Saturday, August 30, 2008

Add it to the stash!

So my knitting friends know that I have a problem with accidentally buying yarn - even unprovoked, without enablers around, it just happens sometimes.   You know how you kind of enter some trance-like state, eyes rolled back, and you just keep clicking on "add to cart"?  yeah, I'm sure everyone does it, right?  That's my story for why this keeps happening anyway - in reality, I know exactly what I'm doing but I fight with my inner voice the same way I do when it tells me to put down the ice cream - I tell it to kiss my ass.  So the box was on the porch when I got home Friday - those Webs folks are mighty fast with the shipping!  See, I HAD to make a purchase because I didn't have enough of the contrast color I was using for my Eleanor test knit, and because Webs has that 20% discount off $60 orders, it only made sense to see if I needed anything else that might bump me up to that amount!  Check my math:  If I only ordered the two skeins of Cascade 220 that I needed, I'd have paid $14, but if I also ordered enough Northampton for the February Lady Sweater that I totally intend to make (this stuff is an incredible value, btw - 247 yards for $4.99 and I've heard some reviews that people like it better than Wool of the Andes), a Cookie A. sock pattern that I probably need because I love her, a skein of Pastaza just to round out my collection of yarns that, even if never knit, are like having little fluffy pets that require no care, and two balls of sock yarn that clearly have a purpose (don't you love that about sock yarn - there's so little guilt because they clearly have a definite thing they'll become!), then I'd get a discount large enough to make the two skeins of Cascade 220 free!  I know, the math is a little sketchy - I took calculus, yet I can still talk myself into believing this works out, ok?  Just let me live with it! 

I was scrolling through my stash on Ravelry today and it kind of freaked me out - I mean I know there are tons of people with way more yarn than I have, but seeing the amount I have kind of made my chest tighten up!  I need to get more into the mindset of working from my stash instead of from my queue - or to have my stash and my queue line up a little more.  The problem is that the new patterns come out so fast and they're all so incredible anymore - and there are so many sources!  It's not just a couple magazines a month, it's all the new online mags that are popping up (have I mentioned how amazed I am with the Twist Collective? check it out if you haven't yet) and the books... ugh, am I the only one who's a little overwhelmed?  I mean that's why my queue is so long - there are so many things I don't want to forget about!  and I will forget them - every time some new batch of patterns comes out, I fall in love with them and forget how much I really loved the last batch, or how I had yarn that would be just perfect for something that came out last year.  I'm way too far ahead of myself.  Oh, and the Wool Gathering is coming up, so it'll only get worse before it gets better! 

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Back in the City

Yeah - I'm home from Cedar Rapids!  Actually it was a fantastic trip, as work trips go - I learned tons of stuff and feel way more confident now just from walking around the plant with people who know what they're doing, and forcing myself to do things that I felt a little uncomfortable doing.  I gotta say though, that flood REALLY devastated that little town.  All the houses had piles of stuff sitting out on the curb - not just couches and whatnot, but pieces of their houses like duct work and lathe and plaster from the walls.  It was hard to tell if people were even living in them - the ones closest to the plant were definitely empty and even though I saw several volunteer groups cleaning them out and gutting the damaged parts, I heard that the city may not even let them rebuild.  I don't know.  it was sad.  It's obviously a fairly economically depressed area anyway, and it made me wonder what those people are doing now - I don't think anyone got much in the way of insurance.  

Anyway, on a cheerier note, like any good knitter, I found my way to a knitting shop while I was there!  I had kind of a lot of time to kill because I took a pretty early flight on Tuesday and I was out driving around after I checked into the hotel.  I stopped in a little quilting shop because sometimes they have a bit of yarn too.  They didn't, but told me about a place not far away, and even called to make sure she was still open.  I wish now that I'd bought something - even a couple fat quarters - from them because they were awfully sweet!  They gave me directions and I guess my excitement got me all bejiggered up because I made a right instead of a left out of the parking lot and wasted about 30 minutes going the wrong way!  So I turned around and flew back the other way - past the quilting shop again - and on to the Crazy Girl yarn shop.  She closed at 6pm and because of my stupid wrong turn in Albuquerque, I was really cutting it close - it was like 5:45 when I pulled up, but I thought maybe she'd stay open a little longer for me.  I was wrong.  She was pretty much ready to start closing up right after I walked in - I even explained my plight, and the fact that I was from Ohio!  Regardless, it was a really cute little place.  I wanted to find some souvenir yarn that wouldn't be something I could easily get at home.  She had some Schaeffer yarn which I don't think I've seen around here in any shops.  I only had a few minutes to think - and she had a skein of Schaeffer Susan (100% pima cotton - 470 yards of probably a DK weight) that was part of the Color Concepts line which is a series created for memorable women, which I thought was kind of cool - this one is called Frida Kahlo and I think it'll make a fantastic Montego Bay scarf! I took a picture of both sides to show all the colors in it. 
 Oh yeah, it was $34 - which is not something I'd probably spend on yarn if I was at home, but there's something about traveling the makes me feel like it's not really real life - plus I only had like 5 minutes to make a decision and it's easy to just say "yeah, why not!" in such a situation!  

Monday, August 18, 2008

oh yeah

while I'm gone, someone please buy me this.  Please and thank you.  I need it.

This time I'm really going!

So I've finally shored up the Cedar Rapids trip - third time really is a charm apparently!  I'll be leaving tomorrow so I won't be at the Tuesday night knitting group  - somebody better drink a whiskey sour for me!  

Gaa - you know what I'm worried about?  Not having Ravelry for 5 days!  seriously.  how will I know what my friends are faving?  what new patterns are coming out? threads will be started, and commented upon, and I won't hear them!!  I'm really hoping there's one of those communal "business" computers somewhere there - do that have that kind of thing in places called The Sleep Lodge?  maybe this will be good for me.  but I don't think so.  

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Time Warp on a Thursday evening

So I finally made it to Busy Beaver - the little house stuffed to the gills with crafting supplies.  I'd heard stories of this place, but I'd never managed to get there during business hours.  Plus, I was a little put off by some reviews I'd read about not so friendly owners.  But, I'm on a quest for 2 more skeins of Cascade 220 for my Eleanor and even though I knew they didn't have it, I went anyway (because sometimes the people who answer the phones at those places don't know what they're talking about - I mean the guy seemed to know yarn (he threw out names of other wools like Lopi and Reynolds) but he'd never heard of Cascade.  that ain't right.  I think he probably just knows yarn in the context of what they sell there.)  Anyway, it was slightly more organized than I expected, but still super super packed with stuff.  everywhere.  This is kind of what I fear my house might look like when I'm an old lady.  There was a young chic working the counter and she pretty much gave me a tour of the yarn section, which was in fact organized at least by fiber mainly, then proceeded to never leave me alone again.  From somewhere a similarly young fella appeared - apparently her boyfriend who also worked there.  He also had no intention of letting me shop in peace.  I mean they were nice enough, but whew - that place is kind of enough on its own!  He told me about his mom making quilts out of old denim jeans - and the machines she used to do it, and how she's recently started putting waistbands along the edge for binding.  She ranted forever about some lady who'd been there before and how she had made a mess of things (even though she told me that I could dig as much as I wanted - and believe me, there were boxes to dig in - they obviously had more than enough to fill the shelves!)  I think there might have been something weird about that girl because now that I think about it, she talked about the new Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn they got in, and I bought it. She pointed at some Karabella Aurora Bulky, and I bought it (two balls?  I barely remember what I was thinking.  It's only about 100 yards total - was I going to make a hat?  I honestly can't remember.  I just remember her pointing at it.) Notice the weird blue theme again?  I don't know what's up with that - she didn't force me to buy blue, but she obviously tranced me into buying whatever she nodded at!  

Then because Katherine recently went there and had to tell me about their precious little balls of angora, I had to hunt that down - they had some behind the counter (that's never good!) which was French and probably pretty old.  and beautiful.  also very expensive.  Then I found some in with the rest of the yarn - it's 70% angora, 10% wool, 20% polyamide - still very angora-ish and a very cute little pale yellow.  What I really need is an angora beret.  how cute would that be?  I kind of had my mind set on pink, because if you're going for a sweet beret, how much sweeter can you get than pink?  But this yellow is like the color of little ducks, so it's pretty damn cute too.  Then I started kind of pulling back and looking around - they had old stuff there!  It was like the place had never gotten any new stock since 1983 - except for yarn.  it was nuts!  a great nuts!  old 80's knitting pattern leaflets and books, old looking tubes of paint - it was like I entered a different world when I left the yarn aisles and I hadn't even seen it on the way there - there were those needlepoint pictures I love hanging all over the walls!  I wanted them all, but it's not like you could just point to them and say give me that kit - I think they'd been there forever!  BUT they did have tons of kits there!  and there was a room upstairs full of needlepoint kits!  and another room full of cross stitch kits!  mostly kind of weird 80's stuff and not as much 70's as I'd have liked, but still enough to keep me laughing!  I ended up getting these two kits because I love odd portraits and a needlepoint portrait is faaantastic!  The gentleman has a monocle and whenever I look at him he says "good day to you sir!" in my mind.   What a weird little place - I wouldn't ever go there for sweater quantities of anything (you wouldn't ever get enough of one color) but it's pretty fun!  

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Knitting in Iowa

So my trip to Cedar Rapids, that was supposed to happen last week, is happening this week.  They had terrible floods out there and we've got plant that was put way under water.  There are scads of contractor rebuilding, rewiring, etc. and they're asking safety folks to come and keep and eye on things around the clock.  I'm not sure I know what the hell I'm doing enough to DO that, but it'll be a good learning experience.  I'm also kind of thinking of it as fat camp!  Apparently it amounts to 12 hrs a day of walking around and around and around the place!   I'll be there Tues. - Sat., so I'll be missing my Tuesday night chicas - I'll be joining you in spirit though because I'm sure I'll be knitting, just in a hotel room!  That's the great thing about traveling - nothing to do but work and knit!  'Course I'll be working 12 hour days while I'm there, but aside from that I'll pretty much be knitting.  When you're sitting in a hotel room there're no dishes to get done, no looking out the window and thinking about how you really ought to be weeding that bed - nothing to make you feel guilty about knitting instead of doing anything else!  fantastic!  AND, I have the perfect project - a new test knit that Emily hooked me up with at the last minute!  Between the two of us, we'll be having a test knitting knitalong!  I've got a head start on her because I'm using stash yarn and she ordered hers, but I need the handicap because as soon as she starts she'll be flying past me, I'm sure!  It's kind of an odd situation because usually test knits involve patterns that aren't shown anywhere yet, but the designer has the pattern up on Ravelry already - it's called Eleanor and I suppose it'll be for sale after the test knitting is done.  Hopefully this isn't breeching some kind of test knitter code - but it IS on Ravelry,  so it isn't like I'm letting the cat out of the bag or anything, right?  Anyhoo, it's FANTASTIC and you should definitely queue it!  Here's a peek at mine - the colors didn't really come out well, despite about a million backgrounds and angles - it's a peacock blue and pistachio green!  

Saturday, August 2, 2008

May-December Romance

No, I'm not having a fling with an older man!  That's the name of the beret that I test knit for Sarah - and she's got it up for sale now on Ravelry so I'm allowed to show it off!  I don't so much love this picture, but I do love this little hat!  The pattern actually has two hats in it - one (December) that's in a DK wt and reverse stockinette, and one (May) in fingering weight and stockinette, which is the one I knit.  I've never done a hat in fingering weight, but I love it - it's so light.  Note the little leaf lace pattern (it's on both hats) - I did a pretty crappy job catching that in the picture.  oh, it's also a good way to use up a single skein of sock yarn if anyone is as stupid as I am and bought single skeins before they actually understood anything about sock knitting!  or, if you're less stupid, it's just a good excuse to splurge on a single skein - the pattern calls for about 200 yards, but I have quite a bit of my 220 yd ball left.  I used just a good old workhorse fingering weight wool for mine - Univeral Yarns Pace.  I liked it a lot and it was only $4 at Fiberworks!  I spent much more on needles, of course, because I had to get size 2 and 3 circs, and I was feeling full of myself that day I guess, and decided I deserved Addis.  It's a bad thing to start.  now I think I always deserve Addis!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Awash in bookery!

Whee!  I've kind of gotten knitting books galore lately!  First there was the IK hurt book sale, which is fantastic because their definition of "hurt" sure isn't my definition of hurt!  I'll hurt them more just carrying them up the stairs!  they're perfect - aaand like 60% off!  So, I got two books on folk mitten making since I'm kind of all about colorwork lately - Folk Mittens and Folk Knitting in Estonia (which has more than just mittens!) then I also had to pick up The Best of Interweave Knitting - not even so much for the patterns, but just because IK always has the best technique articles and tips and lots of those are in this book.  Then I remembered that I have these nifty points that build up on my credit card, which I can trade in for lots of stuff including Amazon gift certificates!  So I did just that and got myself the book I've been lusting after for some time now - Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitting Patterns!  It's amazing.  I love it like crazy.  Oh, and I also got a subscription to Vogue Knitting and IK with the gift certificate because I used to have subscriptions then I let them run out even though I always bought every issue - I've decided now that stalking bookstores and waiting for the damn issue to finally get there just isn't as much of a character builder as I thought it was.  nuts to all that.  just send 'em to the house please.  thanks.  Theeen, the coupe de grace came when Dawn, who sometimes knits with us on Tuesdays, and is always super cool, let me borrow a bunch of old crafty magazines from the 60's that she picked up at "that giant craig's list sale" (believe me, if you live 'round here, you know what that was!)  - then said "why don't you just keep them - I need to declutter my craft room" and thank god I got that message via a Rav PM so she couldn't see me whooping and pumping my arms like some kind of pudgy pom pom-less cheerleader (that was after I got past the did-i-read-that-right?!? phase!)  These things tickle me like crazy!  Oh, to be able to buy the nutty kits that are offered in all the adverts!  This is one of my favorite ads though - not for the product, but for the message:  Can you read it?  not so much, huh?  It says "who's home crocheting?" under the top picture of the rocking chair, then under the turned around picture it says "Me!"  Doesn't that just show that hip folks have always knit/crocheted and have always been trying to get the word out that it isn't just a bunch of old ladies sitting around making doilies?  (although I bet sitting with a bunch of old ladies making doilies would be a hell of a good time!  old ladies just don't care what they say - they're like teenagers, but with some life behind what they spout out!)  So my knitting library is growing and my craft room getting more unkept, but whatta ya gonna do?