Is sock yarn ‘stash yarn’?

There are many divisive issues in knitting: to swatch or not to swatch, process v. product, but perhaps one of the most controversial is whether sock yarn counts towards stash. One would think that the debate is settled when the Yarn Harlot decreed that sock yarn isn’t really stash yarn. Maybe I just think of ‘stash’ a little differently.

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Take this beautiful skein of sock yarn. I bought this lovely skein of Indigodragonfly CaribouBaa in the fall of 2016.  I had no idea what I wanted to do with it, but I knew the colours were pretty, and when I bought it, it was my first ever Indigodragonfly, so I was excited. There it sat for almost a year and a half; other projects came and went, but inspiration had yet to grab me for this yarn. And then it did.

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In March/April I purchased two skeins from one of my LYSs (one two separate occasions, as it turns out).  After chatting with a friend about this yarn and how to use these two together, she encouraged me to take a closer look at Stephen West and his brioche patterns.  While brioche wasn’t in the future for this yarn, The Doodler was. I saw the pattern, I saw the skein of Indigodragonfly on my shelves, and I knew these three had to be used together.

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I have a hard time buying more than one skein at a time if I’m just buying yarn. Some of this is budget, and the rest is practical.  I’ve been stung too many times by not buying enough to complete a project that I’m either running out and buying more or ripping back and buying new.  If I have a project in mind that needs ‘x’ amount of metres, then cool, I’ll go out and buy what I need, but to buy ‘x’ skeins just because, that I just can’t do. But sock yarn, oh lovely sock yarn. You can buy one skein of fingering, and you have enough metres to make a plethora of things. A hat, no problem! Socks, duh. A shawl/cowl/neck accessory, done and done. Or, like my lovely blue/green Indigodragonfly, it can just live there until the perfect project comes along.

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Skimmer Socks

The desire to knit down my sock yarn ends continues in a very fun way.  Meet the Skimmer Socks:

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Okay, Simmer SOCK, singular, because Sock #2 is still in progress. But, please allow me to rave about this pattern for a few minutes.

The pattern I used was Skimmer Socks Revisited by Sheila Toy Stromberg (revisited as she revamped a popular pattern of hers written a number of years ago).  This pattern popped up onto Ravelry’s Hot Right Now around the beginning of May, and when I saw my purple and blue left overs together, they were just destined to become these socks.

The pattern was VERY clearly written, and if anything was unclear, like my confidence in doing short rows, she has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. To make it even better, Stromberg has marked the timestamps when that particular technique is shown in the video.  While the tutorial is around an hour, I fast-forwarded to the parts I needed clarification on and then happily resumed my knitting.

For my high-arched feet, I made size large which required around 140 metres of yarn, and the fit is great. I can certainly see myself making more of these socklets in the future, with my only major mod would be making the insole shorter so that they’ll be slightly more no-show when I wear flats.

To everyone in Canada, I hope you are having a fantastic Victoria Day long weekend! To everyone else, Happy Monday!

On knitting up those pesky left overs

It’s inevitable. You find a pattern, buy the yarn, knit the pattern, and unless you end up playing an epic game of yarn chicken, you’re going to end up with left overs, those few grams of yarn that really, what CAN you do with it? A few weeks ago, these odds and sods were my focus and using them up in creative manners my mission.

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Well, first, I took over 100 grams from 5 different sock yarns and turned them into a lovely asymmetrical shawl.  I used the Ex-Boyfriends pattern and now have a shawl in browns, greens and a pop of purple. I felt highly satisfied when it was finished because those were 5 small cakes out of my stash.

Like many knitters, I also have quite a bit of acrylic kicking around. You know the yarn, the stuff you bought before you discovered your Local Yarn Shops and the wonderful and unique skeins they carry. Don’t get me wrong, acrylic has a time and place, but those small remnants were just taking up space and annoying me just enough to find a solution.  Enter my ‘Ugly Slippers.’ I took my favourite slipper pattern, divided up what was left of an orange and yellow into two, and finished off with the red, which I had significantly more of. The colours are out of order for me to call them ‘Jayne Cobb slippers’, but they are rather cunning, dontcha think?

For a final stash busting attempt, I discovered a new kind of torture. I had enough Opal remnants to make a smallish pair of socks, and tempted to try a new method, I bought 40″/100 cm circulars and started a pair of toe up two at a time socks. I. Hate. It. With a passion I didn’t know existed. The almost finished toes were lying on the top of my knitting basket, and we were in an epic showdown. My dilemma was: do I persevere and keep on, hoping that this method will grow on me, or do I face ‘defeat’, realize life’s to short to knit something I’m hating, and re-cast on with a different method, like my 9″ circulars which I LOVE? The desire for movie knitting won out, and I transferred one of the two onto my beloved 9″ circulars… Life’s too short to knit something out hate, right?

ASSEMBLE!

So, unless you’re living completely off the grid, a certain movie came out a few weeks ago, and I was SUPER excited to see a lot of super heroes hitting things. Okay, so maybe I’m over simplifying the new Avengers movie because OH MY GOODNESS what a movie! So much happened in that 2 hours and 40 minutes, and there is still so much to happen in Part 2! I had so many different feelings throughout the movie, but I won’t get into specifics, because, spoilers.

I did get the chance to debut my new Captain America shawl:


Quite a bit went into the making of this shawl: the yarn was all hand dyed, it was my first time trying beading, and the cast off involved casting off over 1500 stitches using the Jeny’s Stretchy Bind Off method. When I was around the one-third mark, I messaged a friend and asked her to send either help or vodka. Casting off really was a test of patience, but totally worth it.

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As well, I faced yet another instance of not paying attention to required yardage. One would think I’d learn my lesson, and this one hurt.  All of this yarn was hand dyed, and when I was about to start the second red stripe, I realized rather painfully I wouldn’t have enough yarn to finish it.  Did I mention it was hand dyed?? I was able to dye another skein, and I was pretty impressed at how close I was able to get the colours! In the picture above, the original skein is on the right, already caked and almost half used, and the newly dyed skein in on the left, waiting to be wound.  When it came to knitting the final red stripe, I blended the two colours, alternating skeins every row. Seriously folks, pay attention to yardage.

I have to add, I’m kinda loving this designer. Lalíe Roque has five patterns available FOR FREE on Ravelry, and all three relate somehow to a fandom. Right before Avengers Part 1 came out, she released a new pattern: a pair of fingerless gloves designed in the style of Thanos’s gauntlet which holds the infinity stones. I’d highly recommend checking out her designer page on Ravelry because I am simply inspired by her creativity.

Maybe I’ll make the gauntlets before Part 2 is dropped.

Frolic: 2018

For the past few weeks, I feel like I was struggling for inspiration, not only for knitting and finding new, exciting, and engaging patterns, but also on the blog. The lull seems to be over as I’m knitting up a storm and will have a few new posts coming in the next few weeks! But enough about that, let me show you my newest purchases.


Aren’t they pretty? This past Saturday was the annual Knitter’s Frolic, an event put on by the Toronto Knitter’s Guild and which I’ve been attending since 2015. This fibre festival brings vendors from all over the province of Ontario and it’s a wonderful chance to see yarns and shops that aren’t your LYSs; often the yarn vendors are Indy dyers and small business owners.  Every year I’ve tried to buy something that is just a little different.

So what’s above?

The black and white speckled yarn is from Northern Bay Fibres in their Speckled Slate colour way. The lovely blue speckles are Dragon Strings, Sleipnir base, Ocean’s Alive colour way, and finally, the co-ordinating mini set is from Bling Your String, 70g total in their Beach Glass colour.

This year, I went with my friend Victoria, who happens to blog over at Keep Calm, Knit On, and it was her first time Frolicking.  We each went with budgets and an idea of the yarn we wanted to buy, we had a very similar approach to what is a very overwhelming shopping experience (do a lap, see everything, then go back and buy), and we were good about not enabling each other TOO much!

Right now, I have no idea what my new yarn will grow up to be (although the Bling Your String will very likely become socks as that really is their raison d’etre). Obviously I’m in some speckle phase as all yarns have a certain speckle and pop to them. For now, I’m happy admiring the new skeins.