Someday

Color Wheel Scarf

Today is Thursday. I know it because it says so on my cell phone. I wouldn’t know otherwise because when you don’t have to commute outside of your house to get to work, days tend to run together.

Another snake is in the grass – get it? Snake in the grass? Would it have been better if I said there was another snake on the plane? No? This is why I am not a comedienne – may Phyllis Diller rest in peace.

I made another snake and, get this, I made it one day. Started it after midnight yesterday and took it up again after 11 am and finished it before midnight last night and that was with a lunch and dinner break thrown in. I was determined it would not take me four days to complete a three foot snake – I think it’s three foot, I’m not really sure because I don’t think I’ve measured it. But it made no sense to this speedy knitter why it has taken me days to do this snake. So I set out to do it yesterday – we can talk about my competitiveness later if you like.

There is also a cable beret in red that’s ready to be photographed. It’s been ready for two days but I wanted to get that damn sweet snake all done and put away. Mr. Honey asked me why I was making so many snakes and you might be wondering yourselves – because they’re toys and the coordinator of the Pleasant Home Holiday Shop said they needed more toys. She also said they needed other things but I can’t remember what they were. Also, because the snake has been added to sixteen favorite lists in the shop. Now, that could mean nothing, I have stuff in my favorite list that I don’t intend to buy. On the other hand when I have purchased, I’ve purchased from my favorite list – live the contradiction.

One of the reasons the snakes were supposed to be great to do is because it uses up the stash but I swear the more snakes I make the more yarn there is in the remnant bag. It doesn’t seem like I’m running out of snake skin at all.  Mr. Honey had the bright idea that I should make a really long skinny garter snake just in different shades of green. I held out the needles to him and he went somewhere. I haven’t seen him since. Of course, I have now figured out how to do a really long, skinny garter snake and I do have some variegated green yarn but it is merino which would be completely wasted on a snake.

I won’t be doing another snake for a while. I have a 3×3 hat, a 3×3 scarf and a cable beret lined up before another gets made.

I am going to be visiting a new (to me) yarn store next week and I am looking forward to it and will share what I find (how’s that for optimism?) Pictures will be taken.

Turn It Loose

Amelie

This is what happens when you leave the blog for a few days – there were five spam posts waiting for me to permanently delete them.

The past few days have been somewhat productive. There is another snake in the snake bag. I don’t know if three snakes still qualify as a nest or if it has moved up to rhumba status yet. There is a cable beret that is in it’s last stages, I completed a new 3×3 rib hat and it is in the shop.  I used, for the first time, I Love This Yarn in black tweed. It came out very nice. I only had the one skein but I know a ribbed scarf would look great done in that color and texture.

Two patterns have made it to the shop as well.

The next thing on the list to make: another snake.

I put the whole shop on a 10% off sale. I was hoping to drum up some projects before vacation so I would have orders when vacation was over. I guess I am going to have to play the Mr. Honey card and ask him to speak with God about it. I don’t know what cosmic routine the two of them have worked out but whatever works for them works for me.

I am half way to making myself crazy because it is near the end of the month and this August is not as good as last August by a little bit. Unless there is a surge of orders within the next 4 days (including today) I will be going head case first into thinking this fall and holiday season are not going to be great and I need it to be great. I have a goal in mind that doesn’t include what I might make at the craft shows. So I do need those orders to start coming in so I know that I have a shot at it.

Crazy. That’s what I am.

 

So Good

Classic in green

Nine. Nine spam notices today. One gave War and Peace a run for its money and two of them started with ‘my brother recommended your site,” Yeah, that’s not spam. One said, “I really like your blog, guy

Never in the history of, well, history, has that happened.

This is the the yarn I purchased at the Idea Studio and is my favorite yarn of the Yarn Crawl purchase. The Idea Studio was not my favorite store two years ago when the wonderful April and I went there during our first yarn crawl. The store is kinda smallish and there were a group of ladies sitting at the table they have on the west side of the store who looked at us like were intruding upon their sacred space with our shoes on.

However, there were members of the staff who were extremely friendly including the same salesperson I saw this year who really talked up a set of exchangeable needles I almost purchased before they came out.

This year the shop is still smallish but both ladies running the place were super friendly and well, I found the Feza yarn. It was not on sale other than the 10% discount but they sell it for about half at most of the places I’ve seen and I am tempted to call and ask how much of it they have in stock. No I don’t need it. Why are you even asking?

The marvelous Melissa asked me that question this evening when I told her I was up to 125 different yarns Hard to believe that’s only about 240 skeins but that is still quite a lot and as I told her, I ain’t no where near finished. I went into the basement before leaving for knit night and brought up another bin from the basement that has some yarn it in I haven’t seen in quite some time. Some of it is headed for the trash (yeah, like you could throw me out the club) and some of it will be cataloged and stay around.

There are two more bins in the basement and chances are I will need at least one of them to finish out the catalog. If you’re keeping track of the number of bins – including the one I brought up this evening that I haven’t started using yet but which will definitely get filled – the count is 14. It will take some clever designing to use it.

It will also take about 40 pairs of hands which I don’t think I could grow even with gamma rays and a spider biting me.

In any case, I really liked the Idea Studio – what’s with all the LYS calling themselves studios? I would go back there to buy stuff – like that Feza Fanatic. I know you are going to rush over there and just buy it up from under me. Fine. I don’t hold grudges. Long.

This afternoon I figured out I was supposed to start another cable hat and I went to the trusty yard catalog and starting at the top, I went through the inventory to find a yarn that would fit making the hat. I came across this in the ocean color. Yes, I said to myself, the hat would look great in this color and fiber. It would be a limited color because I have just six skeins but that’s alright.

So the hat is being made in I Love This Yarn – dark country blue. My logic was the merino is already cataloged and put away and the dark country blue was peeking out of an as yet cataloged bag of yarn. I thought culling the herd was a much better idea.

Is it weird that this makes sense to me? (Have you also noticed the ‘i before e rule except after c’ should be amended to ‘i before e except after c and weird?)

New Attitude

The Classic in black glitter

The spam monster seems a little spent. Only one yesterday and one today. I wonder why they think these notes which say things like “You’re really good on this topic. I will come back.” will make it onto my published page. One, none of the comments are directly placed on the page, they have to be approved. Second, they could at least try to make it relevant to what the blog post is about. Leads me to believe they are massed produced and sent through to whatever blog they can get it to.  It’s not as bad as it used to be when I didn’t have a spam catcher and had to go through it all inch by inch. Now, the spam catchers gathers them all and I can annihilate them in one fell swoop.

The penultimate shop in the 2012 Yarn Crawl is Initially Ewe in Western Springs. This shop would have won my favorite shop of the Yarn Crawl award if it was just a little bigger. It’s a fantastic shop that I am grateful wasn’t there when I was doing theatre in Western Springs. It is a lot more than yarn and knitting – they do monograms (hence, the initially) and offer classes, kits and I purchased one of the best knitting bags ever for just $40. (Yes, I went over the spending limit.) I also purchased some of this in Chili Pepper. It is Cascade Quatro 220 Superwash. I don’t know the difference between Cascade 220 and Cascade Quatro. I suppose I can look it up…hold on, let me give it a shot..aha..Quatro has some color striations. There you go.

That’s why when I originally saw the balls of yarn and was drawn to both, I put back the solid Cascade 220 in favor of the Quatro. It was on sale for the 10% off but at $11 for 220 yards, I didn’t think it was that bad.

They don’t have a huge selection of fiber but they do manage to have a nice variety packed into a small space. The owners were friendly and welcoming and very enthusiastic about their shop which is just two years old. Melissa ordered a kit for a knit Christmas stocking – the irony of Melissa being Jewish was not lost on either of us. Remember, she had us over for Christmas dinner 2010.  I got the yarn and a book which was too cute to pass up and I thought we were all done shopping when the bag caught my eye. It’s a hand made quilted bag from Rwanda. When I walked in the house with it Mr. Honey took a look at it and said “Wow!” A couple of days later he examined it and found it good. Though he did, I think I told you, passively reminded me of the Namaste bag he got me.

Miss Melissa encouraged me to get the bag and I couldn’t resist it. Purchasing it definitely put me over budget. OK, the yarn and the book did, too, but don’t let details bog us down. And that put an end to the yarn crawl. Except we went to two more shops – one which I will review tomorrow and reveal my favorite yarn purchase and the other which we don’t ever have to talk about because I don’t want to relive the abject disappointment both Melissa and I felt. No, we will end on an upbeat note with the last yarn shop which two years ago I didn’t much care for but has redeemed itself.

In the meantime, there is a scarf that is finished and needs to be photographed, a new cable hat on the needles that is moving faster than the last time I made it. I will cast on and hopefully complete one more snake before the end of the month.

stuffed snakes

I took pictures of the last two I made. See? They look kinda scary. Isn’t that cool? I would have put them in a tree if I thought I could get them out without damaging them.

That box of buttons I bought is really coming in handy. I thought I would be using them to embellish hats and here they are being used as snake eyes….scary snake eyes. Heh, heh, heh.

Strong Enough

Classic in Calico

The fourth store in the yarn crawl is Three Bags Full in Northlake.

I LOVE this store.

This wins the ‘my favorite yarn store we visited prize. That says something because there is a store that I’m over the moon about but it doesn’t win the award because of logistics.

The marvelous Melissa and I went together and she offered to trade her web skills for yarn and the owner is considering it. Let’s start out with how roomy this store is. My guess is that this was an office before and considering it’s in a strip mall, I’m guessing it was a medical type thing before it became a yarn store. It has all these rooms and all of them are full of yarn. I can see them clearing some of the yarn out and having classes or groups in there. At least that’s what I would do with that space.

They had a very small section of their yarn on a deep sale but I still managed to walk away with four balls of this is a nice gray and I found the row counter that can attach to circular needles when the stitches are joined. The only place I’ve seen them is in the Knit Picks catalog and there was one sitting on the notions wall. They only had one – I was prepared to do at least three.

The staff at Three Bags Full was extremely nice and helpful and they were funny! I have to say, sometimes, and more often that you might think, you can walk into a yarn store for the first time and not feel very welcome. That used to be on of the criticisms of the now defunct Chix With Stix. I felt fine going in but more than one of the members of the group said they left feeling as if they entered the wrong door.

The place was bustling when we walked in but the staff engaged us and then let us browse. We even inquired about having a meetup there and they said a Wednesday would be a good night for them – what a coincidence.

From what I could tell, the prices were competitive with other yarns stores. They didn’t make me fall over or anything like that. Though I must admit, I pretty much stayed in the sale section because there were a couple of fibers calling to me. But my purchase of the four skeins of yarn and the row counter came to exactly $20. I should have played the lottery.

It took about 40 minutes to get there and I would go there again because the store is huge with a big variety of fibers and accessories (I told the store owner I finally found a store that has a stash bigger than mine.) The place is comfortable, the staff is great and there’s a good restaurant, Marcello’s, in the same mall a few steps away. Melissa and I had lunch there and I had an Italian pannini with asparagus, cole slaw and iced tea and it was all good…and the server called me ‘baby.’ Made his tip bigger. Oh my. I met the monetary kind. Get out of the gutter.

Today will be the last day of the great yarn catalog for a week or so. I need to move on to other rooms of the house, though I don’t quite know why. I am going to try and get through a few more bags – dare I dream of the bags in the hall? I am more than halfway through the 3×3 ribbed scarf. I am using my Signature needles which makes Mr. Honey happy.

I know I am going to take some yarn work with my on our trip and I decided the best course to take is to do the best selling rasta hat and try and kick a couple of those out. I don’t really think I will get a lot of work done – what with driving and all – but it makes the most sense to me.

There are just two more stores to review. And one of them is where I found my favorite yarn find of the crawl!

Give Me Time

The Classic in Gold

What’s with the spam? Five more this morning. And they’ve moved from the inane ‘You’ve really captured the subject.” kind of spam messages to tomes. Three of the five were obviously from the same place and went on and on about shoes. (Don’t ask me what they said, shoes are not my thing. Though I think they were athletic shoes.)

My yarn arrived from Hobby Lobby so I was able to start and finish the order I had. I also ordered two more skeins of the one I used, three cranberry skeins (because it is still a popular color) and one skein each of two patterned yarns that I just have a feeling I will need.

The last couple of times I did the hat (it is my most popular seller) I did the pattern from my head. No needs to check the pattern or notes, even though I have, of course, changed the pattern from the original. I’m not sure its mother would even recognize it. There’s one row that’s unique every time I do it. I don’t think I’ve ever done it the same way twice. And they are all cute. This is genuine handmade folks.

But the hat took all afternoon to make. I used to be a fast knitter, I can remember the time. According to the USPS tracking, the box was delivered to my house at 1pm. I was sitting in my knit chair ready to start on something else when I heard the package hit my porch. I got it, talked to the delivery guy, came back inside and the package sat for about five minutes before I opened it and got to work. So, a little after 1pm I started on the hat.

I went through The Last Temptation of Christ, the second Cubs games (which is also like the Last Temptation of Christ) and some other stuff before the hat was finished. Granted, I stopped for dinner, some computer work and one or two other things before midnight rolled around and the hat was finished, but still. Taking all that into account, it was probably nine, ten hours. Am I delirious? Didn’t I used to finish that hat in three hours? Would it have gone faster if I didn’t go from memory? Oh, that’s too scary to contemplate. I will put it out of my mind. It is done. That’s the important part.

The great yarn catalog continues. This has got to be turned into a chapter in my knitting book Julie says I should write. I agree with her I should write one and this is definitely a chapter. Would you be surprised to find that this is fraught with emotion? Would you be surprised that someone uses the word ‘fraught’?

It is rather emotional because it shows me how impulsive I can be and how I dream big but execute on a normal to sub normal rate. My mind says I need to do this catalog for no other reason than my husband asked me to and making him happy is a priority and he asks so little of me.

But then my mind says, once it’s all sorted, I will be able to move like June Cleaver through my stash and find everything where it should be. My reality says that what will likely happen is I will get it all cataloged then someone will order something requiring me to go to bin number nine which will be on the bottom of the bins 1 – 8 and the entire system will crash down on my head. My mind and reality often live in conflict.

I will be most interested in getting the new cable beret started in the solid color – don’t know what the color will be yet though there is a huge ball of white yarn winking at me. It’s been logged into the catalog so I don’t know if it will find its way onto the needles yet. I’m thinking of a rogue yarn sitting somewhere, unaccounted for.  Never know how these things will work out.

Shining Star

Classic with alternate trim.

What’s with all the spam posting in my comments section lately? Thank goodness I have a spam blocker that catches it and all I have to do is delete it but something has caused the spammers to want to post to my blog. More than 20 in the past couple of days. And no, they are not real comments hiding, they are spam messages. There have even been some folks who have signed up as users and I’ve had to delete their accounts. All this and I losing ground in the Alexa rankings – what’s a webmaster to do?

We are halfway through our yarn crawl reviews. There are three stores that will be reviewed next week: Three Bags Full, Initially Ewe and Idea Studio. See? Something to look forward to.

Another snake is in the bag.What makes this snake interesting is that it’s made with just five colors. The head is green and the body is ivory, cranberry, yellow and purple. When I ran out of the ivory, I just continued with the colors I had instead of adding a new one. I wanted to exhaust the yarn so I didn’t have one of the tiny little balls of fiber left over.  I exhausted the ivory and the purple is almost gone but the other two live on for another project. I also doubled up on the tongue and it’s very scary. Next snake – and there will be another one – will have the thinner tongue.

(Yes, I realize photos would be great here but the snake is downstairs and I am not. Though the next time we both and the camera are downstairs, it can be done.)

The great yarn cataloging continues. I am up to 107 different entries. According to the spreadsheet that’s just over 200 skeins. I would have thought it to be more but the spreadsheet does not lie.  I am also on my third big bag of remnants. Oh the afghans and toys that can be made!

I still have a lot in the office that needs to be cataloged and then there’s what’s just outside the office in the hall and Mr. Honey was kind enough to remind me: ‘Don’t forget what’s in the car!’

Mr. Honey also offered his opinion on whether I should go to the Vogue Knitting Live or the craft show and he says if I cannot do both, I should skip the craft show and do the convention. This came as a surprise as I thought he would opt for potential income but the truth is, we haven’t sold much at Guerin and we were thinking of skipping it and talked ourselves into it.  I think I have enough time to decide as Vogue will send me my work schedule mid-September and the deadline for the show is Oct 1.

The weekend will continue with me logging in more yarn – I am going to need another bin or two – and working on the 3×3 scarf – at least that’s quick knitting and soft and cushy to boot! And I am going to start another cable beret hat in a solid acrylic.

I am almost at the point where I will go to my yarn inventory when I am ready to start a project to see what’s there. Almost.  It will really come in handy when orders start coming in (Please God, praise God) and I need to know if I have the yarn I hand I need.  The goal is is try to get through the very busy ( Please, God) season with just purchasing the yarn I need and not having to purchase much. OK, that won’t happen but it is a goal.

A girl should have goals.

The Good Stuff

Elfin in cranberry

I’ve decided I don’t want to die a horrible death (well, when you have to die you might as well be choosy about it.) So, I’ve started my workouts again because I let myself fall off the bandwagon.  The great thing about exercise is that there are immediate physical benefits which I am feeling after a week of starting again. Feel free to help me stay on the path.

The next stop on the Yarn Crawl tour was Windy Knitty and it is here that I am going to tell you I love the store because it is airy, light and roomy. She has a large variety of yarns and the staff could not be nicer. One of them told me of a place I can go and get my Namaste Hermosa Knitting bag repaired – which I really appreciate. This is not the most cost friendly of the stores I visited though Melissa thinks their prices are fine and because there are fibers there she can’t find anywhere else.

It’s located on Clark street – kind of famous in Chicago – and when you step inside it feels like you’ve escaped the city for a really lovely, quiet spot. There’s a table that would be somewhat hard to knit around because they have products on them but they have some cozy easy chairs right in front of the bookcase. This store wants to offer fiber and they do offer a lot of it.

They did have a small amount of sale yarn – I fear I am beginning to sound cheap – bet I can get over that pretty quickly. I purchased this in the gold and purple colors. Came in less than the $20 so I figure I did good.

The aesthetics of the store is really lovely – I would have to say this is the most upscale of the shops I crawled around in.

But they do something other yarn stores do that, frankly, I don’t get. Most of the yarn stores I go to will not wind yarn that is on sale. (For those of you new to the knitting world – some yarn is sold ready to go, unwrap it and off you knit. Other yarn comes in hanks that need to be wound in order to use them. I’ve tried not winding yarn that came in hanks are there’s still a tangled mess of yarn growing in the basement.)

Now, it is not my fault you put the yarn on sale. You should wind it. Mr. Honey says it’s a perk for buying full priced yarn. Let’s be real – it’s still full priced yarn. It’s not being sold for less than it was purchased. You’re not making as much of a profit, perhaps, but your folks are still there and while we’re being real, it is a rare occasion that a yarn store is so swamped with people that the entire staff is off somewhere. You can wind the yarn. Don’t punish your customers because you chose to put a yarn that wasn’t selling well enough on sale and then someone decided to purchase it. Wind the yarn.

Yes, this really bothers me.

In other knitting news: I’ve redone the pattern for Amelie and sent it out for testing. I’ve also sent out Dana (my latest hat) out for testing. I am getting Bindi ready for testing and Cara (have you spotted the trend yet?) has been tested but needs to be redone for publishing. I figured since I wasn’t getting projects done everyday – what happened to my knitting speed? – I can get the patterns back in the shop. Currently I have two on Ravelry but I’d rather have them all in one place and I need to bulk up the Etsy shop – so there it is.

My schedule doesn’t have me working out today but I may do it just to keep the momentum going. I also have gardening on the schedule so there’s that.

I hope you have a great weekend.

Crazy Bout That La La La – Part 3

Stovepipe in cranberry

Yes, Part three, I’ve had two other posts with the same title. It’s one of the interesting (to me at least) parts of how I name my posts. If I had waited just one more song the title of the post would be My Love is Your Love – fits just as well.

(Review of the Local Yarn Shop – Woolly Lamb is coming.)

The pattern is done. Took me the day to do it but I have a new 3×3 rib slouchy hat that looks pretty good. I will type up the pattern, have it tested and hopefully have it in the shop soon. In the meantime, it can go in the shop right away as a hat.

I will go back to working on the snake today and I’ve chosen the yarn for the 3×3 ribbed scarf I want to make as part of the set with the 3×3 ribbed hat. OK, I know what you’re thinking, it should be the same color as the 3×3 hat. Well, normal people would think like that. But I want folks to have the option. So, the plan is to work up a couple of hats and a couple of scarves and when I put them in the shop, create a listing to let people make their own set so they can get two different colors if they want or monochrome it. Let’s not box folks in.

The second store on our Yarn Crawl stop was Woolly Lamb Yarn Studio in Chicago. This was about the 3rd or 4th time I’ve been there and before I’ve been there with the marvelous Melissa who first told me about this store.

Woolly Lamb is another one of the smaller stores. It has two rooms. The front room has a comfy sofa and a small table where there always seems to be someone knitting. The other room is longer and has a bigger, longer table. The table in the front room is directly in front of shelves of yarn so you will be disturbing someone whether you’re at the table of looking to shop.

The staff has always been friendly and the people there have formed themselves into a group of friends as opposed to a group of friendly knitters. I remember one time I was there knitting and they were very welcoming. There is a nice assortment of yarns and the prices are very reasonable – even pay full price reasonable. I am interested in trying Plymouth Encore Chunky and they have a nice variety at a price that tempted even cheap me.  When I am ready for it that’s where I’ll get it. They are so close – it’s maybe ten, fifteen minutes further than going to the closest Joann. Easily done.

I stayed within my knitting budget here. Spending just under $20. They had a table filled with 40% off stuff (I’m seeing a trend) and some items were 20 – 40% off. I purchased Plymouth 24K It didn’t come in the hanks like the picture. It’s in a center pull skein and the colors are green, silver and purple. They will make wonderful, glittery headbands. At 187 yds a ball, I should get two from each one.

The other thing I love about the shop is the location. It’s nestled in a part of Chicago that’s away from noise and bustle and is directly across from a park. It is in a strip of just a few more stores and has a rustic look and feel. If it were just a little bit bigger, I would consider it for the Sit and Knit or a meetup – as it is, I’ll just have to keep it for myself (and Melissa, of course.)

Elusive Butterfly

Calico Slouch

The first stop on our Yarn Crawl this year was Knot Just Knits
in Oak Park.

Now, to be fair, this is not the first (2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th) time I’ve visited the shop. Elizabeth knows me by name – worse, she knows me by Caller ID. My group has met there before.

The shop is one of the smaller ones of the LYS I go. The people are friendly, the spot is comfortable and it has a book library where folks can bring in books about knitting (even knitting related fiction) and borrow some knitting books. There are two tables for sitting around and one of the tables is by the big, sunny windows.

The second thing I should tell you is a repeat of information you already know: I tend not to purchase yarn full price at a LYS unless I need it immediately for an order. It has nothing to do with the yarn and everything to do with I come from the acrylics and I got upset when the price of I Love This Yarn rose about $3.50. So, when I go to Knot Just Knits, Elizabeth immediately pulls out a crack pipe  an item from her sale bin to show me.

This year, my budget restraint was to purchase no more than $20 at each store (I pre-selected 10 stores) and this time, Elizabeth had an entire table of fibers for 40% off. I would say it was a conspiracy but she didn’t know I was coming. In one of those bins I found this yarn. I could have stopped at two skeins and I would have been just a little over my store allotment. But there were only six of them and – well – I’m me. So I spent about three and half stores worth of my budget.

See, that’s what a good crack dealer local yarn store does. They don’t pressure you to buy, they just let you get yourself hooked and then stand by the cash register and smile.

I’ve purchased Cascade Yarn there (at full price) and my Signature Needles all came from there. She even stocks Sugar and Cream cotton and I’ve been known to call and see if she has a color I need when someone orders a hat.

There’s no doubt I will find myself back at Knot Just Knits – my credit card loves it there and even if I left it at home, it’s a really nice place to spend some time.