Monday, January 09, 2012

Getting your Stash under control ...

Stashbuster Knits
Tips, Tricks & 21 Beautiful Projects for Using Your Favorite Leftover Yarn 
by Melissa Leapman

The title alone tells you what kind of a book you’re getting involved with here. Dealing with the knitter's stash. Oh yes, the "stash" is always something to consider when you knit and what knitter doesn’t have boxes, baskets and/or bags of left-over yarn from previous glorious projects? Of course the question is "What to do with all that yarn?" The yarn is too good to throw away of course, but there comes a time when every knitter realizes that something has to be done to make room for more. After all, the intent is to be organized and not let the stash be hindered by the lack of space as the orphan balls of yarn start to take over a room or even the whole house. As much as we love our yarn we need to do something wth it right?

Melissa Leapman has the answers and gives some very good advise on how to get it all together and organized in a working manner so you can have access to what you have and make a plan on how to incorporate it all into a knitted project. Yet it also doesn’t have to look like it was made from left-over scraps. She then gives you 21 projects as a jumping off point to choose from and start you on your way to using up all those scraps taking over your house.

When I first got this book I grabbed two beautiful skeins of wool from my stash to knit the Urban Knitster Slouch Hat on page 109 just to see how well written or understandable Melissa’s patterns might be. Well, I not only loved knitting the hat and wearing it afterward, but I also loved how the pattern was organized and easy to follow from start to finish. She even gives samples of how the hat might look in alternative colorways from variegated to a solid color. Nice to see it before you begin.

There are a number of projects in this book that I know for sure that I want to knit and love the many tips & tricks scattered throughout the book in notes within each project, but the most invaluable part of this book is in the beginning. I’m referring to the "How to get it all together and sort it" section of the book. Melissa recommends sorting by weight first and then color families. She tells us how to do this and even gives us a couple of charts to go by for us knitters who find this one of the hardest things to do without a ball band. A problem for many of those left-over balls of yarn. But don’t fear, Melissa has helpful charts also. She even includes a chart on how to get the weight you need by combining two or three other weights of yarn. Even picking out the correct color combinations can be daunting. But Melissa gives you all the information you need to be successful. I hardly have to stress how invaluable it is to know how to plan the color combinations. Oh how I love this potential in this book. Melissa explains it and breaks it all down to where anybody will have success by following her advise.

I know I'll be referring to this books for many other projects as well. Even just for the color combination secion alone. So now I'm going to take Melissa's suggestion of shopping from my Stash and making use of this wonderful book while knitting a dent into my own yarn collection. But first I need to pull all those hidden balls out into the open and find out just what I have. Thanks for the inspiration, Melissa!

The Urban Knitster Soucy Hat came from this book and it's now one of my favorites.

But now I have to get back to my knitting. Catch ya later knitsters!!

Monday, January 02, 2012

A New Year ... and more knitting ahead of me in 2012.

Well I hope everyone had some nice memorable holiday cheer last year. A happy new year is ahead of us now along with ... yup, more knitting of course.  First I'll just give you the update on what I finished for Christmas gifts in 2011.  Of course I got a pair of fingerless mitts done for my DH. So he won't get cold hands while he reads the Kindle I got for him for his big Christmas gift this year. [he gave me a Touch Kindle so I could be read to with text-t0-speech while I knit.]

And I also completed the fingerless mitts for my dear daughter [DD] who knew they would be a little late getting to her. Oh ya, there's a story behind these
Hourglass Mitts by Anastasia Blaes.

I love the way they work so well being worn over a pair of leather gloves too. Keeps you hands extra worm on those very cold days.

But I did say there was a story behind them didn't I?  Okay, I'll admit to not always being the perfect knitting machine that I seem to be at times. Dare I say that I don't believe in being "perfect" anyway? Well the pattern for this traveling stitch design comes with a 60 row chart. That's sixty rows mind you. So I knit up the right hand without a hitch and was on my way to completing the left hand up to a few days before we were to go up to New Hampshire to see the kids for our Christmas get-together. I'm on row 59 late into the evenin' and I'm determined to get 'em done & have them on the blocking board before going to bed. They may still be damp when we leave for NH in a couple of days but that's okay, they can dry in their new home. All I have to do after this last row is the 4 garter stitch boarder and then the thumb ... the Thumb. There was NO HOLE for the thumb. I forgot to do the gusset and hold off the stitches for the thumb. Where was I suppose to do this? Well way back on row 17. That's right; row seventeen.

I've knit over 40 pairs of fingerless gloves and mittens in the past few years and never once did I forget to do the gusset for the thumb. Now someone made a very good suggestion of using EZ's afterthought thumb. BUT, I had already done the right hand correctly and the left had to match because it was a gift right. So yup, I frogged back to row 17.

It's all in the process isn't it? So I'm over it now. And I'll never forget the gusset again!

One last pair of fingerless mitts for a gift went to the munchkin, JD because she wondered where her's were. [inspite of the fact she was the only one who got a sweater] At least she loves my knitting right? Well she's only 5 1/2 and I needed to "size up her hands" I told her. So I had her measure her's with mine to give me an idea of how small to make her mitts.

And they seem to fit her perfectly.

So now I can knit for myself!  And with that in mind I went crazy casting on ...
but I also completed a couple of hats and a pair of mitts for myself by Christmas.

Urban Knitster Slouch Hat by Melissa Leapman. It's in her new book; Stashbuster Knits. A fantastic book by the way!

Autumn in Garrison by Kate Gagnon Osborn 

And a revised version of Susie's Reading Mitts.

I used  Aslan Trends Invernal in both of the last two knits. Lovely yarn to work with BTW.

And now I'm on to the many other projects that just suddenly jumped onto the needles before I knew it. OCKD or Startitis?

And next week I'll tell you about ....

So little time and so much knitting to do!