The Physics of a Yarn Stash

So a few days ago, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka The Yarn Harlot) posted about the troubles that knitters might encounter when packing for a trip (pretty much it boils down to not enough yarn, or incorrect tools for working with the yarn you have).  There are two obvious solutions: carry huge volumes of knitting related items with you at all times or purchase new knitting items while traveling.  I engage in both of these behaviors.  The latter often leads to the increase in the volume of the yarn stash.  One of the comments on Stephanie’s blog was extremely amusing to me, and I just had to re-post it.  It seemed to me the perfect union of knitting geek and “traditional” geek sensibilities.

The string theory involved with calculating the mass of your stash can be boiled down to – you must maintain either the volume or weight, which ever is greater or the universe will become unbalanced. More complicated calculations come into play when adult children move out and free up space, creating a vacuum that causes the stash to expand.
As a result, yarn stashes can only grow and never truly decrease. So the expanding yarn stash is not truly the fault of the knitter but is simply the equalizing of the universe.

-Posted by: kim at July 13, 2012 10:54 AM in response to Applied Experience on the Yarn Harlot’s blog

Kim’s comment put me in mind of an XKCD comic, entitled Depth.  For no other reason than it also makes a passing reference to string theory (or at least to  Brian Greene, its champion) who is depicted as a knitter in the comic.

Hope you enjoyed these two tidbits as much as I did.

Opal sock yarn at Opal Divine’s

Sock with beer flight at Opal Divine'sJoey and I went to Opal Divine’s tonight for dinner.  I decided to try some new beers, so I got a flight of beer, including: Southern Star Blond Bombshell, Thirsty Planet Armadillo Wheat, Circle Brewing Envy Amber, and Southern Star Buried Hatchet Stout.  The two Southern Star beers were by far my favorites.  While we waited for our food, I worked on Mom’s socks, for which I am using yarn called Opal Hundertwasser by Zwerger Garn.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Socks finished! On to the next pair…

Minnow Merino Socks

I finished the socks I have been working on for the past week. I am wearing them right now. They are wonderful and cozy, and they match the feathers in my hair. What could be better? Elanor and Joey helped me take the pictures.

Hundertwasser sock yarn

I have started the gauge swatch for my mom’s socks. She picked out some self-striping sock yarn while we were in Germany, and now I will turn it into a groovy pair of socks. Self-striping yarn is always fun to knit with. I feel so accomplished, even though I know it isn’t my skill that makes the stripes happen. This particular yarn is especially cool because it is inspired by the work of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, an Austrian painter and architect who designed an apartment block called Hundertwasserhaus in Vienna, Austria. My family visited the house when we were in Vienna years ago, and it has always been a favorite memory of that trip.

Knitting progress and a trip to Gauge

Minnow Merino Sock

I made great progress on my sock. I have finished the first one. I will cast on the second one tomorrow.

Rachel and I hung out this afternoon and evening. We had a great time. We spent a couple of hours at Gauge picking out yarn for some projects that Rachel wants to do. We found tons of awesome yarn, but we finally managed to narrow it down. Then we spent quite a while trying to wind the yarn wound into cakes, but it was not very cooperative! Rachel managed to figure out its secret, and then we got it into shape! After the yarn store we went over to Alborz for dinner. We really had fun visiting and catching up.

Travel knitting

I had some time on my trip to North Carolina to do some knitting.  I had made great progress on Liam’s hat over the last week, and on the plane I got the body of the hat finished.  I am a little worried that it will be too small for Liam.  He has an 18 inch head.   My head is only three inches bigger than that, and I have 35 years on him!

I will try it on him when I get home.  I will keep it in any case.  If it doesn’t fit Liam, I am sure it will fit someone with a less giant head.

I also got a good start on a new pair of socks out of Jil Eaton Minnow Merino.  I like this yarn because it is superwash wool.  There have been a few shrinking incidents in our house lately, so it is good to have the risk of that reduced!Jil Eaton Minnow Merino I am generally not a fan of how superwash wool feels.  I like the grip that regular wool has, and superwash wool feels too slippery, but this stuff has a really good feel as I knit.

I got the yarn at Gauge Knits in Austin, and it turned up as part of the stash clean up that I did on Sunday.  That is one of the fun parts of going through your stash – you find cool yarn you had forgotten, and it is new all over again!

I did a picot top on this sock.  I am not sure if I like how it turned out, but I am going to go ahead and knit the leg, and then see how I feel about it.

Organizing the stash

Stash 19 Feb 2011Yesterday I spent time organizing my stash of yarn.  I pulled everything out of the closet.  I re-wound a bunch of yarn that had been partially used, or squished out of shape.  Then I took pictures of all the yarn individually, and added it all to my stash list on Ravelry.  Not a small project, but I am so happy to have it done!


As you most likely know, I love to knit.  Like many knitters, I occasionally, all right, possibly more than occasionally, come down with starteritis.  This is a disease that leads the knitter to get extremely excited about starting projects.  Then the knitter has all kinds of unfinished finished objects (UFOs – to steal a cute name from the Yarn Harlot) lying around.

Ashville Shrug

A few weeks ago, one of my favorite writers, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, posted on her blog about a related disease that could actually counter starteritis – finishitupitis.  She describes the symptoms in her post, and she is far funnier and more eloquent than I am.  But basically (because I know, despite the fact that you totally should, not all of you will read her fantastic post) the symptoms of finishitupitis are that you are compelled to finish all your open projects.

I seem to have a chronic case of starteritis.  If only I could catch finishitupitis my productivity would sky rocket!  I have managed to finish two long standing projects in the past week or so.  Mainly due to Joey reminding me that I would likely feel better if they were finished.

Love the shrug!

One project was a Christmas present for Rachel, the other a barter with Anne.  Rachel’s present was started way back in June, but set aside because I “have so much time before Christmas and there is no need to rush”.  Anne asked me to make her a set of elbow length fingerless gloves in December 2009!  While I agreed right away, I didn’t buy yarn for them until the spring of 2010, and since it was warm, I reasoned that I had plenty of time to start them before it got cold.  Yikes!  Totally lame of me on both counts.  Of course the procrastination had mostly to do with starteritis convincing me that I had to cast on about a dozen other projects!

Anne wearing her gloves

At long last both projects are done.  Both Rachel and Anne were delighted to have their knitted items.  I just dropped Rachel’s off today.  Take a look at my posts about Anne’s gloves or Rachel’s shrug on Ravelry for all the knitterly details and more pictures.

Now I feel the starteritis creeping up. I have already cast on a new hat for Liam, but I think that maybe should start that pair of cabled gloves for myself as well…

Delayed Shrug

Last summer I made Lee a shrug for her birthday. I almost finished an entire sleeve before I realized that it would be big enough for two of her. I ripped the whole thing out – this is called “frogging” in the knitting world because you rip it, rip it.  I started again, but was disheartened by the set back, and took a LONG time to finish it.  Her birthday is in July.  I finally delivered it in November.

Lee and Bamboo Shrug

The first time I saw her wear it I realized that the back was too broad.  This was my own fault.   I totally did not trust the pattern (in my defense, it had already lied once) or the measurements I had taken of Lee’s back.  I have a very broad back, and I just could not make myself believe that it was possible for a grown woman to have such a tiny frame.  I should have trusted the tape measure.  I convinced her to give the shrug back to me so that I could cut it apart, rip it back to be narrow enough for her, and sew the back seam again.  All of that happened fairly quickly, despite a major disagreement with the seam about whether or not it should be bumpy and weird, and I returned the shrug to Lee.

After all that work, I did not have a single picture of the thing!  Last night Lee modeled her shrug, and I got some photos.  You can see the details about the knitting aspects of the project on Ravelry. You can also check out pictures of more of my knitting projects in my Knitting Projects set on Flickr.

Bamboo Shrug

Notice that the sleeves are actually “too long” by ordinary standards.  That is by design at Lee’s request.  As if to make up for her impossibly narrow back, she was blessed with extremely long arms.  She was absolutely thrilled at the idea that the sleeves of ANYTHING would dangle over her hands.  The lace on these sleeves makes it especially nice.