I have had a ‘clean up’ of the yarn stash on the ‘to do’ list since December. I did a big clean out of the stash and thought I had updated most on Ravelry. Turns out that I hadn’t really deleted everything I had donated to charity and kept adding to the stash without adding to Ravelry (that was just me deluding myself).
I took 2-3 nights and systematically checked things off the Ravelry stash printout and at the same time photographed and add what wasn’t on the list. I also frogged projects that had languished in pouches and bags over a number of years. Now I know when I look up ‘WIP’ on Ravelry, its 100% accurate.
The upshot of the spring clean is:
- I have way too much sock yarn.
- I have 8+ balls of a number of yarns that I should try and work into a larger project.
- I have a number of single skeins that I should prioritise for single skein projects.
- I have and endless supple of circulars, interchangeable and DPNS – sing out folks if anyone needs anything!
I have long been envious of my knitting friends who have the space to display their yarn in their living spaces. Quite apart from the visual appeal, its wonderful to sit in a living room and be able to review the stash and just be surrounded by ‘yarn fumes’. Sometime on Wednesday night between 7pm and 7:30pm I decided that I actually did have space in my apartment for a shelf. I was encouraged by a fellow knitter who pointed out that I didn’t need to display ALL my stash, even some would be better than none. Between 7:30pm and 7:40pm I found an appropriate shelving unit at IKEA and by 8pm Wednesday night I was walking into IKEA Richmond to buy myself a shelf. I ranged it out of the store, into the car, up three flights of stairs and then spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to decipher IKEA instructions. Finally sometime around 11pm the shelf was up and about of a third of the stash was in.
I went to bed a bit sore but satisfied and planning a return trip the next evening for more shelves. By 7am Thursday morning I couldn’t lift anything with my left hand and by 4pm this was the revised picture of the first shelf.
Diagnosis is a torn tendon. But I wasn’t going to let that stop me. I am not a person for a half done job. So… I posted a task to Airtasker (like AirBnB but for odd jobs) and by 11:30am Saturday someone had bought two more shelves, carried them up the three flights of stairs and assembled them and by 12noon Saturday I had two more shelves and ALL my stash on display. Now I can sit in agony and at least look at my stash!
I will admit to a little knit envy! Two of my knitting buddies are off to Stitches West in California and I have found myself daydreaming about what that kind of knitting adventure would be like. Imagine being surrounded by THOUSANDS of knitters, aisle after aisle of vendors, classes, and a Convention Centre full of people who understand the yarn obsession.
While they were busy packing for their trip, I took to stash diving. There were two aims in mind. The first was to update my stash on Ravelry. The second was to clear out any stash that was unlikely to be used and to donate that to Knit-One-Give-One (KOGO). Another knitting buddy mentioned this charity at the Richmond Knitters SnB last Monday. I went through a hat knitting obsession a few years ago and knit far too many hats that were far too small for me. It was wonderful to discover that there is a charity that not only takes donations of full balls of yarn, but also unwanted hand knits. I took a very large bag of donations – mostly yarn, but some hats and scarves as well – to Wondoflex in Malvern, who are a collection point for KOGO. Ok… I didn’t walk out of Wondoflex empty-handed, but I took in more than I left with.
A few knitting podcasts are talking about appreciating your stash and this is something that I need to get better at doing. I’ll have a bright idea for a project and rather than ‘shopping the stash’, I tend to jump online and order. Now that my Ravelry stash is up to date, I am hoping that one of my 2015 knitting resolutions will be to shop the stash before shopping online. I am also trying to put myself on a yarn diet until Bendigo in July, although diets and me have never had a happy relationship! Another 2015 resolution is to knit more for charity, especially now that I know about KOGO.
So while my pals are in sunny California being intoxicated by Stitches West yarn fumes, I will explore my stash and see what projects I can dream up!
For those of us who are knitting obsessed, we know that the Annual Bendigo Sheep and Wool show is just around the corner. It ranks up there with all other important annual events – birthdays, Christmas, New Year, etc. I have been looking at my ample stash for a few days and wondering how I could possibly justify a few Bendigo souvenirs. I have also realised, after a weekend away with fellow knitters, that I am happiest when I am looking at yarn! So I turned to the internet for some ‘stash display’ ideas.
There are so many beautiful ways of storing and displaying yarn and while I still have an ultimate dream of a ‘wall of yarn’ one day, I did like the idea of making yarn a decorative piece rather than just storing it.
Some of one skeiners became a living room feature in a very tall vase.
Some yarn remnants found their way into another vase which I might just take to work for some positive yarn vibes!
So…. it’s not really stash anymore but art!
I don’t manage to keep many of my New Year resolutions. In 2013 I decided to see one movie a month at the cinema. Didn’t manage to see anything other than two movies on a long haul flight! I have tried to commit to trying new knitting things and this year was a foray into stranded knitting.
Before anyone gets too excited, we are not talking about the intricate patterns of some of my fellow Richmond Knitters (do I still qualify even though I haven’t been in ages?). We are talking about managing two colours at the same time without ending up with an unholy knotted mess!
A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and going through chemo so I thought what better than a hat for the upcoming winter! I decided on the ‘Cloche Enough’ Hat by Susan Ann on Ravelry. It is a great pattern and the end result is far more impressive. The flower embellishment really makes all the difference. While I made a few modifications in terms of needle size, I was fairly faithful to the pattern and am thrilled with the result.
I have more than a lifetime of knitting to do, and am starting to worry already that the next 40 odd years won’t be long enough. Sadly, I also have a lot of reading to do for work that won’t wait another 40 or even 20 years when I am likely to have more time. In lamenting my plight I wondered if anyone else had ever faced the same problem – wanting to read but also wanting their hands free. While for the most part I go for eBooks to solve this problem, there are still some books that you just can’t get electronically.
Turning to the www I discovered ‘The Book Seat’. It is actually an Australian invention (good on us for being so ingenious!) and provides a mini beanbag that you can prop a book up in while at the same time leaving your hands free – in my case to knit. No more excuses now for not getting all those books read!
I was reminded today, as I spent my second day at home sick, that it was 6 years ago when I had glandular fever that I learned to knit. I’ve blogged about that before. It was a soothing exercise then and still is – to the extent that messages and emails from colleagues have encouraged me to rest up, drink tea and knit! Trying not to think of work is much easier with a knitting project in hand and I started a new one yesterday just to keep my spirits up.
This striped child’s hat is my first foray into two colour knitting and after watching several YouTube videos I managed to find a technique that didn’t have me tangling my two balls of yarn.
2014 has started with the usual craziness and the downside has definitely been missing my Monday night with Richmond Knitters. I think of you all every Monday, usually when I am leaving work at 7pm or still in a meeting around the same time. I hope things will settle down soon, freeing up Monday again for fun, laughter and friendship.
I have had time after de-stashing and finishing a few hibernating projects to reflect on my knitting journey. I taught myself to knit in 2008 while I had glandular fever. It was a particularly taxing virus as an adult and my doctor ordered me to sit and do nothing for two weeks. I assumed I’d get a lot of reading done but realised I didn’t have the brain power for that level of concentration. After watching most of ‘The West Wing’ box set, I found some knitting needles and yarn and looked up ‘How to knit’ on Youtube. It was perfect for my foggy brain. All I needed was to repeat the same four steps over and over and over again. And thus my knitting journey began.
I joined my friends at Richmond Knitters in March 2009. I turned up to my first meet-up with an almost finished crochet cot blanket. The group was FANTASTIC. Welcoming, friendly, genuinely interested in what everyone was working on. It was at the first meet-up that someone suggested I get on Ravelry.That was a game changer! All of a sudden my knitting universe expanded from Lincraft and Spotlight to the world. I was browsing projects and patterns, reading forum posts and engaging with fellow knitters all over the world. My recent de-stash will attest to the fact that I went a little yarn crazy at that point and bought … well… a lot of yarn without really any discernment. I am happy to say that some of the deep, deep stash has now gone to a worthy charity.
In 2009 I went to my first Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show and felt like I had died and gone to yarn heaven. It was superb, made all the more wonderful by meeting up with my Richmond Knitter friends, browsing together, shopping together and having a great time immersed in all things yarn and fibre related. I was introduced to the world of knitting podcasts and now eagerly wait for the episodes to download – ‘Never Not Knitting’, ‘2 Knit Lit Chicks’, ‘Stash and Burn’, ‘The Yarniacs’ and ‘Craftlit’ to name a few.
Somewhere between then and now I graduated from straight needles to circulars and double pointed needles. I learned to knit socks and shawl, increase, decrease, bind off and block. I have knitted with wool, silk, alpaca, cotton and various combinations thereof. I have listed 90 completed projects on Ravelry, acquired 72,000 metres of yarn in my stash, met up with knitters in Jerusalem I met on Ravelry, and become part of a great community of yarn enthusiasts.
I stumbled into knitting entirely by chance and am grateful everyday that I did. The next stage of the journey will no doubt involve more learning with the continuing support of my knitting friends.
After 4 years on Ravelry, lots of knitting (90 projects), lots of yarn purchases and a few de-stashes, I am officially WIP less!
Finally finished the last hibernating Ten stitch blanket (Vintage Hues and Cleckheaton Country Wide). It looks great and I am really happy with the colours.
Would definitely do the pattern again but probably a 20 or even 30 stitch variation.
Right… now to stash shop and pattern browse!
I came across the Rebecca Danger Pattern for ‘Monster Chunks‘ on Ravelry and fell in love with the little critters. I looked through the 1500+ projects by others and came across Saraem’s project for her son’s 3rd birthday party and the stop motion video she made to go with it. I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to make these for my graduating year 12s!”. And so I did!
Luckily I only have a class of 15 students!
The next step in the project was a stop motion video. Can’t wait to show the kids on their final day. Its not going to get the Golden Palm award at Cannes, but for a first effort, it’s not bad. It comprises 373 still images to make a 1:02 minutes long video.
Loads of fun to do and dead easy on the iPad! Another school holiday task done and dusted!