Cleaning House, Knitting Style

For the past couple of days, I’ve been working on wrapping up some projects I have on the needles as well as getting some UFFOs finished and blocked. I have the secret project as well as the wifey’s Quicksilver (at long last) currently blocking, both with all ends woven in. I’ve been slogging away at the Clapotis for my MIL (just started skein #6 out of 7 last night) and that shouldn’t be too hard to finish up and block once the knitting is done. I’ve been using Russian joins the whole way so I’ll just need to weave in the first and last ends and trim up the joins. That will be three projects completely done! I also picked up buttons for my garter yoke baby cardi the other day so will grit my teeth and finish that up so it can be gifted away and off my to do list. Of course, I will attempt to get good photos of all these so I can blog about them properly.

I’ve also been doing a lot of work getting yarn ready to use. Usually this isn’t something I have to deal with but…I received some yarn I’d ordered a couple of weeks ago, and the bag and everything in it reeked of cigarette smoke. While I don’t want to infringe on anyone’s personal liberties, I will say that I really can’t stand cigarettes or tobacco smoke of any kind and to have a stale smoke bomb hit me when opening a bag of otherwise really lovely yarn–yeah, total bummer. I couldn’t just throw it away because, well, malabrigo! Also, while I didn’t buy it at anything close to retail price, I still did pay for it. So I’ve started the task of washing and drying all the yarn in the bag. Of course it was six skeins of non-superwash malabrigo wool and three skeins of hand wash Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece…no superwash in the lot. I’ve washed two of the skeins of malabrigo and am a little concerned that they started to felt. I’m not sure what to do for the remaining four skeins as I was as gentle as I could be with the first two. I’m going to try to wind them into balls today as they’re finally fully dry and see how it goes. As for the cotton fleece, I’m laughing at myself for what I did. I wasn’t really thinking clearly and just submerged two of the skeins without unwinding them. That was fine for washing them as it didn’t seem like the smoke had permeated past the outer layer (I think the malabrigo was the real culprit) but it wasn’t the best plan for drying them! So I washed them, waited until they dried out enough that I could unwind them into loops, and hung them to dry.

You might be wondering where I got yarn that was smoky. I got it from DBNY, which sources their stock from stores that go out of business, overgrown personal stashes and overstock. There’s no guarantees that anything will be in perfect condition since it may not be new or it might have been stored improperly before DBNY got it. However, I did send an email to their customer service department since this was such an ordeal. I’m waiting to hear back on whether or not they will try to make it right.

So I have the rest of that batch of yarn to unskein, wash, dry, ball, photograph and log into ravelry. I also have a small batch of yarn from Goodwill that I haven’t added to ravelry yet, so I’m going to try to knock that out this afternoon. If I have time and energy, I’ll sort through some of the last random stuff from my stash–mostly stuff without ball bands that needs to be identified and added to ravelry. Then, I’ll put any newly categorized yarn away in its proper bin.

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my latest Goodwill haul

How do people store their yarn? I used to sort by fiber type, but now my stash has so many different blends that’s not really feasible. I reorganized all my yarn recently (I don’t think I blogged about that, now that I think of it) and decided to sort everything by weight. So, I have separate bins for everything (lace, fingering/sock, sport, DK, worsted, aran, bulky and super bulky). A few categories that don’t take up much space are sharing bins, and a few categories that have a ton of acrylic are further separated that way. It’s all in airtight bags inside bins with lids. I think there are eight or nine large bins, all told, and they’re all full or close to it. Time to get knitting!

Anyone else doing some fall “spring” cleaning? What’s your strategy?

On Finding Yarn and Finishing Techniques

The universe is not helping me on my stashbusting mission. First, the Goodwill windfall. Next, a fellow raveler decided to give away some of her own stash, and I was the lucky recipient of another windfall. Then, I discovered DBNY. Lastly, I was poking through a closet yesterday, opened a project bag I haven’t seen in a while, and found several skeins of different yarns (as well as four out of five of my US 3 dpns). Guys, this was pretty cool. Not only could I really use those dpns, but some of the yarn? Awesome! An untouched skein of Noro Silver Thaw! There was some other stuff in there, too–some kitchen cotton, some higher quality DK cotton, some sock yarn, a couple of other random things. But brand new Noro? Beautiful. I love Noro yarns, both for the long long long color repeats and for the interesting and often luxurious fiber blends. So now I just have to figure out what to do with it…

noro silver thaw

What I actually thought I might find in that project bag was my copy of The Knitter’s Book of Finishing Techniques by Nancie M. Wiseman. I bought it many years ago and have used almost every page. I can’t find it currently and it’s driving me nuts. I’ve had to resort to the internet for questions about technique selection, finishing tips and the like, and it can be really hard to track down a good source. I like the book a lot because for each topic, several different options are discussed and the pros and cons are listed for each. The silver lining in this is that a week or two ago while looking for a decent comparison of cast ons for ribbing, i stumbled across this little gem: Tillybuddy’s very stretchy cast on for single or double rib. I used it for the project I was working on (Capucine), then for the next project (Bel et Bon mitts), then for the next and…you get the picture. If you haven’t used it before, I would highly recommend trying it. It’s good for anything with 1×1 or 2×2 rib, is very stretchy and is very fast and easy. And, it doesn’t require doing a long tail anything! I always misjudge the amount of yarn needed for those and end up either short or wasting some. So yeah, check it out.

I still hope I find my book soon. Maybe if I keep looking for it, I’ll find more stashes of Noro or other fiber bonanzas I’ve stored and forgotten about!

Not a Buff update: about half done, give or take. I may make it a little less than the prescribed 20″. But then again, I may not. I’m concocting a ggh tajmahal review post in my head for once it’s done.