On The Purl Side

I just finished a sport weight lace shawl. It was a wonderful project and one I plan on doing again (after I get through all of my other projects of course). I enjoyed the lace patterns, the yarn, the knitting process itself, and the end result. However, one of the things I enjoyed the most was the purl side of the project.

Purl side? Whaaaat? I know that many knitters do not like to purl or at least to purl large numbers of stitches. They may even decide to knit in the round or to knit from right to left just to get out of having to purl.  I understand where they are coming from, the purl side can take longer, seem tedious, boring, etc. When I see a pattern with a purl side of 300+ stitches, I sometimes have to catch my breath.

Yet this project was different. While the knitting side gave me time to focus and improve my skill set, the purl side gave me time to relax and, more importantly, the time to reflect. I was able to reflect on my knitting and the entire process, how far my skills had come, and what I was going to try next. What would be my next project? What designs should I be making? Will I meet my own knitting goals?

I was also able to reflect on my life, my family, and my work. The purl side gave me the opportunity to look at everything around me and my future. Instead of impatiently waiting for the wrong side to be over, I enjoyed the time it gave me. The purl side gave me the time needed to focus on me.

The ability to reflect and to be introspective on my life was something that I felt like I very much needed. From now on, I will look at those large stitch counts and wrong side rows as not only part of the pattern but as a way to learn more about myself.

Happy knitting (and purling) to you all.

-Amanda

 

 

 

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Yarn Dyeing Adventure

During my cleaning adventure, I found two yarn/sock dying kits that I purchased at a knitting convention. Heck, it was probably 4 years ago that I bought them and they have been sitting there forgotten and gathering dust!

I decided to dye them two Sundays ago and then use the yarn to make socks. For the first part of the year, I got a case of the “I love socks! I must make them all the time!”- itis. I said to myself, “what better thing to do than use up my stash yarn and learn something new?”

Side Note- As happens every time I knit socks, I eventually get Second Sock Syndrome and began to pout, instead of finishing the second sock. However, I would rather not have another half started project sitting there so I must finish! It is an inner struggle that will hopefully resolved soon. However, my stubbornness on finishing half a sock is a story for another day.

Back to story- When I initially purchased the kit, I did not pay attention to the yarn quality. It was in a bag and I had not inspected it very closely. Also, as most yarns at conventions seem to be extra fancy  (and the kit price was up there), I assumed all was good. Four years later, when I actually opened up the kit, the yarn was fairly splitty and looks to be low-quality (please feel free to yell at me if this is your favorite yarn!). I plan to use it in the near future but I think it will be a pain to work with, the knitting needles will probably split or catch the yarn even more.

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Close-up of yarn, you can see how splitty it is.

The dyeing process was fairly simple. In addition to reading my kits’ directions, I followed a few you-tube tutorials for guidance. I just used my microwave, my husband’s cheese making gloves, and some paper cups. No mess was made and I only had a issue with dying my hands and one old towel. Thankfully the dye came out of both easily.

 

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Here is are my finished projects. One day, these will be socks!

 

The most time consuming parts of the project were transferring the yarn balls to hanks, soaking the yarn, and waiting for the final project to dye.

The end result came out fairly well but one section of dye did not stain quite as well as I would have liked. I probably did not put enough vinegar in or have hot enough water. Oh well, lesson learned!

If I try this again, and I will has I have extra dye, I think I will buy a nice 100% wool from Knitpicks to use as my base. Probably in a worsted weight since I am not in the mood to make socks.

My initial plan was to knit hand-dyed socks immediately after I finished my current set but since I have not felt like working on it, it may be a while! I may have to do a different project before I go back to socks!

 

 

The Yarn Room

In February I decided that I needed to do some deep cleaning in my house, focusing on the rooms that I would be embarrassed to have company see. One of the rooms on my list was my little Yarn Room. It had gotten cluttered over time and I usually left the door shut, ignoring the mess that was inside unless I needed yarn. I would run in (closing the door quickly behind me), rummage through all my yarn, leaving it in an even more cluttered state than previously.

After putting off cleaning the room, focusing on other areas of the house, I finally had nothing else to clean. So two weeks ago, I spent my Saturday de-cluttering and organizing. I got rid of old yarn labels that I was keeping for no reason, organized and put all knitting needles in one spot, pulled out old projects, and more. Now, each yarn is separated in cloth storage containers by type, making things easier to find. I have had the cloth containers for a few years but the yarns seem to end up in the wrong containers (or in retail bags next to the containers).

You can see my current stash in the photo for this page. I know what you are thinking, it is barely anything! However, you can squish a lot of yarn into the cloth tubs!

Hopefully, I keep everything nice and clean for the near future. My plan is to spend part of my Spring Break lounging in my Yarn Room and knitting away!

Here are some things I found out during the cleaning process:

1- My initial 20 ball resolution may not be sufficient. I may double it to 40 balls. This would really lower my stash level (almost to newbie levels) and make me feel like I am not buying yarn to just let it sit there.

I was talking to the owners’ of our LYS and they mentioned possibly buying 1-2 balls  every 20 or so. This may be enough to satisfy my cravings!

I may also try and hold out to the Black Sheep Wool Festival, this is not until June in Eugene, OR. I love going and buying all the fancy yarn. This would give me time to use up my part of my current stash and make me feel like I could splurge! (Like losing ten pounds and then eating lots of cake!)

2- I have a lot of sock yarn! I like to make socks every now and then but unless the sock has a pattern/design to focus on, my Second Sock Syndrome really begins acting up! In fact, I have not knitted much this week because of it. Ugh! Darn second sock!

I plan to make some shawls with part of the yarn, I love to wear them. Some of the yarn though is more sock appropriate.

3- I have a lot of scrap yarn. In fact one entire cloth tub is just scraps!

On one hand, I feel like it shows how much I have accomplished but on the other hand, I don’t want all the yarn to go to waste. I may try to make a bee-keepers quilt (which would take years to finish) with part of it and possible a mitered square blanket with the worsted leftovers. Who knows?

Right now I am using it for techniques. I am using a little ball of it to practice my Brioche while I do a Craftsy lesson. Once that darn sock is done, I may make a brioche scarf.

4- I really enjoy buying knitting needles. No matter the size, I always seem to need more. Can you guess what I have been buying while on my 20 ball resolution? 🙂

5) I have two yarn dying kits that needed to be used. I finally got up the courage to dye the yarn and will post the results later.

Happy Knitting To You!

Amanda Banana