Category Archives: Beekeeper

Three year plan

When I started this project three years ago today, I thought I’d make enough for a queen sized quilt. I knew it was a lot of puffs, and thought it would take me at least three years…well, I got one thing right. It is a LOT of puffs. But now I need to re-estimate – it will take at least five years! And maybe another year to join them all together, heh!

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I got them all out yesterday, just for fun:

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I considered jumping on top of that pile, but didn’t fancy having to pick them all up off the floor, and maybe loose some in the process! Instead, I laid them all out to see how big my quilt in progress is.

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Not bad! 123cm/48″ wide and 130cm/51″ long. And 643 puffs. I thought about doing the maths to work out exactly how many I would need for 150cm x 200cm but then my brain broke. So I will just keep puffing along for another few years…

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Stash Honesty – October 2012

Better late than never!

After being relatively good on the Wollmeise front, I have taken a few tumbles off the wagon. But I have no regrets! This is the first of a few purchases – for all the fair isle/Colourwork plans I have in my head:

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For the second month in a row, I feel like I got a lot done, but the amount I used doesn’t sem to support this. Not to worry, I managed to destash a big ball of Bendigo cotton to help out a Raveler. So that makes my total a little more respectable.

In: 9x50g balls
Out: 4.5x50g balls and destashed 4x50g balls
Metres used: 871m (YTD: 9482m)
Stash neutral? ha, no way! +8.5 x 50g balls

In Beekeeper news, I had a great month – 36 puffs!

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And since November is my birthday month, I wound a lovely skein of my favourite puff yarn so far, Socks That Rock Lightweight in True Blood Red:

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Very excited to be knitting puffs with this beauty all month long!

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Beekeeper Basics

(sorry, people who are interested in actual bees – this post is not for you!)

A few weeks ago, Bells asked me how I store my completed sexypuffs.  So I figured I may as well do a complete RoseRed Guide to Beekeeper Basics, heh!

So this is my super-special storage solution for the puffs:

Yes, that’s right, good old ziplock bags!  I guess I am just about ready to graduate them to a plastic tub or similar.  I’d love to put them loose in a nice woven or cane basket, but there are a few reasons why I don’t think it is a good idea…(a) moths or similar buggy nasties (b) the irresistable allure I am sure a basket of puffs will have for little boy hands (not that he’s shown much interest yet, but I’m not discounting it in future!) and (c) the irresistable allure I am sure it will have for the cat, who is likely to claim it as her new sleeping bed!

The puffs for the current month are in the white drawstring bag at the bottom – at the end of the month I tally them up and note them on the yarn boards (which I’ve shown you before) – it’s got samples and notes about all the yarns I’ve used so far, how many puffs in that colour and where the yarn came from, if donated to me. I’m going to have to find some more thick cardboard soon!

 (Some of) the yarn awaiting puffication is in glass vases on the coffee table.  For some reason it is has not been of appeal to small boy hands  – yet.  I suspect the day will come.  Probably sooner than I am ready!

And finally, my to-go puff project bag – a superfantastic Buttontree Lane sunnyboy bag, in which I keep a few small balls of puff yarn, spare circular needles, a ziplock bag (but of course!) of stuffing, a crochet hook for the neat crochet bind off, and the folca box (“if always have folca, important things will not forget!”) of notions.

So there you have it!  I’d better get back to sexypuffing!

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Stash Honesty – August 2012

And so another month rolls around and it’s time, yet again, to take stock of the last month’s yarny achievements.

It’s a fairly similar picture to most other months – I bought some yarn, I used some yarn and I (gasp) destashed some more (double gasp!) yarn.

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In: 11x50g balls of yarn (3 x Wollmeise – either my nemesis or my kryptonite!), 10 x perle 8 cotton – even though those balls are. little, they still add up!) and 1 x DB baby casmerino (wah, it was on sale!)
Out: 15x50g balls of yarn – woo hoo! 7 used up and 8 destashed! That makes my YTD accounting a wee bit better.
Stash neutral? well, not quite but not bad +10.5 x 50g balls
Metres used: 1058m – YTD 7940m

My really exciting achievement this month was to hit the one year anniversary of starting my Beekeeper, and to end the month with 400 sexypuffs in total. Let’s say the total again:

Woo hoo! AND I managed finally to finish using a 100g ball of red alpaca – this was seriously like the Magic Pudding – it was the never-ending ball of yarn!  But I finally finished it this month, and as a reward decided to use some MadTosh sock (in Tart, but of course!) that had been donated to me by MissFee – a lovely large leftover ball, thank you! (I also have some Pashmmmmmmina and Merino Light from MissFee, how exciting!  My first MadTosh knitting experience!)

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Stash Honesty – July 2012

You know how I mentioned a possible destash last month? To make up for my splurges of late? Well I hope you are sitting down when you read this, because I did it! Not very much now (I wouldn’t want to give myself a heart attack, let alone you) but I managed to say goodbye to 21 x 50g equivalent balls of yarn!

And thanks to crochet, I had a really good month on the usage side of things too!

In: no yarn in this month!
Out: 13 x 50g balls used, 21 x 50g balls destashed
metres used: 1950m! Yay for crochet! (YTD: 6,882m)
stash neutral? well, not quite, but a lot better than last month! +14.5 x 50g balls

And while I didn’t quite get one per day done, I made decent headway on the Beekeeper:

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22 more puffs done – and I just realised it is almost a year since I started this project! How time flies!

I might have to buy some more yarn to celebrate! Heh heh.

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Forgive me…Stash Honesty May 2012

Forgive me, blog readers, for I have sinned…it’s been a MONTH since my last post!  Oh dear.

But the washing is on the line (yes, it is finally SUNNY after what seems like a month of rain as well, but is really only maybe a week and a half), the boys are at the park, I have a cup of tea and some milo slice, and I am blogging!

It’s been a busy month – we’ve had our roof replaced, the exterior of the house painted, and a new bathroom installed (more on all of that in another post!). For the two week bathroom installation, we stayed at the MiL’s, which was good, but no internet – thank goodness husby has 3G on his iPad, so I wasn’t completely marooned!

Sadly, not so busy on the crafting front.  Connor has been sleeping less during the day, and since nap times are my main knitting/crochet time, I have been missing out a bit.  And I’ve even fallen behind for the first time with my sexypuffs – only 20 done in May! (June is going to be even worse…lucky I’m ahead of schedule a bit).

On the upside, I didn’t buy any yarn in May (let’s not talk about June just yet…) and even though the Craft Fair was on this week, I was reasonably restrained.

In: zero!  zip zilch nada nothing (I need to get it all out now, it might not happen again this year…)
Out: a measly 3.25 x 50g balls.  Gick!
Metres used:  Only 547m (YTD: 4,577.5m)
Stash neutral?  No…+16.5 x 50g balls

I have also been working on a sample for a new class I am going to be teaching at another yarn store (a sneak peek below) which is soaking as I type, to be blocked while the sun continues to shine (who knows how long it will stay sunny!). 

And I’m excited to be planning my Tour de France KAL project.  I’ve got two options:

This vest, in Noro Shirakaba – I have even swatched!  And OMG, this feels DIVINE.  It’s a cotton/silk/nylon/wool blend and knits up just so nicely. 

The colours are nicer in real life (of course!).  Lovely deep blue and charcoal and silvery grey.  The project is worked in garter stitch and reverse stocking stitch, but I think I like the stocking stitch side better.

The other option is a crochet motif something something in this yarn:

(which is charcoal, silver grey, cream and of course sunshine yellow!)

I’m leaning towards the crochet, mostly because I know I can finish the project during the TdF, whereas I probably won’t finish the vest.  Not that I really care about finishing, but it would be nice to actually get something done done DONE in that space of time.  What do you think?  And if you want to sign up for the KAL, it is not too late!

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I must BEE crazy – or am I?

I had a good month in February – even though it was a short month, I managed to crank out 37 sexypuffs for my Beekeeper’s Quilt.  Helped in no small part by Connor insisting I bring my NingNing with me when I sit with him at his little table while he “draws”, and so on!

Just for LynS, here is a shot of all the puffs done so far – all 244 of them (well, actually, there are 18 missing, I found an extra ziplock bag after I’d put them all away again!).

And I thought I may as well lay them all out, so I can check my calculations of how many puffs I need to make.  So 226 puffs makes roughly a 77cm/30″ square – with 14 puffs in the columns downwards, and 16 puffs across.

So if I want a QS quilt – which is about 150cm x 200cm, that means I’d need about 4 times this many puffs…which gives me around 900 puffs!  That’s a lot different to 1829!!  Wow!  Maybe this will only be a 2.5 year plan, rather than a 5 year one!  Not so crazy after all …

So far, I have knitted with 14 different yarns, many of which were donated by lovely knitting friends. To help me remember what yarns and what colours I’ve used, as well as the source of the yarn and how many puffs I have in that colour, I have made some “colour cards” where I can keep a sample and notes.  Some of the samples are very small (I usually cut them after I’ve used up as much yarn as I can for the puffs!).

My favourite yarn so far is Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Lightweight – gosh this is a smooshy sproingy lovely yarn.  It is truly lush.  Such a lovely yarn to knit with.

Similar to the STR is Colinette Jitterbug.  Mmmmm yum.  I’ve also enjoyed knitting with Handmaiden Casbah and Plucky Knitter – those merino cashmere blends are just so soft.  And for depth of colour, of course, you know what I’m going to say … you can’t go past the Wollmeise!

It’s been fascinating to compare the different yarns, and a delight to try some I hadn’t knitted with previously (mmmmMalabrigo Sock, I’m looking at you!). 

Any thoughts on the random puff arrangement?  Maybe that is the way to go, rather than a specific pattern.  I suppose I still have plenty of time to consider this, since I’m only 6 months into this project!

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Stash Honesty – January 2012

Well that month flew by.  For some reason I felt like I could just buy anything this month.  And I did.  Sort of.  I did exercise some restraint, believe it or not.

First up is some Rowan Wool Cotton that I bought from a destasher – at a price too good to pass up!  Yep, I even bought two balls of pink in there…I know – madness!  Heh heh.

And two balls of yarn from our Melbourne trip – because souvenir yarn doesn’t count (sort of…).  Red alpacky for more sexypuffs, and the cotton blend sock yarn for socks for husby – he doesn’t have any cottony knit socks, and I don’t have any cotton blend sock yarn, so snap!  It had to be.

In:  13 x 50g balls
Out:  7.5 x 50g balls – mostly 4ply/fingering knitting this month
metres used:  1114m
Stash neutral?  No!  +5.5 x 50g balls

In Beekeeper news, I had a lovely month of puff knitting – I came out nicely ahead of target, with 39 puffs done.  And all but 3 were knitted with yarns given to me by friends and family (thanks Mum, Bells, MadMad and Jilly) – this really is going to be a community quilt!

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Hello TwentyTwelve!

Can you believe it?  I almost can’t – but all the great knitting retrospectives I’ve been reading (and have waiting still in my blog reader) tell me otherwise!

I’m not organised enough to do a photo review of my knitting year, but thanks to the magic of Ravelry and my trusty moleskine knitting diary, I can tell you I started 34 projects, and I finished 34 projects.  If only the new projects matched the finished projects, heh!

Some of my FO’s were big – my Olive jumper and Big Woolly vest, plus 2 skirts – Lanesplitter (which I have still to blog properly – woops!) and my Super Special Birthday Skirt.  Some were small – crochet snowflakes and a bunch of crochet dishcloths, plus a BALL!.  There were things for the little guy – a cardigan, 3 vests and a pair of pantses; gifts for friends – a baby cardi, a shawl, a hat, a tea cosy and a crochet ball; and of course socks – Nutkin, Heritage socks and husby’s Frankensocks. And a few other bits and pieces – two scarves, a hat, another shawl, some mitts and a bag.

Amongst those FOs I managed to finish 7 pre-2011 WIPS.  And yet at the end of 2011, I still have 15 WIPS!  So it will be a Binding Off 2012 year again…but more of that in another post.  One thing that won’t be bound off in 2012 – of course my Beekeeper Insanity! 

As for stash honesty…well, I am sad (sort of!) to report that I have not broken even, let alone reduced the stash in 2011.  But it hasn’t grown much…heh heh.

In December, I just had to buy 2 bags of Rowan Calmer – a unique yarn, discontinued!  And a great price, thanks to Jannette’s Rare Yarns.  I forgot to take a photo but I got a bag of garnet (a lovely red) and a bag of Tree, which is a fab green.  I can’t decide which to knit up first!

I also received some lovely gift yarn – a skein of Cascade Heritage Silk from Bells – which I think just might be too nice to knit sexypuffs with!  It is so soft.  Yummo.

And a couple of balls of red yarn from my friend MissJ, who wanted to be a part of my Beekeeper insanity!  I must say, it is a lovely thing that so many of my friends are a part of my quilt, through their leftover yarn donations and gifts.  It really is a bit of a group project in that way, which makes it even more special.

So let’s not put off the final tallying any further:

In: 22 x 50g balls
Actual balls used:  6 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  9.5 x 50g balls
metres used:  1076m

For the year 2011
Actual balls used: -16.5 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent:  112 x 50g balls
metres used:  13,054m

I was surprised to find I’d used the equivalent of 112 balls of 8ply yarn this year – I didn’t think it would be that much!  And whilst I came out with a bit more yarn than I started with, it wasn’t a crazy amount (and if I’d just ignored that Calmer, I would have been ahead!!  Oh well, I can’t ignore a discontinued yarn bargain, that’s nothing new!

Christmas snowflake sexypuff!

I will keep up the stash honesty next year, I think I need the bit of discipline that it gives me – because trust me, if I wasn’t writing it all down each month, I know I would have more yarn than I currently do!

I will leave you with my first sexypuff of 2012 – I spent the last few minutes of 2011 and the first few minutes of 2012 knitting this in lovely Wollmeise whilst watching the NYE fireworks (yes, my life is that exciting!). You know how they say you should start a new year the way you want it to continue – well, knitting with great yarn, donated by a lovely friend, on my crazy but great big 5 year plan project.  Yes, that’s how I’d like to continue TwentyTwelve.

Happy New Year! 

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StashDownUnder – November 2011

Lots of knitting and crochet this month but I’m afraid I fell off the wagon when it comes to yarn purchases.  A ball here, a holiday skein there, a couple of destash temptations over there, a “well, I’m going hopeless anyway so I might as well buy another ball” here.

And surprise surprise, its all red!!  (shown with a bunch of donated leftovers for my Beekeeper Insanity). 

But on the Beekeeper front, I am doing well!  35 puffs this month, ahead of schedule!  Yay! What do you think of the chevron arrangement?

In: 14 x 50g balls (ulp!)
Actual balls used: 6 x 50g balls
8ply equivalent: 12 x 50g (LOTS of 4 ply work this month!)
metres used: 1395m

Year to date
Actual balls used: -4 x 50g balls. 
8ply equivalent:  102.5 x 50g balls
metres used: 11978m

Last month I commented that I might come out stash negative or at worst stash neutral by the end of this year.  I am predicting right now that that will not be the case!!  Darn you Rowan for discontinuing Calmer!  (not that I’ve bought any yet…but I’m prety sure I will be!)

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