Knitting With Friends

DSCF1043 (rev 0)Who is your favorite person to sit down and knit with? For me, it’s my sweet daughter, Julia. For so long, we tried to find a “hobby” that she liked. Was it going to be rug-hooking? No. Cross-stitching? Not really. Knitting? YES! Knitting was a perfect fit. In fact, she took to it like a house on fire. Scarves were her specialty. I commissioned her to knit 11 scarves for some good friends of mine. We meet in Colorado every year for a long weekend of fun and scarves were just the right gift for that time of year. It was fun to pick just the perfect colors for each one of them! (Julia knit them all in “Splash” – a fun, feathery, boa type of yarn.) Here we all are with our scarves, by Julia. DSCF1094 (rev 0)

DSCF2612 (rev 0)This summer, she wanted to learn how to knit socks. (A girl after my own heart.) After her first sock was completed, she was hooked. I think her scarf making days are numbered, and her sock making days have just begun. Think of all the socks she will have knit by the time she is a grandma! It’s a good thing we have access to lots of great sock yarns. While vacationing in Colorado this summer, our friends came to visit – so we taught them how to knit socks, too. Don’t they look like they’re having fun? I have learned a lot about teaching people how to knit socks. (For example, they get a bit frustrated if you start them on teeny tiny yarn with teeny tiny needles. Go figure.) We were having such a good time knitting that week while they were visiting, that we had to make two trips to the “What’s Needling U?” yarn shop in Frisco. I love visiting new yarn shops when I’m in different towns. You’ll have to let me know about your very FAVORITE yarn shop, so that I can make a list of shops that I need to visit as I travel about.

081706pairA quick picture of my latest socks out of Claudia Hand Painted (have I mentioned how much I like this yarn? I like the way the colors knit up, I like the “springiness” of the yarn, I like that I was knitting on size 3 needles and they knit up really fast, rather than my usual size 1’s, and I like that they’re done!) The colorway is Donna’s Favorite. The cuff pattern is from Knit Socks (Peaks & Valleys). I like Claudia’s yarn so much that I just ordered more colors of it for The Loopy Ewe. Never mind that we already have lots of Claudia colors in stock and half of them have made it into my PSYB. Now we’re getting even more. (Need cute wooden sock blockers? We’re getting them in soon. Need plastic sock blockers because you use them over and over for blocking your wet socks and don’t want to warp the wooden ones? We’re getting those in, too.)

Remember the MasterCard commercial? I have a new one:

Pair of knitting needles: $12

Skein of yarn to work on: $18

Good friends to sit and knit with: Priceless

Sheri darngoodthingthatsockyarnsdonotcountasofficialstashorI’dbeintrouble

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?