Sat 18 Jan 2014
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been slowly working away at stash conversion over the past few years; transforming fiber into yarn, yarn into projects, and adding less and less back into the stash. I shop for yarn at fiber festivals, but I can’t think when I last purchased any online, and I haven’t really established a new LYS since the move. I do feel kind of badly about not supporting local business, but I do go to local shops first when I need something, and right now I don’t need more yarn. I’ve tried to keep my purchases reasonable at festivals, and have done pretty well at reducing stash growth. This is especially important lately, because my knitting output has slowed significantly since I started teaching.
Lately, some of the bins had started to look a little empty, and others seemed to be overfull. It had been a while since I did a stash toss, and I was having trouble finding things when I wanted them. I was also feeling low on inspiration, and needed to spend some quality time with the fiber. So, just before the end of break, I made an unholy mess of my office for a few days and completely resorted the stash.
The clear bins are all of my knitting yarn. There are also two bins of woven fabric and loom waste, and one of tools like spindles and hand cards. There are lots of lone skeins leftover from bigger projects, and quite a few solo skeins purchased for small projects I later abandoned. The things that filter to the bottom of the stash are almost always the small projects, it seems. I do have quite a bit of Cascade 220, but other than that there are only two yarns with enough to knit a sweater in there. One of those is the three-ply yarn I spun up from shop leftovers earlier this year.
One ply is teal, another is lime green, and the third is olive. I had my doubts about the olive from the beginning, and thought that I really wanted more of a deep spruce green for the third ply, but I wanted to work with what I had on hand, and I didn’t want to turn a simple spinning project into a dyeing project that would languish for weeks. I thought the olive would blend in when the yarn was plied and knit, but I don’t really like the color of the final fabric. There’s nothing specifically wrong with it, but it just doesn’t speak to me, somehow. I think this one probably will turn into a dye project after all. I’d need to do some testing, but I’m thinking that I’ll probably end up oberdyeing it with a complimentary color to unite those hues a bit more.
After all of the reorganizing, I ended up with five empty bins, and many of the full ones have room to spare. This feels like quite a lot of progress, considering how little knitting I have been doing of late. Still, it’s good to know that things are going in the right direction, albeit slowly. (It’s also good to know that there might be some room in the stash for a few of the irresistibles next time around. But only in sweater quantities, since that’s apparently all I use.)
The weaving stash is still in growth mode, though I am nearing a stable state and trying very hard to reduce new acquisitions there, too. I have a nice rainbow of cones on the shelf, as well as a couple of bins of cones that need to be protected (wools, etc). I’m hoping that the new color gamps will help to inspire many more projects now that I have a strong base palette to work from.
The spinning stash grew unexpectedly a year or so ago when all of my shop inventory became part of my personal stash, but I’ve been working my way steadily through that and am beginning to see reductions there, too.
There are another two bins of undyed shop fiber in the back there, on hold for when I eventually find my way back to the dye studio (soon, I hope, soon…), and there are a couple of bags of washed fleece in the top of the closet awaiting their turn, too.
One of the front bins is all bits and bobs waiting to be blended into batts or felted. I have a huge range of colors in there, and am thinking that there will be some fun spinning to be had in 2014. There is also fiber set aside in the shop leftovers for a couple of larger projects. I need to get busy soon, spinning my way to a new sweater.
In the meantime, I am out of knitting projects again. I don’t know how this is possible with so much yarn, but somehow my brain just can’t get over the hump of figuring out what to do with it sometimes. So, in the spirit of just getting started, I cast on 6 stitches and started a hat. I’ve had 4 balls of Rowan Felted Tweed in the stash since the very early days; I know I bought it at the Weaving Works in Seattle, so it has been at least 5 years, and probably longer. I’ve pulled it out here and there for a couple of projects, but they’ve just never taken off. This time, I think it might stick:
I was in the mood for some colorwork; simple stockinette with a simple pattern to keep things interesting. I’m designing this one completely on the needles, one color motif at at time. I have no idea what I’m going to do next, until I get to the transition and find out. It’s been fun watching each unrelated pattern take its place in the whole, and I’m really liking how it is coming out. This one step at a time approach is reflective of a lot of things in my life right now, and I can only hope that I end up liking the results of those as much as I do the hat!
I’m also spinning up this fiber that I discovered while tossing the spinning stash. There were 8 oz of it, so I must have dyed it for myself, but I have no memory of it now. It was probably something I dyed to use up leftovers just before we moved, and then never got back to after the interruption. Fortunately, my taste in color hasn’t changed, and I was thrilled to find it waiting for me in the stash. Doesn’t it match my office chair well?
I’m almost halfway through the 8 ounces, spinning fairly fine for a 2 ply fingering weight yarn. I’m not sure yet what it will be, but at least it will be one step closer to useful.
I posted a few weeks ago that I don’t have a lot of knitting intentions for this year, except simply to knit more. I think this is a good start, even if most of the yarn needs to be spun before it can be knit! I’m also finding myself leaning heavily toward colorwork, so maybe there’s some of that in the cards as well. In the meantime, I need to start dreaming up another project so that it’s ready to go when I run out of hat!