365 Days Handmade

Making life a better place, one day at a time


Day 82/365: The Day I Show You My Stash

I started this blog back in January for several reasons.  One reason was that I had accumulated way too much yarn over the last dozen years.  A second reason was that I had too many unfinished knitted projects.  For 2015, I resolved to either finish those projects, or else frog them and wind the yarn back into balls.  I resolved to reduce the amount of yarn in my stash by either knitting or crocheting useful and pretty things that I could then either keep or give away.  I would document my progress in the blog, and once I went public, I’d really have to commit.

I mentioned these reasons to a few non-knitting, non-crocheting friends on a few separate occasions, and their reactions were all pretty much the same:  “Really?  You have that much yarn?”

Yes, I have that much yarn.

I have sock yarn, from the fairly inexpensive stuff you can purchase at chain craft stores, to the really expensive hand-dyed extrafine merino wool that they sell at independent shops with “Fine Yarns” added to the store’s name.


I have balls and skeins.


I have Peruvian wool, lamb’s wool, merino wool, silk, cashmere, and super kid mohair.

They come from Romania or Japan, Italy or Germany, Wales or other places in the United Kingdom.  The labels and brands vary from the small and obscure to the names you know, like Noro, Cascade, Crystal Palace, Classic Elite, Karabella, Debbie Bliss, Berroco.


I have cotton, linen, and bamboo.


I have cotton-linen blends, and acrylic-cotton blends.

I have 100% acrylic that is made a lot softer now than the old scratchy stuff from back in the day.



I have a lot of yarn.


This is a stash that grew out of the last twelve years, starting in 2003 when I left my full-time teaching job and went back to graduate school to pursue a new career.  When I look at each ball or skein, I can remember where it came from and the general time in my life when I bought that particular yarn, whether it was during the MACP or PsyD program, pre-doc or post-doc, the dissertation, the internship year, the interminably anxiety-ridden months of licensing exams, or post-full-time-permanent-state-job status.

Now I can breathe in relief that those stressful years are behind me.  I’m happy in my present time.  And I have enough yarn today to keep myself knitting and crocheting right into retirement.


Day 81/365: The Day I Finished My Short Crocheted Table Runner


Remember these three orphan balls from the stash?


I took that ball of white yarn there on the left and started this:


It was an inexpensive acrylic yarn that I’d had for a very long time.  I just wanted to use it up and turn it into something prettier than a lone orphan ball that was sitting forgotten in the stash.

Several inches along into the project, I realized I was going to run out of yarn pretty soon, and it would be way too short for a scarf.  But never mind.  It would do as a table runner.


A short one, as it turns out.  Which is okay, because all you have to do is throw a plant on the table, and everyone will be looking at that instead.



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Day 80/365: The Day I Went and Took a Hike


Today my friend Roberta and I hiked to the top of Madonna Peak in San Luis Obispo.  It was a good workout and something I need to do more.  The neat thing about the view was that we could see the prison where I work.  If you look in the upper center portion of the photo, you’ll see a line of light-colored buildings.  That’s it.  It looks small in the photo, but I promise you that’s it’s actually a fairly large facility.  It is also not that close to the city as it appears to be.

The other thing I did today was finish my multi-colored pastel granny square.  (Well, I didn’t really have a choice– I ran out of yarn.)  It measures approximately 12″ by 12″, which doesn’t really amount to anything useful.  I’m thinking of frogging the whole thing.  Maybe I’ll make a hat.

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Day 79/365: A Record-Breaking Day for Urgent Referrals

I don’t drink because I’m allergic to alcohol, and I don’t smoke because I never liked the smell of it.  After the day I had at work, though, I’d be drinking and smoking right now if I could.  Today was a record-breaking day for me.  On top of my regular line of patients to see, I received four different urgent referrals from various staff telling me that I needed to see the inmate today.  Even worse, none of those four inmates lived on the yard where I worked, so I had to call different tier officers on the other yards to arrange for the inmate to come to my office.

In the middle of all this madness, our yard was suddenly recalled because custody received an anonymous note threatening to kill three of our correctional officers.  If the note had specifically mentioned “mental health staff,” I might have been a little more concerned, but what with all the work that suddenly got dumped in my lap, I was more worried about getting everything done by the end of the day so that I wouldn’t be working beyond ten hours.

I would tell you all about those urgent referrals, except I’m tired, it’s finally the start of my weekend, and I have no alcohol or smokes around the house.  I do, however, have a Cadbury Crème Egg and an afghan that I started last night, so I think I am going to get comfortable on the deck and watch the sunset.


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Day 78/365: The Day Luchador Mascot #2 Arrived


The luchadors measure three inches tall, which should give you an idea of how much of this yarn I have left.


“Sean,” I said.  “You know my luchador mascot for the blog?  I ordered another one.  So he’s going to have a brother.”

“Yeah,” Sean said, in all seriousness.  “He looked like he was getting lonely.”


Hanging out happily on a large crocheted granny square. I also want to point out that the new addition to the family came with an outie bellybutton.


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Day 77/365: The Beginning of Another Stash-Busting Project

So I looked at all the yarn in the stash and pulled out these three little orphan balls that looked like they could go together, somewhat.  Naturally they didn’t have their labels anymore (why? why didn’t I save the labels and stick them in the middle of the ball, like thinking people do?), but it was pretty clear that they were three different brands and dye lots.  I figured they had the potential to be transformed into something cute.


I started with the multi-colored pastel ball and crocheted a few row of shells.  Then it became pretty clear to me that I would end up with another small rectangle, like my most recent pink and yellow baby blankie.  I decided I wanted to make something different this time, where I would start the piece at the center and work my way out.  I could either crochet essentially what would be a round lace doily or a large granny square.  I went with the granny square.


Here is my little Luchador mascot, who you will recognize from my blog header.  We’re both trying to decide if we like how this granny square project is turning out.


Day 76/365: Crocheted Baby Blankie of Pink and Yellow Shells

Here it is, the completed project:


Ta da!

As you know, lately I’ve been on a stash-busting kick and working on crocheted blankets to give away.  Truthfully, it’s because I got bored with knitting, and crochet gives me the satisfaction of finishing a project in just a few days.  You’ll notice that I’ve been sticking to flat pieces and not things like hats or baby sweaters, which would be just as useful and good to give away to charity.  It’s because I’m being lazy and I don’t want to think about increases and decreases and shaping and counting stitches.


For this particular little afghan, I used two orphan balls of sport weight yarn from the stash.  They were made by two different companies, but were similar in color, weight, and fiber content (100% acrylic).  I’d thrown away their labels a long time ago, which is actually a good thing, because the perfectionist part of me knew that I wouldn’t have enough yarn to make an adult-sized afghan and I was tempted to go on eBay and find more skeins– which would have defeated the original purpose of using up yarn from the stash.  So I gave myself a little talk and made my peace with the fact that the finished blanket would be a small one– 17.5″ by 27″, to be precise.


Yup, there it is in all its entirety. About the size of a baby doll blankie.

I had fun making this little afghan.  The pattern was a repeating shell stitch that I found in one of my crochet books.  I’m very into the shell stitch right now.  I’ve already started a third afghan, and yes, it is another shell stitch, but who knows.  I might decide to rip it out and go with pineapple lace, instead.