2015 (yarn) stash flash and plans

Over on Ravelry, there’s a thread every year to show off your yarn stash.  I figured it’d be fun to show off what I have here (at least the bits that aren’t in WIPs) and talk a little bit about my plans for said yarn this year.

I will preface this by saying I have a fairly small stash and I like it that way — I’m finding that I prefer to buy enough for several projects in one go, and not buy yarn without a project in mind.

2015 Stash FlashI also labeled it by weight because I was a bit surprised by the nice variety of weights I have:

2015 Stash Flash w labelsOne of my big goals this year in terms of my knitting and crochet is to get through a lot of my old yarn that I bought without a project in mind.  I’d also like to make several of the projects I bought yarn for last year, as well, of course!  At the moment, I’ve got 13 skeins or partial skeins of yarn that were not bought with a particular project in mind, and 24 skeins or partial skeins that were bought with a project in mind (plus two partial skeins of black and white acrylic that are designated scrap yarn).

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Good news/Bad news

First the bad news.  The knitting needle I’d bought for my Ocean Currents Rug broke!  The tip just snapped off the cable while I was working with it.  It’s been sent off to the manufacturer for replacement, but until I get a new one, there’s not going to be any rug progress.

To make up for it, I’ve had a fair bit of knitting good news.  I have a couple of projects I want to complete in the next year or two that I didn’t have the yarn for, so I put in an order and got it the other day.

I got some Supersocke self-striping sock yarn in the Mali Color Golden Shades to use in a colorwork sock along with some black yarn I already had:

I’m not quite sure why I was so drawn to this yarn — it’s not a color I’d normally pick, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to use it in that pattern.

I also got some Cascade Heritage sock yarn in Como Blue for another colorwork sock with my black yarn:

All the pictures I’d seen of this yarn showed it as blue, but it’s a fairly green-leaning blue-green.  The picture here is the best I could get, but it’s not green enough.  I’m slightly disappointed it’s not the color I was envisioning, but it should work out okay.

I’ve been wanting some custom fit gloves out of a very fine yarn, so I got some Malabrigo Lace in the color Vaa, which is super soft:

And finally, I bought someFilatura Di Crosa Nirvana lace weight yarn in Dark Teal for a lace shawl I’ve been wanting to make:

It’s super squishy and the perfect color!

As if that package wasn’t good enough news, I also finished the bed I’ve been working on for Lily for the last five and a half months.  She likes it:

In fact, she likes it more than she likes sleeping on the couch next to me!

(Click on any picture for more information on Ravelry.)

Morning Flight update and DIY needle minder

I’ve been doing a lot of cross stitch this week.  I finished the first color I was working on and added a couple of shades of yellow for the sun:

10-17-14 Morning FlightOne thing that fascinates me about this design is how it uses different numbers of strands of floss and half stitches vs. full crosses to create different effects:

10-17-14 Morning Flight closeThat’s the same color of yellow, but some half crosses are with a single strand and some are with three strands of floss.  Most of my past cross stitching projects have been small images on unstitched fabric and this is my first one with significant background shading, so I’m not sure if this is typical or not.  Those of you who’ve done more projects like this, is it a common feature?

My other minor project was a simple needle minder — you can see it in the first picture.  I’d seen a couple of needle minders on other cross stitcher’s pictures and videos, and I happened to have a couple of broken refrigerator magnets, a random button, and hot glue…

Needle minder 1Needle minder 2I hot glued the button on top of one round magnet, and put the other round magnet on the underside of the fabric.  Eventually I hope to find something prettier than the button to glue to the second magnet, so that I can have the pretty side up and the button on the underside of the fabric.

Hanging Project Storage

I recently saw a really interesting post on ravelry, talking about organizing projects using a whiteboard to keep track of ongoing projects and bags hanging on hooks to hold the projects, and immediately started thinking about how I could make it work for me.  I tend to start more projects than I finish, and individual projects often languish for long periods of time without any progress (and sometimes I even forget they exist….).

I decided to put five nails (angled slightly upward so bag handles don’t slide off) in a row above my desk to hang project bags on.  Instead of a whiteboard to organize the projects, I wrote the name of the project in marker on a scrap of paper and punched a hole at the top of the scrap to hang it on the nail with my project bag — I felt this would be easier to keep track of for me.

HangingBagOrganizerAs you can see, the two bags on the left are cloth bags, while the other three are sturdy plastic bags. The plastic bags are fine, but since I want to be able to grab a bag and take it with me, they’re not ideal — they’re very crinkly sounding for working during meetings or on the bus. I’ve just been to the local used craft supply place and picked up some cheap fabric to make some less noisy bags.

My plan is to put every project in a bag, and not start a new project until I have an open nail for it to hang on (if somehow I have a project that won’t fit, I plan on just hanging the label on a nail to take up that space). What I have there now is, sadly, not all of my ongoing projects. I have at least three more that need to make it up on the wall once I clear out some of the current ones (such as the giant bag on the right labeled “Mending”….I’m hoping that having it blocking me from starting a new project will give me motivation to finish those boring but necessary tasks).

….wait, is it cheating if I’m planning on making some project bags for the wall and don’t currently have a bag on the wall to put them in?

Yarn Laundry Day

As I mentioned in my last post, I have a couple of yarns in need of washing for various reasons. The first two are from knitting projects that I’m not going to finish, and so just a dip in hot water to relax the kinks from being knitted.  The third is a ball of sock yarn that I picked up at the local used craft supplies shop for $0.50 — it’s never been used, but is quite old.

YarnsToWash

I wound them all into hanks on my niddy noddy (from last post), then put them one at a time in a bath of warm water and a little liquid laundry detergent.

WashingYarn

After letting the yarn soak for 15 minutes or so, I gave the yarn a couple of gentle squeezes, drained it, and rinsed. I discovered that my used craft supplies store yarn, despite not having any scent when dry, smelled awful and turned the water yellow after washing. That one went through an extra wash and soak in vinegar water before rinsing.  After rinsing, I hung the long hanks from plastic coathangers in my tub to let them drip dry. (Don’t hang wet yarn from metal coathangers. In related news, cream of tartar will take rust stains off of yarn.)

HangingYarn

Finally, I wound the clean and unkinked hanks into nice cakes.  My longest yarn made such a big cake that I had to slip a toilet paper tube over my ball winder to have enough room to hold it all.

WindingYarnNow I just need to finish some of my ongoing projects so I can start knitting with this…

DIY Niddy Noddy the Really Lazy Way

I have a couple of skeins of yarn that need to be made into hanks for washing and/or dying. In the past, I’ve done this sort of thing on my forearm, but I wanted these hanks to be bigger, meaning that I wanted a niddy noddy. There’s a lot of instructions out there for a PVC niddy noddy (for example), but that would have required leaving the house to buy supplies, and it just wasn’t that sort of day.

I dug out a sturdy cardboard box and cut a 18″ x 4″ piece. Because a hank of yarn is four times the length of the niddy noddy on which it was wound, this will give me a 2 yard hank. Then I scored the piece lengthwise and folded it into a square column for the central bar of the niddy noddy.NiddyNoddyStep2

Next, I cut two 12″ x 3″ pieces and turned them into triangular columns for the cross pieces. NiddyNoddyStep3Then I cut triangular notches in the ends of the central column (note that these notches should be at 90 degree angles to each other and should fit the triangular cross pieces).NiddyNoddyStep4Finally, I wrapped all the pieces with duct tape to ensure that my yarn wouldn’t snag on any rough cut edges of the cardboard and taped the cross pieces into the notches of the central bar.NiddyNoddyStep5The finished product:WoundNiddyNoddyThe only downside to this niddy noddy (well, aside from looking really blah) is that the cross pieces will bend if you aren’t careful to wrap your yarn loosely. If I were going to be using this regularly, I’d probably go ahead and make a PVC niddy noddy, but since I don’t expect to be winding often, this works just fine for me.