stash

Colour Therapy

Whenever anyone asks me what my favourite colour is, my stock answer is always “Blue in general - Teal in particular”. But this latest project of mine is giving me cause to reconsider.

I am reknitting an older design of my own - the Garter Ripple Squish blanket - that I originally designed as a smallish sized baby blanket for a friend.

For some time now, you many have noticed, I have been wittering on about the size of my leftover 4ply sock yarn mountain and fearing that my entire stash space is going to be taken over by these cute, beguiling, self-multiplying balls of handdyed yarn.

I had been looking online at a whole host of stashbusting projects but having just finished a sock yarn, mitered square blanket I was in no hurry to undertake another 4ply blanket project - especially since it took me 3 years to finish it. During which time my sock yarn leftover stash was entirely undiminished - in fact it grew considerably.

So having seen a few marled projects - especially the Bobble Marley hat by Riverknits - I had a bit of a “What If…” moment. I grabbed 3 balls from my leftovers pile and cast on for a lap sized Garter Ripple Squish.

And it was love at first sight. There’s something magical about watching each colour blend into the next. And something pleasingly thrifty about being able to use up every last yard of yarn. I just knit until one of the three yarns runs out and then add in another one. I’m using the Clasped weft join for this and will leave the ends until after I’ve blocked it - before giving them a trim.

It’s so addictive, and on 7mm needles it is growing at a very pleasing rate indeed. And more importantly, I can report that there is definite shrinkage in the size of the leftovers mountain. It’s still there - but I finally have the sense that I have the upper hand in this battle.

No cold sheep today

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I first wrote this blog post in January 2017 but as I read of another independent yarn store closing down it makes for more pertinent reading than ever.

FROM THE ARCHIVES:

Apologies in advance for the slight mini rant today but I have heard and seen so much online these past few days about 'Cold Sheeping' that I feel duty bound to try to redress the balance a little.

For those that don't know, the practice of Cold Sheeping refers to going on a yarn diet or a restricted yarn buying policy - akin to going 'cold turkey'. It is certainly a common feeling at this time of year to feel slightly overwhelmed by your stash, or to feel as though your house in general has way too much clutter in it to even contemplate buying anything more stuff. Heaven knows, I am certainly guilty of feeling a slight sense of panic as my formerly well-contained stash spills out of its neat wooden drawers and starts to set up home in other areas of my house (is it just me or does the stuff breed when you aren't looking?).

However, whatever the answer is I'm almost certain that it doesn't involve going on a yarn diet. For the simple reason that diets never work. If they did the diet industry would go out of business. Anything that advocates extreme restriction or denial will inevitably involve a backlash at some point and freed from constraint you will be gleefully hoarding pretty sock yarn again before you can say 'Blue faced Leicester'.

So, I am proud to say that there will be no Cold Sheep or yarn dieting here. This is a Cold Sheep Free Zone.

My stash is a thing of joy - it brings warm and woolly solace to dark days - and it means that at the drop of a hat (or the news of an imminent baby arrival) I can rummage in the stash, grab some needles and whip out something cute and giftable in less time than it takes to traipse into town to buy a congratulations card.

It must be especially hard at this time of year for our beloved LYS's and independent yarnies who have to endure all talk of 'cold sheep' with a fixed grin and a firm hand on their budgets. January can be bleak enough for any business but small, independent businesses feel the pinch more than most and a little support at this time of year could make all the difference. I know that budgets can be tight right now and appreciate that not everyone may have the funds to spend, but even if you can't take advantage of your favourite indie dyers latest update you can help spread the word by telling your friends or sharing it on social media. And if you are visiting your LYS but really don't want to buy more yarn you could always take the opportunity to stock up stitch markers or needles - you can never have too many of either.

So, this January I am encouraging you to give the Cold Sheep the Cold Shoulder. Embrace your stash in all its woolly glory and show some love to our fab independent business.

Sock knitting and stash diving

This month, the Everyday Knitter Facebook group is all about stash diving. Even those of us with slightly more modest stashes than my own yarn mountain have a few precious skeins. You know the ones. The ones we keep squirreled away in case of dire knitting emergencies. The ones that we bring out to pet every now and again, to sniff, to ruminate over it's endless possibilities -  and then we tuck it back neatly away out of sight.

So, this month we are celebrating the joy of untapped potential hidden in our stash. Pick a glorious skein of yarn and show it off. Pair it with a beautiful pattern and you're all set. For extra brownie points this should be an item for yourself. I refuse to use the term selfish knitting when discussing knitting for oneself. Instead I prefer to use the word indulgent. Our crafting time is precious and it's only right that we should enjoy it. What could be better than working on something you love, in yarn you love and knowing that you'll get great pleasure in wearing or using the finished object as well.

Sounds like a win, win to me.

No cold sheep here

Apologies in advance for the slight mini rant today but I have heard and seen so much online these past few days about 'Cold Sheeping' that I feel duty bound to try to redress the balance a little.

For those that don't know, the practice of Cold Sheeping refers to going on a yarn diet or a restricted yarn buying policy - akin to going 'cold turkey'. It is certainly a common feeling at this time of year to feel slightly overwhelmed by your stash, or to feel as though your house in general has way too much clutter in it to even contemplate buying anything more stuff. Heaven knows, I am certainly guilty of feeling a slight sense of panic as my formerly well-contained stash spills out of its neat wooden drawers and starts to set up home in other areas of my house (is it just me or does the stuff breed when you aren't looking?).

However, whatever the answer is I'm almost certain that it doesn't involve going on a yarn diet. For the simple reason that diets never work. If they did the diet industry would go out of business. Anything that advocates extreme restriction or denial will inevitably involve a backlash at some point and freed from constraint you will be gleefully hoarding pretty sock yarn again before you can say 'Blue faced Leicester'.

So, I am proud to say that there will be no Cold Sheep or yarn dieting here. This is a Cold Sheep Free Zone.

My stash is a thing of joy - it brings warm and woolly solace to dark days - and it means that at the drop of a hat (or the news of an imminent baby arrival) I can rummage in the stash, grab some needles and whip out something cute and giftable in less time than it takes to traipse into town to buy a congratulations card.

It must be especially hard at this time of year for our beloved LYS's and independent yarnies who have to endure all talk of 'cold sheep' with a fixed grin and a firm hand on their budgets. January can be bleak enough for any business but small, independent businesses feel the pinch more than most and a little support at this time of year could make all the difference. I know that budgets can be tight right now and appreciate that not everyone may have the funds to spend, but even if you can't take advantage of your favourite indie dyers latest update you can help spread the word by telling your friends or sharing it on social media. And if you are visiting your LYS but really don't want to buy more yarn you could always take the opportunity to stock up stitch markers or needles - you can never have too many of either.

So, this January I am encouraging you to give the Cold Sheep the Cold Shoulder. Embrace your stash in all its woolly glory and show some love to our fab independent business.

 

 

Stash Exploration

I am a huge fan of the Shinybees podcast - a UK based knitting/comedy podcast run by Jo Milmine. She has just announced a great project for 2017 called Active Stash Exploration which fits in so neatly with what I want to achieve in my knitting this year that I was literally bouncing with excitement by the time I had finished listening.

There are no cold sheep or yarn diets required and no self sacrifice. Instead the project is all about making the most of your stash, celebrating it and allowing it to shine in all its glory.

Jo speaks really passionately about how our skeins tell a story. We all have special yarn in our stash, perhaps with memories of a great holiday (any holiday where you discover a great LYS is, lets face it, a great holiday), or a skein that was a gift from a dear friend.

Those skeins deserve to be used and to be seen and #activestashexploration is all about that.

Jo has set up a new Facebook group for the podcast where you can join in with all the chat, or you can participate via Instagram with the hashtage #activestashexploration.

It will be great fun to see how this develops and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing others start to celebrate their stashes as I delve into mine.

Reunited

As lovely as it is to have a break from the routine, there is also a certain comfortable peace that comes from returning home. To your cosy PJs, to your comfy bed and of course, to your stash. Is it just me that suffers from seperation anxiety when you have to be apart from the stash for more than a few days.

I have made good progress on the projects that I took away with me but predictably, as soon as I home I am ruffling through my storage bins in search of something new to cast on. It doesn't help that I recently came across these beautiful skeins of DK from The Fibre Company. To further compound matters these colourways have names wonderfully evocative of my recent holiday. The grey colourway is Scafell Pike and the grellow is Buttermere - where I was walking just the other day.

These skeins are crying out to be a new shawl design - which may or may not involve brioche. I am yet to decide but a bit of swatching might just have to happen today - just to see.