2018 Stash Flash

It’s that time of year again.

January.

Time for selfish knitting, setting goals and looking ahead.  Looking, in particular, at Stitches West.  I’ve been going to Stitches since before it needed ‘West’, since the days it was held in Oakland.  You know all those ‘most wonderful time of year’ sentiments people attach to Christmas?  That’s only because they haven’t been to Stitches.

There are many time honored Stitches traditions.  The first is denying I’m even going to go.  I got over that pretty quick.  The next is casting on a new sweater, for the express purpose of debuting it at Stitches.  Yup, Check that off the list!  I think it’s gonna be a good one this year too!

And, perhaps, the most important tradition of all…Flashing the Stash.  I know what yarn I have but seeing all, together, in one place really helps drive home the mantra:  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m not buying yarn this year.  I’m REALLY not buying yarn this year!

I’m really not buying yarn this year??

Yes.  and here’s why:

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This is the stash, in January 2016.  I skipped the 2017 Stash Flash.  So we’ve gotta go back two years.  As a reference, I put my blocking boards down.  It’s a good size reference, this is 18 square feet of yarn.   Everything blacked out is gone.   That leaves a lot.  And, it goes without saying that the Stash grew in both 2016 and 2017.

Here’s what the stash looked like yesterday:

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Unsorted, just in a pile.  There’s a 12″ ruler planted in the middle as reference.  It’s nearly buried.  The yellow bag in the back, that’s my Lopi.  This year’s Stash Flash officially needed a phase 2.

After sorting, it looked like this:

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It broke free from it’s 18 sq ft boundary and it’s still about 8 inches deep throughout.  I took my job as a yarn collector pretty serious the past two years.

Phase 2, the Lopi phase:

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The Lopi behaved well.  I spread it single layer so I’ve got an exact accounting of it.  With yoke sweaters being so on-trend in 2018 I think my next sweater may be a lopi-peacock-fade sort of thing.

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Yes?  Yes!  That sounds awesome and clearly, requires no new yarn!

The rest of that giant pile holds even more awesomeness.

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My YOTH.  Those beautiful greens are destined for a shawl…one day.

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My Quince.  Clearly, I went through a teal phase.  I really need to get these guys on the needles.

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A stash of Road to China Light, the teal phase was still going strong.  This yarn is a phenomenal blend of alpaca, silk, camel and cashmere.  One day, I’m really going to love wearing it.  Hopefully that’s soon.

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I’ve got at least a sweaters quantity of Zooey from Juniper Moon Farms, acquired when cotton seemed like a good idea.

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The section of yarns dyed by my Mom.   Definitely getting some of these on the needles in short order.

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An assortment of speckles and other fingering weight hand dyed yarns.  So many happy hours of knitting in this shot!

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Sparkly yarn, self striping yarn, barber pole hand spun yarn.  At this point, it’s all good stuff.  Nothing big box or acrylic about it.

I’ve got tweed, I’ve got solids, I’ve got blends, I’ve got chainette, I’ve even got one skein of chartreuse mohair.  What more could I possibly even need??

As much as I love new yarn, I really love my old yarn.  This collection has been carefully curated.  The junk is gone.  The colors are perfect.

AND, I’ve got a whole month to make a dent before Stitches.   Ready, Set, GO!


 

FO Friday – THE Rhinebeck Sweater!

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Not only is it finished, it’s finished a week early!  Woooohooo!!  The Rhinebeck Sweater is a success!  I can tell already it’s going to be worn constantly!  I can’t wait to wear it at Rhinebeck for a proper photo shoot!

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The yarn is Miss Babs Yowza in color Bruin.  It’s superwash.  It brought the expected superwash problems.  Upon washing, it had no choice but to stretch.  That left me with only one choice, machine drying.  It snapped back into place but it got beat up in the process.  The first round of pilling was plentiful.  It was bound to happen.  It is amazingly soft!

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The other lesson I learned from this sweater, go down a needle size for edging.  It’s totally a thing in patterns for a reason.  I should have thought to do it.  Oh well…my seed stitch border along the bottom edge is a little loose.  It’s very near to the edge of ruffly.  But it’s got pockets so all is forgiven!

I’m taking the sweater to Oregon for a little coming out party…hopefully I’ll get to visit a yarn shop or two as well :)  It’s doubtful I’ll be able to resist.

Owl-Sleeve-Owl

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It’s been a productive 24 hours!  I finished yesterday’s owl (unless you’re counting the thumb!).  I left it’s creepy eyes.  Turns out, gauge is useful information to check.  I was way off gauge and so I’ve got mitts to fit a small adult hand, which kind of solves the creepy eye problem.  I’m not concerned about traumatizing an adult like I was with a kid. I finished mitt #2 (unless you’re counting the thumb! again!)

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Between owls, I even managed to finish Rhinebeck Sleeve #1!  I do seem to be avoiding sleeve two though.  I think pockets and the zipper come next!  Heck…a couple thumbs even sound good right about now…

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I’m still admiring sleeve one.  It’s too soon to move on!

Rhinebeck Sweater: Sleeves

This happened over the weekend:

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I bound off the bottom of my sweater!  Yaaay! I then procrastinated on starting the sleeves for two days!  This happened this morning:

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Another 3 inches jumped off the needles between taking this picture and writing this post!  I’m flying through the stockinette in the round!  It’s pretty much knitting itself on a 16″ needle.  For one millisecond, I contemplated doing the sleeves two-at-a-time.  Then I came to my senses!  My math worked out in beautiful whole numbers…there was no weird rounding!  The numbers just fell into place, and so far, the sleeve is following suit!

31 days until Rhinebeck!  I think I’ll definitely be ready!

Rhinebeck Sweater: 38 Days and Counting

Rhinebeck is rapidly approaching!  I leave for the east coast in 38 days!  Last time I shared my progress  I was only a few rows beyond the sleeve divide.  I didn’t feel like I’d made much progress since then.  Much to my surprise, this happened when I tried it on just now…

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WHOA!!  That’s nearly a sweater!!  Yay!  And it fits well!  I’m so pleased!  Partially because of my sweater progress but also because I’ve gotten my knitting time back!

I was in a bit of a funk, realizing my job was really cutting into my big sweater plans.  I was getting nervous about a hood, a zipper, pockets, sleeves…lots of details and time running out!  Well, worry no more!  I’m back to full time knitting!  My ‘new job’ was really contract work on a trial basis.  While my ‘boss’ loved me, her program wasn’t quite ready for the changes she was trying to implement.  I got the ‘we’re putting those tasks on hold’ call this morning.  They’ve still got some work they’d like me to do, but maybe that’ll be 15 hours a month.  I should probably be concerned about finding some real work but naaaaaah.  I’ve got way more important things to do (like turn Bill Murray into a sweater…more on that tomorrow!)

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It’s only Tuesday…I think I can get to the bottom of my sweater by the end of the week!  I think tomorrow, if I can find time in my busy schedule, I’ll go zipper shopping!

Back at it.

Work is such a distraction.  OY!  There was not much knitting time last week.  The weekend was better!  I’m very happy about that.  There are only 53 knitting days until I leave for Rhinebeck.  There’s no time for distractions!

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I’ve finally made it past the sleeve divide!  It’s starting to look like a sweater!  Woot!

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The only part I’m not happy with is the spot in the armpit where the cables meet.  I had originally decided they were going to end but later decided they should continue all the down the side.  I was making lazy decisions in the beginning, yarn-overs instead of angled increases, all left leaning cables because I prefer holding the cable needle in the front.  Well, it’s true what they say, proper planning prevents poor production.  My cables meet in a rather awkward fashion because they’re going in the same direction.  Had I planned properly, I would have mirrored the cables and they could have met in a far more elegant fashion.

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I certainly don’t care enough to go back to the beginning and make the necessary changes.  I could have positioned the cables parallel to each other rather than merged.  I intentionally made another lazy decision though.  I don’t want to do four cables on a row, I only want to do two.  LOL.  Apparently I never learn.

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The only place I show off my armpit is riding the bus, as I hang on for dear life.  I don’t care if those people judge me for an inelegant armpit.  I’m silently judging them too!  Welcome to Monday!  Luckily, I don’t plan to ride the bus today!

Rhinebeck Sweater: Casting On

After patting myself on the back last week for making so many important decisions, I was finally ready to cast on.  Or so I thought.  Turns out I had a lot more to decide.  Luckily, I got to start with collecting facts…measuring the swatch for gauge!

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I prefer to measure with a ruler when I can.  It’s hard edge has less possibility for error than a flexible tape measure.  This is a trick I picked up from Elizabeth Zimmerman.  If EZ says to do it, I do it.  I’ve got 4.75 sts/inch in stockinette and 8 sts/inch for the cable I liked.  Now what to do with those numbers?

Not knowing how the initial neck dimension should be decided, I consulted the numbers from my favorite sweaters.  It ranged from 9.6 inches to 13 inches.  I took this as good news…a range!  I can work with a range…rather than having to make a steadfast decision, I can massage the numbers a bit if need be.

I have no idea what the textbook design method is for incorporating two different gauges, I just took a guess.  I started with the cables, those numbers can’t change. I’m putting my cables at the raglan increases–4 raglan increases means 4 cables.  Each cable section is ~1 in and 8 stitches.  8×4=32 stitches for my cables.   It also means 4 inches of my neckline.  I arbitrarily decided to aim for a 10 in cast on.  10 – 4 = 6 inches I still have to account for.  My stockinette gauge 4.75 x 6 = 28.5.  I made the executive decision to round down, 28 + 32 from the cables = 60 sts.  That’s a nice round number.

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I’m especially pleased that I remembered to do a provisional cast on!  The hoodie/neckband decision will wait until later!  Placing the markers in the right spots was a bit trickier.  I needed to decide how to divide for fronts, sleeves and back.  Even with a pattern to follow, this part can take me two tries.  I started with the easy parts…I knew I wanted 5 stitches for the button band (which is really a zipper band in this case).  5 Stitches is ~1 inch and it’s an odd number which is preferable for seed stitch.

The rest of the decision making process is a bit fuzzy.  I just kept working backwards from what I knew I wanted…I wanted the sleeves alone, meaning I put two of the cables on the back and then one on each front.  Each front now has 13 stitches, 5 seed and 8 cable.  The back has 16 sts so far, 8 from each cable.  That leaves 18 stitches unassigned so far.  I like even numbers so I picked 4 stitches for each sleeve.  It was a bit arbitrary, 2 seemed too few and 6 too many.  6 Stitches per sleeve would leave only 6 more stitches for the back.  I thought the back should be larger.  The final breakdown –13 sts in each front, 4 sts in each sleeve and 26 sts for the back.

These numbers disagree with EPS–Elizabeth’s Percentage System.  Another piece of wisdom from EZ–the front and back of a sweater should each be 35%, each sleeve should be 15%.  This isn’t a pullover though, so that changes things…at least in my mind.

So, I place my markers…now it’s time to start increasing.  I decided to do YO increases (because I’m lazy).  I’m justifying it by saying those little holes will provide me some ventilation.  I’m never actually cold enough to wear wool!  I decided I wanted my fronts to increase at the zipper band with M1L/M1R, I didn’t want holes there…so off I went.

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Just like that, I’ve run into my first problem!  The YOs before the raglan cable are a different size than the YOs after the raglan cable.  In the first couple rows, I’ve messed around a bit doing shorter YOs selectively.  I think I’ve got it dialed in.  Now it’s just knit along to the sleeve divide!  Fingers crossed that it’s really that easy!  It should be…I think most of the decisions have been made, finally!

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