Mini stash dashing update

Hi all,

I have a bunch of stuff I want to do today (Sunday), so I thought I’d just write a mini update of projects.

  1. My parents came over for the weekend and my mum was kind enough to help me rip back my normal bind off on the collar of my cardigan (MANY stitches – laceweight!), and then we both worked on casting off with a stretchier finish. I then sorted the ends out and gave it a soak, it’s now drying in the sun, laid flat!
  2. My parents also brought my spinning wheel up with them so I did a bunch of spinning too – it’s so fast compared to spindling! Not that spindling isn’t lovely too. But I’ve almost finished spinning up the first bobbin of some Countess Ablaze fibre from my stash – colourway is F is for Fidelio. I do enjoy Countess Ablaze’s fibre blends and recommend checking them out.
  3. I also was reunited with my sewing machine! AND my fabric purchase which I thought had possibly been lost in the mail was rescued – it had turned up at our old house and C picked it up when he went back to Wales on a day trip. I’m hoping to use the fabric and the machine to attempt some project bags as a reintroduction to sewing. Then … I bought a Merchant and Mills pattern last night for the Factory Dress which I want to attempt.
  4. RE other projects, when my family was down, I got my sister to try on the 1 sock I had in progress for and then knitted the remainder up to the correct length. I’ve started the second sock but I think I’ve just been knitting too much over other projects and am not drawn to it right now. It could also be that I’m just bored of vanilla socks, without having any commute or travel time at the moment.
  5. I finished both sleeves of my Farmhouse Cardigan – using my hand dyed yarn, picture in previous blog post – and started on the body of the cardi while binge watching Glow. More to come!
  6. My mum seemed to enjoy hand winding yarn balls – I don’t have a swift and ball winder – so I was very happy to let her wind up a few balls for future projects!
  7. C has decided he’s going to crochet so he’s trying at the moment!

That’s all for my super quick update, I’m going to draw a bit more and maybe do a bit of my 3D commission, then I’ll be downstairs, possibly spinning or starting on project bags.

Pictures to come!

Elysia

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Life Update

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since my last post – a lot has been going on – and actually I’m writing this into a word processor for the moment since we have no internet. I’ll post it once we get our net back.

I’m not really sure when my last post was anyway. But after months of me waiting and hoping, we have moved from rural Wales to Manchester. I love where we used to live, but there weren’t opportunities for me job-wise and I really wasn’t enjoying my job; we were understaffed but not really getting any replacement staff in, our duties were increasing to fill the gap, etc.

I transferred stores and now I’m working slightly less hours per week (24 per week) which I hope will allow me to look for a job.I can’t yet resume my search since I’m waiting on the internet! I even ventured out to the local library to do some job hunting on their computers; it was closed. I walked to the library half an hour away; also closed! So, I’ve returned home for the day. I’m going to draw after writing this little update.

I thought I’d give a crafting update as well since that is the focus of this blog (in addition to being a sort of personal diary)…

EYF 2018: I went to EYF with my mum, what an overwhelming and exciting adventure! I loved it and enjoyed it, despite not feeling at my best mentally (I think due to lack of decent sleep). I met a lot of kind people, a couple of podcasters, and briefly got a photo with Stephen West after my mum asked him to take a picture with me… I didn’t want to bother him too much since he was so busy and I actually had no knitwear on me anyway, let alone any design by him! But I appreciated it in the end and he was very kind.

Another highlight was meeting Louise of Spin City as she was a great and friendly person to chat to, and she let me try out her Kromski Fantasia and Minstrel – both lovely wheels. I got a hand dyed fibre braid off her (merino nylon – yes – despite me trying to avoid non natural fibres at the moment – sorry world) which has some really beautiful colours. I’d love to get more of her fibre for my spinning queue, but I think her braids (not batts – lots of batts on site) aren’t really available at the moment on her website. She’s probably busy with Wonderwool Wales coming up! I’m a bit sad I’ll miss that event since I’ve moved but to be honest, I have so much waiting in my stash to be spun and knit that it’s for the best!

I spent about £130 at EYF, which might not seem like that much judging by some of the haul photos I saw, but for me it’s the biggest shop I’ve done in so long. My purchases included some non-nylon sock weight yarn from Blacker Yarns (eager to try out no nylon socks, inspired by Mrs M’s Curiosity Cabinet podcast). I also bought MCN sock yarn from Qing Fibre, a long time favourite dyer of mine, and I can’t resist her colourways. They are my special treat! Along with that I got 2 skeins of yarn from Cosmic Strings, potentially to knit a Mount Pleasant – a sort of cropped, short sleeved, cute top – and yep, again, more nylon. I will allow myself this for now. It’s a process.

Lastly I bought 2 skeins of shetland yarn from Garthenor, who oddly actually operated very close to where I lived in Wales. They had been on my list for a while but before due to funds being sort of short, I wasn’t able to order from them. These 2 skeins will hopefully work as a Treccia hat (pattern by Michele Wang).

I really hope I can go to EYF again.

Knitting: I managed to finish my Featherweight Cardigan! After smashing through the sleeves while in semi-homeless limbo between 2 houses, I also completed the collar while trapped in motorway traffic on the way to visit my parents (driven by my dad – not driving and knitting!). The only problem is: my cast off edge, while neat, is not as stretchy as I need it to be. So the fabric is cinched and looks silly! This is my fault, I didn’t think that a stretchy cast off would be a good idea and I was so wrong! So I have to get round to ripping back the cast off edge and re-casting off hundreds of collar stitches again. It’ll be nice when it’s done!

Another mini issue which I’ve decided to ignore is that my tension was all horrible, so horrible, on the sleeves. I used DPNs because I haven’t yet learned magic loop. It’s really obviously laddered in some places, etc. I’m hoping it’ll improve in blocking. It had been hibernating on the needles for so long that I just decided I needed to complete it asap, no matter if there were tension issues.

I plan to learn magic loop, cabling without cable needles, toe up socks and more… over the next year or so.

Spinning: After EYF I used some money my parents had contributed for my birthday and bought a spinning wheel – the Kromski Fantasia – from Spin City, as I had enjoyed using it at EYF. I put it together last week with the help of my dad and started spinning on it. I’m still working out tension and created the most ugly over-spun yarn ever on it. I’ll keep trying though. It’s living at my parents’ house for now. While I’m here in Manchester I’ll slowly drop spindle my way through my stash here. I really don’t enjoy plying on my drop spindle so I really hope I can get to grips with tension on the wheel.

Well, that’s probably all I should update you all on for now, since this must be a pretty long post! Apart rom that, I’m working at the new store, shy and a little nervous, wanting to do my best… and hoping to look for full time Monday to Friday work as soon as I can get internet back.

Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is well,

E

Granny Stripe Blanket

I don’t know why, but eating through my yarn stash and transforming that neglected yarn into a lovely blanket makes me feel really motivated. I just want to keep going to the next colour, choose something nice and blend it in. There’s a special accomplished feeling I get when I use up a small ball of leftover yarn from a shawl or sock project. I have also been splicing yarn ends together so I feel good about not making any excess waste too!

The project has also captured the interest of my mum, who can knit and crochet but doesn’t have a lot of free time. This project is easy to pick up and work on a bit at a time since it’s just trebles, so it’s good for her kind of lifestyle. I told her I’ll save some of my yarn scraps for her to have a go too.

You can find the pattern available here. I’m completely new to crochet so I also found the youtube tutorials by Bella Coco useful for starting out.

 

Stash is deadly!

Ok, overstatement there… Quite a while ago, while I was starting out on my knitting and fibre adventure, around summer 2016, we had a serious moth infestation in the house. We had a big battle against the moths, having discovered portions of the carpet which had been eaten away and various items of clothing with holes in. It’s now February 2018 and we haven’t seen any moths about in quite a while.

I was, however, having a look through all my stash, organising it. In some of my handspun and some older stash yarn I had, I found what appeared to be moth eggs! I quickly dumped those yarns into the compost bin, since they were fully animal fibre (and also non superwash yarns I think). Since then I’ve put all my yarn into zip lock bags as recommended by my mum, and I’m going to have to keep a watchful eye over the stash box. I did find some more suspected egg like things in some of the yarn, luckily not my favourite yarn… so I have isolated them in their own bags and I removed the suspect eggs. I’m hoping there aren’t any more eggs on those ones. I have heard that agitation will hatch the eggs so I have to be careful that it doesn’t potentially spread to my lovely yarns.

What other updates do I have? I’m working through my stash again. I guiltily made some yarn purchases during my birthday week in mid January, including a sock blank from Stranded Dyeworks (knitting up into vanilla sock now) and a sock blank from Twisted Fintch also.

I’m spinning through my stash as well and have about 6 skeins waiting for a soak to set the twist, and 6 balls waiting to be plied.

Project wise, recently I learned how to crochet one evening, albeit probably not very skillfully, so I’m trying to do a granny stripe blanket in order to eat through some stash. My penguono is on hold until I spin some more of my stash, to then be knit up. I have 2 pairs of socks on the needles, hoping to reduce that to one at some point. My featherweight cardigan is languishing somewhere (better check that for moth eggs!), BUT I did finally finish my Pyry sweater (we are knitters pattern and yarn)!

Right, I actually have work in about ten minutes so I’ll leave this update for now!

See you all soon and hopefully with photos next time,

E

What yarn diet?

Yarn diet update!

So I’ve managed to avoid Qing Fibre updates… I looked up the site when updates hit but reasoned my way out of buying more. I loved all the colourways of course but I know that I have no projects in mind for QF right now and I can’t afford multiple skeins anyway.

I have however cracked a little and bought some commercial yarn (some acrylic too!) for a Christmas present for my dad, and some baby hats. I would have used stash yarn for the baby hats, but a large chunk of my yarns are not superwash and the other chunk are fancy AF and I’m guessing tired new parents aren’t going to be too thrilled with specialised washing instructions for knitted gifts. So for now they will be given knitted acrylic items…

In future though I’d love to switch to solely non-superwash, non-plasticy yarn although I know that’s not necessarily practical for things like socks. I’m finding it hard to find non superwash blue faced leceister yarn, ideally high twist. If anyone knows of a supplier, please do let me know! Even if it’s undyed, I would happily dye it! One day when I can spin decently enough, with a behaving wheel, I could perhaps spin BFL myself for socks. That’s a far off goal though.

Apart from the yarn diet update, on my needles so far… I have my featherweight, which is lagging due to tension issues with lace and fiddly 4mm DPNs which I bought with far too much length.

Other projects include some new mercury socks in a non nylon blended yarn (although superwash), my penguono (which is huge and an amazing stash buster) and a tiny first sock on 9 inch circulars – this is a baby project which I just cast on for a simple mindless knit while travelling by car to South Wales.

Lastly, I also have my weareknitters Pyry sweater which is so close to completion, it just needs to be sewn together. I sewed the shoulders and arms but I still need to do underarm and sides. I have two days off in a row this week so I might set aside 30min or so to get that done. I’d love to get some of my projects out of the way and have a reasonably clean new year slate.

As for the hopeful thoughts about selling my yarn and other bits, I have a yarn spinning commission! I have to sort it for January which might be a push as I have a lot on but I’ll try. And I’ve ordered some fibre for the project. More on this when I get to it!

Goals for 2018 knitting/crafting… knit a Michele Wang pattern… spin more… finish up my projects… do less vanilla socks and more challenging knits. Dye yarn for projects where appropriate. That’s it for now but I haven’t given it tons of thought. This festive period has been a bit hectic for knitting and contemplation but I’m hoping my 6 days off for Christmas will give me time to re-centre myself.

Happy holidays all!

Yarn Diet Alert!

We’re on high alert!

I’ve decided I want to go to EYF 2018 (Edinburgh Yarn Festival in mid-March), and that’s gonna be mega expensive in booking tickets, train, accommodation, but also in yarn purchases!

Therefore, I’m imposing a yarn diet until March, and a sort of destash (as in, knitting stuff up and finishing it so I have less yarn in the stash). I won’t totally abstain from yarn if there happens to be, say, a Qing Fibre update or something… but I will try my best.

Note, I’m not saying there’ll be a fibre diet. I’m still going to allow myself to purchase and spin fibre. Ideally I will sell some of it if I can!

On the destash side of things, I cracked and started a Penguono – while not good for increasing my number of unfinished projects back up from 3 to 4 (I know, doesn’t actually seem that many but I seriously have to finish up my featherweight cardigan, it’s been months…), it is a great pattern for using up stashed yarn. I will actually be trying to knit up as much of my handspun as possible. This will give me a sample (which I can show friends and so on!), and free up some stash space for more handspun. I also want to get a feel for the quality of my handspun when knit in a garment, and this should give me some more ideas on how to improve in the future. Photos to come!

Anyway, that’s all really! I just wanted to formally announce my yarn diet, haha.

The Ultimate Destash

So, I have a confession that most (if not all) knitters might make… Right now, I probably have way more yarn than I need. Since starting knitting in August 2016, I’ve accumulated a load of bits and pieces. When I first started knitting, I got excited about malabrigo yarn, so I have a bunch of worsted and other weight malabrigo… Then, I got really into indie dyed yarn, so I have a good amount of mostly fingering weight sock yarn. I’m still in my indie dyer craze and I have a big hit list for small businesses I’d love to support. BUT since January 2017 I have had a much smaller budget; basically, I really cannot allow myself to buy much yarn at all; maybe once a month or once every two months (if it’s indie dyed prices rather than the bigger companies).

I also have a massive project queue on ravelry, plus a handful of WIPs (works in progress) that need finishing off. Thus, here we are, with an ultimate destash blog post! Herein I will outline my plans for efficiently using the yarn I already have and annihilating my unfinished projects…

On The Needles

  • Honey Badger Socks – I’m partway through the second sock! (update Nov 2017 – done!)
  • Seed Stitch Socks – I’m on the leg of the first sock. (done!)
  • Weareknitters Pyry Sweater – on the front piece; back piece is done.

Ready To Go

  • Hermione’s Everyday Socks – I have Olann sock yarn in Bloodmoon and… I forgot the colourway! I’ll check and get back to this.
  • [Undecided Pattern] Socks – In some grey Coop Socks Yeah! Yarn – I’m thinking of a non vanilla sock since it’s a solid colour yarn.
  • Featherweight Cardigan – I have 2 skeins of Countess Ablaze OOAK ‘Cult’ yarn waiting to be balled up and knitted into this cardigan.
  • Hat – for my sister, using Malabrigo Worsted which she bought and is sending me. (done)

Stashbusting Projects

  • Snowmelt Shawl – I have 2/3 skeins ready for this, when I have finished my main projects I will buy the 3rd. Would love to start this though.
  • Beekeeper’s Quilt – A good plan for using up my languishing (yet beautiful) sock yarn.
  • Granny Stripe Blanket (crochet) – I can’t crochet… but I would love to do this? I would probably have to choose between this and the Beekeeper’s Quilt though.
  • Baby Socks – Babies on the way from relatives; I could use my left over sock yarn for them. The only worry is that even though these are superwash merino I’m scared they’ll be destroyed by the first wash as I can imagine the new parents may be tired and I’m sure ‘washing instructions’ may not be top in the priorities list…?
  • Swatch Placemats/Coasters – I would like to practice some more lace knitting and other bits and pieces… And to use up all my worsted weight yarn perhaps I could then use these swatches for coasters and placemats? Hmmm…
  • Frankensocks – I am quite interested in making some striped socks from all my sock yarn; although will have to see whether the colours mesh well together!

Even if I do this, I know there’ll be a handful of unused bits; tell me, what’s a good way of destashing assorted bulky & super bulky yarns? I do have a mini weaving loom although maybe would prefer to use the yarns for something else. I could felt them, I suppose. I also have a ton of yarn ends from sock knitting; what do people do with those? Maybe some pom poms are in order?