Friday, February 24, 2017

Yearly Comparisons

I think it's about time to do the yearly comparison recap post. How many years have I been keeping track of my yarn use? Let's find out!

Oh man. I thought I had more years with negative yarn addition to the stash! So close last year!

Note--I just realized that I never blogged about a shawl I made in 2016. I posted it on Instagram, but never got around to blogging about it! So I'm altering my 2016 totals to account for it. The great news is that it turned 2016 from an "added yarn" to "used up yarn" year!

                    2016                     2015                      2014                           2013                            2012
Yarn In:    11 223gr                 9 989gr                 10 076                        16 153                         21 096
Yarn Out:  11 260gr                9 272gr                  8 061                         16 805                         16 849
Balance:           37gr -               717gr +               2 015gr +                       625gr -                   4 247gr+
Costs:         $507.27                 $430.10               $511.49                     $378.91                        $524.43

Five Year Totals 
Yarn In:       68 537gr
Yarn Out:     62 247gr
Balance:         6 290gr
Costs:        $2 352.20

Yarn In:     13 707gr
Yarn Out:  12 449gr
Balance:      1 258gr +
Costs:       $470.44

This is so fascinating. I was so close to not having a positive yarn in for 2016. If I had gotten a couple things done before New Year's, then I would have.   I reached the negative balance but didn't even know it because I forgot to blog about a shawl. A measly 67gr shawl. The first year I did this, I was not thinking very much about the yarn I bought. If it was a "good deal" then I bought it. Then my finances changed, and I started my little business. I tried to use up yarn as much as I could but it got harder and harder because clients had specific requests. Also, in those first two years (can't remember which one) I got a large donation of yarn from my MIL. I did re-donate much of it, so that's why my Out totals were high. I had tried to keep donations separate, but gave up. My costs didn't really vary too much. I can't believe though that I managed to ADD 6kg of yarn to my stash over 5 years! It adds up! I did pull out some to donate/sell, but it's so hard to cull through the stash. And of course, my box of  "In Stock" items has grown. No one wants to buy my in stock items!! There's some good stuff in there! I don't understand. Anyway. I highly encourage anyone who uses yarn to try this for the year. Note--I did not include purchases of patterns, dyes, needles, stuffing, etc. Just yarn.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Teddy Bear

I got a request for a custom teddy bear hat, that was urgent. Of course, I didn't know just how urgent until after I gave my quote. And then the photographer wasn't able to pick up and use right away anyway. But oh well, it was nice to have a little project to focus on.  I use some "Soft'Hair" that I had bought many years ago for a sweater. That project had been quite a challenge--the lace was worked on both sides of the knitting! I tried to tailor the sweater a bit because it was an oversized '90s pattern. I was nearly done and it got packed up and put away--I don't know why. A move? A pregnancy? Every time I'd see it, I'd think, what was I thinking--a worsted weight mohair sweater in ivory?! It was somewhat itchy and I could not imagine wearing it next to my skin. Then I needed the needles for something...

I agreed to the order before thinking of how to make it. My first thought was the pixie style hat, but I didn't want the point. While laying in bed, I thought maybe I could eliminate the point by short rowing like a sock.  My first attempt was a little too wedge like. I needed more stitches left out of work in the middle.  I don't see an easy way to download the picture from Instagram, so just go check it out

Or give me another minute and here it is:

I like those little ears, but that's not what I was going for this time. Maybe another time.

I love the end result. I can't believe how much it looks like the inspiration photo, though that photo doesn't show the back shaping, so I don't really know. From the front though, it's awesome. 

Is that not awesome? I'd love to make more!

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 27gr + 1264gr = 1291g
Balance: 251gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/54days = $0.70 per day

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


Last summer my niece asked me for a mermaid blanket. They're not that cheap to make in adult sizes but I considered it. I don't make a lot for her, and now that she's 18, she's kind of out of the regular gift giving stage. Plus, we just don't see that family much. Even though it was more than I would usually spend, I didn't have much else going on so I figured I might as well. She asked for purple and red. Ummm. Okay. I shopped around and really couldn't find much in a purple and red, and I was not going to do stripes (she did ask for thick and cozy). I did find this yarn, it's "Loops & Thread" Country Loom, in, I think "Kiss Me" which is red with hints of pink and purple, "Tapestry" (the purple) and Solarium (the green).
 The pictures are SO bad. It's not maroon at ALL. Take a look on Ravelry. I'm not really happy how I blended from red to purple. I don't think I spread it out long enough. But after many attempts at getting a nice gauge and fabric and size....I was ready for this to be over.
How can the green and purple be right, but not the red? Again, a smaller tail. I know I should do them bigger, but they just get heavy and weigh down the blanket, and eat yarn like crazy.

Rumour has it my niece loves it. I've yet to hear it from her, or anyone in her family (I did put on the card that they are to share it!). It didn't make it for Christmas, but that's okay, right? For the sake of my yarn totals, it would have been nice to have it count last year (716gr), but it puts my totals in a good balance for now :)

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out: 716gr + 548gr = 1264gr
Balance: 278gr more bought than used
Costs:  $37.91/52 days = $0.73 per day

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Newfie Mitts

There is some debate on the name of these mittens. Many call them Newfie, or Newfoundland Mitts. Others call thrummed mitts, Newfie mitts. Some call these "bubble knit" or honeycomb. No matter what it is, I have had this particular pattern printed out since 2008. It was time. I wanted more "unisex" mittens for the kindie kids. These yarns are a littler thinner, but I figured this texture would be good. I used an appropriate number of stitches and needle size to get the size I wanted. I was aiming for more of a size 6 since many of the mittens are too small for bigger kids. They ended up a little smaller, and since washing, well...they're a small 4, I think.

The pattern was pretty easy. HOWEVER. Reading the pattern was not. First up, you're working in rounds, not rows. Once you get into the patterned part, you are NOT slipping two with A. You just leave A at the beginning of the round, yarn at the back. You slip those stitches that had been knit with A, but for the five rows you work with B, the other yarn is just hanging out at the start of the round.  This is talked about in the comments, but I wish she would change the pattern!!!

Some kids have commented that the thumb is too small/tight. I'll comment more about that when I post the next pair I made from this pattern. Despite the poor pattern writing, I still recommend these mittens. As I said, I'll write more on the next pair because I did do some adjusting to the thumb. Sure, these have been knit for generations just like they are...but in my True Tracy Way, I had to make adjustments! 

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  38gr + 510gr = 548gr
Balance: 994gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:  $37.91/45 days = $0.84 per day

Friday, February 10, 2017

Messy Bun!

Just before Christmas, a picture of a woman wearing a messy bun hat appeared on Facebook. Overnight, it was a viral hit and everyone wanted one. I posted right away on my page that I could not make any for Christmas, but if anyone was interested, I'd look at it after Christmas. There was still quite a bit of interest.

One woman who had ordered mermaid blankets before Christmas was interested in getting one, in blues and greys. Now, you'd think that would be a common colour combination. The original photo going around was a subdued jewelled multicoloured yarn with what seemed like a slight fuzz/texture. It was likely Red Heart "Unforgettable" or Mary Maxim "Studio" (not enough fuzz) or Mary Maxim "Prism" or LionBrand "Amazing". Of all of these, "Studio" was the only one with a blue grey mix but the picture was tiny, and the yarn didn't seem to have the gentle fuzz.  I couldn't believe that I couldn't find a blue grey mix in a slightly fuzzy worsted weight yarn.

I put my thinking hat on and immediately thought of the dye pot. I just happen to have an abundance of Patons "Lace" in Porcelain. All it was missing was the grey. And thickness. I have black dye and have used it to get grey before. I figured I could wind off the yarn and dye the white sections grey, and maybe some of the blue because the colour changes are long.

I should have thought a bit more. I figured I wanted three strands, but I really should have wound them together instead of separately. Anyway, I did get it dyed and was pleased, although I would have liked shorter colour runs and more grey.

I got going and whoa, was I surprised at how long the sideways "crocheted rib" band took!!  I had some concerns with this hat because the other one I made, I started at the elastic, at the opening. This one, I had to make the band, then pick up stitches and work upwards, then decreases and would I be able to crochet over the elastic going in this direction? My first couple attempts at crocheting over the elastic did not allow it to stretch much.  I realized I had decreased too many stitches because I was trying to get it to lay flat at the elastic. So I increased the number of sts over the elastic and while it now stretched nicely, it sits up a bit. I hope the messy bun covers it.   I did end up with several small balls of the yarn as I had to break it a few times to change colours and get more grey in the band part.

 My regular camera is broken so I was experimenting with our waterproof camera. The original picture was a bit hazy and dull, so I used a "filter" in editing. It's interesting. Having grown up learning on a 35mm SLR, I try to do all the editing "in camera".  I'm not a fan of all the filters and "actions" that modern photographers do. You just can't believe any picture is really what the scene actually was, once you learn how photographers are manipulating photographs in digital editing.

She couldn't come get it right away, so I thought it would be nice to use the leftover yarn to make some simple fingerless gloves. Again, I had to cut the yarn to get better colour changes. It became clear though that I would not have enough. So I went down to 2 strands. By now I had a lot of ends that would need to be woven in. It still wasn't enough. So I THREW THE YARN OUT. Yes.

And then two weeks later found another ball (3 strands) of it in the bottom of my bag.

Hat--63gr. Waste--24gr

Yarn In:  1542gr
Yarn Out:  87gr + 423gr= 510gr
Balance: 1032gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$37.91/41 days = $0.92 per day

Friday, February 03, 2017

I Bought Yarn!

I got asked to make two crocheted water bottle holders. I actually needed to go buy the yarn! The best time to go just happened to end up being after Megan was skating on Friday night. We didn't have a whole lot of time, but I didn't know when I'd get there again and there was a 55% off coupon for the day.

I picked out two blues, and a light purple (one was to be two shades of blue, and the other in blue and purple.  I chose one shade of blue for both). Then I walked past the clearance rack, and they had some Loops & Threads "Facets" in some gorgeous colours. Megan picked out one, I picked out one, and we picked out a "manly" colour to make something for the stock bin. Not that I've sold any of the other scarves I've made. Facets weighs 100gr each.

Walking past another bin, they had those bags of "1lb Fashion Yarn Mill Ends". I found a red with glitter that I thought would be cool for the World AIDS Day scarves. It was $7.99 (400gr) and the 55% off coupon was applied to it, so it came to only $3.60 (plus tax).

I worked on the blues water bottle holder first. It kept giving me troubles. Silly things.  Finally, on Wednesday I started the blue/purple one. I did the bottom in blue then started purple on the side. There was a faint scent of soap. Every time I worked on it, I could smell it. I got the body done, and the smell was driving me crazy. I smelled the ball of yarn. It stunk like soap!! WTF?! I looked at the yarn label. It was Handicrafter "Scents"! What?! Who wants to drink out of a water bottle holder that smells like soap?! And it had been going so well :(

Off to Michaels again. I found a non-scented purple. And, I found another bag of red fashion yarn mill ends. This time I had only a 50% coupon. Still a good deal!

 Yarn In:  1342gr + 120gr =1542gr
Yarn Out:  423gr
Balance: 1119gr more BOUGHT than used
Costs:$30 + $7.91=$37.91/34 days = $1.12 per day 

Kind of funny that the two Michaels' purchases added up to exactly $30!!  I have a really big item to show shortly that will bring up that "Yarn Out" total quite a bit!