March to May KAL

In January, I took the time to organize four projects, ready for cast-on. I had the pattern, I had the yarn, I just needed the push to get them started.

The first push came to my inbox last week from Andrea Mowry with her 2023 DRK March to May KAL. I bought the pattern months ago, and I had the yarn ready, or so I thought.

On March 1, the start of the Knit-A-Long, I grabbed that project bag and started to get organized. I wasn’t able to start right then and there because, to my sheer amazement, I only had one 3.75 (US5) needle big enough for this project, and it was busy working on my Bright Axis sweater. So, I couldn’t cast on, but I could wind all the yarn.

And so I wound. As soon as I had the first two balls ready, I realized there really wasn’t enough contrast between them, not the amount of contrast that I was hoping for anyways, and this really didn’t pop until they were wound.

While I was winding, there was a skein sticking out on the shelf, a skein I bought last November when I was visiting a friend in Kingston. The good thing about having a fairly consistent taste in colours means I was able to easily dig into my stash, and this skein suited the project well. Excellent. I kept winding.

And then, I started second guessing. A project that used 5 skeins soon became a project only using 4 skeins. I played around with a few colour combinations before settling on the following:

  • The lightest is Skein or Shine Fingering, Arctic Stone colourway
  • The next colour is the one I bought in Kingston, All Dyed Up in My oh My colourway
  • The second darkest is the shop brand for Village Laine Yarn Cafe in Ajax, ON: North Star Yarn Co. Bellatrix in Sea Serpent colour
  • Finally, the darkest shade is Akara Yarns Merino Sock and the colour name is Dark Like My Soul – isn’t that delightful.

I could have started the sweater on Saturday – I got the body of Bright Axis done by then, freeing up my lone 3.75 needle, but, we got a significant snowfall which meant I was shovelling a lot of heavy snow through the day. My mind couldn’t handle the idea of starting a new sweater. But Sunday afternoon, after a few hours at the office, I cast on. It’s a start, right?

There’s No Reason Not To

Last week, I wrote that I didn’t want to spend any money on yarn through the month of January. Well, I really have no reason to.

One evening, I took time and got organized. I sorted yarns and projects together into project bags, and I have four, yes four, different projects I could start at any time.

What’s in the bags, you might ask?

Well, one bag has five skeins of sock yarn along with the pattern for So Faded by Andrea Mowry.

Bag #2 has three skeins of Berroco Weekend that I got on clearance from a LYS as this lovely yarn has been discontinued. This yarn is destined to become the Magna Flora (RAV LINK) sweater by Alisa Hartzel. Three skeins should easily make the short sleeved version.

Next up are three skeins of Cascade Heritage Sock and three skeins of Koigu KPPPM which are paired with Sides and Stripes (RAV LINK) by Veera Välimäki.

Finally, the last bag has a skein of Nerds with Needles Nerdy Sock, and I’m envisioning it becoming the Every Bit Cowl from designer Stephanie Lotven.

The only hurdle left was getting the skeins wound, but by the time I got my stash and patterns organized, I was done for the evening, but I managed to get the Nerds with Needles and one skein of the berroco wound over the weekend. That’s two of the four ready for cast on.

So, with four projects organized, and a shawl, a sweater, and two pairs of socks in the WIP pile, I have no real reason to buy yarn. Right?

Socks in October

I suppose I got bored working on the sleeves for my Fezziwig cardigan, so what have I been focusing on instead? Socks. Lots of socks.

One pair is stalled after finishing sock 1 – it doesn’t have a hard deadline, so sock #2 can take a bit of a break

Two pairs I’ve made good progress on over the last week or so, and I’m working on the foot of both. These pairs will likely get their own posts in the coming weeks… They both have hard deadlines, so I’ve really been working away at them.

And, finally, I haven’t cast on the fourth pair I want to make, but the yarn is bought and the pair has been promised to my mum. For that pair, I simply need to cast on, get past the cuff, and decide what pattern I want to make. It’s a self patterning ball of yarn, so I won’t be looking for anything too complicated, but a little interest is always nice.

So, what have I been working on? Socks. Rounds and rounds of socks.

Top Five Ideas for Left Over Sock Yarn

I cannot be the only one to have a sad bin filled with left over sock yarn, those odds and ends that remain after a project, in assorted colours and yardages. Ok, maybe ‘sad bin’ isn’t a fair categorization of this left over yarn. A bin full of potential, perhaps?

For me, my bin continues to grow, despite finding ways to creatively use up the stash. Here are my top five suggestions on how to use up that Left Over Sock Yarn

The LOSY hat

That stands for the ‘Left Over Sock Yarn’ hat. I’ve made two of them, a quick and satisfying way to use up quite a few balls of yarn. The pattern is available on Ravelry (RAV LINK – if it’s available off, I wasn’t able to find it). Any DK weight hat pattern (or project, really) could be a LOSY project. The hat is made by holding two strands of yarn together. Once one runs out, you pick up a new colour. Thanks to this, you end up with a lovely faded effect with the finished object.

As mentioned, I’ve made two, and with both, I tried to stick to the same colour family when making them – the first was made with purples and the second with greens/greys.

Cowls or other patterns meant for minis

Really, when you think about it, your left over balls of yarn are really just mini skeins waiting for the right project. Minis are a fun way to play with colour, to try different yarns without investing in a whole skein, and they are great for accents, colourwork, or perhaps a cuff/heel/toe for a sock.

There are lots of patterns that cater to minis. A pattern I have earmarked for using up some left over yarn is the Wandering Thoughts Cowl by The Knitting Artist (RAV LINK). I adore triangular shawl like cowls. This isn’t new information. This cowl, like the one I reverse engineered in the summer, has different colours and stitch patterns used throughout, and the designer used five colours, estimating she used 6g to 20g of each colour. In the pattern write up, she encourages knitters to play with colours, and, “there is a coloring page at the end to help you sketch out ideas before starting.” Love this. I haven’t made this cowl yet, but I figure it’s only a matter of time before I pull out the yarn bin, find my colour combo, and cast on.

Sock Yarn Blanket

I’ve written about my sock yarn blanket before – It’s a simple blanket with mitered squares made from different skeins of sock yarn. Any time I finish a project, I add a new square to my blanket.

I opted to make mine with only one square from each yarn, but if you were wanting to finish a blanket faster and really use up your sock yarn, you could make lots of squares from the yarn until the yarn is used up.

There are lots of patterns you could use for a blanket like this. The pattern I’m following for mine is memory blanket (RAV LINK) by Georgie Nicolson – off rav link:

This is the latest sock yarn blanket update. This blanket has been on my needles for YEARS, so posting these progress photos help me see that yes, indeed, it is slowly but surely growing.

Skimmer Socks

I ADORE my skimmer socks. I’ve made three pairs through the years. These simple socks are awesome to wear with running shoes on a summer’s day, you know the ones where you’re wearing cropped pants, and having a sock popping out from your shoe would just ruin what you’re going for with your outfit.

The pair I recorded on Ravelry notes that I used about 100 yards for the pair – and every pair I’ve made, I’ve done so with a main colour and contrast for the heel/toe/edging. The pattern I’ve followed is Skimmer Socks Revisited by Sheila Toy Stromberg.

Ugly Socks

Ok. Maybe the nickname needs work. I call these my ‘ugly socks’ because they are just a smattering of left over self patterning yarn made into a pair of socks They really are just a pair of scrappy socks. I was methodical with mine – I took each left over ball I was going to use and divided in half by winding and weighing. I would then end up with two almost identically weighed balls that could be used for each sock. And then I knit. I’ve made two pairs of this, and both I’ve made using a toe-up pattern (Vanilla Sock with Gusset & Choice of Heel RAV LINK by Jo Torr). I liked the idea of basically knitting until I ran out of yarn, that way I’ve used up as much of the yarn as possible.

Any sock pattern would work. Any sock yarn would work. You don’t even need to be as particular as I was with the weighing of the yarn.

These are just my ideas for using up some of your left over sock yarn. What is your favourite way to use up left overs?

New Year’s Goals?

I’m not one for resolutions. Maybe I don’t like how arbitrary a date like January 1st feels? Maybe I don’t like setting myself up for failure? Yeah, it’s definitely the latter… Perhaps I take issue with the word ‘Resolution.’ A resolution seems very definite. A goal, however, feels attainable. So, let’s say I’ve got a few goals for my yarn this year.

For January, for the betterment of my storage and my bank account, I’m going to do my best not to buy yarn. I have lots. I really, really do. I have a few skeins that I bought WITH PROJECTS IN MIND. PATTERNS THAT I’VE PURCHASED. So, for January, it’s that simple. I’m knitting from stash and stash alone. Do I continue with the Icefall sweater that I already have a good start on? Do I work the rounds of wonderful stockinette for my Bright Axis sweater? Do I work on a sock or two? Do I cast on for a project that I have yarn and the pattern for? The options are seemingly endless.

Going along with this goal, I think I need to sit myself down and make sure my Ravelry stash is up to date. Personally, I find it super helpful to have it up-to-date in my Rav profile, because there I have amounts tracked, meterage noted, and yarn weight clear as day.

For example, it’s all well and good that I have two skeins of yellow DK weight yarn in my stash. BUT, if it’s up to date in Rav, I’d know exactly how much yarn that is, and I could use the yarn function to search for pattern ideas and see other projects people have made with their yarn. I could use the advanced search and really filter down to patterns that fit what I’m looking for.

So, my goal for (at least) January is to knit from stash and stash alone and not spend any money on more yarn. May the odds be ever in my favour.