Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I'm pretty attached to my stash. I don't like to get rid of my knitting-related stuff. I love my yarn. I love my needles. I really love my books. But, it's time to do a bit of destashing. Not of yarn, but needles. This is what my stash of needles looks like:

Before I delve into my destash process, let's look at my totally awesome organizer. Yes, I made it myself. I love it. I love the little mushroom print fabric and the twill-tape size label down the center. I love the perfectly-sized pocket at the bottom for a needle gauge. I love the way it hangs in my project cabinet, just waiting for me to cast on something new!

Okay, back to the actual needles. Do I really need that many needles. Um....probably not. I've been knitting for more than 14 years, and one just accumulates needles.

Last weekend, I pulled out all of my metal needles. Addi Turbo, Inox Express, Susan Bates Silvalume and HiyaHiya all came out.

That's a lot of needles. Why the metal needles? Don't get me wrong! I love metal needles. Addi Turbos are slick and fast and wonderful. But, a couple of years ago, we learned that I'm extremely allergic to nickel. My allergist told me he'd never seen anyone react as strongly to it as I had. So, what's a girl to do? I ignored him. Completely. I continued knitting with nickel-plated needles for more than a year. After all, my hands weren't reacting to them. And there's no way skin reactions on other parts of my body could possibly be related to the nickel, right?


Several months ago, I discovered the wonderful Knitter's Pride Symphonie Dreamz circular needles. And the angels sang. I wanted to use these fabulous things for every project I started, so I bought more needles. After a while of not using metal needles, I realized some of my other skin issues were clearing up. If you are a dermatologist or an allergist, you probably aren't surprised by this at all. But I was shocked. How could something that I'm holding in my hands cause a reaction on my shins? I don't know what kind of magic or witchcraft this is, but I'm fully convinced.

So, all of my metal needles got bagged and tagged and ready to sell at the River Knits Customer Garage Sale (which was on May 25)! Now my needle collection looks like this:

Sad, isn't it? Well, not too sad. What you don't see are the two sets of Knitter's Pride Interchangeable circulars that are in their own little case and go with me everywhere.I spent most of Memorial Day sewing, and ended up with this little beauty to hold my interchangeable needles:

Plenty of space for both the full set and the "special" 16" set plus 4 pockets for 4 different cable lengths.

See the zipper pocket in the flap? Perfect for all the little bits and pieces--stoppers, tags, and keys. Love it!

I also spent some time this weekend organizing my yarn a bit. The last great airing of the stash was in November, and I've certainly made some acquisitions since then. So, I updated my inventory with new things and deleted anything I knew was used and gone. I didn't do a full stash airing, just added things that hadn't yet been incorporated. Mileage update: 105 miles of yarn. Tonight, I'm teaching a class on stash organization and stash busting. I think I'm definitely qualified.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Did I just say that?

Over the last month or so, my lovely daughter and I have been working toward a new adventure. We feel that we have a very good relationship. My authority is clearly defined, but we have a comfortable relationship that maintains open communication. I want her to feel like she can come to me and talk to me about anything. I don't ever want her to be afraid to tell me something. Yes, she's only 15 years old, but I feel like I've been pretty successful so far.

So, what's this new adventure? We wanted to find a way to show other moms and teenagers what a good relationship looks like. We decided the best way to that would be through a podcast. We recorded our first episode on Mother's Day and posted it to our new website tonight! I've submitted our feed to iTunes, so hopefully you'll be able to subscribe to us that way soon!  We're planning to record weekly, but we'll see if we can keep that up.

We'd love for you to give us a listen and let us know what you think. Be forewarned that we are a pretty liberal pair. In our first episode, our topic of the week is about body image, but we wander off topic a bit into gender roles--including the difficulties faced by transgender individuals--before bringing it back together at the end.

Our podcast is called Did I just say that?, and we'd love it if you'd join us!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Vacation Knitting

We're planning an awesome vacation this summer: a 4-night Disney Cruise to the Bahamas. I. Can't. Wait. Which is sort of weird because I don't do hot weather, and I don't really enjoy beaches. But, I'm so excited about this cruise, I'm just about beside myself.  I intent to keep my extremely pale self well-protected, with a big sun hat and loads of sunblock. Maybe even an umbrella. Oh! I could get a really lovely parasol. That would be cute, right?

What I've been contemplating the most, though, is vacation knitting. I love vacation knitting. We do a lot of road trips, and my husband prefers to drive. Plus, our kids are old enough to keep themselves well entertained in the car. This means tons of knitting time for me. Past vacation projects have included shawls, sweaters, a Moebius scarf, and more. This year feels a little different, though. I know we're going someplace hot. It's highly unlikely I'll have the time or inclination to knit while on the ship, but I still don't want to be unprepared if the urge strikes!

So, I've been looking around Ravelry for inspiration. I'm seriously considering the Bigger On the Inside shawl, inspired by The Doctor's Tardis. This would actually look great with a couple of Tori's dresses, so maybe it's destined to be hers. I've had Sivia Harding's Shetland Garden Faroese Shawl in my queue for a long time, and I have some Malabrigo Sock yarn that would be quite nice with that pattern. But I wonder if it's not a little ambitious for vacation knitting. It's big and will require some level of concentration. But it's so lovely... Same goes for the Morning Glory Wrap; I think the Briar Rose Sea Pearl that I talked about in my last post would be perfect for this! Or, I could go the easy route and work on socks. Lord knows I have plenty of stashed sock yarn to choose from.

I just don't know. What kinds of things do you like to knit while on vacation? Do you like to challenge yourself because you know you'll actually have the time and brain power to put into learning something new? Or do you prefer to go with something easy and mindless to make your vacation more relaxing?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fiber Event

Sorry for the long absence. No excuses, just life. And Tomb Raider. And kids' school projects/homework. And. And. And.

But, I'm back now!  And I don't have a ton of tangible accomplishments to report. I finished Tomb Raider to 100% completion. I'm pretty proud of that. I also made those music bags that I mentioned in my last post. Oh! The Fiber Event was in April. It's my second-favorite day of the year (Christmas is #1). I always spend an exorbitant amount of money at the Briar Rose booth, and this year was no exception. I also purchased yarn from Robin Edmundson, who has an amazing sense of color. Tori picked some sock yarn from A Good Yarn. And there was jewelry made from recycled knitting needles. Observe:

This Briar Rose Wistful, which is an alpaca/merino/silk blend. LOVE!

This is Briar Rose Fourth of July, 100% merino. Again, I love this stuff. I can't photograph the color accurately, no matter how many different ways I try. This photo is the closest of all those I took, but it's still not perfect. This yarn is the color of fall. Green, brown, orange, gold. Gorgeous!

This is a special edition sport-weight superwash merino. It's really soft and wonderful. Both pics are of the same skein, just flipped over. So many colors in one skein! I can't decide what to do with it, but it needs something really special.

The final Briar Rose purchase is Sea Pearl, a fingering weight merino/tencel blend. I love this yarn so much, there aren't even words! Every year, I buy at least a shawl's worth of this yarn, usually in greens or purples. I changed it up a little bit this year by going with blue.

Now for the yarn I bought from Robin J. Edmundson. I really like Robin. I've taken a couple of color classes from her in the past, and she's just amazing. She always chooses wonderful base yarns for dyeing, which just makes them that much better!  This one is a worsted weight bamboo/cotton blend. I've already cast on a project with this yarn (Lamb's Lace Cardi), and I'm loving it! I think it will be perfect for my office this summer, which is perpetually chilly.

The final yarn purchase was chosen by Tori. She's a total Batman fangirl, and Harley Quinn is her favorite character. I'm fairly certain that's why she chose this yarn. It's a merino sock yarn from A Good Yarn.

And, finally, the jewelry from Bur Oak Studio. I love these pieces, and am seriously considering emailing the designer/creator to see if she can do a necklace to match the earring/bracelet set.

So, that was my Fiber Event haul. I sat down to write this post with lots of other things in my mind, but I'll save those for another day. There's a lot of exciting stuff going on, including an awesome collaborative project with Tori. More on this in the next few days, I promise!