Monday, March 31, 2008


Drum roll please......

It's the end of the first quarter of The Year of the Stash, and this

has been used up. (Well, okay--obviously not this exact yarn & fabric, since I couldn't take the picture that way, but this volume).

19 yards of fabric

and 37 skeins (5061 yards) of yarn.
Look--it almost completely fills the laundry basket!

This is easily the most excitement I've ever gotten out of a laundry basket, but since a load of whites was the previous front-runner, it wasn't exactly a challenge.

Still, 3 months and my stash has actually shrunk!!! I haven't added ANYTHING to it!!!!

I promise, it isn't smugness--it's shock. It's amazing what a woman can be driven to when she runs out of closet space...

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Married a Saint

As I am currently taking a decongestant that would stun a horse, Andy is my chauffeur for the next few days, and on a sunny Saturday afternoon I had him take me to Joann's Fabrics, which was inundated with women with that crazed crafting look in their eyes and sale fliers clutched tightly in their hands as they charged racks of 50% off fabric, so I could get these:

Size 10 and size 9 dpns, to make sure we prevented any future needle emergencies. I have 2 days left to finish Cheap Thrills--the race is on!

The pressure has gotten to Theo

but I was able to hold it together enough to finish off another ball of yarn on the sweater I shouldn't be working on until later this fall:

No vacuuming yet, though. Rats!

Friday, March 28, 2008

3 days left in the month!

And Cheap Thrills may not make it.

I've been working on the seams, and they could get there, but the collar has hit a snag. It turns out that I don't own any size 10 double-pointed needles. Or size 9 or size 10.5. How it is possible for there to be not one size, but three sizes of needles that I don't own will forever remain a mystery--like the whole socks-eating dryer thing.

The Fruity Pebbles socks are progressing.

But the unscheduled knitting is getting most of my attention:

Whether it's because of the pattern, the softness of the alpaca, or because it isn't what I "should" be working on, I am obsessed by this sweater! Just in case it is some compulsive need to do what I shouldn't be doing, I'm going to find a way to convince myself that I absolutely SHOULDN'T vacuum tomorrow.....We'll see what happens!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


The Mystic Light KAL started today, and I have the yarn--and heaven knows I have the needles--but haven't yet decided if I will cast on or not. It is in fingering weight, with size 7 needles, so there's some potential for instant gratification, but I didn't PLAN on much lace this year, and then there's little Dem Fischer Sin Fru sitting in the corner of the sewing room, muttering to MS3 about "starteritis" and "flaky knitters" who can't make a commitment.

Meanwhile, the new sweater--which has not yet earned an ignominious nickname of any kind--passed skein number 1 and brings me to 33 skeins for the year, which earns it my undying affection this week. Monday will be the end of first quarter (see how hard it is to keep my business life from bleeding over into my knitting?), and whatever stash I have used at that point could be considered an indicator of how much of the stash I can use up this year--provided I quit getting sucked into lace KALs. So, if I were at 35 skeins by Monday, a rational person could project 140 skeins by the end of the year, and while high on yarn fumes I could project 150-160. That would be a lot of yarn.

The really frightening thing to contemplate, though, is what if my stash is so big that it doesn't make much of a dent....?

Hm, I think I need to go find those size 10s again.....

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

A Free Night To Knit

Andy is still away, so last night I had an evening to myself. Did I sew up Cheap Thrills? Work on the overdue birthday poncho? Get caught up on dem fischer sin fru? Work on the Lady's Circular Cape? Finish those last 30 rows of MS3?

Nope. I cast on for an alpaca cardie I was planning to knit later this fall:

DK weight, size 6 needles, and the body is done in one piece, and I'm thinking I can finish it in one month? Well, I'm sure it would be possible, but I would have to give up A) sleep, B) work, or C) my sanity. My plan--which always makes more sense than what I actually do--was to alternate some of the longer projects with finishing some of those pesky WIPs lurking around the sewing room. So, if I have any sense at all, I will be putting this little project aside until I finish the planned April sweater, then work on it for a week, do the May project, work on this a little, and so on. Of course, if I had any sense I would not be in 4 KALs right now that I have either not even started or am floundering around in Clue 1 (pun intended), have 46,000 yards of laceweight yarn, have fabric oozing out every nook & cranny in the sewing room, or have needed to do THE YEAR OF THE STASH!

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

A Momentous Day!!!

Today, for the first time in several months, the stash is completely contained within the sewing room. Hurrah!!!!

I'd like to believe that it's a product of the stash-reduction project (32 skeins & 4433 yards of yarn and almost 19 yards of fabric used!!!), but I think I need to credit a little creativity in the storage arena for this one.

Still, I am now COMPLETELY surrounded by fiber! It's like living in a yarn shop, but without getting arrested for shoplifting if I take things.

And...drum roll please--the sleeves for Cheap Thrills are done & I just have a neckband and the seams to do and 8 whole days to do them in!

(No, I will not be taking bets on whether or not I wait until the 8th day to tackle the seams--that would be what is known as a "sucker bet.")

The pattern is called the "Living Lace Pattern Pullover" by Gedifra, and I got it from Elann. They offered it as a free pattern on their website when they had the Gedifra Living yarn, but if you email the nice people at Elann and ask for a copy of the pattern, they will send it to you. If you are unfamiliar with their website, I will suggest that you first turn your credit card over to a reliable person who will not give it back to you no matter how much you insist that summer is a great time to knit with alpaca. Husbands are great for this sort of task, provided you don't mind enduring a few days of suspicion regarding your mental capacities while under the influence of fiber fumes. If it continues longer than a couple days, however, I suggest you take your spouse to Home Depot--especially the power tools section--and take away HIS credit card. All is fair in love, war, and knitting!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Instant Gratification

Friday night and it's time for some instant gratification:

A project started and finished all in one evening!

They're Christmas napkins, and possibly by December I can get some sort of placemats done to match.

Another 2 yards of fabric out of the stash!!!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Just crossed the 4,000 yard mark

I just used up my 28th ball of yarn and my 4072nd yard of yarn--That's 2.31 MILES of yarn so far this year. Ha!!!

Take THAT Excel!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Insanity with a computer

I think Debra was right--to have totaled up even part of the stash was either brave or crazy, but personally I'm leaning toward crazy. I mean, I knew the stash was large--it's started to get its own mail--but now, thanks to that darned Excel spreadsheet, in my most wool-fume induced optimism, I can't even PRETEND that I have a "reasonable" amount of yarn. "Reasonable" would be a few sweaters ahead, to give me "options." "Reasonable" would be a few additional balls of sock yarn for fast gifts. "Reasonable" would be a couple color choices for lace.

It's obvious--I'm going to have to give up Excel.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Universe Does Not Like To Be Criticized

A few days ago I complained that "real life" was getting in the way of my knitting, so the universe struck back with some cold/flu thing that left me in bed with chills and knitting earlier today. I'm not going to share the downside, but on the "up" side,

"Cheap Thrills" is ready to be divided for the neck. [I have got to quit calling it that before I start wearing it--I don't want to be known as someone who gets Cheap Thrills out of the laundry]

And for a small, portable project, I started a sock out of a cotton yarn that looks remarkably like children's breakfast cereal.

Great--I'm now knitting Cheap Thrills and Fruity Pebbles. And you thought the lace-weight yarn was my biggest problem....

Monday, March 17, 2008

March Progress

In spite of yesterday's rude awakening, I have resisted the urge to lock myself in a closet and knit lace for 3 days--partially because of a job that strongly discourages that sort of insanity, and partly because my closet plans didn't involve any wine. Besides, unless I learn more creative storage techniques, the "Year of the Stash" is about clearing volume out of my stash. It may be an irrational amount to own, but 46,000 yards of lace weight yarn doesn't actually take up much room.

So, on with the plan!

As I write, I am wearing the March sewing project--pajamas made out of flannel-backed satin and the "Cheap Thrills" sweater back is done, and half of the front. 14 days left for half a front & sleeves--thank heavens for those big needles!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oh My Goodness!

I have 46,634 yards of lace weight yarn in my stash.


What I have on the needles this year will use up 5190 yards, and I've used about 1500 yards so far this year, but still....


Lace weight yarn is obviously very sneaky. It's small, doesn't take up much room, and is generally much less expensive than say, yarn for a sweater. This is obviously their plan--lulling you into a false sense of security--a feeling of harmlessness. What harm would one more hank do? What's a little merino between friends?

And that skein of alpaca--why it weighs almost nothing! What harm could it do?

Mohair? It's mostly fuzz--that doesn't take up much room!

They sneak up on you, one by one, looking totally soft & harmless, then before you know it....BAM! You have enough yarn to knit lace for the next 10 years.

"Denial" is not just a river in Egypt--it's apparently a yarn shop with terrific discounts on lace weight.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

There's a lot to be said for big needles...

The "Cheap Thrills" sweater is progressing--the back is done

and so far the front is progressing without incident. I still haven't figured out how I shifted the pattern over by one stitch on the back, but so far I haven't done it on the front, so whatever I did it was totally my fault & not the pattern's. Rats--it's so much better for my ego the other way.

Partially because I needed a new "stop light" project, which by definition has to be simple & easy to pick up and put down, and partly because the pile of yarn used from the stash was looking small and pathetic, I started a simple blanket using Lion Brand's Thick & Quick Chenille. When it's finished, this will be out of the stash
which is much more gratifying than the little balls of laceweight yarn. The blanket will be a present for one of my nephews, so I'm not JUST doing it for the April stash-depletion picture, but you will notice there aren't a lot of baby sweaters with size 2 needles this year...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Real Life Really Gets in the Way of My Knitting

Dem fischer sin fru: no progress

Birthday poncho: no progress

"Cheap Thrills" sweater: no progress

MS3: no progress

Work: 2 breakfast meetings, 2 lunch meetings, 3 demos, 50 phone calls, 2 proposals.

What happened to my priorities in life?????

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Monogamy is for Marriage

Not for crafting. This week I finished the "stop light sock," so named because it spent its formative days on the passenger seat in my car waiting for long stoplights and slow traffic to get attention. I don't exactly know when these were begun--the mate has been sitting on my desk for a few months now, so besides the sheer joy of adding 459 yards and 1 ball of yarn to the Year of Stash tally, I can quit having to explain why there is one sock on my desk.

This weekend we took a quick trip to Las Vegas, and the Lady's Circular Cape from Victorian Lace Today, started back in January, was the lucky traveling project.

I made great progress, and in fact, I was quite nervous on the way home--I almost ran out of yarn!!! This from the woman who took 5 extra balls of yarn along on her honeymoon!!! You can imagine my stress when we were sitting in the Las Vegas airport & heard the news talking about snowstorms in Ohio causing flight delays. Flight delays could mean the possibility of being without knitting!!! Luckily, we made it home with just a few yards before the calamity occurred,

Sensing my distress, Theo immediately held the yarn for ransom until he received some attention & cat food.

I'm going to spend the afternoon surrounded by my stash--the thought of being yarnless has just completely unnerved me....

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Lack of sense or lack of willpower?

This is probably a good illustration of my tendency to ignore all realistic expectations when it comes to knitting or sewing....

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Getting Sidetracked

I am not the person I thought I was. My cheap thrills fling

has distracted me from all other knitting. It's a chunky weight yarn called Gedifra Living, which I would link to if I could find it on the internet, and the pattern, which also can't be located, was free with the purchase of the yarn. Yes, I know it sounds like I made this all up, but it was out there somewhere at some time--I promise.

This was even Deep Stash yarn--the stuff that has been in stash for more than a year and has very little chance by now of ever getting used, which makes me more than a little proud of myself--and explains how I have somehow inexplicably shifted the lace pattern over by one stitch--proving that old knitting adage, "pride goeth before a frog." (rip-it, rip-it) This time, however, I have left well enough alone. I can't find the error and have decided that searching down an invisible, unnoticeable mistake cannot be part of a "cheap thrills" knitting experience. (I should be careful with that phrase--Google obviously gets a great deal of enjoyment from directing people to my blogs through the most unlikely & misconstrued phrases, the Canadian female impersonators being my personal favorite...)

This is what I had intended to knit this month:

A lovely soft yellow that in all honestly will make my fair-skinned self look like a banana, but a nice spring color. It is the sport-weight version of the yarn I used for the January sweater:

(I don't always buy yarns that look like Easter eggs, but apparently I do when it's December and the ground is covered in snow and I'm already wishing for spring.)

To be honest, in spite of its softness, I'm not very impressed with the yarn--Knit Picks Shine Worsted & Sport. Besides having a big join that looked like it was attacked by rats in the center of every skein, the yarn sheds so much that the cats consider it one of their own. Walking around covered in yellow fuzz....I'll look like a large baby chicken!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cheap Thrills

The plan was to knit a yellow cotton cardigan this month since spring is coming and a nice cotton cardigan would be very useful. What I am actually doing is dividing my time between the cheap thrills knitting:

which will be a pullover, and will take all of this

out of my stash, and dem fischer sin fru

which has progressed but is still on clue 1. I think number 6 comes out this week--or perhaps the fashion show where the speed-knitters model their shawls made from handspun wool from sheep they have sheared themselves. I'm honestly not that competitive--I just want to know their secret. Do they knit in their sleep?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

It sounded better on paper

So far this year, I've used up approximately this much of my stash:

While progress is progress, I was hoping it would amount to a much bigger pile--like overflowing the table bigger. Granted, it's only 2 months, but I admit that I had visions of using up so much yarn this year that the closet would no longer be overflowing with yarn, that there would not longer be bags of yarn teetering on the top shelf of the closet just waiting to fall on my head while I rummaged through the yarn on lower shelves. I might have to become a bit more realistic about my expectations. Maybe it isn't so much about getting the stash under control this year....maybe it's about finding the floor......