Saturday, March 29, 2008

Some of my stashed yarn

I am almost finished photographing my yarn stash. Whew! What a way to face up to my (many) yarn purchases over the last few years and the number of knitting projects that await. Lets just say that I have enough to keep me busy for quite a while.

Organizing the yarn will help a lot. I can see what I have and the database feature on Ravelry lets me see what other people have made with the same yarn. Brilliant!

Click the picture to see it larger, in Flickr. Oh, and in some cases I have more than one skein of the yarn shown in the photograph. I only photographed all of the skeins or hanks if they were small or it was easy to do.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I am a Virgo. I organize. I am a perfectionist.

Or maybe I should title this post "Thanks to Ravelry, I am not sewing."

Ravelry is an online knitting and crocheting community and one of the cool things it has to offer is a place where you can keep an inventory of your yarn stash. So this is why I am not sewing. I have a light box set up on the cutting table, boxes of yarn are all over the room, and I am busy photographing all of my yarn. Egads. My yarn stash is still small in comparison to my fabric stash, but it's growing. I'm hoping that by keeping an inventory I can prevent impulse buying. And it also helps to know what yarn I have when I'm ready for the next project.

As expected, I've come across yarn I forgot I had. I've also determined that I have plenty of sock yarn. Plenty. I should not buy any more. No matter how luscious it is. It'll be tough though. Sock yarn is really addictive because it's just one (or two) skeins and although some sock yarn is quite pricey, I don't get sticker shock like I do when I total up the 10, 15, or even 20 skeins needed for a sweater. That's not to say I don't have yarn for sweaters because I certainly do. Some of it is destined for a particular pattern, which is a good thing because I've found that just buying a bunch of yarn for a sweater doesn't work the same way it does when buying fabric for sewing. At $8-15 per skein, one more or one fewer skeins makes a difference so I try to buy yarn with an exact purpose so I know how much to get.

I do try to organize my yarn (there's that Virgo in me). My yarn is stored according to its fiber or intended purpose. I have containers for yarn destined for socks, shawls/scarves, miscellaneous small project (1-2 skeins) and baby/child and then I have larger containers for sweater yarn divided into wool, mixed wool/alpaca/silk fibers, and cotton blends. So far I've photographed all but the yarn for baby things and the wool and mixed yarns. Thank goodness for digital photography! The harder part is documenting what I have so I can add it to Ravelry. And of course I'll need to upload the photos and try not to do too much futzing in Photoshop. They're just pictures of yarn! But I am a perfectionist (Virgo again!) and it is in my nature to futz until it's perfect.

Meanwhile, no sewing is getting done and I am antsy to get back to it. I follow lots of sewing blogs and so many of you out there are sewing up a storm! I want to join in but can't seem to make the time...or clean off the cutting table or unearth the sewing machine. I want to finish the jacket I started months ago and there are lots of other projects I want to start. The good news is that I've managed to find some will power and avoid buying more fabric on line. I have come close but then I remind myself that buying fabric for another project just makes getting to all the other projects for which I already have fabric more difficult...or impossible.

I have been doing a bit of knitting though and I finally finished my orange Lara sweater. Well almost. All the stitches are knit but I still need to block it and sew the side seams. However, now it is getting warm out so I'm afraid the sweater will be shelved until fall. And then I will finish it. Promise. My thoughts are on spring, not winter! In the meantime I cast on my first real lace project. It's a scarf from a Belisa cashmere pattern and yes, it's made from Belisa cashmere. But it's light and airy and doesn't make me think of winter.

Monday, March 24, 2008

No time to blog...

I have stuff to blog about but no time right now. However I did want to make a note for myself and spread the word on a cool tutorial I saw today at Another Creation on how to make your own sew-in labels.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Use your feet!

Sewing feet, that is. I've got an assortment of feet for my serger and two sewing machines but I must confess that I hardly use them. I do use the edge joining foot on my sewing machine, quite often in fact, and of course the zipper foot and buttonhole foot on occasion, but how about the rolled hem, bias binder, pin tuck, multi-cord, and the menacing looking ruffler foot? Why don't I use them? I think it's because I fear I will spend more time trying to get the foot to work than it's worth.

Today I ran across this fabulous tutorial on how to use the hemming foot. Next time I need to make a skinny hem, I'm going to dig out that hemming foot and give it a try.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Closed on Sunday

China Town on a Sunday

I went to San Francisco on Sunday and did some shopping. Since I got there early, I strolled through Chinatown and went into a few stores. Many of the stores carry the same touristy kitch, but I actually did find a store that sold some yarn. It wasn't a bad deal at about $25 for 500 grams or so, but it was a mix of wool and acrylic in typical colors and frankly nothing really grabbed me. Plus, my stash is quite full as a result of Stitches. I did buy a nice linen cutwork table runner at a different store. It was also enjoyable to walk around and see and smell the sights. A lot of local people were out shopping for their groceries and spices and things.

After a nice brunch at Café de la Presse, I made my way over to Geary Street in anticipation of getting a fabric fix at Britex, but they are CLOSED on Sundays! I was so disappointed, even though I don't really need fabric, it's not a day in SF without stopping by. Britex used to always be closed on Sunday and then for the last year or so they were open, which was great for a weekend visitor like myself. But I guess they didn't have enough sales on Sundays. I consoled myself with the thought that I'd buy some yarn at Art Fibers (yes, yes, Stitches...I know), but they were closed too! As it is Art Fibers is only open from 2 - 4 on Sundays but their owners are busy with new babies and new patterns and decided to cut back their hours in March and April. Now doubly disappointed, I decided that after I finished shopping in Union Square I'd drive over to Clement Street and get my fabric fix at Fabrix. I don't know how they named their store but it seems to me to be a perfect name for a Fabric Fix, don't you think? I bought two knits, one is a 2-way stretch in black with non-regular ribbing that gives it an interesting texture and the other is a 4-way stretch in shades of green and white with a print that looks like it's hand painted (but isn't of course, not for $3.69/yard!).

Somewhere in the Union Square area I spied this fun window display of miniature jeans. Sorry the picture isn't that great - it's tough to photograph through a store window. And sorry that I don't even know the name of the store! I think it was on Geary, a block or two from the CLOSED Britex.

Little pants window display

I just loved the tiny detail on each of the pairs. Little rivets, zippers, and labels! Just fabulous!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Stitches 2008, Part 2

So, Stitches is over and my stash is bigger and I know everything there is to know about short rows. Well, maybe not everything, but after three classes dealing with short rows, I was glad when Sunday rolled around and my last class was not about short rows.

The first class on Saturday was about using short rows to make pinwheel shapes. Candace Eisner Strick taught the class and she brought some really nice examples of how you can use color and the pinwheel shape to make fun hats, bags, round-bottom totes, etc. We used both the "yarn-over" and the "wrap" method of short rows. It wasn't quite the class I thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed learning about short rows in a new way. It was also fun to see how you can use short rows in a decorative way too. Here's my little sample:

Next I had a class called "Short Row Savvy" with Maureen Mason-Jamieson. In this class we knit a little sample using three methods: yarn-over, wrap, and Japanese.

So what are short rows? Well, I'd best point you to a better source for that answer since I don't have the knitting experience or artistic talent to draw your a diagram. And besides, I'm a lefty and my perception of it is backwards. So here's a link to a Vogue Knitting article about short rows. The article describes the "wrap method."

On Sunday I had one class, in the morning, on knitting a hounds tooth pattern. Jean Frost taught this one and it was a treat. She makes the most beautiful Chanel-inspired jackets. The class itself was rather easy. We spent the time knitting two color samples of various hounds tooth patterns using either fair isle or slip stitches. But the real treat was seeing her gorgeous jackets. I've put her book on my Amazon wishlist but I may not be able to wait for my birthday or Christmas and may just buy it instead.

Even though my weekend was chock full of classes, this did not deter me from the market floor. Oh no. I did the bulk of my shopping on Thursday night during the market preview, which was open only to registered students and vendors. But I had time during lunch on Friday and before the fashion show Friday night. Then again on Saturday during lunch and again Sunday afternoon. Just when I thought I'd seen everything, I'd run into a friend who had a lovely purchase of something I hadn't seen and had to go check out. So, without further ado, here's my Stitches 2008 haul:


Back row from left to right:

  • Newtons Yarn Country: 8 skeins of 60/40 cashmere/merino wool, 320 yds per skein (could not pass up at $6/skein - yes, you read that right, for cashmere!)
  • KnitWhits Sienna Hat kit: Fair Isle knit in some really pretty jewel tone colors
  • Chameleon Colorworks: sampler pack of 1/2 ounce roving (camel, yak, merino/silk/angora, tussah silk, angora, optim, alpaca, cotton silver) - I'm going to need a spinning lesson to learn how to spin this!
  • Chameleon Colorworks: 4 oz merino roving
  • Verb for Keeping Warm: 10 oz Black Blue Faced Leicester, indigo dyed
  • Creatively Dyed Yarns: 1 skein of merino sock yarn
  • Just Your Yarns: 2 skeins of wool/camel - I bought this to weave with

Front row, left to right:

  • Amazing Yarns: "Dancing Kit" - I saw this in the fashion show and really wanted it. It's a vest with the main body out of Mountain Colors mohair/wool and the shoulders out of the funkier looking hand dyed/spun wool
  • Blue Moon Fibers: 3 skeins of "mill end" lightweight Socks That Rock and 1 skein of lightweight Socks that Rock in "Monsoon" colorway.
  • Habu: 300 yards of silk/mohair and 300 yards of tassar silk boucle, intended to be knit together into a scarf. They're both a pale green color.
  • Habu: 574 yards of lace-weight red bamboo
  • Habu: 450 yards of orange silk (it's like a raw silk, plan to make a scarf or small shawl)
  • Malabrigo: free mini-skein of lace weight in orange
  • Belisa Cashmere: 500 yards of purple cashmere for scarf. As soon as I finish my orange Lara sweater I plan to cast on for a scarf using the ivory cashmere I bought from them last year!
  • Bijou Basin Ranch: 125 yards of yak/silk - this was my splurge fiber this year
  • Wild Fibers magazine: free mini skein of alpaca for subscribing for 1 year
  • Fiber Fiend: 1 skein of merino tencel sock yarn
  • Fiber Fiend: 1 skein of merino/bamboo/nylon sock yarn
  • Fiber Fiend: 2 sock patterns
  • Caroline Homespun: Denise Needles companion set and size 1 double point rosewood Colonial Needles