Stash Renewal

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!

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So you want to join a Knitting group?

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Well you’ve come to the right place… but before I blow the trumpet of the Richmond Knitters I thought I should talk about the great things about joining any Knitting Group.

1. You can make friends. You like people don’t you? You love knitting? Voila! Knitting friends.

2. Attending a Knitting group makes knitting so much more interesting. 50 yards of stocking stitch gets boring fast, but a distraction… and completing rows and rows of knitting is time well spent.

3. A place to be yourself and share your passion. No one will judge the size of your stash or your number of WIPs at a knitting group, we’re all in the same boat (well most of us are). What’s more is that at a knitting group, Knitters speak your language without their eyes glazing over.

4. Inspiration. Through sharing WIPs, FO’s and new purchases, there is much inspiration as well as envy. No idea what to knit next? At a knit night you’ll get plenty of inspiration and advice.

5. Something to look forward to. Getting away from your family one night a week, or one afternoon a month can be good for you (and probably for them). Doing something you enjoy in the company of others. Rough day at work? Monday night knitting is a good cure for Monday-itis, just saying.

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Now the hard part: Showing up to your first knit night.

Firstly, and this is something seasoned knitting group attendees seem to forget (I know I do). EVERYONE is a little nervous about attending their first knitting group meet. It’s only natural to be a little freaked out about it, oh how we forget. For one thing, if you’re coming in cold YOU. DON’T. KNOW. ANYONE. THERE. That’s a pretty scary thing, particularly when it’s likely everyone else knows each other, thoughts of high school start creeping in and that’s it, you’re not going.

Can I just say: everyone goes through this thought process, but you have to be brave! Most knitting groups I’ve ever attended have been scary for the first five seconds. They’ve all been welcoming and fun and people you don’t know will want to talk to you. It’s something Knitters have in common, we all want to talk about our knitting and we are all friendly, that’s why we joined a knitting group.

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Tip 1: Bring something you’re enjoying to knit to your first meet. But nothing too interesting unless you’re some kind of brainiac and can follow a lace chart whilst participating in 2 conversations AT. THE. SAME. TIME. It’s been done, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s ok to bring multiple projects, the ‘difficult’ one could be for show and tell. Most evening meets have dim lighting, so knitting something ‘light’ in colour is the go, also plain knitting is winning!

Tip 2: Bring some Show and Tell if you want. A book, magazine or your latest yarn purchase, if you want to make people swoon. Sometimes show and tell can be a finished object, I fully endorse milking that.

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to ask other people questions about themselves. Just because you’re the newbie doesn’t mean other Knitters don’t want to chat. It also takes the pressure off you when someone is telling you about themselves.

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Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to ask questions about knitting. The skill levels of any knitting group varies quite a lot. Just because you attend a knitting group, doesn’t mean you have to know everything about knitting, no one expects you to (if you can cast-on and knit, you’re in). People are open to offering help and knowledge, it makes them feel good to help another knitter out so don’t be shy about asking.

The Richmond Knitters have been going strong for 8 years. It’s my favourite way to spend my Monday nights, amongst smart people and fun knitters (men and women). With knitters arriving around 6pm and onwards, we eat, chat and knit. And there’s always stories and laughter. We are always looking for new members who are passionate about knitting/crocheting and or hand-spinning.

If you’ve read this far, you should just come along and see what it’s like, I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.

Richmond Knitters
Every Monday night from 6pm
The Spread Eagle Hotel 
372 Bridge Rd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia 3121

Glossary:
FO: Finished Object
WIP: Work in Progress
Stash: The yarn/fibre you have that is not attached to a current WIP.
My husband told me to put this glossary in, but I don’t think you really need it.

 

Knitting Resolutions

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I don’t make New Years resolutions around personal goals and achievements anymore, but I do aspire to ‘Knit better’ each year.

Knit more (is always at the top of my list), learn a new technique, knit from stash, knit from old stash and stash down. Well actually that last one is a lie. I don’t really try to stash down; but I try to do a stash cleanse now and again. Just ask the knitting group!

Last year I completed a couple of ‘Use It Or Lose It’ projects from ‘deep stash’. It resulted in 2 complete garments which I have been wearing and I’m very happy with. One project ended up on the ‘lose it’ pile. It’s been fun and I’ve just begun my next UIOLI project from some Jo Sharp cotton.

I’ve cast on for ‘Bloom’ by Georgie Hallam. It’s going to be a gorgeous little tunic/top for one of my nieces. The yarn was originally bought to make a cardigan for me (maybe 8 years ago, maybe longer), but I wasn’t feeling the love anymore. So when I thought about making this project for M; I thought it might be a good match. I’m not even worried about using the left-overs for some washcloths. Oh how I love using hand knitted wash cloths?! Most of mine have been given to me as gifts, so I need a few more.

My other Knit resolution is to learn Brioche stitch and to do some colour work that requires Steeking, eek! I’ve been inspired by Stephen West’s latest patterns which involve Brioche Stitch, I think the Askews Me Hat could be a good entry project into the Brioche world.

What are your Knit Resolutions?

Knitting party time

The Richmond Knitters for the last few years have celebrated the end of the year by going out for dinner on a Saturday night. This year was no exception.

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Everyone brought their knitting… except me.

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Once again there was a ‘Knitting’ Trivia contest. After receiving some feedback from last years quiz, I took a less studious approach. There was just one or 2 curly questions. In the end Christine came up with the goods and was the only one to know the answer to ‘What is Kate Davies Ravelry name’. Tricky indeed. 1st prize (won by Christine), was a Richmond Knitters tote bag and a skein of Vesper Yarns self-striping sock yarn in the exclusive colour way ‘Twinkle lights’. Catherine and Kris were equal second and each came away with a RK tote bag and a travel mug/ceramic mug.

For those who want to play along at home, here are the fill-in-the-gap questions:

1. Ysolda ——————, held a mystery knit along earlier this year called Follow your —————, there were —— possible different outcomes to the pattern.

Bronntanas ———, was the first pattern in Ysolda’s Knit—————— collection.

2. Kate Davies lives in ————————, her latest self-published book is titled —————. Her ravelry name is ————.

3. Wool People is the brain child of Jared —————, aka ————————— Tweed. The —th edition was launched last week. His 2 yarns are called Shelter and ————. Shelter is a ——————— weight yarn, whilst ———— is a ————————— weight yarn.

4. Ravelry was created by Jess and ————— and was in beta testing from 200—.

5. Louisa’s new baby’s name is —————   ————.

6. Yarn names:

——————— 220

————————— Jitterbug

———— Taiyo

Bendigo —————— Mills Cotton

Cleckheaton Superfine ——————

Baby —————————— by Debbie Bliss

Socks that ———— Lightweight by ———— Moon Fiber Arts

Painter’s Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM) by —————

——ooshy by Dream in colour

Zauber———— by Schoppel-Wolle

7. Who will get the most questions right? ——————————————————

Pretty easy huh? Until next year…

Happy New Year everyone!

Be sure to check us out on Instagram .

 

Spoilers! In the mail this week

I’ve had a cold this week. It turns out it was nastier than what I gave it credit for. I don’t do ‘sick’ very well. It’s just as well, it doesn’t happen very often, and I don’t even get a serious cold each year. Looks like this is my off-year.

But this week has been a very good mail week. And that improves the situation greatly. They were ‘planned’ mail items as both deliveries were from clubs.

First to arrive at my desk (yeah I only took one day off work, stupid, stupid, stupid), was my next shipment of Stranded in Oz. Wow is it beautiful! I think it’s my favourite instalment so far. These are going to be something luxurious, I’m not sure I can make it into socks, but I will consider it!

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Next up was my first instalment of the Southern Cross Fibres Club. It is jaw-droopingly beautiful, if I were a colour way this would be it. I’ve decided not to order more of it (which the club allows, best club ever), for space reasons, no that’s not true, well it’s kind of true because I need to knit more with my handspun, I need to progress to larger garment sized items made from my handspun. Bottom line, I need to knit more of my handspun and plan accordingly. Imagine a cardigan made from this?!

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Buying yarn feels so good when you’re feeling low, like I was this week. I might also be receiving 5 skeins of sock yarn very soon. I’m very excited. And a book, but that was purchased before I got sick.

It’s not Stash, it’s Art!

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.

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Some yarn remnants found their way into another vase which I might just take to work for some positive yarn vibes!

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So…. it’s not really stash anymore but art!

Scraps

I am quite fascinated by scraps at the moment. If you are a reader of my Sonia Knits blog, you will know I’ve once again hauled out my 20 year hexagon quilt. It is made up of bits and pieces of everything and a lot of fabric from Spotlight and Lincraft from 20 years ago.

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Being a sock knitter with lots of little left overs, I’ve become obsessed with the idea of knitting Frankenstein socks. That is socks made from left-over sock yarns. At this point it’s just an idea, don’t get excited. I’ve seen stunning examples by Spilly Jane, who sometimes sells her creations. So I’m going to continue to knit socks and gather up my left-overs until my collection inspires me to put it all together. There will be no hexi-puffs or sock blankets here!

I’ve had a lovely week of Staycation which allowed me to pull out my spinning wheel. But before I could begin, I had a number of bobbins with substantial amounts of ‘left-over’ single spun fibre. The easiest way to deal with all these leftovers was to ply them together. I broke all the rules, mixing merino/silk singles with much coarser fibre singles. Heck, I can’t even remember what all the fibres were. But the result, to me was stunning. Interesting.  Hey, maybe scrap projects are it. Somehow they hold more meaning, more history.

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Whilst I still hold grave fears for ever finishing my hexagon patchwork quilt, I’m just itching to start some scrap socks.

Stranded Knitting

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.

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Superb little invention…

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!

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A New Year of Knitting

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.

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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.