Elizabeth (greyautumnrain) wrote,

August Yarn Update

In which the author manages more stash-busting…

Hedwig Milo

I did a second Milo for Duncan as vacation knitting while we were at the family reunion. I used up the last of the cream Wildflower DK in my “undeclared stash”, and I did owl cables this time. With the snowy owls I dubbed this the “Hedwig” Milo after Harry Potter’s snowy owl Hedwig.

I used gold beads for the eyes of the owls instead of sewing on buttons for the eyes. I’m pleased with the results, and if I ever get to the other projects I have in mind for owl cables I’ll stick with the bead eyes. Beads are pretty, and I hate sewing on buttons.


Blended Baby Sweater

If you read my last yarn update you’ll know I started this one in late July. I keep forgetting that while newborn sized sweaters are really quick, little kid sweaters are actually a lot closer to adult sized sweaters in terms of knitting time than they seem like they ought to be. On the plus side little kid sweaters should fit for a couple of years, not three months. This was the main project for most of August, and I actually didn’t get the buttons on until early September, but close enough.


As the photo shows, I ran out of pink before I finished the yoke. It’s supposed to shade from blue on the bottom to pink on the neck. Such are the perils of substituting yarns. Still, it looks OK if not as intended, and it is 1,390 yards of stash yarn converted to useful clothing. I’m not sure how the baby alpaca will stand up as a toddler sweater, but it will keep Margaret warm.

I’m still sort of planning a version for Duncan is some more of the alpaca cloud. I have most of a skein of mist blue left, and one skein each in three other colors. I’m thinking of modifying it to go from the mist to the grey to the horizon (another blue). Of course that’s a bit down there in the priority queue as the smallest size this sweater comes in is 2 years, and I have other sweaters I want to knit first for both Duncan and Margaret.

Sundara Baby Blanket Square

A fair amount of my yarn these days is Sundara yarn. I blame Kate. Sundara (the dyer who makes this yarn) is pregnant now, and the ravelry group that discusses her yarn is organizing to make her a baby blanket. I had to join in, especially as she’d alluded to fertility issues on her blog a while back. I had some leftover sock yarn, so it was also a good excuse to use some of that.


Assisted Hatching Baby Sweater

Back before Duncan was born I designed and knit him a cool little raglan sweater to match his blanket. I always intended to write the pattern down and publish it. I failed at that part. Now I am making another one in a larger size to I can remember exactly what I did. This time I am writing it down as I go.

My plan is to put the pattern up as a free ravelry download, but I am feeling a bit nervous about it. I already have an afghan pattern up, and a couple of complete strangers have gone and made it, but for some reason I’m feeling a bit more nervous about this. Maybe it’s because it’s a knitting pattern not crochet, or maybe because it’s a garment. I’m not sure. Hey, knitting friends, how do test knits work? I feel like having someone else take the pattern for a test drive would be helpful, but I really can’t offer any incentive other than gratitude.

Other yarn thoughts for the month…

Since February 2009 I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet with the number of yards of yarn in my stash by weight. (For example, I currently have 2, 400 yards of DK weight yarn in my stash.) This is from my ravelry stash, so it doesn’t include the pre-ravelry yarn from my “undeclared” stash. I update the stash each week, adjusting the totals.

One of the benefits of tracking the size of my stash weekly is that I became aware of the insane amount of yarn I had coming in via subscriptions. I also became aware of how much I actually manage to use. Actually, the weekly tracking helps encourage me to use yarn. The undeclared stash can be a bit if a bummer in that regard because since it’s not in ravelry it also doesn’t get counted in my weekly output of yarn out. The week I worked on the undeclared stash project I had a pitiful total of 53 stash yards of official stash knit since the ~200 yards of work on the Milo didn’t count. Still, I have other reasons for not back-entering this yarn into the stash, and it won’t keep me from using it.

From a yardage-out point of view, the Blended Baby Sweater seems a bit like cheating, because the yarn is held triple. I had to remind myself that yardage used is highly variable. Bulky weight knits up way faster than lace weight, yard for yard. Projects with cables are always dirt slow. Crochet projects will eat of the yardage very quickly. There is no simple way to make a correction factor to convert yardage to actual effort, the best I can do is calculate yardage out. (There is also the issue that 1000 yards of lace weight usually takes up less storage space than 100 yards of bulky, but I’m more concerned with effort than space.)

One of the geeky things I do is a weekly pie chart of my stash. In the first Monday of August my stash was 36% lace weight yarn by yardage; the last Monday of August my stash was 33% lace weight yarn by yardage. The weeks I worked full-time on the blended sweater I went through the yardage pretty quickly, reducing the amount of lace weight by 1% of my total stash amount in a week. I don’t have a lot of time to knit these days, and I’d say that normally I average about 0.5% of my total stash amount out by week. Seeing the numbers move on the pie chart week to week is a motivator to me, so I’d like to reduce my total stash amount down to where I can use 1% per week without doing things like knitting triple-stranded lace. Actually I’d like to reduce the stash a lot more than that, but the 1% a week milestone is a good first step, and in truth my stash is still much smaller than that of any of my friends who knit.

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