Sunday, 1 February 2015

Stashdown #1: January 2015

Another year, another stashdown! My target is to be at -716 at year end, to offset last year's growth.

In January I bought yarn to make a sweater. Yardage in 1030 yards. Lovely yarn!

It is rooster almerino aran and I'm already in the middle of the third ball, so making good progress.

All my other knitting in January was from stash.

I made a pair of baby hats for charity out of cotton yarn. 90 yards out.

I also made a lace ribbon scarf to wear to work. 416 yards out.

For this second one, I was using up yarn I bought for my ill-fated colour affection last term. 

I also made a tiny polar bear toy, but that one doesn't count for stashdown, as it was a free yarn kit with a magazine. 

So, end of January update as follows:
Yardage in 1030
Yardage out 506
YTD +524.

Hopefully I can get that at least to zero next month. I have no need to buy any yarn, honestly, so it should be all yardage out. Fingers crossed! 

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Winter birthday

Another year older. I have finally found someone to make me a birthday cake, after my previous favoured baker moved away six years ago. This one is chocolate layer cake with salted caramel filling.

My son gave me these:

Such a thoughtful boy. The little owl is a brooch made of broken tiles in a mosaic. Really lovely.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Cold Start

How I hate the beginning of January. Every year, the days are so short and gloomy, the weather is cold. This year, dd also has looming exams and on Monday, absolutely no-one wanted to go to either school or work. But lo! I have finished a whole working week! Today is mostly about housework, laundry and a little bit of knitting.

I accepted a quidditch challenge this week which means I have been knitting for charity. Two little baby caps due to be sent to Loving Hands, a UK charity which accepts a range of crafted items and distributes them to a selection of charities, both here in the UK and internationally. I'm using up stash yarn to make these, so all good.

I've also cast on and been working on another lace ribbon scarf. I made one of these last year, and I like it so much, I'm making another in plain black stash yarn. I think it will be eminently wearable in the office on cold days, as I have actually worn the other one also, only being blue, it clashes terribly with some of my clothes. Black seems like a universally useful colour.

Onwards on the stashdown! Tomorrow, I will go to knitting group and discuss with other knitters on swatching and measuring stitch counts, before I properly start my jumper. I'm still conflicted on which size to knit!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Winter holiday

Just back from a lovely couple of days staying in North Yorkshire, in a winter wonderland that looked like this:

It was only a sprinkling of snow, really, but enough to make the landscape magical.

These photos were taken on the road between Helmsley and Stokesley. After a bracing walk in the frosty winter air, we appreciated a trip to a White Horse Inn for sustenance.

I volunteered to work tomorrow, so my holiday feeling is about to wear off. But at least I had a lovely break!

Friday, 26 December 2014

A festive feast

My festive kitchen on Monday:

The cookies on the right are angels in the realm of glory, and stacked on the cooling rack, merry deer running through the greenwood (yes! This has got to do with Christmas, as in "the rising of the sun, and the running of the deer" *sings Holly and Ivy*)

On Tuesday, I got to work with the icing. Above is my now snow-topped spice cake, but the cookie icing was typically rubbish, I MUST take a class (I say this every year! Perhaps 2015 will be The Year.

After all that work, relaxing was de rigeur. 

Compliments of the season to you, dear reader. Have a virtual bendick's bittermint!

Monday, 22 December 2014


So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!!
Susan Cooper

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Stash Stocktaking

I did my annual stash stocktake this weekend. In the course of which, I identified 1830 yards of yarn to discard. However, I just added 880 yards of new yarn to my stash, so I'm about 700 yards up overall.

I did think about declaring that I would not buy any more yarn until that backlog is gone, but I can't really say that given my plan for a sweater next term. 

Back to my stocktaking. It is not so bad when you look at it in the round. I have generally used the yarn I bought during the year, with the exception of the fyberspates 4-ply I added for my ill-fated colour affection in September (now frogged as part of the stock-take), and recent purchases of sock yarn and 3 balls of beautiful bergere de France cabourg in kiwi fruit green.

I have a plan for that yarn, which also involves buttons that look like strawberries, and I really hope this means my knitting mojo will return in January. It's been hiding from me since August!

Here is my current stash all laid out for your enjoyment:

If I don't use some of the older yarn up in the next twelve months, I think it will be for the recycling centre in next year's stock-take!