Sure, I guess you can have some of my cake…

Okay, I’m having a WTF?! moment.

So far, as a yarn shop owner you’re bitched about because you’re only in the business because you like knitting or some such, which apparently pisses people off because it detracts from the premium level of customer service that they expect.

Then these same people (and believe me, there are lots of them) turn around and in another thread bitch because their local yarn shop owner is only in it for the money, and because of that they don’t know enough about knitting and don’t care about their customers or building any kind of knitting “community” around their shop because all they care about is sales.

I mean really.  A month ago these same people were alternatively on both sides of the “should you be greeted as soon as you walk into the shop, or should they let you alone and let you come to them for questions” fence.  Half get pissed because you’re too cheery and, in their words, “pounce” on them when they walk in, and the other half get pissed because they’re not greeted right away.

We’re not mind-readers.  Sure, you can’t please everyone, but when so many are expressing these same sentiments it sounds a little less like the minority is speaking out and more like the majority.

Bah!  Just give your local yarn shop employee/owner a break and make sure to tell them if they’re doing something wrong.  If I hear about one more person who refuses to leave constructive feedback when they have a bad experience because they think they’ll be glared at and receive bad service in the future… I’m going to punch something.

Seattle Weaving Show

So it was off to the Weaving Show at St. Marks this morning! I didn’t take any pictures because frankly I forgot to bring my camera inside, but I’ll make up for it with another picture later.

We were off to a good start at least… Josh needed to go to work for a few hours anyway, so him and I met Teena & Ashley over at Tully’s to grab a cup of coffee. Josh went off to work and we headed down to Seattle, which was pretty uneventful. That is, until we parked and realized that Teena had forgotten her purse back in Bellevue! Oops! We called them and they were able to find it, so off we went.

Once we were back in Seattle once more, things went fairly smoothly. I guess I expected the show to be a bit bigger, but then again there was so much weaving hanging out that we were there for at least an hour and a half. It was pretty inspiring, because all the weaving I’ve seen so far has kind of been a 1-3, 2-4 pattern, which after awhile wouldn’t look all that interesting. I mean, it certainly wasn’t enough to get me started or anything, since I figured that I’d get sick of it after awhile.

Oh man though… they really go hog wild with this weaving thing! It’s actually really cool… lots and lots of different patterns to play with that can create some awesome effects. Speaking of, the one yarn I’ve never been all that excited about is Tencel, but man some of those scarves were so bloody soft that I might be a convert at last. *does a quick Wikipedia search on Tencel*

From Wikipedia:

Lyocell was introduced to consumers in 1991 and originally marketed as a type of Rayon. The only current manufacturer in the United States is Lenzing Inc, who market it under the trademarked brand name Tencel. Lyocell is produced from wood pulp called cellulose. Lyocell shares many properties with other cellulosic fibers such as cotton, linen, ramie and rayon. Some main characteristics of lyocell fibers are that it is soft, absorbent, very strong when wet or dry, and resistant to wrinkles; it can be machine- or hand-washed or drycleaned, it drapes well, and it can be dyed many colors, as well as simulating a variety of textures like suede, leather, or silk.

Pretty interesting actually! Most of the Tencel I’ve felt first-hand has been really rough… maybe they did that on purpose? Who knows. The pretty tight (if fine) fabric that I was seeing at the weaving show made out of Tencel was particularly soft, but I don’t know if that is part a result of weaving it tightly, you know? Would it feel that nice if you knitted with it?

There were many knitted and crocheted hats at the show as well; someone had set up a whole booth. I understand that you want to make things that won’t take up a lot of your time because knitting-for-profit is hard to do, but at the same time I really wasn’t surprised that I didn’t find anyone buying those hats. Frankly they were kind of ugly (did I just say that?). This is why I advocate making things yourself, because it’s not worth anyone’s while to sell you something decent, heh.

The scarves abounded of course, and there were some cool knitted wire things. A woman was walking around knitting with wire, but because the wire stays where you put it she only needed to use a crochet hook!  That was pretty nifty. Some other women had little felted sheep (they hand-rolled some roving into a big ball and used black pipe cleaner to make a head, feet and a tail), and even more had woven dishcloths. $11 a piece though! Oof.

The dishcloths/handtowels were cool enough though that I thought it’d be a fun reason to learn how to weave… you could make something cool and small-ish like that and it’s a cute gift if you make 3 or 4. Kinda like knitted dishcloths, but cooler.

In any case, all that driving around gave me plenty of time to get some good hat knitting in myself:

Don’t you love the colors? This is my first attempt at knitting with Malabrigo. Yes, this does mean that I bought yarn yesterday before leaving work, but I call it totally justified. For one, this will be a Christmas gift. If that isn’t enough, I get a 35% discount at work anyway, and the retail price for this yarn is $11.75. Plus, my darlings, I’ve been dying to knit with Malabrigo because I’ve heard such good things about it. I first found them online, but because they’re based in Uruguay and all that I wasn’t sure about ordering from them… plus I’m just not an online shopper kind of person (I suppose I would be if I had a debit card).

In any case, I had a $10 bill and I was ready to shop, so I decided that I could get just one hank of the chunky and make an awesome ribbed hat. I probably took the last skein of that colorway that didn’t have any yellow whatsoever in it… a lot of them were a violet and green with a little bit of yellow thrown in. Yuck.

I have a Ravelry account now (which I think I’ve already mentioned), but you won’t be able to check it out unless you have one yourself, since they’re still in beta.

I think I already have a recipient in mind for this hat, but if you just happen to fall in love with it and really really really want it, just grovel at my feet and you might see it come Christmas. Mwahahaha.

But what shall I knit after this? Hmm.

Photos!

I’ve actually finished a knitting project, as simple as it is. I’ve been in love with this Cascade Ecological Wool ever since I started this hat, and I’m already working on a pair of mittens to match. Not sure how those are going to work out, but I think I’ll have to knit it a bit more before I change anything. Before I go further I should show you all a picture of it, don’t you think?

That’s about all I have to say for the moment. I’m off to do other things (like have a snack!). Go hats!

New Yarn!

When Josh and I were at the Puyallup fair yesterday, they had a shop with yarn! I barely saw it out of the corner of my eye, but that was definitely enough to get me to go over and take a look. The yarn is dyed by a local woman, and boy is it pretty! She has all kinds of yarn, and the only reason that I couldn’t resist some of it was the price! Oof.

She had hanks of laceweight kid merino for $20… and for that you get 1,225yds! Rowan Kidsilk Haze gives you something around 250yds and that puts you out at least $14. Plus, this yarn was in the more gorgeous Violet color that I’ve seen in awhile… so deep and bright. I think I already know what I want to make out of it too… a circular shawl from my book Victorian Lace Today.

Before I go, here’s a picture of the yarn that really doesn’t do the color justice. Just imagine that it’s much deeper and more vibrant:

MoFly Yarn

Did I mention how unbelievably soft this stuff is?

(You can find Pat’s yarn here, although her mohair isn’t currently available to buy online)

Work!

As some of you may know, I applied for a job a few weeks ago at the local Bellevue knitting shop, Hilltop Yarn East.  A week after I applied I went with Josh to California, and until now I haven’t heard anything from them.  Odd, I know.

So today I stopped into the store on my way home from the mall and “inquired” as to the status of their hiring.  I was promptly told that the owner hadn’t gotten a chance to look at the resumes because she just had surgery.  Ouch!

The good news is that it means there’s a legitimate reason they haven’t contacted me at all yet since I “applied”.  Hopefully I’ll get a call soon-ish for an interview or something similar.  The woman I talked to asked her co-worker, “hey, what’s the status on those resumes?” implying that I wasn’t the only person to apply.  Competition!  BRING IT ON!

Yarn stash-y goodness!

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I thought I’d post a nice little picture of my stash. You can’t really see the yarn itself, but you can get an idea about exactly how much I have, heh. The basket on top is really nice but it doesn’t fit much because of my stash size, so that’s where the other two tubs come in. The tub on top holds just the yarn I got at the Cascade warehouse sale awhile back and the bottom tub holds leftover balls of yarn, finished projects, and some current works-in-progress.

I don’t really have that much else going on in my little knitting world. I’ve finally learned how to do a moebius strip… although that just entails casting on and picking up more stitches along the bottom with a half-twist, I didn’t actually learn the “moebius cast-on”, which I think will be a much nicer and more efficient way of doing things. For this wrap/scarf, I’m actually using a hank from my stash by Mango Moon called Capellli or something similar. I’m not exactly sure how you spell it.

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Although when it does come to my stash, I have been steadily increasing the size of it by recycling sweaters. The amount of yarn I’ve actually gotten from recycling these sweaters is actually fairly large, and of course I took a picture (seen here on the right). The blue stuff is acrylic… stuff Josh and I are currently swatching to try and make me a tank top out he two pink ones are from the sweater I got from Jennifer, and we’ve seen a pic of those before. The stuff on the right that looks almost striped is practically 100% wool, ‘cept for the mauve strand wound around it that isn’t natural. The green stuff acts the same way, but this time it’s more of a thick-and-thin look rather than a more even one.

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In other photo news, I took a picture awhile back of the setup Josh and I got going to dry all these hanks of yarn I was recycling and washing… so I thought I’d share. It’s just a stand for Josh’s keyboard and some rope tied to the yarn and the bottom of the stand to stretch it out some more. It’s working out really well so far, and now that I’m done drying the yarn that you see in the picture I’m on to some more green (which, as evidenced by the picture, isn’t done being dried, washed and stretched).

That’s it for me right now… I’m going to finish watching Dogma and figure out whether I’m going back to the island or not tonight. I’ll try to update the blog a bit more this week and whatnot.

Picture time!

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Lots of pictures to update everyone on. I’ve acquired a bunch of new yarn, for one. Some of it I bought, and some of it I bought second-hand. Some of it I even swapped online. The point I suppose is that I have lots of pictures of it to share with you. Like the picture on the right for instance. That is some wonderful Collinette yarn that I got at a cute little shop in Portland, OR.

Below on the left is a corkscrew scarf that I made a few years back, but still haven’t worn. Why, you ask? Because it’s monsterous for one thing, and for another… well, it just looks funny. It’s very soft, and the colors are very pretty, and I actually like it quite a lot. It’s just… odd. To me at least. Odd enough that I feel weird giving it away, in case the recipient doesn’t like it either. That and I kind of think it’s too pretty to get rid of.

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I did manage to swap some yarn from a lovely woman in Ballard this last week. It’s pictured below on the right. It’s called DragonFly by Crystal Palace Yarns, and I like it a lot. The color is Pale Rose-White. I’m going to try and incorporate it into some sleeves or something, which might not make sense right now but it does in my head, heh. It’s a good carry-along yarn, and I’ve been chatting through KnittyBoard with the woman I swapped it with about felted bags, and it looks like it’ll be a fun one to use as fringe or something along the top edge of a bag. I swapped it for two balls of Patons Glittallic in Blue Flash. I had 4, initially thinking that I’d make a scarf out of them when they were on sale at Michaels, but as of yet I’ve done nothing, so I’m just trying to swap stuff away.

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Some more knitting stuff that I haven’t talked about yet: I took advantage (again) of the Kirkland Yarn & Stitchery closeout sale going on last month. Pictured left, I got 4 balls of Dale of Norway’s Heilo in Tartan Green, three patterns (two from FiberTrends) for $1 each, and a pair of size 000 36″ Addi Turbo circular needles. Why in the hell would I need needles that unimaginably small you ask? Because I recently acquired The Second Book of Modern Lace Knitting by Marianne Kinzel, and practically all of those patterns use crochet cotton or something just as thin, which is where this needle will come in handy.

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I’ve also been recycling sweaters, and oh what fun I’m having with that! I started out with the sweater Jennifer M. donated to me that had a hole in the sleeve, and pictured right you can see the sleeve color was the light pink. The body of the sweater was that darker pink you can see, and the whole thing was mohair. Believe me, if my first ever sweater recycling project had been anything other than mohair I would have known better and never attempted it. It took me almost two weeks to frog the whole thing, and there are still a few knots here and there throughout all 4 hanks.

Also pictured is the off-white yarn from another anonymous sweater purchased at Value Village, which went much more quickly. All of these hanks have been frogged, wrapped into a hank, washed, weighted and dried, then twisted into the form you see here. And I used a nice pretty smelling soap, so they smell wonderful to boot.

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There’s another hank drying in the bathroom, and since I weigh them down with a hammer I can only do one at a time, seeing as I only own one hammer, heh. There’s one more hank to go with that sweater, and then we’re on to the other sweater I’ve frogged! Yep, I went out and bought yet another sweater to recycle, and this time it’s a Gap sweater. I didn’t know that when I bought it, but I certainly found out when I got home. This one is a bit more bulky than the off-white one you see in the picture, so it should knit up nicely to make another sweater for myself. Bonus points if you can look at that picture and tell me an animal that it looks like.

I have way too much fun with this.

Okay, that’s it for knitting news. I was going to try and knit up my mom something for Mother’s Day, but inspiration is eluding me so far, and I’m running out of time. I need something quick that I can knit from my stash so I don’t have to go out and buy new yarn for myself, which is why this is so difficult. Socks would be too obvious since I’d need her foot measurements, and I don’t have the right yarn for gloves or mittens or anything like that. I’ve already knitted her too many scarves, and don’t really have the yarn for another one. Ideas anyone?

I’m going to go brainstorm.

Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael

Knitting Lingerie Style by Joan McGowan-Michael

Josh bought a new book through Amazon, and didn’t tell me about it. It was meant to be a surprise, and it worked! I’ve got a new knitting pattern book that actually has some nice stuff! I can’t wait to get some yarn to knit something from it. No pics yet of the patterns available inside, I might do that later.

The book was purchased on pre-order, which means that it probably has a lot of erata that no one has found yet. I always hate that about first edition knitting books, but often there are bits that get left out, so that purl row should really be a knit row.

This is a big hardcover though, and it’s really nice. There are some awfully cute tank tops and shirts in there, that are easily wearable outside of the house.

So, that’s our new book. Yay for knitting books!

What, no posts?

Yeah, I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. I just haven’t been in the mood, although I did get a good bit of knitting done.

What’s that you ask? Actual knitting?

Yep. I’ve managed to make myself a pair of socks. Who’s impressed?

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I don’t actually have a picture of the pair, but I do have a picture of the first finished sock, which I had intended to post awhile back. Both Josh and my mom actually like the colors of the sock, which slightly baffles me, but I think that I can see their “crazy sock” appeal. One thing that kind of threw me off though: I used a sock tutorial I’d previously discovered online to make these socks, that gave different numbers for cast-on stitches depending on the weight of the yarn you were using. For my yarn weight it recommended 40 stitches, but also estimated that my per-ball yardage would be about 250yds. I only had about 160yds per ball, so it kind of worried me. I ended up knitting 2″ less of ribbing for the leg of the sock, so it was 6″ instead of the recommended 8″. In the end, it turned out that I had plenty of yardage left per ball, but it also meant that I didn’t have enough yarn per ball to actually make two socks out of it. So I was right to start each sock out on a new ball, but wrong to shave off 2″ of the leg.

They turned out nice though. I had a very slight laddering problem that got a bit better by the second sock, and my toe grafting was wondrous if I do say so myself.

I have to say that knitting (and wearing) your own socks is kind of fun, so I’ll try to acquire some sock yarn in the future and make another pair.

In other knitting news, it turns out that the box of stuff Jennifer left at the island house included a sweater that had a hole in it, which she’d put in because she thought I could recycle the yarn. How sweet! It turns out that I can, but it’s a mohair sweater so that makes things a tad difficult. I worked all day yesterday and the day before trying to un-seam it. If you have a sweater that wants to play nicely you can just cut a thread all the way up the sides and whatnot of your garment, in the middle of the seam, but this sweater seems to enjoy chain stitches all the way up, requiring me to use my size 1 dpn needle to kind of pick at it. So far I’ve gotten one sleeve all the way off, and the other is completely un-seamed up the arm, but not at the shoulder yet. That’s where I need to get it un-seamed so I can start unraveling it.

Once I get the sleeves done I can start to work on the body of the sweater, which should give me a lot more yarn. -grin-

Oh, and for the record: I worked so long un-seaming the damn thing yesterday that I think it gave me an actual real headache. Figures.