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Extreme Yarn Destash Challenge

Extreme Destash Kickoff

Recently, we went through a deep clean and tidy up of our house. It all started, because the main feature in our kitchen, a pool table, was due to be picked up to be “rehomed”. The pool table was one of the last remains of my husbands bachelor days, before I moved into the house. 

Anyway, during this tidy up, we opened a suitcase that had been sitting on top of our wardrobe and hadn’t been touched in at least a year. We thought it was empty and the perfect spot to store some items we didn’t need for a while. Imagine my surprise when I realised that this suitcase was actually entirely filled with yarn! I can’t think of a clearer sign that you have too much yarn, than managing to misplace a huge part of it and not even realise it.

The first thing I said was “I’m not buying yarn again, until this is all gone”, but as you can imagine, that lasted exactly until I was close to a yarn shop again.

 

It got me thinking though of how I could get myself to work with all the gorgeous yarn that I own, and I decided to start a destash challenge. I’ll be doing this myself of course, but I’d love to get you involved as well, and that’s how the “Extreme Yarn Destash” was  born.

The name is inspired by Extreme Weightloss, since I watched a couple of episodes for the very first time in the last few weeks. Instead of losing excess body weight, we will shed weight in our yarn stash, which is taking up space that could be used in better ways. (And by that I mean more yarn of course).

 

In case you have ever watched the show, you know it’s all about the phases, with the year they have to turn their life around being split into 4 segments. Now don’t worry, I will of course not take up 12 months of your life with this challenge.

Each phase will be 1 month long, so the overall challenge will be 4 months. This will give all of us the time to do something productive with the yarn we have.

 

How it works:

 

  1. Join the Group on Ravelry
  2. Get your starting Stash Weight.
    You can keep track of this in any way you would like, but I have decided to use the yarn stash on Ravelry. It was quite an undertaking for me to get this up to date, because I had never really used this consistently before.
  3. Decide your phase goals.
    Think about what your goal for the whole Destash is going to be, and break it down into the 4 phases.
    Are you like me and want to use up at least half your stash? Do you already know that you will get less knitting done during a specific time (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years etc)?
  4. Shout about your goals.
    Fill in the dedicated thread in the Ravelry Group before October 31st.
  5. Participate in the fun.
    Use #ExtremeDestash in all the places you use hashtags.
    Phase 1 starts for everybody on November 1st and finishes on November 30th.

 

At the end of each phase we will do a check in, to see who of us managed to reach their goal.  Everybody who does, gets entered into a draw for some goodies. Exact details on these prizes will be revealed in the next couple of week, so definitely keep an eye out on my Instagram and on the Ravelry Group.

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Knitting Pattern Review

Pattern Review – Yellow Brick Road

I picked up this pattern, looking for something to do with a skein of beautiful blue yarn, that I got from a colleague from the US. Unfortunately the yarn band was lost long ago, so I’m not quite sure what brand it was.

 

The main pattern picture on Ravelry really caught my eye, because it showed so many different uses for this cowl. That was the main thing that drew me to the pattern. The added bonus with it was, that it is available as a free Ravelry Download.

 

The pattern itself is very straightforward, with all instructions fitting on just over 1 page. For people who like to print their pattern, I think it is important to know that the first page, contains a picture as well as instructions. This pattern is definitely beginner friendly, since it consists mainly of knits in purls, with the only exception being the buttonhole row, where yos and simple decreases are needed.

Blue-Brick-Road-Pattern

I used my favorite KnitPro Nova Metal interchangeable (size 5mm) for this project, which means I actually landed on the gauge the designer had in her pattern. For a cowl in general, gauge is typically not critically important. Since one of the main selling-points of the cowl is, that it’s a one skein project however, the designer notes that for this particular one, it is quite important to match gauge, to ensure that you don’t run out of yarn.

 

Once I got started, of course I didn’t read the chart right (read a purl row as a knit) so I started backwards. This shows that I have much more experience reading the written instructions, and need to pay closer attention the make sure I understand the charts correctly.

Charts are something that I am pushing myself to use more and more, because what would knitting be, without a little challenge for something new here and there.

Starting “backwards” made absolutely no difference to the completed cowl, and even though I know it, I don’t even remember it. It’s not one of those cases, where you make one mistake, that then in a way ruins the Finished Object for you, because all you can see when you look at it is the one area where you went wrong.

Blue-Brick-Road.JPG

The project overall was a super quick knit, I could easily have finished this in one day, but instead took my time over 3 days picking it up while sitting in front of the TV at the end of the day.

 

The buttons I used were recycled, from a (suuuper ugly) sweater that I had picked up at a charity shop when I lived in London in 2010 and unraveled. The yarn from this still hasnt been used, because it turned out not to be as good quality as I had hoped, but I am happy that at least most of the buttons were put to good use. They really compliment the colour of the yarn.
Even before the cowl was technically finished (weaving ends in is the bane of my existence!!) I wore it out plenty and have enjoyed it every single time. I wish I knew what the yarn is, because I would definitely go back and knit more with this.

Blue-Brick-Road-Buttons
Some details on the buttons. They are a really shiny light blue, somehow I haven’t been able to capture that properly on picture.
Knitting Pattern Review

Pattern Review – Business Casual

This project was a lot of different things for me at the same time. It all started with a purchase at an online yarn store in the UK, for the yarn needed for a blanket for a friend that was expecting a baby. I knew the yarn I wanted, and she had picked the colourway, and it just so happened that this was only available at that specific yarn store in the quantity I needed.

Anyway, when checking out, there were a couple of other yarns that stumbled into my basket (that happens to all of us, right?), amongst them was one skein of Sirdar Heart & Sole. At the same time, a 2.5mm Knitpro needle, my first 25 cm needle, decided it had to come home to me. It was intended as a test, because I really want to get into knitting more socks, but I haven’t quite found the right needles for me yet.

 

Now that I had the yarn and the needle, I needed a pattern. As always I took to Ravelry and during my search the Business Casual Pattern really caught my eye. I’m quite sure it was the blue colour of the main featured picture, because I have a serious thing for everything blue. With the lovely pictures, I was actually kind of surprised that the pattern was available for free. That surprise carried through into the PDF pattern itself.

 

From the start to the end, the pattern is highly professional, clearly structured and provides everything a knitter needs. Even though I have been knitting for over ten years, this has only been my second sock project, and in actual fact the first time I finished the pair… There was never any stage while knitting where the pattern wasn’t clear regarding what my next steps were. I did end up getting stuck at one stage on the second sock, but that was purely my own fault, because I must have dropped a stitch and didn’t realize for a whole lot of rows. Normally that wouldn’t be that big a deal, but considering the fact that there were cables running all over the sock, it turned a little more complicated.

Business-Causual-Closeup
Can you see these lovely mini cables running across the sock?

The yarn I have to admit felt different than I expected, but I guess that is just one thing you have to accept when you buy online. It’s not necessarily that I don’t like the way the yarn feels, but I suppose I had to get over the difference to my expectations to start liking it. During the knit, I fell in love with the gorgeous colours (and accepted the feel as well). They really worked beautifully together and in the finished socks, the colours worked into very wonderful bold stripes.

 

One thing I didn’t realize when I got started was that the pattern is specifically written to be used for double-pointed needles. There are sections where the instructions assume you are able to divide your stitches onto the different needles and tell you what specifically to do with which needle. I still carried on with my new needle test, which meant that I had to re-think at those sections and do a little more counting at times than I would have had to with double-pointed needles.

Business-Casual

I have to admit, I am still not quite sure, whether the needle experiment was successful or not. At the start, I was not very happy at all. My knitting style is continental, and I realized that I like to hold a lot of the needle in my hand. That doesn’t quite work with a 25 cm needle, for obvious size reasons. So halfway through the first sock, I was convinced that I would finish this project and not touch that needle again. Now at the end of both socks, I am really not sure. I’m very much looking forward to some longer needles for the next knitting, but won’t rule out using the sock needles again. Before I return to them, I have to try out a pair of socks on two circulars though, since I haven’t tried that technique before.

 

I started these in October, and had intended them to be a Christmas present. This meant, I made them in a size too small for me, which I am now regretting in April, having just finished them. I’m sure I’ll find a worthy recipient for them soon, although I am a little disappointed that I won’t be able to wear them myself.

 

Overall, the pattern is a definite recommendation from start to finish! I signed up for the designers newsletter as well (check out their page at http://www.tanisfiberarts.com) because she has a wonderful design portfolio already so I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Both needle and yarn weren’t my absolute favorites, but still turned out a beautiful finished object that I will be proud to share with somebody special.

Business-Casual-WhiteSome related links for you to check out:

My Project Link on Ravelry: http://ravel.me/StarStruckKnits/bc

Pattern Link on ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/business-casual

Yarn Link on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/yarns/library/sirdar-heart–sole