Amy, and we'll have pattern samples for you to see and patterns to purchase (in addition to my mound of handspun).

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Four Warm Hands

Mittens, mittens, we've got mittens! Two new pairs, to be specific. Let's go through the details.

Pattern: Waiting for Winter Mittens by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Targhee Worsted (100% Targhee) in A Hazy Shade of Blue
Needles: US 6 (4.0 mm)
Started/Completed: October 31/November 5
Mods: I altered the placement of the thumb gusset a bit, but it's not something you'd know by looking at the mittens (just a manifestation of my need for symmetry in all things).

These were a quick, easy knit, and as you can see from the goofy picture, Miss Rainbow was very excited to get them. I took it as a big compliment that she wanted to wear them immediately, even though we were in the middle of a heat wave when I finished them and it was nearly 70 degrees! These mittens used up a partial skein of the Targhee Worsted I had leftover from a sweater I knit last year -- yarn, I should add, that the Mister and Rainbow had bought for me as a gift. There's still a small amount leftover, too -- proof that two skeins of this yarn can go a long way.

Pattern: Wood Hollow Mittens by Kirsten Kapur
Yarn: Dream in Color Classy (100% superwash merino) in Gold Experience
Needles: US 4 (3.5 mm)
Started/Completed: October 28/November 9
Mods: none

These were finished just before it was my bedtime last night. I'd finished the first mitten over the weekend and started the second on Sunday evening, so clearly these are a quick knit. I followed the pattern exactly and made no mods, and the finished mittens are a pretty good fit. If I knit these again, I might make the thumbs a tad bit longer, but otherwise they are pretty comfortable. My only complaint (and this is entirely to do with me, not the pattern) is that the mittens are not symmetrical. I suppose I could have taken the time to rechart the pattern to make one mitten the mirror image of the other -- something to do next time, I suppose.

I have zero complaints about the yarn -- it's absolutely one of my favorites. I have to weigh my leftovers to see how much I have and if it's enough for a small project like a baby hat.

Up next? More mittens! I'm going to make another pair of Waiting for Winter Mittens in Spud & Chloe Sweater (the extra skein from Rainbow's sweater) to donate through my LYS. And I am really itching to cast on for a new design, but that requires some work first. We'll see how long I'm able to resist.

Sunday, November 08, 2015


I spent a great deal of time this weekend getting a lot of handspun ready for Indie Knit & Spin next weekend. I had previously pulled all the handspun out that I was planning to put on sale, but I needed to measure and tag all of it. Some of it needed to be reskeined and much of it had to be remeasured, so it wasn't a quick job. I finally finished the last skeins today. And in case you'd like a preview, here you go:

That's more than 70 skeins of handspun, ranging from laceweight to super bulky and from less than 100 yards to close to 700. There's some undyed fiber and plenty of dyed fiber, with many different wool types represented.

Meanwhile, seeing as I'm hoping to get a lot of the above yarn out of the house, it was only appropriate that I spent a good part of the weekend spinning up some yarn to replace it. I finished the second bobbin of my FatCatKnits club fiber (superwash merino/sparkle) Friday night, even staying up a little late to finish.

I decided to try a new method of plying with my two bobbins. I chain plied all the singles but while holding both strands, effectively getting a four-ply yarn. To vary the colors, I alternated which bobbin I pulled the new loop from. The results were a bit unusual but not uninteresting. I finished rather late in the afternoon, so there was very little natural light to take a photo of the finished yarn, but I think you can get the idea.

The yarn has been skeined and washed and is now hanging to dry. It looks to be about sportweight and fairly well balanced; I'm hoping to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 yards. I don't know that I'll do this type of plying again, but it was certainly a fun experiment!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Pattern Re-release: Hermia Hat and Mitts

You may remember that earlier in the year I was super excited about having two patterns published in Knit Now. These patterns were only available by buying a copy of the magazine -- until now. The rights have now reverted back to me, and as you've seen over the past few weeks, I've been busy knitting up new samples and having the patterns re-tech edited so that I could release the patterns in my Ravelry store. I'm very happy to tell you that you can now purchase the patterns for both the hat and the mitts!

Hermia Hat

How cute is my new sister-in-law? She was so enthusiastic when I asked her if she'd be willing to model for me, and we had some fun doing this impromptu shoot in the backyard (in front of the only tree that still has leaves on it, for the record).

Hermia Mitts

Both the hat and the mitts are shown in the medium size -- that's a 20 inch hat circumference and an 8 inch hand circumference, in case you're wondering. Both patterns are available in three sizes. To get all the specs on these items, click on the links in the photo captions to go to the Ravelry pattern pages.

I have been counting down the days until I could re-release these patterns, so please forgive my excitement! Even though I feel like I've been working on these two patterns forever (the original prototype of the hat was done about a year ago at this point!), I'm still very much in love with them.

Hermia Hat:

Hermia Mitts:

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Hands Will Be Warm

I am turning into a mitt(en)-knitting machine. Last week, I whipped out those fingerless mitts. This week, it's all about the mittens for my LYS's mitt-along. I am simultaneously (well, not really at the same time, but I guess you could say in tandem) working on mittens for both me and Rainbow. Here is a current progress shot:

I finished the first mitten for Rainbow last night. She very conveniently fell asleep with one arm extended on top of the covers, so I went into her room several times to hold the mitten up to her hand and measure it. (It's a good thing she's a deep sleeper.) I am knitting her the smallest size of Susan B. Anderson's Waiting for Winter Mittens, though I shortened the total hand length by a bit because there's nothing worse for a kid trying to play outside in cold weather than too much fabric in her mittens. Rainbow tried the finished mitten on this morning and proclaimed it a perfect fit, so we are a go for the same length on mitten #2. I did start the cuff last night but only got about an inch done, which is why it isn't in the picture. Considering how quickly the first mitten knit up, I wouldn't be surprised if Rainbow has a finished pair by the weekend.

I made a little bit of progress on my own mittens (Kirsten Kapur's Wood Hollow Mittens) on Saturday while knitting at my LYS; I have finished the thumb gusset and put those stitches on scrap yarn, so now I am just cruising up the hand.

While this project isn't moving along as quickly as Rainbow's mittens, I am enjoying it. I know some people have found it a bit confusing to work the cable pattern and the gusset increases at the same time (because the cable crosses occur every other row but the gusset increases occur every third row), but I've just been paying close attention to my knitting and haven't had a problem. I am also doing my cables without a cable needle -- my preferred method, if it works for the pattern -- so the knitting moves along at a good clip. I would hope that a good solid evening of knitting would be enough to finish the hand of this first mitten.

When both of these pairs are done, I'm planning on casting on a third pair in the leftover Spud & Chloe Sweater. I'll be doing the Waiting for Winter mitts again, and I'm planning to donate these through my LYS. Rainbow also keeps asking for a pair of fingerless mitts, so I'm contemplating making her a pair as a Chanukah present, perhaps using handspun. After that, I think I will be quite mittened out for the year!

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Stash Management

Dealing with my stash is something that's constantly in progress. I have been buying yarn and fiber for many years now, so there's quite a bit of stuff in there, but I am trying to make a concerted effort to keep it under control. As far as the fiber stash is concerned, there has been a fair amount coming in due to the two fiber clubs I'm in. One way to try to keep that managed is to try to stay on top of the shipments -- which is why I put in several hours this weekend trying to finish spinning up the second bobbin of my most recent FatCatKnits shipment.

This is the second colorway (Sam of Sam and Dean), and I'd estimate that I'm somewhere between one-half and two-thirds done with it. I started it Friday night and spent about another hour on it today, so I think another evening or two should do it. I'm hoping to find time this week to finish these singles so that I can ply next weekend.

Another way to manage the stash is to use or get rid of the handspun I've spun over the years. I have knit with a good amount of it and given some away as prizes, but lately the handspun skeins in my stash have started to outnumber the commercial skeins. Luckily, I'll have an opportunity to liberate some of it in two weeks, when I'll be selling it at Indie Knit & Spin. My afternoon consisted of dealing with this:

This is just some of the handspun I've pulled out to sell at the event. What you can't see are the skeins that I already labeled and set aside as well as what's still in my stash (some because I want to keep it and some because I haven't gone through it yet). It's hard to get a sense of scale, but that's a pretty big plastic bin they're crammed in there. By the time I called it quits for the day, I'd pretty much filled the bin (many of these skeins were in individual plastic bags, which took up even more space) and there were still more skeins left to label. Some are going to take a bit more time because in some cases I need to reskein or do some calculations to determine yardage, but most of the pile has been labeled and accounted for. And by golly there's a lot! Digging into this was a bit like going back in time, because there are some skeins from when I first started spinning in this pile. It's hard to believe they've been sitting there all this time. I just home someone else will love them and take them home!