February 2017: Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2017:

 January: 1,065yds
February: 1,075yds
March:
April:
May:
June:
July:
August:
September:
October:
November:
December:
2017 Totals: 2,140yds or 1.22 miles

It was another good month, kittens! Especially when one considers that February is so short compared to all of the other months.

February was another month of not knitting every single day; I am still struggling to not have entire weeks where I wrap in a blanket and just eat while feeling despondent. But I did manage to have more good days than bad, and I did manage to gain some momentum after I finished the sleeves on my Manly Maze Sweater. (That’s an FO for the month, in fact: I finished it with one day to spare in the month.) I also started a Find Your Fade shawl– which is super fun to work on and is my treat knitting for the time being– and I started my second pair of socks for 2017. They are a pair of socks for my husband, so they are huge and will take some time; I am knitting them in fingering-ish weight handspun on size 0 needles on 72 stitches to start out. If that doesn’t show how much I love him, I’m not sure what does.  After putting in nearing 10 hours’ worth of labor, I am  finally working on the heel of the first sock to try and get it right; the husband has a very wide instep, so I am working on ways to elongate the heel without having too many fit issues. I usually knit all of his socks in heavier weight yarns, so the row gauge is less of an issue than on this particular pair.

So. Let’s talk about those yearly goals that I’m trying to keep better track of this year:

Knit 1,000 yards per month : YES! I am absolutely on-track to keep this momentum up for the time being. Between my Fade and my husband’s socks, I should do just fine in March as well.

Find time to sew, X-stitch, etc: NOPE. I do not believe I did anything besides knit and daydream about having the will to work on anything else. I thought about it a few times?

Aim for 8oz out of fiber stash per month: Not this month. BUT. I also did not bring in a single ounce of fiber, so that’s a win in its own way? Now that my sweater is done, I plan to start a spin. Finally.

Aim for 750 yards out of yarn stash per month:  Yes! I finished February with -1298 yards in the yarn stash, so this is another very close month for that goal. I do not see any reason why I should finish anywhere near failing on this one, since I have no plans to buy any yarn in March and only plan to spin a little and finish up a couple higher yardage projects.

All-in-all, not too bad, I think. February, like January, just flew by. Did you happen to get much done during it? Any favorite projects you worked on? Here’s to a productive March!

Stashdown 2016: Q4 and Yearly Totals

Final totals for 2016's Stashdown effort. I failed. Again.

Final totals for 2016’s Stashdown effort. I failed. Again. Go figure.

So here it is: the final numbers for 2016.

I managed to just squeak by on my fiber Stashdown goal for the quarter; I spun and destashed just over 18oz out of stash when I was hoping for a minimum of 16oz. (I had an unofficial and unvoiced goal of getting down to 500 oz even before the year was over, but after Spinzilla, my spinning mojo deserted me. It can be a fickle thing.) I had high hopes to end the quarter stash-neutral–by my definition, +/- 200 yards of 0–but that didn’t happen with my yarn stash. I brought in two last-minute Lamby acquisitions and I wasn’t able to complete a pair of socks or the sweater I currently have in progress; the two together would have just about zeroed me out for the quarter, even with the extra yarn.  As you can see, for the year I’m in the red for both categories. *WHOMP WHOMP*

As usual, I’m not discouraged by this. Every time I fail to meet a goal, I view it as having learned a new way something didn’t work for me. I actually think this current method, but with some tweaks, is working out just fine. I really find the paper tracking useful and when added with a paper-tracked knitting goal every month, I found it easier to resist most yarny and fibery temptations. My ratio to yardage out to yardage in actually improved a bit in 2016 vs. 2015, and I’m still trying to figure out how I want to combat Lamby acquisitions and handspun coming into stash. A healthy portion of that number this year was those two things. 4,115 yards of the 24,010 was yarns from my own shop (17.1% of the total), and 4,427 yards were from my own handspun (18.4%). Over 1/3 of 2016’s acquired yarns were self-produced. The other just-under 2/3 were mostly to complete projects: I bought a large amount of yardage to finish my daughter’s blanket, I purchased odd skeins to pair with others in multi-colored shawls I plan to knit this year, but a good amount of the rest was Hedgehog Fibres and Must Stash self-striping yarns. I will never apologize for collecting either of those.

So for 2017, I think I’m going to stay the course, but have small, attainable monthly goals for both my yarn and fiber Stashdown efforts. I hope to knit 750 yards out of stash every month this year, and I’m hoping to spin out 8 ounces every month. This is the equivalent of 2 heavier fingering weight skeins of yarn and two braids of fiber, respectively, so I think they’re manageable. Of course, if I do better than that, I will not complain. I’m also dropping the idea of The Bins. They were a bit too restrictive, and I need more freedom in my crafting.

Very shortly here, I will be putting up a podcast episode and blog post detailing all of 2017’s plans. Talk to you shortly, kittens!

October 2016: Wrap-Up

Yardage Totals 2016:
 January: 728yds
February: 1,062yds
March: 1,042yds
April: 706yds
May: 1,922yds
June: 411yds
July: 869yds
August: 924yds
September: 947yds
October: 1,427yds
November:
December:
2016 Totals: 10,038yds or 5.70 miles

 

It seems impossible that October is already done, kittens. I swear it only just started. But here we are: the evening of the final day of October…and time for me to write out this month’s yardage tally post. It doesn’t include *quite* everything I worked on. There’s a small amount of blanket yardage missing from that number and the yardage knit into a toe cap, but those amounts will roll into November’s number. (I’m not a stickler for those things as long as it’s accurate in the long term. A little yardage in the wrong month never hurt anyone. It’s for The Greater Good. Or something.)

All of this yardage was knit fairly monogamously. I finished a shawl, then concentrated on some slippers, and lastly focused on a long term WIP I want to get finished in the first week of November. It feels good to be getting things off the needles–and having the opportunity to cast on a couple shiny new projects. And I feel that’s the way November will go: I will finish up the blanket, cast on a new, squishy garter shawl in all of my Spinzilla handspun from this year, work on and finish my current pair of socks, cast on some Giftmas ones (my goodness, we all NEED Christmas this year, don’t we?!), and try to start working on a couple of gifts for my children this year. It seems like a lot, so I’m sure I will not get to it all. But you never know.

You may have noticed, but I easily exceeded my 2016 knitting yardage goal of 5 miles or 8,800 yards! I feel really confident setting the bar for 2017 a bit higher (maybe 10,000 yds for the year…dare I reach for 12,000yds?) since this system seems to have helped me focus on getting knitting done. I believe this is the most I have knit in at least 3 years. It’s nice to have so many hobbies, but they can make it difficult to get much done. It’s so much easier to stash than it is to knit. I’m hoping with another year’s focus on knitting and trying to keep buying at a minimum will get my stash more to the size that I would like and make it manageable…but that really is a topic for a future-but-not-so-far-off blog post.

How was your October? Was it full of crafty goodness, knitting or otherwise? Did you spin for Spinzilla? What are your plans for November, if you’re the type to plan ahead?028043052blanket

Spinzilla 2016: Final Results

Spinzilla has come and gone yet again, kittens. This was my second year participating, and I did pretty well, if I may say so myself. I made one goal: double what I did in 2015, my first year participating. I came pretty darn close!

In 2015, I spun ~13.6 ounces of fiber, for just over 1,800 yards after plying credit.

This year….

017 025 037 044 061 068 075
I spun 22.4 ounces of fiber, for a total of 3,822 yards after plying credits were taken into account. 2.17 miles of spun wool, baby! The results of who spun the most and ranking order will not be announced until Monday, and I doubt I spun quite enough to make the list (I believe it tracks the top 20 or 25 spinners for both the team and rogue categories), but I’m still excited to see who spun what during the week. Who knows? Maybe I will get lucky and win a prize for my participating. The $10 entry fee was well-worth the motivation to get so much stash spun up in such a short amount of time, so I feel like a winner regardless of outcome.

Here they are before their bath: so much squishy goodness!

Here they are before their bath: so much squishy goodness!

Last year, in Episode 133 of the podcast, I made a list of some things I could do differently in the future to improve my productivity and buy myself some more spinning time.  The only one I really implemented this year was to have my main spin ready to go in advance, and when I started the second one, I had it all layed out and prepped in a short period of time. It allowed me to not think about the order of little nests as I spun them. But there wasn’t anything else I could have done that I did do, and several obstacles arose which ate up time and kept me out of the house and unable to spin for hours of the day. So. I definitely found more time this year, but I still could have dedicated much more to the event if I had chosen to.  I definitely plan to participate in 2017’s Spinzilla competition, likely still as a Rogue Spinner. (I prefer to not have anyone rely on me for results: I’m a lone wolf of sorts. Ha.) Depending on this year’s results, I think I’m going to gun for a spot on the list of top Rogue Spinners next year. If it’s obtainable and doesn’t involve never sleeping again.

Did you play along with Spinzilla this year? Were you on a team or did you spin Rogue? How did you do? Are you happy with your spinning you accomplished?

Stashdown 2016: Q3

My progress as of 01 October, 2016. So red.

My progress as of 01 October, 2016. So red.

 

I had high hopes for Quarter 3 Stashdown efforts, but sometimes we do not get what we want, and we have a low-production 3 months paired with a bit of buying. And we can’t get out from under it, because we stall out on our projects and finish nothing for almost a month. Happens to us all at some point, right?

So.

I’m up about 10 skeins of sock yarn and 6 braids of fiber since June. Really, what more can I say about that?

I’ve spent the rest of today (after tallying this up) deciding where I want to go from here. I realized that my Stashdown goals up until this point have been pretty vague and not very helpful–“spin out 30 oz of fiber”, “no buy in ____”, etc. along those lines. I had things I wanted to do, but no end numbers I wanted to land on. I also realized my much more specific productivity goals for knitting seem to be helping keep me on track this year and focusing on trying to make those numbers. So in Q4, I’m trying something a little different and reframing my quarterly goals: I have specific numbers in mind that I want to meet or beat on 31 December before I decide what I want to do for 2017–and believe you me, I have some big plans now that I have my window for when we’re moving. (I will, of course, tell you all more about that later.)

Between now and 31 December, 2016, I want to do two things: one, I want to reduce an excess of 16oz out of my current fiber stash of ~557.3oz/34.8lbs (meaning get down to at least 541oz), and two, I want to reduce my yarn stash by at least 1,000yds or ~2.5 skeins of sock yarn.  If I do not buy much of anything, or keep much of any yarn I dye, and if I keep knitting and spinning, this should be easy enough. These are not aggressive goals. But they’re a step in the right direction.

Stashdown 2016: Q2

Running total of 3 consecutive years of Stashdown efforts.

Running total of 3 consecutive years of Stashdown efforts.

So. Things have been a bit bananas here lately, and I haven’t been able to make Q2’s Stashdown post until just now.

While I’m not the most proud of quarter 2, I do have to admit that meager wins and being green in both categories pleases me. I managed to knit a bit more yardage out than I brought in (thank you, manic sweater knitting in May), and I did manage to just barely eek out a reduction in stash in the quarter as well. What I am most proud of in my efforts is the small amount of fiber that came in over the 3 month period of time: of that 26 oz, 12oz is my Hello Yarn club braids, which means I purchased 14 additional ounces of fiber. This is roughly 3.5 braids’ worth, or a single braid of fiber per month. Conversely, 2.4oz is just over half a standard braid of top, but a reduction is a reduction. So while this is more stash *maintenance*, I am calling it a reduction and WIN! Knitting wise, 892yds is just over 2 skeins of sock yarn, which isn’t bad considering I did make some larger sock yarn purchases, as well as holding some Lamby yarn for myself. I did destash a little yarn over the quarter, but it wasn’t much at all.

Compared to Q2 of 2015, I did considerably better in both categories; my purchasing has definitely slowed down, even if my production isn’t increasing enough to make significant reductions at this point. I feel like 2016 is the year that all of my observations about my own behavior, while paired with these tracking efforts, are going to pay off, and 2017 will finally be the year of more significant reductions in stash.

Cumulatively, both categories are still in the red. I’m hoping that staying green in Q3 and Q4 may bring me back to a neutral position for the year. We shall see!

Stashdown 2016: Q1

2016Stashdown

(Clicking the photo will take you to a larger, easier to read version.)

So. The first quarter of 2016 has already come and gone: where is the time going, kittens?! It seems like just yesterday it was Christmas, and here we are: 01 April.

First Quarter can not be said to be very successful at first glance; I’m red in both the fiber and yarn categories. The numbers are promising, though! I noticed with my fiber increase, despite the fact I’m in the red, I brought in almost 30 fewer ounces of fiber than the same time last year (This is ~7 braids of fiber, as a frame of reference). I also spun less, but this shows a decrease in buying–which is what this exercise is really about. I will take any positives I can find here! Most of my fiber purchases were large ones, which meant less buying overall and plans for bigger projects. I’d call that good, wouldn’t you? I also had an increase in my yarn stash of just over 1800 yards. That might not sound like a win at first, but when you take into account that one of my purchases was an 1800yd sweater quantity, it gives some reference to how well I did in knitting up at least what I was bringing in. Had I forgone the SQ, my stash increase would have been a paltry 53 yards. I was very close to stash neutral with this level of buying and knitting I’ve been doing. This is *huge* without destashing involved, so I’m rather chuffed about it. I’m really hopeful that Q2 is going to be an overwhelming success across the board! How can it not be if I keep things going at this pace?