Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A Visual Guide to WPI

I recently discovered this item while reading a Knitty blog post:

It's basically a quick visual reference to check yarn WPI while spinning to ensure your getting the weight you want.  However, I noticed a lot of comments here and there that its a good quick check when determining yarn weight of an unknown yarn rather than actually wrapping and counting. Since I thrift a lot of yarn and a lot of it has no label, this would speed up my identification process. 

As a cheap, quick visual reference card, I just wanted a printable version.  I found one (that's it...only one) that I could print but try as I might, I could not get it to scale.   I then decided to make one myself using Excel, and it turned out great.  I printed it at actual size and it matches up perfectly to sizing.  I added a few things for easy reference based on Ravelry's Standard Weights  and voila...a super handy reference which can be printed and laminated.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Yarn Thrifting: Part 1 - Buying and Prepping

Previously I talked about my second hand yarn obsession and how I prefer to wash my yarn before using.  If your interested, here's the details on that process from bargain bin to finished object.

First, the primary reason I wash thrifted yarn is I don't know where it came from.  Sometimes there is a smoky smell, or a musty smell and those items are first in the wash bin.  There's also a very distinct "thrift store item" smell which seems to permeate everything, be it yarn or clothing or furniture. Maybe they use a deodorizer for items before it goes to the floor...who knows?

At my local Value Village, they store the yarn and miscellaneous bits and bobs for crafting in a bin with half open packages of incontinence products.  True story.  Maybe they think the two go hand in hand?  Old ladies need incontinence products and yarn...why not put them together?  Hilarious.

Here's the bin:

I sort through the random skeins and bags, pick out the ones I think I'd use, usually in a multiple of 6 if I can (there are a LOT of novelty yarns which I don't tend to go for), then head to the counter. Once home, I take everything out and give it a good once over.  I check for obvious stains or defects (I once found a skein that had been sliced by something through the label and a good inch in, the yarn was in short strings...I salvaged about a half skein), then I photograph each skein with its intact label (if it has one) so I can identify it after washing.  If it has no label, no photo until after washing.

A typical haul looks like this:

Next, I get out my beautiful swift and start turning each skein into a hank.  Please note my lovely assistant in the background who much prefers playing fetch over playing with yarn.

Once everything has been turned into a hank, it's ready for the wash basin.

Stay tuned for Part 2 - Washing Process.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Web Stumblings - Knitulator

Behold!  The Knitulator!

This handy little tool (brought to us by the uber helpful blog Eskimimi Makes) helps calculate where to place increases and decreases so its evenly spaced.  For example, you select whether you want to increase or decrease, then enter your current total stitch count (i.e. 20), then your total required increases  (i.e. 10).  The calculator then returns this:

Isn't that awesome?  I can see this being very useful in future projects.