Every day is a winding road…

I know lately all we’ve been seeing here are Confessions, WIPs, and Stash Dives. I realize I haven’t posted a Technique Tuesday in a good while. Partially because I haven’t had any cool techniques I’ve wanted to talk about or that I felt I could demonstrate.

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So for today, as I am running out of wound yarn for my Twist Vest, I thought I would show you how I wind more yarn using an umbrella swift & ball winder.

Step 1: Remove adorable Sis from your work space.

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Even if she protests.

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But for real, you need to gather a few items first like your yarn, ball winder, swift, and some scissors. Be sure you have a table that is not too thick so you can easily clamp the pieces onto it.

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Step 2: Clamp your swift and ball winder to the table.

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I usually have the swift around the corner from the ball winder. I like to have about 2 feet in between the swift & winder.

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I like the keep the winder about 18 inches from the corner of the table to give me enough room between the swift when it is opened up and the leading arm into the ball winder.

Step 3: Prepare your yarn.

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I like to open up the hank and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises like lots of little ties with tricky knots. Also, I like to keep the ties in place until I have the loop on the swift. This helps keep it all together until you are ready to wind and prevents any stray loops from getting wrapped up in the base of the swift or from getting tangled up with other loops.

Step 4: Place your yarn on the swift & open it.

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I like to have the swift slightly opened when I drape the loop of yarn over it. I keep a decent amount of tension on the loop so it doesn’t slip down too low. Try to keep your loop near the center of the swift where the sticks cross over each other.

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While maintaining tension on your loop of yarn, “open” up the umbrella by pushing up. I like to push up on the bottom part of the umbrella and then raise up the little piece that keeps it open to the right width. I don’t open it too much so that the yarn is super stretched out. I leave just a touch of slack in the loop so that the umbrella will spin freely.

Step 4: Find the ties and eliminate (!) them.

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I like to find the knots in the ties and pull them out. Usually, ones like this with 4 strands leading into it will contain your ends of the loop. I have seen hanks that only have ties with 2 ends leading in that contain the ends.

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I usually try to untie the knots. These were pretty tight so I simply snipped them off. I pulled out the little tie part and found the ends.

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I continued around the loop and found another tie. It only had 2 strands leading in. I snipped this one and removed it. I try to make sure that my loop is lying flat and the strand as it unwinds will not have to go inside and outside the loop. I work my way around the loop ensuring there are no twists and the strand is coming from the outside of the loop.

Step 5: Thread through the leading arm of the ball winder and secure on the bobbin.

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I usually rest my elbow on the table and put a light amount of tension on the strand as it is coming off the swift and onto the ball winder.

Step 6: Wind!!

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I always turn the handle away from me. I’m not sure why. When I worked at McNeedles a few summers ago, I was taught that way and have never had any troubles when I turn the handle away from my body. Throughout the process, I keep light tension on the yarn and turn the handle at a steady rate.

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If you turn the handle at an unsteady rate, you can get loops that form waaaaaay below the bottom of the ball and that will give you weird-o loops when you remove it from the winder. Those can get tangled with your working yarn when you are knitting. If I notice these when I’m winding, I usually pull back to where they were formed and rewind the yarn.

I tried to shoot a video of this. It’s not awesome but it can show you how I try to keep a steady pace when turning the handle and tension on the yarn between the swift and winder. Just follow this link. (The noise from the leaf blower outside and the ball winder are a little loud :D)

Yarn Winding Video

Here is the Twist Vest so far that I needed to wind more yarn for. I’m loving the way the Inca Gold is knitting up. It’s sooooo springy!!!!

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Hope this was helpful!

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

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Take Time to Knit :)

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After racking my brain for a suitable Technique Tuesday, I decided to revisit a post I made very early in this blog. It was this post about knitting faster and potentially learning to continental knit. It was during my first few posts and I ran it at the same time as the 5th Annual Knit & Crochet Blog Week hosted by Eskimimi Makes ( totally cool, fun project that I’m so glad I participated in). Long post short, I was thinking about learning to knit continental so that I could knit faster. I received from sage advice from Kaiya at Winterlime Knits and that was to simply spend time knitting instead of browsing Ravelry & blogs wishing I could knit faster so I could cast on all the beautiful projects I was seeing.

I think it’s the best advice I’ve received ever when it comes to knitting. Anytime I think I want to cast on something more or want to learn something new or wish I had more handknit things, I remember to just sit down and spend time knitting 🙂

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Since doing this, I have finished a couple of awesome projects and made some progress on others like my Follow Your Arrow shawl that is holding onto my size 6 32″ for dear life 🙂

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Just wanted to share a short post and some encouraging words that have done me good 🙂

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

10 days & counting…

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Since I’ve bought any yarn!!! My wallet, husband, and the movers are very grateful that the diet is going so well. It certainly helped that I’ve been working a ton & we went out of town this past weekend to St. Louis & Omaha. Yes, that was a combined 11 hour trip, 1 way!! We must be nuts or really love our family.

It does make it tough though since I was traveling and my favorite type of tourism is yarn tourism. Luckily, we were pretty busy and unable to visit ANY shops to buy yarn or even look at any yarn or even drive by any yarn or even look-up any yarn shops. I was not a good yarn tourist. Ah well, it is all for the sake of the diet.

In other news, I have been updating my stash so I can at least visit it virtually. What has made this easiest is the app for iPhone called Yarma.

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It’s a camera app that links directly to your Ravelry stash or project page. It is amazingly easy to use and it makes adding pictures to WIPs or stash items super simple. For instance, say you just came home with this beauty.

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It’s Malabrigo. Worsted. In Mariposa. It’s got some great shades of a minty green, smokey grays, and punches of bright yellow. You love it. You want to stroke it. You want to hold it. You want to admire all the colors. You want to dream about all the things it could become. You even plug it into Ravelry to see what others have done with it. Your queue grows by 3 to 10 new projects that could be this skein.

Maybe Danskknit’s RUST.

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And maybe you could pair it with another yarn…that may or may not be in your stash already 🙂

This is all fine and dandy, but what if you don’t cast on right away? What if you get distracted by your current knitting? Or another friend tells you they are pregnant and you MUST cast on something for their darling bundle of joy? WHAT WILL YOU DO IF YOU HEAVEN-FORBID, FORGET ABOUT THIS JEWEL?? (Can I get an audible gasp from the audience?)

Well, Ravelry’s stash tool is awesome. You can document what you have hidden or not around your house in terms of yarn. It even goes as far as to make suggestions for potential projects you look up with yarn suggestions from your stash you’ve logged. Now, if I could just get Ravelry to knit my projects for me….KIDDING!! I do love the actual process of creating 🙂

Back to Yarma and why it rocks. So you’ve found a darling skein to add to your stash or cast-on waiting list and you don’t want it to sink to the bottom of your stash without some sort of documentation. First, you need to take a moment and enter the yarn stats into Ravelry. So you set up your skein in a great solid background with natural light and you pull out your iPhone and snap away.

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You can adjust the filter if you want. Maybe one of the cleverly named filters can give you truer colors.

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You just click Upload. Then you can scroll through your stash to link this photo to it.

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Then visit this gem on your Ravelry page like mine right here.

You can even use the Yarma app to take pictures of projects that are either in progress or finished and link them to your project on the website. Like I did for this awesome Earflap Hat.

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You just click the upload button and choose the project. Super simple. Oh, and the most awesome part? IT’S FREE!!!

Do you catalog your stash in some way? Just curious…

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna

Trying to Control the Hoard

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I mean stash…I’ve been reading a few posts about going on a diet…of the yarn buying kind. I’m sure my husband, my wallet, and my movers (we are headed to St. Louis at the end of the month!!) would appreciate a little break from yarn buying. So for today’s Technique Tuesday, I’m going to explore a technique to help me not buy more yarn.

I’m going to browse my stash online or in person every time I feel the pull of the LYS. This would require that I update my stash a little on Ravelry. I have a few skeins I haven’t put into there yet from recent trips and yarn store adventures. I think by checking out my stash whenever I find a new pattern to knit or I just get a hankering to knit something, I can quell my desire to run out for something new.

I think to make this most effective, I need some pretty and accessible yarn storage. It needs to be something that I can look through to see my yarn. I also need to be able to feel it. This is what I’ve got right now:

This one is all my projects in progress with a few new skeins thrown in.IMG_1135

This is some of my purchases in the last year or so.
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This is my some of my original stash. I bought this chest originally to house my stash. I have slowly outgrown my cute chest.
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I know that someone out there has to have some gorgeous yarn storage. I don’t just want bins or boxes, so I went online to find some inspiration. Maybe something like this I found on the Loopy Ewe:
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Or this I found on a post at Rosepath:
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I think my cats would have a field day with this, but like the post  says, “it doubles as wall art!” As does this one from Knits for Life:
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In our new place I’m banking on a closet for my yarn, so maybe something more like this that I found at Trials & Pixelations:
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I like all of these storage ideas because you can really see what you have AND you can feel the yarn! Softness & squishibility are characteristics I definitely take into consideration whenever buying yarn.

However, creating gorgeous storage is going to have to wait because we are moving to St. Louis at the end of the month!! We just got approved for our new place and we are so excited for a change! I love moving into a place and making it my own.

What does your stash storage look like? Do you wish your stash storage was better in any way??

knit-side-and-purl-side

v’s & bumps,

Jenna