Knitting With A Cat in the House

DSCF2750 (rev 0)Oh, she looks innocent enough. Curled up on the steps, sweet as can be. But pull out a pair of needles and a skein of yarn, and she appears from nowhere, perfectly willing to frog the entire sock for you, if you’d just turn your back for a minute. She’s a sneaky one, she is. The other day I made the mistake of leaving my sock-in-progress on the coffee table for a SECOND (surely) – and when I came back, the yarn was bitten in two. For pete’s sake. Interestingly enough, she completely ignores yarn that isn’t being work on. If there is not a length of yarn pulled out of the ball, she doesn’t need to play with it. Totally ignores it. (Good thing, in our house. We do have some balls of yarn.) Even more than yarn, her favorite “toy” is a length of twine that she drags around the house. She’s either stalking it and pouncing on it, or chirping at it and waiting for it to answer her. Forget expensive cat toys. The twine is where it’s at.

So, this is Zoe – our “full of sass” 9 month old kitten. (Check out her eyes. Looks like she put on a healthy dose of eyeliner this morning, doesn’t it? She has cool cat eyes.) We had to put our sweet 17 year old cat to sleep in April of this year. It’s so hard to lose a pet that you love. Getting a new pet really helps. It’s not that you ever replace the one you lost, but you do move on to have fun and make new memories with the next one. Zoe’s a fun pet to have around. Even if she likes to play with the yarn when I knit.

I’m almost done with my “Claudia Hand Painted Donna’s Favorite” socks. I’ll post a picture of them in Friday’s post. I’m liking them a lot.

Sheri bakingthefirstdayofschoolchocolatechipcookiesafterschoolsnackforthe15thyearinarow

Sheri’s Top Ten Reasons Why Sock Yarns Don’t Count As Stash

DSCF2728 (rev 0)Did you know that sock yarn doesn’t count as stash? It doesn’t. (And I love that.) Here’s why:

1. One or two balls/hanks/skeins of sock yarn don’t even take up enough space to matter. What? You have multiple yarn to be knit into socks? Yeah, but each bit of yarn for each pair of socks doesn’t take up much space – and that’s the way you count it.

2. In most parts of the world, socks are a necessity at some point of the year. (Except to my friend Michelle in CA who wears sandals when she visits CO in the winter. She’s not getting a pair of handknit socks from me. Ever.)

3. Socks being the necessity that they are, means that the yarns you have set aside to make socks with are also a necessity. That might even mean that the sock yarn purchases need to come out of the family household budget, but I’m still contemplating that.

4. You already know that these little things knit up just oh-so-quick. I’m thinking you can knit a pair a week, conservatively. That means 52 pairs a year. You’re going to need a LOT of sock yarn for that. What? You knit other things besides yarn? Ok. Let’s be conservative and say you only do 2 pairs of socks a month. That’s still 24 pairs a year. That’s a lot of sock yarn that you’ll be using up. Anything that you use up that quickly doesn’t have time to be “stash”.

5. You just don’t know what kind of a mood you’ll be in when you pick your next sock yarn to knit up. If you’re in a bad mood, you might need blacks/dark greens/blues/browns. If you’re in a lighthearted mood, you might need pastels or brights. You just can’t limit yourself to a couple of choices on hand. Sock yarns, therefore, are mood matchers. Not stash.

6. You might get frustrated with a challenging lace pattern on the cuff one night, and need to start a toe-up simple sock to sooth your ruffled feathers. Obviously you need new sock yarn to choose from. And depending on your mood, you need to have CHOICES. (See #5) Sock yarns are mood adjustors. Not stash.

7. You might get bored with the simple rib pattern that you have chosen for the cuff, and need to start a new pair. (See #6. And then see #5.) Sock yarns are brain challengers. Not stash.

8. All of your sock yarns have a purpose and a specific project designation when you buy them. You’re making socks. Thus, I don’t believe they qualify for the TRUE meaning of the word stash, which is “I have no idea what I’ll use it for but if I don’t buy this yarn now it will be gone when I think of something to use it for and come back to buy it later.” (see previous blog) Sock yarns have a true identity, so they can’t be stash. (A perfect example of “get it when you see it because it will be gone when you come back for it later”? Schaefer Anne and Lola, which are one of a kind colorways. When they’re gone, they’re gone. I pick those colors out first, when adding to my personal sock yarn buffet.)

9. No yarns bought to make gifts for others, count as stash. They come under the GIFT category – and need I say, from the GIFT BUDGET, not your yarn budget.

10. It’s a lot of fun to buy sock yarns, because there are so many wonderful patterned yarns, hand-dyed choices, different weights, etc. Not counting these yarns as official stash means you can indulge in all of the sock yarns you want – and what’s not to like about that? Sock yarns are happiness-inducers. Not stash.

So you see, sock yarns are many things (who knew?). But socks yarns are not counted as “stash”. I call it my “personal sock yarn buffet”. PSYB. It’s my job to keep the buffet full and enticing, right?

(The photo at the top of this list? That is my current PSYB. And actually, I took that last week before the Claudia Hand-Painted arrived. I added several of those wonderful yarns to my PSYB. Tomorrow, it will grow again, because the UPS man will have been here with more fun yarns for The Loopy Ewe … and me ….)

Sheri Ihavesomanysockyarnswaitingtobe”socked”butcontinuallyaddmore.Howmanydoyouhave?

Stash – How Much is Too Much?

Oh, I just love it when I get yarn boxes from the UPS guy. (Although it has proven to be VERY hazardous to my own personal stash levels.) Today we got more Claudia Hand Painted. Have I told you how much I love that yarn? Just love it. So new at The Loopy Ewe: Wisteria (the most wonderful colors of periwinkle), Carribean Blue (blues, teals, greens, heading into my own stash post haste), Sante Fe (the perfect autumn yarn, and I love the deep blue that runs through it) and Pink Dot (which actually has quite a bit of purple in it, too.) These were backorders from my original order with them. I also ordered MORE colors of Claudia Hand Painted just yesterday, which they promised to ship right out. Today, I ordered more Cherry Tree colors – and those will ship to me on Monday. (I also ordered another WONDERFUL yarn that my new friend in Japan, Susan, clued me in to. Thanks Susan!! I will wait to announce that until I have get a shipping estimate from them.) So – keep checking back, as we have new things arriving weekly. Remember, we only show things on the website that are currently in stock – and the website automatically updates our quantities as people order. So if you see it on the website, you can order it and not worry about it being backordered.

So – onto today’s post. This thing called stash? I tried to avoid it. I tried to be “mature” and only buy up one project ahead. That meant that as soon as I started in on knitting one project, I could go shopping and have another project “in the wings” – but no more than that. (I know – what a novice knitter…..) That worked for …. oh, about a month. I think this plan came about because of the unbelievable cache of counted cross-stitch books that are boxed up in my basement. We don’t talk about the fact that most have never been used, and I haven’t cross-stitched in years. I had good intentions when I bought them all. And all that cross-stitch fabric, too. So I was trying to put a good lesson into practice – don’t buy more than you will use. This new, mature purchasing plan worked until the next time I visited my LYS and there were too many new projects that I needed to take home with me. They practically jumped into my basket. It really wasn’t my fault. I checked out with them and bought a plastic under-the-bed storage container on my way home and I officially had “stash”.

I might point out that at that point, I was buying specific yarn for specific projects – so it still seemed a bit mature. I had a plan for them all. Soon I went to yet another LYS. I found this wonderful moss green yarn that I just loved. DSCF2736 (rev 0)I picked it up, walked around with it, and then put it back down. After all, I had no idea what I’d do with it. None. I have way too many scarves and had moved on to bigger and better knitting projects. (Not that there’s anything wrong with scarves. I love having a whole wardrobe of them to choose from.) So I said to myself, “Hmmm. I have no idea what I’d do with this yarn. I’m not buying it.” In the back of my head, I started hearing voices. It was all of those knitting blogs that I had been reading, where the authors talked about their stash, and having far more yarn than they could knit in their lifetime. Did that stop them from buying more? Of course not. I’m pretty sure that they have yarn that is not designated for a specific project. I’m pretty sure that one of the definitions of “stash” is “I have no idea what I’ll use it for but if I don’t buy it now it will be gone when I think of something to use it for and come back to buy it later.” So of course that moss green yarn made its way back into my basket and is now in my stash. I have no idea what I’m going to use it for. I’m just happy it’s there.

Sheri howmuchofYOURstashisyarnthathasnoknownpurposeyet?

Needle Inventory – How Much is Too Much?

Needles. Can you ever have enough of them? I think not. I remember being at my LYS about a year into my “return to knitting”. (That means I learned when I was young, and returned to it again three years ago). I was buying yarn to make a felted bag, and bought circular needles in the size that I would need. When I got home and put this new project in my knitting bag, I was so dismayed to realize that I already HAD size 6 circular needles in a 24″ length, for pete’s sake! I ran through my options – a) driving a half hour back up there to return them (feeling like an unorganized idiot for not realizing I already had that size), or b) giving them away to someone who needed that size. What to do? The next day, I was going through knitting books, deciding on all the fun things I wanted to knit, when it dawned on me that duplicate needles are a very good thing. Indeed – a VERY good thing! Of course I need multiple needles, because I have multiple projects going on at the same time and sometimes the size I need is in use already. (Shuffling the stitches off onto a stitch holder? Too fiddly, most of the time. Unless I don’t have the option of an extra pair of needles in that size. What is the average number of “works in progress” for knitters?)DSCF2740 (rev 0) Yes, I definitely “get” the multiple needles in all sizes thing now. Thank goodness for needle organizers. (Although I did have fun throwing a lot of my needles on the floor to take a picture of my “needle stash”. We have yarn stash – is there such a thing as needle stash?) You know, this picture is deceiving. I have more needles than that. But it was great to put so many out on the floor, because I updated my needle inventory card and then got them all organized.

Now that I have my Namaste Vintage Knitting Bag, I am looking for all different kinds of fun (pretty) needles to display around the outside. Who has some great ones that I need to know about?

Sheri Ilearnedalessonabout”stash”earlyon,tooandI’llhavetosharethatwithyouinthenextpost