Bash The Stash 2015

BASHTHESTASH

 

It is no secret that I love yarn. I have since I first learn to knit, and since then my stash has been growing at an unbelievable rate. I have been knitting for almost 10 years now, and my stash acquisition is immense. I could easily continue knitting at my current rate and not need to buy anything for a good few years.

It must have been divine intervention then for me to come across the Bash The Stash 2015 forum thread over on the British Banter Ravelry group.  The challenge is simply to reduce your stash during 2015, and there are three categories:

Cold Sheep – Not buying yarn except if there is something you need to finish a project/attending a knitting festival

Lukewarm Llama – Trying to knit more than you buy

Frozen Shoulder of Lamb – No new yarn will enter the house!!

I have chosen to go Cold Sheep as I already have plans to attend two knitting festivals this year, and it would be a shame to go all of that way and then not buy anything! So far I have done really well and not purchased anything, despite seeing some very tempting bargains.

I have even begun allocating some of the yarn in my stash to specific projects so that I can begin to knit them as soon as I want to without having to worry about matching yarns to patterns or not knowing that I already have the perfect yarn in my stash.

The hashtag #bashthestash2015 is being used on Ravelry and Instagram for those that want to take part, and I have even been extra nerdy and developed a spreadsheet for myself.

What is your stash like?

My Crafty Challenges for 2015

2015 is already shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for me. I have a four day trip to Edinburgh planned for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (and to celebrate my birthday) and a little holiday in Devon planned as well. It is so nice to have things to look forward to.

2014 was very much a year of work for me. Having found a career and job that I love, I threw myself into it completely, maybe too much at times, and for 2015 my aim is to try to find more of a balance. Thats it. No crazy resolutions (well, there is one but I will save that for another post) just a promise to myself to be more mindful oto slow down and enjoy things a little more.

A few months ago I was talking to my friend Breige, and she was discussing having a craft afternoon once a month. This is a brilliant idea, and something that I have been thinking about since. We were discussing all of the different things that I could try, and I have come up with a list of 12 crafty challenges for 2015. They are:

  • Learning to spin on a drop spindle
  • Making stitch markers
  • Dyeing yarn with Kool Aid
  • Learning to crochet
  • Rediscovering sewing
  • Learning embroidery
  • DIY Sharpie mugs
  • Knitting a lace shawl
  • Make 5 Christmas decorations
  • Knit one garment for myself
  • Complete my yarn ball cross stitch
  • Experiment with pom poms

What are your crafty challenges for this year?

Listening to Knitting

I first discovered podcasts when I was in high school. At the time, there was no Ravelry, no Youtube and no Facebook. I had read about podcasts in the various knitting magazines I was into at the time, and was fascinated that people would create these shows just to talk about knitting.

Fast forward a good number of years and podcasts are a firm fixture in my life. I love that come are audio only, whereas others are on Youtube. Each and every one that I listen to gives me new ideas and inspiration, and I often find myself looking at show notes to find the names of dyers that I want to check out. Podcasts can be a fantastic way of discovering new dyers, patterns and techniques, and I thought I would share a few of my favourites with you today.

  1. Dairyland Knits – Top spot has to go to the fantastic Josh and his podcast all about his knitting adventures in Wisconsin. I always enjoy Josh’s podcast, it is always full of new yarns, new dyers and little bits of information. Josh also talks about his experiences of living in Germany,and I could quite happily listen to him speaking German all day long. Occasional sentences are clearly not enough. His podcasts are weekly, and cover all sorts – from knitting to canning and orchids. He also knits the most beautiful items. Check out his Ravelry group here.
  2. Little Bobbins Knits- This podcast is hosted by the lovely Dani, and it first caught my attention as she is from England. It is always nice to see a fairly local knitter and to learn about what yarn they have been buying. She always has lovely projects to show, and she also has a shop.Her Ravelry group is here.
  3. Cast On – This was the first podcast that I fell in love with. Brenda has such a soothing voice, is the perfect audio companion for your knitting adventures. Her very last podcast may have been in October, but with 132 episodes to catch up on, you’ll be fine for a while.
  4. Knitting in Circles –    This is a recent discovery for me. Aimee and Darren share their knitting and spinning projects every week, and with Episode 151 being their most recent – I have lots of catching up to do. Their Ravelry group is here.
  5. Mole Knits – This is the first venture into podcasting featuring myself and my friend Amy, and as such it has an honorary spot on my list. If you feel like listening to two Brits as they stumble through their first podcast then please do. We also have a Ravelry group.

Which podcasts are you loving right now?

Evergreen Socks

A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be chosen by the lovely Madeline of The Little Mount Yarn Co. to test knit her new sock pattern. It is a fantastic pattern and super easy – perfect for knitting whilst watching festive movies. Madeline  published the pattern last weekend and you can get it on Ravelry. The Evergreen Socks were top of the Whats Hot list on Ravelry within 48 hours of being published, and everyone seems to be loving them.

Tree Closeup

 

I used 2.5mm DPNs and about 1.4 balls (320 yards) of Adriafil Classic Azzurra in a lovely festive green (colourway 035) – Madeline had already used a semi-solid colourway for her test knit, so I used a solid to highlight the stitch pattern of the tree.

These would be perfect for anyone who has already completed vanilla socks and wanted to try something a little different, or for someone who has never knit socks before and wants to give themselves an added challenge. There are no complicated stitches, and the pattern caters for two sizes (medium and large) and the medium size is perfect for most women – with a cast on of 64 stitches.

Trees Full

These will certainly be keeping my feet warm this winter. What are you currently knitting?

 

A Change Can Do You Good

This has been a funny old week. Everything seems to have been a little off. Not wrong, just off.

You know how you can get stuck in a knitting rut? And nothing can make it interesting for you? I totally reached that this week. I was happily plodding along, knitting socks for the gift draw (not my secret Christmas knitting – don’t worry) when it just stopped being fun. I had completed five socks in a row, and I just could not face the idea of casting on another sock. It was time for a change.

Chunky knitting

I dug around my stash, and found 10 balls of the lovely Rowan Alpaca Soft in a rich mustard colour. This knits up on 6mm needles into a lovely soft fabric. After a quick search on Ravelry, I found the perfect pattern for it – One More Notch by Robin Dodge. One More Notch is a delightful wrap around cardigan – or Jardigan to the lovely ladies of Knit Chorlton, as it could be a cardigan or a jumper/sweater. It is so nice to be knitting something so simple, that grows so quickly, and requires so little concentration.

I’m sure that as soon as this is finished, I will be back to knitting socks, and maybe even a lace shawl – but for not I will just enjoy the simpleness.

The Noro Scarf

I have wanted to knit a Noro Striped Scarf ever since I learnt to knit as a teenager. It is so simple but the colours are stunning and there are so many possible combinations, that you could make them forever without getting bored of wondering which tones and shade will appear next.

The only thing that held me back from making one was the price. Noro was way out of my price range when I was a teenager, but I kept thinking that one day I would make one of my own. That day has come…

Noro

I am so happy with how it looks so far. I say so far, because it is not finished yet, but as this is my mindless knitting for the moment it is on hold due to secret Christmas knitting. This is the first time that I have ever used Noro, and as Jared Flood’s brilliantly simple pattern outline suggests, I am using Silk Garden. There are lots of examples on Ravelry of people substituting yarns, and they all look amazing too.

IMG_3142IMG_3017

This was the wip what I had with my on the train to Yarndale, and it was perfect as I could just sit and watch the beautiful countryside go past, and when we pulled into stations I could have a little look at how the colours were emerging. It is so easy to see why people knit several of these, they really are addictive. I love how the yarn becomes softer once it has been handled. I was a little concered that it might be a big scratchy, but when I feel it when it is knitted up, it is so much softer.

Having spent the past hour looking at all of the beautiful things that people have been making with various Noro yarns, I have a feeling that this won’t be my only encounter with it.

75 Days and Counting

secret knitting in progress

 

They say that time flies when you are having fun, and that must certainly be true for me. It seems as though that August was only yesterday, but here we are in the middle of October and there are less than 75 days to Christmas. This sounds like lots of time to most people, but for knitters than plan to give their creations as gifts then it is not much time at all.

Sadly I do not have any photos of my knitting to show you today, as they have to remain as secrets for 75 days. As always though, the urge to cast on a new project is strong, and I am sure that there will be something new on my needles in the next few days. Usually I am quite a selfish knitter, but every now and again I like to surprise myself, and I will be knitting for at least four people. The yarn has been bought, and patterns have been decided on, so all that remains is the knitting…