Monday, October 17, 2016

A little retail therapy never hurts

I need yarn like I need a hole in the head.  But that hasn't stopped me yet.

Last weekend some friends of mine came up to northeast Ohio for the Autumn Fiber Festival in Ashland, Ohio.  It was one of those beautiful autumn days ... sunny, clear, and warm. Ashland is less than an hour's drive from my house so I jumped at the opportunity to meet up with my friends and see what I could see.  I didn't plan to buy anything but, well, I kinda *had* to.  You'll see why in a moment.

I was really good about walking around to most of the vendors before I bought anything.  Then I had lunch with my friends and decided I might buy something but only after lunch.  After all, you can't shop on an empty stomach.  True story.  My friends had to leave shortly after that but I hung around for a while after that, presumably to do my "little bit" of shopping then go home.

I recently read about Yarnbyrds, an RV that's been converted to a traveling yarn shop, or I guess more accurately, a yarn truck.  Cool idea, right?  It turns out that they were at the show and I was excited to see what they had.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pics of the inside but if you click on that link to the newspaper article I read, you'll get a real good idea of what it's like. I ooohed and aaaahed over the lovely yarns like I always do, but I quickly went down the rabbit-hole of getting some stuff I "must have."  In so doing, though, I made it a point to get yarns that I don't already have.  Like:

The one on the right is sock yarn from Oink Pigments in the "Spring Fever" colorway.
The one on the left is sock yarn from Ancient Arts' Meow Yarn Collection in the "Le Chat Noir" colorway.
Proceeds from this yarn is donated to charities that help stray and abandoned cats.  Cool, huh?

Okay, so I probably don't need any more little project bags, but I couldn't resist this one.
Perfect for toting around socks or a lace shawl ...

As a corn-fed Ohio girl who was born, raised, and has a deep and abiding love for the Buckeye State, I HAD to have this ski hat kit, which includes the yarn and the pattern.  And once the shop owner told me that this was the last kit she had in stock AND that she wouldn't restock it, I kinda felt obligated to take it off the market so no one else could have it, either. 

So.  I was planning to stop shopping right then and there.  Buuuuuuuut..... then I wandered around at the vendor booths INSIDE the hall.  On my first trip around, I spotted this cute little owl shawl pin.  He was still there when I went back so I had to bring him home with me:

Look at his little eyes! <3

Here's where I really fell down, reader (my apologies ... I'm listening to Jane Eyre via the CraftLit podcast (you should, too!), and Jane sometimes speaks directly to her reader).  I passed DreamWeaver Farm's booth where these lovely embroidered tote bags were for sale, and, well, I decided that I needed something to carry the aforementioned loot in.  Look:

It's expandable, it has 3 pockets, AND it has this adorable flock of sheep on it!
It'll be perfect for taking to other fiber shows in the future.
Because, let's face it, there WILL be other fiber shows.  

On my way out of the building, I stopped at Gwen Erin's booth and picked up a pound of fiber -- a half pound of Shetland (on the right) and a half pound of Falkland (on the right).  

 I can neither confirm nor deny that I may or may not already have some of these fibers in my stash.  I won't know for sure until I actually open those fiber bins when I get around to cataloging them on Ravelry.  So far I've only made it through the sock yarns and a wee bit of the lace yarns.
But that's a post for a whole different day.

I'm quite pleased at my haul, and I hope you've enjoyed it, too!


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Of COURSE there are famous knitters!

When I told my husband last week that I'd been invited to have coffee with a famous knitter, he was all like, "Cool." He wasn't nearly as giddy about it as *I* was, or as I would have been if someone else had told me s/he was going to meet a famous knitter.  I'd have been all, "Who? Where ya gonna meet?  Whatcha gonna talk about? Tell me, tell me!"

But my excitement was enough for both of us.  Last week, my dear friend Jan said she'd been in touch with Kay Gardiner (yes, THAT Kay Gardiner of Mason-Dixon Knitting!) who was in town bringing her daughter back to campus.  Jan told me that Kay would have a bit of time to meet up at a local bakery on Saturday morning, and asked if I would like to join them.

Uhhhh, YEAH!

So we did.  We chatted, we ate brownies (and I may have had TWO red velvet cupcakes), we drank coffee.  And we knitted.  

And before it was all over, we took a selfie.  And it was Kay's idea!

It was a perfectly wonderful way to spend a perfectly wonderful afternoon.  I look forward to meeting up again some other time when Kay comes down Ohio way.  

In other news, I've spent a chunk of the summer adding my stash to Ravelry. Yup. After many years of flat-out avoiding this task, I decided that it would be a great way to help me remember what I even HAVE in my stash (since it's all tucked away in gigantic plastic bins, and can't be displayed nicely on shelves like my very own yarn store).  I'm finally to the bottom of the sock yarn bin. Next up will be the laceweight and other skinny-ass yarn.  Then I'll tackle the overflowing bin of sweater yarns (mostly worsted). Fiber stash will be next, and then any odds and ends after that ... knitting needles and crochet hooks, maybe? It's a big task for sure, but taking it in smaller pieces sure does make it easier. Stay tuned for more.  I may finish this task before next summer!


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Time flies

My deep apologies for being absent for so long.  I've been *meaning* to catch up but life's been happening.  Here's a very image-heavy post to catch y'all up!

The end of May always means the annual Great Lakes Fiber Show.  This year, 3 friends and I hung out in Wooster, OH for the weekend and had so much fun.  Here's a bunch of photos ... mostly of stuff I bought.  Next year, I'll try to do better at getting photos of people (including me and my friends!) and animals but for now (and in no particular order) ....

Christina brought buttons.  These are the two I chose.

A trip to Wooster always includes a meal at Broken Rocks Cafe.
On the first night, I sipped a strawberry margarita with a sugared rim (instead of salt).  Yum!

My dinner on the first night was kind of amazing.
Beef tenderloin, topped with something I don't remember, but I asked the chef
to add bacon to it.  Sides of asparagus and potatoes.  Divine.

A friend asked me to repair the thumb of a mitten that her dog chewed up.
It was in my knitting basket so I got it done while I was surrounded by folks I could ask for help if needed.
  Turned out to be an easy fix!

Fish leather.  Makes sense that it's a thing, but I'd never seen it before.

Check out this cool basket.
I think it's actually a planter, but it will certainly suffice for yarn storage. 

There's my car at the end of day 1.  Last one standing.

Project bag.  Oil cloth ... should be nice & sturdy.  And how could I go wrong with sugar skulls?

Day one dessert: Strawberry shortcake with creme fraiche and vanilla bean ice cream.
The calories are SO worth it.

Sheepy oilcloth apron.  I ended up buying more twill tape and lengthening the straps so I could wrap them around my waist in order to hang a towel.  That's how I roll. 
Black yak/merino blend fiber.  It was 50% off ... I couldn't just LEAVE it there!!

Here's that fiber on the spindle.  Ply on the fly, baby!

One vender had these light-up letters at her booth.  I need this in my life!

Two new baskets.  Fair trade, made in West Africa.  I love these!

These cute bags are made from recycled materials.
The larger one is my "notions" bag with all kinds of stuff in it (markers, tape measure, a crochet hook, darning needles, etc).  The smaller one with the elephant is my makeup bag and lives in my purse/backpack.

Squishy little stress reliever sheep.  I think he needs a sweater.  

More yak/merino fiber, waiting to be spun up. This stuff is heavenly.

I had to have this cute red scarf with sheep on it!

Large project bag, with hedgehogs and OWLS!  

Small project bag, perfect for knitting socks on the go.

Here's the inside.

My friend Kate Larson wrote a book ....

... and was kind enough to sign (and date) it for me.

Saw this adorable little sheep keyring ....

.... and decided I needed a flock.  This is the closest I will ever get to being a shepherd. 

So .... this gorgeous yarn was on sale too. $10 each (from the original $28 price).
This is a lovely merino, cashmere, and silk yarn, you already know I had to have it.
I got enough for a sweater.  Now to choose a pattern ....

Another cute project bag.  You can never have too many.  Seriously.

Fiber I've never spun before: Targhee.  I bought about 12 oz, and put some on the spindle right away.
I love how springy it is. 

This is a fiber blend I've never spun ... alpaca/bamboo.  It's black alpaca mixed with emerald green bamboo.
It's so subtle but boy does it pop in the daylight.
Cute owl and pearl stitch markers.  Something else a knitter can never have enough of.

And I "needed" another spindle.  This one came with its own storage bag.

Next time, an update on my list of current and recently completed projects!

Until then ...

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Catch up post

I recently played a game that until now I'd only heard about, Cards Against Humanity.  In April I decided I need to get my own set.  So I did.  And then a friend told me about the unofficial expansion pack called Knitters Against Swatches.  So I got that, too. And all I need now are some folks to invite over so we can get a game going. I can't wait!

Have you ever tried double knitting?  I did, a LONG time ago.  I knitted just enough of Debbie Stoller's "Uncle Argyle" pattern to figure out how the technique works, and then I quit. But I am in need of a special thank you gift for my godfather, and I thought a double knit arygyle scarf in Ohio State team colors (scarlet and gray) would be perfect.  So I tried again.  The first few tries were frustrating but now that I have remembered how to do it, it's going well:

There's still a loooooooooong way to go, but I think it will be worth it in the end!

And with that, I better get moving.  I'm meeting up with a friend in like 10 mins for a short Sunday night hangout.

Talk to y'all soon.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Short charity update

Remember those hats I told you about last week? The ones that I needed to find a good use for since I couldn't use them for my chosen charity?  A good use has become clear.  Tomorrow they will be on the way to my mom, who will raffle them off in a church fundraiser!

In other news, today I finished a hat for said charity in a more appropriate acrylic/nylon blend yarn ... and my husband loved it so much that I gave it to him.  As soon as it came off the needles I cast on an identical one that *will* be for charity.  We took a long walk around town today, and I knitted as we walked so I got a fair amount done.  Here it is in process:

I just LOVE the color.  I knitted up the rest of the yarn that was left after I finished the hat that I gave to my husband Found a couple skeins of this color from a fellow knitter on Ravelry and bought them from her. Really looking forward to knitting with this yarn some more in a few days.

I'm also knitting this one:

This yarn is SO soft. I wish I could remember where I got it.  It's been in my stash for so long ... I'm happy to finally put it to good use.  

And now ... back to knitting!


Friday, April 08, 2016

Before ... and after

You know how you go to "clean up" a room, but you end up making a much bigger mess in the process?  That's what happened to me last weekend. My yarn room/art studio was a colossal mess and I attempted to clean it up.  Here it is, mid-mess:

... and here it is once everything is moved around and put away. Much better!

Last week I talked about the dilemma I had with a stack of hats I knitted for charity, which can't go to the charity I planned to send them to due to the high wool content.  I haven't yet figured out what to do with them, but in the meantime I went stash diving and found find a few balls of more appropriate yarn that I can use!  I'd show you but I don't have photos of it yet.  I found a ball of Berroco Comfort yarn in a deep cerulean blue (worsted weight, I think), and a ball of Dark Horse Fantasy yarn in a sage green (also worsted weight). I cast on 2 hats, one in each color ... I couldn't help myself! I'm not using a pattern; I just cast on 112 sts with US 6 needles and am doing 2x2 ribbing for a few inches.  Then I may switch to stockinette.  Or maybe I'll continue in ribbing.  Or maybe I'll pick a pattern from a stitch dictionary.  Who knows! ALSO, I remembered that some months ago, a friend gave me a big ol' bag of yarn that she no longer wanted.  I dug through that and found several full and partial balls of stuff like Plymouth Encore (shout out to @knitonepurltoo!) and Lion Brand Wool Ease so all of that should keep my charity efforts going for a bit. I may also go in with a friend on an order from WEBS so I can get some more Berroco Comfort -- I really like how it feels and how it's knitting up so far. 

Right now, though, it's way past bed time. Good night!


Sunday, April 03, 2016

I blew it.

So ...

You remember those hats I knitted for charity?  Well.  I was all set to send the hand knit goodies off in the mail this week, and went to the blog to look for the address to send to.  Aaaaannnnd while I was there I looked at the requirements for donations.  Aaaaaannnnnnd figured out that donated items should not be 100% wool.  So .... now I need to find something to do with the hats and scarf I knitted. Yes, I realize (now) that I should have looked this information up BEFORE I started knitting, but I think in my excitement to get started it slipped my mind.  I'm sure the internet will come to the rescue, and help me identify an organization that will accept my donation.  And in the meantime, I've done a bit of stash diving and found 2 balls of yarn that will be appropriate for the charity I originally chose:  The Bridge Project, which collects knit and crocheted items for the homeless in central Ohio. 

Now that my yarn room/art studio is cleaned up and organized, I'm going to get showered and go do a bit of shopping before I settle in for a little knitting!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Nice haul

Every so often, my friend Jan and I go on these very awesome, very therapeutic yarn crawls. This past weekend we had a much needed trip, which coincided with the beginning of spring break on the campus where we work. Our afternoon adventure started with hanging out at Black Locust Farm yarn shop in Lodi.  If y'all have been paying any attention at all, you know that I love to knit socks. And that sock yarn doesn't count as stash. Soooooooo these pretty things came home with me:

The ball of yarn on the left is to knit my husband some socks.  He is one of those guys that doesn't really wear colors aside from black, blue, gray, and occasionally some brown. I got yarn to match his wardrobe.  The self-striping should keep it as interesting as it could possibly be ;-)

Last year on a trip to the shop I fell in love with a project bag made by Aimee of Cackleberry Creations.  I met Aimee in person at the Great Lakes Fiber Show last spring, and mentioned my love of elephants and Doctor Who. And then I promptly forgot about that conversation! Well I was pleasantly surprised to get a message from Aimme via Ravelry, that, despite some life challenges, she completed the bags for me!  Look!  Elephants ....

... and a close-up of the matching stitch markers!

And then TARDIS ....

... and matching stitch markers!

As I was paying for my yarn, I also spied these beautiful pearl stitch markers near the register.  Some of y'all know how much I love pearls too, so I couldn't leave these in the store!  

I have since messaged Aimee to ask for a couple more bags ... one with a coffee print, and one with FIREFLY.  Actually I might need two Firefly bags if possible, one for me and one for a dear friend who got me hip to that show in the first place.

After hanging out at Black Locust for a few hours, it was time to head down the road to Wooster, where we had dinner at one of our faaaaaaavorite places, Broken Rocks Cafe.  Wild mushroom pasta for the win! That's a standout favorite dish of mine, especially when it's followed up with pecan pie for dessert. 

It was a lovely day, indeed.  Guess I need to get knitting and FINISH some stuff before I start something else.  Well I DO have that cowl I'm knitting for a store sample.  I'll post pics of that next time. Until then ... good night!


... this has been a QuietStorm production, dahling ...