Posted by: Jess | 19 March, 2012

Stashbusting Success

So, it turns out that Etsy is totally the place to go for destashing, and Ravelry is a great support venue.  I’ve sold nearly all of the yarn that I’ve listed in less than 4 months!  When I started on my destash journey, I debated about selling my yarn in smaller bundles.  But, in the end, I thought it would be such a hassle, so I listed each yarn type with exactly what I had, be that 3 skeins or 13.  And it worked!  I priced them in such a way that I would be willing to part with my hard won booty, but also make it a bit of a “deal” for someone looking to purchase them.  In some cases a ball band was missing, or one of the skeins was partially unwound/rewound (either due to swatching or missing band), but I was sure to call this out in each listing so buyers were informed.  I sold a few lots on Ravelry, which was great because I don’t have to pay the Etsy fees, but even those were modest in comparison to Ebay.

The process has left me feeling less burdened.  I’ve also only purchased yarn once this year, for a specific project that has been knit, and I’ve knit everything else from my stash…  I feel empowered to stick to my yarn diet.  Or, like real dieting, it’s more that I’ve made a life change, so I can stick to that, instead of just a crash diet.  I’ve managed to succeed in my cut backs related to food, yarn and money!  30 pounds lost, way more than 30 skeins lost, and lots of debt gone!  The destashing, fueled by my own revelation about not needing to buy “that yarn,” because there will always be another around the corner, has been liberating.

Posted by: Laura | 21 February, 2012

Guilt-ed Yarn

Is it possible for yarn to have bad juju? I mean, I’ve worked with yarn that’s been embedded with sparkly filaments or even cat hair, but icky feelings?

A few years ago, I was dating this man who haled from New Zealand. We met here in NYC, he worked for a big bank, he had lived in the U.S. for a bit over a decade… Anyway, he went home for a few weeks while we were dating. And of course, being a man of means and a good boyfriend, he brought back some gifts for me from his homeland. One of the gifts, was of course, a skein of natural, undyed, New Zealand wool.  (He also brought me back a sweater made of a wool/opossum blend, which has the look of mohair, but that’s another story.)

But back to the yarn. At the time of the gift’s arrival in my life, I felt that the yarn was too precious to use right away. It was a small-ish quantity, so I’d have to find the perfect hat or mitten pattern for it. Of course, after he broke up with me, I thought about dying the yarn. But, I mean, is that what one does with un-adulterated New Zealand wool?

So, to this day, three years later, a skein of wool, tinged with the memory of a failed relationship, sits in my stash.

I’m happy now. Thrilled, even, to say that I’m not with him anymore (the kiwi). I’ve met an amazing man, and we’ve been going strong for about a year now.

But the yarn….I don’t want to throw it away. It’s hard to sell in such a small quantity (I’ve had it posted on Ravelry for some time now, hoping someone would want it). And I *definitely* don’t want to work with it.

While I can’t quite describe the feelings wrapped up in that skein (regret? no. guilt? no. sadness? no.), I know that the feelings aren’t positive. I would maybe say they’re a hair past neutral on the negative side.

So the yarn. It’s got bad vibes. It’s got to go.

And I’m betting that someone will be so happy to find a nice ball of dye-able yarn that my icky feelings will be outweighed. Just like I hope that someone will be so happy to be with that nice thoughtful kiwi who ventures into a yarn store in his hometown to buy his girlfriend a gift.

Is there anyone out there who could use my guilt-ed yarn? Does anyone else have guilt-ed yarn in their stash?


Posted by: Jess | 14 November, 2011

Destashing: an epiphany of one’s own

As our purses feel a little lighter, jobs are at risk, and city living is only ever more expensive, I think we’ve all thought about how we could bring in some extra cash. One thought that has occurred to me: destashing.

I’ll just put it out there:  I have a LOT of yarn. Within my knitting circle, I’m definitely the hoarder. Of course, I’ve met some folks in other circles, which has made me feel better about my own stash. That said, I have a lot that could possibly bring in some extra cash. The conundrum is that I don’t want to get rid of any of it. Just about every skein, particularly those in any quantity, has a plan. It’s fated to be something.  It’s beautiful, woolly, and warm.

Since drafting the above,  almost exactly a month ago, I have made the decision to destash.  For $0.20 a listing, Etsy seemed a great place to start.  I have a few things up, and will keep posting (  I’m also in the process of listing my stash Ravelry as “will trade or sell.”  I’ve received a few questions about the couple items I had posted in the past, so I think that’s a good option as secondary advertising.

It’s tough to let it go, but I envision being the kind of knitter, eventually, who buys yarn for a specific project they knit right then, instead of planning for the future.  The realization that there will always be new yarn, always something that is lovely or wonderful or just that perfect kind of tweed.  I think the Yarn Harlot said something like that… but it’s probably not the kind of thing you can be told.  You need your own epiphany.

Posted by: Laura | 26 April, 2011

WEBS Tent Sale-Step 2 Planning

Well, we’re less than a month away from the awesomeness that is the WEBS tent sale. Jess and I have been carefully planning logistics (i.e. how to get a car for the day cheaply, and what time we have to leave the city to make the doors opening moment) for our posse of knitters!

But, I thought I’d share some planning things that I’ll be doing before the big weekend.

I’ve already spoken about budgeting with the change, but this is more about making the shopping list. I’m going to rely heavily on Ravelry for this discussion, but I think the ideas behind what I’m saying stand true whether you’re a Raveler or not (but you should be!).

Making a List

It’s important to consider WHAT projects you might like to attempt in the year after the WEBS tent sale. With this in mind, I’ve got my eye on Christmas gifts, fall sweaters, summer shawls…you get the idea.

To start, I’ll be looking through my Ravelry queue (or my pile of books and patterns for you non-ravelers). I’ll be deciding which projects I want to attempt.

For example, in my queue, I have the Crisp Rectangle Tunic Top from Stefanie Japel’s book Fitted Knits. I got the pattern from the book using my local public library (NYPL shout out!). I looked at the pattern and took my measurements.

I realized I want to make the size that requires about 763 yards of yarn. In the book, she used 7 skeins of Cascade Tencel for the size I’m interested in. (I’m not purposely being cagey about the size…I didn’t write it in my notes on my list, just the yardage…Sorry.)

Okay, so now, I’ve got the pattern, the size I want, the suggested yardage, and ONE suggested yarn. I looked on Ravelry to see what other yarns people have used that have given results that I find wearable for me. I also like Classic Elite Premiere for this, and looking at the yards per skein, it will also require 7 skeins.

Okay, so using this method, I compile a list of acceptable yarns AND the number of skeins I’ll need for the project. I also make note of the original measure of 763 yards of yarn. I then cross-reference this list with the yarn brands that WEBS sells (maybe this is overkill, but I want a short list). I eliminate any yarns that WEBS does not carry.

So, as of right now, my list includes

“Rectangle Tunic Top From Fitted Knits-763 yards?

-Cascade Tencel-7skeins

-Classic Elite Premiere-7 skeins”

Then, I go back to my queue to find something else I’d like to knit in the year after the WEBS sale. This list-compiling will help me go through the yarn in the store quickly to determine if something is or is not of use to me this year. It will also help me make sure I’ve got enough of a given yarn to complete a specific project. Keep in mind that most of the yarn that’s discounted at WEBS that weekend will be discontinued colorways. While you’ll probably have luck finding matching dye lots on ebay or at other online retailers (Alpaca Direct was a hit for me last year), it’s best to get everything you need in one trip, am I right?

In the end, I will probably choose between tencel and premiere based on which colors are available, which yarn feels better against my skin, and which yarn has the better price for the whole sweater.
Of course, I know I’ll go off list. (Last year, I referred to one of my skeins as a “trophy”…it felt so soft, even though it was a bit pricier than I would normally have gone for).

And, I’ll definitely be bringing my smartphone, so I can access the ravelry website and look things up as I wait in line to check out. (However, my phone is still slow when it comes to Internet, so having a list will be AMAZING).

And finally, if you’re reading this post the night before the sale, don’t worry so much about the list. I went without a list last year, and I made some very wise purchases (I’ve used all of the yarn I bought, so that has to be a good sign, right?).

I can’t wait to go feel some yarn! Northampton, here we come!

Posted by: Laura | 23 April, 2011

I know it’s not knitting but….

I also sewed this zebra-print box bag, for my cousin Olivia back home. I used this tutorial. I hope she likes it. The fabric and zipper were given to me by my Aunt Ruth, who has been sewing Olivia lots of zebra throw pillows and a window seat cushion! The inside fabric (which I of course didn’t take a picture of) was actually a white skirt from J. Crew that I spilled red wine on during a July 4th party at my apartment. I plan on using it for lining for my mom’s Mother’s Day gift, so I’ll try to snap a shot of it then….

Knitters, you will recognize this as a fancy box bag that you see sold for $40 on etsy. I actually won a fancy box bag, and I have to say I love love love it. It’s the perfect size for DPNs, gauge checker, and sock yarn or mitten-based project.

So, if I could modify this box bag pattern for the future (which I will), I would say that when you get to step 4, sew 1/2 the length of the sides, not 1/3. This will make a more square box bag, instead of a tall box bag.

Great gift to make in an evening, if you've got a mind to make something

Posted by: Laura | 20 April, 2011

April Socks–Ahead of Schedule

I cast on my April socks as soon as I’d finished my March socks. These are Skews! In Lightweight Socks that Rock….there’s no colorway as it was a mill end.

I followed the Pattern, known as Skew, by the letter, as I wasn’t quite sure what I was making. I have to say, these were fascinating to make, as the designer really used some geometric awesomeness to create the slanted stitching and the curled heels.

Techniques used: provisional cast-on, kitchener stitch, M1L and M1R.

Mine turned out a bit wide and long in the foot, so I sent them to my mother for Easter…and, I also thought that the pink was her color palate anyway.

Look at the skewed heels!

So pretty!

Posted by: Laura | 1 April, 2011

A Day Late…

…but the March Socks are finished!

I swear there's a second one...

Okay, so I have to weave in the four ends, but they’re done!

I used Socks That Rock Lightweight, and the pattern is called Anastasia. I followed the pattern mostly as is…the only modifications I made were that I started the eyelets after the heel turn about 10 rows up, instead of the recommended two rows up.

I would recommend this pattern. It’s a good fit for my foot, not baggy anywhere.

Not gonna lie though, I’m a bit tired of socks. I know I didn’t put much thought and care into these guys (I wasn’t picking up the wraps on the heel turn perfectly so there are no “holes”, etc.), and I was more excited of the idea of starting on the featherweight cardigan, I think..

That being said, I haven’t started the featherweight even to knit a swatch, but I did decide on April’s sock pattern and yarn, and I cast on tonight.

My other theory is that I’ve been distracted, by both work and a new guy in my life…I’ll post something that reminds me of him very soon.

Posted by: Jess | 24 March, 2011

Giant pur-plah scarf

Laura may have caved on her yarn diet… but I caved with a capital C.  I justify my splurge by saying, first, that I immediately started working on the intended project, second, that I’m already on my second ball of yarn, third, that I just NEEDED to have a giant scarf made from Malabrigo, and fourth, that I held out until March, which must be a record of some sort.

The details?  Well, I did buy 6 balls of Malabrigo Chunky, in a divine variagated purple.  Velvet grapes, mmmm.  Thanks to Ravelry I had a good idea of what the colorway looked like once knit, which is great – you can’t always tell.

My inspiration?  Well, a friend has an enormous scarf that her mom made and I just love big scarves – I mean, I thought my scarves were big – so I had to have one just as giant to bundle my face in.  I really think this could be my main scarf, so it had to be perfect and soft and colorful and everything I’ve ever wanted in scarfy goodness.  And, believe it or not, as the previously anti-scarf knitter, I have never knit myself a scarf, nor do I own a knit scarf.  I’ve been wearing the same red and blue scarves I’ve had since I was 18, bought from a lovely woolen mill outside of Doolin, Ireland.  They are fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but not as big as I had previously thought.  They don’t cover my face and all poking out bits in the freezing weather.  This mamma will do just that.

My only regret is that I didn’t get started sooner.  I would have loved to wear this beast once it’s finished, but that looks more and more unlikely, even though it’s snowing right now.  It’s going to be a perfect knit night project and a good change of pace after the Girasole, which required that I look at my knitting.

For the pattern I’m knitting a diagonal rib, previously called my “Diagon Alley Scarf” because I’m a big fat nerd.  [Update: I’ve renamed this to the “Channels Scarf” on Ravelry].  It’s a subtle pattern that doesn’t roll, and works well even with the variegated yarn.  I tried it once on a highly contrasted variegated yarn and that didnt’ work so well.  Velvet grapes is similar enough in tone.

The Groosalugg: [discussing paint colors] Or, perhaps this unique one called “pur-plah.”
Angel: Purple. Yet you have no problems pronouncing “pomegranate.”
The Groosalugg: It was my mother’s name.
Angel: What are the odds…

Posted by: Jess | 21 March, 2011


The road to a completed Girasole has been a bumpy one.  Jared Flood’s beautiful pattern inspired me to embark on my first lace project, and I am beyond thrilled that I did.  Initially, I started this pattern with some beautiful Madelinetosh in Norway Spruce, intending it for my mother for her 60th birthday.  I wanted to make her something special, with an heirloom quality to it, and Girasole fit the bill.  I think this all started back in the summer of 2010, with tons of time to get this completed by a March 1 deadline!  Famous last words. 

A little later I decided to make another Girasole as a blanket, so I ordered some fabulous Cascade Eco Alpaca, only to find that it really wasn’t a worsted weight yarn.  The blanket idea fell through, so I continued the alpaca Girasole, intending to gift it to a friend.  Then other projects came up.  Then Christmas gifts needed to be finished.  Then all of the sudden it was February and I hadn’t gotten very far with the original project!  A mad dash ensued… unfortunately, this backfired – I ended up with the wrong number of stitches (most likely while chatting at knitting night) at a key switch in the pattern – and I needed to rip it WAY back!  With two weeks to go, I just didn’t think I would be able to get through the whole pattern again,

My Girasole WIP in Madelinetosh

 so I switched gears and decided to finish the alpaca one, which was nearly complete.  A few days before the party (did I mention that it was on the 19th, so I was late with even more time than I thought) I joyously finished my Girasole and it is BEAUTIFUL!  Once blocked it flattened and had a wonderful lightness to it.  The alpaca is soft and creamy, and I still have another 3 balls of it for something else.  My Madelinetosh Girasole remains a work in progress, but I think I’ll finish it one of these days…. Just. For. Me.

Overall, I love this pattern.  It’s both simple to read and a pleasure to knit.  The finished product is gorgeous.  I’m excited to see how different it will look in the richly colored and variegated Madelinetosh compared with the coffee ice cream color of the alpaca.  I may take a break from this WIP for a while, as I have some additional gift knitting to do.  I’m planning 4 socks (because 4 pairs would just crazy) for my sister’s 40th birthday, but they seem super speedy after the beast that was Girasole.

Posted by: Laura | 17 March, 2011

I caved….

I bought three skeins of Misti Alpaca Lace yarn from I had a $5 off coupon, so it cost less than $21. But, I caved. Yarn diet broken, March 14th, 2011.


I plan on making the featherweight cardigan with it, and three skeins will give me extra length to the cardigan.


I bought it in the green field colorway. It was, in my defense, on sale.

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