The Yarnstasher's Guide

The musings of a compulsive knitter and yarn stasher. If you're looking for help with this addiction, this is not the place.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chaos is my norm...

...and knitting is my zen. After 3 months of no postings, well...i"ll catch you all up. Warning: it's a lot!
June: our 16 yo "adopted" teen son found his mom dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her apt. 4 days after the fact. Very horrible, very sad....what else can be said except that obviously led to funeral, etc. Then I went to Florida for a house/pet-sitting gig which was one of the most relaxing weeks of my life - aahh, the power of sleep. Came back to get my 15 yo DD and adopted son ready for their different trips to Honduras doing mission work.

July: 7/2 house struck by lightening...most electronics fried. The scariest thing I've ever experienced as we were 10 feet away and all felt the electricity surge up our bods. I peed my pants on the spot, and I am not ashamed to admit that!!

Didn't know it then, but it would be well over 2 months before we have full telephone and Internet service again. No washing machine for a month...

DD home for 8 hours from Honduras and then off to be a camp counselar for kids whose moms are in prison. Yes, she is a wonderful person. Meanwhile 17 yo DS goes to the US Coast Guard Academy for a week to try it out before applying this fall - he loves every minute of it. I go get him, and we drive back, a normal 6 hour drive that takes 12 - yuk! Everyone finally arrives home within a few hours of each other and we all stay up all night talking and sharing.
Next day our dear cat , Clyde (see below), gets hit by a car and fractures his pelvis in 3 places. He survives and now, after 8 weeks of crate confinement, walks like John Wayne. He is even more affectionate than before, sweet boy. Next day after THAT, my DS leaves for a trip out west to Wyoming with his church Sunday School. Realize that all of this coming and going by kids is done with NO washing machine. Thanks for good friends!!

Meanwhile I decide it is time to write a knitting book...more coming on that!!! and I am taking a college Travel Writing class that is awesome, and I get a lot done on my book about our years living in Italy. Bravo!!

We end the month by going to our non-electric island home in Maine for 2 weeks which leads to:

August: away in maine, we buy: 2 kayaks and.....I make lots of great contacts for knitting book, and buy great yarn and DH and I get 2 nights away alone (!) and ...drumroll please.....we also buy:

a 1972 VW Camper Van - DD's dream vehicle!!! (Pics will come soon) and then drive this baby back home...what a hoot! She drives like an old truck with a 4 speed manual transmission. DD's first try at it is perfect and she doesn't stall at all: good karma!!!

One week left of August until school starts, and then it's Senior year for my boys, and I am in tears on the first day of school as always. and I have no phone or Internet to sob to friends, so I knit:)

Sept: Clyde gets to come out of his cage - yea! - DS finishes Eagle project - yea! - college applications are rolling...DS makes Varsity sailing (very tough to do in this town) and DD gets more serious about electric guitar and also talks me into giving her turquiose hair highlights...hey, it's hair!

I'm leaving out so much, like a quick hospitalization of my dad, car trouble with a capital T, and many great family moments. Those are the ones that will last and are why I love my family.

My favorite moment of the whole summer: my daughter gets home at midnight from Honduras and my son is asleep before rising at 4:30 am to catch a train for CT to the CG Academy. He insists that I bring his little sis in and wake him so he can rise from teen deathlike sleep to give her a quick hug, tell her it stinks that they get no time together, and make sure she didn't come home sick like HE did from Honduras 2 years ago. She tells him she hopes he has a great time at the Academy, hugs him back, and me? I cry watching this sweet moment. I will hold it close forever.

SO...besides all of the above I have been knitting like crazy on secret designs for the book, and so can't post pics of FO. But I do realize that chaos does seem to be hovering over our house, and knitting is keeping me even, as it has for over 30 years. In 2 weeks i will be 44, wow...that's a lot of stitches!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

One skein

A shout out of thanks to my one-skein pal for the awesome Katsara Mikado Ribbon. It is gorgeous and i am trying to figure out what it's colorful rainbowy 450 yds of goodness are meant to be. I wish I were tiny so i could make a cool tank, but it looks like Venice to me, so I'll have to think festive accessory....maybe a cool shrug or wrap.

Suggestions, anyone?

Monday, May 15, 2006


to fit here! 6 weeks of life and knitting? The short form:

We've been to Cape Cod (my home) for my Dad's 80th, Florida for Easter with my FILs, spent time with great old friends, been really busy many weekends.

Knitting: Finished up SP6 & Cheap-A** SP. Good fun as always (Pictures are coming of my gifts), and have signed up for One Skein SP...that's all I'm doing this summer for SPing as it's already booked. Oh, and got beautiful socks from my Sockapalooza wonderful knitter. Blue-ish pink Koigu cables...yum!!!

Lent ended, and with it my no-buying commitment, but I didn't buy much until Maryland Sheep & Wool. My DH & I went for the whole day Saturday, arriving there at 8:15am. I was first in line at Koigu...aahh...and bought more there (and everywhere) than I should have but have been knitting it up like crazy. Picture of the crazy haul coming... we had a great day and my DH was a super enthusiastic trooper. The lamb sausage & fried twinkie we shared helped fuel that! In the past few weeks I've finished a chemo cap out of Wendy Velvet Touch, the first of triplet caps out of some super soft baby acrylic, KP Simply Stripes Fair Isle socks for Sockapalooza, several scarves for ill and grieving friends, I'm finishing a Noni Skinny Baguette, have spring green lace socks in Regia cotton on needles as well as 6 other things at least. I also am knitting a bias-tie for my DH out of Koigu (what else?) for Father's day. I've been knitting a lot, and have met a few times with my B & N Bunch ( I call us the Noble Knitters - am I corny or what?)

Great family weekend this past one: Saturday was the major workday on my DS's Eagle project. we got so much more done than planned!! He's reclaiming very wild land behind our church's playground and putting in a horseshoe pit. Many good helpers and a fun but tiring day. We 4 arrived home (plus a DD' friend, per usual) to find an acceptance letter for DS for the US Coast Guard Academy's summer program. Highly competitive to get in, and a good sign that he could get in next fall.

Then a lovely Mother's Day with 3 thoughtful gifts from my dear teens, and an afternoon spent sorting/looking at old photos. I was in PJs by mid-afternoon, and they roasted a chicken and made homemade mac's & cheese. It was great!

OK...long catch up and photos will be coming!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Reactions to the Stash...

Probably should start with my own: I keep looking at the pictures of my very own stash and having many conflicting thoughts, some warm & fuzzy and some throat-tightening.

I have some lovely memories tied up in some yarns: memories of shopping on vacations, or girlfriends' weekends with my pals that i have taught to knit over the years, many lovely giftings from friends and Secret pals. I have had moments of true creative clarity in a LYS, have been so inspired, and days later, a FO. Some yarns are on the "must be knit soonest" list, and others are like fine wine and need to age until they reveal their purpose. Some are now edging into the "you need a new home" zone. All are valid reactions.

My DH thought it was quite something, maybe a bit much. But he does see me knitting every single day, so he knows i appreciate it, and use it. And, 6 skeins have been used up since the photos were taken on Friday, so I do "walk my talk'. and, I guess, feel the need to justify things, which leads to... the throat-tightening part...I have too much.

My knitty friends have been generous with their comments, tho much stash envy lurks - better start locking the doors!! And some interesting reparte has begun (on the Knittyboard) about "how much is too much?" I personally feel that my stash (and I truly am only speaking about mine) is too much. I want less.

Others with larger amounts feels theirs is not too big, and some with smaller stashes feel they have too much. Individual needs are so personal, aren't they? I know that my stash assesment will lead to more photos here of FO objects, as well as a soon-to-be posted list of yarns for sale. Keep tuned if you liked what you saw below.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The STASH!!!

THE ABOVE IS THE STASH OVERVIEW...WOW, IT'S A LOT... I'll start by saying that i have been stashing for over 30 years, but have moved a lot and purged some. There is still a helluva lot here though, AND plenty more to be purged! I am beyond SABLE (Stash Amassed beyond Life Expectancy) unless I am a cat with 9 lives, and even then...

FIRST STASH SPOT: my antique post office sorter. this is where onesies and twosies live. Notice the beautiful colorization...notice the hint of a prior obsession with rubber stamps... in here lies everything from lots of sock yarn to bulky, with a number of novelty skeins. Yes, there are dozens and dozens of skeins. I cannot begin to list them all. My name is Alice & I am a yarnaholic... On the flat desk part from left to right are: (back) a huge cone of hemp/wool to dye, (front) materials for Mary Ellen knitted cuff and a WIP scarf with metallic yarn/chips. Basket #1 has 4 skeins handpainted merino and one skein handpainted cotton slub from Mystical Creations. Basket #2 has a German cotton tape in hot pink purchased in Salzburg, and in front is a handpainted rayon slub from MC with 4 pink plumeria mohair blend skeins from my SP5 (these 2 are being paired for a shawl). Basket #3 has 7 skeins of Cascade Quattro for a fair isle sweater i am designing and in front, 7 skeins of KP Sock Garden for their lace scarf. then there is a handpainted merino/mofair from Kiparoo Farm, 10 skeins of pale seafoam mohair i bought in Salzburg. On top of it is yarn being made into a pair of lace socks from IK Spring 06. Basket #4 has my oldest WIP (from 1982) and is Candide wool to make a traditional Austrian style Jaeger jacket. It will be frogged as the back would now fit my left thigh. On top of it are 2 skeins of Bartlett Yarn, and then tucked behind are 16 skeins of Elann's Peruvian worsted in the wrong color for Rogue. Dying might have to's too $$ to send back...anyone want to swap?? Finally, Basket #5 is holding several shades of Recycled sari yarn, some in front.

Below are better shots of this stuff:

SECOND STASH SPOT: antique office piece:

The smaller skeins (upper left) are superwash sport Brown Sheep that i bought in 1990 to make an Ann Norling "cars & trucks" fair isle cardi for my 2 year old DS. He's now 17 1/2 and I'm guessing it will be made for the grandkids. (Upper right) Christopher Shhep Farms tweedy blue aran. The "layers" of yarn in the paper shelves are all Manos that my DH bought in Uruguay in 1989. So is the purple & gray above (top center). I've actually knit a lot of what he brought back, which was (at today's prices) probably $700 worth. Good DH!! The wooden box in the middle has small balls of many worsted wools, and will be accents in felted items or Fair Isle colors. There's more in the bottom compartments of this piece (see behind below left display) including Lamb's Pride for Fuzzy Feet, some horrible tangled green Cotton Fleece, a sale poncho kit bought for the blue cotton yarn, and some Jo Sharp navy cotton that my DD is knitting into a hoodie.


From left:(on trunk) 2 skeins opossum/merino from knitty trade with Kozmic in NZ, then tan & black baby alpaca, some cream superwash wool behind with my childhood "Push me/Pull-you" stuffed animal from Dr. Doolittle fame. In front is a basket of grab bag mini skeins from Kiparoo Farms, then a stunning array of Koigu (see close-up below) gifted to me by my SnB pal Marcia. Behind the Koigu are the 2 infamous skeins of Misti Alpaca lavander laceweight that my young cat, Laptop, is obsessed with. A lovely SP gift they were! They have been tangled and rewound 3 times, and he's still alive. The IK is in front of the half-finished Ballet Wrap of a vintage Sunbeam UK yarn, topped by a basket of Gedifra ribbon, topped by a 3/4 finished mohair shortrows shawl.

The middle area of this display has some beautiful stuff that is shown in the pictures below:

On top is some lovely NORO, some of which is knit up but will be frogged to make the front and back of the Sunrise jacket in IK. Next are 2 skeins (1 wound, 1 not) of Kasula mohair handpainted Fleece Artist yarn - total 2000 yds!, and below is some crazy super bulky yarn, a basket of more grab bag skeins from Kiperoo, and gorgeous Dancing Leaf handpainted merino in front.

Here's a close-up of Noro & Fleece Artist:

And now here's a close-up of the other yarns in front:

Finally, the right side of this Display Area: Laptop (aka Alpaca Boy) is almost hiding the lovely Lavander Rowan cotton being crocheted (my first ever) into a cropped lace cardi, and then some multi-colored ribbon, Cat's Meow - how appropriate!!

I have 2 other kitties. Here's Clyde, who loves my workroom/guestroom, and is the only one allowed to be in here by himself, as he is a perfect gentleman:

There is also a guest bed in here. I LOVE color!

and a bookcase which houses my craft library:

The papier mache statue is 'purple Dylan', made by my DD 3 years ago, and represents my beloved dog:

So, that's the Yarnstasher's I well-named or what??? All I can say, is that if the Bird Flu hits, i am never leaving my house and will be able to keep busy!! I actually do knit quite a bit for friends and charity, but this is still pretty excessive. Thanks for looking and reading this much!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

My eyes!!

OK, so if I have any eyesight left it is a miracle! I edited almost 500 photos today, and sent them off to be printed. Here's one of the newest from the Philadelphia Flower Show.

As the photos uploaded, I decided that wasn't enough blindness-causing work. SO, I began my Sock-A-Palooza socks which are the Knit Picks Simple Stripes fairisles. Black sock yarn on size 2s... I really like this pattern and can't wait to post FO pics.

Speaking of pics, tomorrow I will begin photgraphing for Flash your Stash. I am scared to contemplate it all, but know i am not alone...

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Thank you everyone

What a supportive group you all are! I have gotten many comforting posts, comments, IMs, etc about my sweet Emily. Thank you. We are all doing really well, and have been slowly spreading the word of her passing among friends and family. She was quite universally loved.

Meanwhile there's nothing like a home improvement project to take your mind off something...and the mushroom factor has been fully involved with this one. Due to Emily's bathrooming issues during her final months, our LR rug was...fragrant. So, up is came on Friday evening, and we planned to put down cherry laminate as we have in another room. Easy, right? Well, while all furniture, etc. was out of the room, we looked at the paint and said, "Now would be a perfect time to freshen it" and that lead to us repainting the whole LR yesterday and changing the color, and doing 3 different colors of paint on different walls. It looks awesome but we are just starting the floor now..a day late and many dollars short!

I'm blogging while Jeff gets the first tough bits out of the way. We both know from 21 years of projects that it is better done without me looking over his shoulder and offering "helpful hints". So, he'll let me know when he needs me, or I'll know when the muttering/swearing stops...

In knitting news, I am sad to say I broke my Lenten vow to not buy anything knitting-related. Sadness about Emily led me to perusing KnitPicks with teary swollen eyes, and, well, somehow $40 worth of sock yarn and patterns will be arriving this week. What a good juicy rationalization, huh? I guess if Catholics were allowed to eat meat on St. Patrick's Day Friday, grief yarn might be pardoned too.

On the bright side, my son wore his new sweater that I made for the Knitting Olympics to church this morning and looked great. Pictures to follow. I am at the halfway point on the prayer shawl an older man asked me to knit and should finish tonight during Sunday night TV. My IK Ballet Wrap sweater is coming along, and I've come to terms with the fact that it will probably end up being cap sleeves due to serious yarn shortage. This is what I get for ordering cool vintage yarn from eBay...

In my next post I will list all of my WIPs, and you all will feel a lot better about yours, i assure you! Why the next? Because i will have to hunt them all down...