Tag Archives: blue sky alpacas

Surmount the Stash – October Review

Perhaps this post should be subtitled,”How the mighty have fallen.”  After doing some supersonic stashbusting in September, I had an unusually high level of stash acquisition in October.

My accomplishments

On the other hand…

And four skeins of Blue Sky Alpacas cotton (Worsted and Multi) after the storm.

Although I had intended projects for these skeins, I definitely feel that the storm had something to do with it.  Beforehand, I imagined I would do a lot of crocheting while hibernating indoors.  (I actually spent more time online and watching the news.) After Sandy I wanted to support a local business when so many have been devastated, perhaps beyond repair.  Whatever the reasons, these excursions added another 945 yards (equivalent to 2.6 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver) to my stash.

The Verdict

I think it’s clear the stash emerged victorious this month.  I ended up with 3,375 more yards in my stash than I used this month – that’s like 9.25 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver!  On the other hand, I did such a great job of stashbusting during the year that all the yarn still fits into my plastic tubs, with space to spare!  When I started this challenge, I also had yarn stashed in bags and boxes because my bins were overrun.

November Goals

I would like to finish up my holiday projects using stash yarn, make 2 or 3 more charity projects, and get started on another scarf or cowl for me.  I love the one I made in October, but I also need something neutral that I can wear.

For more stashbusting updates, visit the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.

How are your stashbusting efforts going?

July stash explosion, courtesy of Robyn Chachula

This post contains affiliate links.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’ve been really trying to reduce my yarn stash this year.  But, you also know that I find giveaways very hard to resist – and I’m kinda lucky.

So when I saw this giveaway on Robyn Chachula‘s blog, I had to enter.  In my defense, it wasn’t clear exactly how much yarn would be in each of the five goodie bags Robyn was assembling.  Even after winning, I was blissfully ignorant for the next few days.

And then, this arrived.

That’s a mighty big box you got there.

And when I opened it, this is what I saw.

The Mother Lode.

I may have lost consciousness for a few seconds.  But then I came to and took some more pictures.  Here’s what I found inside the box:

Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk (one skein of Quartz) – I haven’t used this yarn before, but I’m a fan of Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton, and Spud & Chloe Sweater is one of my favorite yarns.

Cascade 220 Superwash (one skein of Cordovan) –  Cascade 220 Superwash is one of my favorite yarns for gifts.   I’m hoping to make this skein  into a hat in time for the winter holidays.

Classic Elite Provence (one skein of Gimlet Green) – This looks like it will be a really lush, mercerized cotton.  I don’t have a project in mind for this yet.

Debbie Macomber Blossom Street Collection Rosebud from Universal Yarn (one skein of Clover) – To me, this skein has my mom written all over it.  I think it may end up as a gift for her eventually.

Filatura di Crosa Tempo from Tahki Stacy Charles (one skein of Mood Indigo) – I really love the colors on this one.  Now to find the perfect project for it…

Green Mountain Spinnery Alpaca Elegance (one mini skein of Sencha) – I love that this worker owned cooperative sources all of its yarn in the US.  I’m a sucker for alpaca, and this mini skein is just enough for me to swatch with before choosing a great project.

Lion Brand LB Collection Cotton Bamboo (one skein of Magnolia) – I actually have another skein of this yarn in my stash that I bought at Lion Brand Yarn Studio.  The colors would work nicely together.

Red Heart Boutique Eclipse (one skein of Sunset) – I’ve been having a lot of fun with self-striping yarns lately.

Sirdar Click Dk (one skein of Tarn) – This reminds me of a discontinued yarn I worked with about ten years ago – it has a similarly subtle color and soft feel.

Zealana Kia Ora Kiwi (one skein of Aurora Pink) – I’m so intrigued by the possom in this yarn!  Zealana is having a big design contest right now – perhaps this will get my ideas flowing?

Besides the ten (!) skeins of yarn, there were some other goodies in the box.

A signed copy of Robyn’s Baby Blueprint Crochet: Irresistible Projects for Little Ones – Looks like I’ll have plenty of ideas for the next time one of my friends or colleagues is pregnant.

A super cute Craftsy needle measure and gauge ruler – I used this to check gauge on my sock project.

A Crochet Dude crochet hook –  I love Boye hooks, so I’m looking forward to using this one on my next project.

A notions case –  I’ve been using this to store all the goodies for the socks I’m making for the Ravellenic Games.  It is the only one I have long enough to fit the size 1 double pointed needle I’ll be using as a cable needle.

A circular Susan Bates Velocity knitting needle – This looks like just the right size for subway knitting.


Thanks, Robyn, for sharing all of these wonderful goodies with me!  It certainly didn’t help with my stashbusting efforts, but I’m thrilled nonetheless.

Vogue Knitting Live 2012

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Yesterday, I visited Vogue Knitting Live 2012.  Months ago, I registered, hoping to take a broomstick lace class with Jennifer Hansen.  Unfortunately, the class was cancelled.  (Although I desperately want to go on a rant here about how crochet workshops will never be offered at knitting events if we don’t sign up for them, I will refrain.)  I decided to take Colorful Cables with Melissa Leapman instead.

You may remember that I have a little problem making things for myself, which inevitably leads to embarrassment when I attend big yarnie events and have nothing to show for my talents.  I’ve been working feverishly on a top secret project, so I haven’t finished the Irish rose project for myself.  Determined not to be crochet-less at this event, I went through my sample bin and pulled out the Bobble Diamonds and Posts Scarf.  I watched Wendy’s Lookbook‘s 25 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 4.5 Minutes, and decided to go with a variation on the “Infinity” scarf.

Since it was about 18 degrees F (-8 degrees C) outside, it seemed like the warmest way to go.  I took a self-portrait in the hallway.

Excuse the lighting and drab interior, but it was much too cold to attempt a coatless portrait in natural lighting outdoors!

I arrived at the Hilton New York an hour before the class to check out the Marketplace.  One of my best friends and I have been participating in Frugally Sustainable‘s 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge.  (Side note: We both consider our finances too personal of a topic for public forum discussion, so we’ve been emailing each other every day and have shared some Google spreadsheets to track our progress.)  And, I’ve committed to Surmount The Stash along with Revelations of a Delusional Knitter this year.

Although I didn’t make a shopping list before the event, I established some guidelines so I didn’t go overboard in the Marketplace.

  • I set a spending limit and brought cash only,
  • I walked through both floors of the Marketplace before making any purchases,
  • I avoided all New York City yarn shop booths, since I can visit them any time, and
  • I decided that I wouldn’t buy yarn but would take business cards of interesting yarn vendors.

This plan seemed to work pretty well, since I actually walked away with $16 :).

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to anyone that I ended up buying a few books.  I made the bulk of my purchases at the Kinokuniya Bookstore booth, where I bought three Japanese crochet books.

This book has great motifs and edgings, as well as a selection of adorable teeny tiny projects.

I’ve been considering this book for a while. I think it will really help my students to understand international stitch symbols.

Tunisian crochet. ‘Nuff said.

The prices were quite reasonable compared to what I’ve seen online.  It was only after I paid for everything that I realized the store is actually in New York City.  This could be dangerous!  (Thank goodness for the frugal living challenge!)

I also bought a small bottle of Soak.  I hate handwashing, and since this is a wash that doesn’t have to be rinsed, I thought I should try it out.

I saw some wonderful yarn vendors.  In particular, Vivian from Arctic Qiviut spent several minutes speaking with me about qiviut, a new-to-me fiber made from the underdown of the musk ox.  This fabulously soft and luxurious fiber was way out of my price range, but it definitely goes onto my imaginary shopping list for the future!

I was really impressed with the softness and beauty of the undyed alpaca from Furnace Mountain Alpacas.  I am so looking forward to working my stash down so that I can buy some yummy alpaca goodness!  I got to touch test some other fibers that I’m not very familiar with: yak yarn at Bijou Basin Ranch‘s booth and buffalo yarn at The Buffalo Wool Company‘s booth.  I also learned about Stitchuary, a company that shares limited edition yarns from independent farmers in the U.S. with the public.  Another interesting company was Seabury Organizers.  They make these fabulous spiral needle/hook organizers.  In years gone by, I probably would have bought one right away.  But I didn’t seen a fabric that was my style, so instead the organizer went on my wish list.

Lest you think the Marketplace was all about shopping, I should mention the yarn bombing, yarn tasting, and learn to knit and crochet areas.

A panel from the yarn bombed pillars in the Marketplace.

There was a great beginner area, where you could learn to crochet with my favorite Tulip Etimo hooks or knit on some fancy needles.  My favorite yarn tasting area was, naturally, the Blue Sky Alpacas table.  After all of this meandering, it was time for class.

For once, I actually finished my homework.

Five different swatches on stitch holders, waiting to become colorful cables.

Melissa Leapman started the class off by explaining that she has a lot of fun teaching this class, since she has written two books on cables (Cables Untangled and Continuous Cables) and two books on colorwork (Color Knitting the Easy Way and Mastering Color Knitting), and gets to spend 3 hours combining her love of both whenever she teaches this class.  We got to explore slip stitch, intarsia, and stranded/Fair Isle techniques for adding color to cables.

My mini skeins for intarsia.

I definitely learned a lot in the class, but I don’t see myself jumping into an intarsia project any time soon!  I hope to have some pictures of my swatches to show you in my next post.

I learned some new tricks from the class. I’m proud of myself for sticking to my budget (and not buying any yarn!).  I wish I had the chance to learn broomstick lace from a crochet master, but I’m pretty satisfied with how the day went.

Have you been to any fiber conferences recently?

WIP Wednesday: Crocodiles and Yarn

 This post contains affiliate links.

I thought I’d combine my WIP Wednesday post this week with my craft goals update, which I usually post on Thursday.  Why, you ask?  (Ok, you didn’t ask, but I wanted to tell you anyway.)  Because tomorrow I’ll be a stop on Sarah London‘s blog tour for Granny Square Love: A New Twist on a Crochet Classic for Your Home.  Be sure to check back because I’ll have an interview with Sarah and some other fun stuff in that post.

I’m still working on the crocodile stitch project I started on Sunday night.  It’s at the point where I could still transform it into one of several accessories.  I haven’t firmly committed in either direction – I’m waiting for the project to “speak to me.”  At times, it seems to say “keyhole scarf;” at other times, it seems to say “buttoned cowl” or “headband.”  We’ll see what ultimately becomes of it.

What is this crocodile stitch saying to you?

I confess I was a bit jealous of Denise from Voie de Vie when she posted two weeks ago about the wonderful yarn she is using for her design in the upcoming Fresh Designs Crochet (Home) book.  I have a design in the Fresh Designs Crochet (Kids) book but haven’t started work on it yet.  When I got home today, my yarn support had arrived!  Cooperative Press has given the designers permission to share some tidbits of the process on our blogs, so here’s a bit of eye candy.

Aren’t these colors great?

Great yarn, fun label.

I love working with Spud and Chloe Sweater.  It has such a great color palette, it is soft on the hands, and it works up beautifully.  I can’t wait to get started.  Well, I guess I can wait, because I’ll have to wind up the yarn first ;).

How are your works in progress coming this week?  Check out Tami’s Amis for links to other WIP Wednesday posts.

WIP Wednesday – And baby makes four

Today is the last day to enter my giveaway for the Fall, 2011 KnitCircus PDF pattern collection by visiting this post.  I’ve reached over 100 Facebook fans, so I’ll be giving away two issues! And don’t forget that KnitCircus is hosting quite a few giveaways during the next few weeks on their blog, their Facebook page, and their Ravelry group.

This week I’m in major project planning mode.

Baby blankets are some of my favorite things to make – all the fun of making a blanket but with less work 😉 and they actually tend to get used and loved.  One of MC’s best friends and his wife are expecting their second child.  They don’t have a registry up (do people do that for the second child?) but I remember that for their first child they had a strong preference for organics and cotton fibers.  I was contemplating making a variation of my sunshine blanket in one color.

The Sunshine blanket and pillow in Issue 20 (August, 2011) of Inside Crochet.

Another option would be a motif project.  They are just so much more portable and I do a lot of crocheting on the subway.  But if you survived my hexagon baby blanket project, you know I will complain plenty, even though it always ends up being worth it.  I love hexagons but squares are fun, too.  The third option is to use the same pattern I did for their first child, which was basically a large granny square.  A final option would be a one piece in stripes.  (A ripple, perhaps?)  I have really been wanting to use Biscuits and Jam‘s Random Stripe Generator since I learned about it through the Ravelry Afghans & Blankets group. For yarn, I was considering Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton.

Some gender neutral color possibilities from Blue Sky Alpacas.

What do you think?

Other projects in the works:

  • I have five pattern tests going on Ravelry.
  • I’m working on a crochet-a-long/crochet school idea for the fall, inspired by the Quilt Class 101 by Chasing Cottons.  If you’d like to join, I’m still taking ideas for subjects to cover :).

For more awesome WIP Wednesday posts, check out Tami’s Amis!