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Archive for the ‘the stash’ Category

I didn’t take a lot of pictures at Maryland Sheep & Wool, mostly because I was enjoying myself way too much to keep digging in my bag for the camera, and partly because in the vendor barns there was no room to dig for the camera, even if I wanted to. The whole experience was entirely happy (crowded walkways notwithstanding), if for no other reason than I got to see, pet, and smell sheep.

That’s right, I said smell. I grew up on a small farm (with my grandpa’s real farm down the road) and the smell of straw and healthy livestock is … so comforting, oddly. It smells like home. (Not my parents’ actual house, obviously. Settle down, Mom)

Sheep!

These guys were waiting to be judged, I think. We didn’t really hang out to see the competitions, choosing to shop and chat instead (that’s what happens when two verbose friends only see each other once a year or so).

I tried to get this guy to look at me…

Look at the camera

And when he did he was all, May I help you?

Excuse me?

And he was humming. Amazing.

Yeah, you're standing in my neck there.

Two lambs trying to occupy the same space, and not really succeeding.

Fluff

And seriously, I could not believe how fluffy this guy was. I mean really.

Haul from MDS&W

This was the haul. Creatively Dyed sock yarn on top, some gorgeous purple worsted weight in the middle (my memory fails me now on the company from Maple Creek Farm(s?) in Omaha, whose domain registration has expired, so no link), and organic cotton in three colors on the bottom (again with the not knowing the brand from Misty Mountain Farm in Virginia). I’ll put up better pictures with actual companies later this week…end(?). edited to add: Pictures are coming! It was rainy and grey for a few days here, but hopefully later today I can take some pictures.

Even though I’m not big on all the aspects of the festival (can’t eat the carnival-style food, am only mildly interested in the contests & competitions), I had a great time hanging out with Femiknitter, receiving compliments on my Tuscany shawl (yes, I do plan to do an actual write-up on that soon), and seeing yarn from dyers/spinners/farms/companies I had never heard of, or had heard of but had never seen in person. I’m really happy that I bought yarn only from new-to-me companies, and am super excited to try out new yarn.

(The purple? Destined to become a February Lady Sweater [Ravelry link]. You know, after I finish the 37 other projects I have going right now.)

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Stash Love

This is my monument to Yarn.

Stash cubbies!

I’m so excited about this setup, I could eat it.

I about fell over when our offer on this house was accepted and I found out I was going to have a room all to myself where the yarn could live free and unencumbered from that old chest of drawers…

Office wall

… which is, yes, still holding yarn, but it’s the leftover yarn and the acrylic yarn and the unlabeled yarn. The real yarn lives in the cubbies now. The favorite yarn. The yarn I love.

We bought two cube units from Lowe’s (much, much cheaper than Ikea) — a 3×3 unit and a 2×3 unit — and stuck the smaller one on top of the larger. It was easy peasy.

I sorted the yarn from laceweight (top left) to sock to sport/DK to worsted to bulky (bottom right) and I currently have 2 cubes left over, which probably won’t last very long. I threw some cedar blocks in the cubes and keep the closet doors closed. Except when I’m sorting yarn or dealing with the explosion of my posessions. Which is, frankly, most of the time.

Having the yarn all tucked away and orderly makes me feel so much calmer than when it was jammed into a dresser, stuffed into bags around the dresser, crammed into bags on top of the bags around the dresser, and taking over our office space. Now we have two offices and space for all our hobbies, and it makes life a little easier. Calm. Peaceful. Ordered.

It’s a start.

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Hey kiddies, sorry to have left all that yarn up there for a week. I didn’t mean to make you wach my commercialism on purpose. I spent most of last week either blowing my nose every three seconds, bitching about my inability to smell or taste anything, or under heavy sedation (god bless Nyquil), and wasn’t able to get to the computer. And then, when I was able, I didn’t really want to. You know.

But I started feeling loads better on Saturday and Sunday, and this is what happened:


This might be more impressive if I had a picture of what this corner of the office looked like before. Or what the insides of the drawers looked like, for that matter. I got rid of FOUR huge BAGS OF YARN (stop freaking out, it was crap acrylic) which I had acquired in the days when I was a new crocheter with high hopes of an afghan for everyone I knew! and purchased with quantity, rather than quality, in mind. Lots of Red Heart. Lots of leftovers. Lots of crap just taking up space. Those bags were surrounding the dresser like grumpy castle guards, making it very difficult for me to get into the drawers. Eventually I stopped using them for actual storage. When I emptied them out they just had a few scraps each. Excellent use of space!!!


Now, the dresser holds almost all my yarn (not the sock yarn, that’s still in the living room). The top drawer holds leftover balls that are actually worth keeping around, a case of embroidery floss, my shears, and probably other things. (What? It’s a spring cleaning, not a spring complete-conversion-to-the-church-of-Martha.) The other three drawers are packed with all my real yarn. I even emptied out the under-bed storage box and moved that stuff in with the rest.

The blue bag to the left of the dresser holds the crocheted ripple afghan my grandma Shirley was working on before she died. The plastic bags in the foreground hold all the yarn I’m trying to sell (see previous post and also here if you are interested and if you are I love you a lot). I do have one more large bag (another crocheted afghan project) that’s currently out in the living room. It taunts me with its mass.


This is the top of the dresser. The wicker basket is holding my current WIPs. The crate holds my swift, ballwinder, and Eucalan (other stuff too, but I’ll share that another day). The top of the crate holds some Cascade EcoWool (for swatching or for a house cozy – that stuff has some outstanding yardage), my straight needle roll, and the dyepot and dyecolander, which of course both hold extra yarn that won’t fit in the dresser.

And that is the story of how a little case of cabin fever can turn into a giant destashing and a soothing feeling of having control over one’s yarn. Let us hope it lasts.

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Being the annoyingly organized (about some things) person that I am, I’ve started to make an inventory of my yarn and needles. Seriously. I made a spreadsheet and everything. (Stop laughing.)


(yarn waiting to be assessed, categorized, and digitized.)

This effort may be seen by some as pure folly, or a waste of time, or just absolutely batshit crazy. Whatever. I prefer to see it as an effort to gain control over my stash (god, who keeps laughing?) and keep myself (a) focused on the projects for which I purchased the yarn in the first place, and (b) aware of how much yarn I actually own.

Just how much yarn do I own?

Well, for starters, I own 4 miles (7744.6 yards) of sock yarn. Not as much as some, maybe, but it definitely is cause for action Chez HookOn.

And I’m really not sure how much I own of the rest of the yarn (haven’t gotten everything entered yet) but it astonishes me how much I’ve forgotten. When Femiknitter was visiting she asked to see my stash, and I pulled everything out. Everything (except the Red Heart) was a lot. I kept remembering little places in my apartment where I’ve randomly shoved yarn away, and I really surprised myself with what I found (“Huh, I’ve got 8 balls of a discontinued Patons superwash merino! I wonder where those came from.”).

To sum up: the yarn/needle (oh god, the needles) inventory is a good way to make sure I shop for yarn only in my stash, and is a lovely time- and money-saving device. Lovely.

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Resolved

Hapy New Year, everyone! I’m a bit late in saying that, but yesterday saw me in Michigan visiting a bunch of sweet people, then participating in a 4.5 hour drive home.

I did think about New Year’s resolutions — something I don’t usually do because I think I set myself up for failure and disappointment if I don’t accomplish said resolutions. This year I realized that if I don’t give myself goals, I definitely don’t reach them, so why the heck not? Why not, indeed. So here are a few off my list:

Physical activity is no longer optional.

Figure out (then TAKE) the next step, career-wise.

Travel.

Challenge myself, knit-wise.

Seriouly, knit more.

Take control of the stash.
I took a mental inventory the other day and am horrified at (or idiotically proud of) myself.

  • I have my sock yarn stashed on top of bookshelves in the part of our living room where lives my cozy knitting chair,
  • I have yarn stashed between the knitting chair and the wall,
  • I have yarn stashed under the end table next to my knitting spot on the couch,
  • I have yarn stashed under the bed in a plastic box that threatens to burst open,
  • I have yarn stashed in a 4-drawer dresser unit in the computer room,
  • I have yarn stashed ON TOP OF the 4-drawer dresser unit in baskets,
  • I have yarn stashed in giant plastic bags SURROUNDING the 4-drawer dresser unit,
  • I have yarn stashed under my desk at work — AT WORK, PEOPLE!
  • And I have yarn stashed on the third floor of the library (again, MY PLACE OF WORK) which I call my “teaching stash” for when I next teach crochet or knitting classes. I have no plans as yet to teach crochet or knitting classes.

And I realize that this may be nothing to those master hoarders (you know who you are) who use yarn in place of fiberglass insulation to reduce their winter heating costs, but it’s a lot of yarn for me, and A LOT of yarn for this tiny two-bedroom apartment. And certainly A LOT for my place of work. Plus, it’s rather stupid of me to continue purchasing yarn when that money could go toward debt repayment or saving for a house or other responsible-adult-type things.

After realizing this for myself, I decided to join in on this little thing that you may have heard of.

(Evidence of long hours learning to use The Gimp, culminating in this, my first sucess at making a button! Feel free to snag it, but please save it to your own server. Because that’s what nice bloggers do.)

I’ve stolen from Wendy, raided Rabbitch, and come up with my own rules for this game:

1. This game starts on January 1st (which means my yarn purchases from Femiknitter’s visit snuck in just under the radar) and runs through September.

2. I get a bye for Stitches Midwest in August (what? Like I’m going to give that up), but will impose a monetary limit on my purchases.

3. I can buy sock yarn, but only after actually completing 2 pairs of socks.

4. Gifts of yarn are not my fault and are entirely acceptable.

5. The “I’ve run out of yarn for this specific project and must finish it” excuse is entirely acceptable.

6. I can succumb to the temptation of sexy sexy yarn ONCE AND ONLY ONCE outside of the other exceptions, so it better be well worth it.

I don’t think this will be hard. At the rate I’m knitting, I won’t even make a dent in the stash (which currently holds enough yarn to make (roughly) 5 shawls, 4 sleeveless tops, 3 me-sized sweaters, 2 baby-sized sweaters, 16 pairs of socks, 4 large crocheted afghans, 1 pair of mittens, 1 Christmas tree skirt, and assorted scarves, hats, and random randomness). I think I’ll be okay.

2007 in going to rock!

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Again With The Swag

Sometimes, working in a public library is the best thing ever.

I put out adverts for my upcoming (less than a week! Oh My God!) intermediate crochet class all around the town (newspapers, posters in the library, etc) and this lovely woman who comes into the library at least once a week called me up the other day. She asked if I could use crochet hooks for my students, as she is nearing 90 years old and the handwork has gotten beyond her. I said of course I could use them, and thank you for offering. Today she called me up and asked if I could use any knitting needles. Well of course I could, and you are a dear.

When I got back to work from my lunch break I found a bag full of knitastic goodness.

I found booklets (one from 1941)



This one has designs in it for size 35 and 50 needles, and I suspect that the enormous Reynolds Jumbo Jet needles I have are size 50 (because really, how could they not be). I’m currently holding onto the needles purely for the comic relief. I may decide to let them go (what, like into the wild?) someday. Someday, but not now.

I also found the tiniest crochet hook I’ve ever seen (steel size 12).

Yes, I’m sure there are smaller ones, you wacky crochet-with-cobweb purists. It’s just that I own this one. And it’s freaking tiny. Can’t see the hook part? Neither can I, from here. Click to bigginate and you too shall bask in its petite tinydom. And in my fingerprints, if you look closely.

I also found a pom-pom maker, which is awesome.

I almost bought one the other day, and I’m uberglad I didn’t. (Do you ever wish you could type an umlaut? I totally want to right now.) I don’t know what those round rings are, unless they are another kind of pom-pom maker and I’ve just displayed my ignorance to the knit/crochet blogosphere. That would be the best thing ever.

And there were stitch holders, too.

It’s kind of hard to make stitch holders exciting.

And there were all manner of needles, including this size 10 29″ circular, which is awesome because I didn’t own one (until now! Sweet!).

See that price? Yes, that baby was $2.50 once upon a time. Oh, for the good ol’ days when a circular needle was two-fifty and all you could buy was …Red Heart. Oh wait. Nevermind.


I also got this set of four size 4 dpns. Alumin(i)um. Pink. They are cute and I love them.

And these shorter straights, still in their Heroic cases:

Can you see those prices? Well, okay, the two on the left are plastic, but still. The alumin(i)um ones were only $1.35 once.


And here is the rest of the haul, backgrounded by my great-grandmother’s quilt made of old neckties. I got lots of needles in all sizes, and my needle roll/case for long straights is almost all full.

I love the people who patronize public libraries. They’re so lovely.

In Other News
My wrists feel better. I’m not going to stitch till Sunday (maybe Saturday night. Probably Saturday night–who am I kidding), but I am feeling much better. I’m stretching and moving more while I work (thanks Laura!), and throwing my shoulders back when I sit, as Heather does (although I feel all “tits-to-the-wind” when I do and feel kind of naughty about it). Charming, no?

Now I must away and sleep. Long day today. Long day tomorrow. Normal day Friday. Long-ass day Saturday. Sigh.

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