Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Branching Out In My Yarn Addiction

I recently read a blog post at Stitch.Tac.Sew, titled "My Yarn Romance" and it got me to thinking of my love of yarn. I could relate to the author, who began her love of yarn as a crocheter first and later a knitter. I too began as a crocheter about 20 years ago making Afghans and baby blankets. That was before I even knew yarn shops existed. I bought my yarn from the local discount department stores, Jamesway, Caldor, Woolworth’s, Ames, (and if these names sound familiar or bring back memories – yes these were stores predominately on the east coast, which is where I grew up – upstate New York in Troy and later for a brief period downstate in Poughkeepsie).

There were quite a few craft stores in my local area of Poughkeepsie but they specialized in sewing patterns, fabrics, beads, woodworking, basically they didn't specialize in yarn but was geared toward the general crafter by having a little bit of everything – there wasn’t much of a selection when it came to yarn – Red Heart® and Lily® Sugar ‘n Cream were my basic choices in most of the stores. So I bought plenty of each, not really thinking that there were other options out there. I found Red Heart’s® 100% acrylics to be durable, washable, and it comes in a vast selection of colors; it never occurred to me that there were other types of yarn or even other brands available. I remember as a kid watching my mom knit hats, mittens, and slippers using Red Heart®. I worked with what I knew and it never entered my mind to even look for any other yarn.

It wasn’t until after I moved to Washington that I rediscovered yarn in the form of knitting. I of course stuck to the tried and true Red Heart® but about the time I first began my journey down the road of knitting I came across a yarn shop next door to the Starbucks® I frequented for my morning coffee on my way into work. Here I found many brands, blends, color variations, and textures. And amazingly, there wasn't a skein of Red Heart® or Lily® to be found anywhere in this cute little shop. I was amazed and in yarn heaven when I walked into The Knittery located in the Renton Village Shopping Center on South Grady Way. I quickly became a regular in the shop and the ladies there are ever so helpful with knowing what yarn will work in your projects or how much yardage you need and just all around very nice women to talk to.  If you haven't been to The Knittery, you have to go check them out.

(10x50 gr/98 yds, 55% merino extra fine
wool, 33% microfiber, 12% cashmere
Just recently I was in spending my gift certificate I got from my friends for my birthday (they know me so well - they're just feeding my yarn addiction!) and I came across this wonderful yarn from Cascade Yarns called Cash Vero Aran. I'm a very tactile person when it comes to the yarn I buy and I can say aaaahhh this one feels so soft against the skin. I bought 4 skeins of it in this deep burgundy color (018), with the thought of a hat and fingerless mitts for myself, because in all my time knitting I haven’t made a single thing for myself, so it will be nice to have them on my hands and head keeping me warm as well as feeling very good against my skin.

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the Cash Vero Aran, go check it out at your LYS and if they don’t carry it ask them to, you won’t be sorry. My next venture in my yarn addiction will be to try out some of the hand-dyeds that are available locally (Washington & Oregon).  I'm hoping to buy some at the Madrona 2011 Winter Retreat, February 17-20, 2011 at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma. I've never been to this event and I'm looking forward to the experience.  There are mini classes on just about everything imaginable from what I have gleened from the class schedule.

The way certain yarns can make your project look, drape, and feel just right amazes me and I can't wait to discover even more selections of yarn. I plan to continue to branch out (continue feeding my yarn addiction) and try different blends, textures, and variations. I hope to share this experience with all of you and I hope some of you can make recommendations as well.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Delving Into My WIP's Goodie Bag

Like many yarn-users out there (knitters, crocheters, etc), I have a work-in-progress (WIP) pile that has many a knitting/crochet project that I found myself starting but before even getting half-way through starting another one. And as of right now almost all of my unfinished projects are stuffed in my portable knitting bag – which has gotten so over-run that I can’t fit my current WIP in it. I don’t like lugging it around with all those projects reminding me that they need to be finished!

What does my WIP pile have in it? The bottom half of a knitted sock monkey, one blue sock I started 3 years ago, a crochet shrug that I’ve only got a portion of the collar done, half of the back panel of a men’s basketweave jacket, a front panel of a boy’s pullover sweater, and one completed slipper of a pair of felted slippers. I know it’s terrible that they are sitting around waiting to be finished. Of course I had every intention of completing them when I started, but I have this little problem, and maybe some of you can relate. I get bored easily and when I come across a pattern that is more interesting I immediately want to try it out leaving the unfinished project to be added to the growing pile of WIP’s. In my defense though the main reason why I haven’t delved back into any of these projects is that they weren’t being made for anyone in particular they were patterns that I found interesting and I wanted to try out, well except the Men’s Basketcase Jacket by Tara Jon Manning published in Men in Knits – that was my November NaKniSweMo (knit a sweater in a month) project - which obviously I didn’t finish.

NaKniSweMo Project: Men's Basketcase Jacket
I haven’t a clue as to how best to deal with these unfinished projects, without getting bored with them all over again and end up starting something else. I have requests from 2010 that I haven’t even started yet, a reusable market bag, 2 hat and scarf sets, a pair of striped socks, and 3 pair of felted slippers, not to mention the projects I’ve committed myself to just in the last two weeks: 2 baby layette sets, another hat and scarf set, a crochet cloche, and a diagonal scarf like the one I’m already working on.

Wakefield Diagonal Scarf by Melissa LaBarre
materials used: Cascade Yarns Cherub Collection DK
in brown, size 3 needles
Should I finish the old WIP’s or start the 2010 requests? As you can see I need help staying on track, can anyone give me some advice or have any solutions to this dilemma? I’d like to hear from some of you on how you stay on task without getting distracted with more interesting patterns and designs.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Survived Turning 40!

Last week (January 13th to be exact) was my 40th birthday...I know, I know, just a babe in the woods to some and to others (my son particularly) I'm soooo old!  But I have to say that turning 40 wasn't as bad as I envisioned.  Actually, I think I was more upset when I turned 30, but now I'm going with the flow and I'm loving it!!!

To celebrate, I threw myself a wine tasting/birthday party.  It was lovely having my friends and sister sharing my big day.  I even got my friend Debra and her boyfriend to karaoke a duet and they were actually very good.

Reflecting on my life of where I've been and what I've done, I am thankful for: my fun-loving son (who keeps me young), a supportive and loving if not slightly dysfunctional family, and host of really good friends. And then there is what do I see myself doing down the road?  I've discovered that I really enjoy knitting, learning new knitting techniques, patterns and designs, scouring my LYS for new arrivals, and seeing what I can create with the different fibers I find. 

Seeing my creations being worn and appreciated gives me a sense of satisfaction and success, something I haven't felt in a long time at the "day job".  At the "day job" I'm a secretary and I've been in an administrative support role in one form or another for over 20 years and I feel I've done all I'm going to do in this field of work. Oh I'm sure there is more to learn out there, but at this point, I'm really not looking to advance up the corporate ladder.  I'm happy where I am in my life at the "day job", I tell my friends and family that I work to afford my yarn addiction. 

Now I'm at a point where I'm ready to discover more with my creative side.  And that would include, creating my own knit-wear designs.  Five years ago, I learned to knit, at the same time I taught myself (with lots of trial and error) how to read patterns.  Of course that was before I discovered there is a vast community of knitters, spinners, and hookers (those who crochet) out there!  I became a regular at my LYS and anything I didn't understand I asked the experts there or some of my knitting friends.

Lately though, I've been feeling the itch to design.  When I see a particular knit item in a store, I think, I can make that or something close to it.  I have tried my hand at it and feel I want to venture into it a lot more and the two scarf patterns below is what I've done so far, one is a combination seed stitch, with a garter stitch and basketweave stitch along the ends.  What I liked about this pattern is that there isn't a wrong side, both sides are the same.

Seed stitch & modified basketweave design
in Lion Brand Wool-Ease, Color: Wheat
(86% acrylic, 10% wool, 4% rayon)
Model: nephew
Close-up - a copy of this
pattern is available on the
sidebar under *Patterns
by Knitter Mama* 

This other scarf pattern is a men's horizontal ribbed scarf with 4 rows of the garter stitch along both edges:

Close-up of horizontal 2x2 ribbed scarf with garter stitch
edging made with Sirdar Denim Chunky
in Starling (off-white) and Vintage (charcoal)
Same design in Berocco Comfort Chunky
in burgundy and black with matching
2x2 ribbed hat
I used The Knitter's Bible, that has a stitch library section, to create the patterns for both scarves.  While I found these designs simple and easy to create, I would like to learn to make more elaborate design patterns.  So I'm making it one of my long term goals - to create my own designs, but for now, I'm learning new techniques, continuing to learn new stitches and how these stitches when combined create the end product, whether it be a hat, scarf, sweater, shrug, etc, so that I can soon learn to create my own style. And one of the wonderful ladies at The Knittery in Renton, suggested I get my hands on the stitch books by Barbara G. Walker, which I was able to find three of the suggested four Treasury of Knitting books she wrote at my local library and immediately placed a hold on them, so that I can continue to broaden my stitch knowledge and learn how to combine the different elements of knitting to create my own designs and knit-wear.

Great stitch library
section for beginners
Hopefully, some time in the future, I will be seeing my designs featured on Knitty or even in one of the Stitch 'n Bitch knitting book series.

My designing goal: to be published!
So, in closing, I'm looking forward to what the future holds.  40 can't be all that bad, I have lots of friends who have survived it and so will I!  A toast to being 40 and fabulous - it only gets better from here!  And to all you young'ins out there, you will be here one day, so don't knock it until you've tried it!!!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Crochet Cloche Progress

As promised here's how its going with the crochet cloche I am making for my friend's mom. Below is a picture of the design from Handmade Cottage

Green Flapper Cloche, Designed by Diane McGettigan.  My friend Adriann received her copy of the design in the mail on Tuesday and she handed me her yarn, button, and copy of the pattern on Wednesday. I decided to bring it along with me to my knit-nite and give it a try.  Well of course it was trial and error, my crochet skills were a little rusty and it was taking me some time to get used to using a hook again.  After knitting for the last 4 years the feel of it in my hands was a bit awkward.  I kept fumbling and dropping it as well as not really remembering the stitches.  The pattern called for the following: Single Crochet (sc) which I easily remembered, Half Double Crochet (hdc - couldn't remember it so I knew I would have to look it up), Front Post Half Double Crochet (fphdc - which was new to me, I had to go online to get a diagram of how to do the stitch), and decrease hdc - again had to look this up as well.  In all my years of crocheting I never did any decreasing, but I also only made afghans so there really wasn't any call for decreasing.

So it was slow going initially, I had to keep pulling it apart and starting over but this was where I left it the first night:

Using Berocco Comfort Chunky in black and size K hook
The crochet project went back in the bag within 45 minutes after starting leaving off on row 4 because row 5 called for hdc's in each sc and I didn't bring my crochet handbook with me and I didn't have access to the internet so I couldn't look up how to do a hdc.  For the rest of knit-nite I went back to working on a knitting project I already had in progress.  It was after 9:00 p.m. by the time I left my knitting group and was way too tired to go online to look up how to do a half double crochet (hdc), so as you can see from the picture above I hadn't gotten very far, but I wasn't discouraged, quite the opposite, I was learning something new on a skill that I hadn't used in a long time and I was pretty impressed with my progress, considering I hadn't crochet anything in over 10 years!

Day 2: I brought it to work with me to hook-away at it during my lunch break.  I looked up the stitches I didn't understand or couldn't remember and then was eager to get back to it.

Day 2: crown is taking shape
Once I got started again the part of my brain that stores the mechanics of what to do seemed to kick in and my hands remembered what they were supposed to do and it didn't feel as awkward as it did the night before and I actually was on a roll.  The crown of the hat was beginning to take shape and I was really impressed with the way it was looking, although I felt it was a bit on the small side.

close-up of crown (flattened out)
But my lunch is only an hour and I had to put it away to work on it later at home, but I was looking forward to it and couldn't wait for my work day to end. 

Day 2, that evening: So I settled in for the night and while enjoying a glass of birthday champagne (It was my 40th birthday on the 13th and my boss gifted me with a bottle of champagne - she says everyone should have a bottle of bubbly on their 40th!) and watching the Van Helsing movie with the ever gorgeous Hugh Jackman; I continued working on the cloche.

Yummy - Hugh Jackman!
Sorry, I digress, got distracted by the gorgeousness of Hugh Jackman (look at him - can you blame me?).  As I was saying, I continued working on the cloche and was finished with it in no time at all.

Side view
Frontal view
Around midnight it was complete, because of course once I started I couldn't stop.  Then I began working on the embellishment, (the cute little flower shown in the first picture above on the Green Flapper Cloche).

Begins similar to the hat
The flower embellishment basically begins the same way as the hat so I got going on it and am already on row 10. It continues with rows of sc's and as I keep going the edges will curl in on their own and I will pinch the ring so that it will create the flower, sew a couple stitches in it so it will keep it's shape and then sew it onto the hat with a button.

Day 3: Added the embellishment to the side of the hat. The yarn became stiff as I continued to single crochet each row and therefore difficult to pull it into the shape of the flower, but I persevered and pulled the yarn tight to get the shape as close to the diagram as possible and this is the result:

Antique style gold & black button
adds to the beauty of the hat

Another Cloche in Burgundy with
another beautiful matching button

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Ever Fashionable and Sophisticated Cloche

A friend recently asked if I could knit a hat for her mother as a birthday gift.  She sent me a picture of the hat and I thought it was so adorable (see picture below).  After taking a closer look though, I noticed it wasn't a knitted style, it was actually crochet, which for me is no problem, I haven't done much crocheting in the last few years but its like riding a bicycle, if you get on and start pedaling it starts to come back to you. 

The design is ever reminiscent of the 1920's style Cloche with a modern look to it. And since I've been looking forward to playing with this particular style of hat I agreed to crochet it for her.

Design by Diane McGettigan
found on Etsy at Handmade Cottage
When I first came across this hat style, it was in a book on felting. The pattern seemed really interesting and I really liked the knitted design. I had to have it for my pattern collection, so I made a copy to try out at a later time.  Since then I've noticed many people wearing it and I've also noticed some really great designs and colors and everyone who I've seen wearing one always looks fabulous. It is a classic yet very chic style that will compliment any outfit, as you can see from the pictures below:
Sarah Jessica Parker during her
photo session with Annie
Leibowitz in Manhattan
Angelina Jolie in Changeling
Leighton Meester on the set of Gossip Girl
Hillary Swank in P.S. I love You
A little history from Wikipedia:  The cloche hat is a fitted, bell-shaped hat that was popular during the 1920s, but was first founded in 1908 and continued to be popular until 1933.[1]  Cloche is the French word for "bell". Caroline Reboux is the creator of the cloche hat.

Cloche hats were usually made of felt so that they conformed to the head.[1] The hat was typically designed to be worn low on the forehead, with the wearer's eyes only slightly below the brim.[1]  By 1928/29, it became fashionable to turn the brims on cloche hats upwards. This style remained prevalent throughout the early 1930s until the cloche hat became obsolete around 1933/34.

Often, different styles of ribbons affixed to the hats indicated different messages about the wearer. Several popular messages included: An arrow-like ribbon which indicated a girl was single but had already given her heart to someone, a firm knot which signaled marriage or a flamboyant bow which indicated the wearer was single and interested in mingling.
[2]  Cloches were made of beads or lace for evening wear, for cocktails, dancing or even for bridal wear.
Cloche hats' popularity and influence were overwhelming. Couture houses like Lanvin and Molyneux opened ateliers to join milliners in manufacturing the hats.[1] The hats even shaped hairstyles: the Eton crop (the short, slicked-down cut worn by Josephine Baker) became popular because it was ideal to showcase the hats' shape.[1]

In the late 1980s, inventive models of the cloche, such as Patrick Kelly's version with a buttoned brim, made a minor resurgence.[1]  Cloche hats were also featured in many designers’ Fall 2007 collections; Elle magazine called the cloche hat the "haute accessory of the moment" in its September 2007 issue.[1]  The cloche hat has been worn by actress Angelina Jolie in the 2008 film Changeling.
Following the Cloche's resurgence in 2007, modern versions of the hat have emerged, often reflecting the region of the milliner. In 2009, Violina Couture Millinery of California introduced the demi-cloche, a variant of the cloche which allows more of the wearer's hair to be exposed.

[1] ^ a b c d e f g Vargas, Whitney (September 2007). "Head Start". Elle: 190.
^ Thomas, Pauline (March 2004). "Hats and Hair Fashion". Hats and Hair Fashion.

I have always admired the classic styles from the 1920's, I believe it was one of the best fashion eras, from  hairstyles and hats, to shoes and accessories.  There has been many updates to the cloche's design as you can see here:

Giving them a more modern look, with different colors and accessories.
Symply Smashing & FannyMae
Found on Etsy at Boring Sidney

While the original designs from the 1920's were made with felt to mold to the wearer's head, now-a-days this style is being recreated in many different ways, including knit and crochet. 

Knit design previously found
on Etsy at Counting Stitches

Crochet design found on Etsy
at Handmade Cottage

By using different colors, weights, and blends of yarn you can get varying affects, the above design from Handmade Cottage was crochet using a chunky wool blend in a beautiful charcoal color. 

I can't wait to get started on the crochet pattern, which I just received today along with a skein of Berroco Comfort Chunky yarn in black and a vintage style button designed by Susan Clarke Originals.  So stay tuned, I will keep you posted on my progress.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Did you know?

Your local library is a great inexpensive resource for finding new knitting and crocheting designs, patterns, and helpful technique books. Also, if you are member of a local knitting group book swapping could be another way to save on the cost of buying books. If you aren’t a member of a knitting group, there are many ways to find one – Ravelry is a great place to start. Don’t know what Ravelry is?

Ravelry is a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools, project and pattern information, and look to others for ideas and inspiration. The content here is all user- driven; we as a community make the site what it is. Ravelry is a great place for you to keep notes about your projects, see what other people are making, find the perfect pattern and connect with people who love to play with yarn from all over the world in our forums.

I love to search for new and different patterns to try and one of my favorite resources (aside from the internet) I like to utilize is my local library. And this weekend I killed two birds with one stone by walking the 1.7 miles to my local library to seek out new patterns and knitting technique books, I also got a bit of exercise thrown in to boot.

I went straight to the the arts and crafts section of the library, there I get a lot of inspiration and ideas from browsing through the different knitting and crocheting books. I like to flip through book after book scanning the pictures and when a particular item catches my eye, I set it aside to do a more thorough read-through. I checked-out 4 books and the great part of checking them out at the library is I get to keep them for 4 weeks and in that time I can learn to make some of the designs I like most from that particular book, and if I really like the pattern I'll copy it and add it to my collection, but the best part about using the library is I'm not adding to my very cluttered bookshelves and I'm saving money that I can be using to buy more yarn (oops...that's right I'm not supposed to be buying yarn - I'm supposed to be using my considerable yarns stash!).

Since I walked to the library, I was in no big rush to go back out into the cold. And ever since the Kent Regional Library reopened its doors last year after a complete renovation, it is much more reader-friendly. There are comfortable chairs in small clusters around low tables, a large carpeted children’s area so the children can sit and look at the pictures in their favorite books, and study tables scattered througout. This was the first time I actually sat down and enjoyed the hushed atmosphere of my local library, I usually rush in pick-up my books that I’ve placed on-hold, or drop off any that are due and rush back out. But that day I pulled up a chair at one of the many study tables and perused the books I picked out, checking out each of the patterns and designs, reading the techniques that were used to create them and enjoying the designer’s description of how the design came about and/or why it was created.
Kent Regional Library
2nd Avenue N
Now I know it’s nice to have some of those books in your knitting library, but if you are trying to stay within a budget and use your spending money on your yarn stash, then your local library would be your best resource and they usually have a copier machine on the premises if you just want to copy a pattern or two (it’s usually very inexpensive too – my library’s copier only costs 10¢ per copy). And the other great thing about using your local library is you can go online and place books on-hold and pick them up when they come in, which for many of us who have active, busy lives is very convenient.

The books that caught my eye this trip included:

Yes, one of them is a crochet book.  I learned to crochet about 20 years ago and there are a lot more designers out there now and I really like to stay in practice with my crochet techniques.  The 101 Designer One- Skein Wonders was a treat because I have the 101 Yarn-Shop Favorites One-Skein Wonders in my knitting library because I loved the variety of quick and easy patterns.  So, I figured this one would have a nice variety of patterns as well.  Also, The Knitting Man(ual) book was a great find because I don't know about any of you other knitters out there, but I find it extremely difficult to find good patterns for men in styles they would actually wear. This book not only gives you some really great designs in colors and patterns that will flatter any man, the designer talked with some men who knit and a few of them are featured wearing her designs.  In the introduction the author wrote: the mid-sixteenth century knitting had become a full-fledged industry and the early knitting professionals were men.  Women and children eventually took up the trade, but in the beginning knitting was a strictly male endeavor and remained so until the Industrial Revolution mechanized production.  While both men and women followed knitting into the factories, hand-knitting at home began its transformation into a feminine art.  During WWII, many men knitted in support of the war effort, making mitten, hats, and socks for the Army and Navy forces. So the history lesson was an added bonus as well as hearing about men who enjoy knitting too. I also, picked up another sock book - Toe Up! Patterns and Worksheets to Whip your Sock Knitting into Shape by Chrissy Gardiner.  Now that I don't cringe when I think of knitting socks, I can't help picking up new books that show you different ways to make them.  This one stood out because of the blank worksheets in the back that allow you to create custom-made socks using different styles for the toe and heel (i.e.: shaped round toe, anatomical round toe, short-row toe, hybrid heel, short-row heel, etc.). I found it to be very interesting and it will be fun to experiment with the different types of toes and heels!

So if you haven't checked out your local library, give it a chance, you just might find something you like.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Knitter's New Year's Resolution

Happy New Year to the Knitters and Crocheters out there!

Well 2011 is upon us, so what New Year’s resolutions have you come up with this year? Me, of course the usual: eat healthier, exercise more, get more rest, etc. But my biggest New Year’s resolution this year is to commit more time to my knitting craft that includes getting my yarn stash organized as well as figuring out what I have and what I can do with it, learning new techniques, creating my own designs, and selling my handmade knits. So to work towards one of my goals I opened an Etsy Shop in November to begin selling online. I’m looking forward to sharing handmade knits from Knitter Mama.

My next goal as part of my resolution was to get my yarn stash under control and more organized. If you remember from a previous post it virtually took over my couch and coffee table as well as several square feet of floor space.

And when the holidays rolled around I had no clue what to do with it all, and I realized that it was way overdue for me to find a better solution for storing my yarn stash. Even though I managed to throw it into Rubbermaid© bins and totes in a corner of my living room so I could decorate; it was like the elephant in the room that I desperately pretended not to notice or at least not look at – but try as I might the disorganized piles, bags, totes and bins mocked me from their little corner and I knew that I had to do something about it. Not only was it an eyesore, it was so disorganized. I have to constantly dig through mounds of yarn and piles of copied patterns, knitting books, and a huge binder I keep my favorite patterns in to find what I am looking for. And I also realized this was how I managed to let it get so out of control. When I couldn’t locate that elusive skein of yarn that I knew I purchased, I would just go out and buy more and well then later I would find it and think I'll save it for another project and this viscious cycle continued until as you can see from the above photo it had taken over.

As I went to clear my coffee table of all the knitting paraphernalia to put out my Christmas decorations, I was determined not to let it overtake my holiday display. But alas, since I was still knitting right up until Christmas and for several days after, my lovely decorated coffee table became once again a knitting sanctuary for all my odds and ends, tools and supplies – burying the centerpiece and mulberry candles I like to put out each year. I knew it was past time to get this under control, so I walked around my 1,075 square foot townhouse looking for the right location to put together some kind of storage display that would neatly house all of my yarn as well as make my patterns easily accessible. Since I like to visit my LYS (Renaissance Yarns) regularly, I paid special attention to their yarn displays, and thought I wanted something similar, but on a smaller scale and of course affordable.

So after Christmas when the sales were in full-bloom I trekked to the local Target© and went straight to their storage/closet section with the dimensions of the area where the yarn would go in my head and a vague idea on how I wanted to store my stash. I was excited to discover that Target was having a great after-Christmas sale on all their Closetmaid storage, so I measured and calculated and tried to imagine in my mind what it will look like at the top of the stairs in front of the hall closet. I bought three 2x3 cube storage units, brought them home put two of them together, realized the third cube unit wouldn't fit. So I returned it and again scoured the storage section again, recalculating in my head, envisioning the pieces in the space and selected one 1x3 and one 1x2 cube unit. And this was the end result:

Doesn't it look so neat and organized?

I just barely managed to get all of my yarn stored away neatly in the cubes as well as in a 3-drawer unit hidden behind the mirrored door. So now all of my yarn, books, and patterns have a home and I can easily get to them without having to dig through tubs and bins. Unfortunately, due to the alarming amount of yarn I have, I ran out of room for all my tools (i.e. needles, stitch markers, and whatnots) - these are still in a nifty tote my son bought me a few years ago next to my knitting area. It's all organized, but at some point I will have to make some room in my upstairs storage for all my paraphernalia. So I've avowed that I will work through at least one of the cubes to make room for the other supplies and only shop when it's absolutely necessary - hmm...I wonder if this resolution will last as long as the one's in the past - somewhere around March perhaps! I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can stick to it because I just have no more room for anymore yarn anywhere in my house. But I have to admit I'm a knit-a-holic, I can't help going in to my LYS just to check out what's new, so it will be very difficult to totally refrain from buying more. Especially when I find that new yarn that I MUST try out just to see how one of my favorite patterns will look.

Speaking of resolutions, I was reading one of my favorite blogs Fiber Arts and I noticed Aaron, one of the bloggers wrote about resolutions for knitters and I took note of a mention in his post: "My goal for the coming year isn’t to buy less yarn or spinning fiber. It’s to try and buy it closer to home. I don’t mean just buying locally made yarn and fiber either because that’s not always practical or possible depending on the project. If I’m doing a project that needs to be felted, I pretty much always go for Cascade 220 which is made in Peru, but I’d much rather see that sale happen at a local business right here in our community." I happen to agree with this sentiment because putting money back into your own community is essential to its economic growth and development and will follow this resolution myself; buy only locally whenever possible.

And my favorite part of the post was the mention of the The World's Biggest Yarn Stash. Of course I can't compete, but I wouldn't mind a place big enough to house all that yarn as well as a stash that big! I live in a  two bedroom townhouse that I share with my son Aiden and our dog Tara. But now that I think about it, my son only has two more years of high school and then he's off to college. Hmmm...maybe I should start measuring his room for more storage! But I digress; I'm resolved to try to keep my stash at a reasonable, organized, level. And I'm also resolved, if I must make a yarn purchase, to buy it locally as much as I can this year. I will keep you posted on how well I'm keeping to my resolutions. And I hope you will do the same. And I would like to wish everyone a prosperous and happy knitting new year!