Mr. Q meets Ms. Stash

I think we can all agree that Ravelry is a handy-dandy tool for managing our knitterly holdings (yarn) and desires (queue and favorites). So handy, in fact, that I can tell you with absolute accuracy that I have 127 musthaveknitwantnow projects in my queue and 175 yarnalicious entries in my stash.

Surely I need not more yarn or patterns or projects added to said lists. But I do need, I do, I do, I do (and stop calling me Shirley).

Like many other knitters (c’mon, fess up – I know you’re out there), I continue to add to my yarn stash aka curated collection on a regular basis. And preeeeety much every day, I see more projects I want to knit. Just this morning I downloaded the VK Early Spring 2017 edition to my iPad – this baby is so fresh, it’s not even up on the VK website OR Ravelry yet. There are two patterns there that I. Want. To. Knit…NOW. See how it happens? In a needle-click, 127 becomes 129.

I want to use up my stash…I really do…at least some of it…before I buy more…well, before I buy much more.

So, with all those dreamy projects in my queue and all those scrumptious yarns in my stash, this should be a piece of red velvet cake, right? Yeah, riiiiight.

Examples, anyone? Of course.

Here’s #1 in my Rav queue: Amy Herzog’s Cable Front Pullover from VK’s Late Winter 2017.

Herzog - cable front pullover Get this – I HAD the yarn for this. I had the exact yarn the pattern called for. I even made a note in that notey space when I added the project telling myself that I had the exact yarn in my stash.

I used it. I’m knitting with it right now. Am I knitting this? Nope. Am I knitting anything in my queue with it? Nope. I’m knitting Harvest Cardigan by Tin Can Knits. (I’ll show it off when it’s done.)

But never minding that bit of foolishness, among those 175 yarns, there must be something else that would do the job. Something the right weight (aran), right color (flattering for me), and right amount (approx 1600 meters).

No dice. Not enough yardage in anything either aran or worsted weight.


#3 in queue is a pretty open weavey summer-type shawl: Stella by Janina Kallio

Specs: Fingering, 343 meters of main color, 217 meters of contrast color. My notes say I was gonna frog my Penrose Tile shawl for this, which is weird because I really like that shawl, especially after I re-worked the cast off edge so it’s nice and stretchy. So, back to shopping in the ole stash-a-roni…

Now, I have alotalotalot of fingering yarn (53 stash entries). Mostly single skeins, but that’s cool because fingering usually has good yardage and so one skein of each color would almost certainly suffice. Buuuuuutttttt…I had a b*tch of a time finding a combo I liked. Here’s what I came up with that maybe possibly might be inspiring:

The blue Rustic Fingering for the main and the grey Spud & Chloe for the contrast. It’s a smidge dark, but with all the open mesh work, I don’t think it would end up looking too heavy.

So, okay, but I’m not jumping up and down.

After scouring my queue for an inspiring pairing, I came across this little number (specifically #81 in my queue), which I am pretty keen to crack open – and it’s even seasonal (unlike the aran sweater I’m smack in the middle of…in April).

This is Sel Gris by Claudia Eisenkolb.

Sel Gris

It’s a simple silhouette, with a bit of interesting detail, but I wanted a nice clean palette on which to paint with a blend of Shi Bui Linen and Schachenmayr Tahiti gradient:

The Tahiti knits up like this:

Before and After Scarf


So I expect it to be spectacularly fresh and summery blended with the white linen.

(P.S. – this is my Before and After Scarf)

I could carry on with this exercise for hours, but it’s my bedtime now (seriously, it is).

How would you pair up your stash and queue?


I hope your weekend is full of chocolate eggs, fuzzy bunnies, and lots and lots of knitting!

I’ll have a little Easter treat for you (calorie-free) by the end of the weekend.

Knit well,


Sally Melville Winds Me Up!

Sheep sweater yarn

Oh, wow.

I had a life-changing email exchange with knitting guru Sally Melville yesterday – (Hiya, Sally!)

You can read our exchange on her blog here: sallyknits – jumping the fence

The short version is that I wrote her to ask a question about a knitting design drafting issue that I haven’t been able to find an answer for in any book – including Sally’s awesome new book, Knitting Pattern Essentials. Not being able to find the answer to this particular question (how to draft a portrait collar in knitting) has stopped me from starting to design my own garments. It’s a goofy thing to be stopped by, I know, but there it is: “I don’t know how to do this one thing, and nobody can tell me, so I can’t start designing yet.”  Yeesh.

Sally essentially told me that she didn’t have the answer for me, but she knew that I was perfectly capable of figuring it out myself, if I simply gave myself permission to make mistakes and do some ripping out along the way.

Well. She blew my mind. OF COURSE, I’m perfectly capable of figuring it out myself. I’m a smart cookie. I can do ultra-complex, mind-blowing alterations to sewing patterns without batting an eyelash. I have made commissioned quilted wall art and copied designer wedding gowns based on a mere photographs, or often simply my clients’ abstract ideas.

For example, I made this fabric wallhanging from a photograph of a painting for some friends:


I’m amazed at myself to this day for having figured out how to duplicate an abstract painting in fabric. And I loved the challenge of it at the time.

Therefore, clearly I can work out knitted designs myself. I have the skills – I simply need to stop making excuses and asking to be spoon-fed by someone else.

I really really want to design. Like I told Sally in one of my messages, I’ve searched hundreds, if not thousands, of knitting designs and have yet to find one that’s exactly what I want. Then I scratch my head and wonder why is no one designing the sophisticated, interesting, wearable things that I see in my head. Um…perhaps because they only exist in my head…and I need to get off my sorry butt and do what needs to be done to get them out of my brain and onto my back (and front) – and onto some paper, so other people can knit them too, if they want.

Now my head is positively spinning (like a top – cuz I’m wound up…get it?) with possibility – to the point where I feel like frogging all my WIPS (work-in-progress) and starting from scratch…allowing myself the time to swatch and test and plan and frog and PLAY!! Yahoo!

Stay tuned.

Cheers, Nicole

P.S. – Love ya, Sally 🙂