“Bern”ing through the stash

After inventorying all my stash and helpfully getting it all onto Ravelry, I turned my attention to trying to find a pattern that would use up a good chunk of stash yarn. I’ve also been a little twitchy for a heavier sweater – heavier meaning heavier weight yarn. The two I currently have in progress are both made with sock yarn, so I was hoping for something that would knit up a little faster.

After refining my search, I cast on Feel the Bern (RAV LINK) by Caitlin Hunter. It’s a free pattern (yay) using between 591 – 1256 yards (yay) of worsted yarn (YAY).

I played with a few colour combinations of Cascade 220 and Briggs and Little Heritage. My dark heathered purple was a must as it had the most yardage left for one of the main colours, and I loved how the grey of the Briggs and Little was more subdued than the other colours I was toying with. I settled on the dark purple, the grey and two more Cascade 220s: a mauve-y heathered pink and a heathered green. I had two different blues I was tossing around, but the blues were more vibrant, while the combo with the mauve and green felt more natural.

As I cast on and got to the colourwork yoke, I sent progress pictures to my friend Victoria. We were both in agreement. This colour combo was the winning combo indeed.

Now, excuse me while I keep making progress on this 50 round colourwork yoke… RIP my patience…

On making something cozy for my BFF

Find yourself an Ashley.

Ashley is my best friend. We’ve known each other for a stupid amount of time. The fact that we’ve known each other for more than 20 years is absolutely mind boggling, because that means we’re not in our 20s anymore, and I totally feel like I’m only 23. Wait, what was I saying? Oh, right.

Ashley and I had homeroom together in Grade 9 & 10, but we didn’t talk. I was a little intimidated by her, and, according to her, I would sit there and talk with my friend about the Backstreet Boys (and yeah, that’s 100% accurate). Then grade 11 came around and we had three of four classes together, including drama. That year’s big project was writing and performing a ‘docudrama’ and we were partnered together. I think I have the script somewhere in storage to this day. We’ve been friends ever since.

Last spring, due to unforeseen circumstances, I found myself at my parent’s house for a week, and at first I was there without access to knitting needles or yarn. She didn’t hesitate to run over to my parent’s with a few supplies for me, including balls of yarn and needles.

She truly is the best.

Knowing the yarn was Briggs and Little, I feel it’s safe to assume she bought it from the mill in New Brunswick. Her family lives nearby to the community where Canada’s oldest woolen mill is located, and I’m pretty sure the yarn came from the store at the mill. After I was back home, I asked if she would like the yarn back, and she told me to hold onto it.

So I did.

And I made her something.

A few months back, I professed my love for marled yarn as I made my nephew just the cutest little clothing set using a sock weight marled yarn. I took a look at my stash and realized that the yarn from her was two skeins – one marled and one white. I wanted to knit her something cozy. Warm, perhaps a little scratchy, and cozy. 

The pattern is The Fisherman’s Boot Socks by Maritime Family Fiber. I followed the instructions for the smallest size, but my needles were 4.5mm, not 4mm, so I was ultimately making something a little bigger than the pattern called for. They were worked on and off for about six months. But they were finished while the Canadian winters were still bringing about the cold, like they always do. Because toes get cold, and sometimes a thick wool sock is the coziness you need to help stave off the chill.

So, if you can, find yourself an Ashley. Ashleys are good people. Ashleys know how to hook a friend up, and Ashleys totally deserve warm socks.

I adore this human. From 2018, when concerts were a thing…

My Stash is Inventoried

If one of my goals for this year was knitting more from the stash, it helps if the stash is inventoried or tracked somehow.

So last week, I sat down and went through my stash, adding it all to my Ravelry account. Every single skein is added, photographed, and weighed, so I have an approximate idea of how much is there.

I also used this as a chance to do a little purging. I have a lot of odds and ends, as well as a few balls and skeins from people passing along yarn to me. I took an honest evaluation of some of those and have nicely made a ‘To Donate’ pile of yarn that, to use the phrase from Marie Kondo, just doesn’t spark joy. I cannot foresee myself using it, and if someone else can get better use from it, then I am happy to part with it.

Once it’s all added in, it is funny to me how patterns emerge.

I have a LOT of Cascade Heritage sock yarn. I think it’s safe to say it’s one of my favourite sock yarns. It’s a good blend, the colours are great, and the cost is very much in my budget.

I also have a lot of one off skeins of indy sock yarn dyers. A few skeins have been put aside for a So Faded (RAV LINK) sweater by Andrea Mowry. I’m currently making good progress on Icefall (RAV LINK) by tincanknits. This is another sock weight sweater, and I think I want to get it finished before I cast on yet another sock yarn sweater. Goals, people. Achievable goals.

I also have a bunch of single skeins in worsted/aran weight, which really isn’t enough to do much with on its own, besides simple accessories. I was able to get a little creative with colours for two sweaters – My Elkko and Vatsland were great for using some of those single skeins. I still have quite a few single skeins in those very wooly yarns (Briggs and Little, Cascade 220) – perhaps I should see if there are any striped sweaters that could be ideal for using up a little more.

Besides, once I free up a little room in the stash, I could then go ahead and add some more…

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.

Last Sweater of 2021 – Ranunculus

Ok. I finally get it. I get the appeal of the Ranunculus (RAV LINK) Sweater. You know the one – it’s a sweater that’s ALWAYS on the Ravelry Hot Right Now top pages. With over 10,000 projects associated with the pattern. Yeah, that one.

My friend Victoria made a Ranunculus months ago and was singing the praises of this pattern. I believe, to date, she’s made two of them. After I bought some yellow Leo & Roxy Basics, I thought, why not give Ranunculus a go. After all, over 10,000 people thought it was knit worthy, and Victoria’s knitting opinions are held in exceptionally high regard by me. So, this summer, I cast it on.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing.

They recommend a Double Twist Loop cast on, something I hadn’t done before. So I sat through YouTube videos and stumbled through this new-to-me technique.

The yoke of the sweater is utterly stunning, with textured twists and simple lace details. There are no charts for the yoke, so I was reading along for the stitches, not my preferred way to work.

The yarn, oh my. I ADORE Leo and Roxy. I’ve made several projects with their yarn, including a pair of socks, the Doctor Who inspired cowl I made this summer, and the marled set I made for my nephew. I love this yarn. The sweater I made only took one skein of yarn. I knit the body for a few extra centimetres, and I knit the bottom ribbing until I (almost) ran out of yarn, maximizing the skein. I love the yarn.

But…

The yarn was fingering weight. The needles were 6mm. This made for awkward knitting for essentially the whole project. The yoke details were awkward work, the stockinette was awkward work, the twisted rib hem was awkward. I’ve learned I don’t love light yarn and big needles. It’s just… awkward.

The sweater is cropped on me, falling around/just below my natural waist. If I wanted to have used more yarn, I could have easily made it longer. I’m also, I think, lucky with the final fit. The pattern is unusual as it doesn’t offer a variety of sizes. Knitters can choose any weight of yarn and simply cast on the sweater, make it according to directions, and block to dimensions. (There is a second file with your purchase for directions of making the sweater for a larger bust). I’m rather lucky that making the sweater as per directions is, I think, rather flattering on my figure. The sweater does give a few design options: You can choose for wider or smaller neckline, and you can choose long or short sleeves. I went wider neck and short sleeves (obviously).

Despite not loving the process, the final product, well, the final product was 10000% worth it. I tried on the sweater, and it was that lightbulb moment. It was the “yes, now I get it” moment. I understood why it is so darn popular. It’s because it is stunning.