Inventory

A non-knitting friend recently asked me sternly: ‘So how much yarn do you have?’ It took me quite a while to add it all up mentally, and I realised that at my present shameful rate of progress, I probably have enough stash to keep me knitting for at least half a dozen years. (I well remember how I used to churn out six to ten sweaters a year… alas, no more.) It struck me as a fun idea to photoblog it. I want to say that this public display of accumulation might shame me into knitting from stash, rather than Stash (where I made an only semi-immodest visit yesterday), but come on. That’s hardly likely, is it?
Let’s take it from the top. Where by ‘top’ we understand recent acquisitions, where the rationalisation is still clear in my mind. Actually no, let’s take it from the WIPs; I haven’t actually photographed all of these, but you’ve seen ’em anyway, at least in bits.
A word of warning before we begin. Even by my standards, the picture quality is horrendous. Feel free to tut tut over my poor photographic technique, but before you ask ‘darling, what were you thinking ?’, please give the yarn the benefit of the doubt. Trust me, it’s all a lot prettier than it looks.
Okay. So.



The works in progress:

1. Gecko Ridge. 30 blocks done (actually 33; I stopped counting and overshot a bit). Between this photo session last night and lunchtime today, I managed to sew up five strips, and sort-of attach each strip to the next one – just enough to make sure they don’t get out of order. Further thoughts on the whole project will follow with the traditional fork photo.
gecko-unstitched.jpg
Yarn: Noro Kureyon, one ball per block. The scraps (it’s quite remarkable how widely the yardage varied between balls; some blocks barely got finished with their one ball, some had masses left over) will get added to those 3 lost blocks to make a cat blanket. Not like they need it, but Jemima in particular has been so very keen on Gecko for the duration…
2. Denim jacket. No pics. Slow progress. Having started this one in a mad fit of wossname, I immediately got distracted by socks and this is now in danger of turning into my Wednesday Wallflower.
Yarn: Rowan Denim, 1kg. I’m hoping that’ll be far too much but I hate to run out. God knows what I’ll do with the leftovers.
3. Chenille wrap, just started. This one’s a not very well-conceived rush job (I need it for product styling purposes, have I mentioned?) and frankly I’m not convinced it’s going to make it, but we’ll see.
Yarn: an eBay special – 500g cone of purple DK-weight chenille. Beautiful colour. If the wrap works out I’ll probably use it all up.
Okay, so now you know what I am doing, let’s turn to what I *plan* to do. Remember, pretty much everything in my stash had a clear purpose at the time of acquisition, so I’ll be identifying these according to what they are in my head. Let us proceed.
The latest infatuations:

The ladder-stitch summer party top.
sari.jpg
This will be a reworking of a top I already have, which gets people very excited every time I bring it out, but the design just isn’t *quite* there.
Yarn: Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon, 6 hanks. Vintage: yesterday.
The socks.
sock yarns.jpg
Bottom row, left to right: cosy magic-loop, toe-up socks (Wollmeise Granatapfel, worsted weight); knee-high somethings (Wollmeise Farn); regular size somethings (Posh Lucia).
Middle row and first ball on top: Cinder’s Secret Stockings (Piece of Beauty).
Rest of top row: Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Socks. Colour… Black Watch? Not sure.
Vintage of all these: within the last two months. (Shepherds, yesterday.)
I’m keen to compare and contrast lots of different sock yarns, as well as sock construction techniques. So far – having made precisely one pair – I am most attracted to the toe-up, short-row heel, 2 socks on one circ idea; and Lucia seems by far the softest. I think the Shepherds are least impressive to the touch, but then again they may wear the best.
The cowl-neck, extra-long aran.
almerino.jpg
Yarn: Rooster Almerino (1kg of it). Vintage: pretty recent. There was a bargain offer for the London SnB mailing list. I’m weak. And I want to be warm this winter.
The stripey top:
venice.jpg
Yarn: 500g of Filatura di Crosa in every colour I could grab. Vintage: March 2007 (Venice).
The Clapotis.
watercolor clap.jpg
Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Lion & Lamp, in Watercolor. Vintage: around October last year.
The problem: I wound one of the balls up long before the other three, for reasons that passeth understanding. On doing the rest last night, I noticed that – although all four of these balls have been stored in the same dark chest all this time – the three that were in skeins seem to have faded dramatically compared to the other one. It’s a scientific marvel! And really pisses me off. I don’t want a mini-Clap. And I don’t want to have to go buy more yarn. *pouts*
The shawl-collar chunky lace jacket (shut up. It’ll totally work):
almo.jpg
Yarn: alpaca/mohair from Texere, at an exceptionally good price. Vintage: Ally Pally 2006.
The fair isle cardi, plus something else, maybe a cute cabled ribby pullover, I haven’t quite got the details yet:
silkdream.jpg
Yarn: Lang Silk Dream (silk/merino blend, great value). Vintage: Ally Pally 2006.
The, um, I keep changing my mind on this but there’ll be two of them and they’ll be really pretty and stuff, you know, light summer jacket sort of things:
orion.jpg
Yarn: There’s actually two batches in here, around 600g of each in assorted colours. One is cotton boucle, the other is a really stunning bamboo (you can only see a bit of that here). Both are from a wonderful little shop in Cape Town that gets its stuff custom dyed. Vintage: November 2005.
The… er… I think they’ll be two jackety things, probably, I have some ideas and even suitable patterns lying around somewhere:
stweed.jpg
Yarn: Rowan Summer Tweed, 500g each of two colours. Probably not *actually* enough for a jacket each, then. Hm. Vintage: some time in 2005. A John Lewis sale.
The long-line summer cardi of some sort, probably in a kind of broken rib, and dear lord there’s a lot of it so maybe it’ll end up a kind of twinset:
linen.jpg
Yarn: Rowan Linen Drape, now discontinued. 21 balls. Vintage: er… January 2004? Maybe? I know it was a John Lewis January sale.
That concludes the supposedly planned project line-up, and brings us to the rather sad and lonely corner where hide the unloved, the widows and orphans and black sheep of the stash family.
The novelty yarns.

novelty.jpg
These were all gifts from very well-meaning but clueless non-knitting friends. But I love that they tried. One or two of these are even very pretty, but I have no idea what to do with a single ball of Jaeger Firefly. (Nor much desire to buy it a mate.) Most of these are going to be disposed of pretty shortly.

The frog pond.

froggy.jpg
One of these was attempting to be a very cute multidirectional jacket in Rowan Cotton Glace. I was running hopelessly short of yarn and haven’t quite found the inspiration to find a Plan B. The other was the terribly ill-starred Red Hot Mama that I was working on around the start of this blog. (Which is as much indication as you need of how awful these photos are… that yarn (Jaeger Siena) is red hot, seriously. Not muddy brick. No. It glows.) It went through two entirely separate incarnations, both doomed. I’m a little scared of trying anything else with it now. And besides… I think we’ve established I’m not exactly short of distractions.
Vintage: both 2005. The purple cotton, January; the red, more like September.
The leftovers.
widows.jpg
I had a second photo, of a box full of scraps, but it seems to have gotten corrupted. Never mind. It looked quite a lot like a messier version of this.
swatches.jpg
No, I don’t know why I’m keeping a box full of old swatches either.
And the completely random.
orphans.jpg
This pile is mostly a combination of gifts, impulse buys, odd balls bought as samples or parts of projects that for whatever reason never even made it to complete yarn acquisition phase. But for some of these, too, I have actual plans. On the right there – singularly failing to show off their wonderfulness – are wound skeins of Seasilk and Artyarns Silk Rhapsody; these are probably going to be my initiation into the mysteries of the Moebius. That sequinned Tilli Thomas is a scarf gift in waiting. Other than that… yeah. It’s anybody’s guess where these’ll end up.
Vintage: the oldest (those balls of chenille) are from January 1998. My first trip to London, where I found John Lewis and almost expired from excitement. The most recent (two balls of Cathay) was just a few weeks ago; they were to be the accent colour on a teal cardigan. Turns out everyone and their aunty seem to be sold out of all the good colours of Cathay, so I’m left with just the accent.
So what do you think? Do I have a stash problem? Or is this really very modest and reasonable and it’s nobody’s business but mine if I hover over the Posh Yarn sale tonight?

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8 thoughts on “Inventory”

  1. Those twice-yearly sales at John Lewis are dangerous. So much of my stash is comprised of JL “bargains,” that I am terribly afraid I am never going to use.
    Have you joined Ravelry yet? I’ve been documenting my stash over there, and in my Flickr account, and I am so very ashamed of myself. You do not have a stash problem. You have a lovely stash and you seem to know what you plan on doing with most of it. Me? I have no clue in most cases.
    I can’t believe how badly that Lion & Lamb faded, though. That’s dreadful, and I don’t blame you for being pissed off. I don’t know how it would work with the Clapotis, but you’ve got some substantial yardage there. Do you think you could blend the non-faded stuff in among the faded, by switching yarns every other row, or something? L&L is pretty spendy. Too spendy to fade like that.

  2. I’ve signed up for Ravelry but I’m still on the wait list. *sigh* All the cool kids are in already… I feel so left out.
    The LL is really disappointing. I do think the photo makes it look slightly worse than it is (in real life it doesn’t look so sallow), but it is a striking difference. Alternating yarns may be a good idea, I’ll do some test swatching. (You know. When the time comes.)

  3. Well…you know…I’d offer to um, flash my stash and all…and (by george!) courtesy of a mother who owned a wool shop in 1981 and even a few Dickens & Jones sales in Richmond (before they cast off as yarn stockists) , I’ve got some real vintage, nay VINTAGE stuff but heck, nuttin’ to compare with the volume of yarn that you have…I don’t think. Hmm – oh goodness, where’d I put my camera?! Perhaps it is time that I faced up to my stash and catalogued/listed it!
    Oddly, I am determined to use it up and like you, I do have projects in mind. I think. Um…
    …with a few notable exceptions: got a use for any 3 Suisse Petrol Blue Cotolino anyone?!
    Or should I wait? I have applied for Ravelry. Surely uploading the stash there will be better than doing so on blogspot?!

  4. I haven’t dared to photograph all my stash but it is bigger than yours, most especially in the sock yarn section. I’m now on a yarn diet and have to knit from stash. So all those long planned projects are going to have to start becoming WIPs. As I have some beautiful sock yarn in my stash I’m going to have to come up with NOT socks for some of it, but what? I’m just NOT a knitted hat, gloves or scarf girl and I’m not good at parting with stash. It’s mine precious.

  5. 3 Suisse Cotolino is a slubby summer yarn from the early 80s.
    It is sitting in a bag with a faded, photocopied, 80s cropped cardigan pattern. As I have not tackled this project with any vigour over the past 26 years, I need to accept that I will probably never will!
    There should be enough yarn for a summer camisole (at least – oh, thinking about it, I may have an original Cotolino pattern for one tucked away somewhere).
    Or else, I could simply admit that I am never ever going to use this yarn and ebay it – musty as you like, vintage yarn from a pet and smoke free home?!
    It’s just the stubborn 10-11 year old, sitting at the back of my head who does not want to admit that her mother’s doubts and skepticism about giving into her begging for some nice yarn was warranted!
    Mind you, she’d probably faint if I pitched up with a completed garment knitted out of it.

  6. Anne, how about using your fancy sock yarn as trim on some plainer sweaters? Or does the thought of knitting a whole garment on 2.5mm needles make you gibber? Oh – thanks for the tip on changing needle size to accommodate a larger calf; I think that’ll be very useful to me. I have pretty chunky calves – as you can see!
    Gabrielle, I know just what you mean! That’s what makes it so hard to destash. It’s not just the yarn, it’s all the plans you had for it… and the ego bump of admitting you misjudged. Ouch.

  7. Nope, not frightened by the needle size as I have in the past knit 3 traditional 5ply mens guernseys, each increasing in size (BIL was 38″ chest, FIL was 40″ and then DH was 42″), they are worked in the round on small needles. Usually don’t do plain sweaters, prefer to be all colourful. I’ll work something out, just trying to get some inspiration, not into trims.
    Meant to say well done on the socks, those are great for 1st socks. I’m going to try Monkey socks next but finishing thermal first as I’m nearly there.

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