Saturday, January 9, 2010


It's time. 2010 is here. Stitches is but weeks away. It is the hour to clean out the stash, re-organize my yarn bin, toss barely readable yarn labels (after carefully making notes in my knitting journal and on Ravelry), and plan my upcoming projects and designs.

Reduce: I went through my beloved bin and cleaned out any and all yarn wrappers. Those that were repeats went straight into the garbage pile.

Those wrappers that were curious finds were compared against project information in my notebook and on Ravelry. If they weren't already recorded, I carefully put down all necessary info and then promptly threw them away. There were even a few wrappers that I had to look up online to figure out what the yarn actually looked like. They were identified, then thrown out.

Look at my garbage pile! "Melissa!" you exclaim, "There is yarn in your garbage pile!" Yes. There is. It is yarn that I a) hate and therefore will never use or b) have a plethora of so that I'm confident I will not need that extra 4 yards I've been holding onto for 2 years and haven't yet used.

All that trash was taking up useless space in my beloved bin!!! Think of all the yarn I can now put in its stead!

Reuse: Any yarn of which I have less than half a ball but enough to make some good striping goes into a quart-sized ziploc bag. All yarn of which I have more than half a ball goes back into the bin.

I'm limiting myself to one bag of this size because I figure that's a lot of striping. Besides, I usually buy all new yarn for projects anyway!

Reorganize: My bin is now re-packed, loose ends woven into balls, all balls, hanks or skeins gathered in sections by weight.

Ahhh...I feel so much more relaxed when things are all in order (I truly am a Penelope). Now, let the creative juices flow!

How do you organize you stash? How often? What do you do to keep the scraps from overtaking your stash? Please, enlighten me so that I may learn from your wisdom...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Beat of My Heart Knitted Scarf Is Done!!!

Hooray! The project is done and the pattern is ready for you! I'm so excited because I just love this scarf! It's the perfect length to wear under a coat or by itself over a nice sweater.

The softness and drape of the silk/merino blend can't be beat. It's incredible to touch and lovely to look at!

Using approximately 140 yards of gorgeous Anzula fingering weight yarn, the Beat of My Heart Knitted Scarf is delicate, feminine - ideal for any situation whether you're going out on the town or for a cup of coffee with the girls!

If you're ready for this project (or even if you're not!), grab your needles (US 5 and 7), download the pattern below and enjoy some peace and quiet while you knit away!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Unsticking the Stuck Part 2

Ok, so I've conquered a huge part of my fear since we last visited the topic of projects stuck in a perpetual state of frustration. My problem with the "Not Your Standard Issue Sweatshirt" wasn't a stitch problem, it was a length problem. So, I decided that it was time I conquered my fear and tackled this problem by literally cutting my sweater in half, knitting to my desired length and then grafting it back together.

At Stitches 2009, I took a class by Margaret Fisher that essentially taught me how to do this. I highly recommend taking a class from this master knitter because not only did I learn the initial course material, I soaked in her vast knowledge of everything knitting and crocheting. So, as I go through the steps she taught me, I am by no means giving this knowledge as a teaching lesson but simply showing you how I've applied what I've learned from an incredible woman.

First, before I begin, you'll notice that my sweater is completely seamed. So, before I can begin to cut, I have to unseam my sweater till about an inch above where I want to cut.

Leaving this extra space allows me to cut freely and then will help the seam appear continuous once I've knitted and grafted my two pieces together.

Second, chose a row that I wanted to cut right above my pattern stitch. It's easiest to cut in a section that is all stockinette because then I don't have to worry about knitting in pattern stitch later on.
I took a large tapestry needle threaded with a contrasting color and began to thread my yarn under one leg of each stitch in the row below my chosen row (see picture above).

Third, I threaded under one leg of each stitch in the row above my chosen row.

By threading the row below and above, I've created anchors for the stitches to rest on when I cut the center row.

Fourth, I repeated this process on the other side of my sweater, trying my best to thread the same rows and leave the same center row open.

It's important to thread under only one leg or else you won't have passed your needle through the stitch but in back of it.

In Unsticking the Stuck Part 3, I'll show you Phase 2 - cut and knit. I'll finish up with grafting in Unsticking the Stuck Part 4 and model my "new" sweater for you! Stay tuned!