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Spring Cleaning Destash Sale!

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I decided to tackle the 2 main closets in our apartment over the course of a weekend’s worth of the baby’s nap times. I won’t lie… It was ugly. On the upside, we donated a bunch of clothes, found a few missing things, organized like crazy people and gave the vacuum a good workout.

I think the most startling thing was getting all my knitting stuff in one place. Organizing my stash by weight, finding (unfortunately) about 5 more lurking UFOs (unfinished objects) to add to my list of things I want to get done and out of my life, getting all my blocking stuff together (hooray!) and making a pile of yarn that needs a new home was no small task. But it’s done, the closets are tidy and it’s time for my first ever destash sale.

I have tried my best to accurately represent the colors of the yarn. All yarn comes from a smoke-free home, has been kept in airtight bins and while a few have already been wound into cakes, the yardage is 100%. Any already-wound yarn has its label in the center of the cake. Everything is first come, first served so please email me at tanisgray at gmail dot come with “destash” as the subject line. I only accept PayPal and if payment is not made within 24 hours of your email I will offer it to the next person on the list. I have fairly priced these yarns so please do not ask to negotiate or split up yarn quantities as there are a few sweater quantities worth. Finally, the price of yarn does not include shipping, so please include your mailing address when you email me so I can calculate shipping. All yarn will be sent USPS First Class unless you want Priority (please let me know your preference when emailing). I will email you asap with shipping costs and get the yarn out the next day.

Louet Gems Fine/Sport Weight
675 total yards
100% merino wool superwash
color: crabapple

Plymouth Yarn Mulberry Merino
990 total yards
52% mulberry silk, 48% merino wool
color: purple

Classic Elite Magnolia
360 total yards
70% merino, 30% silk
color: granite

Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb
825 total yards
100% extrafine lambswool
color: coral pink

Jade Sapphire Lacey Lamb
825 total yards
100% extrafine lambswool
color: cobalt blue

sheep Shop Sheep Number One
520 total yards
100% pure wool
color: multi

Socks That Rock Heavyweight
350 total yards
100% superwash merino
color: happy go lucky

Suss Yarn Suss Twisted
648 total yards
100% slub cotton
color: red/aqua

Dream in Color Smooshy
450 total yards
100% superwash Australian merino wool
color: raspberry blaze

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
430 total yards
80% superwash wool, 20% nylon
color: sand ridge

Socks that Rock Lightweight
360 total yards
100% superwash merino
color: lucy

Malabrigo Silky Merino
450 total yards
51% silk, 49% merino wool
color: cloudy sky

Plymouth Earth Ranch
182 total yards + small ball (not pictured)
100% alpaca
color: tan & cream

Louet Eastport
1500 total yards
70& USA alpaca, 30% merino
color: quoddy bay grey

Mary Jane Mucklestone December Lights Tam Kit
pattern & yarn
(one kit, front and back shown)

Ready, set, destash!


Eleanor Jean

I really enjoy teaching knitting. Seeing people tackle a technique they were afraid of or just curious about, watching a group of students go from casting on to blocking out a beautiful lace shawl, seeing people get the hang of 2-handed fair isle knitting or just the sheer joy of a finished project and a smiling student makes me happy. It’s our duty as knitters to pass on this wonderful craft and I do that through teaching.

Another thing I very much enjoy about teaching are the people I get to meet. Here in Washington, DC there are scads of interesting people working very interesting jobs. I get some people who work in such a specialized, top-secret field that they cannot even tell me what they do. A student not too long ago has a husband who is one of Michelle Obama’s secret service people. People writing code, people protecting our country, stay-at-home moms and dads with hilarious tales, students needing a break and trying something new, inventors, patent writers, authors, musicians, doctors, nurses, technicians… The list goes on.

Every now and then I really connect with one of my students and we become friends outside of the classroom. This is always an unexpected treat and I feel like we’ve bonded in the knitting trenches. One of my students in a cabled mitten class happened to live very close to me and we’ve developed a friendship over the past few years. She recently had her first child, a daughter, named Eleanor Jean. Ellie was born in mid-January when the daylight starts to go from gray to pale yellow as Spring begins. It’s a beautiful time of year and she’s a beautiful little girl.

I was asked recently to do a project for the Yarn Company, a wonderful shop in Manhattan with a great location and fantastic owner, Tavy Ronen. I chose my exclusive color way of Solemate, a new yarn from Lorna’s Laces in a “grellow” (gray and yellow, just like the light in January) dyed only for the Yarn Company, called “West Side Highway.” With Ellie as my inspiration, I casted on.

Behold the Eleanor Jean Mitts…

I really enjoyed knitting these and as always, loved knitting with Lorna’s Laces. They take only one hank at 425 yards and the yarn is held doubled. Ladylike, lacy and elegant, I hope they do her justice.

The pattern is available on Ravelry here or you can get it directly from the Yarn Company as a kit here. Happy Spring!

On Finishing…etc.

As the year draws to a close, each late December I make a vow to myself to finish all those sad, abandoned, lonely, dust-covered, unloved projects stuffed in the back of my closet. I’ve done this for probably 10 years and I always kick off January with good intentions, fervor, excitement (sometimes faked) at getting back into a discarded project when suddenly it hits me. There was a reason I kicked that project to the curb in the first place and after reacquainting myself with said project and a diving back in, I swiftly remember why I hated it. Determination does a 180 degree turn to loathing.

The reasons vary, and any knitter knows exactly what I’m talking about. I disliked the yarn, hated the color, the texture bugged me, the stitch pattern was annoying, it was taking too long, the style wasn’t my taste, the pattern was overly complicated and poorly written… Honestly, knitters come up with the best excuses and whatever the excuse ended up being, the project got unceremoniously shoved to the back of my closet, silently mocking me whenever I laid eyes on it.

I put my foot down in late 2011, determined NOT to make myself some lame “I’ll finish everything” promise for 2012 that I knew I’d abandon come February or when I came to my senses, whichever happened first. Then something odd happened…

In early February something lit a fire under my butt. I don’t know why but those abandoned projects not only continued to mock me, but they started chanting my name. I literally began to avoid that part of my closet because I was ashamed I had ditched them there. Was I going crazy? Perhaps. Had my knitting taken on a life of its own? Hopefully not. Whatever the reason, I grabbed the project on top, shook it out, read the pattern, found my place and finished that sucker, hating every stitch.

Behold, my finished Earth Stripe Wrap:

started 2/2009, finished 3/2012, may you rest in peace

I don’t know what it was about this project, but I literally did a jig around my living room when I unpinned it from the blocking board, wrapped it up and sent it to my mother for her birthday. Started 3 years ago for her 2009 birthday, this sucker languished in my closet for years. I was never a huge fan of mohair and each line of this is 2 different colors. Don’t even get me started on the weaving in of the ends of the making of the 75 multicolored fringe. Today is my mother’s birthday, she loved it, goodbye striped shawl and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

But that wasn’t all…

Back to the pile of shame in my closet. I finished up another project that was monopolizing my size 4 circs (and since then I’ve just bought a new pair) in 2 days. WHY THE HECK DIDN’T I FINISH IT YEARS AGO? It wasn’t a hard pattern and I liked it! I liked the yarn and the colors, I adore Kirsten Kapur’s amazing designs… I have no idea why I didn’t knock this Joni hat out back in 2009 when I started it. The ribbing was already done so it was a quick knit. What was it about 2009 and ditched knitting projects?

so glad i waited until it was 87 degrees to finish this when I could have used it 4 months ago...

I had 12 abandoned knitting projects in my closet. The one I found most offensive, most unbearable was literally haunting my dreams. Like the hat, I liked the yarn and the color especially. The pattern wasn’t difficult and it was a lovely design. But I hate knitting socks. I will only knit socks for my mother and only when she’s guilt-tripped me so much I find it in my best interest to just knit her up a pair. It takes a lot for my to succumb, but like exercising, you feel better afterwards when it’s done.

Behold, the Hedera. Started in mid-2007 during a really weird time in my life, this sock came with a lot of mental baggage. Every time I looked at it, it reminded me of what was going on, who was making my life hell (oddly enough, this person is still making my life hell, I’ve just learned how to deal), a particularly awkward vacation and the worst airplane trip of my life. I wanted nothing to do with it, but deep down felt bad for the lonely sock that needed a friend. Without even flinching, I started the mate and within a few days of night knitting had that sucker done. I felt like I lost 20 pounds when the sock was done and they were blocked. It was such a mental thing, finishing those darn socks, finishing all those projects….

farewell, my lovelies

Apparently, I’m on a roll. I’ve already grabbed the next of the 12 projects. 3 down, 9 to go. There is a particularly offensive mitten in there that I know I’ll never finish. I’ve never hated a project more (and it may have something to do with the fact that I knit that mitten during Jury Duty) and chalk it up to an occupational hazard. So really 3 down, 8 to go.

Abandoning knitting is interesting. Why do we do this? Boredom? Freedom? We all have our own excuses and it’s interesting talking to people about it when the conversation turns to UFOs (unfinished objects). Yes, sometimes it’s just the simple fact that we hated the pattern and have decided to move on. Or is it? I think if I was a psychiatrist and knew my patient was a knitter, the first thing I’d make them do is go through their banished pile of knitting and pick them off, one by one. It’s like a cleanse and I didn’t realize until I started making my way through them how each project carried with it such mental baggage. I know I won’t keep a single one of those abandoned projects because of the memories they hold (and many of them were meant for other people originally anyway). I want them finished, done well and out of my life.

I feel like by going through this sad little pile I am solving a lot of old problems that have been eating me up without even realizing it. I’ve been much better about letting things go over the past few years. Watching these projects getting bound off, blocked and sent out into the world to make someone else happy makes me feel like I’ve just saved thousands of dollars in therapy by just FINISHING THEM.

Try it. Bet you’ll be glad you did.

Now back to the pile.

Indigo Landing Shawlette

Greetings, readers!

I figured we’d start this month off right and begin with a free pattern, the Indigo Landing Shawlette available here!

Thanks to my model, the fabulous Becky!

I was very excited to recently get my hands on some Cascade Cloud yarn. Have you knit with this yet? You must! True to its name, Cloud is very lofty and soft. It’s a chained yarn, which means no splitting and a lovely spring factor. With 70% merino wool/30% baby alpaca (yum), generous yardage at 164 yards a hank, I figured I could eek out a shawlette with just 2 hanks. I was right! I love a challenge when I can get an entire project out of a couple hanks of yarn.

It was tricky to choose only 2 colors of the almost 30 available. I adore Cascade yarns for many reasons, but one of them is their color selection. I love that they don’t retire colors every season, so if I go back and want a color I used a few months ago, it’s still there. They have a fantastic fiber selection to please all audiences and I like that their website is easy to navigate. Plus, they’re just good people.

I settled on 2 shades of blue since it reminded me of spring. With the weird weather we’ve been having lately, I have a raging case of spring fever and this shawlette is the cure! Ideal for the slightly chilly days we continue to get, yet equally good for the days you don’t need a coat but something around your neck, I see this shawlette living in my bag for easy access for months to come. Great for walking the dog, running errands or wherever the day takes me, I have a feeling I could get year-round wear out of this little beauty.

This simple striped shawlette knits up lightening fast and the zig zag border adds a bit of an angular edge. With a traditional center top cast on, you only need to pay attention to your striping sequence until you get to the border. This pattern is consummate TV or car knitting (not while you’re driving) because you don’t need a chart or constantly need to reference a written pattern. You could even switch up the border if you wish or throw in a third color. You can manipulate the zig zag when you block and make it more exaggerated or more of a swooping scallop. If you tend to bind off tightly like I do, you may want to go up a few needle sizes. I bound off on US 15s.

I hope you enjoy this sweet little shawlette and it’s the cure for your spring fever! Make sure you check out Cascade’s Cloud yarn and the kaleidoscope of the colors they have available!