2018 Year in Review

My Christmas weekend got derailed by a stupid cold. Needless to say, all that talk of starting a new sweater was just talk.  I’m on the mend and making such good progress on the old projects, I can’t bring myself to start something new just yet.  Instead of new knitting progress, I’m walking down memory lane and looking at all the things I have finished this year.   It’s been a good year for FO’s!

According to Ravelry, I’ve finished 57 projects so far, that’s 23 hats, 2 cowls, 5 sweaters, 11 shawls, 3 blankets, 6 stuffies, one set of baby mittens, a pair of socks, two pair of leg warmers, a flying pig and a yarnbombed bicycle…it sounds like a lot when you say it that way!

Of course, quantity doesn’t matter if none of it is useful or appreciated.  A lot of what I knit is gifted, this year, that means my new nephew Marcus!  So far, he’s been pretty appreciative…happily stuffing everything I’ve sent him into his mouth.   Most recently, it’s been this guy…Rebecca Danger’s Lil Love Slug.

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Those eyeballs are perfect for teething on!  After that, came Mom.  Of course, she appreciates everything too.  Her current favorite is this Pebble Beach Shawl in yarn she dyed herself!

I really liked knitting Pebble Beach and it’s great to wear.  I definitely want to make one for myself.  My favorite piece of knitwear in 2018 was probably the lone sweater I finished for myself.

I liked it enough to start a second one right away.  Unfortunately, it’s been ignored for months.  Any day now, I’ll pick it back up!

Despite all this knitting, I’m pretty sure my stash grew this year.  I tried as hard as I could to use it all up but I managed to visit new yarn shops in four states, adding yarn at each stop. (Not to mention Vogue Knitting Live and Stitches West.)

Certainly my shopping this year tended towards the green family.  And like always, I’ll say 2019 is the year of no yarn shopping.  I made it until February 1st in 2018.  Hopefully I’ll make it longer in 2019.  I take yarn collecting very seriously but I’m running out of places to put it.

And oh yeah, I haven’t mentioned that Mom dyed me a new batch of lovelies for Christmas.

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The left is a set of colors on a merino-yak-alpaca base and one the right is a set of colors on Miss Babs Kunlun base, a merino-cashmere-silk base!  Wooo!  Turns out Miss Babs sells partial naked skeins for a steal!  I’m guessing it’s her version of mill ends, little odds and ends that she can’t use but thanks to Mom’s penchant for finding sales, I will definitely use this skeins for something fun!

Now, it’s time to think about goals for 2019.  More Sweaters!  Finish my current sweater.  An RBG Sweater.  A Pebble Beach.  Lots more nephew toys.  AND NO YARN SHOPPING!  (ha…yeah right.  wish me luck!)


 

Stash Enhancement

After a period of losing local yarn shops, San Francisco got a new shop over the long weekend!  Woo!  Firebird Yarns…right on Haight Street…a great location for tourists and locals, alike.   I can’t wait to see how things develop there.  I hope the shop continues to grow and sticks around for long time.

It hit a lot of current trends…indie dyers, gradient yarns, mini skeins, speckles galore!  All things I like.  The indie variety was impressive…Loft Twenty Two, Houndstooth Fiber Arts, Hula Hut Yarn, Mad Science Yarns (great color names here–tesla coil, genetically modified berries, perfect mad science names!).

And now, here’s my plea to those indie dyers…please, please, please expand your offerings beyond superwash.  There is a market for non-superwash yarns, especially considering how many of those superwash yarns are labeled ‘hand wash cold, lay flat to dry’.  That’s not how superwash works.

With that in mind, the shop did have one special yarn, non-superwash, sheep raised in Texas, milled out in the Sacramento Valley.  It’s a great color too, so I had to buy a skein.  It’s a bulky single ply with a bit of thick and thin happening.  No idea what I’ll do with it, but I’m sure it’ll be good!  It’s a nice soft yarn!

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Of course, I can’t resist a good speckle so I picked up a skein of Hula Hut Yarn too.

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I’ve got a good collection of green yarns now, this could be my next cast on!  Perhaps at the end of the week, after my job interview.  I’ve got 48 hours left to prepare…so it’s all work until then!  I’d say ‘wish me luck’ but this is definitely the type of situation where you make your own luck.  I’m feeling good about my presentation but I’ve still got lots of fine tuning to do.  What I really need is two days of distraction free focus.  (that might be where the luck comes in!)  I’ll keep you posted!  :)


 

Stitches West 2018

Before I get into Stitches, I’ve got one last Olympic photo left on my desktop.

Behold…the Clipboard of Power!

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I laughed so hard when I saw that.  Also, I want one!  Clipboards definitely give you super powers.  This one must be very special.  I bet they needed specific training before being allowed to handle it.  Yup, I definitely want one.

List #1 for the Clipboard of Power…all the yarns I want to buy next year.

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Neighborhood Fiber Co for starters.  I was drawn back to their booth so many times.  Surprisingly, I bought nothing there??

Hedgehog Fibers…nope, didn’t bring any home?!  A Verb for Keeping Warm…it was gorgeous, didn’t buy any though.  I passed up the Shibui booth entirely.  I never visited the Yarn Over Truck.  YOTH…not this year.  Sincere Sheep, such a shame to miss.

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Frankly, once I gave myself permission to buy whatever I wanted, it’s amazing that this is all I came home with:

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So where DID I shop?

First stop:  Miss Babs

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That’s five skeins of Yowza caked up at the top of the photo.  It’s the yarn that set my color palette for the weekend and for year one of nephew knitting.  I hit the teal-purple-grey with a pop of chartreuse color scheme pretty hard this year.  If I’m going to do all this baby knitting, I may as well like it.

Those five skeins are going to become the ultimate Rebecca Danger layette set — a monster blanket and a monster sweater, both with pockets for monster friends.  There will be a whole gaggle of monster friends and whatever else I can squeeze out of those 2800 yards.  That’s 1.6 miles of yarn.  It sounds like a lot.  I’m not convinced though.  Good thing I kept shopping…

Next, KnitPicks.  I’ve long had a love-hate relationship with them.  Love the product, hate the shipping issues.  Being able to buy their yarns in person, even if it’s only at special events, is awesome!

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I got a couple hanks of the new worsted weight yarn, Provincial Tweed.  It’s got baby sweater potential.  I love tweed for it’s ability to hide pills.  I’m guessing it will hide spit up pretty well too?!

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And of course, fan favorite, self-striping sock yarn, Felici.  I don’t even knit socks but show special $3.50/ball…how do you resist that?  Blaming this one on the impending baby as well…thinking a Baby Vertebrae and a set of little baby leg warmers.  Chubby baby legs wrapped in yarn are pretty adorable.  Once the idea was planted, there was no ignoring it.

Still, though, I wasn’t done.  Zombie Yarns was definitely calling my name.  I can’t wait to knit this.  I got the ‘Playful Monster’ yarn pack to make the ‘Playful Monster Hoodie’.  I’m not sure it’s monster enough though.  I may have to put some monster ears on it to jazz it up a little more.  (and also knit it in my size!)

 

Never fear though, I did by some yarn for myself.  I know you were probably concerned about that.  I think I’ve finally collected enough speckles for a speckle fade cardi!!

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A couple finds from the Western Sky Knits sale bin (the two on the left)!  $15 speckles! Yes Please!  In the middle, a gorgeous purple speckle from Hooker’s Corner called Wisterious.  Love it!  On the right, another purple speckle, this one from Arucania.

I think getting out the rest of the collection for a full fade inspection will really be the motivation I need to cast on a fingering weight sweater.

And finally, there’s the first yarn to make it onto needles.  It’s Valley Yarns, Goshen – a cotton/tencel/silk blend.  A July baby needs a cotton blanket!

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A bit of a swatch and off I went…

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I’m just happy it’s not a hat!  :)  I’m making good progress.  Fingers crossed I can resist the urge to cast on more new yarn.  It’s time to finish my current sweater WIP.  A little focus goes a long way!


 

Knittus Interruptus

I made it all the way to January 31st before I broke down and bought yarn.  Despite my ardent claims, we all knew it was going to happen.  I really did mean it though.  I thought I’d make it into February before I came up with an excuse.  And, I do think I’ve got a good excuse…

 

This is the Striped Asymmetry wrap.  I was supposed to have the exact right yarn for this project.  Woolfolk Tynd, the yarn the pattern calls for.

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Turns out, I didn’t.  And, I’m so far off, I can’t even call this a yarn chicken fail.  The stripe pattern needs to continue on, consuming the grey tail up top, as the stripes continue.  That’s still a lot of tail stitches to use up.   I must’ve misread the pattern.  Losing the pattern page with those details on it probably didn’t help.

So you can see where this is going.  I bought this yarn back in September at the Knitterly, in Petaluma.  I figured it couldn’t hurt to call and see if they still had it.  And sure enough, they had a dye lot match!  My lucky day!

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How could I not buy that?  It’s the rest of the pile I probably didn’t need…

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Neon green acrylic…going to be part of the bike project I’m working on.  I didn’t need the yardage but the project is missing some green pops.  It’s sort of justified.  Also, only $6.

Price is my justification for the other two skeins as well.  YOTH Little Brother, from the clearance section.  It was 70% off, only $8/skein.  It’s a little fuzzy from being kicked around but that’s what cashmere does.  At $8/skein, it’s irresistible.  I had to buy it.  HAD TO.

Plus, look at all this yarn I didn’t buy…

I resisted a lot!  I have no regrets!  NONE!  Not only that, I’m glad about it!  It was a beautiful day to be traipsing across the bridge!

I stopped for bridge pics coming and going and I even managed a little trip to the beach and some knitting time.

Nope, not one single complaint about it.

I really mean it this time though…I’m not buying any yarn for the next three weeks.  Then it’s Stitches.  Of course I’ll buy yarn at Stitches.  I’ve got a justification for that too (details to follow).  Maybe a more reasonable goal is to only buy yarn once a month??  I think I could do that?!

Maybe.


 

Weekend Stash Enhancement

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I visited another new bay area yarn shop this weekend, The Black Squirrel in Berkeley.  It’s a nice, bright, open space with an amazing yarn wall.  They have a small, trendy selection of yarn.

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It’s kind of amazing that I only came home with three skeins.  I don’t usually do trends but speckle yarn is one trend I am on board with!

There were maybe 3 or 4 different indie dyers represented on the wall.  I went with Spun Right Round, a dyer from Rochester, NY.  This is the sock base, an 80/20 superwash wool/nylon blend.  In colors Caterpillar and Idle Gossip.

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For a quick minute, I thought, I should do one of those faded sweaters.  I think I’ve come to my senses since then.  I’ve got too many WIPs for that but just in case I decide to do a fade of some kind, my third color is the perfect neutral for a fade, Newsprint.

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White with black speckles…an instant classic!

I’m not casting the yarn on yet but I did have time for another little project I picked up.

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A christmas ornament cross-stitch kit.

They worked up quick and turned out super cute.

 

Pre-Thanksgiving isn’t too early for a Christmas tree, is it?

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And, I managed to make progress, this weekend, on the Bill Murray Sweater too.  Good progress I think.  I’ll share some details and photos for WIP Wednesday!   Hopefully it’ll look like something by then!


 

Stash Enhancement

Once again, the stash has grown.  I ventured north out of town last weekend.  2017-09-15_13-44-25_340

North means Knitterly in Petaluma.  It’s a really cute shop and the staff is lovely.

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I stop whenever I can.  I didn’t think I was having a yarn bonanza.  I thought I was making one small stop.

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I bought three skeins of Woolfolk Tynd.  It’s amazing.  It’s soooooooo soft.  And, in all my time hanging around yarn shops, I’ve never used any Woolfolk.  This seemed like a good excuse.

That was it.  Just three skeins.

I honestly thought I was done buying yarn for the weekend.

Until.  I. Remembered. This.

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Really?  Did I plan a trip to Mendocino without realizing it was the same weekend as the county fair which just so happens to include the California Wool Show??  Yes.  Yes, I did.

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As soon as I realized this, I was on my way.  An hour drive out and an hour drive back, left me with two hours of county fair & yarn shopping time before I needed to be back for the wedding.  You know, the reason I went north in the first place.  Not the yarn.  Yarn just happens.  Who am I to say no?

I had time for knitting & curly fries.  Not actually a great combination.  Greasy fingers.  Once I cleaned up, I did manage to find a little bit more yarn I liked at Sincere Sheep.

 

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Indigo & natural dyed gradient on Cormo grown in Wyoming!  And it’s not superwash!  Sign me the heck up!!

Cormo is awesome.  It’s a Corriedale – Merino cross.   We all know the softness of Merino! Corriedale has a long staple length which brings in a sturdy, hardwearing quality.   The result is a soft, springy yarn that wears wells.

That made this, entirely irresistable:

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It’s a kit for the Andrea Mowry shawl, Briochealicious.  It’s a crescent shaped shawl with alternating bands of brioche and garter stitch.  It’s going to be mega squish heaven!  The squish of the brioche compounded by the squish of the yarn!  I can’t wait.

I have to though.  Because there’s this.

An amazing blue & grey colorway from Nerd Girl Yarns called My Internet Friends are Real, from an internet friend, naturally.  It’s even more gorgeous than it looks.  I’m thinking a hat, from Woolly Wormhead, Sumner.  I like the structure of it.

We’ll see…so much knitting.  I need to do some finishing first!  I think cat sweater #2 should be next.  It’s time.  I’m ready to be wearing a cat sweater.   Obviously.  Must. Knit. Faster!