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Did I make it?
January 1st 2009: 233 skeins of yarn
October 1st 2009: peaked at 254 skeins
December 31st 2009……
Oh hell yes I made it
The plan was to aim for a 20% reduction of my stash which would have brought me to 186.5 skeins. I managed to squeeze in just enough knitting at the end of the year to make it possible although without a little destashing in October/November I probably wouldn’t have made it. I managed to sell off a few projects worth of yarn that I just wasn’t going to put to good use.
The stash is still pretty substantial but it felt good to whittle it down just a bit this year. It made me really look at what I’ve bought over the years and where the ‘holes’ in my stash are. What I lack in heavier weight yarns or large project sized quantities I more than make up for in sheer volume of sock yarn. Holy crap I have a lot of sock yarn. 78 skeins of sock yarn to be exact.
Yes out of 185 skeins of yarn in stash, 78 of them are sock yarns. 42%. Ridiculous.
I finally did it after months of waffling. I signed up to join the Daring Bakers Challenge although due to my inability to follow clearly explained timelines I signed up a month earlier than I should have. Oops.
It all worked out though because when I found out what the December challenge was it fit in perfectly with a baking project that the Sis wanted to tackle.
First off let me warn you I am not an architect and Dad refused to use his skills in this dept to help us out. I think he realized how poor my construction skills were going to be. My one and only previous attempt at a gingerbread house was back in college (many many years ago) and it was a log cabin. All the skill required was rolling gingerbread into logs to be stacked into a cabin-like shape.
I decided to go with a basic house design and hoped all would go well. The Sis and I spent way too much time checking out the bulk candy section analyzing each option for it’s gingerbread house potential.
Check out our peppermint candy fence.
The Sis carefully laid our chocolate brick walkway with ‘decorative’ chocolate rock landscaping.
I’m particularly happy with how the wafer roof shingles turned out. Each wafer was split in two and glued down with royal icing.
Our snowman attempts were not as successful as the house construction. 2 attempts were made to shape snowmen out of the white cotton candy we found (they even had black peppercorn eyes and cinnamon stick arms) but sadly the fickle nature of cotton candy proved to be it’s downfall.
Both dissolved from the moisture in the Pac NW air. Attempt #1 looked like he was trying to limbo as he melted backwards while #2 just shrank overnight.
Each window was made with poured sugar. I wanted to see if I could get a windowpane effect so I shaped foil over a baking rack and lightly oiled it. The foil was then moved to a Silpat along with the house pieces and sugar was boiled to the hard crack stage before being poured into each opening. This is where the oil proved to be a poor decision as it clouded up each window so I lost the clear glass look I was hoping for.
Not all was lost though and if you check out one last photo you can see why I wanted so many windows.
I cut a notch out of the back piece large enough for a Christmas light cord and when the house was assembled we laid our 35 strand of yellow lights inside. Once the house was assembled we plugged it in and got the full effect of the lights. In some ways the ‘frosted’ glass makes the lights look even better since you get the glow without seeing the individual bulbs.
Next year I’m going to start planning earlier but I definitely see another gingerbread house in my baking future.
Oh what a month can do to change your stash stats. I managed to destash a sweater’s worth of Malabrigo in November, it was a color I liked but I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to knit a sweater out of that yarn. Mal might be a wonderful yarn but I have an aversion to using sweater stones on my knits. I have one and I know they work well so ultimately it comes down to laziness. I’m just too lazy to knit a sweater that will require frequent shaves in order to look presentable half the time and a soft single ply yarn is just not known for it’s durability.
Dec 1st details.
The numbers would be more impressive if I hadn’t succumbed to the Black Friday sale of Sugar n Cream. I managed to pick up 5 balls despite the store being out of stock of the color I really wanted ($1.43 per super sized skein..how could I resist).
There has been a flurry of holiday knitting going on lately. The mittens for the sister are sadly waiting to be frogged, the pattern is lovely, the yarn is great, the two just didn’t want to work together.
Rather than giving up on the knitted gift idea for Sarah I decided to finally cast on for the RLS hat that I planned to knit for her when the pattern first came out. As soon as I bought the yarn and finished mine she announced the plan to move to LA where of course there is little need for a fair isle knit hat so the yarn went back into the box and there it stayed until a few weeks ago.
I had knit mine to gauge and it turned out too big for my head so this time I went down 2 needle sizes and cast on. All was going well until I got about 3/4 of the way through the hat. I weighed my remaining yarn to confirm my suspicions and yes I was going to run out of the main color.
A quick check of Ravelry only gave me one person with that dyelot in their stash but she was in Amsterdam and hadn’t been active for months. Another search led me to another Raveler who had a partial skein of Chestnut leftover from a project that was made around the time I bought the yarn. Keep in mind I bought this yarn in late 2006/early 2007. I figured a dyelot match was impossible but maybe I could get close. A few emails later and the yarn was on it’s way to me. Same freaking dyelot!!!!
While I waited for the emergency yarn to arrive I mulled over the other Christmas knitting and settled on a hot water bottle cover. I had 4 skeins of Imagination in the stash in Frog Prince and Wicked Witch that I bought when it first came out. I think my plan was to make scarves since it was way too soft and loosely spun to be a good sock yarn. I wanted the cozy to be thicker and more importantly a fast knit so I wound off all 4 skeins into 1 cake of each color. I followed the free Blue Sky Alpaca pattern on Ravelry and I was off.
Doesn’t look half bad. The two colorways both had the same froggy/witchy green and once the yarns were doublestranded the handpainted effect was really broken up. The checkerboard patterning is almost too subtle to see but all in all I really like how it turned out. I have enough yarn leftover to make one for myself and conveniently I also have a nekkid hot water bottle. Mine will likely be stripes.
I’m now this >< close to finishing the RLS hat since that arrived today, the second sock for Mom’s Christmas socks is now cast on, the yarn for some robot mittens is ready as well. My Christmas knitting list suddenly looks manageable.
Oh and I do have something very special to show you. Well technically two things.
I kind of went shopping on Black Friday (first time ever).
Picked up a giant 1kg bar of Cadburys…not the crap Hersheys makes and distributes under the Cadburys name but the real deal. I’m in heaven.
Oh and I picked up a shiny new laptop. I call it Serenity. Yes I realize that makes me one hell of a Firefly geek.