Stash Enhancements: The Local Edition

local stash enhancements
(Left to right, first row: NGY Bounce & Stomp Face Hugger, NGY Shimma Equestria, NGY Swagger Clever Girl. Second row:  NGY Stellar Exquisite Orchid, NGY Witty DK Grimm, NGY Saucy Dorian Gray. Third row: NGY Dingo Pvt. Jenkins, Th’red Head Designs Superwash Greens and Th’red Head Superwash Cosmos)

Most of the girls in my knitting group discovered Nerd Girl Yarns at the 2012 Knitting in the Heartland event. I missed the event because I was on the other side of the globe, sulking. I didn’t get to discover Nerd Girl until this past summer when I bought a few skeins of her yarn at the Maker Fair at Union Station. To be honest, NGY was one of the key reasons I wanted to go to Maker Faire. Since then, I got a subscription to NGY’s Random Fandom yarn club which I LOVE! I’ve been a member for about five months now and there’s only been one skein I was less than enthusiastic about. Last month, which was a particularly low spot for me, I received a skein of Shimma (her fingering superwash merino, nylon and stellina base) in the Equestria colorway which is inspired by My Little Pony. OMG! Total love. I almost cried with joy. This month, I received a skein of Swagger (a BFL superwash base) in Clever Girl which is jungle yumminess inspired by a quote from Jurassic Park.

Last week, my knitting group decided to drive out to Odessa, MO (about 40 minutes east of Kansas City) to attend the Open Studio event at Nerd Girl Yarns. Needless to say, we were all super excited to trek out to Odessa and have our “pick of the litter”. There was a cake with a giant yarn ball on top of it and lots and lots of people present. We had a good time shopping.

I bought a ridiculous four skeins of yarn. I bought one tweedy skein of fingering weight from her discount bin — it was the Dingo base in the Pvt. Jenkins colorway (named for the HALO video game character) in a semi-solid olive/deep green. I also got a skein of her Saucy base (BFL/silk) in the Dorian Gray colorway. I also found one skein from her Nerdy Octopus Brigade series — a sparkly laceweight which blends Merino, silk and stellina and is a lovely blend of lime green, olive green and deep raspberry and rosy pinks. Its called Exquisite Orchid. The last skein I bought is a DK weight superwash called Witty in the Grimm colorway. Yummy!

Yesterday, I went to the annual Creative Hand Sale hosted by the Kansas City Fiber Guild. Most products sold at the event are completed items but there’s a corner of yarn and fiber which I made a beeline to. I got a couple skeins of Th’Red Head Designs sparkly yarn last year and I really liked them. I used a skein for my Damson mini shawl.  I hoped to buy some of her yarn and maybe a couple skeins of Treasure Goddess. Instead, I found two enormous skeins of Th’red Head worsted weight  superwash, one in semi-solid green and the other in what can only be described as Nebula or Cosmos as its a fabulous strata of colors like you see in the Hubble photos on the NASA web site. I wish she named her colors instead of just assigned them a number, so I’m making up names.

I bought both skeins with the intention of using one of them to make a new Clapotis since I lost mine in January. It was knit up from a jungle green Crafty in a Good Way yarn — another local dyer — but she no longer dyes so I had to find a new solution. The Th’Red Head green is similar in overall hue  but does not have the little hints of brown that the Crafty in a Good Way had. I may knit the new Clapotis from the Supernova colorway instead and save the green colorway for another project.

I can’t wait to cast-on and pick projects for my new yarns!


I’m All Wound Up

the oranges

So, a few months ago, my friend Cathy and I got this idea to buy up the whole KnitPicks Palette sampler — all 150 colors for a whopping $419 — and divvy it up into smaller mini skeins so that all our pals could have a little swatch of each color. What better way to plan your next color project.

the blues

Well, we collected the funds and ordered the yarn and it showed up on my doorstep in a box so big I had to drag it into my house. I guess I didn’t really think through exactly how much space 150 balls of yarn might actually take. Then I started trying to figure out how to best divide the yarn evenly into mini skeins. I ended using my mini skein winder niddy noddy and figured out how many wraps would evenly divide each ball. And off I went.

I didn’t realize that it would take about 30 minutes per ball to wind off a dozen mini skeins so this project is taking a lot longer than I anticipated and it is not at all portable so I can really only work on it in the evenings or on the weekend.

The first weekend, I wound about two dozen balls but was not using proper winding techniques and jacked up my shoulder as a result of the repetitive motion so I’ve limited myself to winding only a few balls at a time while watching TV.

Wound bundles

Progress is being made. When all 150 balls are wound into mini skeins, my pal Laura offered up her house for a label-and-sort party so that we can get this yarn distributed as quickly as possible. I know people are anxiously awaiting their swatch bundles and I’d like to get to actually knitting!


The Airing of the Stash


I’ve listened to Brenda Dayne’s Cast-On podcast for as long as I can remember and I always love her “airing of the stash” details. Every year, in January, she hauls out all her yarn and organizes it, catalogs it and sorts it into “keep” and “toss” piles. By “toss” I of course mean that she donates it, sells it or trades it. Unless the creepy crawlies invade, no one actually throws away yarn. Proof of this exsisted in my stash when I found little one yard bits of yarn. Seriously. Pack rat.

That said, I discovered that a lot of my yarn had never been added to my Ravelry online stash and if its not on Ravelry, I don’t remember that it exists. So my first order of business was to photograph and catalog everything on Ravelry. Then I sorted it back into my three big bins according to “Sweater quantity,” “sock yarns,” “everything else”.


There was a small bag (okay, its a big bag) of yarns that I’d like to swap, trade or donate and a load of scraps (those bits exceeding one yard)  I need to find uses for or hand them over to an art teacher to use in kids craft projects.

Now that I’ve catalogued everything I will start finding projects that I’ve queued or favorite-ed on Ravelry so that project can meet yarn and live out their lives happily. Yarn without a project buddy will be paired up soon or it will be paired with other yarns to make a larger project.

Can I tell you how good it feels to know what I have and start to plan projects for each ball, skein or hank? Do you do this?


Long-tail Tubular Cast-on and KSASD

For whatever reason, this week I decided I needed to know how to do a long-tail tubular cast-on. I found this lovely video that Ysolda Teague made (love you, Ysolda! But I promise I’m not a crazy stalker, really.) but I cannot, for the life of me, remember why I needed to know how to do this. Classic case of knitters short-attention span…

…oooo, sparkly yarn! Brooklyn Tweed has a new pattern book out! Green yarn is on sale at Webs!

Go forth and be distracted. Or learn the long-tail tubular cast-on. Your choice.

(video from Ysolda Teague)


The Stashumentary


A couple of friends and I met up on Saturday morning to be the first people through the door for Knitcraft’s Annual Sale. Its a bounty of good yarn at great prices. I got enough to knit a couple whole sweaters, a vest and even a few skeins of Louisa Harding Willow Tweed(swoon!).

I was so inspired by the beautiful autumn day that I photographed all my yarn with bits of fallen leaves and got them all added to my Ravelry stash. Now to pick out projects for all the bounty. All hail yarn hoarding!


Never say never…

Ever since I learned to knit I swore I was a knitter, not a crocheter. But I’ve seen such lovely fun things made in crochet — flowers and granny square afghans and doilies –– that I thought it was about time to put away my prejudices and learn to do it.

I found some videos on YouTube that were reversed for lefties and I got down the basics. Nothing too exciting but I’m hoping that these little successes will inspire me to make more flowers and use up my stash of tiny bits.