Interweave Yarn Fest 2017 Haul

I had a blast at Interweave Yarn Fest 2017, and came home with some great goodies for the stash. |    withwool.com

I made it 72 days without buying yarn or fiber for myself before breaking my Cold Sheep streak at Interweave Yarn Fest. Besides from 2 skeins I bought to knit a baby gift, all of my knitting and spinning has come from the great stash repository that is Yarn Fort.

I had a blast at Interweave Yarn Fest 2017, and came home with some great goodies for the stash. |    withwool.com

So what did I get at Yarn Fest? Just the stuff that absolutely called out to me and that I had a plan for. I’m always enthralled by the colors in the Western Sky Knits booth and couldn’t walk away without at least one skein. Her grays are incredible, and how could I turn down lustrous green on a BFL/silk blend. They’re destined to be shawls or cowls. The skein on the right is Brown Sheep Lana Worsted and I couldn’t resist the colors. My first idea was that it would become a hat or mitts, but now I’m thinking about slippers. Either way, that yarn will turn into something cosy. The mini-skein kit I bought as a gift only now I want to keep it for myself. I’m still waffling about what to do about it. Knitting it up and giving that away counts too, right?

I had a blast at Interweave Yarn Fest 2017, and came home with some great goodies for the stash. |    withwool.com

One of my main fiber buying goals was to find fiber to spin for a friend of mine. I couldn’t find the right colors though. Still found stuff for myself though, so I didn’t go home empty handed. In a big departure from my usual color picks, I bought a lot of black mixed up with bright colors. 8 oz is a Rambouillet/Columbia cross from Brown Sheep. 4 oz is a beautiful carded prep of Shetland, Alpaca, and silk noil, perfectly named Stained Glass, by The Natural Twist. My last pick is 8 oz of BFL and Tussah Silk. It was the first roving that caught my eye when I wandered the booths and I kept coming back to it. I had no plan for it, still don’t, but I’m not going to let it languish.

I had a blast at Interweave Yarn Fest 2017, and came home with some great goodies for the stash. |    withwool.com

I got some not yarn too: two beautiful project bags from Sincere Sheep, a yew wood shawl pin, and buffalo/merino socks.   

All in all, I’m thrilled with what I got. And as someone doing the Cold Sheep thing, I regret nothing about my purchases. Going to Yarn Fest and other local fiber festivals has been part of my Cold Sheep plan from the beginning. I went knowing what I already had and what I wanted which really curbed the urge to buy all the things. Telling myself I didn’t have to spend every cent I brought helped too. The stash got some fresh new additions that I’m excited about and don’t feel overwhelmed by. That’s a win and the ultimate end goal of Cold Sheep for me.    

Fell Off The Sheep

I fell off the sheep, but I bought yarn and fiber with a plan. | withwool.com

I fell off the sheep last week after 36 days of not buying yarn or spinning fiber. It’s not my longest streak - that would be 44 days - nor my shortest streak - 3 days - since I started Cold Sheeping in June. Ahem. Yarn Fort is definitely still a looming tower that I can hide behind. But I still bought 8 ounces of spinning fiber on Thursday and 2 balls of yarn on Friday. 

I don’t feel at all guilty that I fell off the sheep and then took 2 days to track the wooly critter down again. Yarn Fort got to be the size it is because I bought pretty yarn without knowing quite what I wanted to do with it. There were vague ideas that a skein of fingering weight yarn would make fun socks or that I would like a sweater out of this yarn. Or there was a really good sale. Or I felt like walking around a new yarn shop. Buying yarn with a particular pattern in mind didn’t happen as often. 

I fell off the sheep, but I bought yarn and fiber with a plan. | withwool.com

These recent purchases were different because I had a plan. Now I actually have to follow through with it in a reasonable time frame. I’m not sure what a reasonable time frame is though. Anyway, I bought 4 ounces of Corriedale locks because I want to practice making batts on my drum carder. I could practically see the green fiber mixed together with a bit of copper-colored Firestar that I’ve got stashed away. The 4 ounces of Hummingbird Moon Fiber came home with me because of its mottled dye job. The top shares a lot of similarities with fiber that turned into a skein of my own personal dream yarn: superwash, mottled dye pattern, and few colors. I’m curious to see if I can turn this fiber into more dream yarn. 

Friday’s purchases, 2 balls of Cascade 220 Superwash, came home with me because the yarn I picked for another project, a WIP hat design, wasn’t working out. I’ve already cast on and knit several inches so I’ll only be stashing the leftovers. 

I fell off the sheep, but I bought yarn and fiber with a plan. | withwool.com

It’s been 3 days and counting since I got back on the sheep. I’m not regretting my purchases nor feeling the urge to buy more yarn. I am glad that I haven’t added a lot of extra, complicated rules to my Cold Sheep. The three I have are enough and give me a little leeway when needed.

  1. Don’t buy yarn just because it’s pretty.
  2. Work from the stash.
  3. If you must by yarn or fiber, buy with a pattern or project in mind.

WIP Parade

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Finishing the Turtle Purl socks a couple of weeks ago has put me in the mood to finish the rest of my lingering works in progress. Add on plenty of nights spent watching movies and catching up on tv, and I’ve been a very busy knitter. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

I picked up the Vertigo scarf again thinking that it’d be nice to have a new scarf/cowl thing for the winter. Temps are still in the 80’s, but there’s going to be snow on the ground soon enough. And I will be ready. I’d probably still be working on this thing and working lots of “p2togtbl” if this weren’t knit in bulky weight yarn. I mostly work with worsted weight yarn and finer, so it’s always a pleasant surprise how fast bulky yarn knits up. 

The stitches are bound off and the ends are woven in. Blocking the scarf will be simple (and entirely necessary) which means there’s just one more difficult step before I get to wear it. Which buttons do I choose? Do I go with the earthy, neutral buttons that will blend in or the bright blue buttons that will stand out? I cannot make up my mind. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com
Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Now that Vertigo is bound off, I’m back to adding squares to my Garterlac kitchen towel. It’s not growing as quickly as the scarf, but entrelac is addicting to knit anyway. I can’t knit just one square at a time. Plus, it’s a simple project that I can pick up and put down without loosing my place so the towel is great for keeping my hands busy. I haven’t decide how long it’s going to be yet, but I don’t think that I’m far from binding off. 

Scarves, socks, and kitchen towels! Oh my! I’m finishing up a bunch of projects so I can start new ones. WIP Parade | withwool.com

Here’s another pair of socks for purse knitting. I pulled the yarn out of deep stash, #coldsheep, and started a toe. I wanted to knit a slightly more involved pattern since the last two pairs were basic ribbed socks. The stitch pattern for the Escalator Socks caught my eye so I gave it a try. While I liked the pattern, it didn’t mesh well with the yarn. Plus, I like how the colors knit up in stockinette much better. Ripped back to the toe, and going with a 3x1 rib this time. I’m will knit a complicated pair of socks eventually. I hope.

A video posted by April Klich (@aprilklich) on

FO: TurtlePurl Socks

Self striping yarn knits up into great afterthought socks. This pair is going away to wait for cold snowy days. FO: TurtlePurl Socks | withwool.com

I rarely walk out my front door without knitting in my purse. Having a simple project to keep my hands busy while I’m in line or killing time in a waiting room is a must. Plus, I enjoy it more than playing the same game over and over on my phone. Vanilla socks are my favorite purse projects, but a pair can hang out for so long that I get incredibly bored with them. I try not to chuck the offending socks into a WIP bin never to be seen again though. Instead, I make myself finish knitting, so I can start something new guilt free. Need fewer needles that way too. That’s why I finished this pair of socks, which I cast on way back in March. Going Cold Sheep and #YarnFort definitely had something to do with it too. 

Self striping yarn knits up into great afterthought socks. This pair is going away to wait for cold snowy days. FO: TurtlePurl Socks | withwool.com

The yarn, Turtle Purl self-striping Absinthe, was a gift from a good friend of mine, and caught my eye when I was rummaging through the stash. The stripes seemed like the perfect thing to keep a pair of vanilla socks interesting. I didn’t even have to do any work to make sure the socks matched since the dyer did all that work for me. I made a lot of progress because I kept telling myself to finish just one more stripe. And when I was figuring out when to bind off, the stripes made it so easy to make sure each cuff was the same length. Self-striping yarn keeps getting better and better. 

Self striping yarn knits up into great afterthought socks. This pair is going away to wait for cold snowy days. FO: TurtlePurl Socks | withwool.com

This pair followed my default vanilla sock pattern: toe up, a simple rib, about 6.5” of leg, and Jenny’s Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off. I wanted the stripes to look the same over the entire socks, so I skipped the heel flap and gusset for an afterthought construction. However, instead of adding an afterthought heel, I worked an afterthought leg with instructions from the Houdini Socks by Cat Bordhi. Knitting the toe, foot, and heel in one go was so much less work than making the usual tube and adding a heel later. I didn't worry about having enough yarn for the heel or have to find the right spot in the stripes to join. The technique worked even better than I hoped too. Not only was I able to bind a ready to wear pair, the heels used enough of the stripe repeat to put me back on the green I needed to start the cuff! Adding an afterthought leg is going to be my default method to make afterthought socks from now on. 

Self striping yarn knits up into great afterthought socks. This pair is going away to wait for cold snowy days. FO: TurtlePurl Socks | withwool.com

Before I get started on the next pair of socks, I’m stepping on my soapbox to talk about blocking for a moment. Blocking works wonders for knitting, even on a basic pair of socks. I soaked the socks in cold water - the water turned a little blue, but the color didn’t fade in the slightest - with a little Eucalan and hung them up to dry. That’s it. I didn’t worry with sock blockers or shaping the socks at all. Once dry the stitches were much more even, and the yarn had relaxed and softened. The socks look better, fell better, and fit better. Okay. Getting off the soapbox now, and putting this pair in the drawer to wait for a cold snowy day. 

A video posted by April Klich (@aprilklich) on

Knitting For Cold Sheep

The second rule of Cold Sheep: Knit and spin from the stash. No feeling guilty about the stuff you don’t like anymore either. Knitting For Cold Sheep | withwool.com

Since I went Cold Sheep in June, I’ve only had one rule: Don’t buy yarn or spinning fiber. I’ve mostly followed that rule with the exception of 88 yards of t-shirt yarn joining the stash 18 days later. I made it another 30 days before buying 6 oz of fiber to play with on my new-to-me drum carder. I don’t feel guilty about either of these purchases because, while they were impulse buys, there was a project waiting for them. I’m going to use the t-shirt yarn to make a basket. And that fiber is for my first attempt at making blended roving/batts on my new-to-me drum carder. I haven’t used the carder yet so my new bundles of goodness won’t be sitting around for long. 

It’s a month and half later I’m adding another rule to my Cold Sheep: You actually have to knit and spin with the stuff you have in stash. Yarn Fort isn’t going to get any smaller if all I do is look at it and I look at it a lot. It’s a looming presence in my studio that is impossible to miss. That means I actually have to finish the projects I cast on. On the top of the WIP list is the Vertigo Scarf and the TurtlePurl Socks. Don’t worry, I’m not forcing myself to knit these things. I’m enjoying the process of knitting just as much as I want to wear them. So I’m knitting instead of playing time suck games on my phone. I’m knitting instead of aimlessly scrolling through Instagram. I’m knitting instead of looking down at my phone in general. Seems to be working too since the socks are getting closer and closer to the bind off. 

The second rule of Cold Sheep: Knit and spin from the stash. No feeling guilty about the stuff you don’t like anymore either. Knitting For Cold Sheep | withwool.com

There’s one other project on the current WIP list, this Garterlac Kitchen Towel. It’s an upsized version of the Garterlac Dishcloth with a few other mods for easy knitting. I couldn’t decide if I liked the size 7.5 rows in and promptly ignored it for a couple of months. I even stole the needles for another project. A knit the stash rule also means that I don’t have to finish WIP’s that I don’t love anymore. Garterlac ended up making the list and will be perfect for tv knitting.  

There’s one other benefit to the knit/spin the stash rule. If I’m not going to use it, I don’t have to keep it or guilt myself into working with yarn I don’t like. I haven’t gone through the stash in years and I’m sure there’s more than a few skeins that won’t make the cut. Maybe even more then I expect. I’m not looking forward to culling the stash, but I do want a 100% knit-worthy one. 

Going Cold Sheep

After coming to terms with the overwhelming enormity of my yarn stash, I’m going cold sheep. Going Cold Sheep | withwool.com

Let’s play a game called “Find The Knitter”.  

Done? Awesome. That’s my 5’6” self standing behind the majority of my yarn and spinning stash and I can only just see over the top. I’m not standing on my tippy-toes either. Had I piled on those WIP bags and roaming skeins, I’d be well hidden. 

Hello, my name is April and I have a yarn…storage problem. After several years of separation and a recent road trip, the bulk of my yarn stash, my recent yarn and fiber acquisitions, and I have finally been reunited. I knew I had a lot of yarn thanks to my Ravelry catalog, but I’d gotten a bit fuzzy about the exact scale of the stash. The boxes are currently stacked behind me and they make a rather impressive wall. All the clear tubs are full of yarn. The two bags at the very top are stuffed with handspun. The green bins are holding my fiber stash. Plus, there are those 3 bags of poly-fil I’ve picked up over the years. 

I’m glad to have it all but, honestly, it’s a bit overwhelming. Though I do like the idea of being able to build a literal yarn fort. Fort Yarn would be quite cosy too. That said, effective immediately, I’m going cold sheep. The only rule is don’t buy more yarn or fiber. I might give myself a few more rules and an exception or two as time goes on but not yet. 

I’m also trying to let go of the idea that I have to knit or do something with every skein and cone of yarn. It is perfectly okay to give the stash a good toss and donate/sell/give-away the yarn that I’m not in love with anymore. Like some of that stuff that I bought when I first started knitting and don’t want to use anymore. I want a well-curated stash off yarn and fiber that I can’t wait to play with, not something I feel obligated to use. 

Wish me luck and a bit of will power too.