The Yarn Gourmet Important Information

Location: 2915 Mishawaka Ave, South Bend IN 46615 (across from River Park Furniture)
Phone: 574-232-9276

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10 - 5
Friday: 10 - 8
Saturday: 9 - 3
Closed Sunday & Monday

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let me make this perfectly clear.....

Those of you who know me - even if you don't know me well - know I do not pull my punches.  I say what I mean and mean what I say.  I did not hide behind some made up, politically correct reason for closing the shop, I told it like it is.  On Monday 25 November I received the following anonymous email:

I’m sorry you are closing your business.  It would have been a lot classier had you just said you were closing due to the economy or other circumstances beyond your control instead of trying to make a political statement by blaming your failure on the government and imagined new taxes.  If your taxes go up next year, blame the obstructionist Republicans who don’t give a crap about you as a small business person.  They would much rather let your taxes go up than those of the millionaire and billionaire investment bankers and corporate CEOs who contribute millions to keep them in office and keep their loopholes in place.  If you only watch Fox News, you have a very distorted view of the real world.

Good luck.

I have a few things to say in response to this individual.
  1. I did not fail, nor did my business.  It is called common sense.  I am getting out before the economy goes back to the Carter years, which is where it is headed.  When you see a train heading directly for you,  you can hope it misses you, but if you're smart you get off the tracks.
  2. Obamacare defines a full-time employee as one who works 30 hours or more per week.  For that reason many employers are cutting people back to 28 hours per week, and/or laying people off so they do not have >50 employees.  This means people will have less money to spend at the shop, which means I will be taking in less but paying more in taxes.
  3. I did not imagine the 20 new taxes imposed by Obamacare, nine of which are already effective, and they will affect every single citizen of this country, regardless of economic  standing. 
  4. You have no idea what news sources I watch/read.  
  5.  You, on the other hand, are obviously watching too much MSNBC, speaking of distorted views.
  6. If you are going to write critical missives and call someone a failure, have the stones to use your name and real email address.  It is not your criticism of me I object to - it is the cowardice of doing it anonymously that is so obnoxious.  You apparently do not have the courage of your "convictions".
I stand by my reasons for closing the shop, and if my reasons offend anyone, bear in mind that there is no Constitutional right to never be offended.  "Saying you are offended is the same as saying you cannot control your own emotions, so someone else should do it for you"

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

This just in....

....a high-speed police chase is on in Los Angeles, involving a man in a Chevy Volt.  Police say the chase has reached speeds of up to 40 mph.

Yesterday I received a  lot of new K1C2 patterns for both Geologee and Linus.  There are two beautiful men's sweaters, and five beautiful designs for women.  There are also some very good patterns available for free at the K1C2 website, one of which I am knitting.

And the Alchemy Yarns order is in!  This yarn is too decadent for words - if it was chocolate it would make Godiva look liked SlimFast.  I have already ordered more, as the lead time is 2 - 3 months.

Enjoy the cooler weather, and remember - 97 knitting days to Christmas!  Knit faster.....

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Tuesday after Stitches Midwest

Greetings my fellow fiber fiends!  If you didn't get to Stitches Midwest this year - especially if you didn't ride the bus with us - you missed a rockin' good time.  There were more vendors this year than in recent years, and more unusual stuff.  An excellent example of this is JazzTurtle Creations, handspun fibers that are incredibly exotic.  No two are exactly alike - some have found objects spun into them (e.g., Barbie shoes, bells), some are undyed mohair goat locks, some are all cellulose fibers.  Her colors are intense and seductive.  Skeins are small in yardage, but this is not a yarn you use for a whole sweater - this is accent yarn, best for trim, incorporation, or scarves.  Esther's work is also in HAND SPUN - New Spins on Traditional Techniques, by Lexi Boeger (a book I will be getting in soon).

Bling is very in this year, if the Stitches market floor is any indicator.  Some of it is better than others (seriously, few people can carry off the Liberace look).  One company that does bling brilliantly is Tootsie Yarns.  The real genius of the founder, Virginia Gibbs, is that all garments can be made with one size kit, called an Artistry Box, and the kits are intended to work with common stash yarns when larger sizes are made.  The prices of the kits varies slightly depending on the type of fiber in each kit.  It is also worth noting that although Virginia does use Trendsetter and Prism yarns, she also adds a considerable amount of her own hand-dyed yarns to each kit.  None of the photos on her website actually does justice to her amazing products.

There was a great deal of fiber for spinning / felting at Stitches this year, too.  I could easily have spent my entire year's budget on braids of fiber, but showing some self-restraint (it is SO over-rated), I only bought one and got business cards for those vendors who sell wholesale.  One of the nicest was Knitty and Color, with some very unusual jewel-tone colors.  They also have a Batt of the Month Club, which looks like an amazing deal.

WORTH NOTING - the Allegan Fiber Festival is this weekend.  Not only is it well worth the drive to the festival, this past weekend the Food Network featured a restaurant there, The Grill House.  It is reputed to have some of the best steaks in the entire country.  

Purls of wisdom:  What goes sis-boom-bah? [scroll down]

An exploding sheep

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Fall Class Schedule is done!

Greetings, yarnlings!  The fall 2012 class schedule is finished and posted on a separate page.  I am offering several "old favorites", as well as a new class on knitting with beads. 

If there is a class you want to take that I did not offer this fall, the new year is not (really) that far away.  Let me know what you would like to see offered next year and I will try my best to get it scheduled.

Meanwhile - Bon tricoter!

Purls of wisdom: never squat while wearing spurs (Will Rogers)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Confessions of a yarn addict

As I'm sure you all must have guessed, I am a yarn addict.  I started out with inexpensive, gateway yarns and gradually moved up to the hard stuff - silk & cashmere.  I have roughly a three skein a week habit, only because I am so busy.  Otherwise it might be as much as a 3 skein a day habit.  "Idle hands do Zimmerman's work."

There is no 12-step program for yarn addicts.  There is no rehab for fiberholics.  Interventions do not work, and besides, what sane family member would try to take yarn away from an addict with sharp pointy sticks in her hands?

Should the unthinkable happen and a yarn addict be unable to get a fiber fix, withdrawal symptoms are imminent, and NOT pretty.  Withdrawal symptoms include muttering, searching every little space in the house in the hope of finding yarn, short temper, and brief, irrational spending splurges.  These are also the symptoms of patternitis (def.: frustration with a pattern the knitter is determined to make, regardless of how screwed up it seems).  The only way to distinguish withdrawal from patternitis is the presence of yarn in the latter.

Another syndrome common to yarn addicts is WIP syndrome.  This syndrome manifests itself in the form of multiple projects underway at the same time, but none ever getting finished.  This is the most common sign of yarn addiction.

Unfortunately, yarn addicts are prone to denial, as well.  The types of denial may vary somewhat, from denying that there are too many WIPs at any given time, to denying that there isn't enough time to finish 6 projects by Christmas (this usually occurs on Christmas Eve).  And of course, there is the pernicious denial that the yarn addict is actually addicted.  Excuses often include "I don't have nearly as much stash as [blank]"; "it was all on sale"; "I could take up drinking instead"; "I feel morally obligated to support cottage industries like alpaca farms"; and "What yarn?  I don't have any yarn."

How does one tell a yarn addict from a newbie knitter?  When asked a foolish knitting-related question by a non-knitter, the newbie will get defensive.  In the same setting, the addict will smile and nod, realizing the truth behind the old adage "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand".

Like some other types of addictions, yarn addicts tend to gather together regularly.  Usually they gather in packs in a comfortable location, sometimes known as a knitting den.  Regardless of whether the den is in a home or public space, the floor around the yarn addicts is quickly littered with with the detritus of the craft: ball bands, extra skeins, WIPs, and project bags.  Non-knitters rash enough to approach a knitting den without making appreciative sounds and expressing understanding words are seldom seen again.

Yarn addicts even have their own yearly calendar, with their own holidays.  Some they have in common with the general population, such as Christmas.  Others are unique to yarn addicts, the highest holy days of all being a three-day festival known as Stitches.  The specific Gregorian calendar dates of this event vary from region to region and year to year, but it is the most sacred of events in any yarn addict's year.  A pilgrimage is made to a central location in each region.  Conflicts are suspended, vacation days are taken, and budgets are sacrificed.  The central location for each Stitches event is loaded with hundreds of altars.  The yarn addict's equivalent of mass, known as a "fashion show" is held at least once during the festival.  There is much rejoicing.

All in all, yarn addicts are a relatively harmless strata of society.  Unless a non-knitter is foolish enough to actually handle a WIP or scoff at the yarn addict's choice of substance.  Then all bets are off, the yarn addict reacts aggressively, and it may be days before she can be safely approached again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Special Treat!

This Thursday 12 July Diana Harker will be here on a routine yarn rep visit.  She will have with her some cash & carry Blue Heron yarns!!!  Diana will be available between noon and 3 PM, so if you have time to stop in and snag some Blue Heron, this is your chance. 

This does not replace the Blue Heron Trunk Show in October - it's a little supplement.

Purls of wisdom: some days it's chicken, some days it's feathers.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The Frabjous Fibers shipment is in!  The colors are amazing! I have hand-painted AND solid color silk hankies, cashmerino fiber, Merino Sparkle (nylon gives the sparkle), BFL-Silk, BFL, and Opulence!  If I didn't need to get the newsletter out I'd be sitting at a spinning wheel all day.

Purls of wisdom: happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have.