Thursday, April 26, 2007

Taking Stock

I was off from work today. I had plans to get together with a couple of friends and knit, but I woke up feeling under the weather so I stayed home. Feeling a little better by the afternoon, I started organizing my stash. This has been something I've procrastinated doing for a long time. It seemed so daunting. Today, however, with new acquisitions that needed to be put away, I decided now is as good a time to start as any. So I downloaded the Stash-O-Matic Template (in the sidebar under 'Spreadsheets & Such') from knitting guru Jillian and started inputting data. At first, I was only going to list my newly acquired yarn. I decided to keep going and complete one whole bin.

In that bin I have 182 skeins of yarn with a total of 35,197 yards. That's 20 miles of fiber! (It's a big bin.) I had no idea so much yarn could fit in that thing. I could probably stuff some more in there too now that it's neatly organized.

In addition to making me feel productive, I also had some revelations during this excercise.

1) Fondling yarn for long periods of time is good therapy. I already knew this, but actually doing it was a good reminder. It made me feel better. Okay, maybe not physically, but emotionally. I'm feeling much happier despite my stuffed up head. I'm actually looking forward to going through the other three bins.

2) This is how much sock yarn I have (minus 2 new skeins of Koigu that didn't make it into the picture). Actually, this is just from one bin. I just remembered I have more in the other bins. All this beautiful sock yarn and I still have not cast-on. I'm beginning to think I have a knitting-sock-phobia. (sigh)

3) After giving it much thought, this experience has confirmed that alpaca is my favorite fiber. It's so soft. Now, I admit, I've never knit with 100% cashmere. If I ever do, that might change the way I feel about the subject. At this point in time, I'm an alpaca girl all the way.

So tell me, what's your favorite fiber? If you could only pick one type to knit with for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I first became aware of podcasts after reading an article about them by Amy Singer in an issue of Interweave Knits awhile back. I went online and searched around for those mentioned. I found the websites and clicked on an episode. At the time, I didn't have an iPod. Sitting and listening in front of the computer for an hour didn't interest me much. Maybe if I had a comfy chair in the room where the computer is where I could knit and listen, it would have been more appealing. But I don't, so my attention moved on to other things. I can sit and read my favorite blogs for long periods of time. I can even listen to music while doing so. But listening to a podcast about knitting and reading a blog about knitting at the same time doesn't work for me. I want to give each my full attention.

I received an iPod for Christmas, so I downloaded some podcasts. I listened to my first episode while working out at the gym. I thought that this would motivate me to work out more if I had something interesting to listen to. Not so much. Not that it wasn't interesting, it just didn't provide the run faster/push yourself harder kind of energy I was looking for. It was more of the when-will-this-be-over-so-I-can-get-home-and-knit kind of energy.

I finally found the perfect venue for listening. During my commute. It sometimes takes me an hour to get to work (30 minutes at the very least). And since I can't knit while I'm driving or at work, this makes me feel like I've spent a little time each day thinking about my knitting and sharing it (indirectly) with those who are talking.

So far, my favorite is Cast On with host Brenda Dayne. There are 46 episodes now and I'm about halfway through. Brenda has a format that she sticks to, sound bytes for different segments,guests who contribute essays or are interviewed and three or four songs interspersed throughout. Sometimes I'll fast-forward through the music if I'm not in the mood for it. The combination of her soothing voice and the sound quality of her equipment makes for a very professional product. Some of the guests who have participated are Nancy Bush, Leigh Radford, and Franklin, whose blog is The Panopticon. My favorite episode is no. 13 titled "On Gauge". In this episode Brenda writes a thought provoking essay in which she uses being on gauge as a metaphor for living. If you listen to only one, this is the one I recommend.

I've also listened to Pointy Sticks and Lime & Violet, however, since I've only listened to one episode of each, I don't think it's fair to give a review at this time. I'll listen to more of each in the future and then share what I think. What I did find interesting is that both episodes had 2 people talking. I don't know if Pointy Sticks always has 2 people...Lime & Violet does obviously. What I found interesting, is that I prefer one person vs. two. When there are two, I feel like I'm listening in on someone else's conversation. When there is one, I feel like that person is talking directly to me. It's more intimate, mor structured and less chaotic. But I will give them a chance. They all have good information, links to sites I might not have known about, yarn that I haven't knit with yet, designers, etc.

All can be downloaded on iTunes. So if you have a commute or just want something interesting to listen to while knitting, try listening to a knitting podcast.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Slow and Steady

This photo is in honor of the current color theme of Project Spectrum (pink, green, yellow). This is part of my second order from the Knit Happens sale. From l-r: 7 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Soul (light pink), 10 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in Berry, 7 balls of Debbie Bliss Cotton DK in Pink. I also bought this:

7 skeins of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in Pansy and 5 skeins in Mocha. The mocha is more gray than brown. I was hoping for more brown. Oh well. This purchase was to enhance my baby knitting stash for the future. I couldn't resist the great prices. My second order was bigger than the first! I bought Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Dk - enough for a sweater. It's currently burried in one of the bins and I'm too lazy to dig it out for a picture, but I like it a lot. I'm planning to make the Cable Trim Pullover (pattern 26) in the Fall 2006 issue of Vogue Knitting. Someday. I'm already working on two sweaters and they're coming along at a snail's pace.

Nonetheless, here's an update.

The back is done on the Debbie Bliss Rib & Cable Jacket and I'm working on the left front. I'm really enjoying the pattern, although I do have to pay attention with the center panel of cable work. I think I'm going to the love the finished product. Here is a closeup of the front.

It's a little blurry, but you get the idea.

And here is my version of Sahara.

I'm done with the waist shaping and ready to start increasing for the hips. I've put it aside at the moment because I feel like I should try it on, but haven't been motivated to transfer all the stitches to waste yarn and back again in order to do so. I can't say that I'm a fan of knitting in the round and/or knitting from the top down. Not yet anyway. Maybe because I've been knitting in pieces for so long, it's simply what I'm used to and comfortable with. But I'm open to trying new things and I won't shy away from a design that I like because the pattern is knit in the round. The verdict is still out until I make a couple of items. I'm sure I'll get more comfortable with the process.

I am liking the subtle striping in the yarn and, of course, I love the color. So I will keep plugging away and I'll be able to wear it in the fall.

Happy spring everyone!