My mom has put in an order for a long bathmat and a chenille afghan. I let her pick out both colors from online and when they arrived, the gold of the cotton bathmat seems too subtle and the turquoise chenille of the afghan seems—LOUD. Just look at this Ice Yarns mountain!
An Ice Yarn Mountain of Baby Chenille
Odd Balls to Break Up All the Turquoise
I think I’ll do the bathmat first, because it will be quick and easy.
With the afghan, I’m hoping to use up a few more of my odds and ends; some dishie my husband didn’t like for kitchen towels and some sparkly stuff that grandma had in dribs and drabs.
I’ve been doing a lot of knitting this year—more than in many years—trying to whittle down the Too Much Yarn—So Little Time stash. I’ve been on a trade/donation kick too. Ravelry shows my trades/gifts for the last 12 months at 28 (!). Two people approached me about hats and scarves for the homeless and got more than they bargained for (massive piles of yarn). Mostly vintage mohair and “virgin” wool.
Some yarns are so old, I’ve had a tough time finding the yardage and proper weights. This week I forensically discovered the weight of a Scheepjes Diamond 2/4 because even though the yarn wasn’t on Ravelry, a pattern for it was.
My most recent sale/donation was a gentleman from Chico, CA who is knitting wool socks for donation to a shelter. He didn’t tell me he was a charity knitter until after we agreed on a price so in addition to the skeins he requested, I stuffed a big box full before I sent it off which meant his funds only covered the shipping. And I friended him on Ravelry so that I can send more as I dig through the vast wasteland of my grandmother’s lifetime of knitting leftovers—mostly odd balls of worsted weight, superwash in 300-600 yard lengths. Enough that if I went into Etsy business of knitting hats, mitts and scarves (as I threaten to do), I wouldn’t need to buy yarn for years.
One of the Orcas Island shepherdesses, Maria Nutt of Warm Valley Orchard, suggested I start weaving. This after I told her I’d recently came across 1200 yards of beautiful (undocumented) natural color alpaca I bought from her more than 10 years ago. She even offered to bring by her loom to get me started.
And just when I think I’ve seen all of my collection and I’m sure I’ve posted it on all Ravelry, suddenly more appears. Two weeks ago I found in box that hasn’t been opened for three house moves which contained Eleven 100 gram skeins of pale yellow—2500 yards of it. How the heck did I miss it when I spent weeks photographing and cataloguing “everything” I owned last Fall?
So I’ve come to this conclusion—they must be breeding away—making new little skeins; growing them like nodes on the side of an epiphyte.
Partly this is because people also give me yarn. One friend I made a mock turtleneck for (nearly identical to this one by Karen Templer) gave me a small box of yarn from her grandmother. “She’ll know what to do with it”, her grandmother said. But I didn’t. I left it in that little white box for four house moves—never opening it after that afternoon tea with my friend–until now.
Last week, after years *blush* of it sitting as a box in a box, did I take a look at the magic inside. 17 colors—most shades of pink and purple—of worsted weight angora. They are mostly dribs and drabs—some as small as 30 inches the longest is a 99 yards of fuchsia, but I think they might provide “fuzzy” interest paired with a masculine color like burgundy or navy in a Sally Melville’s stashbusting Topher’s Pullover.
Another box I dredged out this weekend was a kit I’d tried to give it away without opening it. After my discovery of the angora, I got curious and opened it up. Wow! Another huge surprise. Inside a cheesy looking square dance sweater kit (my gramps and gram used to cut a rug to the caller at least once a week) was the most beautiful ivory colored Scheepjes wool with matching 7 matching colors for the little people dancing around the hem. And let’s not forget the cowhead buttons! Yee Haw!
I’m hoping that they measured on the generous side, because this is coming off the donate pile and going onto the looking for a good worsted weight pattern—maybe I’ll even mix them it into the Topher pullover and use the ivory for another sweater—possibly something from Madder 2 which I’ve been angling to dig into now that my Home and Away, George Hancock Cardigan, is done.
Sometimes my stash makes me feel tired just looking at it. Have any of you inherited or been given yarn, supplies, cloth and/or other items and wondered what to do with it?
I have a huge cache of yarn. And that’s an understatement. Oddly I lust for more. And “How did you acquire so much?”, you might rightfully ask. Two reasons:
My grandmother purchased most of it
I purchased yarn myself that I wanted, but didn’t have a project in mind for (at the time).
I’m about to attend the first Stitches West that I’ve been to in 10 years. And why haven’t I been going? To avoid acquiring more yarn.
Let me first explain the grandmother bit above. She was an avid knitter. If you saw her without knitting needles in her hands she was either drinking coffee or making/eating food. Every year I got between 4 and 10 sweaters, most of which I donated to goodwill when I went back to graduate school and divested myself of most my worldly belongings. Meanwhile, grandma was slowly losing her wits. And one day in a moment of clarity she asked the yarn be boxed up and given to me. Why? She’d forgotten how to knit. Alzheimer’s can do that to you. She remembered I’d picked up needles in my 20s to deal with my stressful travel/work schedule, but only for those few hours.
I flew back to Boise, Idaho to get my truck, drove to Pocatello (my place of birth) and bagged up closet, drawer and attics bursting with yarn. Nine 32 gallon bags completely stuffed, compressed and thrown into the back of Ford Ranger. When these were unpacked, sorted, and stacked Tucson, I realized I had more yarn than a yarn shop. Piles and piles of it. Some already partially knitted. Some of it water/fire damaged. Some of it only odds and ends. Much I recognized as leftovers from sweaters she’d knitted. She effectively bought out store closures of their entire stock.
Several reduction ideas immediately occurred to me. I boxed up many of her notions and some of the colors I couldn’t bear to look at—especially if they were in unable to be dyed fibers—and sent them to a women’s correctional facility in NJ who was specifically asking for yarn and tools to knit with—four boxes of it. Another two boxes—mostly of singleton skeins and the rest of her Boye aluminum straight needles I gave to a local nursing home when I moved to Seattle. That left me with about 2/3 of the original.
Taking advice from Sally Melville’s first book helped be do away with quit
e a bit more, but time was ticking and I wasn’t really making a dent in it. In the Fall of 2014 I got laid off of work. I was rehired, but took a two month leave to “recover”. During that time I photographed the yarns and started posting them and my more recently completed projects on Ravelry. I’d always been a casual user until those two months, now it is rare that a day goes by without me being on it or introducing someone to the site.
My first mistake was not adding prices. This got me bumped from a group where you could post. Then, not having a blog (as you can see this one is recently addressed) worked against me. I needed a place to post my designs and yarns where they could persist. So here we are. What prompted me to move on this was that I found ANOTHER box of yarn in a clear plastic container that I had not catalogued, photographed and posted in my stash. Might there be more? Anything is possible.
I’ve had pretty good luck just posting on my stash under ‘will trade or sell’. But this site I plan to dedicate to designs I’ve created myself to use up the stuff and to the yarns themselves—several of them may pre-date WWII. Some so old, they just say “Ribbon Yarn” rather than having a name. Most from foreign countries. Many, simply one offs. What is left is beautiful and what I want to do is share. Enjoy!