American Wool Series

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


The past few weeks have been busy, busy, busy. I don't feel like I got much of a break from the holidays even with being quite ill for about a week and not having class in the evenings anymore. Life continues to happen whether I'm ready for it or no and there are groceries to be purchased and work to do and travel plans to be made (Stitches West anyone? Let's meet up.).
I was contacted by a certain designer to do some sample knitting under a tight deadline for a new line of yarn. The yarn is lovely and tweedy and soft and round and even after knitting with it for about a week straight I'm ready for more. The photo shoot was Sunday so as soon as the whole shebang goes live I'll share them with you!
My bestie came to visit and attend the ALA Midwinter Conference at the Seattle Convention Center. We've been spending as much time as possible together between her all day attendance at the conference and my having to, you know, work and spend time with the family. In fact,I worked a half day Monday in order to spend some quality time with her which may or may not have included the eating of cupcakes.
I'm feeling encumbered by my smallish hoarde of WIPs left over from last year. For whatever reason I'm not able to shut them out of my mind like in previous years and it's driving me a bit bonkers. I like to start off my knitting year with a clean slate and even though I'm not starting a ton of new projects I don't feel like I'm making much progress on the current projects. Everything feels a little stagnant and I'm not sure how to resolve that feeling except for casting on a new project which only exacerbates the problem. Any solutions for me?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Music Monday

Music Monday is back!

Last week I watched the film Blue Valentine starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. I'm not one to cry during movies but boy did I bawl my eyes out and most of that had to do with the use of this amazing song. The track was lost in a music warehouse and resurfaced in time to be a key feature of the film. If you haven't seen the film yet, I highly recommend it, but do yourself a favor and be prepared with a box of tissues.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

FO: Fightin' Words

Fightin' Words
Originally uploaded by ErinBirnel
The finished Fightin' Words mitts! These live in my bag for the surprisingly cold and freezing weather here in Seattle.

Pattern: Fightin' Words
Yarn: Knit Picks Palette in Semolina and a discontinued red color (substitute at your own discretion)
Needles: US #2 and US #3 Clover Bamboo
Mods: None. I steam blocked these puppies and now they're ever so slightly too big for my hands. I'll knit the smaller size next time and they should fit perfectly even after blocking.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Stash Revisited

A while ago I posted about my stash reorganization and kinda sorta wanted to revisit the subject. Did things stay sorted? Is all of my stash in Ravelry? Have I been stashing more or whittling it down?

Did things stay sorted?

For the most part, yes. I removed sweater quantities from the cedar chest and placed them in the space bags that live under my bed. Single skeins that I found in the space bags went into the cedar chest. This was more shuffling around than organizing but everything is where it should be according to my Ravelry notes. I've been digging through it a lot lately so it's slightly messy but I can still find things.

Is my stash in Ravelry?

At this point I would say 95% of my stash is listed in Ravelry. I spent 2 or 3 hours Saturday afternoon logging single skeins and odd balls into my stash that for some reason or another hadn't been entered. The key to getting this done was using my ipad to look at my stash on Ravelry and my Yarma app on my iphone to take and upload pictures quickly. I could do all of the entry work while sitting next to my cedar chest and digging through it.

Is the stash bigger or smaller these days?

In general, the stash trend is downward which makes me feel really great. My numbers on Ravelry are higher ( I think) since I've been working hard at logging everything that got missed in previous stash organization sessions. I've been on a yarn diet since October-ish with a few exceptions and that has been a really good thing for the size of my stash and my pocketbook. My yarn diet ends for Stitches West where mayhem of the yarn buying type will surely ensue and then I'll be back on the Coldsheep bandwagon for the remainder of the year.

After exporting my stash into Excel via Ravelry last night I found that my yardage is 66,700. This may shock some of you but I'm pleasantly surprised since I thought my number was in the 75k range. If I knit as much this year as the last couple of years this is probably about 2 or 3 years worth of yarn. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

WIP: Tiny Rocky Coast

Tiny Rocky Coast Cardigan

Originally uploaded by ErinBirnel
There are a lot of people in my life who are expecting babies this Spring. While baby things are thankfully quite tiny and make quick knits the sheer number in my list is a little overwhelming. I cast on this little cardigan over the weekend. Tiny Rocky Coast cardigan by Hannah Fettig from the Coastal Kids Collection. It's knit in a very nice fingering weight - Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in the color 'Ponder Dusk'. I'm knitting the 12 month size to try and use as much yarn as possible.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WIP: Fightin' Words

In the spirit of following through with my 2013 goals I dug out this super old Palette yarn and cast on for the Fightin' Words mitts. This happened while I  was home sick from work and had a whole day to sleep, knit, sleep, knit, sleep, and watch way too many episodes of Hoarding Buried Alive. By the end of the day I had knit an entire mitt sans thumb and cast on for the second.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2012 In Retrospect, 2013 Inspiration

Hello, there! Happy New Year! I've spent the last week or so cleaning up the debris of Christmas or sick in bed so my obligatory 2012-2013 post about what I've achieved and what goals I have for the new year are a bit late. Let's just say it gave me more time to think about both those ideas and the year ahead, okay?

What did I achieve in 2012?

I graduated from college with a BA in English and a BA in Humanities. I'm very proud of graduating since the last couple years saw me returning to work full time (or more than full time) and going back to school. That's a very full plate in addition to having familial obligations like raising my daughter and spending time with my husband and my friends.

I continued my podcast and made some great new friends online and in real life. My knitting friends continue to be a source of inspiration and strength for me and I don't think I could have made it through the last year without them. My besty came back from 2+ years abroad and spent the holiday with me and I'm so extremely happy that she's back in the U.S. and that we share a time zone.

I didn't keep track of my knitting yardage from last year but I'm pretty sure it still tracked pretty high. Maybe not in the 30k yard range as in previous years but still quite high, nonetheless. I may have had some resolutions from the beginning of the year but I'm pretty happy with my knitting and where it is right now.

How about 2013?

As far as my education goes I'm still planning on attending graduate school at the UW. My application is due in October and I'll find out in December whether or not I've been admitted to the program. I have a lot of work to do for my application so I'd like to work on it over the course of the next 6 months so I don't have to rush any part of the application process. This is the biggie on my to-do list for this year.

The podcast is still going strong (Doubleknit Podcast with my co-host, Jessica) and we're hosting a year-long Deep Stash KAL to focus on older stashed yarns and show them some knitting love. My personal stash outgrew it's confines this last year due to retail therapy and I'm trying to get it back to a comfortable level this year. If you are a member of Ravelry you can join us in the Doubleknit Podcast Fans group and knit your stash down, too!

I'm trying to be a more mindful consumer this year and really pay attention to what I purchase and how I purchase. I'm an emotional shopper and am rather impulsive when it comes to seeing items that are a good bargain. I'd really like to reduce the amount of clutter in my home (took 3 boxes to Goodwill today!) and be happy with the things I already own. Part of this is budgetary since I'm looking at looming school debt but also examining the why and how I think about my life and the stuff that is in it.