Category Archives: Stash Enhancement

First Annual Local Yarn Shop Day!

Dee:  Well, we have a new “Hallmark” holiday to celebrate, April 21 is Local Yarn Shop Day.  Please correct me if I am wrong however, I thought every day was a local yarn shop day.  In light of this new holiday I will of course be celebrating by making the trek to my not-as-local-as-I-would-like yarn shop, String Theory in Glen Ellyn.  Before I make the journey I want to discuss something sparked by an article I read on the Post Stitch blog.   It’s an excellent post, so you should read it.

How does one build or curate their perfect stash?   The answer is probably different for each knitter depending of course upon their preferred knitting tendencies.   My knitting preferences have evolved over time as I am sure yours have as well.  Please do not show me a “hairy” yarn. I never want to use eyelash yarn again.  The funny thing is that non-knitters love that type of yarn so they will get them from me in the form of a gift should I discover any remnant skeins in my stash.   I am also pretty much over space dyed yarns.  It’s not to say that I will never buy another beautifully colored skein, they are gorgeous however, it’s not my current crave.  Pooling is a huge reason they have fallen out of favor with me.  Keeping my pattern options open is what motivates my purchases these days.  I did buy three skeins of yarn at YarnCon and all of them were solids.  I also enjoy lightly speckled yarns and semi-solids.  I have created a few rules to follow for spontaneous stash enhancements.

  1. Can I live without it?
  2. Do I have yarn already like it?
  3. Does it provide me with enough knitting options?

Another rule to consider is when I decide to make a purchase I always ask myself if there is enough yardage to make what I have in mind.  You can certainly single skein yourself to death.  Sometimes purchasing more is in fact the one hundred percent the best option and that’s the truth.

I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts on how you are curating your stash.  Please share, and happy knitting!

 

Up And Running!

Dee:  I’m feeling optimistic about a lot of things.  I feel pretty good actually and 2018 seems to be off to a really great start for me.  I’d like to accomplish a lot of knitting and a lot of other things too.  Although I definitely will be knitting from my stash again this year I have recently bought a few new skeins of American yarn to try out.  I’ve been hearing some really great things about the Barrett Wool Co. yarn from Wisconsin.  I purchased their Home worsted weight yarn in two colors to knit a couple of Emmen hats as well as purchasing their Wisconsin Woolen in worsted to knit Mary Jane Mucklestone’s Pine Star Hat.  Last night I attended a special evening at String Theory.  They were showcasing a couple of smaller yarn companies Spencer Hill and Liverpool Yarns.  I bought two skeins of yarn from Spencer Hill, Claudia and Stanley who will dance together in an undetermined hat pattern to be announced.

I’m participating in a couple of knit-a-longs.  Privately with my friend Kathryn I’ll be knitting Hoarfrost using some stashed yarn Lima.  Then I’ll join the Ravellenics Sweater Event by knitting The Weekender sweater again with some stashed yarn Shepherd’s Own.    Hopefully I’ll make it to the finish line!

Happy knitting, happy life and remember to always choose to be kind.

Woolly Good Time

Dee:  I’m having such a great fiber filled September!!!   I went to both the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival and  a Susan B. Anderson workshop in Madison via KnitCircus, also in Madison.

Next to YarnCon, which is in the spring, the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival is my favorite yarn event.  It’s small, rustic and oh so interesting.  Local vendors carry a wide variety of items for sale.  There are basket makers, yarn dyers, soap makers, cheese makers, broom makers, angora rabbit proprietors and more! wisconsin-sheep-and-wool-festival-and-pokehat-008  I really tried to behave myself yet I succumbed to temptation and opportunity when I happened upon Yarns By Design in Neenah WI.  They were having a retirement sale.  Let’s just say I did okay.  My arms were full, then empty, finally with a clear head I made it to the register with only a few specialty skeins for holiday knitting.

It’s safe to say I love sheep.  So when I saw the Susan B. Anderson sheep knitting workshop I jumped at the chance, grabbed Jodee and headed to Madison.  This little fella is so adorable that I have considered knitting him some attire. pyropa-and-sheep-007 The workshop was part of the KnitCircus weekend retreat.  Friday night, the ladies of KnitCircus held an evening of wine, cheese and shopping in their shop.  You could also just hang out and chat while knitting away on a project as we chose to do for a good part of the evening. I love seeing all the gradient cakes of yarn that KnitCircus offers.  I finished a project that the KnitCircus crew were kind enough to dye up additional yarn for me so I could finish my Pyropa shawl.  I ran out of yarn shy of enough to complete the final one and a half repeats. The colorway is called Sexy Like A Labradoodle.  The pattern includes placement for optional beads which I chose to incorporate.  They are clear with a silver lining.  So pretty, I don’t think the picture does the finished shawl justice. pyropa-and-sheep-003

Lastly I volunteered to test knit a pattern.  It’s the PokeHat by Mrs. Luedeke.  My son is on Team Mystic so I agreed to test that version.  I always enjoy color work.  It’s so satisfying to knit.  pokehat-008

Next up on my fall knitting schedule is traveling through Wisconsin to the fall Schoolhouse Press Workshop with Meg and Amy.  I look forward to this weekend all year long.  It’s literally the best time a knitter can have communing with their fellow fiber brethren.  I love it!

Happy knitting!

Stitches Midwest 2016

Dee:  Along with gal pal Terry, I headed to Stitches Midwest last week to partake in “The Market”  and the stitch marker swap.   We grabbed our Sammy Snail buttons and set off.  I didn’t get very far before making my first purchase.  This is always the case with me I am so excited about the event that I have the crazed buying impulse that overtakes my brain.  As soon as I saw the Cowgirl Bandana Shawl from Buffalo Wool Company, I bought it.Stitches Midwest 2016 013   Mind you, I am very happy with the purchase it’s just that I always plan to survey, contemplate and return thoughtfully.  Yeah, that never happened.

Another vendor that caught my eye was Pawley Studios, I instantly fell in love with her designs.  The artist uses a two step process in creating her knit ware pieces.

First the vessel is made and then the knitted sweater design in applied on top.  The result is beautiful and full of rich texture.Stitches Midwest 2016 001  I tend to appreciate pottery pieces a lot because I spent a couple of semesters learning to throw ceramics in college.  I was never this talented.  Her glazing is amazing as well.  According to her husband the red glazed pieces sold out early on Thursday evening.  I would have loved to see those.  Although I didn’t purchase anything from Pawley Studios they are definitely on my radar for the future.

As we  wound our way up and down the aisles we paused to swap markers with others wearing the telltale snail button.  I really enjoyed the markers I got in this year’s swap.Stitches Midwest 2016 018  I don’t think I came home with as many as last year however I pretty much love all the markers I took home.  Here take a look.

Well I am a Ravellenic competitor so I better sign off and get busy with my event.  I have already reached the podium once for WIP Wrestling by finishing my Fir Trees Cowl.  It’s blocking so pictures to follow until then, happy knitting!

USA Road Trip!

Dee: With an abundance of windshield time ahead of me, I decided to pack up some knitting  projects for my vacation trip out west.  I finished up casting off on the shawl for my mother-in-law.  This was paramount since it was her birthday celebration we would be attending in 2016-07-20 09.20.47Montana.  I think it turned out nicely… She cannot wear anything with wool in it and she loves fancy things so this yarn sprinkled with sequins was the perfect choice for her.

As soon as I finished the shawl I cast on for the New Directions Cowl that I had bought the kit for at last year’s Wisconsin Sheep and Fiber Fest.  The cowl was fun to knit without a lot of directions or details to following making it a perfect project for the road and for sightseeing.  I love the way that by switching yarns every nine rows that it kept the project interesting.  This cowl is earmarked as a Christmas gift.2016-07-27 20.25.06

I then began with a repeat knit of the Timber Bay Hat.  I had given the last one I knit away as a birthday gift and knew at the time that I wanted one for myself.  This time I used some berry hued yarn from my stash and named the hat the Huckleberry Hat in honor of Montana’s State fruit.  I really think you should knit one for yourself the fold over brim in a one by one twisted rib is so fantastically satisfying and beautiful.2016-07-27 20.23.01

I wanted enough knitting to last the entire trip and I brought exactly that, enough knitting to last me until I reached my driveway.  The final item was my take along project that I started months ago and only work on when I have time to kill in a waiting room or during my lunch break.  It’s also a favorite repeat knit of mine, the Veil Stitch Cowl that I knit last winter.  Light, airy and perfect to wear indoors as part of an outfit this cowl features only one stitch that you repeat again and again even on the cast off row…the Veil Stitch.  It looks impressive and knit up in Noro it’s a stunner. 2016-07-27 20.25.48

My trip to Montana would not have been complete without a stop at the Dupuyer Cache where there is a room stocked with Beaverslide Dry Goods yarn.   This yarn is minimally processed leaving it butter soft.  The colors are phenomenal by the way and I had an especially hard time choosing which colors to bring home with me.  I wanted to buy one skein in every color, however I did not do that.  That would have been a lot of yarn…even for me.   I took pictures of the shop to share…enjoy!  Happy knitting y’all!

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YarnCon 2016

Dee: Oh man…I broke my yarn fast and I was doing so well too.  Shucks!  I’m going to have to start all over again tomorrow.  The only way I can explain it was that the pretty fibers of YarnCon  got me.  I would have to say that YarnCon is my favorite yarn festival each year followed very closely by the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.  Note to self…you need to find someone to remind you not to work the weekend of September 8-11. 2016-04-03 15.28.24

I arrived at YarnCon, flanked by gal pals Terry and Celeste, where I didn’t even make it passed the check-in desk before snagging my first skein of fiber.  It was a skein of a special edition fingering weight yarn from last year in a colorway of grey, blue, white and a bright green named Concrete Spring…strike one.

Strike two was KnitCircus, they were positioned just inside the door of the main room.  With nowhere to escape I heard the tune of a skein of Over The Rainbow worsted wool that sang to me it’s siren’s song.  It sounded a lot like “Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole on ukulele.  There is so much yardage on the skein I could knit up something really pretty for my neck.  I also grabbed a pretty cashmere blend in browns and roses from the sale bin, this will be a hat.  I should have left at this point but as is so often the case…the deck was stacked against me…Sophie’s Toes was right next door to KnitCircus…I was in the danger zone.

At Sophie’s Toes I enabled Terry, as I so often do with friends, to purchase some delicious fibers.  I took pleasure in this and it should have sufficed however it backfired on me as strike three was a skein of fingering weight yarn in Tiger, a gorgeous colorway that would be perfect for some fall fun like All Hallow’s Eve without it actually screaming Halloween.  If you haven’t purchased from Emily you really should.  May I suggest a Magic Ball to get you started?  I should have left at this point yet there was so much more to see and feel.

Now I know there isn’t a strike four in baseball, both my boys played little league for many years and I attended many Dodger games growing up however, strike four hit me just before lunch. There was a booth that held many mini skeins in themed packages.  I bought the Wizard blend (think Harry Potter) from Brew City Yarns.  I bought the base yarn to go with it to make the Cathedral Glass Cowl. 2016-04-03 11.10.55 They also had this really fun beer koozie pattern and kit that could be a great gift for that bottled beer drinker in your life…which I didn’t buy.2016-04-03 11.09.18

When it was lunch time we headed outside to check out the options.  I love food trucks and the one I ordered from did not disappoint. I ordered their special of skirt steak tacos with brown rice, black beans, red cabbage coleslaw, cotija cheese and tasty green sauce.  Yummy!2016-04-03 12.12.43

I took plenty of pictures so I could share with you all of the fun that is YarnCon including a photo bomb of Emily.  Enjoy!

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Sunny California

Dee:  I’ve just returned from a trip home to California where much fun was had with friends and family.   Although the main focus was to spend time with my mom for Mother’s Day I did squeeze in some quality time with my girlfriends.  Even as the time passes the friendships never change…I love that.   One of my favorite evenings was spent decorating cupcakes and brownie bites for Cyndee’s daughter’s college graduation party.  Since Jenessa earned her degree in biology with an emphasis on botany we decorated the brownie bites with icing cactus and succulents.   Pretty impressive huh?

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The day after I arrived there was a special fiber event at Alamitos Bay Yarn Company.   I had been corresponding with one of the owners, Cindy and she told me that Norah Gaughan was in town for a visit.  I adore Norah’s designs so I attended the book signing as well as the meet and greet.  Norah is every bit as lovely as her designs, so my friend Kathryn and I stayed for the better part of the day enjoying this fantastic shop and the wonderful company of knitters.  I purchased an exclusive colorway of Anzula Squishy in Safe Harbour.

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A visit to California would not be complete if I didn’t make a trek over to Claremont.  I love to visit that college town and stop by Phebie’s Needle Art in the historic Packing House building.  There I grabbed another skein of fiber, Llama Sparkle, from local dyer Red Barn Yarn.  There is a bit of a shiny sparkle thread running through this skein of her African Violet colorway.

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When in California do as the Californians do and relax by the pool and enjoy a trip to In-N-Out.

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I haven’t knit a hat yet this month so I need to get on that.  I know I did knit two hats last month…however I consider that second hat a bonus and not my entry for the month of May.  Hmmm… I need to decide quickly, stay tuned and happy knitting!

West Coast Girl Goes Home

Dee:  I try to make it home at least once every year to visit with my family and childhood friends.  What I love about my visits with friends is that they have adopted my love of knitting and yarn so they scope out new shops to visit with me.  This trip my time allowed me to visit three yarn shoppertunies, well four if you make me count visiting the Yarnover Truck twice.  My other two stops were Colors 91711 in Claremont and Yarn del Sol in Mission Viejo.

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Formerly a Little Debbie’s delivery truck, the Yarnover Truck is also filled with many delicious offerings.  SInce this was vacation, and since souvenirs are required, I focused my attention on treats exclusive to the Yarnover Truck.  I bought a skein of Anzula Breeze in Minty Unicorn – currently an exclusive colorway and California company, a skein of Baah La Jolla in Keep on Truckin’ also an exclusive colorway and dyed in southern California to knit Little Debbie, and then just because…three skeins of lace weight Indigodragonfly in the following shades, Beige (which is actually bright and multicolored), Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock, and Captain Tightpants which is a reference to Malcolm Reynolds’ tight pants on Firefly.  I bought the Little Debbie Shawlette pattern to knit with the Baah La Jolla yarn and a great set of knitting note cards designed by the Disney artist, Dale Baer the uncle of one of the truck owners so you know they are super cute!

Colors 91711 is a yarn shop in Claremont which is one of my favorite places to visit when I am in California. I love Claremont!  I bought a great skein of handspun and hand-dyed multi-colored Superwash Merino all California made from Ring of FIber called Super Stripes.

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Last but not least is a yarn shop in Mission Viejo, Yarn del Sol that opened up just after my visit to California last year.  I have been following them faithfully on Facebook and jumped at a chance to visit.  I met friends there and discovered that this would be one of the best meeting places for knitters in the area.  They are very well stocked and have tons of room for knitters to gather.  They have plenty of great seating up front in comfy over-sized chairs plus two large wooden tables for gathering and learning.  I bought three skeins of Cozette from Knit One Crochet Too in Pewter to knit up in the pattern Tulip Shawlette.  They also have a computer where you can surf Ravelry for patterns to purchase, download and print.  What a great service to offer!  I sure wish I lived closer!

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Great friends, great visit, great fibers, what’s not to like?  Happy knitting y’all!

Sleepless in Seattle

Monica: Sorry for the trite post title but I really have been sleepless. I’m in Seattle for a few days taking a class for work. I’m very happy to be here but I have been stuck in Central time mode and have not been able to adjust to the 2 hour time difference. I’ve been really tired by 9 pm and fall asleep instantly. The worst thing about this trip is that I’ve been getting up at 3 am and am  starving when I wake up but nothing is open until 6 so I try to go back to sleep but I end up napping and waking up every 15 minutes. Until I get out of bed at 4 and then I’m really groggy. I know you’re wondering why this is happening since I’m in Vegas frequently and they are also on Pacific time there. I think it’s because I have to stick to a schedule when I’m here whereas when I’m in Vegas I’m on vacation so I’m not feeling the pressure to be anywhere and can sleep in if I want.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to see many sights. Mostly because I’m pretty tired when I’m done with my class and just want to hang out in my room and knit and watch tv and decompress. This is the exciting view from my hotel room.

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Do you see the pine trees in the far distance?

Yesterday I went to visit an old family friend and his family whom I haven’t seen in at least 10 years. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding. Before I went to see them I picked up a gift.
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They are beautiful cupcakes from Trophy. I didn’t eat any as I knew I would be stopping there again today because I’m meeting Rebecca there.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a yarn shop in the same building as the cupcake shop.  I had been going on and on to my friends all last week about not visiting any yarn shops while I’m here mostly because I have SO MUCH YARN. And I thought I would stick to my guns but I didn’t.

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I tried to restrain myself and stuck to one pattern and one skein of yarn.  Self-control is always challenging for me. Anyway I’m glad I’m here because I got to avoid round 2 of the horrible cold weather in Chicago and I got a very nice small taste of Seattle. I can’t wait to come back when I’m here for vacation and I will have more time to explore.

I Didn’t Go To Rhinebeck, But…

Lynette:   I’ll start by saying that once you’ve experienced Rhinebeck, you’ll want to go every year.  With that being said, I couldn’t go this year, but still wanted the wonderful experience. Seeing beautiful foliage, leaves crunching, meeting other fiber enthusiasts wearing their Rhinebeck sweaters and buying yarn. Here are my pictures from Rhinebeck 2012, and I called it that because I knew there’d be a Rhinebeck 2013.  Ahhh, oh well.

Instead, a few friends and I went to The Fold.  Toni was at Rhinebeck (and so was all the Socks that Rock yarn), but her husband was very helpful.  Monica mentioned to me that Eric,  their German Shepherd, had died and they’d gotten a new dog.  I wasn’t prepared to meet Eric’s ghost.  His name is Storm, and he was a wonderful host.  I almost forgot why I trekked to the store.
meeting storm      me and storm

On this trip, I went with fresh eyes since I began spinning.  I wanted fiber.  Their wheels, drop spindles and fiber were all so great.  I was a bit overwhelmed seeing all the goodies in person, but was pretty good and happy with what I walked away with.

wheels and fiber     wall of color fiber

I bought 2lbs of Merino to one day spin up for a sweater.  I also bought a 4oz braid of Malabrigo Nube.  The colorway looked great.

my haul from the fold

I also bought a skein of Donegal Tweed to make a newsboy hat.  If you know my history with these hats you’d think I’d have hundreds at home, but I only have one.  Lastly I bought yarn called Tahki Charly to make the He Said She Said hat/cowl set by Bonne Marie Burns.  There was a sample hat in the store, and when I tried it on, it fit over my big curly hair.  Score!

We ended the day at Cracker Barrel eating and reminiscing because we did go to Rhinebeck last year, but decided that a day at The Fold was just as nice.  And I got to meet Storm.  He wouldn’t fit in my bag, but he did follow me to the car.   🙂