Stash Down Scavenger Hunt 2015

I’ve said it time and time again — the craft community is one of the best communities I’ve had the pleasure of being a part of.  The creativity, inspiration and sheer genius of crafters at all stages continues to motivate me to do better than I’ve done as each year passes.  In the discussion of genius and creativity, I have to talk about the most ingenious way I’ve been inspired so far to use my current stash —  The Stash Down Scavenger Hunt 2015.

On Ravelry, I’m a moderator of the Knitpicks (and more) Stashdown Group.   This year, our own Queen of the Sweater, Queen of Stashdown and all round Queen of Sweetness — Rae (Yondercrawdad on Ravelry) —  fellow moderator came up with the idea of the tasks I’m about to post below.  Rae is the first of us to go through the entire year without purchasing yarn but used her stash to make the most amazing sweaters; when you look at her projects, it’s hard to imagine not purchasing for a year and yet being so creative.   She’s the primary reason for our stashdown tiara challenges this year — The 6000 gram Tiara (aka the Weight Tiara) and the Yarn Tiara which is the no purchases for a year one.  And in addition to those, she came up with the Scavenger Hunt Challenge which I absolutely LOVE!!!!!

The goal is to scavenge through your stash then create projects which can fit one, two or a few of the prompts below.  Based on your ingenuity, there are levels and badges to be won to show your scavenger worthiness but there is the ultimate scavenger title — Alpha Better Recognize — if  the projects you create between Feb 19th 2015 and Feb 7th 2016 (end of Year of the Sheep) fit every letter of the scavenger hunt prompts.  What’s even better is that she provided two prompts per letter so you have choices even there.  See what I told you … ingenious and super creative!  This couldn’t have come at a better time especially since I did that massive destashing last Saturday.

The group is here and the challenge thread is here if you want to join and play along this year.  The group is super friendly and we welcome anyone who wants to join.

I’ve decided to make this post my holding place for the list of tasks in this scavenger hunt rather than having to log into Ravelry every time I need to see what’s next up.  So let’s get to it then:

THE TASKS

We have 52 tasks – two for each letter of the alphabet. In the task descriptions, anywhere that I have written “related to” could also say “inspired by” – more abstract connections are perfectly fine.

A is for abacus – something related to counting or numbers
A is for antipathy – use something in your stash that you dislike
B is for birthstone – something related to yours
B is for broccoli – something healthy or good for you
C is for cicada – something related to your life 17 years ago
C is for cosmos – something related to outer space
D is for dwelling – something for the home
D is for delicacy – something fancy or rare
E is for excavation – use some of your very oldest stash
F is for fingerprint – something that’s totally “you”
F is for festival – something related to your favorite holiday or celebration
G is for giant – something bigger than normal
G is for garden – something related to plants
H is for haberdashery – something using buttons, ribbons, or other similar notions
H is for homeland – something related to the place you live in or identify with the most
I is for inauguration – something new to you
J is for jacket – make something that is or has an outer covering
J is for journey – something related to a trip you have taken, or want to take
K is for kaleidoscope – something with shifting patterns
K is for kinship – something that celebrates your close relationships
L is for labyrinth – something full of twists and turns
L is for lilliputian – something smaller than normal
M is for marsala – use the color of the year! or craft something related to wine in general
M is for mimic – something which appears to be something else
N is for newcomer – use your most recently acquired stash
N is for nomenclature – something related to your name or nickname
O is for ornament – something purely or primarily decorative
O is for obsession – something that you can’t stop thinking about
P is for protuberance – something with bobbles, nupps, or other sticky-out bits
P is for potpourri – combine two or more things into one
Q is for quantum – use the smallest bit of stash that you still count as stash
Q is for quadrangle – something with geometric shapes
R is for reading – something related to a specific book or books in general
R is for roulette – choose stash at random and use it!
S is for solstice – something related to the shortest or longest day of the year
S is for sandman – something related to sleep or dreams
T is for taffy – something related to sweets
T is for tortoise – something which takes a long time
U is for ubiquity – something popular
U is for umpire – something related to sports or games
V is for vacation – something that is a break from the everyday
V is for virtuoso – something employing a skill where you excel
W is for whimsy – something fun or silly
W is for waffle – something related to breakfast or brunch
X is for x-ray – something that is normally hidden becomes shown
X is for xerox – make something again
Y is for yacht – something related to the ocean or with a nautical theme
Y is for yodeling – something related to music or song
Z is for zoology – something related to animals

The idea of working through the prompts might seem daunting and the urge might be there to bullet through the prompts quickly but I think I’m going to employ some timely Elizabeth Zimmermann advice “speed is not necessary with knitting”.   I want to enjoy the process since the prompts are already inspiring me to work some techniques I’ve not tried before (knit bobbles anyone?  LOLOL).

This is going to be so much fun!

In Response to Amina — Blanket Overload

Amina

Off topic: Are you going to do another mood blanket for 2015?

This is the first time I’m responding to a comment with a post, but I think Amina deserves to know what’s up in blanket land for me this year.  :D

It had crossed my mind to do another mood blanket after the first one turned out so well but requests and promises made caused a change in that plan.  To date, I have four blankets on tap for 2015!  Yes I said four!  Nuts … I know, but here’s why:

image courtesy: Lion Brand Studios

After staying wrapped up in my mood blanket for 4 days while we went through the “blizzard” in January, my little cousin requested his own throw/blanket.  We went through Ravelry patterns together and he picked this cabled blanket.  According to him, he wants it big enough because he’s taking it to college — college for him is 4 years from now.  Be still my beating heart.  <3

The yarn is already in my possession, he picked some crazy lime green colour but it’s his blanket, all I am is the maker so I had to accept the colour choice I was given.  He was so very resolute in his colour choice.   :D    The bulky weight should make this project go fairly fast so I’m confident I can get it done (all things being well before the end of the year).  He says he expects it for Christmas since my mood blanket took the entire year.  What a sweet-heart. <3

The second blanket is more of a decorative throw but I love the look of it and actually started to make it in December.  I didn’t have the yarn used in the video — Bernat Blanket Yarn — which is a velour type, super bulky weight yarn:

Bernat Blanket Yarn

so I used two strands of KnitPicks Brava bulky held together.  The look was okay but still not what I was going for so I ended up scrapping that project.  Then a friend went to Michael’s after Christmas sale where the Bernat yarn was 40% off.  She knew I was not buying yarn this year so she picked it up and called it my “Christmas” gift.  Still not sure if she meant Christmas 2014 or 2015.    :D     Either way, this blanket is back on the 2015 to do list.

image courtesy: Purl Soho

The third blanket on tap is a Double Seed Stitch blanket (baby version) for my friend’s son.  I was supposed to do this before he was born.  He’s going to be 2 in July.  :/   In my defense, I did start the Honeycomb pattern for him but it wasn’t working up the way I liked so I’m going to adopt this Purl Soho pattern, making it in stripes as opposed to one solid colour.

And finally, a blanket for me — a free Martin Storey KAL (knit a long) afghan from Rowan Yarns.  This version of it sold me completely so I’m also doing mine in one solid colour rather than multiple colours as the original pattern suggests.

image courtesy: http://www.dayanaknits.com

The project is done is squares, then joined and finished off with the cable binding.  The squares shouldn’t take too long but I read that the binding takes a bit of time.  I bought the yarn for this in December — Patons Decor in Eggplant.  Since I’m in no hurry with this one, I’m going to finish the others first then get cracking on this.

It might seem a lot — four blankets in a year but I’m finding that I like projects like these and I don’t mind the length of time they take.  So there you have it Amina … no mood blanket but plenty of others to go around in 2015! :D

What about you all — any blanket plans for 2015?

Journaling 2015: Thanks

Journal prompt: Thanks to ______, I can (1) ______, (2) ______ (3) ______.

Thanks to friends,

Tea

I can try a new brand of tea including a lavender blend hand Nizzy mixed herself.    I can also enjoy a beautiful handmade card and hand written note — “Just Because …”

Madeline Tosh II

I can enjoy new yarn, chocolate and a card from my “Shirley”.  She sent this over the holidays so the chocolate is already gone, but the card and yarn are still here to remind me how much she cares.

I am the recipient of prayers, emails and job hunting links.  From my friends — online and in real life.  What makes them more special is that they come unsolicited — mostly on days when I need the extra push.  <3

On Being Honest …

I think all knitters go through what I’m going through right now though some get there way faster than me but hey … better late than never right?  LOL!   The thing is, it’s not that I didn’t know before what I’m about to share but I’m going to share anyway.   I’ve decided this year I was going to really take my knitting and craft learning seriously.  I want to craft better and that takes practice, research and honesty.   The first two things are self explanatory, you can’t get better at anything if you don’t practice and in order to keep up with trends, techniques and instruction, research (plus willingness to learn) plays a huge part.  But honesty … what’s that got to do with anything?  Let me explain …

I started a hat for a friend.  Her birthday is next Friday (2.27) and I promised her this hat since last winter.  I wanted to finish it by this weekend, make some bath scrub and put together a birthday basket of those in addition to some blueberry muffins I also promised her.  Knowing that I don’t have much time (why I wait until the last minute is another post),  I started the hat two nights ago.  I was on tap to finish everything but of course, like every good knitter, I decided to check my work.  It looked nice but on further investigation, almost all the cable crosses had gigantic holes close to them.  See Exhibit 1:

Know Your Fiber I

I know holes are normal with cable crossings but not this size — my pinky could fit through these!!!  But if I was honest before I started, I would have admitted that the yarn I picked was a mistake.  It had absolutely no stretch, no breathe-ability.  There was no bounce to the yarn so of course, there was no blooming or stretchability to help hide these holes.  It had to happen that way because the yarn is acrylic!  If I were honest, I would have admitted before I started that there was no way I could get what I wanted out of this “fiber” — quotation marks in order cause we all know acrylic is soft plastic.   And that’s what I mean about honesty.  If I was honest that my “fiber” choice wasn’t the best fit, I would not have now been looking for something that’s more appropriate.  A project that should have been done already has to be restarted.

Which brings me to my next revelation.  If you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know that  I’ve always kept a place in my stash for acrylic yarn.  But as of last night, I’ve packed up most of it.  Between the allergic reaction in December and this current fiasco, I’m giving my acrylic a timeout or maybe even a big toss.   I still believe it works for some things, but increasingly, as my crafting improves, I find that I don’t want to work with it so much anymore.   There I said it.  I’m not a yarn snob, I don’t have to have every fancy schmancy yarn that’s out there on the market but I find that as my craft improves, I want to work with more natural fibers.  If I do work with acrylic, from now on, it’s going to be with blends — acrylic and wool or acrylic and some other natural fiber.  I have some blends in my stash and I’ve kept those from the chopping block.

I wasn’t sure what I’m going to do with all the acrylic I’ve amassed over the years, but tomorrow, there’s going to be a big toss out. I think the only non-blends I’ll keep are my Caron Soft, my Lionbrand Thick n Quick and my Knit Picks Brava.  Sounds like a lot, but it’s not.  It’s enough to keep me stocked after I give the rest away.   I’ll look on Ravelry for some charity that’s willing to take the giveaway lot but I’m done.  While super-wash wool has been getting a bad rep around yarn blog-sphere lately, that will be my go to choice for items (personal or gifts) where either the recipient might not want to hand-wash or it’s just not feasible.  As warm it might be, I will NEVER make a blanket in 100% wool or any fiber I have to hand wash.  Never.

In the meantime, I took a break from my acrylic saga and dyed these two beauties.   The fiber is 100% merino for both — the orange one done with acid dye and the light brown with natural dye extract from the Cutch tree.

Know Your Fiber III

I’d love to know what you all think about using super-wash.  While you talk to me in the comments, I’ll be trying to find a substitute yarn for my friend’s hat.  :D

Red With A Little Grey On The Side

Okay … so this inconsistent blogging is getting on my nerves and it has to stop.   LOLOL!   I’ve been cheating with Instagram; it’s so insta!  :D

Once again I have to say, although I haven’t been posting here, I’ve been crafting.   Crafting has been such a refuge these days while job hunting, it really has been helping me unwind after the daily search.   But let’s get to the projects:

first up is the first cross stitch project I’ve finished.  Maaaan … this thing was a dream.  Once I found my rhythm it was zen.  This piece was made for the front of a card for my friend who’s birthday is on Valentine’s day and she’s also a crafter and a Potterhead.  For those of you who are not Harry Potter fans, the sign is the Deathly Hallows (book 6).

Deathly Hallows Cross Stitch

It didn’t take me long … maybe about 1.5 hours and it was an absolute delight.  It was an internet freebie and it’s certainly piqued my interest in cross stitching.  So much so … errr … let’s just say, I fell down another rabbit hole!  LOLOL!

The next project I’m working on is the ever popular Sockhead Hat by Kelly McClure.   My goal is to finish it is by Saturday.  I’ll show it off then.

Sockhead Hat

How divine is this Madeline Tosh yarn?  Can you believe I almost gave it away?  I tried to sell this so many times, I just couldn’t get rid of it.  I need my head checked right?  It’s just so divine with this pattern.  I can’t wait to finish it, complete with a very large pom pom.  :D

And of course, these days, there’s no crafting for me that doesn’t include dyeing.  I’ve been messing around with natural dyeing and with acid dyes.  So much fun.   For this project, I was shooting for a semi solid grey and I think this works:

The Grey Lady

Meet “The Grey Lady”.   Not sure what she is going to be,  I’m just going to wait for her to tell me.

I thinks that it for now … until next time — happy crafting.  :D