Tag Archives: surmount the stash 2012

2012 Year in Review: Surmount the Stash

It’s been just over a year since I first learned about Revelations of a Delusional Knitter and her Surmount the Stash challenge.

This has been an interesting year for me in terms of stash.  I started using Ravelry’s features more actively, which helped me track my stash more closely.  I also started working with Galler Yarns, and I received more yarn support for upcoming designs in 2012 than in any previous year.  In spite, or because of all of these things, I’ve actually been able to make a noticeable dent in my yarn stash and am definitely ending 2012 with less yarn than I started with!

In December, I didn’t finish many projects since I’m working on a very large secret project.  I did manage to use up 112 yards on little holiday projects.

I also added 79 yards to my stash in yarn support remnants.  I reorganized my yarn bins so that I could store everything in 5 bins rather than having a box of yarn support on the side.  Overall, not a very significant month in terms of my stash!

During the course of the year, I learned a few things that may be helpful to you if stashbusting is on your list of New Year’s Resolutions.

  • Talking about my stash helped keep me accountable.  I kept track of my stashbusting efforts through my monthly Surmount the Stash updates and I am also active on the Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.
  • Tracking yardage was more effective for me than tracking skeins.  For my first few updates, I talked about the number of skeins I used up or bought.  Later I learned that I used a lot more yarn in partial skeins (especially for charity projects), so I decided to track by yardage.  I compared the yardage used to skeins of Red Heart Super Saver so I could still have a visual reference.
  • Be thoughtful about purchases.  I approached yarn festivals and yarn crawls with a plan, including a monetary budget or skein limit (or both).
  • Let it go.  While it would be nice to sell every bit of yarn I don’t plan to use, it was often better to take a loss on what was spent on the yarn in exchange for more space and less clutter in my home.  I donated yarn to charity and gave some away.  I sold other skeins at a discount to move them out of my apartment.
  • Don’t forget about trades.  I needed certain colors for a project for a swap over the summer, and I was able to get what I needed by trading and buying partial skeins on Ravelry.  I ended up with just the right amounts and for less money.
  • Remain flexible.  Your priorities may change as your stash shifts.  I wasn’t worried about yarn support when I started my stashbusting efforts but now I plan to track it so I can keep a closer eye on my stash.
For 2013, I’m planning to keep whittling away at my stash to keep it more manageable.

What are your stash plans for 2013?

 

 

Giveaway: Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kit

Confession time: Before I started working on surmounting my stash, I pretty much entered every yarn giveaway I came along.  It was by winning one such giveaway from Jimmy Beans Wool that the Artyarns Shawl for All Seasons Kit became part of my collection.

This is actually a pretty cool kit in the Purple Velvet colorway.  Apparently, it usually sells for over $60.  It is even available for both knitting and crocheting.

So why am I giving it away? Well, I’ve discovered that I don’t need quite as much bling in my crochet projects as this kit provides.  And since I don’t plan to use it, I’d rather it ends up with someone else who might get a lot of pleasure from it.

This giveaway is open to all readers.  Enter by 11:59 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, January 4, 2013.  

To enter:

  • Leave a comment telling me how you would use this kit.  Would you knit or crochet?  Would you follow the pattern or design your own?  Would you keep the finished object or gift it?
  • For additional entries, like Underground Crafter on Facebook, follow Underground Crafter on Twitter, join the Underground Crafter group on Ravelry, and/or share a link to this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog.  (And then, leave a comment here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or in the Ravelry group letting me know what you did!)
  • One winner will be chosen based on awesomeness.  (In other words, I will pick the winner based on the best answer.  If there are too many great answers, I’ll choose the winner randomly from my favorites.)

Good luck!

Surmount the Stash – November Review

November was an interesting month, stashwise.  I actually made solid progress on stashbusting.

My accomplishments

  • I finished several gift projects made from stash, including two projects for my friend’s new baby, two holiday gifts for my dad’s siblings, and a gift for my dad’s partner.  I also made two little crochet sweater ornaments that will eventually become gifts, but I’m not sure who will be the recipients yet.
  • I made a wool-eating scarf for charity.
  • I returned an unwound skein of yarn I bought on a whim in October.

All told, this amounted to a destash of 2,382 yards of yarn, or the equivalent of 6.5 skeins of Red Heart Super Saver.

This giant scarf made with two strands of yarn held together used up 900 yards!

On the other hand…

  • I bought two skeins of yarn to finish up my charity scarf (420 yards).

Now, let’s pause for philosophical musings

I spent much of November working on projects for publication where I received yarn support (the yarn that a yarn company or publisher sends you for free when you are commissioned to design a pattern for them).  I don’t consider yarn support to be part of “my stash”  since I can’t use it freely for whatever I want, or give it away.  Some times, the leftovers are even supposed to be returned to the company.  If I considered it part of my stash, then I would have used up another 816 yards, but I also received more than 30 skeins of yarn support this month…  Hopefully, you’ll agree with my theories on yarn support (because otherwise my stash is dangerously out of control!).

While you ponder this, feel free to download the two free patterns from yarn support projects I finished in November.  (Click the photo to link to the pattern download.)

The All Weather Cowl, a Tunisian crochet pattern.

 

The Givin' Me Fever Pom Pom Hat, a knitting pattern. (Photo (c) Kollabora.)

The Verdict

Assuming you agree with me, I used 1,962 yards more than I bought in this month, so I consider myself victorious over the stash.

December goals

During December, I don’t expect to get much done in terms of stashbusting since most of my crafting time will be focused on designs for future publication.  But I would like to come up with stash goals for 2013, since I want to continue to reduce my stash.

 

How are your stashbusting efforts going?

For more Surmount the Stash updates, visit the Ravelry group here.

Holiday Stashdown Challenge: Weeks 29 & 30

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

I didn’t post a holiday crafting update last week.  Most of my crafting time lately has been used up on several secret design projects, but I did pick up some quick holiday projects, too.

I’ve been working on some ornaments.

This tiny sweater is actually finished now.

I made another one of these cute sweater ornaments, and I also started two of these granny tree ornaments.

I'm looking for a coordinating brown yarn for the trunks.

And… I decided I wanted a fun, no thinking project to work on in between my designs.  I’ve been eyeing Queen Anne’s Lace scarves for a while, but didn’t want to use the brain space to try and figure out the free patterns I found.  I decided to plunk down some cash for a well written pattern that explains everything: Anne by MK Carroll.

The investment was totally worth it because I can crochet away without trying to interpret the pattern.  The pattern is written and also charted with the written pattern side by side again.  I’ve just started this scarf, and it will be for my best friend from high school, CG.  I don’t plan to give it to her until her birthday in March, though.

My plan is to make this long and narrow, kind of like a boa.  CG is an artist and dresses with a lot of bold colors, so she could actually pull off that look.  I’m using this great yarn I bought during my trip to Philadelphia.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 28

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

With all of my “must make” holiday gifts finished, I’m now free to turn to the fun stuff!

You may have seen my previous posts about the great swaps I’ve had on the A Swap A Month group on Ravelry.  Sadly, the group began unraveling a few months ago when it was discovered that the moderator was a naughty swapper herself.  Some of the members have reformed into the Strangers in Good Company group.  Our first swap is an ornament and card swap for Christmas, so I’ve been scouring the web for awesome ornament patterns.

I found this adorable sweater ornament pattern by Jessica Spencer and had so much fun making these that I think I will create an ornament gift tag for each of the Christmas celebrators on my gift list.  (I mentioned before that my winter holiday gift list includes people who observe a range of holidays.)

I made a camouflage version and a cherry chocolate version.  These is also a wonderful way to use up little yarn scraps.  And, unlike when making a real sweater, I don’t really mind that the sleeves are not the same length for both arms.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 27

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

Alright people, I think I need a drum roll for this.  I’ve actually finished all of my “must make” holiday projects a week ahead of my self-imposed November 19 deadline!

The final project.

I’ll admit this isn’t the greatest picture, since it is pretty hard to photograph a scarf that is 7.5″ wide by 79″ long, but you can find a few more attempts on my Ravelry project page.  This will go to my uncle, who is about 6’5″.  I used the Pebble Stitch pattern from my 30 Purrfect Stitches for Pet Blankets pattern e-book.  (Side note: I donate all profits from the sale of this ebook to an animal welfare organization at the end of every month.)

This scarf started out it’s life as my second attempt to crochet a sweater.  I was about 75% finished with an XL Double Feature from More Crocheted Aran Sweaters by Jane Snedden Peever.  (You can read about why I unraveled it here.)

I used two strands of yarn held together and kept crocheting until the yarn ran out.  It is a little shorter than I planned, but I still think it is a good size.

And now, on to the lists…

The Finished List! (~3,350 yds from stash)

1) Cabled hat for Dad – Cascade 220 Superwash (from stash) ~220 yds – A Hat Fit for a Fella pattern by Shana Kreikemeier

2) Cabled hat for JP – Malabrigo Rios (from stash) ~145 yds – my own design

3) Bruges lace scarf for OB – madelinetosh tosh sport (purchased at Knitty City for this project) – 270 yds – Sparkling Wave Scarf pattern by Tatyana Mirer

4) Ribbed beanie for cousin PR – Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (from stash) – 122 yds – my own design

5) Stuffed toy for little cousin, CJ – Caron One Pound in black and white (from stash) – 210 yds - Lala the Panda by Stacey Trock
6) Ribbed beanie for cousin MR - Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (from stash) – 129 yds – my own design

7) Bruges lace scarf for my friend, JS – Bitsy Knits Squoosh (from stash) – 270 yds – my own design

8 ) Bruges lace infinity scarf/cowl for one of the ladies in my dad’s family –Austermann Step (from stash) – 276 yds – my own design

9) Bruges lace scarf in boucle yarn for another one of the ladies in my dad’s family – Bernat Soft Boucle (from stash) – 204 yds – my own design

10) Self-striping Bruges lace scarf for another one of the ladies in my dad’s family – Red Heart Boutique Eclipse (from stash) – 170 yds – my own design

11) Christmas stocking for grandpa – lots and lots of white and red yarn – 193 yards from stash and 113 yards of Craft Smart Value Solids bought from Michaels for this project – I used this pattern for assembly and 17 different hexagon designs

12) Scarf for Dad’s partner – Bernat LanaCascade 220Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool, and Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed (from stash) – 299 yds – my own design, available as part of the Ripple Mania crochet-a-long

13) Crescent shawl for one of the ladies in my dad’s family – Cascade 220 and Patons Classic Wool (from stash) – 212 yds – Terribly Simple by Caitlin ffrench

14) Pebble stitch scarf for my uncleFilatura Lanarota Chaco (from stash) – 900 yards – Pebble Stitch pattern

The Maybe List

I’m not too sure if I will get to any of these, especially since I have a few secret projects for publication with impending deadlines that I just found out about this weekend.  If I get some down time, I will probably make a few of these projects.

1) CG, my BFF from high school - Something with this yarn that I bought with her in mind.

2 -3 ) My sister and my mom - Still not sure if and what I would make for these lovely ladies.

3) MC, my special guy - I’ve been thinking about a pair of house slippers if I have time.

 

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

Holiday Stashdown Challenge, Week 26

(Join along with me any time if you need a head start or moral support for your holiday crafting.  You can read more details here.)

After a few weeks without anything interesting report, I’m happy to say I finished two holiday projects.

I made this crescent shawl using stash yarn and one of the buttons I inherited from my grandmother.  The pattern is Terribly Simple by Caitlin ffrench (also available as a free Ravelry download).  I probably would have made it larger if I made it for myself, but at this size it was a perfect storm project.

 

 

I made this ripple scarf entirely from scrap yarn, too.  I got a lot of crafting done last week since I was at home from work for three days due to the storm, and then had a four hour round trip commute on Thursday and Friday.

Now I seem to be back on track with my holiday crafting, and hopefully I can keep up the momentum.  I’m hopeful about completing the rest of my holiday projects before my personal deadline of November 18.  I also bought larger cards for my snowflake project, so I hope to have a few cards ready in time for the winter holidays.

The Finished List! (~2,450 yds from stash)

1) Cabled hat for Dad – Cascade 220 Superwash (from stash) ~220 yds – A Hat Fit for a Fella pattern by Shana Kreikemeier

2) Cabled hat for JP – Malabrigo Rios (from stash) ~145 yds – my own design

3) Bruges lace scarf for OB – madelinetosh tosh sport (purchased at Knitty City for this project) – 270 yds – Sparkling Wave Scarf pattern by Tatyana Mirer

4) Ribbed beanie for cousin PR – Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick and Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (from stash) – 122 yds – my own design

5) Stuffed toy for little cousin, CJ – Caron One Pound in black and white (from stash) – 210 yds - Lala the Panda by Stacey Trock
6) Ribbed beanie for cousin MR - Moda Dea Tweedle Dee (from stash) – 129 yds – my own design

7) Bruges lace scarf for my friend, JS – Bitsy Knits Squoosh (from stash) – 270 yds – my own design

8 ) Bruges lace infinity scarf/cowl for one of the ladies in my dad’s family –Austermann Step (from stash) – 276 yds – my own design

9) Bruges lace scarf in boucle yarn for another one of the ladies in my dad’s family – Bernat Soft Boucle (from stash) – 204 yds – my own design

10) Self-striping Bruges lace scarf for another one of the ladies in my dad’s family – Red Heart Boutique Eclipse (from stash) – 170 yds – my own design

11) Christmas stocking for grandpa – lots and lots of white and red yarn – 193 yards from stash and 113 yards of Craft Smart Value Solids bought from Michaels for this project – I used this pattern for assembly and 17 different hexagon designs

12) Scarf for Dad’s partnerBernat Lana, Cascade 220, Lion Brand Fishermen’s Wool, and Tahki Yarns Donegal Tweed (from stash) – 299 yds – my own design, available as part of the Ripple Mania crochet-a-long

13) Crescent shawl for one of the ladies in my dad’s familyCascade 220 and Patons Classic Wool (from stash) – 212 yds – Terribly Simple by Caitlin ffrench

The “Still to Make” List

1) My Uncle M – A hat.  Since I made my dad’s partner a scarf, the yarn I was planning to use for the hat is available to make something for my uncle.

The Maybe List

1) CG, my BFF from high school - I’m not as worried about time for this one, since we usually don’t meet until after the holidays anyway.  I would still like to make something with this yarn that I bought with her in mind.

2-3 ) My sister and my mom - I’m at the point where I may not make anything for these lovely ladies.  I made my sister a bedspread last year (ok, I finished it in March, but it was for Christmas, 2011!) and I’m working on a bedspread for my mom’s birthday in February.  If I have time, I think I’ll make house slippers or finish this shawl for my mom.

3) MC, my special guy – If I have time, I’ll make him a pair of house slippers or a new hat since he has pretty well worn out the one I made him a few years ago.

How is your holiday crafting going?  Feel free to share your holiday crafting journey in the comments!

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?

Year of Projects, Year 2: A quickie

I’m sharing a quickie post today because I’m running out to meet my mom and join the lines of New York City shoppers preparing for Hurricane Sandy.  Public schools are closed tomorrow, but I haven’t heard about the colleges yet, so I may or may not be going in to work.  I hope everyone in the storm’s path remains safe over the next few days.

On a lighter note, I did make one charity square this morning.

This is the Dog Rose from Granny Squares: Over 25 Creative Ways to Crochet the Classic Pattern by Stephanie Gohr, Melanie Sturm, and Barbara Wilder.  (I’ll be reviewing this book soon, by the way.)  I haven’t woven in the ends because many of the charities ask that you don’t – it seems that some people just “knot and cut” and to make sure your ends are woven in sturdily, the charities ask you to leave the yarn tails hanging.  It doesn’t make for a neat photo, though.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit Come Bl0g-a-long on Ravelry.

 

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and  CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.

FO Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

I’m excited to be participating in another I Love Yarn Day on my blog!  To celebrate, I’m sharing some charity projects and showing off some of my recent yarn acquisitions.

Finished charity projects

I’ve been working on some charity projects with stash yarn for the Hats 4 the Homeless drive at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Men's hat and child's hat.

I had plans for more creative (read: flashy) hats, but then I remembered these guidelines on the Bridge and Beyond blog about donating handmade hats to homeless people:

Choose colors that don’t show the dirt, that are appropriate for the group you’re donating too.  Wild colors, bold stripes aren’t a good choice for homeless people…  Homeless [people] don’t like to call attention to themselves with wild colors.  Dark colors work for everyone, kids, teens, women, and men.  Light colors limit who can benefit from your warm hat.

With that in mind, I pulled out the charcoal yarns and went work.  I made both hats very bulky and warm so they will provide a little extra protection in harsh weather.  I’m also planning to make some scarves before the drop off deadline.

Yummy yarn stuff

When I wrote my post for I Love Yarn Day last year, I was already thinking about thinning out my stash.  This year I’ve been participating in Surmount the Stash and I started my own Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I’ve made a lot of progress towards reducing my stash and increasing the proportion of natural fibers in my collection.  I’m not even going to enter the I Love Yarn Day contest where you can win 365 skeins of yarn.  Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it up.  So what changed?

One of my best friends and I took part in the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge with Frugally Sustainable in January.  As New York natives working in the public/non-profit sector and watching prices rise astronomically, we are always worried about our finances.

My frugality is still a work in progress – there is much that I haven’t changed yet – but I have been pretty good about keeping a 30-Day List.  Last weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival and the New York City Yarn Crawl, and I’ve been planning for months to go wild.

The yarn and roving I bought at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.

From top to bottom: Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki in Aella and in Anastasia, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red, and Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace in Night Sky and Hand Dyed Merino Roving in Harvest Festival.

I only had time to visit three of the ten yarn shops participating in the New York City Yarn Crawl last weekend.  (After all, I was in New Jersey for two days for the Festival!)

My first stop was (of course) my favorite NYC yarn shop, Knitty City, where I picked up two skeins of madelinetosh tosh vintage.

On Monday, I visited Downtown Yarns, my favorite stop for knitting needle shopping.

Believe it or not, I actually went there hoping they would have some super jumbo circulars, and I was not disappointed. (These are US size 50!)

I found this lovely skein of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock right next to the needles.

 

My final stop was The Yarn Company.  I’ve done a fair amount of browsing in the shop since it came under new ownership and the vibe is much better than it was in the past.  Other than a few skeins of sale yarn that I bought when ownership switched over, I had never found the “right” yarn for me when visiting.  It is in my neighborhood and I appreciate the work the new owners have put into rebuilding the store’s reputation, so I decided to stop by during the Yarn Crawl.  And I wasn’t disappointed when I found this lovely skein of Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in Violets in the Grass.

Don't be fooled. This skein is 560 yards.

I have ideas for these yarns, but honestly, I almost never make exactly what I planned when I’m buying the yarn!  (Does this happen to anyone else?)  By the time I get through the things I’m making now and the projects I have deadlines for, I’ll be interested in making other things.  At least now that I started using Ravelry’s stash feature (thanks to this tutorial from FreshStitches), I can easily scan my stash before starting a new project.

For more I Love Yarn Day excitement, check out the inspiration webpagePinboards, and Facebook page, and follow @iloveyarnday or search #iloveyarnday on Twitter.  And for more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.