Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Rhinebeck Sweater?

Is it too early to start talking about the Rhinebeck Sweater? After all, it is only April and Rhinebeck is still 6 months away.  At the same time, it is April and Rhinebeck is 6 months away!

Last year I had the brilliant idea to knit a sweater for Rhinebeck 11 days before the festival.  Was it crazy? Yes, however, it was a bulky weight pattern that I had knit before.  In the end, I finished the knitting in the hotel room after we had set up the booth at Rhinebeck and brought the sweater to the lobby to seam up while my comrades tried to get some sleep.

This year, I have many options for my Rhinebeck Sweater.

1: I could knit a sweater with the sweater yarn I bought last year at Rhinebeck.  This option must be checked off the list already, since it has happened as of this past Sunday! Miss Babs Yowza knit up into a lovely Bedford.

2: I could attempt the spin/knit a sweater with the wool I purchased last year at MDSW or NHSW.  This was a loose goal of mine from last year but I never had time to process the fiber.  Last month, I sent out the fiber to get processed so all I'd have to do would be spin/knit the sweater before Rhinebeck.  Doable? I'm not sure.  I love a challenge but I'd need to step up my spinning time quite a bit to reach my goal.  On the other hand, this is the first year I think I can actively participate in the Tour de Fleece so maybe I'll attempt an insane amount of spinning for my project.

3: I could knit sweaters with my remaining stash of sweater yarn (DK or above).  I have 5 sweaters worth or yarn left.  The rest is fingering weight that may or may not be used for a shawl so it can pass under the radar for now.  This goal seems a bit more plausible that goal #2 for the following reasons.  a: I've started sweaters with 2/5 bundles of yarn so technically I am on my way to being 2/5ths of the way there.  b: All of the sweater bundles have been assigned to projects.  (The Dream in Color and O-Wool are already cast on and the Cascade, Verdant Gryphon and Shibui are waiting impatiently).  c: The sweater mentioned in goal #1 was so fabulous that I am back on a sweater kick.  d: I've been using our upcoming shows and festivals as motivation to finish projects (Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival was the goal for the Bedford!).

As you may have guessed by now, goal #3 is the most appealing out of the two applicable goals.  Perhaps, if I have an incredibly productive year (as I did in 2012 (12 sweaters in 2012)), I can meet all three of my goals.  Only time will tell.

I leave you with the sweater mentioned in goal #1 (and the boyfriend's Christmas sweater).

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Knit the Stash Update and Olympic Review

Believe it or not, I am still going strong with my Stash Down goal for 2014.  With the closing of the Olympic ceremonies, I am happy to report that 6 more skeins have been knit.  I used 2 skeins for 2012 for a shawl, 2 skeins from 2012 for a sweater and 2 skeins from 2013 for a hat.  I just cast on for a sweater with 2 more skeins from 2013.  The Olympics are always a fun occasion to follow, and for the past 3 games, I've competed in the knitting Olympics which follow the games.  The first year that I competed, I was mainly crocheting.  My goal was to knit a pair of sock since I had never knit anything besides garter stitch scarves before.  The next games, I challenged myself to knit a Nordic Ski Sweater. This time, I started with a bulky cowl and a fingering weight sweater.  Since I finished both of these projects with more than a few days to spare, I also knit a Nordic ski hat and finished a WIP shawl.

It is safe to say that challenging myself with the games has given me the "Knit Everything" bug so I promptly cast on for a new sweater.  If this knitting bug continues, I may just knit through all of my sweater stash (which at the moment is about 7 sweaters worth).  In the event of total sweater stash down, I am lifting my 2014 yarn diet on sweaters and allowing myself to purchase more sweater yarn.

Things that I have learned so far:

I really really need to purchase more grey/black/natural/brown yarn.
Knitting from the stash has resulted in some really fun and creative ideas for yarn usage.  Also, my mind has been opened to different types of pattern to accommodate the yarn I've already purchased.
There are some really lovely hidden gems that have been hiding in my stash.
There are some really lovely fancy yarns that I have been saving for nothing in particular and have now been turned into something spectacular.
It is really satisfying seeing holes appearing in my stash shelves.

Now, I am not going to lie and say I have not been tempted to purchase any new yarn.  The knitting Olympics have exposed me to an endless amount of new yarns, patterns, and fibers.  I am particularly smitten with the Little Prince Opal sock yarn that was released last year, however, I have been forcing myself to stay away.

I am thinking about adding another revision to the goal and allowing for Rhinebeck to be the only show that I am allowed to purchase yarn at to give myself something to work towards (besides endless amounts of finished projects with long loved yarn).  Why Rhinebeck? It is my "birthday" show, one of the largest shows in the fiber world and the show that has almost all of my favorite vendors in one spot. The other purchase I may allow myself is the Little Prince collection of Opal yarn since it is a limited edition line and would only continue to increase in price until it completely disappears.  (I stalked the Harry Potter Opal yarn for months before deciding to purchase the lot on Ebay and now you can't find it anywhere).

My only yarn related purchases to speak of are 2 sets of sock needles (one pair broke on vacation) and a couple of patterns on Ravelry.

I leave you with my current project.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Knit the stash: day 7

The first week of the new year is over...I've no clue where it went.  So far I've stayed true to my new years resolution of no stash enhancing.  But, its only been a week so it is not like that is a huge accomplishment.  I do have to admit to some yarn finding its way into my stash though.  Recently, I moved to a new apartment and the change of address has delayed all of my parcels from the Post Office.  The yarn that arrived on the 3rd was supposed to be here in time for Christmas, having been sent to me from my dad as Christmas presents.  Therefore, is does not count as stash enhancing and instead counts as the last new yarn to enter my stash for the next 358 days!

If you take a look at my current stash, you'll see I have a large variety of bright colors in my sock yarn shelf and a mixture of jewels and neutrals in the sweater shelf.  Taking a moment to quickly reevaluate my stash based on my knitting tastes, I realize that I shop for one thing and knit another.  I lean towards neutrals when it comes to choosing knitting projects.  Most of my favorite sweaters are either cream, grey or black.  I love multicolored scarves and socks, but I would rather knit shades of grey than Butternut Squash yellow.  2015 New Years Resolution: Buy yarn in shades that are not fall for the shiny factor.

The reason I've ended up with so many brights is incredibly obvious.  1: I love bright colors in every aspect of my life.  2: I'm more willing to splurge on something that is one of a kind, unique to the dyer, new to me, eye catching, etc.  Why would I want to buy a sweaters worth of grey yarn here when I can get grey yarn from everyone else anytime I want?  At the end of this past year, I purchased a few projects worth of yarn in neutral colors and I am so happy to have them in my stash! If only I had stocked up on neutral sock yarn before my stashdown...that would have helped with my neutral shawl cravings.

Neutral Stash Project Ideas:
1. Cascade Eco Tarnish: Ranger for Me!
2. Miss Babs Yowza Into the Void: Bedford for me!
3. Shibui Alpaca DK: Snowbird for Me! Shortened?

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 goals

I'm keeping it simple this year. My one goal of 2014 is to knit from my stash for the entire year. There are a couple of rules that go along with this. 1: I can purchase 4 projects worth of yarn throughout the year. These are emergency purchases that I will hopefully not have to take advantage of. 2: projects requiring Holiday Yarns yarn do not count as stash enhancing due to the fact they are usually knit before they make it to the shelf. 3: if I seriously manage to knit thorough my stash, I can start purchasing yarn again! 4: pattern and buttons don't count as stash building (I'm not a button collector and patterns will help get me through the stash).

I'm starting the year off with a new sweater. The pattern is Woodstove Season by Alicia Plummer and the yarn is Local by O Wool that I bought at Stitches East 2013.