Monday, December 28, 2015


On Boxing Day I went to one store - Ewe Knit - with the intention of maximizing the sale. I walked out with a mere 2 skeins of yarn (the extra Sweet Georgia I'll need to make the KNUS). I'm a careful shopper but that was crazy even by my standards. By contrast, I sauntered past an artfully arranged display of lovely Madeline Tosh yarn in a gorgeous grey with a basket of Malabrigo chunky in cream. I started to pet it (baskets of yarn be pretty!) and a friendly young woman, wearing all hand-knit said: Um, sorry, that's my shopping. At which point I laughed and suggested that, when your haul looks like a shop display, you know you're in deep.

I was actually inclined to stock up on 900ish yards of bulky yarn required to make this. You know I'm having a poncho-moment... But when I realized that 9 skeins of bulky yarn would more or less take up its own room (okay, storage box), I couldn't do it. I mean, I don't really have space to store the garment that would result from that 9 skeins of bulky yarn.

I'm almost at the stage that I can only knit for others because who has room for more things? And I took almost a year off from knitting?!?

No doubt, my sense of space is encroached upon by the impending renovation. They're going to flat out pull off 2 rooms of my house (one of which is my sewga room - where all the things are stored) and excavate the basement*. I will have no access to my outdoor space. In fact, my garden is going to be trashed by this undertaking.** They need to move the excavation gizmos into the backyard in order to do what needs to be done. I will have no kitchen (not safe to use, even before the kitchen reno begins in earnest). I will have no access to the basement (see below). At some point, we'll only have one upstairs bathroom (while the other is being redone). The bathroom in the basement won't be accessible.

So, what's a girl to do?

Well, I've hatched a plan to use every skein of stash yarn while I'm managing the space-compromising stress of having my house cut in half for 6 months. Of course, this is hard to do at the best of times - there's never enough yardage left to make what one would choose - but my plan may just work because I've decided to give much of my stash knitting away. I may not need another pair of socks (knit in sport-weight gauge) but somebody will. And I have so many smallish remnants from larger projects that must be repurposed. It's too much yarn to give away on Craig's List and not enough to make something I might actually use for myself.

Speaking of sport-weight cable socks, here's my latest finished object:

Brigid Socks by Renee Leverington
They're a bit odd but they take way less yarn than the pattern stipulates. Had I known that, I could have made the cuffs half as long again - so that they'd have better proportions. As it is, they're a bit on the elfen side for my liking, though they do look nice worn (if short on the leg). Note: I went down a needle size from that which was recommended and I didn't swatch first. They fit perfectly.

I will say that cables are an eternal pain in the ass. I don't know how someone came up with the idea to put them on socks - the smallest-diameter application. But they're pretty and these socks knit reasonably fast because the yarn isn't thin sock-weight and the needle size is larger than one would often use for socks. Of course, the idea of extending the cuff (the cable part) by an additional 17 rows isn't exactly thrilling, but for an improved end result, I'll do it.

But how about you? Are you inclined to use the stash in 2016? Did you go out and buy all the pretty hanks of yarn on Boxing Day? (Hey - I'm not judging. Send me pics!) Do you like these weird little socks? Let's talk!

*I was not in favour of this expensive addition to the addition but, on forensic pre-work, we discovered that one side of the 125 year old kitchen (to be renovated and to which the 2 rooms being removed will be reattached) doesn't have an adequate foundation. I don't mean the kitchen structure is compromised, but it would be foolish to integrate a new space into an extremely old space without shoring up the old. And hey, it's only time and money (she says, sarcastically). People: the road to reno hell is paved with good design intentions. All I wanted was a new kitchen and some French doors...

** This has been one of the most difficult elements of the impending process for me to, well, process. You know I have more photos of my garden than I do of my kid. But there's no way around it. I intend to give away my happiest plants and to hoard the Japanese maple and the honey locust. The dwarf lilac is a wildcard. That tree is so freakin' happy to be alive but it's in the line of fire. In the end, I'll have a new deck, new fencing and a new design - hopefully including a well-lit, cantilevered wood awning over said deck to facilitate weather-protection during winter barbecuing (which my husband does faithfully). Did I mention we're running the gas line out there so we don't have to get our asses to the propane shop every 10 minutes to refill the tanks? When you have to take a cab, it's a pain. While I have loved my current garden layout, I'm confident that I can create a new one that will be at least as delightful. After all, I know much more now than I did 10 years ago.


  1. Having retired in January, and now getting 1/4 of my former pay (too young for CPP). I have spent the year using my stash. I found it very cathartic to find uses for things, and did a great many projects, both knitting and sewing, using up what I had. I also make soap and a few candles, as well as dabbling in jewelry making. I made a few knit hats using up the little balls of wool sock yarn, mixed with sport weight yarn. I now have 10 grandkidlets, and made lots of pjs for Christmas from scraps of sweatshirt fabric and fleece. I made three maternity tops for my daughter in law from the stash, and loads of receiving blankets and carseat blankets from flannelette and fleece from the stash. Not to mention the quilts and crazy patch Christmas stockings that got made. I also did some cycling clothing for myself- new hobby for exercise...Pillowcases and work aprons for the grandkids too...Hmmm, no wonder I feel a bit tired. The twins are 10 days old, and I have a few ideas for outfits for them, from the stash of course. I am so glad that I had all this stuff to keep me busy, and I plan to do more of the same in 2016. All the best with the reno and the stash busting :-)PS I have a longarm quilting business and I have been hearing this all year from my customers-they are using up their stashes too!

    1. Congrats on retirement! I love how you're using your stash to enjoy yourself and to be fiscally prudent. Really, that stash is as gorgeous as the day you happily bought everything, so you might as well use it up with delight. And how wonderful that you have twins to shower gifts with. Boys, girls or one of each?

    2. Thanks so much. Identical twin boys...they were about 5 lbs each at birth.

  2. We have a move in the not-too-distant future, and I've been seriously culling, as there will inevitably be less space, and moves are too much pain not to benefit from the clearing out. I've been working from stash for five or six months now, but I have to admit I'm thinking of breaking the not-quite yarn fast I've been on. We'll see. . . Like you, though, I'm giving away most of what I make right now for similar reasons.

    1. I know you've alluded to that but how soon is soon? In a year or 10? The awesome thing is that you have family in many locations so you will be close to someone, wherever you land. And with all of those kids and grandkids, you could knit for others till that entire stash is liberated. And then get new stuff for you!

  3. Good luck with your destash and your renovation! That sounds horrific (I am reminded of my last move with my parents... When we moved in the house was still mid-reno and there was a functioning sink on the third floor, one functioning toilet in the basement, and one centipede-infested shower in the basement. And not a finished basement either.

    I confess I actually prefer having only one bathroom in many ways (OK, one and a half would be nice)... When the kids had their own bathroom it would just end up getting trashed. Really there's no reason to have two different showers in a house with limited hot water. ;)

    1. Eeeek - don't tell me these things. I'm living in a bubble! But I hear you about one bathroom. Less to clean!