Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

I don't want to say that 2011 sucked ... but it wasn't a barrel of laughs. Nothing dramatic or traumatic happened, but that's the thing (not that I want those things to happen) nothing happened.

I no longer want to live in a state of blah. I want 2012 to be productive, fun and enjoyable.

I spent a lot of time in 2011 doing nothing, waiting ... wasting time. By wasting time I mean just that, not doing anything. I spend a lot of time figuring out what to do instead of just DOING.

For knitting, as an example, I spent a lot of time on Ravelry or the internet saving patterns ... could I tell you what half of them were, nope. Could I tell you what 1/4 of them were ... maybe. Did I knit any of them ... probably not. What a waste of time!

I spent a lot of time browsing online shops, maybe making purchases, maybe not. Do I know what is in my stash ... most, but not all. Why not pick something out of my stash and make something with it?!?!

No more wasting time!

I spent a lot of money on things ... that I haven't used. Books, magazines, needles, yarn. I also spent TIME buying these things and working for the money to buy them. ENOUGH, start USING them.

No more spending money!

I have taken steps in 2011 to be aware of and organize all those things I have. Time to USE them.

Often times I think I am afraid to use something, that it won't come out well. That's one thing I love about knitting, not good?? RIP it out and reclaim it.

I almost never get good FO photos. We live next to 30 acres of conservation land. Why not get out of the house and drag hubby with me (because he needs to get out too) and get some great FO photos in 2012!

2012 will be a year of DOING, USING and MAKING.

I wish you all the best in 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #22

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

This is the last post for the 2011 War of WIPs, thank to those of you that joined in the battle!!!

Derek's scarf is finished!!! I still have to weave in some ends and block it, but the knitting is done!!

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf - Knitting done 12/29/11.
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan Vanquished 11/15/11

I didn't accomplish everything on my list, but I am very happy having a lot of those long standing projects completed this year!

Please post your year end results!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Surmount the Stash 2012 -- Prepping

I went through my Ravelry stash and figured I have the following:

131 4-Ply Fingering (2 50 gram skeins were counted as 1)
17 3-Ply Light Fingering
21 Sport entries (15 "sock yarns")
21 Lace (multiples of colorways counted as 1)
9 Sweater quantities
17 entries for DK - some are Baby yarns

What I gather from this ... upwards of over 195 projects. Typically the number of projects I complete per year is somewhere in the teens, each year is increasing as I become a more skilled knitter. I used 15 as a middle ground instead of some crazy sliding scale graphing, which I could do if I was really determined.

This stash will last me for 13 years ... wow that's scary!! I didn't include dishcloth yarn, miscellaneous skeins, etc. So in reality its even more than that.

I'm also great at purchasing books ... and magazines, but rarely knit anything out of them. I would also like to focus on making things out of the books and patterns I have on hand, rather than purchasing new ones.

I created a Ravelry group, if you want to join, please find it here. Somehow amazingly within 24 hours it was up to 73 members ... its now up to over 100.

Regular blog posting of the Surmount the Stash 2012 will commence in January. Until then, feel free to post on the Ravelry board!

Now I am off to complete the WIPs I currently have to make way for stash knitting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

On the first day of Christmas

my true love gave to me ...

I have a very good hubby.

For Christmas I got a new sliding hook flyer for my wheel.

A vertical Lazy Kate.

A spinning wheel maintenance kit.

And some awesome roving off my favorites list.

Along with (not pictured) the last Harry Potter movie (both movies). The new Megadeth CD ... one of my favorite bands. And a Jack Skellington throw in shades of purple.

Don't worry, I got him super awesome stuff too!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. I hope you have a Happy Holiday Season!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Update 12-18-11

Its so easy to get discouraged when things don't magically work the way you want them to. I have been progressively taking baby steps the latter part of this year to get organized and stop doing stupid things. One thing I have successfully done several times now is stop and get gas when the tank is less than 1/4 ... not wait until I am already late for work and the low fuel light comes on. The thought, I don't have time, is always one of the preventing motivators of doing smart things, like I don't have time to stop for gas ... really because you have to be home 5 minutes earlier than if you stopped ... for what?!?!

I had a basket of mail that I tossed in the corner of the kitchen until I could go through it and make sure there wasn't anything important in there ... do you know what I found? Not one thing that was terribly important. And about 75% of it was junk mail and flyers. 5% was probably paperwork that I didn't need, but wanted to shred so my information wasn't exposed and the rest was stuff I could get again if I wanted to (like paint sample chips). The basket was cleaned out, sorted and ... I THREW OUT THE BASKET! Can't keep hoarding crap in a basket that isn't there.

I would love to be in a position where the only cleaning I was doing on the weekend was actual cleaning, with soap and water, duster and a vacuum. In my 30+ years I have learned some things, but still sometimes I feel like knocking on my forehead and yelling, "Hello, McFly!!" I'm getting there, bad habits die hard.

Its so easy to just throw in the towel and give up. I am consistently trying to think of the positives and the things I am doing better to motivate me to continue. I keep telling myself that it will get better and easier one day if I keep plugging away.

I don't want you to think my house belongs on a show like Hoarders, its definitely not that bad at all. My problem is one more of procrastination ... you shouldn't do dishes because there isn't a clean fork to use as an example. Or spend 20 minutes looking for a bill that you know is due, but you don't know where you put it.

I think I am disappointed in myself, we moved into this house only three years ago, that was a good chance to start fresh and be organized, I was doing well for a while, but I let those old habits take over.

Now, ask me where a skein of yarn is or a cherished book is ... I could find it in less than a minute, LOL!!

Here's something that fell under this category. This shawl was completed back in August. It was still sitting in my chair with ends dangling all over just yesterday (FO post already posted).

Ta da!

I was going to pin it to block, but its got kind of a weird shape and garter stitch, so I just pressed it out with my hands and left it to dry that way on its own. Seemed to work out fine.

And why was it left uncompleted for so long ... there were A LOT of ends to weave in!

I've been spinning a bit, you can see the bobbin that's done and resting, its half of the roving by weight. Now I am working on spinning up the other half.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

FO: Earth & Sky

Pattern: Earth & Sky
Yarn: Knit Picks Kettle Dyed in Ivy and Eggplant and Knit Fit Knitting in Pansies
Needles: Knit Picks US 4 Circular
Cast On: Sometime in 2011 - when the KAL started
Completed: Knitting August 2011, Ends Woven in December 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #21

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

War of WIPs will be wrapping up soon for 2011!

I've been plugging along on Derek's Scarf. Since Monday I've completed 28 rows. My plan for now is to complete this scarf for Christmas and I will be happy with my War of WIPs for the year.

Next Battles on the Horizon:

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf 11/30/11
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan 11/30/11 Vanquished 11/15/11

Participation here has kind of fizzled out, so if you'd like to include your post, please post a link in the comments. Thanks!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Knitting Countdown!

I only have one item that I am knitting for a gift this year. This scarf has been on the needles since 2007 and was supposed to be a Christmas gift that year!

I have 140 rows left, this equals 10 per day. At this point I want it cast off by Xmas, not necessarily completed and blocked with all ends woven in, but that would be nice it if was completed before Xmas.

Morderne Log Cabin Blanket for a co-worker who's girlfriend is due in February. I have 414 rows left, this equals 52 rows per week or 7 rows per day.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Weekend Update 12-11-11

I finished spinning half of the roving I was spinning on my wheel! This is the first complete roving I have worked on since I got my wheel last month. My plan is to spin the other half on another bobbin and then ply them together.

I don't know if it was because I was talking about setting a budget for next year, but I went a little coo-coo-bananas (as we say around here) on my purchases.

First up was my Blue Moon Fiber Arts purchase, this was to use my Rockin' Socks Club coupon. Sorry for the crappy photo, but I didn't want to take the rovings out of the bags.

One Sheep 2 Shoe kit in Puck's Mischief 100% Superwash Merino. One skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in Ghoulash (its buried in the bag). A Bluefaced Leicester / Mix Roving in Fire On The Mountain and Firestar Roving in Corvid Fledge. I also purchased the Baby Mine Sweater pattern by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.

Then a purchase from The Sanguine Gryphon, which will be closing soon and turning into two new companies.

Bugga in Southern Green Stinkbug, I've always wanted to try Bugga, not sure if the new companies will have something similar, but didn't want to chance not getting to try it. And I got 2 Mithril lace in Reverie (on sale) and Woods and Undergrowth.

Lastly was a purchase at Dyeabolical Yarns. I heard about this on The Knit Girllls, and how its packaged in an interesting way. There is no colorway name, the fiber is Cheviot. The package came with a stitch marker from BeaGinDesign (a nice little treat).

Yeah ... I went and ordered a set of stitch markers ...

I went shopping today and picked up a tote for my rovings ... I thought they would all fit in here (14"wide by 12" tall), it only fit half. Really ?!?! If I really squished them in there I could fit more, but this is just another example of my skewed view of my stash!

This was a surprising caught in the act photo. Usually Nikoh (black/white) bullies Riley (grey tabby) ... somehow Riley sat on top of Nikoh and was licking his head, ruffling his fur backwards. Before this surprise flash photo, Nikoh looked like he was enjoying this too much!

Lots of sale yarn marked down 25% in my Etsy shop, PLUS an additional 25% off through December with coupon code "MERRYXMAS"!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Surmount the Stash

In an effort to prepare for the Surmount the Stash 2012 I did some more investigating and pondering about my current stash and budgeting for the next year. I found some interesting facts:

In 2011 I made 11 projects in fingering weight yarn. Currently I have 204 skeins ... at this rate it would take me 18 years to knit them.

It would take me approximately one month to spin 4 oz of roving (this is approximate because as of this time I have only spun half in 2 weeks). I have 11 in my stash ... that's about 1 years worth.

I have two bookcases in my computer/knitting room ... neither hold books, they hold yarn, my books reside on the floor. Who says these shelves have to be stuffed with yarn? Shouldn't there be some room for my books?

I have 8 sweater quantities of yarn in my stash. In 5 years of knitting I have knit three sweaters. At this rate these will last me 12 years.

So the ultimate question is what provokes me to purchase more yarn? Is it the shiny factor? Am I concerned that all yarn manufacturers will simultaneously go out of business and there will be no place to acquire yarn for the rest of my life? What's the deal?

Are you in the same predicament?

Want to Surmount your Stash in 2012? Check out the link (click image above) for details!

Join me in 2012 and Surmount your Stash! Post your plan on your blog and link here. I will post and update post at the end of each month in 2012 with a linky widget where you can join by adding a link to you blog.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Friday Feature Film

One of my new favorite pastimes!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #20

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

War of WIPs will be wrapping up soon for 2011! Only three more weeks of posts left. Expect them to be spotty at best and possibly MIA with the holidays upon us. I will post a final one at the end of the year.

I'm pretty sure I am not going to finish my list this year. I am happy with the progress I did make and this W-A-L motivated me to work on those old projects. Next year I will be hosting a Surmount the Stash A-Long, but I'm thinking War of WIPs may raise it's ugly head again something in 2012 as I start more WIPs.

Next Battles on the Horizon:

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf 11/30/11
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan 11/30/11 Vanquished 11/15/11

Participation here has kind of fizzled out, so if you'd like to include your post, please post a link in the comments. Thanks!

Friday, December 2, 2011

How much is that yarn skein in the window??

Ever wonder how much money you spend on your hobbies? Just out of curiosity I did a little investigating. I downloaded data from my checking account for the year and sorted through and kept only known yarn shops, paypal (because that's pretty much all I purchase via that method) and chain craft stores. I came up with $2,238. This does not include my $230 membership in Socks that Rock and the $550 I spend on a spinning wheel. Wow!

Now, this is not an exact number - I can't track cash purchases, sometimes a coworker and I go in on Knit Picks orders together (however, she ordered sometimes, so I guess its a wash because I paid her cash for her orders, so I'm including our combined numbers from the orders I placed in my total here) and some of these are patterns or other items. But I think this is a fairly accurate number.

I was trying to come up with a budget for 2012 - mainly to force myself to knit from my stash and stop collecting. I was thinking $100 per month. Then I was really wondering how much I actually spent in 2011. So let's say $2,500 with the club membership - and now I want to decrease that number. So I will continue with the $100 per month, plus a bonus of $50 - that's exactly half of what I spent in 2011.

So there you have it folks, as part of my Surmount the Stash exercises I will be held accountable to maintaining this budget for 2012. I have some rules and exceptions here:

1) Amounts can be borrowed from a coming month. For example, if I want to sign up for a club membership and that total is $250 ... then I borrow from the next two months to get that amount. Jan + Feb + 1/2 March = $250.

2) Gift cards and presents do not count towards my budget.

3) Unused amounts roll over til the end of the year.

4) What is considered and accountable expense? Yarn, knitting notions (needles, darning needles, stitch markers, wool wash, blocking accessories, knitting bags), patterns, roving, spindles, knitting or spinning books, knitting or spinning magazines, class and workshop fees.

I think I've covered anything. Do you see any loopholes I can come up with in this plan?

Friday Feature Film

Ramen Knitting 101

Literally knitting with Ramen noodles and chopsticks!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

FO: Saroyan

This one was on the needles for a while, after the initial few leaves being done, I got bored with it and it just sat for a while.

I finally picked it back up and finished it.

I love this yarn. Mostly it comes in solid colors, but there are some of these variegated ones. The subtle variations in the color are beautiful. I have used it in three different colorways and loved every one. Its a little scratchy to knit with, but once washed it softens up.

Pattern: Saroyan
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted
Colorway: M210 Forest Shadows
Cast On: 1/22/11
Cast Off: 11/17/11

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Weekend Update (with goodies) 11-27-11

Did you know its almost December? I just figured that out and realized that this project is one has to get done this year. I dug it out and started working on it again. It was supposed to be a Christmas present in 2007 (and the recipient is well aware of its existence, he's my husband).

I have finished 325 rows and that leaves 172 to go. It doesn't match the pattern for size or gauge because I substituted a different yarn weight and needle size. I don't know if I knew that it would work out OK when I started it, I was only knitting for a few months back then. Right now it is 41" long and once finished should be about 62" which I think is a good scarf length.

I was very naughty recently and blew about $150 on roving and accessories ($98 of that was to Blue Moon so I could use my Rockin' Sock Knitters discount for the year). Now I understand how my sock yarn stash exploded. Apparently when I learn how to do something I start hoarding supplies. I learned how to spin and all of a sudden I order 4 rovings when I have seven in my stash ...

No, I am not loaded with money, I'm stupid. I pretty much have broken even at this point because I did several hours of OT at work that amounts to what I spent.

First was a 1 yard niddy noddy. The one that I have from Knit Picks is about 40 something inches - I wanted one that was exactly a yard for my handspun so I could easily figure out the yardage (even though I have a yardage counter - I haven't actually used it yet though). theknitstore had a niddy noddy and spindle for $9.95!! My order was received super fast and both items are well constructed and finished (I can't think of a better word than finished, what I mean is that the wood is not finished with any lacquer, but there are no rough spots on anything).

Now on to the roving. This is from Chimera Fibers in the colorway Spooky. How can someone who's favorite holiday is Halloween resist?????

Then this amazingly beautiful batt that was reduced in price because it was a little roughed up from being toted around to shows. Looks fine to me! Its from KnittyAndColor and its made up of BFL,Tencel, Angelina, Firestar.

I've been spinning a lot this week. I decided to jump into one of the rovings in my stash so that I had an entire 4 oz. to work with. I am loving the color changes on this bright and funky roving.

At JoAnn's the other day I was thinking of getting a basket to store the roving that I am currently spinning. Then I was thinking to myself, really, how many baskets do you have kicking around, just use one of those. Until I saw this one and its mate. The perfect shade of purple, completely open on top so easy to access the roving and did I mention they are purple??

I've also been spinning on my trindle. I don't think I posted about it since I got it. Its a lovely spindle, very cool looking and it works wonderfully.

And lastly for crafting I got my Christmas card design down and will be using mostly stash stuff to make them! I may have to go out and get more black paper, but that's less than a dollar I think.

I love this little cat a lot, but sometimes I want to squeeze her little neck until her head pops off. She is the sweetest, cutest little thing, but she's also a monster. Let me give an example: I am not a moron, if a cat is busy I do not pick up said cat and try to snuggle. However, if a cat is doing the snuggle and love me dance around my feet, I assume said cat wants to snuggle.

If you do not want me to pick you up and give you a smooch, a simple "I don't like this meow" would suffice. 1) I do not need to be screeched at and walloped in the head for your point to get across. 2) You know from past experience I always put a wiggly, wants to get down cat down immediately, and 3) Don't do the snuggle and love me dance again 2 seconds after you whacked me in the head!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes things never change ...

I was looking back through old blog posts ... very old blog posts from 2007 and I found this on a to do list:

"I have approximately 20 skeins of sock yarn in my stash give or take a few ... I should probably make socks out of those before buying any more, but I am such a sucker for sock yarn!

Finish afghan started in Sept. 2006."

Really?!?! 20 skeins of sock yarn and I thought that was a big stash?? And that perhaps I should knit some of it before buying more?!?! This is a photo from my old blog ... and I still have EVERY SINGLE skein in my stash today!!

And yup ... that afghan is still unfinished ...

Friday, November 25, 2011

November TUSAL

Here's my November 25th TUSAL update in front of a frosty window.

Friday Feature Film

How to Knit with your Fingers

Thursday, November 24, 2011

War of WIPs Call to Arms #19

Want to join the war?? Check out the 2011 War of WIPs page.

In addition to finishing WIPs, there will be optional side quests to organize your knitting life! Check out the War of WIPs page for more information!

Saroyan still needs to be blocked. I went out and got more T-Pins yesterday, I don't think I had enough for all the leaves.

I haven't worked on anything else on the list since last week.

Next Battles on the Horizon:

Bat Shawl Vanquished 8/27/11
Celeano Shawl Vanquished 10/16/11
Niantic Rose Shawl 12/31/11
Ribband 12/31/11
Coriolis Socks Vanquished 9/8/11
Nugatory Socks Vanquished 10/28/11
Derek's Scarf 11/30/11
Reversible Cable Scarf 11/30/11
Saroyan 11/30/11 Vanquished 11/15/11

Optional Side Quest

Catalog your Stash
Nov 16th - Nov 30th
Do you really know what you have in your stash? Here's an opportunity to get it down on a list. If you are a member of Ravelry, consider listing your stash but omitting the photos, there's also a list view option. Do you know some things that are destined for something in your queue? Put that projects under the notes!

Want to join the war?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Men Knit

A co-worker asked me to show him how to knit. He wanted to knit his daughter a throw ... for her birthday in February ... I laughed. I said I couldn't finish a blanket by then, however, I would gladly teach him to knit.

So I got cheapo needles and yarn and off we went.

He actually did quite well. He was even long-tail casting on ... I told him that was for learning later, but he was determined. He learned the knit stitch. Later we'll do purl, and casting off.

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Spinning Success!

I think I was actually afraid to use my new wheel. I spent hundreds of hard earned dollars on it, I spent hours putting it together and then ... it just sat for a few days.

I learned to spin on the spindle last year. I have some experience spinning and drafting. Mainly I was still trying to decide which roving in my stash to use, I know when I first started spindling, it wasn't pretty.

I bit the bullet and just did it ... and its coming out beautifully!!

The single is fairly even and well spun.

This is the first roving that I tried my hand at dyeing ... it was a little messy. So what better roving to make a mess out of spinning?? I've used up some of it already on a spindle that I made. So this is my best practice roving so far, LOL!! Its gotten a lot of use.

I am so enjoying my spinning wheel!!! Too bad I have to go to bed now so I get up on time for work :o(

Don't forget to check out my post on Surmount the Stash 2012!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekend Update (with stash) 11-20-11

I finished cataloging my stash! Some things are missing, I did not include left overs or weird odd ball stuff (maybe 10 skeins), or Red Heart and Lion Brand Homespun (those maybe total another 10 skeins). I also did not include crochet thread or roving.

I came up with 514 skeins and 117,866 yds total. That's actually 282 entries ... doesn't sound so bad now does it?

Now let's see if I can maintain this list. Since I made such an effort to catalog it, I hope I keep it up and remember to edit the list as necessary.

Here are some interesting stats:

178 Fingering Weight (128 entries)
23 Light Fingering (18 entries)

Total of 201 skeins of sock yarn - In the past I would give up counting at 100 .. but I really only thought there were maybe 120 ... 130.

27 Lace (19 entries)

8 Sweater quantities

My view of my stash was seriously flawed. I thought I had enough yarn for 4 sweaters and maybe 6 lace shawls. Wow - this is an eye opener.

Currently I am trying to pay down debt. I am not seriously in debt, I can pay my bills comfortably, but credit cards ... I don't even know what I bought years ago that I am still paying for. I hope I enjoyed it! This money could be much better well spent paying down debt, rather than adding to my collection of yarn. Last time I checked credit card companies do not take skeins or hand knit socks as payment.

Last night when I went to bed I found this on top of the dresser. Mr. Bear has been around for a long time. My husband (then boyfriend) got him for me when I was in the hospital many years ago, so he is special and is in our bedroom. Willow found a nice place to nap. We have three cats, there is a blanket on the dresser to prevent scratches, it makes for a nice cat bed too.

Now I am trying to decide which roving I want to ruin practicing on my new wheel.

1. Freckle Face Fibers BFL in Jacaranda
2. knittyandcolor BFL in Topsy Turvy
3. Knit Picks Stroll Roving (Merino/Nylon)dyed by me
4. Knit Picks Stroll Roving (Merino/Nylon)dyed by me (some spun on spindle)
5. Frabjous Fibers Merino Top in Green with Envy
6. Birch Hill Spinners BFL in ... they forgot to write the colorway
7. I think another Frabjous Fibers in Stained Glass Window, not much left, practice for spindle
8. Fiber Fancy Merino in The Fair
9. Knit Picks Stroll Roving (Merino/Nylon)dyed by me

I'm thinking one of the rovings I dyed ... cuz I don't care if I make crappy yarn with it. But I have learned and experts agree, that BFL is easier for beginning spinners ... thoughts?

Check out the 2012 Surmount the Stash A-Long post and please leave your comments and opinions on the questions I posted!!!

Surmounting the Stash

Friday evening I continued with my quest to catalog my stash. I think I'm about half way through. I have cataloged 212 listings. I am up to 351 skeins. 207 of those are sock yarn and 29 are lace. A handful of those sock yarns are doubled because they are 2 50g skeins. For lace 19 of those are actual colors. Wow, I am kind of scared to find out what the actual count is when I am done.

So far I'm up to 94,006 yards ... and some are missing because I couldn't find them in Ravelry.

This does not include my hand dyed 14 skeins of sock yarn and 3 440 yd skeins of lace weight.

Now its down to the craft room closet and finally down to the plastic totes in the basement. Then my entire stash will be cataloged!

I find it very interesting that I have several skeins of yarn that I purchased more than one of ... without ever knitting the first one I bought. How do I know I even like this yarn? What was I thinking? That they may get lonely without their own kind?

I haven't quite finalized all of the details for this, but in 2012 I will be hosting a Surmount the Stash A-Long here. At this time I would like to know if you are interested in participating and what you think of the following:

1. Frequency of posts: Weekly, Bi-Weekly or Monthly?
Participating will involve posting on your blog a running count down and up of how many skeins of stash you have used (given away, sold, etc) and how many you have added. You can start with a total count, but if you don't want to catalog your stash, then don't.

Clearly as you can see I am not banning myself from yarn purchases ... that just won't happen. I am hoping though that if I am fixated on this being a regular posting, then I will be more likely to turn to my stash to knit from so that I have blog content. My hope is to get my stash down to a manageable size and stick with that size in the future.

2. Categories: Strictly Yarn or Including other Crafts?
Would you be more likely to participate if this was strictly yarn related or if this included fabric, crosstitch and any other crafts?

3. Prizes?
What would a prize be? We're trying to control our stash aren't we, do you want more? How about a "badge" or "award" that you could post to your blog and be the winner of the week or month?

Maybe patterns, books or knitting accessories - something to help use up stash? This would be more difficult to control if several different crafts are involved. Thoughts or suggestions?

4. Ongoing Stash Exchange?
I can create a page on this blog and post photos and info on yarn (other items if several crafts are involved) you would like to trade or give away. Interested parties can contact me and I'll forward along (this way your email, etc. are not posted). Thoughts?

5. Splitting the A-Long into Quarters?
This would allow for sign ups throughout the year. Having deadlines to complete projects? Maybe have different themes, knitting certain things at different times of year?

Let me know what you think. Either way I will be Surmounting the Stash in 2012, but I think it would be more fun if I had a party along for the ride!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Friday Feature Film

How to spin beads into yarn.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I got my Spinning Wheel!!

I am in love with my new little wheel. Its an Ashford Traveller.

I ordered it after taking a class on Spinning on a Wheel the other weekend. I just knew it would come in this Tuesday when I was traveling for work and wouldn't be able to get it! It most certainly did. So Wednesday I snuck out of work picked it up on my lunch break.

It was packaged wonderfully. Carefully wrapped and stored in the box in such a way as to prevent any damage. I should have taken a photo when I opened it, but I was just too excited!

Three hours on day one, I had it almost finished, but it was midnight and I had to get to bed.

The box contained every single piece required for assembly as well as very good instructions. One thing I had trouble with is that some of the screws had really large cut outs, that were also very shallow and it was difficult to screw in without stripping the head, it took a lot of extra time to get some of the screws in.

The only other thing I wasn't pleased with is that you have to put a pin in the back of the wheel that goes through a hole in the shaft that goes through the center. In order to do this, you have to whack it with a hammer (as per the instructions). Well its such a cramped space and I whacked the wheel and put a dent in it. I initially tried with the rubber mallet, knowing damage was inevitable, and all I succeeded in was putting divots in my mallet. So I was forced to use a metal hammer.

About an hour and a half on the second day, and it is successfully assembled ... and works!

I have several rovings because I spin on a spindle, but I saw this one when I went to pick up my wheel. The owner of the yarn shop gave it to me free with my purchase of a wheel, she had some in some solid colors set aside for me to choose from, but asked if I would rather have this one since I was planning on purchasing it anyway. So free roving too!!

Initially I wasn't too keen on putting it together myself. I was thinking there are too many spots I could mess up and strip out a pre-drilled hole or do something completely unrecoverable. In the end, I am glad I put it together myself, it gave me a fundamental understanding of how the wheel functions and what parts do what and how they work together. I think I appreciate it more and feel more comfortable with it having put it together myself.