Even though the writing here has been slow, the knitting continues!
I have recently joined some of the other members in the Stash and Burn Podcast group on Ravelry in an adventure we're calling "Going Cold Sheep" - like going cold turkey, but with yarn. This was an idea that one of the members brought to the group as a way to suggest more mindful use of, and less random buying of yarn. Essentially, a yarn diet - though that word is really not welcome chez BrownBerry for any "lifestyle" type activity.
Those of us who have made the cold sheep pledge (and recited the Cold Sheep Serenity Prayer) have chosen a time period within which we won't buy any yarn. My commitment began on September 1, 2009 and will end on September 1, 2010. Yep. One year...no new yarn. Except....and of course there must be exceptions - all good habits must make room for moderation. My buying exceptions include yarn for my Etsy store items, yarn bought as a souvenir (2 trips max), yarn that is traded for stash or gifted to me without solicitation, and yarn for gifts that require specific yarn (due to allergies, or recipient's choice).
So far, I'm 3 months successful - I've been shopping from my PYS (Personal Yarn Shop) in the guest room, and working project to project. Here's what has come off the needles recently:
2 Thorpe Hats (and a partridge in a pear tree!):
This Thorpe was done in a thick-and-thin handspun gifted to me by my knit buddy Suse. I didn't realize that I would be such an instant fan of handspun yarn, but there is something about yarn in its near-to-original state that I really enjoy. The smell, the feel, the thought that someone put so much effort into making yarn that I can then convert into something cute and useful. A joy! Of course, without the benefit of the standard yarn ball band, I have no idea how many yards this used up, but I was thrilled to find just the right pattern to compliment it. I made the largest size (22") on size 9 needles, and then hand felted it in a sink full of hot water to make it more dense and snug. The burgundy trim is Kraemer's Mauch Chunky yarn in the color Bing Cherry.
My other Thorpe is done in 2 colors of Plymouth Encore (wool/acrylic blend):
This stash yarn is about as old as my knitting journey (5 years +), and is still one that I enjoy using for different types of projects. The pattern calls for a bulky yarn, so I used this held double throughout, and though I wasn't sure about the thickness at first, I know from experience that this will soften with washing. I made it as a gift for a friend who's mom recently passed away, and I felt very fortunate to be able to give it to him in person shortly after hearing about his loss. It was a late birthday gift that turned out to be right on time. I used size 9 needles for the body of this one as well, but I switched to size 7's for the garter stitch brim to pull it in a bit more. Top down hats are really ideal for getting better sizing. I would definitely knit this again - thank you Kristin Kapur!
And finally, my latest favorite FO:
Hypoteneuse, by Anne Hanson
I knit the garter borders on each end on size 7 needles and the body in size 9. This pattern is so rhythmic. Like all lace, you get this nifty sense of accomplishment every time you complete a repeat, and it wasn't long before the formula "clicked" and I no longer needed to refer to my pattern print out. I'll admit I don't buy patterns often, and this is only the 2nd shawl I have knit from a paid pattern, but just like the last time - it turned out exactly the way I had hoped, and I was ready to cast on for another one as soon as I finished! The yarn is Patons Classic Merino in Plum Heather - so perfectly named. I've raved about my love for Patons Classic before - it's durable, non-splitty, the colors are rich and come in a very useful variety. I find it knits up true to ball band gauge for me in most cases, and gains a significant drape when blocked.
Next in line - some cheerfully bright golf club covers from a pattern by my friend Sarah. Though the recipient bought this yarn, I still consider it stash and part of my cold sheep tally. I encourage you to join us if you want to start your new year a bit lighter in the yarn department!