My stash is my WIP

I’m about to start a new project.  I’m designing a crocheted bag pattern using Galler Yarns Parisian Cotton in Colvert.  The exact details are still formulating in my brain, which is why I have my collection of hooks out in the photo.

I chose Colvert because I would like this bag to serve double duty as a pattern sample and a Mother’s Day gift.  The color is a bit more green than it appears in the photo, and I thought it would go well with my mom’s fashion palette.

Since last week, I’ve finished two small design projects – the Broomstick Lace Mug Hug I shared on Friday (free pattern here) and a Pinwheel Yarmulke (free pattern here).

That all seems great, but before I break my arm patting myself on the back, I should mention a small problem. You see, yesterday I realized that the real work in progress I should be focusing on is my stash, which is completely out of control.

I’ve been trying to reduce my yarn stash by following along with Revelations of  Delusional Knitter‘s Surmount the Stash group on Ravelry.  In January and February, things seemed to be going well.  It wasn’t a landslide, but if my stash and I were in a head-to-head battle, I would have been declared victorious.  But somewhere in March, I got off track.

I was hoping to finish three projects during March to reduce my stash.

  • Complete my sister’s blanket.  I did actually finish the crocheting part in March (yay!), but I still have about 10 hours worth of ends to be woven in.  As soon as this is done, I will have the equivalent of one tub’s worth of yarn gone from my apartment.
  • Make several bullion stitch charity blocks for the Crochetlist March Charity Challenge.  Although I was off to a great start on these  blocks in February, I didn’t finish any in March.  I was hoping to use up the equivalent of two large skeins of yarn in acrylic yarn scraps with these blocks.
  • Take pictures of unused, unwanted skeins in my stash.  My plan was to list these for sale or trade online.

I did very little work on my own crochet in March, mostly because the combination of crazy hours at work (10-12 hour days a few times a week) and my other commitments with teaching and design left me a bit disinterested in my own projects.  And then…  I got more yarn.  A lot.  You see,  Galler Yarns decided to send me samples of each yarn in the line, as well as a bunch of different colors in a few of the yarns.  This added about 15 skeins to my collection – almost enough to fill another plastic tub.

On the bright side, I have a few days off in April, and there should be a bit of a lull.  So hopefully I can finish the blanket and mail it to my sister and get started again on some more charity projects to use up my acrylic yarn scraps.   If not, I’ll probably have to rent another apartment just for the yarn to live in, since pretty soon me, MC, and the cat won’t be able to fit in our place with the fiber.

As far as my reading goes, I finished The Girl Who Played with Fire last week.  I thought it was even better than the first book.  I just started The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.  I confess that I’m developing that slightly sad feeling you get when coming to the end of a series because you know that your time with the characters is almost over.  Since Mr. Larsson died in 2004, I’ll definitely have to find another author to keep me engaged once I complete the trilogy.

For more WIP Wednesday posts, visit Tami’s Amis.  For more Yarn Along posts, visit Small Things.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion Stitch Blocks, week 3

(This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.)

The subtitle of this post should be: Unraveled.

Yesterday, I learned that squares for Heartmade Blessings, the intended charity recipient of my bullion stitch blocks, cannot contain any black yarn.  So last night, this:

became this.

I know I didn’t have to pull back the entire block, but I really wanted to use the same group of colors throughout all the blocks.  I also pulled back three other partial blocks that I had started in the same color scheme.

The rainbow yarn is a must.  I received it in a swap and while I love the funkiness of it, I don’t really know how else to use it.  So this morning, I dug into my stash and came up with these yarns.

Much brighter color palette, for better or worse. I’ll be pulling back a scrap pet blanket and granny square if needed for this project.

Since this block, the Poppy Bullion Block by Donna Kay Lacey, is so fun to make, I really don’t mind starting over.  I do hope to have at least eight 12″ bullion squares to donate at the end of the month, but we’ll see.  I still haven’t decided if I will unravel my other bullion block, Hybrid Peas by Margaret MacInnis.

I hadn’t added any black to this block yet, but I might want to use the same yarns as the other blocks.

If you are interested in doing some bullion crochet yourself, I discovered that Donna Kay Lacey has a great photo tutorial available as a free Ravelry download.  I haven’t tried her technique yet, but I have to believe it works since her bullions are just gorgeous.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion stitch blocks, week 2

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is part of my Year of ProjectsCrochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.

I was under the weather this week, and I’m taking the Craft Yarn Council Certified Instructor’s Program in Knitting this weekend (14 hours of fun, preceded by many days of swatch making), so I haven’t made as much progress with my bullion stitch blocks as I would like.  I did share an update on Wednesday.

I finished one Poppy Bullion Block, with several added black borders to bring it up to 12″.

This is such a fun block. I definitely recommend it.

I’m so excited that Heartmade Blessings only wants 12″ squares with all of the ends unwoven.  Yes, folks, you heard that right.  Apparently, they received too many donations where people just cut off the yarn when they were finished, tied a little knot, and then everything unraveled later.  So since they can’t tell if your ends are woven in or don’t exist at all, they ask you to leave a 6″ tail at the start and end of every color.  This has admittedly made me more interested in blocks with multiple color changes :).

I hope to have a lot more to show for my bullion stitch explorations next week.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become a Knitter.

Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class – Bullion stitch blocks, week 1

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is part of my Year of Projects: Crochet Master Class series. You can read the other posts in this series here.

With my woven crochet clutch finished, I was ready to embark on a new chapter in Crochet Master Class.  I had the desire for texture, so I moved on to the bullion stitch chapter, which features crochet master Bonnie Pierce.  Bonnie learned the bullion stitch about 30 years ago when she decided to use a vintage pattern (with over 100 bullions) to make a Christening gown for her daughter.  After that, she saw that there was a lack of bullion patterns so she began to write her own.  Bonnie’s website links to 25 of her free square patterns, and she also sells some of her books, patterns, and bullion crochet hooks here.

I first experimented with the bullion stitch in 2006-7, when I crocheted this hat.

This hat is made with TLC Heathers yarn that I purchased on my very first trip to Smiley’s in Queens!

Since that hat, I haven’t done much with bullions.  If you aren’t familiar with the bullion stitch, check out this YouTube tutorial by Margaret Hubert (which I learned about when I took her freeform class last year).

For some reason, this week I had a great need to “kill three birds with one stone.”  So I tried to pick a bullion project that I could also make from my own stash and for charity.  After a bit of searching on Ravelry, I came across several bullion stitch blocks by Donna Kay Lacey.  I started with the Poppy Bullion Block.

The sun glare on the white washes out some detail on this “in progress” picture.
Here’s the finished block. I assure you that the wonky sides are not a design feature. Let’s just say you shouldn’t try to read a complex pattern while crocheting on the subway if you are aiming for perfection.

I really enjoyed the pattern.  A lot of crochet square patterns are pretty predictable, but this one kept me guessing – in a good way.  I’m planning to make at least a few more of these blocks before moving on to my next bullion stitch pattern.

This block will eventually end up going to Heartmade Blessings as part of the March 2012 Crochetlist charity challenge.  I’ll have to add a few more rounds to bring it up to 12″.

In other bullion news, I started to check out bullion crochet hooks on Lacis and Etsy (Sistermaide listing here).  If I’m still feeling excited about this stitch in another 30 days, I may even buy one.

For more Year of Projects posts, visit When Did I Become A Knitter.