Stash is Back, Baby!

So … I sort of half-intentionally, half-by-accident, took the summer off.  Halfway through July I realized I hadn’t posted much at all, and I thought I’d take a nice break from blogging, and then dive back in once school started up again. Well heck, we’re almost done with September, the kids have been in school since the last days of August, and I still haven’t posted!  My thanks go out to a knitting-circle friend (Hi, Jane!) who kindly brought this absence to my attention.  Time to get back to blogging, dear reader, and I hope you haven’t given up on me!

One thing I did get around to this summer was a complete inventory and culling of The Stash. Now, I don’t have as much stash as SOME people … but I knew for a fact things were out of sync with Ravelry, and that’s a problem for me.  I love data, pure and simple, and I want it to be Right.  On a more practical level, I use Ravelry’s stash and queue functions in concert to decide what to make out of which yarn … and also what yarn I’m “allowed” to buy, and which I should pass on.  (If I already have something, I don’t need to buy more!)

First Rule of StashCull: Get It Out

Can’t sort what’s hiding … so I got it ALL out. I mean everything!  Old stash, new stash, the 2nd ball for the WIP … everything!

Second Rule of StashCull: Fix It In Ravelry

So … this part kind of sucked, but essentially I sorted my Rav stash by yarn weight, and then went through one entry at a time.  I laid hands on the yarn for each Rav stash entry, or updated the entry to reflect reality (oh yeah, I gave that skein to a friend) (oh yeah, I finished that project but forgot to update my Rav stash).  Any yarn leftover after I’d gone through ALL of my Rav stash entries needed to be photographed and entered.

Third Rule of StashCull: Sort With Merciless Abandon

Before I started, I made a bunch of categories up and wrote them on 3×5 cards and made stations all around the living room. As I touched each bit of yarn, I also decided where it should live …. and here are the results!  I’m proud to report that my total yardage (according to my Rav stash) went from 81K to 50K.

“Rest of Yarn for WIPs” and “Assigned to Queued Project”

Any yarn that is part of a current WIP gets to stay (obviously), as does yarn assigned to a project in my Rav queue.  (I also did a quick cull of my Rav queue, to make sure I wasn’t hanging on to something for a project I’m no longer interested in making.)


“Keep Regardless” and “Assign to Project”

Some yarn is extra pretty, or has memories attached, or is just the right amount for specific short-notice projects (Baby Surprise Jacket, etc.).  That yarn I keep, regardless.  Yarn I like but isn’t quite in that category has to be assigned to a project!  If I couldn’t find a single project on Rav for that yarn, away it goes to some other category.



Yarn in good condition, I listed on Rav as “For Sale or Trade” (FSOT) along with price and shipping details.  I actually sold my first skein before I was even done sorting.  Most of what you see in the photo below is already gone, so don’t get too excited!  But, know that FSOT is a great place to look for yarn, and it’s a great place to re-home yarn while putting a little extra change in your wallet. I usually knock a few dollars off the retail price, and include S&H to the continental US.


“Give Away”

Partial skeins, unlabeled balls, and orphans went into this pile.  I brought it to the next few knit nights, and made my friends happy with yarn!  It was awesome.


Not Pictured: “Swatching” and “Teaching” and “Trash”

I keep a box of yarn given to me by companies specifically to develop designs. I don’t feel comfortable using this yarn (even in leftover format) for personal use, so I keep it for swatching for future projects. I went through this box and took out any yarn that was no longer in production (most of that went to “Give Away”). I also keep a bag of worsted-weight wool in pretty colors for teaching kids.  The yarn in these two categories doesn’t belong in my Rav stash, since I won’t be using it for projects, nor would I sell it or give it away.

I tossed tiny balls, old gross acrylic, and called it a day.  Phew!


NEW Pattern: Mainspring

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DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry, or $12 for the Clockwork Collection

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Iachos in Windmill and Kyoto

Boing! Mainsprings provide the principal impulse that drives motion and activity. This shawl is inspired by the clockwork rhythm and bounce of mainsprings.

This curved shawl alternates between wedge sections and straight sections. Short rows create pools of color and fabric. Each row uses one color at a time – no stranding! Slipped stitches and shorts rows do the heavy lifting in this design.

Mainspring is part of the Clockwork Collection. Each of three shawls in the collection can be made with two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn. Look for Flywheel and Cogwheel.



NEW pattern: Pendula

Introducing Pendula!

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Interesting story … you may have noticed a distinct similarity between the main motif of Pendula and Flywheel.  If so, good eye!  Some fellow knitters at the Hub Mills knit night admired Flywheel, but bemoaned its general triangularity. They opined that a rectangular version featuring the first motif on Flywheel would suit them most admirably. I agreed to adapt the pattern for them, in return for their mad sample-knitting skills. Thus, I bring you two versions of Pendula, thanks to Jane and Kim — for the first time ever, I didn’t knit the sample for one of my patterns!  (I did knit an enormous swatch to make sure the charts worked, natch.)


DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

YarnCEY Firefly in #7734 Vivid Violet and #7774 Parakeet Lagoon

This stole is worked in two halves beginning in the center with a provisional cast on. A series of dramatic pendula extend towards the edges, culminating in an explosion of lace. This pattern is easily adapted to almost any desired width and length. Complex patterning and several unusual stitches make this an interesting pattern for ambitious intermediate knitters.

Pendula is fully charted; no written translation of the charts is provided.



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NEW pattern: Acht the Octopus

PatternAcht the Octopus

DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $3 on Ravelry

YarnCEY Seedling Hand Paint in #4565 Lagoon

This quick one-skein project makes a great baby shower gift! It makes the most of hand-painted yarn like Seedling.

Legs are worked sideways, with clever use of short rows to make life-like tentacles. Reverse stockinette curls back an itself, so no need to sew up the legs. Body is worked in the round from picked-up stitches. Use safety eyes or embroider eyes with scrap yarn. A small amount of fiberfill gives the body form.

I designed Acht for an upcoming “101 one-skein wonders” book.  Luckily the contract allows me to release the design as a solo pattern, even before the book comes out. Yay for octopus toys for everyone!

CO Monday: All The Knitting

Ok … so I did actually finish a few things.  And I ripped out one project that wasn’t behaving.  But, I also bought a new #5 needle so I could cast on ALL THE THINGS.

Here’s what I’ve started in the last week or so …

A crochet shawl using  Llyr (Lord Darby’s Missing Locket):


A quick bulky cowl using my Blue Moon handspun:


A trilobite hat using some Ella Rae


A lace shawl using my gradient set from Miss Babs:


A cabled cape in Fresh From the Cauldron:



And, last but not least, the fifth (and final!) pair of socks that I owe my mom, in Claudia Hand-Painted:



CO Monday: Catching Up

It’s been a while since I posted!  There hasn’t been much new for me — mostly recovering from the road trip to Atlanta for Stitches South, then working hard on finishing up some new design prototypes.

SPEAKING of Stitches South … we had an absolutely delightful time meeting lots of knitters and crocheters and sending them home with lots of Kate’s gorgeous yarns.  We ate at Waffle House every morning, and at Ruby Tuesday’s every night. The drive down and back was super fun and super exhausting … the highlight for me was seeing lots of wildlife at dusk on Skyline Drive.

In between hawking yarn from A Hundred Ravens, we took turns checking out the marketplace.  I had a few specific things I was looking for … and I’m pleased to say I found them all!  Would you like to see???

Let’s begin with the not-exactly yarn stuff:


On my new spinning stool (yay!), you can see a notions bag, antique brass Victorian buttons, a glass sheep pin, a Waffle House giant Christmas mug, a new bead for my Pandora-style necklace (orange and yellow like a Georgia Peach), and some unrefined pure Shea butter (good for skin, doesn’t rub off on yarn).

The sheep pin is just SO CHARMING I can hardly stand it:


The brass buttons are un-used, authentic Victorian … each has its own little scene, but I lie the ducks best:


The notions bag is actually three nested bags — a gift for Jane, who made me a bunch of perfect stitch markers to give away in the Flywheel M-KAL:



There were several Trindle dealers at the show, and I found one (Gale’s Art) that had tiny Trindle shafts, and fossilized coral spheres.  It is so light and spins so well!  I bought some terrifically silky  Chocolate Alpaca/Silk top in my favorite colors — it has EXTREMELY long fibers that allow for extra-skinny spun singles. I played with my new toy at the show — couldn’t keep my hands off it.




On to the yarn!  My biggest purchase was six skeins of Fresh From the Cauldron Opilio, destined for a cabled cape.


From Miss Babs, I got a 7-skein gradient set of Yummy Toes and a Yowza in “Gal Noir.”



From the Buffalo Wool Company, a single skein of Sexy.  I bought it to make a pattern on display … and lucky me, I even had needles to cast on AT STITCHES.  That’s right, I brought my US6 signatures along, just on the off chance I’d have the perfect project to cast on, and I did! :)  So there’s some actual “Cast On Monday” for you.


Last but most definitely not least, please meet my new yarn bag from Namaste….



I owe a big thank-you to Kate for encouraging me to check out the sale bags at the Namaste booth — between the markdown and the vendor discount, I got this bag at an unreal price. And I love it! So there.



NEW Pattern: Cogwheel




DesignerRachel Henry

Available:  $6 on Ravelry

Yarn: A Hundred Ravens Tyche in Asphalt and London

Click! Clack! Kerchunk! Cogwheels mesh to transmit torque. Rotational simple machines inspire this design.

This crescent shawl begins with the toothed edging, worked sideways. Two-color garter stitch alternates with lace wheels, all worked as you go. The body is worked from picked-up stitches, creating the crescent shape with gentle decreases. Slipped stitches continue the look of the edging, providing interest for the knitter and support for the shawl.

The edging is charted — full written directions for all charts are included in the pattern. The body has written directions only (no chart needed).

Cogwheel is part of the Clockwork Collection. Each of three shawls in the collection can be made with two 100-gram skeins of fingering weight yarn. Look for Flywheel and “Mainspring.”