4 1/2 Reasons You Need A Yarn Scale

Posted on by .

Today, since I am supposed to be resting my elbows (and not typing), I am re-posting something from two years ago (almost to the day) with a couple of updates.

I got a yarn scale for Christmas two years ago and it is one of my favorite knitting tools.  It is not technically a “yarn” scale – it is a Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Silver  (click there to get one on Amazon).

IMG_4681

Often people use them in their kitchens for measuring food.  It has a capacity of just over 4 pounds, which is plenty for yarn/garment weighing (and for food if you need it for double-duty), and weighs to a tenth of a gram.

It may be surprising to non-knitters (and maybe to some newer knitters too) that a scale is one of my favorite knitting tools.  But I use it for so many things.  Read on, and then get one!

Reason #1: Determining how many yards of a ball of yarn I used.  I weigh the yarn first, knit the item, then weigh the item (or the remaining ball) and do some math to determine yardage.

IMG_4679

71.7 grams of a 100 gram/220 yard skein of yarn means I used 157.7 yards of the skein to make this cowl.  Definitely important to know when I write up the pattern for my design!

Reason #2: Determining if I have enough yarn to knit something.  A perfect example: I knitted a pair of mittens for my sister-in-law for her birthday.

IMG_4591

And then she lost one.  After only 2 1/2 weeks.  She was so upset!  But, it happens.  Since I made this with my handspun yarn, and I’m not terrific at keeping track of yardage for that, I had her weigh her remaining mitten (she has a yarn scale too!). It was 53 grams.

Then I weighed my remaining handspun to see if there would be enough to make a replacement mitten.

IMG_4677

Hooray!  Plenty of yarn to make another one.  Although the berry color is in short supply so those stripes might need to be thinner.  But, hey, the eclectic look is in.  Who needs a perfectly matching pair of mittens?

Reason #2.5 (Related to #2): Weighing yarn while knitting is helpful if you think you might run out of yarn.  You can weigh your yarn, knit a row, then weigh it again to determine how much you use in each row.  Then you will know if you have enough to knit those last 3 rows or if you have to modify your pattern to end sooner.

Reason #3: Separating a ball of sock yarn.  There is a method of making socks where you can make two at a time on one, long circular needle.  [In fact, I’m teaching this class at The Spinning Room this week! The class is full but call the shop to be put on a waiting list so I know there is interest and can schedule another session.]  To do this, you need two balls of yarn, and often sock yarn comes in one ball or skein.  So I use the scale while I am separating the ball, to make sure they are even amounts.

IMG_4678

4) Making sure a ball of yarn is a full ball of yarn. Sometimes I use a little bit of a ball, with the label still on it, and it doesn’t look like there is any missing.  If I need a certain yardage, I want to make sure the ball weighs what the label says it does.

There you have it!  Four and a half reasons why you need a yarn scale. In case you needed convincing….

And here is a link to Amazon again if you have been convinced!… Smart Weigh Digital Pro Pocket Scale with Back-Lit LCD Display, Silver

I can’t knit or crochet right now but I’m still adding things to my queue!  Here are a few I found recently:

Alpine Butterfly Mitts and Hat

Ziyon Hooded Scarf

Cosmic Wonder 

Back to heat and rest, heat and rest, heat and rest.

A Game Changer

Posted on by .

I’m vacuuming.

Right now.

As I type this.

A few weeks before Christmas, I hit my limit. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m not a fan of cleaning. I do it but only when I have to. I will find anything else to do – I dare say even stack wood with Paul – in order not to do the cleaning.  Eventually, though, it really does need to get done and I do it.

The thing I procrastinate the most about is vacuuming.  For some reason, I just can’t stand it.  So, with my elbows being how they were and, really, vacuuming only aggravated that situation, it was finally time to make the leap….

Yes, we got an iRobot Roomba 650 Robotic Vacuum Cleaner. (click there if you’d like to get one too!)

So far, it’s the best decision we have made since we decided to get married. It’s the best thing since sliced bread. It’s the cat’s pajamas.

Last February, I was listening to this episode of the Knitting Pipeline podcast and she gave a glowing review of it – she loved it so she bought it for both of her sons’ families.  Her daughter-in-law said it changed her life.  Changed. Her. Life. Ever since listening to that episode, when it was time to procrastinate about vacuuming again, I’d remind Paul about this life changing device and how he wouldn’t have to listen to me complain about vacuuming anymore.  Apparently it took ten months and tendonitis in two elbows for me to wear him down.  Whew, that was an exhausting ten months.

I really can’t tell you the weight that is lifted off of my cleaning conscience.  Seriously, a total cleaning game changer. I highly recommend you get one.

On to a fiber-y non-game changer…. the Moorland Blanket crochet-a-long.  I attempted to start this gorgeous blanket this weekend.  I got my yarn chart all ready:

Such a pretty color combination!

Then I started out with my first, second and third colors:

I tried to do a little at a time.  Sort of.  Boy, is that hard.  But then my elbows started hurting and I stopped.  Today I went to physical therapy and surprise of all surprises, the therapist said the best thing to do to get better is to REST.  Heat and rest.  Heat and rest. Heat and rest. Heat and REST.

I probably shouldn’t even be typing.  So, I’m off to heat up my rice bag and rest!  The sooner the elbows get better, the sooner I can get back to my hobby passion obsession.

Holiday Wrap Up and 2017 Plans

Posted on by .

So, the holidays happened.  Boy that goes by quickly, doesn’t it?  Here is the wrap up:

We had family time with my family in Connecticut and my sister made these Grinch kababs:

Sorry about the blur but you get the picture.  So adorable!  And really yummy. (And yes, my sister is wearing a cute Santa apron.)

We also had family time with Paul’s family in New York.  Remember the star cookies I made?

Well, they turned into this:

And it was yummy.  I also made Toffee Squares from the Pioneer Woman and Jamaretti cookies from Martha (of course, because I love Martha).  They were also yummy.

After the Christmas rush and just before New Year’s (where we just sit at home so there is nothing to tell there) we took a little trip to Skaneateles for an overnight.  We stayed at the Skaneateles Suites and they have the most wonderful boutique hotel.

It was great!  It is a small hotel, like a bed and breakfast but without anyone to cook you breakfast.  The rooms are just like a “regular” hotel room with tv, bathroom (with jacuzzi tub), coffee maker, desk, wifi and a comfy bed.  They also give you a basket of breakfast items (since they don’t provide breakfast) including instant oatmeal and Nutrigrain bars, and some other snacks. It was really a great place to stay and the staff was so friendly.

The hotel is located just off the main street so we could walk to shops and dinner and bakeries and see the lake.  We had such a nice relaxing time and got to see some of our favorite cable shows since they have better cable than we do.  You should go! (We are going back….)

On the way out there we stopped at Patchwork Plus which is a quilt shop that has yarn.  We got to the door and saw this:

And so, this happened….

I know. So bad. And Paul-the-enabler had to go get a basket since his arms were getting full.  And then I had to fill the basket.  He almost went for another. (Ok but…60% off????)

Then, on the way home, we stopped at Beekman 1802 in Sharon Springs since we hadn’t been there in a while and I picked up a few things:

Excellent sauce, excellent (strong) tea, and excellent lip polish.

So now we are on to 2017. As usual, I’m hoping to blog more. I’m hoping to make some of it instructional and gain some readers, so if you like anything I’m saying please share or forward to anyone you think might like it.

I’m also hoping to knit more!  I finally saw the doctor and will be going to PT for my ailing elbows.  The Moorland Blanket crochet-a-long is starting today and I’m hoping to do a tiny bit of that since I just can’t stand it anymore.  I haven’t picked up a knitting needle in weeks.  WEEKS, I tell you!  It’s just not normal.

Here’s to a great 2017!

Interlude

Posted on by .

In the absence of knitting (the trees proved to be too much apparently and now I need another little rest – how annoying is that?), I give you Christmas baking and an experiment…

My most favorite sugar cookie recipe to date I discovered back in the spring through Smitten Kitchen and her Confetti Cookies.

Oh. My. Gosh.  So tender and just wonderful.  And the sprinkles are fun.

So, I decided to use the same recipe with my new sheep/knitting cookie stamps from Juniper Moon:

And make little packages to give to the new owners of The Spinning Room!

Then, I used the same recipe, with an additional 1/2 cup flour, to make rolled cut-out cookies:

The sprinkled ones got taste-tested.  The others will become something else I’ll show you another time.

I highly recommend this recipe.  In fact, (heads up if you are local and like a free treat) I may or may not be making more sheep/knitting cookies to share at The Spinning Room.

In experimental news, I made a wonderful caramel sauce that my friend Chrissy told me about.  A can of sweetened condensed milk, immersed in water, heated in the crock pot for hours and hours.

My first try, for 8 hours, looked like this:

It didn’t look quite dark enough so I decided, after Googling for a little more information, to try again.  This time I put it in a canning jar so I could see how dark it was getting and left it in for 10 hours….

Ok, looks the same but the second one definitely tasted more caramel-y! Found that info here.  We are looking forward to trying it on something!

P.S. If you are reading this on a computer and not a mobile device, you might notice a wintry addition to the blog! (And if your are reading it on a mobile device, I bet that just made you want to go look at it on a computer…)

Trees

Posted on by .

Remember the pumpkins?

I made 7 of them in all.

Now I’m on to trees:

One done.  One more in the works.  Soon to be a whole forest. Pattern here: Christmas Trees by Squibbly Bups.

And here is another tree that I love… our tree:

(No, I didn’t make that stocking hanging on the left.)

And this is good too:

Cookie baking this weekend and it might involve a tree of some sort…

Slow and Steady

Posted on by .

The knitting has been going slow, as it should, and as a result I have a tiny bit of knitting to show you.  It’s actually been kind of nice to not be in my yearly must-knit-something-for-everyone-and-I’m-on-a-holiday-dealine mode. Makes things a teensy bit less stressful.

The Alpenglow scarf/shawl in progress:

And the just barely started Tangled shawl:

In other news, it’s been getting cold and Christmas is coming.  I’m wearing my toasty sheep slippers:

We are making comfort food in the form of this Pesto Meatball Stew:

A so-totally-easy crock pot meal. (I used kidney beans instead of cannellini beans because that’s what I had.)

Our town had its annual Victorian Holidays celebration and I hear The Spinning Room yarn shop won the festival of trees competition AGAIN:

Handmade hats, mittens and scarves to give to those in need.  Those baskets are overflowing – over 200 items were made!

I made this little preemie hat to contribute:

Pattern: Itty Bitty Bear Cubs

We did our yearly wake-up-early-on-Sunday-and-get-to-the-shops-before-everyone-else Christmas shopping trip this past weekend.  We got almost everything done and with almost no aggravation.

And we saw this which gave us a chuckle:

How can these be “Gifts that Last” if they are food?

[P.S. Thanks for your patience as I figure out what is going on with the upside down pictures in some of my posts…]

Weighing In

Posted on by .

I did something kind of crazy and got Paul to agree to it.

Earlier this year, Paul and I went to the antiques show at Brimfield (as we do, about three times a year) on a hunt for cool stuff.  We found these:

IMG_7096

…with an idea to do something like this for my craft room:

IMG_7097

They didn’t already have a “knit” sign (go figure) and despite my best efforts to convince they guy that they would make a lot of money on them, he wouldn’t go for it.

Paul worked his magic and transformed the letters into a light sign.

And then, I had an idea. I said to Paul, “We have a great space on a wall in our living room. Why don’t we put the letters there instead of the craft room?”    Pretty bold move to suggest having my hobby take over our main living space. [I say that like it hasn’t already – spinning wheel, several yarn projects scattered on and around the couch…] After all, I don’t think I’d be as keen if he asked to put one of those car-front-end-sticking-out-of-the-wall “sculptures” in there.  What do you know? He actually said, “Ok.”

Before:

img_7785

After:

img_7787

img_78012

It’s really hard to get a good picture with it lit up. It gives a great ambient light in the room which is also perfect for that dark corner of the couch. However. If you didn’t notice already, it is rather large. They didn’t seem that big when we bought them.  And although the letters are now painted white, it looks pretty “industrial” when it is not lit, which doesn’t exactly go with our décor.  [I say that like we have any idea of what our “style” is that would lead to us having “décor” related to that style.]

Let’s just say it definitely doesn’t mesh with Paul’s tendency towards the conservative/not flashy/not Broadway light-ish.  And since that wall faces the huge picture window we have in the front of the house, anyone driving by (in the winter) can totally see it. I, on the other hand, happen to like funky things and things that are a little different. And I love knitting so why not say it in lights?

I think he might be leaving it up to me as to whether or not it stays. Add that to the many reasons I love him.

So, here’s your chance to weigh in:  Should it stay or should it go up to the craft room?

Knitting Again

Posted on by .

Hooray for knitting again!  After giving myself a good two-week break, with a short bout of knitting to prepare for a class I was teaching, my arms are feeling better and I’m knitting again. HOORAY!!

First, though, I went to the chiropractor, who did this:

img_7804

I love Kinesio tape.  It helped my arms feel much better.

My main goal was to be ready to knit during the long car trips this past Thanksgiving weekend.  And to knit s-l-o-w-l-y.  And take stretching breaks often.  So what would normally take me about a day, took me three days:

img_7867

 

This is the TinCanKnits Barley Hat made with Periwinkle Sheep Merino Aran in Elderberry. LOVE.

It has been extremely hard for me to slow down. Especially because I am in an I-want-to-knit-ALL-THE-THINGS phase. And that is probably because I’ve acquired a little bit of yarn lately. There was that WEBS trip I told you about in the last post. And then there was some black Friday and day-after-small-business-Saturday shopping:

img_7860

And an impulse buy from ENGLAND!….

img_7861

A gorgeous crochet afghan kit for a crochet-a-long that starts in January.

I’m in deep. And I don’t know what to knit with first.

So, while I’m deciding, I’ll tell you about some other stuff that has happened.

We had this a few days before Thanksgiving:

img_7805 img_7806

7 inches!  Down in town (2 miles away), there was nada. So pretty, though, right?

At Thanksgiving dinner near Boston, we met Leo:

img_7831 img_7821

There is nothing like a soft, adorable puppy to make you want to get a dog again. (We are seriously thinking about potentially getting one. Possibly.)

Then, in Virginia, we learned a lot about George Washington at Mount Vernon:

img_7851

And spent some time with Jake:

img_7978

Who also made us want to seriously think about potentially getting a dog again.  Possibly.

I taught three classes the weekend before Thanksgiving and forgot to take pictures of two of them.  Here are the results of the fingerless mitt class:

img_7811

Hooray for learning a million techniques in one little thumb gusset!

And finally, tell me what’s wrong with this picture:

img_7862

NOTHING!! We gave it the old college try with the CRV but unfortunately things just started going wrong and it wasn’t economical to keep fixing it (no matter how hard Paul, with his mad mechanic skillz, worked).  So we got a two-fer: We traded in two old cars for one new car and I love it.

Stay tuned for the next post when I show you something crazy I did and you get to vote!

Not Knitting

Posted on by .

I am currently on a knitting hiatus and boy am I cranky. I’m dealing with some knitter’s elbowitis in both my elbows and basically, I need to not use them. HA! How is that possible you ask? I. DON’T. KNOW. Because you literally have to use your elbows for everything. Including typing this post (which will be short because of that). Including chopping vegetables and cooking in general. Including folding laundry.  Including doing proofreading. Including vacuuming (not sad about not doing that though). But knitting definitely exacerbates the situation, so I’m also not doing that.

It’s killing me. Do you know what it is like to watch tv without knitting? Sucks. Do you know what it is like to see all the new patterns coming out on Ravelry and not be able to start them? Sucks.  Do you know what it is like to have 8 million knitting projects staring at you from across the room and not be able to knit them?  Sucks.

Do you know what it is like to ride in a truck for 3 1/2 hours each way to pick up a lift for Paul’s garage without knitting? SUPER sucks.

Said lift being picked up in New Hampshire:

img_7775

Don’t know what it is?  It’s one of these and it “lifts” cars up so you can work under them without wrecking your back and neck on a creeper:

img_7774

My treat for going all this way without knitting was to stop here on the way home:

img_7779

Where I bought a heck-load of yarn (on super discount):

img_7781

….which I can’t knit with.

Can you see why I’m cranky? It’s been a long four days.**

**Yep, I totally just went on and on about something that has only been going on for four days. It honestly feels like so. much. longer. Fingers crossed it will only be for a couple more days. Ibuprofen and a tennis (knitter’s) elbow wrap I think are helping.

Anne with an “E”

Posted on by .

There are just some things that you decide to get and there isn’t really a need or a reason.  You just have to.  You see it and you just know.

I got an email from Knitcircus Yarns and I just had to get this:

img_0038

Knitcircus is known for their gradient yarns and they are just beautiful.  This one is called “Anne with an E” and once I saw the name I knew I had to get it.  Simply because of the name. I love Anne of Green Gables and this yarn is named after that series.  I never did read the books but watched it on tv and I just loved the story.  Seeing this yarn and it’s name brought back nice memories and that is the only reason I had to have it.  But that is a perfectly good reason, don’t you agree? Now to decide what to make with it.