Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wednesday Wishlist

Have you ever really wanted to try a new product, but it's not in your budget?
Do you fall in love with projects, but you know you just don't have time to make them right now?
Would you donate an item to charity if it meant you got to play with the yarn for free?

Here are my picks of the week:

Bernat Mega Bulky:

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  Bernat wasn't kidding when they named this yarn Mega Bulky! This stuff is huge! I fell in love with with Mega Bulky during my last yarn shopping trip. But, at $9.99 for 64 yards, it's not in my budget right now. I'm looking to make a new afghan, I'm pressed for time, and I know that it would be done in a flash with 4 rows of 4 single crochet to 4" (10 cm). But how many skeins would I need to make a full-size blanket? I can't spend over $30 on a project right now.

  Do you ever think "Ooo, I wanna make that!", but when you add up how much the project will cost, you just laugh (or get really sad)? Trying to get an idea for how many skeins I would need for my afghan, I was checking out the free pattern for this Big Waves Throw on the Yarnspirations website:

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  Click the picture to get the pattern. The folks at are nice enough to put together a package for you to complete one of their projects. Although I really like this feature, scrolling down to the final price just about gave me a heart attack. Nope, a new afghan with Mega Bulky just isn't in my $30 budget right now. And this yarn is sooooo soft. Sigh.

  I know, plenty of you would suggest that I purchase one skein for a scarf or hat, or some smaller accessory, but the answer is no. No! No, I want a blanket, and I'm putting my foot down! Until then, maybe I'll get lucky enough to afford a few skeins for a small pattern and a review, but even that will have to wait.

Red Heart Boutique Twilight:

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  Ooo, shiny! Sorry, I can't help it...With bright, vivid colors that practically glow combined with a touch of sparkle, this bulky yarn attracts attention right away. Seriously, click the picture to follow the link, and check out all the selections available. I want a skein in every color!

  At $5.99 a ball, it seems like a better choice to fit my budget, but I surely can't buy one in every color. I have to face a dilemma with this one: With so low of a budget, should I spend my money on fashion yarn, or should I be looking at more practical, useful options? I need to keep that afghan in mind. There's always Granny Squares, right?

  For right now, I need to keep my yarn spending to a minimum. Unless I win some awesome giveaway, I'll have to scratch the Mega Bulky off of my list...wait for someone to gift me a harder so I can afford what I want again! But I still have to pick up something new once in a while, or my patterns start to feel redundant, all made in the same brand of cheap worsted acrylic. The less expensive ball of Boutique Twilight seems like a smarter choice to get me through that "I need new yarn" feeling, without breaking the bank.

What would you choose if you were in my situation? Take a little longer to save up, while still buying odds and ends, or stop buying anything and go through yarn detox until you save enough for everything? I'm not broke, I just have to be smart with my money right now, and remember that (unfortunately) yarn isn't really a necessity.

Click the donate button on the right if you can help me out! I love to play with yarn, even if I don't get to keep (or make money from) the item I've made. All donations will support my Scarf of the Month program. Every month, a new scarf (or set) will be designed to donate to charity. As a thank you for your donations, the pattern will be provided for free the following month!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Yarn Tales Tuesday

Saving the Yarn:
The next step

  Last week, we left off where I was debating whether to cut this skein of yarn to save myself some hassle. This week, let's see how far I've gotten with it:

  The final decision was to break out the scissors. I don't like it, but it's what I have to do before I loose my mind over $5 of acrylic yarn. In the end, I figured it just wasn't worth the frustration. Having already weighed my options and reconsidering the project this skein was designated for, I'm now prepared to start severing the knots that have kept me tied down. Well, almost. I imagine I can hear the yarn crying, "Don't cut me! Please untangle me!" and I feel bad about it. Then, realizing yarn can't talk, I regained my sanity and formed a plan.     

  Why plan ahead before cutting the yarn? I feel I owe it to this skein, since it was my lack of thought that caused its injury. I thought it would be smart to use some forethought this time, and at least make a goal to get equal parts out of the skein. I know it won't be perfect, but I'm going to stick it out and try my hardest.

  At the time that I took this picture, I had two sections partially untangled. One side was a bit under 1 oz (28 g), and the other was about half its size. I had a terribly tight knot to fight with, and considered just cutting it already. Just as I was about to snip, I realized where the problem was. Two loops in the knot were tightened together, with another loop tangled around both of them. Then, the whole mass of a knot twisted a few times, and flipped around the yarn coming from the skein. Seeing the correct route to take, I untied the mess in a few minutes with a sigh of relief.

  Remember last week, when I was hoping for the "yarn gods" to bless me with the power to save this skein? I thought my "prayer" was answered at last. After days of fighting and cussing while still determined to keep this yarn in one piece, I had finally made some progress! I thought I should put the scissors away. I thought I could begin to roll it into a beautiful, organized ball of potential project. I thought I would be able to relax with my coffee for a few minutes during a break. I thought the stereo would get a break from blasting heavy metal in anger, and I could go back to more quietly blasting heavy metal for fun. I thought wrong.

  I'll spare you the next few minutes of the story that involve R-rated language and scenes of violence. Let's just say this: There's a knot somewhere inside the skein, and I can't pull it out. If I pull one way, the yarn just won't budge. If I pull the other way, the whole skein starts to turn inside out. After letting it invert a bit, thinking I could find the knot, the second side quit moving, too. It's like there's an invisible troll living inside this skein, grabbing whatever tail you try to unravel, and tying it into a new knot again.

  Okay, it's time to accept defeat. But, at least I was able to get both ends untangled to about the same length. Get the scissors. Ready? Hold your breath and...

  Cut! Ooo, ow, oh, that hurt! I think I can hear my yarn whimpering! Shh...It'll be okay, yarn...We'll still turn you into a good project, I promise!

And now it's time to start again:

  Where? I don't know. I'm a little lost right now, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. For now, the drink of the day is herbal mint tea. (Screech! Hit the brakes!) What, no coffee? I'm feeling a bit down, the weather's been bad, and I just don't have the heart for my caffeinated friend today. But don't think I won't put some rum in that tea to give it a kick! I'm confident that the coffee maker will be up and running again tomorrow, and hopefully so will I. Until then, let's tone the heavy metal down a bit with a song of the day by Taproot (video will play), and look forward to brighter skies and less knots.

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