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Stash Enhancements of Many Varieties

This is a gluttonous time of year for me. November holds Black Friday sales, December has Christmas, and January is my birthday month. Things are purchased. Yarn is stashed. Chaos reigns.

I thought I'd show off the latest arrivals, to help myself keep accountable and slow my roll a bit on the shopping.

On Black Friday I made a Knit Picks order. They have a ridiculous sale every year, and I couldn't resist. I got a lovely sweater lot of Stroll Tweed in Garnet Heather (at 2300 yards, I can make ANYTHING!) and some Felici in Rustic Cabin. I have knit many things in Felici, but nothing for me. These are MINE.

Then there was the Jo Ann's trip while I was visiting my in-laws. To be fair, this was gift-card-fare. I got some Patons Kroy in Bramble Stripes, because I live for purple and green. I also picked up two sweaters worth of fabric; one a cozy cheetah print and the other a drapey cream Hacci sweater knit. Look at the cheetah! It's the animal print of my dreams, and so soft. Deep clearance discounts also had both fabrics at $3.50/yard, which was very fun indeed.

Then there was my knitting group's after-Christmas party... (Oh Crazy Zauberball, I love you so)

And that, my friends, is that! I'm feeling very well insulated with all this wool, which is nice. 

Oh wait... also the makeup stash. The birthday samples at Sephora this year are from NARS - Oh. Em. Gee with the red lip pencil. The colour is Cruella, which suits half of my hair. I'm in love.


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Flashing the Stash: 2014 Edition

Each year during spring cleaning I get my yarn and fibre stash out, give it a good shake and airing, and spend some time falling in love with it again. Because an admired stash is a happy stash, I like to follow up with some pictures for all of you. If you're trying to limit your yarn or fibre purchasing I strongly recommend this process, as it is an effective way of assessing just how many wonderful things you already own. 

My stash no longer lives in bins hidden under the bed, having moved up in the world to take over the office bookshelves. Despite the open display, the yarn and fibre still need airing out after the chilly damp that infuses my home in the winter (I am SO looking forward to the towels drying out between daily showers). It used to be divided by weight, with the handspun on its own shelf. Now it's a rainbow!

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The best part was pulling it all into a huge pile to sort the colours. I am unhealthily fond of sorting.  My favourite step is getting reacquainted with the subtleties in colour and texture each skein has to offer, before filing it away.

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The fibre stash also needed love. I sorted it by prep. It divides relatively evenly between top (worsted) and batts, rolags, and clouds (woolen) so that's what I went with. I followed up by organizing the other shelves (after the pictures were taken, it's prettier now) so the whole wall of shelving looks delightful. 

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Isn't it pretty? I love having the handspun blended in with the commercial yarn - the contrast in texture is delightful.

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The stash is far too big for my comfort these days, but I do love every single item. I guess destashing is out - I'll just have to use it faster than I buy it!  Famous last words...

One more picture, the view from my sorting piles. Look at all my lovely knitted shawls! 

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Are you a stash flasher? I'd love to see! 

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My Fibres West Acquisitions

As I posted earlier, I had a lovely time at Fibres West this year. Because this was my last show as a vendor, I participated in a lot more trades than I usually do. I also spent some cash because the market was SO. GOOD.

Shall we explore all the pretty things I brought home? Get ready - there are many, many things.

From Top left, moving left to right:

Cotton punis. These came along with a book charkha! Have no fear - it was a trade, so the charkha wasn't the massive investment it could have been. Furthermore, it was very smartly priced to begin with. Perhaps you have no idea at all what a charkha is. That's cool, for now you can google it, but I'll be doing a post on my new baby once I figure it all out.

Muse Fibre Works Merlot DK in a gorgeous autumnal butterscotch. YUM. 

Q'ente Textile Revitalization Society handspun yarn. It's 85/15 wool/alpaca heavy laceweight, grown, spun and naturally dyed in Peru. When I say spun, I mean it's fucking drop spindled. I know my way around a drop spindle but this stuff has me flabbergasted. It's flawless. I don't know the yardage, nor do I care. At $10, this little pink baseball was a treasure I couldn't pass up.

Harmony Farm Cashmere Cloud. I bough an ounce of heaven. If you had been there, I would have done my damnedest to make you buy some too. This cashmere is so soft you can hardly feel it. Perhaps when I get the hang of it, I shall feed it to the charkha!

Caliope's Fibre Rolags. These little orange beauties are so fun, and I can't wait to spin them. Long draw, here I come!

Blackcomb Fiber Farms Shetland Yarn. Lovely yarn, from lovely sheep, farmed by a lovely woman. Love. I am already regretting not getting a sweater lot.

Rain City Knits Organic Merino Fingering Weight Yarn: It is so very orange, which is the best thing ever. It's also incredibly soft.

More Rolags from Caliope's Fibre. Mint! I love mint this year. 

More Rain City Knits! This skein coordinates in the best sort of way with the bright orange.

Raw Gotland, also from Blackcomb Fiber Farms. I can't wait to wash this incredibly soft, silvery, shiny wool. It will need to be a laceweight shawl some day.

Tweed Batts, also from Caliope's Fibre. The main wool ingredient is Dorper. Say it out loud. It's a really goofy sounding name for a really lovely sheep!

More Merlot DK from Muse. This gorgeous blue-green is impossible to photograph, at lesat with my camera. It's similar to the Madelintosh colour Cousteau, and I adore it.

Lastly, another little handspun tennis ball of awesoemness from the Q'ente Textile Revitalization Society.

I think the thing about all this that blows my mind most is the colour palette I was drawn to this year! This is totally new for me. Very vintage, a little weird, and surprisingly feminine! I feel like it fits in rather nicely with the Wes Anderson Palettes that all my crafty friends have been raving about.

Have you enjoyed any massive fibre-y hauls lately? Tell me! We can revel together.

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Doing Inventory is Bad for the Stash

I had originally planned to do my shop inventory on January first, prior to re-opening for the new year. That plan was thrown off by the death plague (better now, thanks for asking!) and I didn't get to it until yesterday. By that point I was feeling pretty nonplussed by the whole process, which may have affected my grabby hands, because I kept moving things across the room to my stash instead of counting them.

Oops.

These pretties (Squish in Crabapple Jelly and November) will likely become Veera's Here and There hat:

A skein of Squish in Diva will morph into something lovely for a March girlbaby:

I will finally create the perfect Colour Affection using Kashmir in Havana Club, Pinkle, and Sweet Spot:

And this batt was just too perfect to let go (sorry guys, but you can hardly blame me):

Also detrimental to the stash - my holy grail in sock yarn form. I've been on the hunt for Trekking XXL in colour 550 (a better name would have been "giveittomerightthefucknowi'mgonnadiefromlackofrainbows”) for about a year now, and my awesome sister-in-law gave it to me this Christmas! I'm a lucky girl.

LOOK AT IT! Amazing. Have a peek at the projects using it on Rav. You're jealous now right? She got it at Paradise Fibers, if you're interested.

There are also undyed sweater lots set aside for me (yay! I'm thinking red for one!). I don't really know what happened - I've been so good in previous years. I am going to have to work so hard to decrease stash volume this year. Wish me better luck!

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Review: Steal of a Deal Chinese Knitting Needles

I know in my last post I said I'd not be purchasing anything for a while, and I know this looks like a post about something I've bought, but it's not. Well, it is, but I ordered these on October first, which is ages ago, so it doesn't count.

I heard about these steel circular needles on the Just One More Row podcast, who in turn got wind from the Knitting Pipeline podcast. They're incredibly cheap and are hail from China. I've been disappointed by cheap Chinese needles before (I literally shattered some bamboo ones with my regular knitting pressure), but after hearing some good reviews, I had to try them.

The eBay seller is CherrySky90, and the specific needles I got are these ones, but in the 17" length. I'd had an urge to buy some hat sized needles but I couldn't justify the cost. These were $6.37 for all thirteen sizes, with free shipping. Holy crap. Sold.

They have plastic coated steel cord cables, rather like Chiaogoo needles, which I love. The cables are a smidge stiff and I imagine they could be crimped if you tried hard enough, but they have no memory and are smooth and sleek. The cables get bigger as the needle sizes go up, which improves the joins but makes the larger sizes less than ideal for magic loop. The price makes knitting smaller projects on two circulars very affordable, making magic loop less of a necessity for the dpn-averse. The joins between the needles and cables are very smooth - I dragged my fingernail with significant pressure over the joins on multiple sizes, and while I could feel a difference, there was no resistance or clicking sound, which would indicate an edge for yarn to catch on. The needles bend into the cables, which is fantastic on this smaller length, but not everybody loves this feature in larger needles. The polished steel tips are extremely light and very smooth.

Can we talk about the size range? The sizing is not standard millimetre or US sizing, but a needle gauge is all you need to work around that. The littlest ones are sooooo tiny, and the biggest ones seem to be about a US 7. I'm so pleasantly surprised. The points are duller on the larger needles, but not unpleasantly so. I'd use them for everything except for very fiddly lace.

So - final remarks. Do I recommend them? Yes! Are they as nice as a similar but more expensive needle, such as Chiaogoo (minimum $9 per needle)? No, but they're still great. I would strongly recommend them to anyone looking to round out the sizes of circular in their toolkit, especially if you like teeny tiny gauges. I also think they are a functionally better, more economical choice than something like the Knit Picks interchangeable set for the newer knitter. Also, and I can't emphasize this enough, thirteen needles cost about as much as a semi-decent deli sandwich. The shipping is slow though, so expect to wait. I've heard of them arriving in two weeks, but mine spent some time at customs (or on the post office floor, judging from the dirt and footprints) and arrived in about 5 weeks.

Let me know what you think if you get some!

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