On Finishing Things

wpid-img_20150530_094637.jpgWow, two weeks goes by fast! Hope you’re enjoying a good start to your summer.  It may only be June, but summer has definitely hit the RVA.  We’ve been dealing with 90-95 degree temperatures and that lovely Virginia humidity over the past week… yuck!  But it’s not all bad.  School is out and you can feel the slight change in attitude of everyone that comes with summer vacation.  Things are a little more relaxed, people are dressing slightly more casually at the office, Friday afternoons begin a little earlier, and weekends have plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.

For the first time in a couple of years, I have a blissfully open schedule this summer and I’m really looking forward to making the most of the downtime.  My husband and I have some long overdue house projects in the works.  We have a couple of long weekend vacations planned, but mostly we’ll be sticking close to home and relaxing a little bit.  Which fits in perfectly with my knitting plans of Stash Dash and Camp Loopy!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, I’m sure you’ve heard about Stash Dash on almost every knitting podcast and a few blogs, but here’s the brief recap.  Stash Dash is a KAL organized by The Knit Girllls.  It starts on May 22 and ends August 14.  The goal is to knit either a 3k, 5k or 10k in this time period.  More details are available in The Knit Girllls’ group on Ravelry.  Since I didn’t really start listening to podcasts until last fall, I only heard about Stash Dash once it was over last year.  So this year, I’m taking advantage and participating.

As I’ve mentioned (I think) in previous posts, I’m not the best at finishing my knitting projects unless I have a specific purpose and deadline.  Although with Loopy Academy and the DVD Sock Challenge this year, I’ve been much better about this recently.  Stash Dash will give me another kick in the butt to get things done.  The great thing about Stash Dash is that you don’t have to knit the entire item during the KAL – as long as you do some knitting and finish the item within the time frame, it counts.  So even further incentive to finish those languishing UFOs!

I’m not sure yet whether I’m going to go for the 3k or 5k (the 10k just seems unrealistic for me), I’m just going to see how it goes.  So far I’m at 935 yards or 855 meters, which I think is a pretty good start for not even a month into the KAL.  Here’s what I’ve finished that counts toward Stash Dash so far:

May DVD socks = 279.3 yards (255.4 meters) wpid-img_20150531_095635.jpg

Oatmeal bonnet for my Loopy Academy Semester 2 felting project = 228.9 yards (209.3 meters) wpid-20150531_125839.jpg

Baby vertebrae for my Loopy Academy Semester 2 striping project = 428 yards (391.4 meters) wpid-20150531_223522.jpg

Below are the projects I have on the needles right now or are planned for the rest of Stash Dash and a general idea of the yardage they’ll add:

– DVD socks for each month of June and July.  I could also frontload my knitting on my August socks and maybe finish by the deadline. So this would add around 560 yards (510 meters) at least, or 840 yards (765 meters) if I finish all 3 months in time

Honey Cowl (~275 yards, depending on how big I make it).  I’m making this for an American Cancer Society auction event that one of my friends is helping organize.

Meisi gloves (~ 400 yards).  I’m also making these for the American Cancer Society event that the Honey Cowl is going to.

Not So Itty Bitty Giraffe (~450-500 yards).  I’m making this as my June Camp Loopy project and as a baby gift for a friend.

Sleeves (~1000-1100 yards). I’m planning on this for my July Camp Loopy project.

These projects will add around 2700 yards to my Stash Dash total, which combined with my current 935 yards, puts me at 3620.  There are some other UFOs I have that I could finish up and add to this, so I definitely think I’m good for the 3k and might be able to hit 5k if I put my mind to it.

Now here’s the kicker… if only I had waited one week to finish binding off my Rock the Kasbah shawl for Loopy Academy, I could have included around 900 additional yards.  Gah!! Oh well, that’s what I get for finishing things early 🙂wpid-2015-05-31-14.24.55.jpg.jpeg

I’ll keep you posted throughout the summer on my progress.  Are you doing Stash Dash too?  What goal are you working towards?

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Maryland Sheep and Wool Recap, Part 2

When we last spoke, I was in the process of telling you about my adventures at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  If you missed part 1 of the recap, go here, I’ll wait…  Now on to part 2 …

Hyped up from two days of classes, the Avengers movie, and some delicious sushi, Scott and I rose bright and early Saturday morning.  I had already warned him that I wanted to get to the fairgrounds before the festival started because there was some special Miss Babs yarn I had my heart set on.  So we checked out of our hotel and headed over to the fairgrounds.

We lucked out and got a fairly close parking spot when we arrived around 8:15.  There was a slight hiccup when I realized I had left my wallet in the car, but thankfully I became aware of this before we even entered the gate, so my wonderful hubby trekked back to the car to retrieve it for me.

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Since we had the advantage of being on the fairgrounds the two days prior with classes, we already had the lay of the land and were able to maneuver through the early morning crowds directly to the Miss Babs booth in the back of the Main Exhibition Hall.  Now let me just say, I had read reports on Ravelry and other blogs about how crowded her booth is at MDSW and that people flock there first thing – but it still didn’t prepare me for the insanity that was happening when we arrived.  I had a small moment of panic, but then jumped into the fray to snag a skein of the special Maryland colorway and, the real prize, a set of her one of a kind gradient A Play on the Chesapeake Bay.  Scott went to stand in the already long line to hold our spot while I browsed the Yowza and the Sojourn sport.

I thought the outside of the booth was crazy, but when I actually ventured into the booth itself, it was nuts!  You could barely move or breathe, much less see the yarn.  I grabbed the 3 skeins of Sojourn that I wanted for a 3 Color Cashmere Cowl and joined Scott in line, foregoing the Yowza.  There are so many colorways of Yowza that I wanted to be able to take my time and find the perfect ones, so I decided that I’d just wait on that and buy some online.

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Once 9:00 hit and they were able to check people out, we paid up and got out of there pretty quickly.  The Miss Babs team was amazing – so friendly and helpful even in the midst of the chaos.  I enjoyed watching them go back and forth from the booth to their truck to bring out even more stock so that the shelves were never empty.  It was also funny to watch people who were standing in line get out of line to follow someone as they returned with a full bag of new yarn to put out.

After the Miss Babs craziness, we took a few minutes to catch our breath and walk around the main exhibition hall.  I stopped by the Signature Needle Arts booth to try out their needles and then spent the rest of the day (and let’s be honest, have continued even now) daydreaming about and coveting a set of their needles.  Definitely going on my Christmas wishlist!  My next stop was Gale’s Art because I’ve been wanting one of her sock blanks ever since seeing it on Susan B. Anderson’s podcast.  I found a beautiful one in orange and purple tones with leaves stenciled on it.  Can’t wait to cast this on!

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We spent the rest of the morning browsing more vendors, petting adorable sheep, and eating some yummy food.  I picked up some lovely yak yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch, a spindle from Carolina Homespun, and some fiber from Into the Whirled.

wpid-20150527_195545.jpgwpid-20150527_195448.jpgI’m proud to say that other than the Bijou Basin Ranch, everything I bought was on the shopping list I made before the festival.  The spindle and fiber were one thing I particularly wanted to pick up since I want to learn to spin.  I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to really have a spinning demonstration or hands-on practice while I was there.  We spoke with one of the spinners in the fiber arts demonstration area, and she showed us how to spin on a spindle, but I didn’t actually get a lesson per se.  Since I’ve gotten home, I’ve been watching some online videos from Abby Franquemont and even bought the Spindling Craftsy class, so I’m planning to start learning how to spin soon.

After most of my shopping was done, we spent some time in the barn where they were doing fiber arts demonstrations, watching the circular knitting machines, spinners, and a  group spinning Angora bunny fiber directly from the bunny!  Scott was particularly fascinated by the circular knitting machines and spent some time chatting with that group. To end the day, we watched the sheep dog trial demonstration.  As a kid growing up on my grandparents’ cattle farm, I had a lot of experience with Border Collies being used to herd cattle.  It was really interesting to watch them with the sheep and their handlers.  Such beautiful dogs!

Since we were driving home that evening, we decided to call it an early day and head out.  It just so happened that the path we took out of the fairgrounds took us around the back of the main exhibition hall where the Miss Babs booth was.  And miracle of miracles, it wasn’t that crowded!  I was not about to waste this opportunity!  So I checked in with Scott to make sure he was okay with hanging around for a little bit longer and headed over to the shelves of Yowza.  I ended up with these two lovely skeins in Joan of Arc and Funny Papers.  These are destined to become Yowza Weight It Shawls.  It was the perfect end to the festival and we headed home high on yarn fumes and full of exciting plans for future knitting!

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