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The Knitting Pantry, Phase II, and Stash Giveaway III

26 November 2010

Mirasol Tupa

Want some Mirasol Tupa? Comment on the blog before Nov. 29!

The Knitting Pantry Posts begin here and continue here; Phase II of the knitting pantry is for those who have graduated from scarves to hats, mittens, and maybe even baby sweaters.

So you’re an intermediate knitter.  You are starting to realize that you need a plastic container or two for your yarn, and when someone told you you could use a flower vase to hold your straight needles you gave them a great big hug.  More than that, you’re starting to wonder about design (come on – you are, right?).  Could you make a scarf in a particularly cool ribbing you just saw?  Would you be able to add some lace edging to the hat you just finished?  This is an exciting time to be a knitter: the world is your oyster (and so is your local yarn shop).

Your Knitting Pantry should include:

Needle Containment. You’re starting to have a nice collection of needles, but if you aren’t careful you’ll end up with multiples.  Needle wrangling is essential to knitting serenity.  Whether you use needle cases like those made by Della Q and Lantern Moon, or find a lower-profile case maker on Etsy, or even just shove them into your flower vase and use an iPhone app to remind yourself which needles you own (try Vogue Knitting or KnitMinder), your needle plan needs two components: a way to keep your needles safe, and a way to remind yourself which needles you own.  Needle cases will allow you to see which needles you own and aren’t using, while needle inventories (which also could just be an index card in your wallet) give you an idea of the whole range you have, whether or not they’re stuck in that unfinished sock you put down three months ago).

Yarn Strategy. The big issues that confront all knitters: what do I do with my yarn, how much yarn is it okay to have, and how do I keep it safe? Airtight plastic containers work best for me; I like the shoeboxes from The Container Store.  They come in packs of 20 and they stack.  I put yarns of similar colors or similar gauges into the same box; sorting by gauge is interesting, because it forces me to combine colors I’d never thought to put together.  If you don’t have enough yarn to fill 20 shoeboxes, you can use the rest of the boxes for shoes (and pat yourself on the back for being a restrainer yarn purchaser).  

Stitch Dictionaries. If you find yourself starting to wonder whether you can make a scarf with some kind of lace edging or a pair of socks with a diamond pattern on them, it might be time to start trying to design your own patterns.  Stitch dictionaries are just what they sound like: collections of all kinds of knitting stitches, from lace to colorwork to simple knit-and-purl combinations.  Barbara Walker‘s books are classics; she single-handedly collected four volumes of stitch patterns.  [Check out my post on her miniature knitting, too. The woman is a genius.]

If you’re an intermediate knitter, what do you want to learn to knit the most?  What knitting accessory helped you most at this stage? Let us know, in the comments.

And finally…drumroll please…we get to:

Stash Giveaway III. You know you want it!  The Mirasol Tupa (rav lnk) pictured above was purchased at fibre space last spring, when I thought I had all the time in the world to make various and sundry scarves, hats, smaller objects of all kinds.  The yarn has been stored in a plastic container in our non-smoking, one-cat home since then.  If you read my post about Mirasol Sulka last winter, you know how obsessed I am with this company – and the Tupa is gorgeous. With a content of 50 percent wool and 50 percent silk, it would make a beautiful beret or pair of mittens.  Two skeins of navy blue and one of pink – just begging to come home with you. Comment on any post on this blog by 10 a.m. EST on Monday, November 29, and you’ll be entered in the random drawing to win.  Ooh, aah!

13 Comments leave one →
  1. 26 November 2010 1:38 pm

    Terrific post. I’d love to win that yarn. Thanks for the opportunity, and happy holidays.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      26 November 2010 1:43 pm

      Welcome, Fran! Thanks for visiting!

  2. Carolyn permalink
    26 November 2010 1:42 pm

    Intarsia is what I’m eager to try. As for what accessories got me to this point…I like to think, “I don’t need no stinkin’ stitch markers, or row counters”…yeah, right!!! How many times have I had to recount stitches or rows? They are a necessary evil for me because no matter how much I think I don’t need them, I really do! But my favorite accessory are my bamboo darning needles that are curved on the ends that I got at Fiber Space.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      26 November 2010 1:50 pm

      Carolyn – I am intrigued by these bamboo darning needles of which you speak. What brand, what brand? Are they smooth enough?

  3. Cindy Bingham permalink
    26 November 2010 2:12 pm

    I’ve found the round cardboard wine carriers are also great for holding/storing the straight needles – and they look really cool. The trick is to buy them at arts & crafts stores (Jo-Ann’s or Michaels) when they are on sale for $2 vs. buying them at wineries for $15… They make great presents for fellow knitters – give them the container w/a nice bottle of wine and then they have the container for storing their needles, it doesn’t go to waste.

    • Kathleen permalink*
      26 November 2010 3:44 pm

      Cindy, this is the best hint – I’ve never heard it before!

  4. 27 November 2010 3:30 am

    Great fun read! I’m really not sure what level knitter I am – there’s always so much more to learn!
    What I’m loving at the moment is using a cupboard hanging shoe rack (from ikea i think) for my stash! different colours in each of the eight compartments – super easy to see what I have and don’t have. I’m pretty good at using up my yarn, but wasn’t good at keeping it off the floor bed and couch :p

    Thanks for the chance – this yarn looks so wonderful!

  5. 27 November 2010 3:52 am

    I love the wine storage idea. A friend from my LYS uses a really pretty wooden wine box she bought at world market for her spinning and fiber projects. Its portable and chic!

  6. Terrye Kinch permalink
    27 November 2010 10:39 am

    ooooh, pick me, pick me!
    I LOVE to knit with “never tried before” yarns!

    Thanks much

  7. Consuela permalink
    28 November 2010 7:27 pm

    Pink and navy — how lovely! And thanks for the shoe box size container idea. Much better than a big bin!

  8. 29 November 2010 10:01 am

    I am an iphone geek and use it as my stich counter (I just use a very basic counter app) and I also use knit minder. It works out well because I always have it with me and I can also take pictures of cool stuff/projects I want to remember.

  9. Kate permalink
    29 November 2010 10:05 am

    My preferred needle containment for fixed circulars is a plastic expandable file folder that has interior sections. I throw all of the 1s and 2s in first section, 3s and 4s in the next section…

  10. Karey permalink
    29 November 2010 12:54 pm

    The yarn sounds yummy, pick me 🙂

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