Cashmere city

10 Apr

As all lazy craft bloggers do, I slacked. Typical me…

So, what have I been up to lately? Well, I’m busy knitting away on a sample sweater for Shibui Knits (it’s a test knit for the brand) which is due in two weeks and as I hate hate hate deadline knitting, I did my best to get a head start by finishing a chunk of it in the first week. Glad to see I actually changed my procrastinating ways after 15 some years (why didn’t I do this back in high school or college?!) Can’t divulge any more than that so on to the next…

YARN!!!

Yep, your yarn hoarding queen is at it again, buying waaaay more than she can knit. What can I say, I’m a yarn hoarder. There’s no denying. And at this point, I can’t even hide the damn things since there’s so much of it.

Let me share my latest “haul” with you. It’s 100% Italian cashmere. And I only paid $45 bucks for 2 whole pounds of the stuff. And I bought 13 pounds of it. Technically 17 because I bought 4 pounds for $100 a piece (1kg) before it went on sale (awww, it hurts just thinking about it) but all in all, I think I came out ok in the end.

Now, you’re wondering ‘why so much?’ Well, they’re industrial knitting cone yarns that are super fine, as in gossamer/cobweb weight, so in order for me to use it as DK weight I needed to hold 8 strands of it together. And I have no patience to wind these things off the cone. 8 strands? Well, I guess I’ll just buy 8 cones. Simple as that. LOL

And now that I’m “stuck” with 8 kgs of cashmere, I best get rid of all those workhorse wools, I abhor. (heirloom knits my ass. I don’t want my knits to outlive me) Goodbye Cascade 220 and all those other “rustic” wools. Once you go cashmere, there’s no going back!

 

UPDATE 4/11/2014 – Just got a call from the place I bought the cones. Apparently, they oversold and only had 3 cones instead of the 6 I purchased. DAMMIT!!! I knew I should have kept my mouth shut. That’s what I get for blabbing to the world that these cashmere cones existed.

Little Things That Drive Me CRAZY

24 Feb

People, it’s fingering, NOT fingerLING. A knitter at my knitting guild was explaining what she made and she was keep repeating “fingerLING” yarn this and fingerLing” yarn that. I wanted to rip my hair out and shout, “It’s fingering! I-N-G! There’s no L!”

Yeah, just wanted to get that off my chest. (don’t even get me started on the “loose vs lose” misuse. I can go on for hours)

Free for a limited time patterns that kinda suck

14 Jan

Ok, I dunno if you’ve noticed all these “free for a limited time” and “Use coupon code xxxx to download my pattern for free” that are popping up on Ravelry these days but yeah, it’s a new trend.

Most of the “Hot Right Now” list is dominated by these free patterns so if you’re wondering why a certain pattern suddenly has 1000 Favorite hearts, it’s the lure of a free pattern.

And while I totally appreciate these designers and their generosity, I have a growing sense of WTF with some of these so-called patterns and their so-called “designers.”

Case in point: Not too long ago, a certain someone made available a hat pattern that even I could have come up with. (that’s saying something since I can barely knit anything without a pattern, much less come up with one.) Nothing wrong with that except that this certain someone modeled the hat nude, with body parts strategically placed so to cover any genitalia. Of course, the pattern got a gazillion hits and comments and people talking. I mean, c’mon. Can we say all say it together? ATTENTION WHORE! Why a hat pattern needed a nude male model is beyond me but to try to make up what he lacked in the hat pattern by doing something like posting a nude photo of himself wearing it is kinda pathetic.

Case #2: Honestly, some of these patterns that supposedly charge $5 look like dog barf. I mean, really, do you expect anyone to pay money for something that crappy? It’s like these crappy outlet stores that print an exorbitant retail price on a subpar quality product just so they can throw a 75% off sale. “Hey, sucker. You’re getting a great deal here” it says.

I know I shouldn’t complain about something that they’re offering for free but sometimes it just seems like a strategy for self promotion more than generosity and when the product they offer is so subpar, it kinda rubs me the wrong way. But, I do want to add that a fair number of these “free for a limited time” patterns have been wonderful and want to give a big shout out to those talented wonders out there. THANK YA!

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Score! 2lb cone of 100% Loro Piana cashmere

7 Jan

Score! 2lb cone of 100% Loro Piana cashmere

Guess who snagged this baby from Ebay?

Hello 2014

4 Jan

Well, well, well. Another year and even less excitement than last year. (is this what happens when you get older or is it me becoming cynical?) I totally missed the countdown and realized it was 2014 at around 12:15am. Yeah, already drank the champagne by 11pm, citing Eastern time (I’m originally from New Jersey, you see)

Since every other media outlet and who-have-you is doing a 2013 recap, here’s mine:

Memorable Yarn/Knitting related events of 2013:

  • I hit the 10,000 skein mark!
  • I had a baby in May! (how is this knitting related? Well, let’s just say I bought a crap ton of pink and pastel purple yarns)
  • I held a Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda donation destash and donated the entire proceeds ($209) to the American Red Cross! (all you lucky ducks who got $13 BMFA STR skeins from me should thank your lucky stars. I paid a lot more than that for those babies!)
  • An entire column of 18 gallons bins fell over in my craft room, creating a hazardous environment to knit it. (I have since reorganized my bins so that my stash won’t kill me)
  • I actually bought quite a bit of 100% acrylic yarns. Yes, on purpose!
  • I got paid to knit (sample knitting for ShibuiKnits and Knit/Purl)
  • I’ve volunteered to become a board member of my local knitting guild (Newsletter Editor)
  • I paid for a downloadable pattern from Ravelry (This is newsworthy because I’m one of the world’s biggest cheapskates and I’d rather cut off my own foot than pay for a $8 pattern. Joji Locatelli, you kill me!)
  • I bought a brand new computer (More Ravelry browsing and tweaking yarn pics!)
  • My Dyakcraft Darn Pretties order is ready! (I got an email on 12/31/2013. Talk about cutting it close!)
  • I didn’t knit anything for X-mas this year. (OMG, total stress relief!)

So yeah, nothing earth shattering but hey, I’m a low key person (or so I’d like to think)

With the new year brings New Year’s Resolutions. And while I normally loathe these “won’t-last-more-than-3-days” lists, a short knitting goal for 2014 aint’ such a bad idea, right?

  1. Have a go at a double knit project, however small that may be (cowl? or even a dish cloth?)
  2. Take a stab at a crochet project that’s more involved than a crochet chain and simple sc/dc
  3. No drunk knitting! (wine/beer + knitting = ripped back rows. NOT FUN)
  4. Finish at least 3 UFO (unfinished objects)
  5. Destash cotton and rough wool yarns (hate this stuff. Why did I buy these again?)
  6. Sell off duplicate needles, needle sets, pattern booklets (seriously, do I need 14 sets of interchangeables? Really?)
  7. More knitting, less buying. (If anyone out there wants to give me a job as a buyer for your store/company, PLEASE hire me. I’ll work for minimum wage and I can guarantee you’ll get the best deals, even lower than wholesale prices)
  8. And last but not least, more frequent posting on this blog.

That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Wish me luck and see you soon!

Designer Crush

10 Nov

Trendy designers come and go but it’s always hard to watch a once rising star leave the knitting design world altogether. Case in point – Janet Szabo (the Cable queen) and to a lesser extent Eunny Jang (former Interweave Knits editor). It’s one thing to throw in the towel when you’ve half-assed it and didn’t do so well, but these ladies made quite a name for themselves, so when I find out they’ve gone on to bigger and better things, I kind of get bummed out. I know, it’s not personal but it’s like watching a good friend leave.

Sigh…I need to get a life.

Cone Yarns (aka less ends to weave in!)

19 Oct

Yes, yes. Long time no see, right?

First the big news: I had a baby girl in May! And…..I added another 300-400 skeins to my stash! (Ok that wasn’t news. But I’d figure you’d enjoy reading that)

Today’s topic is my gravitation towards bigger skeins (100g+) and even bigger love for cone yarns. Back in the day when I was a total noob to knitting and had to teach myself how to knit without the help of video tutorials on the internet (yes, that’s right. I’m not as young as you think I am. LOL), no book would tell me how I was to join a new ball of yarn. Many just said “join yarn and continue with pattern” or some other vague statement. Like uh…how do I join a new ball of yarn and how do I weave the damn ends in so it doesn’t pop out the other side and not be obviously noticeable from the right side? With super slippery yarns and yarns with 12+ plies, let’s just say I prefer not to join or weave in too many ends.

Well, at the time, I just couldn’t figure it out and instead of confronting the problem head on, I simply avoided the issue by buying big ass cone yarns via Ebay. Sure, I had no idea what the hell I was doing do I bought cotton and chenille and all sorts of gross stuff I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole now but still… And it does make projects not so portable and there is that issue of needing to do multiple gauge swatches but not having to join yarn and weave in lots of ends was a godsend for me.

Even when I did eventually figure out how to join yarn (Russian join, felted join, woven join, Magic knot etc etc) and learn how to weave in ends, I still prefer not to.

So I’ve gone back to buying more cone yarns and well, one thing lead to another and now I’ve got a closet full of cone yarns. Sigh….hoarding tendencies. Yes. But at least this time around, I bought cashmere, extra fine merino and silk. Not to shabby, right?

(If you want to know where I get my cone yarns, I buy them from Colourmart.com, Ebay and discontinuedbrandnameyarns.com)

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Earth Day DIY tips

20 Apr


It’s Earth Day on 4/22 and I figured it’s fitting to throw out some DIY/upcycle ideas for the knitter. I’m all about saving money and reusing what I can (my hubby calls me an eco-nazi but I see it as being frugal and resourceful) so here’s a few cool things you can whip from stuff lying around the house:

1: Sock Blockers from wire hangers

Stainless steel sock blockers $16!


This idea came to me after seeing this set of Bryson wire sock blockers being sold for $16. I immediately thought, ‘Hey, those look like bent wire hangers!’ Lo and behold, I just pulled the hangers with my bare hands and they looked almost identical to the one in the catalogs. They work great and I can hang them on shower rods after washing them.

2. Inner cone to hold fragile yarns

Toilet paper tube


Ever have laceweight or kid mohair yarns tangle into a giant mess when you’re knitting from a wound cake? Center pulling these yarns don’t work and they quickly fall apart. The best way would be have them wound onto a sturdy cone to hold its structure but unless you’re a spinner or a weaver, chances are you can’t wind stuff onto cones.

However, I bet you’ve got a ball winder and plenty of those cardboard toilet paper tubes hanging about, right? Well just replace the ball winder’s plastic tube with the toilet paper tube, place a folded up napkin/paper/anything you can shove into make the tube stay in place, wind yarn onto the tube. When you’re done winding the yarn, simply remove the whole tube and knit from the outside of the tube. No kinks, no mess!

3. stitch markers from champagne cork wire

This one involves pliers and a wee bit of elbow grease. You know those cork cages on top of sparkling wine bottles? It seemed like such a waste to just chuck it in the trash so I took the thing apart (it’s two long pieces of medium-thin wire. Slightly lumpy but plenty pliable).

Using small pliers, I cut the wire into shorter lengths and bent them into jump rings. I then attached paper beads (rolled from old yarn labels no less) onto them. Free stitch markers!

4. End caps for stitch holders

Using old wine corks, simply stick your knitting needle tips into where you inserted your corkscrew and voila, now you don’t have to worry about your stitches falling off accidentally in your knitting bag.

5. yarn bras from fruit wraps
When you purchase fruit in boxes or receive them in gift baskets, they come covered in a protective mesh wrap. Simply remove this wrap and use it to hold your center pull cake/skein to prevent it from falling apart.

6. mini bobbins from bread bag holders

Those little plastic bread bag “ties” that often have the sell-by date printed on them. I save all of them to hold yarn ends together. Sometimes, when I have yarn ends dangling from a garment, they tend to tangle together and make a big mess. So I simply wrap the long ends onto the bread ties and remove them when it’s time to weave them in. Keeps things tidier. The Costco bread bags come with larger plastic closures which will work perfectly for intarsia colorwork bobbins (but I hate intarsia knitting so I might never use these.)

Spring is here!

20 Mar

Things have been slow in the “stash down” department since I’ve signed on to become a sample knitter for a local yarn shop/yarn distributor. (get paid to knit? A total win in my book, although the pay is minimal…they provide the yarn and pattern and pay per yardage that is knit.)

So far, I’ve been knitting nothing but sample swatches and while it is fun to play with all these new (and expensive) yarns, my enormous stash is sitting still going nowhere.

At least I was good about finishing up the few projects that I had going right before I signed up to become a sample knitter (a seemingly neverending cabled baby blanket for my sister who is having a baby boy in June, a pair of basic socks using leftover sock yarn, and an alpaca lap blanket that I’d been plugging away for an entire year simply because it was all stockinette stitch and 350 sts+/row. 18 skeins of DK weight alpaca yarn. HEAVY)

This week, I’ve achieved what some of us in the yarn hoarding circle often see as a sign of “too much yarn” : I broke the 1000 mark on my stash page. Yep, I did it. Some of my Rav friends were wondering what the hell was going on all week because I was updating my stash like crazy with new pics and all. I wasn’t buying new yarn but logging in the actual amount/color of yarn I had. You see, I was sorta in denial about my “under 1000″ stash by having a lot of yarns grouped together as “mixed lot” just so I could keep the numbers artificially low. But that proved to be a pain in the ass when I wanted to do a search by color. So I decided to face the music and accurately enter all the yarn I had, which jacked up the number of yarn entries. Yes, yes. I think I’ve hit SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy). Crap!

In other news, I’ve rearranged some bins in my craft room to get ready for a crib. (I’m not turning it into a full blown nursery by the way. Just a crib in the middle of the room and that’s it. The yarn ain’t going nowhere. Sorry baby, your room decor is yarn, yarn and some more yarn.)

With just two months left to go, I guess I better get crackin on some layette stuff. A baby blanket and socks should do. Now if I could only get all these sample swatches out of the way….

You’re Killing Me, USPS!

28 Jan

So today, the U.S Postal Service announced price increases all across the board, making it even more expensive to mail items. And the international shipping, wow. To anyone doing international swaps or trying to mail yarn abroad, get ready for sticker shock. Your postage might cost more than the yarn itself.

And that about effectively ends any intent on my part to destash anything online. I mean why bother? By the time I send the bag of yarn via priority mail and deduct paypal fees, I might as well be giving away the yarn for free. But if I jack my prices up to cover all the fees and my purchase price, no one will buy the yarn. So, there’s a Catch-22 for ya.

I could imagine a lot of Etsy and Ebay sellers going crazy as we speak….

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