Monday, November 10, 2008

Dipping Into the 401(k)

It's been mentioned across the knitting world, how *stash* is like a yarn retirement account. You have it, in case 1) yarn becomes so expensive that you can't afford to buy more or 2) you become so poor you can't afford to buy more, even when it's available at an affordable price.

Lately, I fit into scenario #2, by my own choosing. This break I'm taking from Corporate has been FANTASTIC! Every day that slips away, I mourn its passing . . . until the next morning when I have all those hours ahead of me again.

While the lack of disposable (yarn) income is definitely sad, I'm ever so grateful that I've amassed quite the 401(k) safe-haven!

Truth be told, it's not like I completely forsook ANY yarn purchases these last four months or so. I've just been more particular and have changed up my hunting & gathering methods.

My stash gives me great comfort. I have several exceptional purchases hoarded away - malabrigo, cashmere, silk, etc. It seems I also have enough Cascade to felt a life-sized diorama of California and enough lace to canopy my county, LOL. There is sock yarn to cover the feet of the Miami Dolphin's first string as well as SO MUCH cotton that I think I could possibly give every Obama voter their own washcloth. For the most part, my stash has made an exceptionally nice LYS in my own home and I am so very thankful that I had the foresight to stock it well.

Once I get back into the working world, and start having disposable (yarn) income again, there are some changes I will be implementing this time around. For even though my stash rocks (and it really does), I've noticed some personal shopping habits that are counter-productive to creating a nice in-home LYS.

A) I've balked at "sweater quantity" buys. The cold hard truth has sunk in that I'm ready for sweaters. The making of - not just the wearing of.

B) Workhorse Yarns - get to know them and get to buying them. Cascade 220, Lambs Pride Worsted, and several sock yarns.

C) Save up to buy the good stuff - Enough with piddling away the little money on little purchases. I want The Good Stuff and if that means saving up for a bit, then that's what it means.

It's really been fun to hang out in my craft/yarn room, and to draw from my knitting 401(k) these last few months, but that time is about to be over and I've grown from the experience. The stuff I've knit, and the things I've experienced . . . they are all things I don't think I would have done if I didn't take this down time.

I'm so lucky to have a great 401(k) available :grin:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Oldie But a Goodie:

About 11 months ago, I was playing around with ideas on how to knit a pouch for a bar of soap. Something that would hold the bar, but also serve as a washcloth at the same time.

I fiddled around with different stitches and came up with what I think accomplished my goal of being "scrubby" in texture while being airy enough to let the soap foam escape and do its intended purpose of cleaning.

The reason I'm revisiting this idea tonight, is exactly the same reason I did it last year. Handmade soaps (of some DELICIOUS aromas, bytheway!) as holiday presents, but also with my knitting twist added in.

Today (and tomorrow) is the annual fall craft sale in Halcyon, California. A few years ago I bought some really neat soap at a craft festival at the Edwards Barn in Nipomo and have never forgotten how delish they were. The soaps languished in my craft room for a few years, but when I took on the handmade pledge last holiday season, they made perfect sense as presents.

Those soaps were a HUGE hit with all the recipients in the family! The knitted pouches? I'm not sure they really even noticed, lol, but that doesn't bother me in the least. Even after a few years (but carefully preserved) the soaps still smelled wonderful. Today, when I snagged some more, they smell as good as I remembered. Even The Mike picked himself out a cucumber one!

If you miss Halcyon's craft fair this weekend, the Nipomo (Edwards Barn) one is in two weeks and Lisa (the owner of The Soapdishes) said she'll be there too.

No matter where you get your handmade soaps ('cuz I hear good things about these too) I gift you with a basic Soap Sock pattern to truly make a handmade bar of soap yours!

Cut & Pasted from the original post (bad spelling and all):

Last night, I started the red soap sock and used the opportunity to refine my 'on the fly' pattern ideas. What I ended up with created the perfect texture for scrubbing with soap and I'm just pleased as punch! It was exactly what I was looking for.

A little voice in my head has me worried that what I concocted is really some already *known* stitch pattern (like the 'farfalolly stitch' or some such shit I'd never heard of, LOL), but if it is, it is, and oh well. Feel free to make fun of me and definately feel free to steal my made up pattern.

I used Elann's Endless Summer Collection - Connemara and size 7 dpns

Cast on 16, and knit 5 rows using 2 of the dpns.

With the remaining dpns, pick up and knit 3 stitches on both short sides and 16 on the long side for a total of 38 stitches as the base. (The bottom is created with the same technique as the Booga Bag pattern) ***

The stitch pattern is as follows:

Row 1 -
K1, P1 and repeat for all 16 stitches on long sides
K1 for each of the 3 stitches on the short sides

Row 2 -
P1, K1 and repeat for all 16 stitches on long sides
K1 for each of the three stitches on the short sides

Row 3 -
YO, K2Tog and repeat for all 16 stitches on the long sides
K1 for each of the three stitches on the short sides

Repeat rows 1 through 3 until pouch is as long as you want, then bind off.

For the drawstring I just could NOT bear doing a foot of I-cord so I picked up a dusty, hardly-ever-used crochet hook and winged it. I just crocheted a starting chain about 12 inches and then turned it to make it wider by doing a basic crochet stitch back across.

Weave the drawstring through the top-most YOs of the pouch, tie a knot on each end and voila. Done and Done.

It isn't the prettiest pattern ever written, but there ya go.


In hindsight, I now see I never did post pictures of my F.O.s over on ravelry and I didn't even post the concept! Bad raveler!

Here are some pictures of the prototypes and the final pattern result:


*** A year later, I finally understand the provisional cast-on method and that's what I'm using this year.