Category Archives: buying yarn

Happy New Yay!

My friends. Here we are. It was certainly a year. I had a lot of good personal stuff but man there was just so much horrible public stuff that I can’t say it averaged out anywhere close to a good year. I hope your 2016 was as un-horrible as it could have been and that your 2017 sees you remaining generally safe and intact. That’s all I’ve got at this point in history, but let’s check back later and see how we’re doing.

 

On New Year’s I slept through midnight so as not to have my 3rd new year migraine in a row (sleep schedule is a huge migraine factor for me). The plan was a success, so so far 2017 isn’t seeming too bad. Fingers crossed.

 

Anyway, let’s have a look back, shall we?

 

2016 RECAP

I counted up my Ravelry projects and it said I finished 16 things in 2016. That seemed really low, considering I feel like I knit constantly, and then I remembered I also made a bunch of hats for the Etsy shop, got my first full-time job in years (with an hour commute), and took 2 classes in Spring and 3 in Fall. So I probably did kind of alright, actually.

 

I made it to 11/17 pairs for my ’15-’16:17 plan. One pair was finished in 2015 when I actually started the project, and one that I finished in 2016 was actually just to fix a problem with an old pair. So, that still evens out to 11. Call it 11.5 if we include Only Child of the Regiment, 10.5 if we only include ones I remembered to photograph. Either way, I think this might actually be my best year of socks yet?

 

 

Aside from my blanket-turned-pillow, everything else I finished last year was a shawl. I think I have officially become a Shawl Person.

 

 

Anyway. Let’s talk about the future.

 

2017 GOALS

My primary knitting goal for 2017 is not to set any knitting goals for the first 6 months. This was the first year in a long time I’ve actually had some money to buy knitting supplies regularly, and it was really strange trying to get back into the habit. (I have a pretty great local place though, which helps A LOT.) Being able to buy yarn again and having the space to store it has, interestingly enough, mostly just made me really really really want to finally knit up everything I already have and clear it all away. This is an unnecessary but not particularly un-admirable goal, so I’m trying to go with it for now.

So, I’ve got some backlog to get through and some knitalongs I’d like to knitalong with that are focused on knitting what you already have, so I’m delaying the start of my shinynewknitting year to July 1. And OK, I guess I’m starting off the future by finishing out the past, but that’s probably not the worst approach, really.

To that end, here’s my progress on my Independence Yay list since my last post:

1  Life-long Blanket: I’ve added 3 or 4 more squares. Not to the end of my squaring-off goal ’cause I ran out of new yarns. I’ve got some swaps on the way to help fix that, but I am so open for more if you have minis to trade. Comment, find me on Ravelry, I’m around.

2 Secret Project #1/’15-’16:17 #8: Done, and I promised details last time and then I didn’t take pictures or anything. I started some socks in 2010 when I was making my first attempt at a pair of socks/month. I got through the first one and it was way too big, which I didn’t realize till partway through the second one. I didn’t want to rip and redo, so I posted on facebook to see if anyone wanted them, since it would be easy to just finish up the second one and move on with my life. Which basically means I set them aside immediately and have owed my friend Stephanie a pair of socks for 6 years is what I am saying. I could not remember what mods I made after so many years and I wasn’t sure they would actually even fit her, so I ripped them out and knit some slippers just like these. So, picture those in green and a bit bigger and you’re good. Also let’s take a moment and praise my motivation to actually weave in the ends, wash & block, and mail these off like right away rather than making her wait another 6 years.

3 Shawl – Done.

4 Francis Revisited Revised: Nope.

5 Conference Call Socks: These are in my bag of “do something with these” socks. I don’t know what I’m going to do with them, though.

6 Secret Project # 2: Considering this one officially on hold till July at least.

7 Possible Mittens: Still no clue where they are but the hat they were being made to match encountered yet another dye-bleeding-from-another-project mishap, so I think I’m just crossing these off the list and they will be ripped out if they are ever found.

8 Scrappy Scarf: I added a bunch more teeny yarn ends to the ball during my last yarn organization/swap prep session, but no knitting progress.

9 Ugly Knee Socks: Pretty well decided these are not going to become anything but a ball of yarn again.

10 Secret Project #3: Yes, I solved my problem with this. No, I didn’t go on and actually finish it.

11 Muriwai the Third: Knit another skein into it. Well, I kind of had to, since there were like 80 other yarns tangled around it and I couldn’t extract the thing any other way.

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: Sadly, no.

13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks/’15-’16:17 # 10 & 11: Oh god I don’t even want to talk about it.

15 Kiemurakukkaset: They don’t go with my new coat, but I still do believe that I will finish them.

16 Nether Garments: I know where they are.

17 Stripey Sweater: PROGRESS! I’m actually almost done with the body. I am super pumped about this.

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: Nothing new to report.

19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: It’s in a bag with all its yarn and needles.

20 Myrtle: Also on hold till July. I’m sort of in flux right now, body-wise, so anything that needs to fit something on me that isn’t a foot or a head is a bad idea right now. (The stripey sweater was knit to be roomy in the first place, so that’s the only one that’s safe to continue.)

21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Let’s no longer pretend this will be a thing.

22 Problem Socks: In that bag I talked about. Actually, I think everything in that bag might get turned into 2-at-time toe-up ankle socks (knit to the right cuff length! I swear!) and the leftovers set aside for a future scrap project.

23 Mending: DONE as previously established.

24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: 4 is officially in progress, 5 is still a dream for someday.

26 ’15-16:17 #9: Good & done.

27 Wild Card: I have felt no urge to reach for this, oddly. Or maybe not oddly since I’ve obtained a ton of yarn and started a bunch new things that weren’t on this list so my wandering eye has been more than satisfied lately.

 

SPEAKING OF WHICH

 

A photo posted by Aoife Stone (@yarnandsass) on

 

Do you guys know about Mad Color Fiber Arts? I lurve her. She has this ability to get super bright colors and also put completely different colors right up next to each other without everything turning brown and weird in the middle. This yarn is one of the few things I miss about New Hampshire, even though I didn’t make it out to the store that stocks her stuff all that often. You can buy it online, of course, but I find pawing it all before deciding makes a big difference, so I haven’t bought any new stuff from her since before we moved. Dan was back in NH for a bit in October though and he returned with a skein + mini of Stalwart (75/25 Merino/nylon) in “Resistance is Futile” and a skein of Trance (80/10/10 MCN) in “Whose Side Are You On” so that I might have both Borg and Avengers socks. Because he looks out for me. Christmas brought 2 skeins of Sidekick in “Mermaid” and “Orchids and Amethysts” from my mother in law. This one’s a Targhee/nylon blend, and I have never knit with Targhee so I’m really looking forward to knitting these up. I’m thinking a shawl, since I am now a Shawl Person.

 

My Christmas presents from Dan included a skein of Knitted Wit Victory Fingering in “rock candy pink” and I’m so excited about it that I’m alternating with the Borg socks so I don’t have to sit over here pining away for it. And finally I went and helped count inventory at the yarn store yesterday and got paid in a gift certificate — which is a more than sweet deal, let me tell you, especially since 2 hours up to your elbows in alpaca yarn is almost payment in itself — and I grabbed this dying kit from Louet. One of the goals I’m not setting yet for 2017 is to take up dyeing a bit more seriously, and this seemed like a good little boost in that direction.

 

My goodness, folks. There’s a lot going on here, yarn-wise. Here’s hoping it’s the same for you. As for me, I’d better get back to it. It probably won’t learn to knit itself.

Independence Upd(y)a(y)te

Well, it’s been just about exactly 3 months since I decided to try to climb out from under my pile of unfinished things. Let’s see how I’m doing so far:

 

1  Life-long Blanket: Progress! Yay! Read about it here. I need about 25 more squares and maybe 6 or 8 triangles to reach my next goal of squaring it all off. Hit me up if you wanna swap some minis.

2 Secret Project #1: DONE! BOOM! Yay me. Details to come.

(3 was done between starting the list and writing the post, so I don’t get any additional credit, but I’d like to just take a minute and enjoy that “I finished a thing!” feeling.)

4 Francis Revisited Revised: Have not touched. Will soon. Maybe.

5 Conference Call Socks: The too small/just right/too small/do I knit these again? pair. Still undecided but not feeling too excited about getting back to them.

6 Secret Project # 2: No progress. I have another thing I have to do first before I can work on this, so who knows if/when this will make an appearance.

(7 Mittens maybe? Maybe not? Sitting in a giant tangle somewhere.)

8 Scrappy Scarf: No progress, but looking at it again when I was organizing all my current projects to store in my NEW OTTOMAN YOU GUYS I GOT A NEW COUCH IT’S SO GREAT AND LURVE IT!!!!  I looked at this again and realized I really really really love it, so it might still come to be someday.

9 Ugly Knee Socks: Think I’m gonna rip these and use the yarn for blanket/scarf/trading purposes.

10 Secret Project #3: Got over the hurdle that’s had this on hold for like a year. Still haven’t reached the finish line, but I can see it now.

11 Muriwai the Third: Gotten a few more rounds done, but nothing worth photographing.

12 Worsted Weight Scrap Blanket: No progress. I haven’t been knitting any worsted weight projects, hence no new worsted weight scraps.

13 & 14 Mismatched 2-at-a-time Socks: I see 2 options for these. Give up and call them a pair finally, or knit the 2nd ones toe-up so there’s something different about them and maybe that will be excitement enough to make me want to do it?

15 Kiemurakukkaset: No progress. But it’s getting cold, so I should get on that. And make a matching hat.

16 Nether Garments: No progress, but again, it’s getting cold, so…

17 Stripey Sweater: I need to finish breaking up all that Noro into its component stripes, and I just haven’t felt like it yet. If anybody wants to come over and cut up yarn for an evening, lemme know.

18 Former Sweater, Future Pillow: PROGRESS! Got about half the back done. Yay! I’m using this as counter-knitting when my hands get tired of socks.

19 Gray & Yellow Shawl: Progress! Partway through the first (of I’m thinking 4) section.

20 Myrtle: Nothing. No swatch. Not even thinking about it.

21 Gray & Teal Scarf: Was only in the planning stages. I’ve swatched a bit and can’t get my idea clear between my brain and my hands. This one might just get crossed off.

22 Problem Socks: I have them all in the same place, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.

23 Mending: DONE!

24 & 25 Mystery Projects 4 & 5: One started, measured, ripped, and restarted. One thought about but that’s about it.

26 Then-current Year of Socks Socks: Very close to done but then I had a lot of school reading and a short sock that would necessitate paying attention to the cast on, heel, decreases, and toe all in such close succession just didn’t work. I set them aside for the next pair and am almost done with them. Really I need one good evening off from homework and they’d both be done.

27 Wild Card: It’s in the ottoman. But leaving that space open for knitting something else and then you’re online one night with a friend who’s sending you all these shawl kit links and you’re kind of like wouldn’t it be great to do a knit-along together on the same shawl and then next thing you know you’re poking around Jimmy Beans’s Madelintosh stock, and, well,

 

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NEW COUCH IN THE BACKGROUND!!!!!

The blue & brown are already on their way to being Loop for the knit-along. The speckles & pink are probably gonna be Double Dutch. Also Jimmy Beans winds up to 3 skeins of yarn for free and whatever part of my brain is like “yes, I will buy $45 more in yarn to avoid a $4 shipping charge” somehow couldn’t get me that extra $3 to wind the fourth one. I don’t even know, you guys.

Anyway, Loop and I are very happy together so far, but I’ll get back to the list soon.

No, for real.

I promise.

 

Blanket Break

This thing is now entirely too big for me to take a decent picture of all of it. On the plus side, I now live in a place that’s big enough for me to spread it out completely.

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As I have worked through my full supply of minis, it is time to focus on making more leftovers. I’ve got 5 pairs in progress, so that’s the obvious place to start. Yesterday I had a migraine that only got worse throughout the day AND I had a long drive to do boring errands, and I think we all know what happens with a combination like that.

 

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2 skeins of SweetGeorgia Tough Love Sock, 1 of Vice Paradigm

You really can’t expect me to leave the house with a migraine and come home with just a migraine and a toilet seat, no sir.

Then tonight I was getting organized to re-open my Etsy shop and I was looking for some yarn for a custom order and…well…I probably don’t have to tell you what my living room floor looks like right now. Anyway, my point is I decided to be very organized and smart about things and put all my sock yarn that I want to make socks out of in 1 place. I pulled out a few skeins I’m thinking will be better as shawls, and this is what I’m left with, including the in-progress socks and the 3 new skeins:

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That, my friends, represents 17 as-yet-unknit pairs of socks. I think it might be time for another Year Of Socks project. If I finish the half-knit ones during Selfish September (go on and have a good laugh at the idea of me finishing Daughter of the Regiment in that time frame even without 4 other pairs to finish, I’ll wait), that’d be 3 weeks/pair starting October 1. Even setting aside the shawl yarns, that’s quite a lot of knitting I’m facing just from 1 category of yarn. But the blanket is only going to get hungrier and just think of the leftovers I’ll have when I’m done. Actually, I should think of all the time I’m probably going to spend snowed in this winter. Seventeen pairs might not be enough to keep me busy.

Gifts from the Internet

I am just a huge fan of how much stuff I can acquire without having to get off the couch, and often without having to pay real dollars for it. Seriously, the internet has done so much for my yarn stock. In the last few weeks I’ve gotten a few little packages that are increasing the sock:other yarn ratio quite nicely.

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There you have some Patons Kroy I got in a Ravelry trade. The bad light in this apartment does not do justice to how neon that yellow is, but some of the entries in the Ravelry projects gallery give you a better idea. This is a yellow, yellow yarn, and I don’t have anything like it, and I cannot wait to introduce it to Cookie A. There’s only 1 of the stripey Kroy because I kind of couldn’t resist and I already knit a sock out of the other skein. One of those things that just happens before you even realize it sometimes, you know? And all those tiny balls are fuel for the Life-Long Blanket. Stephanie over at woolythyme was working on a sock blankie recently and offered to share her minis with her readers, and there is no way I can resist an offer like that.

Common Ground is coming along nicely, after a few false starts wherein my ability to count and follow simple directions sort of took a vacation. I’m past the lace on the body and just a few rows away from the bottom ribbing. Really this would take about 3 good, solid evenings’ worth of knitting to finish, but with my school/work schedule, it will probably be another week. But it will happen, and it will be beautiful!

In life news, school’s OK, work’s OK, my little business venture is more than OK, and over at the other blog I’m getting very close to the end of Alias season 1 and starting to feel almost OK about the whole series. But the real big life news, the most exciting life news, is this:

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His name is Mix Fleetwood. Isn’t he handsome?

We got a really big tax return, so I got a really big treat. I love him and I use him almost every day even if I’m just making scrambled eggs for 2, and he’s basically the greatest thing. And he’s sooooo purple!

 

Burning Through the List

  • Realize that our long-standing dislike of our bed and an impending and unexpected check I was about to receive could be combined in a rather satisfying manner: check.
  • Avoid day-long Ikea trip by finding super sale at local independent place and get a fairly awesome deal including free delivery and setup: check.
  • Finally have a comfy bed to fall into every night after years and years of being all ugh about the whole thing: check.

NEW_BED

(We also got 2 drawers for underneath but they came later. Oh, and a comforter. We got one of those, too.)

  • Still to do: find nightstands that match our new bed frame and don’t cost a week’s pay.
  • Realize we now have an entire bed to spare that didn’t really have anything wrong with it (mostly it was just too small and familiar) and that it could go into the spare room so that we could finally have a real guest room instead of an air mattress on the floor of our “home office” which had just turned into unused space since we both got laptops and Netflix on the Wii: check.

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(Suddenly, this tiny, weird room feels HUGE AND LOVELY and I want everyone to come and stay with us. Seriously. Are you going to be in New England? You are welcome to stay.)

  • Unexpected gift of curtains that work in the bedroom and valances that work in the spare room (and an extra set of sheets) from Dan’s mother, making these rooms look even awesomer that the photos imply: check.
  • Still to do: buy blinds for the living room windows. So damn sick of cat hair-covered curtains I can’t even tell you.
  • Make serious progress on secret knitting and order yarn to finish it: check.

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(That’s all you get to see because it’s secret and for all you know it might be for you and of all the surprises you don’t want to spoil a surprise for you would be at the top, right?)

  • Still to do: finish the secret knitting by the end of next week.
  • Send in application and payment for community garden: check.
  • Still to do: figure out what I can grow in a 4′ by 8′ plot (suggestions will be accepted in comments, so don’t be shy, y’all).
  • Write another blog post it has been 2 weeks seriously what is wrong with you just say something: oh, check, for totally.

 

My Recent Yarn Frustrations Expressed in Song Lyrics

in my dream I will remember you lovingly

oh but in real life this is not over

I don’t know what to do…’cos I still believe
After all the foolish things you put me through
I could always make a start on something new
And I’ve always been a man who’s open to
Persuasion

If I needed you
Would you come to me
Would you come to me
And ease my pain

Save

Save

Xmas Yarns!

Aside from the DiC Smooshy from husbandman, I have some other new lovely friends these days.

Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine

Funky Monkey! Handpaints

Ivy Brambles Sockscene and Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 12-Ply

I think the Ultra Alpaca wants to be something out of Sock Innovation. The Funky Monkey and Ivy Brambles will probably be some simple top-down socks unless any serious pooling takes place. The cashmere will be a Luxe Neck Warmer.

Yes, cashmere. On my neck. Any day now.

Annifirstary!

Yesterday was a day of plans changing and good things coming out of that. First, my Boston plans fell through. At the last minute, my friend was unable to go, and while I do love a good wander around the city, when you don’t have an itinerary, that’s really more fun with someone else than on your own. Plus, I figured if I hit a local yarn store, I could skip the train fare and have more to spend. So, I took a solo trip into Maine to a place I know sells Berroco Comfort. I need some Comfort Sock for a Baktus-and-narwhal-based barter I’m sorting out. I also wanted to pick up a shorter 2.75 mm circ for Plain and Simple. Well – day of plans changing, and all that – they did not have Comfort Sock in the colors I sought and they didn’t have any circs smaller than 3 mm, so poor little Randi had to find something else to do with her money. I came home with a half-pound of undyed Louet BFL fiber and my first Crazy Zauberball.

Do I need a third pair of socks-in-progress? I might.

However. On to the real news of the weekend. It’s been a year since my scintillating first post, so I suppose a little reflecting is in order. I started this blog to give myself another creative outlet, really just something for myself, but I’ve still been very excited to see my views rise steadily each month. I was hoping my friends would be interested enough in what I was doing to click over, but I was really thrilled when I got my first subscriber who wasn’t someone I’d met in person (hi, KnitSteve!). I’ve posted about 30 finished projects (I’m not going to attempt a count on the unfinished). I’ve documented my first successful sweaters. Most importantly, I’ve impressed myself by posting regularly. I’m not the best at sticking with things after I get started with them, but I’ve averaged 5 posts a month over the last year, and I’m rather proud of that. It’s been a good year.

I Spent My Xmas Money & It Was Awesome

My in-laws went a little wild with the Xmas check this year, so I went a little wild with my half.

This is what my work looks like when it's all cut out for me.

I thought about buying a spinning wheel, but in the end that felt like making a commitment that spinning would be my main hobby for the next several months, and I’m not quite there yet. On the other hand, I have wanted to set a goal of knitting a sweater every two months next year, and that right there is 6 sweaters’ worth of yarn, and then some.  Moving mostly leftish to rightish through those stacks, we have:

  • Cascade Eco+ (green) for the Drops 103 jacket.
  • Cascade Eco (gray) for owls by Kate Davies.
  • Berroco Pure Merino DK for a hat for Dan.
  • Addi Lace 1.75 mm 60″ circ. I’ve been wanting to try needles smaller than 2 mm for thinner sock yarns like Berroco Sox and Trekking XXL but I bend the wood or bamboo ones too much to make the investment worth it. I haven’t knit with any metal since I first started knitting due to ongoing wrist and shoulder issues that made it too uncomfortable. I’m hoping these are thin and light enough that I can work with them.
  • Rowan Felted Tweed for Bonny.
  • Harrisville Designs New England Shetland for Plain and Simple Pullover.
  • Berroco Peruvia Quick in Brown, Black and White for Winding Path.
  • Berroco Seduce for Apocalypta.
  • And my all-time favorite sock yarn, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select Semisolids in Azure.

This entire purchase was greatly helped by the fact that my sort-of local place has a frequent buyer stampy card discount coupon system, which cut a big chunk out of the cost for this lot. I even had a bit left over to pick up some canning jars for my next dyeing project and a top-whorl spindle on Etsy to start spinning lace weight with!

Dan had big plans for his half of the check as well, and we had a restaurant gift card to dispose of, so we headed out early this morning for what turned into about a 7-hour trip: bank, breakfast, yarn store, comic book store, Game Stop, other comic book store, finally home to pile everything up on the floor and stare at it slack-jawed and giddy with exhaustion. I hit the yarn store prepared, with all the yarn I needed for everything I want to knit in a spreadsheet. It seemed like they hadn’t completely restocked after the Xmas rush, so some adjustments needed to be made to the list, and I had to mix a few dye lots (though I ended up mixing accidentally on the Felted Tweed; hoping that can be worked out with a quick call in the morning), but I managed to get most of my biggest wants checked off the list. Even being prepared, it still takes a LONG time to pick out all that yarn, but seeing as the biggest splurge we ever allow ourselves at one time is maybe $50 if we’re doing really well that month, it felt really strange and fun to have some stress-free cash to blow. And now I can start saving up for NH Sheep & Wool in May, since I can’t see why I would have to buy any yarn between now and then.

Merry Xmas to all, and I am heading back to my big-ass loungey pillow to pet my yarn some more.