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Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This past week has been rather interesting, hasn't it?  I mean, for one, we have the horrible, devastating earthquake that shook up the entire eastern seaboard.  Did you see some of the pictures of the aftermath?  It's pretty gruesome stuff.  Please, let's have a moment of silence.


Ok, moving on now. Oh yeah, then there was the hurricane.  Hurricane?!?!  I'm from St. Louis, my friends, and I have lived here seven years and have never had to do "hurricane grocery shopping" before.  I bought water, I bought flashlights, I bought batteries, I filled up the cars with gas, I considered buying tarps, and on and on.  I was thisclose to buying a freakin' generator!    I haven't seen that much of The Weather Channel since that time I went to the periodontist, and novocaine was involved in that one.  Oy....

It's times like this that make me very glad to be a knitter.  When I am stressed out, overwhelmed, fearful, worried, am being bugged out of my mind by my children and/or husband, I turn to knitting.  I don't gamble, smoke, drive fast, drink, and my coffee intake is starting to moderate after all these years, so knitting is my one and only obsession.  Well, that and yarn.

See this?

This is some of the yarn I bought when visiting my in-laws in Cincinnati.  This crazazy yarn called Frivola, and it is my first foray into the world of novelty yarns.  It is this very soft yarn, with little cocoon-like nubs in shades of green (with sparkles in it!).  When I was out on Saturday with it, several friends remarked that it looked like I was knitting with broccoli.  Hmmmm....



Ummmmm...ok, they have a point. 

One skein of this knitted up faster than you can say "choppin' broccoli" .  I finished the skein in 15 minutes, to my surprise, and I have another to add to this scarf.  I hope it will make one of my nieces happy this holiday season.  Oh yes, I am knitting already for Christmas, but even thinking about it makes me twitchy.

I am also knitting for the upcoming fall weather.  I had this epiphany, really, that if I took something out of my stash that I had cast on for months (ahem...years....ahem) ago and, like, knit it,  then I would have--get this--a FINISHED PROJECT!  So I delved into my stash and considered many pretty, neglected balls of yarn, and found this little number:

This is the Farmer's Market Cardigan, by Connie Chang Chinchio.  I always find myself gravitating towards her knitting designs.  They look so chic and pretty, yet comfortable.  I am knitting this one up in Cascade 220, in a color called "eggplant", but doesn't exactly resemble that.  It's black and deep slate blue plied together (eggplant?  really?), and I may be sorry at the end that I chose such a dark yarn, that it may not show off the gorgeous cabling in the collar, but 12 inches of it was already knitted up when I got it out of the closet, and I'm goin' for it!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Learn to Knit       $25
Always wanted to take up knitting? Now is your time, come learn from the best! One time class.
7-9 pm
Monday, September 19
Monday, October 17
Monday, November 21

Learn to Crochet.      $25

Here's your opportunity to get a beautiful start on your crochet adventures! One time class.
7-9 pm
Thursday, October 6
Thursday, November  17

Knitting 201: Beyond the basics      $25

An enthusiastic boost to get your knitting up to the next level! One time class.
7-9 pm

Thursday, Oct 13
Monday, November 14

General Knitting      $60
Tuesday 7-9 
Session 1  September 13, 20, 27, Oct 4, 11 & 18
Session 2  October 25, November 1, 8, 15, Dec 6 & 13
Sunday 6-8pm
Session 1  September 11, 18, 25, October 2, 9 & 16
Session 2  October 23, 30, November 6, 13, 20 & 27

Toe Up Socks     $50
From the tip of the toe to the top of the cuff, socks will have you hooked! Four sessions to sock Mastery!
6:30- 8:30pm
Session 1  Monday, September 12, 19, 26 & October 3
Session 2  Monday, October 10, 17, 24 & November 7
Session 3  Monday, November 14, 21, 28 and December 5

Special Skill Series      $40 for all three or $15 per class
Fill your knitting toolbox with some great new tricks, take one or take all three!
4-5:30 pm

Session 1                                          Session 2

Get Gauge, and Basic Pattern Reading

Sunday, September 11                       Sunday, October 16
Magic Loop for Knitting in the Round
Sunday, September 18                       Sunday October 23
Continental Knitting Techniques
Sunday, September 25                       Sunday, October 30

Finishing Help and Techniques      $25

Get the tricks to polish off any knitting project for the best finished look.
9-11 am
Wednesday, Oct 19
Wednesday, Nov 9
Wednesday, Dec 7
Saturday, October 22
Saturday, November 12

Classic Knit Hat in Any Size      $30
Come pick out your favorite yarn in the shop and we'll create a great hat together. 
4-5:30 pm
Session 1  Sunday, October 2 & 9
Session 2  Sunday, November 20 & 27

Fingerless Mitts          $30
A Simple project with universal appeal!
4-5:30 pm
Session 1  Sunday, November 6 & 13
Session 2  Sunday, December 4 & 11

LEARN TO SPIN         $60
Introduction to spinning technique on the spindle and spinning wheel. A perfect activity for fall! Includes Materials.
6-7:30 pm
Wednesday, September 14 & 21

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The British Are Coming! The British Are Coming!!

Once upon a time, a prince fell in love with a girl.

And married her.

And the entire world went nuts about them.  Just lost their frickin' minds.  They couldn't get enough of them, seeing them together, separately, clubbing, brushing their teeth, whatever.  And not just the normal folks.  Knitters went nutsy foo-foo as well.  See this?

My friends, what we have here is commemorative yarn for the Royal Wedding.  Ta-dow.

It was truly a beauty of a yarn, a deep blue with just a little bit of sparkly tencel, and very reminiscent of a certain sapphire engagement ring.  This lace weight yarn is not only gorgeous and a bit unusual, it is a true collector's item.  Only 1000 skeins were made by Fyberspates, and this skein came with its own numbered certificate of authenticity.  And, if you too are an Anglophile in love with the newest Windsor smug marrieds, you may be able to order your very own skein at their website (ahem, I'll wait while you go check it really, it's cool).

I got to touch the Royal Yarn when I came in to Yarns Etc this past Friday.  Leslie, who works there, had gotten this yarn, along with several other wonderfully sheepy things, from her mother, who had been to Britain recently.  Other gorgeous items included yummy wool spun from British sheep, and these really great little coasters...

And, lest you think I am moving on from the Royal Awesomeness of the Brits, I present this to you as well:

Now that is what I love about knitters.  It's one thing to be sitting there with your buddies, and cracking jokes about the royal family, but it takes a knitter to see the yarn potential in Prince William marrying Kate Middleton.  They not only have the balcony scene...

...they also have a Youtube video of the whole dang thing!

"Mawwiage....mawwiage is whut bwings us togethuh todaaayyyy...dat bwessed event, that dweam within a dweam.  Have you da wing?"  Um, sorry, got off track there.  Anyone know what movie that is from? 

Speaking of the Brits, another invasion of sorts was happening at Yarns Etc when I was there on Friday. 

Can I tell you that there is an obscene amount of Rowan yarn at the store right now?  Just for starters, I saw Roawan Colourspun, Purelife, Lima, Felted Tweed, Big Wool, Cashsoft Baby DK, Pure Wool DK, Kidsilk Haze, Purewool 4 ply, and the Rowan Studio Issue #23.  

All in beautiful colors for fall. And fall is coming, this summer nastiness can't last forever...uh...right?

I also saw Misti Alpaca Baby Me Boo, this sweet thick and thin yarn:

I also had a bit of an attack of glee when I spied a basket of this:

KAUNI EFFEKTGARN!!!!  This stuff looks so cool when I have seen it used on Ravelry (like this, this, or this) and I have had trouble tracking it down before.  I was so pleased to see some here!  I also saw a delivery of Shibui come in as well, and I had to breathe slowly and relax so as not to tear 'round the store like a Tasmanian devil. 

I know for a fact that the hot, sticky summer can't last much longer.  Want to know how I know?  Looky here:

Can you see it?  Try this one...

It's a gnarly old tree near where we live, but if you look closely, the leaves are turning....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Look What's New!

As if you needed a reason...

to go to the yarn store...

to come and see what's new...

  what's gorgeously soft and beautiful...

unbelievably shimmery...

a palette of colors to work with...

and exciting new patterns to knit up...

Seriously...why are you still looking at this?!?  Come on in!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

That Dang Duck

Below is the pattern I have been tweaking for knitting my son a duckling from a children’s book that he loves.

1. Cast on 30 stitches. Knit four rows. On fifth row, knit into front and back of each stitch, 60 stitches.

2. Knit 1, slip 1 all the way across. Continue until you realize that this doesn’t seem to look like double knitting as it was explained to you by Elizabeth Zimmermann’s books. Also realize that this seems a little big for a duckling. Frog, and tell yourself that it was a good thing you did it sooner rather than engage in Knitting Denial (a real syndrome) and keep going.

3. Cast on 20 stitches. Knit four rows. On the fifth row, knit into the front and back of each stitch, ending up with 40 stitches. Again (because you’re on autopilot) knit 1, slip 1 across each row. Realize that you have now knit something that you will have to turn inside out, so the smooth knit stitches will be on the outside of the duckling rather than in its innards. Frog again.

4. Cast on 20 stitches, again knit four rows, again increase to 40 stitches as in previous directions. Think long and hard about what is confusing you about double knitting and why you’re not getting the result you want, and decide (inexplicably) to do. the. same. thing. again. Knit 1, slip 1. Have at it, go to town. Now you tell yourself you WANT to flip the bird—inside out, that is. Tell yourself that you meant to do that, what with those two garter ridges at the bottom and all. Tell yourself it’s for stability or something…anything. Knit on. Remember the syndrome mentioned in Step 2, but shrug it off.

5. Get to about 3-4 inches in length, gloating to yourself about how cute this little alpaca/wool yarn is, and how it looks just like the ducky in the book. Set duck body aside and prepare to figure out how to knit its feet.

6. Cast on nine stitches in the softest, sweetest, carrot-y colored alpaca yarn ever. Melt internally when you picture how it will go so well with the gray duck body. Imagine that your son will, for once, fawn nonstop over the knitted duck, as opposed to the other knits you have made him. Cunningly shape the feet, using SSKs and k2togs like a champ. When down to three stitches, work I-cord, smirking to yourself about how these look SO much like duck feet that you feel like your IQ just went up three points. Repeat with second foot, and add additional five points to IQ.

7. Return to duck body, and prepare to sew/graft duck feet to garter ridges, but properly, so it will look ridiculously cute when the body is turned right side out. Cut gray yarn with enough tail to easily thread (on a yarn needle) through every other stitch on one side, turn work and thread the needle through every other stitch on the way back. Remove work from knitting needle and feel a little nervous. Luckily enough, the
knitting opens up in the middle, just like it ought to, like a pocket. Feel free to say “Squee” in a high-pitched voice now, like a pre-teen at a Justin Bieber concert. Turn duck inside out.

8. Realize that duck isn’t properly turning inside out.  Make this face: 

9. Realize that there is one. single. stitch. that you mis-knit/slipped and now, you have made a duckling with one heck of a belly button.

10. Spend too much time trying to come up with some kind of knitterly work around, to no avail. Console yourself by realizing you knit the cutest duckling feet ever. The first ever knitted duckling feet?  Decide to go back to the drawing board....

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm sure there's a yarn store closer....

The time has come for our annual visit to Cincinnati to visit my husband’s family. We drove. The two kids with their car seats, their toys, and me in the backseat, and Steve up in front. Do you know that you can drive fast on the highway, only stop three times, get snarled in traffic twice, get a flat tire once, and have a nine hour drive take 12 (TWELVE!) hours???!! Please hold your applause, but I will take my Purple Heart medallion now. Both children were great and very excited for the first hundred miles, and then it was just that grit-your-teeth-and-drive experience every parent knows about and shudders to remember.

I did a little knitting on the drive up, when both the children were asleep for approximately four minutes. I’ve been having a little love affair with simple knits for the kitchen, namely scrubbers. I get some good old cotton yarn, cast on 33 stitches, and knit in seed stitch until it is approximately square, and then bind off in pattern. It makes for a wonderful dishcloth, and something about the type of stitch makes the yarn long lasting.

For me, one of the fun things about travelling is visiting funky and cool places you can’t find at home. Granted, I live in Chapel Hill and with Carrboro nearby, it is near impossible to have a shortage of funky and cool. But, when it comes to yarn stores, I find that, the more I see, the more I want to see. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of visiting the yarn store, and the fact that they’re all over the globe, not just in my neighborhood, means that (thank god) I am never in danger of running out of yarn. I don’t think that will happen, but I want to be prepared, you know, just in case.

I visited a yarn store I’ve never been to before.

Fiberlicious ( is located in Madeira, Ohio, and owned by the slightly flushed Cindy, whose air conditioning had conked out the morning I had visited (I’m sure it’s functioning wonderfully right now).

She has a wealth of novelty yarns, eye-catching and beautifully dyed, and she was very friendly and lovely herself. She told me how they were ordered from all over, but all dyed in the USA. She will sit with you and help you design your own knits as well. There were also button and carved rosewood hooks, skeins with wooden beads and cloth-cut leaves strung on them, and clothing for sale as well as purses and knick knacks. A very interesting and eclectic collection, and I left with some interesting cocoon-shaped bobbly yarn to make into a scarf, and some lacy yarn that ruffles when you knit it, and a wee gorgeous skein of (gulp) cashmere, my first. It was a single skein, all by its lonesome, and I felt like it really needed a friend. So, it was more of a philanthropic venture than an impulse buy. And it was “souvenir yarn”, so I think I’ve done well at rationalizing that purchase. I’m hoping I have enough to make a lacy, airy cowl. The other yarn purchases are going to be knit into Christmas presents.

I am also attempting to knit a duckling.

That may be the weirdest sentence I’ve typed in recent memory, but it’s true. My son is in love with a children’s book: Duck, Duck, Goose (by Tad Hills), and there is a little, gray, know-it-all duckling named Thistle. My son loves Thistle, and has been begging me to make one. I selected an alpaca/wool blend yarn...

(Valley Yarn Stockbridge from our very own Yarns etc, to be exact), and so far I had juuuuust enough time to cast on 30 stitches, knit three rows, and then knit in the front and back of each stitch to bring me to a total of 60 stitches. I have a theory that some double knitting might be the way I want to go on the body and head of this duck. But of course, I’m hardly an expert knitter, and I might find (shortly) that that isn’t going to work out. Stay tuned….

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