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

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New arrivals today!

Wooo-hooo!  New colors of Malabrigo Worsted and Silky Merino just arrived, plus some Malabrigo Sock!  Delicious stuff!

Also new at the shop: K1C2's Culinary Colors kits - 450 yards of un-dyed Douceur et Soie, environmentally safe dyes to use (reportedly enough for 3 batches), and complete instructions to paint your own lace-weight yarn!  Great gift idea!

Thank you for the very kind expressions of sympathy for Katmandu.  It meant a great deal to me.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

sunbeams in heaven

This morning my beautiful Katmandu went to Heaven to join his beloved Taz Psychocat.  His condition had been deteriorating for the last few weeks, and it was time.  The last half hour of his life he sat in my lap - which a dignified cat only does in very special circumstances - and it was the first time in several days that I was sure he knew who I am.  When we laid him down on the table he put his head down and seemed to already be at peace.

Du had been with me since he was born on 05 April 1992; we shared a birthday.  He had traveled with me across the country three times, been a house guest numerous times and always the perfect guest, never counter-surfed and never sharpened on the furniture.  When he was young he loved to be chased, and we had a game we played that involved me counting to three, at which point he would take off running.  As a young cat he was also very fond of sleeping in paper bags. 

Until he was 18 months old he was an indoor-outdoor cat (we lived in very rural upstate NY).  Then a stray tomcat named Clawed beat him up and he spent 3 days in the hospital, so I pronounced him an indoor only cat.  He never once complained about it or tried to get outside.

When we lived on the west side of South Bend there were a lot of crickets in our basement.  He would go downstairs, catch a cricket, and bring it to me to approve before he ate it.  When the neighborhood kids found out he liked crickets they started catching them and would bring him jars of crickets.  Du politely tried to eat them all, but after a while he never wanted to see a cricket again.  He would stand on the bed, put his front paws on the windowsill and watch the 4th of July fireworks with me.  He loved Christmas lights, too.

He knew what time of day the best sunbeams were to be had, and where.  In the winter at 12:30 in the afternoon he would go to the office door and ask to be let in, as there were excellent sunbeams on the other side of the door.  As he was a very civilized cat he also was the only cat allowed on the front deck (which he could not get off of) and he would get on the chaise lounge and nap outside for hours in the fresh air and sunbeams.

Every morning (before his stroke in June) when I got up I would say "good morning" to him, and he would say "good morning" to me.  As he got older and the jump onto the bed became difficult for him, I got him little stairs so he could continue to get on the bed.  Every night he went to bed when I did, and slept with his head on the pillow next to me.

When I worked from home I would say to Du "Do you want to be an office cat?" and he would head down the stairs and wait at the office door.  He had an amazing vocabulary - I counted 64 words that he clearly understood and responded to.  If I wanted him to come to me all I had to say was "Du, come here, please" and he would. 

Du never liked anything male, until he met Bob, my husband.  They became fast friends, and Du approved of him wholeheartedly.  Bob was with us this morning when we went for our last visit to the vet, and is as broken-hearted as I am.  Our comfort is that Du is no longer having pain in his joints, pain in his teeth, and headaches from his high blood pressure.  He is in Heaven now, where there are always sunbeams to nap in, scallops, mussels and sardines to eat without restraint, catnip and green grass to eat, spring water to drink, and his beloved Taz Psychocat who died in 2002.

He was the cat of a lifetime, and there will never be another cat like him.  He died in my arms hearing me say "I love you".  I will always love and miss my beautiful Katmandu.

If anyone would like to make a donation to Pet Refuge in Du's memory, we would greatly appreciate it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The Winter - Spring class descriptions are done!  They are posted on a separate page of this blog  to conserve space.  If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to call the shop.

I hope you all had a less "interesting" drive to work this morning than I did.  My development did not get  sand or salt this morning.  As I left for work the roads looked OK, just a little dusting of snow.  Alas, that little dusting of snow was on top of a lovely coat of black ice, as I discovered when I tried to stop at the "T" in the road.  I also learned something about ABS brakes - even when your brakes are chattering like an ADHD squirrel and you are sliding straight towards a crab apple tree on someone's lawn, it is nonetheless possible to have a modicum of control and steer your vehicle to make it navigate around the corner somewhat obliquely.


So I slowed down to a snail's pace and approached the next turn - a 90 degree left.  Despite my sedentary crawl, I began sliding again, and my brakes resumed the chattering.  I over-shot my turn by a few feet, but was able to make the turn with only a wee bit of reversing.

Hot damn.

The rest of the drive in to work was less entertaining, especially once I got onto main roads that had high traffic to keep them clear, if nothing else.  As I sit here writing this, it is snowing like a snow globe in a cement mixer, and I am told by customers that the roads are getting slick.  So drive safely everyone.

Purls of wisdom: experience is something you get right after you need it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Black Friday give-away!

On Black Friday November 26 every customer who spends over $100 will receive a free Addi Turbo needle, value up to $15.95, in their choice of size!

Purls of wisdom:  I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Toys for Tots and Super Bowl 2012

I am pleased to announce that I have a Toys for Tots collection box at the shop.  Toys must be new and unwrapped.  The Marines will be collecting the box on 15 December in order to have time to sort and distribute the toys.  The primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.  Anything you can give is appreciated.

New at the shop - "Pixie Dust" by Knit Collage.  Pixie Dust knits on #17 - 19 needles; one skein makes a hat, two skeins make a scarf.  Ideal for last minute gifts. The hat in the photo took one hour to knit, and that was with doing it on #15 needles.  Also - the hot pink colorway of Feza's "Alp Light"; three new colors of Feza's "Fanatic": green, bubblegum pink, and blue & yellow (Notre Dame, anyone?).

The Interweave Knits Winter issue is in!  Muted colors and fancy stitches abound, but there are also easy patterns.

Super Bowl 2012 will be held in Indianapolis!  The Super Bowl committee is asking Hoosiers to knit scarves in Colts blue and white for the 8,000 volunteers that will be working the game.  The scarf count is currently at about 1,500, and there are only 14 months to go.  SO - I have Colts blue yarn in the shop in Cascade 220, with 220 Superwash coming soon.  The scarves need to be 6" - 8" wide, 70" - 84" long.  You can go to their website at for simple patterns, you can knit any other scarf pattern in the Colts colors, or you can create your own pattern, as long as whatever you make is gender-neutral (read: no lace, fan and feather, or similar).

As a reminder - the shop will close at 3 PM on Wednesday 24 November and reopen at 10 AM Friday 26 November.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Purls of wisdom: I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer
history if you die.

Friday, November 12, 2010

It's Christmas time

I realize Thanksgiving is still two weeks away, but I have been ruminating much on Christmas this year.  I have a master plan for decorating the store (I have always thought that being a professional Christmas tree decorator would be a really cool job), and a specific message I want to send with it.  In short, I want to bring back the old-fashioned type of Christmas that is no longer "pc".  I am going to decorate the shop with Christmas decorations, and I am going to say "Merry Christmas" to my customers.

One of my favorite movies, Christmas or otherwise, is "It's a Wonderful Life".  IAWL teaches a wonderful message - no one is a failure who has friends.  It illustrates values that are sadly absent in today's society.  People nowadays feel they have to say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas", lest they offend someone.  Who, exactly, will be offended?  Only 0.7% of the country consider themselves atheists, so I see no reason why the 76% who consider themselves Christians should worry about the atheists' delicate sensibilities.  Not one of my Jewish friends are offended by "Merry Christmas", nor am I offended by "Happy Hanukah".  Wasn't the whole point of this country freedom of religion?  Not being allowed to express yourself isn't exactly freedom.

Even if someone is offended by hearing "Merry Christmas" - so what?  There is no Constitutional guarantee to never be offended.  A year or two ago in the southeastern part of the country a man went to a high school football game.  He had no children in the school district, he just liked football.  When the cheerleaders held up motivational signs quoting from the Bible - a tradition at the school going back decades - this man threatened to file a lawsuit against the school.  Shockingly enough, the school board gave in and stopped the practice of quoting the Bible at games.  This is not a separation of church and state issue.  This is an example of "political  correctness" run totally amok.  It is absurd that the traditions and beliefs of a nation should be censored by the opinions of a miniscule minority.

At the last River Park Merchant's Association meeting it was said that stores should be decorated with a "winter festival" theme, lest someone be offended.  This offended me, so I went on-line looking for a lighted sign that reads "Merry Christmas".  It took half an hour to find any place that sells such a sign.  Even an on-line store that calls itself "" didn't have a single item that reads "Merry Christmas"!  This whole "pc" thing is beyond out of control.

So this year I encourage all of you to take back our traditions and say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Hanukah", and to blazes with political correctness. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gifts for knitters - and crocheters!

I just got a nice shipment from Santa Keith - watches for knitters and crocheters, hand-knitted necklaces, and hand-knitted pins in Notre Dame and Indiana University colors!  Let the Christmas shopping begin!

Also new today - Berroco Borealis, a chunky yarn in luscious variegated colors.

Purls of wisdom: Caffeine is proof that God loves us and wants us to pay attention.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New arrivals for Christmas!

I am delighted to tell you that the Elegant Heirloom Christmas stocking kits arrived today!  These are truly heirloom quality Christmas stockings, with Svarovski crystal embellishments, textured trim on Santa's coat, fleecy sheep, and more.  I also have "Googleheims", Christmas stocking kits for kids.  These are suitable for stuffing full of goodies and then being dragged around the house by the lucky recipient.  And they will hold a LOT of goodies.  Remember, not all kids are small - there are even golf and football Christmas stockings!

Also in - the puppy version of the Paradise Shawl pins is in.  How cute are these?

The shop will close at 3 PM the day before Thanksgiving, it will be closed Thanksgiving (of course), and open at the usual time for Black Friday.  I'll post additional reminders as these dates get nearer.

Purls of wisdom: if you knit really fast it DOES count as exercise.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Isaac Newton and cats

It is a little known fact of physics that the mass of a sleeping cat increases exponentially by the following factors:  a) how long the cat has been asleep (directly proportional); b) how much you want the cat to move.(inversely proportional).  Thus we can use the following equation to calculate the mass of a sleeping cat, where m = the weight of the cat in pounds, t = the amount of time the cat has been sleeping, and i = the appropriateness of the cat's location on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the least appropriate spot.  

Thus (m x t)i can be used to determine that a 13 pound cat sleeping for 3 hours on a black wool sweater (10 on the scale) will weigh 390 pounds, but only if you actually try to move the cat.  This is because the inertia of a sleeping cat can only be quantified by kinetic energy.

This explains why a cat sleeping on either side of me on top of the blankets is impossible to move.  That's my tale, and I'm sitting on it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Fall issue of Knitter's Magazine has arrived!  It is a HUGE issue, in celebration of their 25th year and 100th issue.  There are 43 projects and some truly killer knitted garments in this magazine.  I am pleased to say that I have the yarn ON HAND for three of them, can get the yarn for another 12, and the remaining 28 call for yarns I have excellent substitutes for, with only one exception (I don't have any chenille yarn).

Also new this week - several more colors of Mochi Plus, including tone-on-tone striping versions.  The brandied apricot colorway is to die for.  I also got in four more colorways of Panda Silk DK.  This yarn is a joy to knit with, and makes a wonderfully drapey fabric.  Great for virtually anything you want to knit.

Books should be arriving this week, including "Vampire Knits".  I'm not sure what's in it, but with a title like that, how could I resist?  And the winter class schedule will be posted in the December newsletter.  Look for some cool new classes, like color theory for knitters, Knitting Boot Camp, Making Garments Fit, Felted Bunny Rabbits, Summer Hats, and more, as well as repeats of the more popular fall classes, such as entrelac, top-down sweaters, intro to knitting, and magic loop.  I will continue to get in more gifts for knitters, too.

Knit happy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A customer has asked me what, if anything, I know about how to knit sipalu.  I have spent a LOT of time on-line trying to find out anything I can about sipalu, and the ONLY reference I have found to it is the pattern by the same name from Knit Picks.  "Sipalu" is Nepalese for "skilled" or "clever".  It seems to be intended to describe Fair Isle projects with a distinctly "Himalayan" design.  I would hazard a guess that virtually anything Fair Isle with an East Indian, Tibetan, or Nepalese sort of patterning could be considered sipalu (emphasis on the word "guess"). 

Having said that, the swirled and symmetrical designs of the Knit Picks bag resemble some traditional Nepalese art.  Thus, I am extrapolating that sipalu knitting involves a) Fair Isle technique and b) replicating the traditional, symmetrical designs of Nepalese art, especially the mandalas Tibetan monks are famous for drawing with colored sand.  Other examples of this art can be found here.

This is good news, to those of us with a particularly masochistic bent towards doing our own color charts. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Only 63 knitting days left to Christmas!

Yes, folks, that is an accurate count, not including the wee hours of Christmas morning.  To that end, I present the most lovable hedgehog in the world.  Our model, Horatio, was knitted last year, but I have made up kits with everything you need (except the stuffing): pattern, yarns, eyes & nose.  Horatio  took me one afternoon to knit - it takes longer for him to dry after felting.  I only have two kits right now, but more patterns are on order.  I will also be making up kits to make felted penguins.

Purls of wisdom: time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.

Knit happy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A bunch of new arrivals today

Santa Keith came today, and he brought LOTS of loot.  First we have the Fortissima Socka Shadow, a monochromatic self-striping yarn in luscious colors, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon.  One ball makes a pair. 

Next we have the ovarian cancer sock kits, with a pattern designed just for the cause and Trekking XXL in the color of the cause.  All proceeds from the sale of these kits will go to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research.  The photo doesn't do the yarn color justice - they are a lovely turquoise blue.

Next is Mosco by Schulana, a soft, sexy yarn made of 67% rayon, 20% mohair, and 13% nylon.  The shiny rayon/nylon core of this yarn is surrounded by the mohair, giving it a soft haze and a very "3-dimensional" coloring.  Very soft, very nice to work with at approximately 7 st/inch on #7 needles.

Next is another sock yarn, Fortissima Socka mit Bambu Degradee Color, but since the striping effect doesn't appear when it's in the ball I have photographed the page from the color card book.  The color changes in this sock yarn are very gradual and subtle; even this photo does not do it justice.  It is 60% superwash wool, 25% bamboo, 15% nylon.  One ball makes a pair.

I also got in some yarns that will be used to make up kits of felted toys, but I still need to collect some components before these can be put out for sale.

In an industry magazine I received yesterday I saw the "Wrap Me Up" pattern (the gorgeous wrap as you first come in the shop door) knitted up in sock yarn!  What a great idea for a lighter weight wrap.  Actually, any yarn can be used, as long as you use more or less similar weights in any given project.  I would love it if all of you who are knitting this pattern brought your wraps in to be photographed.  It would be a great way to illustrate how a simple change of yarn and/or color can make a pattern very look different.

On next to update Facebook!  Knit happy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The winner of the Most Dedicated Knitter Award goes to...

...The young woman who made her husband stop at the shop about 7 PM Friday night, despite his objections, to pick up 6 skeins of yarn.  They were on their way to the hospital in Plymouth.  And she was actively in labor.

A few things worth mentioning:

  • Oaklawn Hospital in Goshen is asking for donations of leftover yarns that are machine washable (mainly acrylics and superwash) for their program to teach residents to knit and crochet.  All articles will be donated to homeless shelters.  You can drop off any yarns you would like to donate at the shop, and I will get it to the coordinator.
  • I am going to add a "Wish List" page to the blog, so you can refer your loved ones to it when they are shopping for a gift for you.
  • A lovely woman came in the shop today looking for someone with a knitting machine that would be interested in making a dress to her specifications.  Anyone know anyone?  You can let me know and I will get in touch with her.
Knit happy!

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    This just in....

    Last week I got in more colors of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, AND some Mochi Plus, the worsted weight version of Mini Mochi!  I also got the first part of a shipment of Fiesta La Boheme, a decadently beautiful rayon boucle and mohair double-stranded yarn, hand-painted in jewel tones, plus solid black and solid white.

    In today's Skacel shipment is a brochure that mentions, among many other things, that the Addi Bamboo Clicks are now available.  I will special order these for anyone who wants them.  Also mentioned is the ArtFelt Roving offered by Skacel..  This roving comes in standard or pencil, and comes in lots of colors, including multi-colored.  I will be getting some of this in, and early next year there will be a class on making thrummed mittens, which require the pencil roving.  The roving is worked into the back of the work as you knit, creating a "fleece" lined mitten, but it also shows on the outside, so color is in play.

    Also arrived today - Heritage Fiver patterns, including a couple of great baby patterns (hat and a blanket), a lovely cabled hat pattern (excellent last minute Christmas gift), a basic socks pattern, a felted mitten pattern (doesn't let snow and wind through), and a shawl pattern titled "My First Lace Shawl".

    Coming soon - kits to make felted hedgehogs and penguins, new sock yarns, and new books, plus knitter's coffee mugs, bumper stickers, necklaces, and more!  Also - the "Egg-stra Special Sock" kit, the proceeds of which go to the Marsha Rivkin Center to raise fund for ovarian cancer research.  These  kits should be here by the end of the week.

    Sidebar: when I told my darling husband yesterday that I married him for his personality, he smiled and said "Which one?"

    Knit happy!

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    The Knitting Boot Camp

    I am very gratified that the response to just the idea of Knitting Boot Camp has been so enthusiastic.  It's enough to make a drill instructor at Parris Island green with envy.  Here is the additional information I have so far: 

    Methodology: Knitting Boot Camp is a swatch-based class where you gain hands-on experience in a "safe" environment (not in the middle of a garment when it is too late to make a difference).  We sample and discuss when and why to choose one method over another.  You learn to "read" your knitting.  You are not graded.  At the end of KBC you will have a comprehensive reference portfolio of your work, increased confidence, and the ability to make more informed knitting decisions.

    Topics covered in KBC include:  casting on, binding off, increases, decreases, buttonholes, seams, pockets, short rows, fitting garments, tension, gauge, reading patterns, and much more.

    Supplies you will need:
    • 3 skeins smooth, worsted weight yarn, light color
    • tapestry needle (bent tip recommended)
    • US size 5 and 7  8" dpns
    • 3 small stitch holders
    • seaming pins or Knit Clips
    • scissors
    • calculator and pencil for note-taking
    • one-hole punch
    • crochet hook size E
    • a handful of wool roving or fiber fill
    • locking stich markers
    • ruler and tape measure
    • 3-inch loose-leaf notebook with sheet protectors for your swatches
    • Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book
    • Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques, Nancy Wiseman
    Knitting for the first class - must be done in advance: knit four swatches (using US #7 needles and white or cream yarn) that  are 28 stitches wide by 5 inches long.  Block stockinette swatch only.
    • Swatch 1: stockinette stitch
    • swatch 2: garter stitch
    • swatch 3: seed stitch
    • swatch 4: 2 x 2 ribbing (cast on 40 stitches for this swatch
    Bring all swatches to class.

    I could also type up the comments by those who have taken KBC, but let's just say that even very long-time knitters were pleased with how much they learned.
    As soon as I have dates for KBC I will let you know; likely it will start mid- to late-January, and likely it will be on Friday evenings AND Saturdays so everyone gets a shot at it.

    Purls of wisdom: never do / say / write anything you would not want on the front page of The New York Times.  Knit happy!

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Due to technical difficulties....

    ...with Constant Contact yesterday, I did not get the names of the door prize winners for the Helen Hamann Trunk Show or of the monthly drawing winners posted in the newsletter.  The door prize winners are:
    • M.J. Regan-Kubinski, Anti-moth Satchets kit
    • Mary Stuglick, Soap Bag kit
    • Julia Hupp, Links Necklace kit
    • Pam Mauser, iPhone Carrier kit
    Grand Prize winner, Karen Krepps, Three Triangle Shawls kit

    Winner of the monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate is: Helen Orisick!

    The winner of the monthly drawing for a set of Addi Clicks is: Carla Myers!

    Congratulations to every one of you!  If you have not yet collected your prize, you may do so at any time.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    My Cascade runneth over....

    Hoo-boy, have I got Cascade!  The Cascade 220 Sport arrived, in all its 29 colors glory, as did the 220 Tweed, and 20 colors (count'em - 20!) of Pastaza!  If you are not familiar with Pastaza, it is a heavy worsted to bulky weight yarn made of 50% llama and 50% wool.  It is soft, easy to knit with, and has great stitch definition, as shown in the cabled sweater at right.  Due to the way the different fibers take color, the yarn has a tendency to look very heathered, often giving two shades of one color to the yarn.

    The cabled sweater in Pastaza and the Fair Isle sweater in 220 worsted are both free patterns on  There are absolutely boatloads of free patterns on the Cascade site.

    New book arrivals include New England Knits, Personal Footprints by Cat Bordhi, and Alice Starmore's Aran Knitting.  I will be submitting a big book order soon, so if there is anything you want special ordered, now is the time to let me know.

    Thank heaven for cooler weather, too!  It's a whole lot easier to even think about knitting when one is not melting into a puddle of liquified body parts on the sofa.  I am diligently and concurrently working on 5 projects for the shop.  Those of you who are waiting for the cowl pattern I am developing, it is written up.  This is a free pattern, and if I figure out how I will post it on Ravelry.

    Off to the knitting wars!  Enjoy the weather, and knit happy!

    Wednesday, September 22, 2010

    Music to knit by

    As most of you know, I usually have music on at the shop.  It is usually classic rock, but occasionally I switch to the oldies station (if they aren't playing too much disco).  While enjoying a quiet moment at the shop a few days ago, I realized I was knitting to the beat of the music, specifically to Otis Reading's "Dock of the Bay".

    It occurred to me that, much like a metronome, music with the right beat may just be of help to some knitters.  After much thought, these are the selections I came up with, and the type of knitting I think is a suitable match:

    • Casting on (beginner level): "Unchained Melody"
    • Casting on (advanced level): "Freebird" (go ahead - I dare you)
    • knitting (beginner level): Pink Floyd's "Marooned"
    • knitting (advanced level): Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir"
    • binding off (beginner level): Beatle's "Come Together"
    • binding off (advanced level): Beatle's "Get Back"
    • ripping out (beginner level): "Cry Me a River"
    • ripping out (advanced level): "Wipe Out"
    Of course, there are many possible variations, depending on your taste in music.

    New things at the shop - the Alice Starmore's "Aran Knitting", Cat Bordhi's "Personal Footptints", and a new collection of 5 Herbert Niebling lace patterns.  I'm not even going to try to type the German (I have enough trouble with English).

    Coming in this week: Cascade  220 Sport, Cascade Tweeds, and additional 220 colors, such as hand-painted.

    Reminder: This Saturday is the Helen Hamann trunk show, one day only.  Come in and try on the garments and pet the yarns - baby alpaca and a cotton/baby alpaca blend.   There will be lots of kits, too, and these kits come with everything but the knitting needles. On my way in to the shop I am going to stop and get a few gallons of cider, some doughnut holes, and cups, so we will have some nice, seasonal refreshments.  It's all entirely free..   

    Coming later this fall: a Yarn Tasting of several different silk yarns.  I will provide about 30 yards of each yarn, and a pattern that can be used to combine all the yarn samples.  This way you get to try several different silk yarns at one time and compare them.

    Also later this fall: a trunk show of Noni patterns!  Noni patterns are for felted articles, mostly bags and flowers.  You can use any yarn that will felt.  These patterns are amazing - I have ordered several, ranging from a delicate, flowered clutch to a project bag big enough to satisfy the most ambitious knitter, and lots in between.

    Back to work with me.  Knit happy!

    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    New Arrivals!

    Santa came today (remember him - Keith, the UPS guy?) and brought me Feza's Alp Natural, plus Himalaya Yarns Tibet Silk!  Beautiful stuff!  I currently  have the Alp Natural in 5 colors - khaki, green, maroon, purple and cream; other colors are on back-order.  I also got in the gold colorway of the Alp Light - stunning.

    The Tibet Silk is lovely stuff, made from scraps collected at sari factories in India.  The yarn colors vary from one time to the next, depending on what color saris were being made the day the scraps were collected, but it is a great way to get 100% silk with lots of character.  It makes unique scarves, but my favorite thing to do with it is either mitered squares or diagonal knitting, such as in a vest or jacket.

    Work continues on the Great American Afghan.  I was about 75% done with the first square when I noticed that I had neglected to add Chart D in the appropriate place at the half-way point.  Fine.  I had to rip back about 2 1/2 inches of cable and lace.  The real sport began when I had to figure out where I was on Charts A and B (C was finished) as these do not have the same number of rows.  I persevered, however, and am back on track, almost to the same point as when I had to rip out.  I wanted to have this square done and the next started before the next meeting of the Knit-along (this Saturday), but that may not actually happen now.

    Other projects I am working on (all concurrently) are a lace cardigan out of Berroco's Seduce.  This yarn makes a pattern for a "wear it to church" sweater into a "wear it to meet the Queen" sweater.  Never underestimate what a change in yarn can do for a pattern. 

    I am also working on a pullover, very simple and straightforward, out of Berroco's Jasper.  The striping is fabulous, and since I knit it in the round up to the armholes it is now changing, making the front and back above the armholes with deeper stripes.  The sleeves will have even deeper stripes - I think this is going to turn out to be a gorgeous sweater.

    And I am working on a model of Maggiknits Trellis Tweed Scarf in turquoise.  I am at the half-way point on that, and have discovered that working with angora gives me hairballs.  But it's beautiful!

    I am also going to add a page to this blog listing all the yarns I carry, and if possible, the colors on hand.  I won't be able to do a full-blown website for a while yet, but I'm getting there.  I should be fully integrated in to the 20th century by Christmas.  Next year I'll shoot for the 21st century.  Might as well.  Knit happy!

    Purls of wisdom: that which does not kill you makes you stronger, especially if you kill and eat it.

    Thursday, September 9, 2010


    Good morning!  A few reminders:
    • Starting tomorrow, September 10, I will be open on Friday nights till 8 PM.  There is a specific group that requested these hours so they could meet at the shop and knit, but everyone is welcome.
    • Saturday September 25 I will have a one day trunk show of Helen Hamann's designs from 9 to 4.  There will be refreshments and door prizes.  It is absolutely free to attend.
    • I will be taking the bulk of the Maggiknits yarns / kits that are on consignment back to Maggie in K'zoo on Monday, so if there is anything you want right now, it would be good to come get it before 3 PM this Saturday.  I can always get yarns / kits later, too - she's only an hour or so away.
    • This March Maggie will be back at The Yarn Gourmet teaching two brand new classes that she is introducing in November.
    • I have forms from the USO to donate $10 (or more) that will provide military personnel overseas with cell phones to call home.  don't forget the Knit 4 Our Troops project - it is getting to be that time of year when hats and fingerless gloves are really needed by our military.
    • There are only 108 knitting days left till Christmas.
    • Knit happy!

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    senior moments

    Like everyone, there are days when I have senior moments. Some days I have more senior moments than others.  Yesterday I was having senior hours, to the point where I think someone may have made a mistake on my birth certificate.

    Picture this: yesterday morning was cool, verging on downright chilly.  As my house is in full shade, it does not warm up very fast, so I decided to indulge my inner lizard and went outside, moving my Adirondack chair into the sunlight to bask and knit.  I am working on a lace cardigan shop model.  When using charts I always use Post-It notes to indicate which row I'm on.  Now, Post-Its are one of the greatest boons to knitters since ziplock bags, and justifiably so.  But one can only reposition them just so many times before they lose their sticking power.  So a couple rows in I decided I needed to get fresh Post-Its.  I got up, went into the house, and noticed that Katmandu wanted a snack (he gets several soft food snacks a day due to his bad teeth).  I made him a snack, gave him fresh water, and went back outside.  I sat down and picked up my knitting, then realized I had not gotten my fresh Post-Its.  I went back inside, noticed the time, and decided to get the chuck steak I was making for dinner underway.  I tenderized it, seasoned it, dredged it in flour, browned it, added veggies and tomato sauce, and went back outside.  Still sans Post-Its.

    I went back inside, got the Post-Its out of the kitchen drawer, and realized I needed a nature call.  I went down the hall to the loo, noticed it was low on toilet paper, and went to get some.  I restocked the TP,and went back outside, leaving the Post-Its on the kitchen counter.  I went back into the house and this time came outside with the Post-Its.  Finally.  But I had not yet been to the bathroom.  So back in I went, did what I had to do, and went back outside.

    I knitted for a while, then went inside to get some pie crust dough underway.  Resuming knitting on the couch (as it had gotten quite warm in the sun), I got to the end of one pattern repeat and went to mark it off as I do with hash marks.  No pen in the knitting bag, no pen on the coffee table.  I got up to get a pen, poured myself a glass of water, and sat back down - still without a pen.  I got up again, checked on dinner simmering on the stove, got the pen, and sat back down, only to realize I had left my glass of water in the kitchen.  I got up again, firmly grasped my glass of water, and noticed that Katmandu had had an accident on the dining room floor.  I cleaned this up (he is very, very old, blind, and has incontinence problems - he can't help it), took my glass of water back with me to the couch, and sat down.  This seems to be my current exercise program.

    Then I realized that the pie crust dough had chilled long enough, and if the pie was going to be dessert I had better start on the filling.  So I peeled and sliced apples, rolled out the dough, and put everything together and into the oven.  I sat back down only to discover I had run out of wound yarn, and had left my ball winder at the shop.  One of these days I am going to end up wandering outside in my nightgown and forget the way home.  As my darling husband pointed out, this is especially problematic in that I do not wear nightgowns.

    So for all of you who think you are getting unusually absent-minded, do what I do when I am caught in a senior moment - firmly tell others (and yourself) "I meant to do that". And keep your Post-It notes close at hand - with your name and address written on them, just in case.

    Purls of wisdom: there is no snooze button on a hungry cat.  Knit happy (wherever you are)!

    Thursday, September 2, 2010

    By popular demand...

    ...The Yarn Gourmet will be open till 8 PM on Fridays, starting next week, September 10.  Several people have asked me about being open late on Fridays, so I will give this a trial period to see if there is enough business for it to make sense.  It is possible that I will close at 5 PM on Thursdays if Fridays are more lucrative, or I may be open late both nights - we will see what happens.

    Reminder - the Helen Hamann Trunk Show will be here one day only, all day Saturday, September 25.  Attendance is free.  There will be lots of fabulous garments to try on, lots of yarns, kits and patterns to purchase.  I will also have refreshments and door prizes.

    Also - check out Ravelry for our Great American Aran Afghan Knit Along!   I am delighted to say we have people from  Ohio and New Mexico participating in the knit-along.  If you want to participate but can't make it to the shop, the Ravelry discussion group is the place to go for updates, tips, tricks, and progress reports.

    Knitters rejoice!  It is supposed to be much cooler this weekend, with tomorrow's highs being only in the high 60s!  Air conditioning is a wonderful invention, but even with AC I can understand how knitters just cannot think about knitting when there are oven-like temperatures outside.

    Knit happy (and cooler)!  Arv

    Tuesday, August 31, 2010

    Good news for Maggiknits fans!

    First, I would like to thank everyone who attended the Maggiknits fashion show and workshops - I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did.  I will have LOTS of kits and yarns in the shop until September 12, so if there is anything you want I probably still have it.  After that if I don';t have it I can special order it - Maggie is only 1 1/4 hours away.

    Second - Maggie is introducing two brand new, never been taught before workshops this November, and I will have her back here to teach them in March!  Workshop 1 is "to Be, or Not To Be...a Button!"  22 ideas to design with buttons!  Recycle old buttons from shirts, jackets, whatever, in creative ways.  Some will be used with buttonholes, others will not.  You will work in squares, rectangles, and triangles, but in a simpler, designer-influenced way.  It is about creatively incorporating buttons with your knitting, not just simply sewing them on here and there.  Think outside the box - or button!  Buttons will be provided as part of the class pack.  You will need size 8 needles, scissors, sewing and darning needles.

    Workshop 2 is "Looping, Ruching, Pleating, and Weaving in the Maggie Jackson Way".  You will work in squares and rectangles, although these will be reshaped by the techniques you will learn, along with design ideas to pursue other projects.  The ideas can be used on purses, cuffs, shawls, and more, giving everything a new look.  You will learn about mixing heavy yarns with light yarns, textures, knitting with sewing elastic, and creating holes with colors behind them for a unique look.  Think outside the box the Maggie way!  ideas covered can be worked on old or new projects.  You will need size 8 needles, scissors, and a darning needle.
    Fees for both workshops will be determined later, and will include the class materials. 

    Now for the best part - we are looking into doing this as a weekend get-away with a murder mystery theme!  We are just beginning to look into the details needed, so stay tuned!

    Purls of wisdom: never try to teach a pig to sing.  It will waste your time, and sound like Yoko Ono.

    Saturday, August 28, 2010

    Fashion show report

    If you missed last night's Maggiknits fashion show, you missed a real treat!  Even people who had been to her shows and / or workshops before were surprised with some of the amazing new designs Maggie brought out.  There are lots of garment samples to look at and try on - over 40 total.  She also brought plenty of yarns and kits, so if there is anything you were wanting, it's probably still here.  There are some free patterns with yarn purchase, and lots of Maggie's books as well - come in today or tomorrow, buy a book, and have Maggie sign it. 

    Many thanks to last night's models, all of whom did this at the last minute: Marisa, Andrea, Sue, Amy, and Kelly.  Photos of these beautiful women in Maggie's beautiful garments will be posted in the shop soon.
    And there is still room in both workshops, so if you thought it was too late to register, fear not - just come in and have a seat!  Knit Happy!

    Thursday, August 26, 2010


    I need models for tomorrow night's Maggiknits fashion show.  Maggie tells me the models need to be between size 6 and size 12, and over 5'5".   Any volunteers?  I need 5 models - any age - and may have 1 lined up.

    Yesterday I was perusing the weekly ad on-line for Meijer, looking to see if there were any lamb chops on sale.  Alas, there were none, but Meijer does have two items described as "chipped meats".  Could that possibly be any more ambiguous?  Lots of things can be described as "meat".  Shades of Soylent Green....I'm sorry, but I would like my food description to be a bit more specific.  Could we at least specify the phylum from which this "meat" is derived?  In truth I would like to know the genus, but one must start somewhere.

    I need lamb chops for the dinner I am going to cook for Maggie Jackson Saturday night.  I will make the chops with a bordelaise sauce, and serve them with truffled mashed potatoes, green salad, and for dessert a chocolate almond praline creme brulee.  There is a reason I didn't call the shop "The Yarn Picky Eater".

    This morning as I turned onto 30th Street the railroad crossing signal was flashing, and the barriers were down.   Did that stop one particular member of Mensa from driving around the barriers?  No it did not.  For a minute I thought I was going to get to see Darwinism in action, but the train missed him by about 25 feet.  Too close for my personal comfort, I can tell you that.  Note to the idiot who drove around the barriers:  never argue with a train - the train ALWAYS wins.

    Purls of wisdom: if something sounds too good to be true, shoot it just in case.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010


    Maggie's fashion show on Friday and workshops on Saturday and Sunday are still ON!  There is still room in all three, so if you were waiting to register you can still get a spot.

    Purls of wisdom: never, ever take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night (apologies to Ron White).

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    By popular request....

    ...I will be adding an Intro to Knitting class weekdays on Fridays at 11 AM.  The dates for this class are October 1, 8, and 15.  Each class will run 90 minutes, and the class fee is $60 plus a $20 class pack of knitter's tools.  This class is ideal for moms without child care after school and weekends, or anyone who has a work schedule that conflicted with the other class times.

    Maggie Jackson's knitted models have arrived, and they are delicious!  There is a pale pink tunic-length sweater, a brown and bronze V-neck sweater that is to die for, a two-piece red suit with fake fur collar (yes, it's knitted!), a red ensemble of V-neck sweater, scarf, and purse, and two shrugs, one gray tweed and the other in blues.  You have got to see these to appreciate them, but as good as they look hanging, it is amazing what they look like on a real person!

    Remember the Great American Aran Afghan knit-along begins this Saturday, and continues every third Saturday of the month except December.  You don't have to come to every meeting, but if you can make it to some of them you'll have a blast!

    It has also been brought to my attention that the link in the blog to subscribe to the newsletter is not working.  bear with me - I'm trying to get it fixed.  If you don't want to wait for it to be fixed, you can call the shop and give me your email address.  :-)

    Purls of wisdom: having birthdays is GOOD - it means you're still alive.  Knit happy!

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Free at last!

    I have my cast off and my stitches out (insert roaring crowd here)! My wrist is sore, and I am not supposed to lift more than 3 pounds with it (a half gallon of milk, per my doctor) for a month, but at least the damnable cast is OFF!  I can take a proper shower again! 

    I am pleased to inform you that Maggie Jackson is sending some models of her knitted designs to the shop, should be here Wednesday.  You'll get to touch and try on these gorgeous items, and see some yarn samples as well.  So come in and see what you'll learn to do in the workshops!  There will also be books to look through.

    Vicki Mikulak of Simple Knits brought in a pattern and a model of a scarf made with the Tonalita Fusion.  The Fusion version of Tonalita has more gradual color changes, so you get a sort of dip-dyed effect, instead of actual stripes, and it is lovely.  The pattern is free with the purchase of any Tonalita yarn.

    That's all for today - wrist still doesn't like typing. Purls of wisdom: never believe anything that you hear, only half of what you see, and only two things you read - "men's room" and "wet paint".

    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Lefty here...

    Some of you may be aware that on Monday I had minor surgery on my right wrist.  I now have a hard cast on my right wrist, from knuckles to mid-point of my forearm, and it is making life interesting, to say the least.  It will come off this Tuesday - thankfully - but until then I will have some issues with typing and a few other things.  Like washing my left arm, hooking my bra, and writing legibly.  BTW, Glad Press 'n' Seal is great for water-proofing a cast when you shower.

    Yesterday I got a new yarn in: "Rodeo" by Schulana.  "Rodeo" is a bulky weight mohair and wool blend, with flags of contrasting colored mohair along the yarn.  It knits up beautifully, creating a lot of visual interest.

    Remember to sign up early for any classes you want to take this fall.  You receive a 10% discount on purchases at the time you sign up, and then again each day of your class. And come in and sign up for Maggie Jackson if you intend to come to the workshops.  There will be NO last minute sign-ups unless I get the minimum number of attendees by 20 August.  Maggie is worth every penny of the fees - you will learn more than you thought possible and laugh till your sides hurt, too.

    Enough typing one-handed for one day.  Purls of Wisdom: Taking oneself too seriously takes all the fun out of work - or art.  And knitting is art, whether you are Maggie Jackson or a grandma making mittens.  Knit happy!

    The newsletter-from-hell went out on time.  It was very, very lengthy due to the class schedule.  Future newsletters won't resemble War and Peace in size.

    Saturday, August 7, 2010

    By George, I think I've got it!

    I think I have finally - emphasis on FINALLY - figured out how to add a link to both Facebook and Ravelry for people who want to subscribe to the Yarn Gourmet monthly newsletter!  It took me a couple hours, 4 Advil, and numerous prayers to the patron saint of knitters, Saint Al of Paca.  Because clicking on a link to myself could make me go blind, I need someone to test the links for me, but I think I did it right.

    Reminder - Tuesday August 10 is the last day you can receive early registration discounts for the Maggie Jackson workshops.  You can register right up to the day before - if there's still room - but I recommend registering early to save money and definitely before August 20, because if I do not have the minimum number of registrants Maggie will accept by then, the workshops may have to be canceled and you could lose out.  The early knitter gets the yarn....

    Fall class registration is also open.  Each class has a slightly different deadline to register, as it is unfair to ask people to register two months in advance for a class to be held in November.  Check your newsletter for the full class schedule, fees, and deadlines.

    Next week is supposed to be blistering hot again, but the AC at the shop works great - c'mon in, cool off, & knit happy!

    Thursday, August 5, 2010

    Greetings one and all.  After a few days of low-level insanity while I got the e-newsletters out, I am now working on getting the hard-copy newsletters done.  The August newsletter was much larger than normal newsletters will be, as it has a complete class listing for the Fall, plus the Maggie Jackson information.  I have been doing everything I can to shrink this issue down to fit on less than 5 pages (printed on BOTH sides) so I don't go over on postage,as I am mailing out over 60 hard-copies.  I have shrunk the font down to the point of micro-fiche, but I have finally shoe-horned everything onto 4 pages.

    This week or early next week I will be getting in "Rodeo", a new yarn from Schulana.  It is 55% kid mohair, 23% ultrafine merino, and 22% nylon, bulky weight yarn that comes in 109 yards per ball.  It is lush and lovely.

    Also - towards the end of September I will be having a one day only trunk show of Helen Hanaan's designs and yarns.  This trunk show will be absolutely FREE, you will be able to try on the garments, and order kits for anything you see, in any color you want.  Helen is responsible for the decadent Aztec Gold yarn - 100% baby alpaca, that comes in lace-weight and sport weight.  She also has ELATION, an 85% Pima cotton, 15% baby alpaca yarn that is positively delicious.  Her design for a reversible cardigan won Best of Show at the TNNA trade show in June.  She also offers trips to the mountains of Peru, where you get to see how the fibers are harvested and how yarns are spun and dyed by local people.  As a bonus Helen throws in a trip to Machu Pichu!  Check Helen out at

    I am starting to assemble the appropriate shades of Cascade 220 for some team colors, both college and professional.  I cannot possibly have them all, so I am focusing on the midwest teams.  I found out yesterday that the 2012 Super Bowl will be held in Indy!!!!  FYI.

    That's all for now - knit happy!

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    Ah, the wonders of nature....

    Nature is a grand thing.  I grew up probably closer to it than lots of you - not a neighbor in sight, lots of fields and woods, and trees to climb.  If my father didn't hunt, we didn't eat.  I can still skin a rabbit pretty darned fast.

    While feeding my koi a few days ago it came to my attention that nature had taken its course: apparently my fish have fornicated.  We now have at least 4 baby fish, 2 orange, 2 black (how very politically correct), about 1 1/2 inches long.  We are not yet sure if these fish are koi or comets, as we have both.  Our biggest koi, Koizilla, refuses to take a paternity test.  Our shubunkin, Koi George, is not inclined to the fairer fish.  Not that there's anything wrong with that. The babies look nothing like our blue koi, or the spotted tricolor one.  The mystery continues.

    There is no mystery about what happened to my roma tomatoes.  I had been patiently waiting for days for three of those lovely tomatoes to ripen - it was my intention to make smoked tomato soup, of which my beloved husband is quite fond.  When I ventured into the garden for a color check yesterday, I discovered that the striped pox (aka chipmunks) had eaten 2 of the 3 romas, and didn't even have the simple decency to finish them!  The eviscerated carcasses of my lovely tomatoes lay on the ground next to the zucchini, mocking my culinary intentions. 

    My copy of The Joy of Cooking is quite old - I believe it was published in the 1960s.  Back then people were more adventurous eaters out of sheer necessity.  The book is full of unique and fascinating recipes for things such as bear, woodchuck (groundhog, to native mid-westerners), possum ("catch the possum 10 days in advance, if possible, keep it in the garage or barn and feed it cereal and milk..."), and SQUIRREL.  I am fairly certain that a former professional cook who has studied under two Culinary Institute-trained chefs will be able to adapt a squirrel recipe into a CHIPMUNK recipe.

    In 2004 I had such a chipmunk infestation that I had to resort to drastic measures.  That year I spent a lot of time in my office, writing a very large submission to the FDA.  A choir of 13 chipmunks sat under the office window every day and barked out their version of "Dueling Banjos".  I assure you that it is quite impossible to work under those conditions.  So I hied me to the hardware store and got 3 rat traps.  I do not enjoy killing things, but these little spawn of Satan not only barked incessantly, they dug up my lawn, burrowed under some of my rarest plants, killing them from root damage, and desecrated my vegetable garden.  A rat trap is a quick, painless way to kill chipmunks - and rats.  Over the course of six weeks I caught 56 chipmunks, two mice, a squirrel, and the first two fingers of my left hand.  Silence, at last.  I was going to skin them and make a coat, as I had almost enough of them.  I figured out that it would take roughly 400 chipmunks to make a decent coat.  I could also use their tails for the fringe on the sleeves.  But I decided against it.

    Purls of wisdom: don't believe anything that you hear, only half of what you see, and only two things that you read: Gentlemen, and Wet Paint.  Knit happy!

    Tuesday, July 27, 2010

    They're baaaaaaaaack...........

    ...the Herbert Niebling books are back in stock, including the "Lyra" pattern.  Get 'em while they're hot!

    Just a reminder - the Great American Aran Afghan Knit Along begins in 3 1/2 weeks on August 21.  Make sure you order your yarn by August 14 so it gets here in time.  I have tapas of the afghan yarns recommended for the project, so if you aren't sure which yarn you want you can try all three.

    Speaking of in time, the cut-off date for early registration discounts for Maggie Jackson's workshops is August 10, two weeks from today.  Registering for both workshops by August 10 saves you $40.

    Starting in August there will be a monthly drawing for two different prizes.  Every customer who purchases $50 or more of regularly priced merchandise will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Yarn Gourmet gift certificate.  Every customer who purchases $150 or more will be entered in a drawing for a set of Addi Clicks!

    Here are the rules -
    • The purchase amount must be for regularly priced merchandise, and must be before tax is added.  You can still buy sale merchandise, but it doesn't count toward the total for purposes of these drawings. 
    • You may only be entered in one drawing per purchase, so for a $150 purchase you can choose to enter either the Addi Click drawing or the gift certificate drawing, but not both. 
    • You may enter every time your purchase amount qualifies you.  If you spend $150 five times in one month, you are entered 5 times.  And I will make you cookies.
    • Purchases are not cumulative - you can't spend $30 five times and be entered in the drawings.
    • If you return the merchandise that qualified you for the drawing, your name will be removed from the drawing, or you may exchange merchandise.
    Most of the Yarn Tapas are assembled and available.  When you know what fiber you want but not which specific yarn, tapas let you play with at least 3 different yarns so you know what each is like.

    Purls of wisdom:  Eat a bullfrog first thing every morning and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.

    Knit happy!

    Friday, July 23, 2010

    Congratulations Rachel!!!

    Our very own Rachel Erin (aka Rachel Horsting) has had one of her original designs published in the new Fall issue of Interweave Knits!  The design is for a beautiful wrap called "Slanting Plaid Stole".  It can be found on page 81 of the Interweave Knits issue.

    Many of you may not know Rachel - yet.  She is a knitwear designer who will be teaching the Basic Cables and Intarsia classes this fall at the shop.  She has adorable kids (I do NOT use that term lightly), and is a most excellent asset on my teaching staff.  Way to go, Rachel!

    By popular demand, the yarn tapas are in the works!  So far I have planned seven different tapas: Silk & Bamboo, Cotton, Aran Afghan, Worsted, Alpaca, and Sock.  Each tapas will contain 3 to 5 mini-balls of yarns, roughly 20 to 30 yards each, allowing you to try several different yarns without having to buy whole skeins of each.  Most yarn tapas will be about $7.50; some of the ones with more expensive yarns will be a little more.

    For those of you unfamiliar with tapas, they are one of the best inventions of the human race.  They are small dishes - always served in a tapas bar - that can be hot or cold, eaten with the fingers or a fork or spoon, and may be composed of virtually any food.  The principle of tapas is that they are small , allowing one to eat several different tapas for a broader food experience.  When tapas are prepared in the traditional size, it is quite possible to eat 5 or 6 different tapas without spoiling your dinner.  Or you could just have several more tapas for dinner and call it wonderful.

    Once while in London a friend and I went to a tapas place and one of the dishes I had was of baby eels - looked kind of like short spaghetti with little tiny eyes on one end.  I have had a tapas dish of potatoes cooked in tomatoes, onions and spices that was heavenly, one of shrimp and eggs on buttery toast, tapas of sausage, cheese, clams, oysters, ham, vegetables....there is no end to the possibilities of tapas.  I would be positively ecstatic if a real tapas bar opened in South Bend.  For the record, that is "tapas" bar, not "topless", gentlemen.

    Of course, being the penultimate omnivore, I will eat almost anything.  I spent 9 days working in China in 2007, and I ate things there that I could in no way positively identify, despite having done many a dissection in college.  One time at a Sezchuan place I had a duck dish that was made of the duck, the whole duck, and almost nothing else but the duck - some oil and hot peppers.   I swear on my cat's tail, everything but the feathers was in that pot - the bill, feet, blood, innards...the Chinese are not in the habit of wasting much.  

    I did not actually order that dish (not that I wouldn't have).  While we were there (I was traveling with four colleagues) we were considered guests of the company we were there to audit, so every meal was a banquet, with much formality.  At all meals except breakfast we sat at huge round tables with huge Lazy Susans in the middle.  Several different dishes would be placed on the Lazy Susan for us to share, family-style.  If one did not at least try each dish, our hosts would be offended.  Soooooooo...........actually, the duck dish was quite bland.  It really needed salt.

    However, I digress - the yarn tapas will be available next week.  Today is supposed to be indescribably hot, so stay cool, drink lots of fluids (remember beer is a fluid), and knit happy!

    Thursday, July 22, 2010

    Sign up now for Fall classes

    I am pleased to tell you that I am now accepting enrollment in the following classes:

    • C101 - Intro to Crochet
    • K102 - Funky Felted Bags
    • K104 - Kids' Knitting class (limit 3)
    • K201 - Intro to Lace Knitting
    • K204 - Neck-Down Sweaters
    • K205 - The Magic Loop
    • K206 - Enchanting Entrelac
    • K208 - Stranded Color Knitting
    • K301 - Charting Lace Patterns
    • TC101 - Intro to Tunisian Crochet (Thursdays)
    • TC101 - Intro to Tunisian Crochet (Saturdays)
    • TC201 - Intermediate Tunisian Crochet (Thursdays)
    • TC201 - Intermediate Tunisian Crochet (Saturdays)
    • SP101 - Intro to Drop Spindles
    The remaining classes will be available for enrollment as soon as I have full course descriptions and materials lists. I will post them the minute I have them.

    Remember you receive a 10% discount for purchases made the day you enroll in a class, and a 10% discount each day you attend a class.  This does not apply to Maggie Jackson events.

    Speaking of Maggie Jackson, sign up soon - the workshops are already filling up.

    BTW, it is supposed to be in the high 90s for the next couple of days - come into the shop, have a seat and knit, and enjoy the AC.  Knit happy!

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010

    I knew this would happen someday....

    ...I am going to a doctor who is younger than me.  He's a nice enough kid - he gave me a great feeling of confidence in him.  But he is SO young.  Or is it that I am SO old?  I don't feel old.  Not really.  Except when I get up in the morning, or out of a chair after more than 20 minutes.  Or when I try to do as much yard work in a day as I could do 10 years ago.  Or when I look at some of the knitting patterns for clingy, sexy little tops that I would have worn in a heartbeat 15 years ago.

    But there is something to be said for being my age - 55, for those of you who aren't keeping track.  My 50th birthday was the best birthday of my life - a half century!  I saw it as a landmark of accomplishment - after all, who knew I would last this long?  Being 50 was rather liberating, actually.  I decided that having accomplished a half century on the planet I could comfortably take the position that I am no longer going to take any guff from anyone.   I think I have achieved that goal.  I blithely throw out every AARP mailing I receive.  I insist on good manners from sales people and cashiers.  I flatly tell telemarketers and other obnoxious life forms exactly where Ursus americanus has most recently defecated in the forest. 

    And I continue to age.  Now that I am 55, I am officially old enough to be considered eccentric, instead of just crazyAlas, I am not yet old enough to qualify for senior discounts, at least none I have so far discovered.  My husband, being 9 months younger than me, proudly claims to be a trophy husband.  I am not convinced a 9 month gap qualifies me as a cougar, but I go along with it.

    Being older than my physician was an inevitability.  Actually learning to appreciate aging was not, but I am glad I have.  I am a better knitter today than I was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago.  I am a better cook, gardener, business person, and human being than I was in younger years.  I have learned what is truly important in life, and don't get too bothered by that which is not.  I do not feel I have anything to prove to anyone.  I am truly comfortable in my own skin.

    The point here is this: if you are worried about turning 30, 35, 40, etc. - don't.  Getting older is great. And besides - think of the alternative.  If you are bemoaning not being younger than you are - don't.  Ben Franklin once said that it is a pity youth is wasted on the young.  While I wouldn't mind having the body or energy I had 15 years ago, I do not wish to return to those days.  I prefer to look forward, because yesterday is irretrievably gone.  I like the feisty, opinionated, creative, crazy eccentric person I have become.    

    So enjoy life and aging.  Never miss a chance to tell someone you love that you do.  Look forward to tomorrow, but live like it will never come.  And knit happy. 

    Thursday, July 15, 2010

    @#$%@&%#$*@ deer!

    Those of you who know me know I not only knit, I am an avid gardener.  My half acre is about 30% gardens, including several hosta varieties, lots of daylilies, and several rare plants, such as black bamboo.  Along the street in front of my house I have planted a row of hostas, roughly 60 feet long.  I have hostas and lilies in the front beds near the house, and a 60 foot row of daylilies along the back stone terraces.  I also have several containers on the back deck, this year many with lime green sweet potato vine.

    Deer were never a problem in my yard until last year.  Last year the ubiquitous ungulates grazed on the hostas near the street as if they were a smorgasbord set out just for them.  They ate my daylilies.  They drank from my koi pond.  To defend my plants I tried several different "deer repellents", but the one that worked best was "Deer Off".  I had to order it on-line, and it was quite expensive, but it worked.  It did not smell bad, and as long as you stayed upwind and didn't get any of the aerosol in your mouth, it was inoffensive to humans.  If you did get the mist in your mouth you simply spent the next two hours eating Limburgher cheese to rid yourself of the taste - hence its effect on deer.

    This year Deer Off is not in the budget, but the deer didn't seem interested in our plants until last weekend.  Then they went after them with a passion, including the sweet potato vines and impatiens in my containers.  So I resorted to "Liquid Fence", obtainable at Meijer.

    Have any of you ever used Liquid Fence?  It claims to repel deer and rabbits, and I completely understand why.  This has to be the foulest smelling stuff on the planet.  The best way I can describe it is it smells like a decomposing skunk that has been peed on by a Tasmanian Devil.  That may be an understatement.
    Not only does Liquid Fence repel deer and rabbits, it does a fine job of repelling humans.  To avoid the stench as much as possible while spraying it I basically try to run into the wind and spray behind me.  Once the yard is sprayed I have to close any open windows, as this smell lingers a LONG time.  I can't sit on my deck after I spray this stuff.  My neighbors can't sit outside after I spray this stuff.  Birds fall out of trees unconscious.  Squirrels lose their fur.  Vultures circle overhead.

    But on the other hand, Liquid Fence is multi-purpose.  If one can bear to do it, transfer a couple ounces of this putrid potion to a small spray bottle, about 3 ounce size, and keep it in your purse.  It is not only an excellent and inexpensive substitute for mace, but will also mark any culprits sprayed with it rendering them socially unacceptable on every possible level, and easy for police to locate.

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    Maggie is coming to The Yarn Gourmet!!

    Maggie Jackson - the Maggie of MaggiKnits - will be at The Yarn Gourmet the weekend of August 27 - 29!  Maggie is not just a knitter who designs patterns - she is a fashion designer who knits.

    The weekend will start with a fashion show on Friday evening and the workshops will be on Saturday and Sunday.  Maggie's classes are exclusive and timeless as the many designs that make Maggiknits an award winning business.  During these 4 to 6 hour workshops (showing the Maggiknits collection previewed in the Fashion Show) Maggie personally guides students through the various steps that make a Maggiknits design unique.  Many students will leave the class thinking "outside the box" with their knitting.  Maggie shows stitches taught by no other teacher in her own unique way.

    Friday (August 27) will start with drinks and hors d'oevres at 6 PM, during which you can try on Maggie's garments, look through books, and pet the yarn.  The Fashion Show will start at 7 and last about 1 hour.  When I was at the trade show a woman passed me wearing the most gorgeous knitted garment I had ever seen.  I literally chased her down and asked whose pattern / yarn it was, and the answer was "Maggiknits".  Believe me when I tell you - the Fashion show is not to be missed!

    On Saturday "Oh No - Not Another Scarf" will be the first workshop.  You will be doing rag, splits, tubes and ladder stitch, plus Maggie will show you some finishing techniques.   "Wearable Art" (erroneously listed as "Knot It and Knit It" in the original post) will be on Sunday, working with different weights of yarn, feathers, leather to create your own yarn and think outside the box in a lacy stitch, short tube, ruffle stitch, loop stitch, and more.  Each workshop will begin at 10:30 AM and will run 4 to 6 hours.  Lunch will be provided by the Yarn Gourmet, and catered by Thyme of Grace.

    The fee for the Fashion Show is $10, non-refundable.  Maggie is known for her excellent workshops and fantastic sense of humor.  Each workshop costs $110; if you sign up for both workshops the price is $200.  There is an early registration discount of $10 per workshop if you register by August 10.  If you must cancel attending, 50% of the registration fees will be refunded.  There is a maximum of 20 students per class, first come, first served.

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    follow the bouncing email

    Slowly but surely, kicking and screaming, I come into the 21st century.  I found out today how to tell which newsletter emails bounced back.  Once I got the list I checked the addresses against my Excel database, and sure enough, out of 15 bouncers I had the address wrong (typo) on 10 of them.  OK, I can fix that.  So some of you may have received the newsletter only today, and for this I apologize.  If you STILL haven't received your email newsletter, I probably cannot figure out what is wrong with the email address in my system.

    How did I fix this problem, you may ask?  I went through over 300 Customer Information slips one at a time to find the names that matched the emails and check them.

    Some of you who have only recently signed up to receive the newsletter will be getting July's newsletter soon, lest ye be left out.

    2 hours later: OMG!!! I was just trying to find out if my printer would do enlargements.  I scrolled through the options and lo and behold!  it has a built in set of forms including GRAPH PAPER!  It will simply spit out graph paper on demand!  It's a Kodak ESP7250, FYI.

    I'm off to chart some sweater modifications on my shiny new graph paper.  Knit Happy!       

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    New books

    Greetings my fellow yarn junkies! Some customers last week were asking about books on Aran knitting, and one customer wanted one on Knitting with Ribbon.  I am pleased to say the books have arrived, as has Phoebe's Sweater. One Niebling pattern for doily borders has arrived; the other Niebling books are on back-order.

    I also now have Elizabeth Zimmerman's books The Opinionated Knitter, Knitting Around, and Knitting Without Tears, plus the Knitter's Almanac.  The latter is going to be re-released later this year in an expanded edition.

    I am slowly but surely establishing specific sections for types of books, such as lace, Aran, socks, etc.  I have reorganized teh circular needles AND placed labels above them by size, so the right needle will be easier to find.

    Kristen brought in a "loaner" model of a hat with ear flaps made with Malabrigo Rasta in color Piedras - it is gorgeous!  The colors remind me a lot of Mountain Colors, which I will be ordering next week.

    Unfortunately the rain does not seem to have done much to cool things off.  If it's too hot to knit at your home, remember you can come into the shop at any time, have a seat, and knit yourself silly. 

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    This will make you smile

    Phoebe's Sweater, a picture book about the adventures of Phoebe the mouse, will arrive in the shop soon, likely this week.  The book appears to be the first in a series.  In this book, Phoebe's mother knits her a sweater; it includes directions to make Phoebe, a dress for Phoebe, and matching sweaters for Phoebe and her owner (sizes 2/4/6).  This is not only a great way to get young kids interested in knitting, it also brings the story to life for them.

    The Great American Aran Afghan Knit Along is scheduled to start Saturday, August 21.  Please order all the yarn you want for this project soon, and make sure you order enough for the entire project to avoid dye lot issues. Recommended yarns:
    • Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted (21 Skeins for entire project)
    • Cascade 220 (18 skeins)
    • Berroco Ultra Alpaca (19 skeins)

    The class list and schedule have been finalized - I am only waiting for complete course descriptions and materials requirements from my instructors.  As soon as I have all that I will post it here, on Ravelry (if I figure out how) and on Facebook.  Of course, all the details will be in the next newsletter as well.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    A short survey

    I need some help deciding how many classes to ask Maggi of MaggiKnits to teach when she comes to the shop (tentatively scheduled for August).

    How many of you are interested in attending a MaggiKnits workshop?  Each workshop will be about 5 hours long, and there will be a fashion show with munchies on the Friday night of the weekend she is here.

    Saturday, July 3, 2010

    The Feza yarns have arrived!

    Late yesterday afternoon the FedEx guy showed up with this HUGE, battered box full of Feza Yarns.  I had expected it to arrive somewhat later this summer, but I ain't complainin'.

    First we have the "Alp Light", kind of a knock-off of Prism Cool Stuff, but at $28.00 for 312 yards, much more affordable.  I am still waiting for two back-ordered colors, a black and white, and a turquoise and brown.  The poncho is made with one skein of alp Light, and yes, it does all those color changes for you - all you have to do is knit.

    Next we have "Fanatic", a gorgeous, self-striping chained yarn that has loooooong repeats so you get nice, wide stripes.  Two colors of Fanatic are still back-ordered.  At 230 yards for $16 it is only 7 cents per yard, and knits on size 10 needles.  The sweater shown takes 5 skeins.

    "Cyprus Mohair" actually has no mohair in it at all - it is wool and acrylic, but has the soft feel and the light haze of mohair.  At 198 yards for $14 it si also 7 cents per yard and knits on size 10.5 needles. I am waiting for three back-ordered colors, but the ones I have are lush.

    BLING!  Feza "Night" is a metallic that is very soft, not at all scratchy like some metallic yarns can be, would be perfect for a shrug or shawl for special evenings.  At 93 yards and only $6, it is 6 1/2 cents per yard and knits on size 8 needles. 

    BLING! BLING!  Chanel is a very large flag type of yarn that is very soft, and comes in rich colors.  I am waiting for black and silver, which are back-ordered.  At 99 yards and $10 per ball it costs 10 cents per yard and knits on size 13 needles.  The Feza pattern book Dare to Dream has a glorious lacey wrap pattern for Chanel that takes only four skeins.

    This is Fourth of July weekend.  I encourage everyone to remember what this day stands for, and to fly our flag.  I also encourage you to have a great and safe weekend.  Knit happy!

    Thursday, July 1, 2010

    When you need a giggle...

    ...check out Franklin Habit's blog.  His most recent is absolutely hysterical, especially if you've had enough of Twilight.

    Sorry I haven't updated the blog lately.  I've been up to my eyeballs in getting the newsletter ready and getting the fall class schedule done.  Still have quite a bit to do on the latter, but at least it is coming together.  My needle felting instructor had to cancel for this fall - anyone want to volunteer to teach needle felting?

    Yesterday I ordered some Mochi Plus, a worsted weight version of the Mini Mochi sock yarn, and Mochi Chunky, a bulky version that won't be available for another 4 to 6 weeks.  Very. very rich colors, and soooooooooo soft. 

    I also ordered some Himalaya Silk.  If you haven't worked with this yarn, it is like candy for knitters.  It is made of scraps of silk from sari factories, and is just lovely.  It can be used for a simple scarf, all the way to a unique sweater.  I love it.

    This is going to be a short update, as I have to get me to the showers and head off to the shop.  Speaking of the shop, my Number One cat, Katmandu, is now a shop cat.  He is 18+, deaf and recently went blind from a stroke.  Otherwise OK, I am bringing him to the shop so I don't have to worry about him falling down the stairs at home, or being harassed by the other, younger cats.  Especially Dana the Destroyer, who is lobbying to be the next alpha feline by trying to stage a coup de cat.  Du pretty much stays in the office on his heated cat bed, so even if you are allergic to cats, there shouldn't be a problem.

    Knit happy!

    Thursday, June 24, 2010

    Great American Aran Afghan Knit Along

    Happy Thursday, one and all!  Today I got a long-backordered shipment from Skacel - two colorpacks of Zauberball sock, and the associated patterns.  The colors of this stuff are amazing, but what really impressed me is the patterns.  Pictures to the right.....

    The Great American Aran Afghan knit-along will be held at the shop on the third Saturday of every month, (excluding 18 December 2010) from 1 PM to 2:30 PM.  You do not need to be present at every meeting of the Knit-Along to participate; participation may be on-line, or occasional.  You do not need to knit all the squares, either - you may choose to knit a few and make pillows out of them, or knit 12 squares instead of 20 for a smaller throw.

    Yarn choice is up to you.  The pattern book calls for Plymouth Encore, but I will not be carrying any Plymouth yarns for some time yet (minimum order is too big).  You may substitute any of the following:

    • Cascade 220
    • Cascade 220 Superwash
    • Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted
    • Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Superwash
    • Berroco Ultra Alpaca
    The classic color choice is a cream-white color, but you may substitute this also.  Keep in mind that darker colors will be more difficult to work with, especially on some of the trickier squares.  As dye lots will matter with this project, you may want to order enough yarn for the project size you will be doing.  Please order no later than 31 July, so there is enough time to get everything in.  Also, please leave a comment on the blog if you are going to participate so I can have enough pattern books on hand.

    Speaking of the pattern book, the afghan squares will be done in the order they are presented in the book.  If you are doing less than 20 squares you can either take off the months for squares you are not doing, or skip on ahead - it's totally up to you.  Being part of the Knit Along will give less experienced knitters the opportunity to increase the level of difficulty of their knitting, with the advantage of  having more experienced knitters working on the same project readily available for advice.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010

    Maggi Knits!

    Good morning all!  Monday I went to K'zoo to see Mary at Maggi Knits.  She still had all the models from the trade show out, so I got to look at them more closely than before.  The thing I love about Maggi Knits is her garments don't necessarily look like much "on the rack", but on a person they are amazing.  I spent about 2 hours there, looking at yarn types and pattern books.

    Maggi's genius is not limited to her designs - she has had the tremendous foresight to color-coordinate her yarns, so everything is rather easy for knitters who find putting colors together challenging.  As Mary pointed out, Maggi is not a knitter who designs patterns, she is a fashion designer who knits.  Everything  is simple, as Maggi does not care for complicated knitting.  I had little previous knowledge of Maggi Knits, and was most impressed with how simple her very elaborate looking garments really are.

    Maggi will be back in the country this Thursday, and Mary will have her contact me about doing a workshop at The Yarn Gourmet.  I am very, very pleased about this, as last week a customer who has taken one of Maggi's workshops told me that she paid $85 and got $170 worth of information.  The workshops include a fashion show on Friday night.  I am also told that Maggi's entertainment value alone is worth the price of admission.  As soon as I have a workshop scheduled I will let you all know.

    Another advantage of having Maggi Knits so close is I will be able to get the yarns you want with minimum delay.  If necessary I could drive to K'zoo to pick them up - it's only about 90 minutes (if I do the speed limit).

    Yesterday the K1C2 Wrapunzel came in.  This yarn is so pretty, and so affordable - only $7 per ball.  Best of all, you can make something really unique out of it and it is machine washable.  How many really unique yarns can say that?

    I am also pleased to t ell you that yesterday I obtained a coffee-maker for the shop!  It is one of the small ones that uses the Senseo pods, and I got a nice selection of coffees so everyone can have what they want.  A 50 cent donation per cup will keep the coffee flowing.

    Well, off to unlock the doors and begin the day.  It presently looks very stormy outside, although nothing exciting weather-wise has happened yet.  Hopefully I will have phone, internet and credit card machine all day.  Remember - only 184 knitting days left till Christmas!  Knit happy!

    Tuesday, June 22, 2010

    Storm carnage

    The following was written Saturday morning when I had no phone or internet.

    And how did all of you enjoy the storm last night?

    My drive home was interesting, to say the least. Everything was fine and dandy when I left the shop at about 6. Sunny but hazy, warm verging on to hot. I went up Ironwood and stopped at Martin’s for salad bar, as I usually do. Takes me all of ten minutes.

    In those ten minutes the whole complexion of the weather changed. When I came outside the sky was pitch black to the west, and moving fast. I decided it may be good to expedite getting home. It wasn’t raining yet, but it was obvious that it would soon.

    I headed up Ironwood, and the world started coming to an end. Trees whipping to and fro like kelp in a tide, small branches and twigs coming down. And rain – it began to rain in earnest. I decided discretion being the better part of valor, I would take a left onto Cleveland and then go up 933.

    As I was headed down Cleveland the wind and rain picked up. Now there were some very large branches down in various yards, and the wind was so bad that a couple times I thought I was going to be pushed into the car beside me. I headed up 933, and when I got to the traffic light at Auten it was flashing instead of cycling. I construed this as a bad omen.

    I turned onto Auten and all hell broke loose. Huge limbs down across the road, leaving just enough room to maneuver around them. Rain driving so hard that at idle speed I couldn’t see five feet in front of me, and the water on the road was fearsome. Even in an SUV there were a few times that I thought I might not make it through the water. I was, however, on a mission to get home.

    I turned up Lilac and within 150 yards there was a big branch across the road. I could have gotten around it with a little off-roading onto a lawn, but 50 yards past that there was a whole tree across the road, and I guessed that these two would not be the only ones and I might not be able to get around the others. So I turned around.

    I headed west on Auten again, and what a rodeo that was, mainly from a water on the road perspective. But the bull riding portion of the rodeo began when I turned up Portage – it was like running a giant slalom, with branches across the road just enough that I had to go off the shoulder to get past them. One van ahead of me got stuck in the mud off the shoulder and very nearly blocked everything for the rest of us.

    I made it to my house about an hour after I left Martin’s, a drive that only should have taken 15 minutes. I pulled into the yard and up under the front deck as far as I could go, since I knew the power was out and I would have to go inside to open the garage door. I forgot, though, that when one opens the garage door manually it does not open completely, leaving it just about two inches too low for me to pull the Toyota into the garage. Horsefeathers, as my father would say.

    So the Toyota stayed outside and my salad and I went inside. I went to the front windows to see what damage had been done, and discovered that the top half of the tree on the west side of the driveway was now the world’s largest widow-maker, having hung up on the oak on the other side of the driveway. It was also directly over where Bob normally parks. From the back windows I could see that my patio table was lying on its side on the deck, but my umbrella was halfway across the backyard.

    I went up to my neighbor’s house and she graciously let me use her cell to call Bob at work and warn him not to park in his usual spot. A good thing, too, as by morning the largest branch of the widow-maker collection had dropped at least three more feet.

    A charming fact about being without electric at my house is that we have a well, so no electricity to run the pump, no water for a shower. When Bob got home last night from working in a machine shop and reeking of machine oil, he couldn’t take his usual pre-bed shower. He said he would sleep on the couch rather than bring his fragrant self to bed, but I lovingly pointed out that it was still raining, and that rain makes a dandy shower. So at my behest my darling husband went outside buck naked and stood in the rain. I love that man.

    Alas, I, too, was shower-less this morning, but did not have rain to use as an ersatz shower. I put some cosmetics in a sandwich bag and came to the shop early, and used the restroom to freshen up. It is a sad reality that the lighting in the restroom is adequate for its intended purpose – piddling and hand washing – but leaves a bit to be desired for applying make-up. I fear I may resemble either Tammy Baker or The Joker this morning.

    It is sunny and glorious outside; one would hardly know that last night was a frog’s whisker short of a tornado. As I sit here typing this I have electricity at the shop, but no phone or internet – I’m actually typing this in Word. But the yarn is all safe and dry, which is the most important thing.

    By the way, the Malabrigo Rasta came in, as well as some lace weight. The Rasta is incredible, such rich colors. I have 9 of the 16 available colors. I knitted up a hat as a shop model in just a couple hours (probably would have been less without interruption). The Malabrigo lace weight is lovely, too.

    Speaking of lace, one of my customers had a very interesting idea yesterday. She was perusing the book of Herbert Neibling lace patterns, and I said I wanted to make at least one of them, just so I could say I did it and survived. She suggested we start a club of people who had successfully knitted a Neibling pattern – kind of like the Mile High Club, without the airplane and partner. So I propose the following: anyone who knits a Neibling pattern that is large enough to be used as a shawl will become part of an exclusive club. I will even look into getting enameled pins made up to commemorate the accomplishment. There is no time limit within which to finish the project – just finish it and bring it in for a photo.

    The one thing I cannot come up with is a good name for this exclusive group. “The Neibling Knitters”? “Neibling Survivors”? Please submit your suggestions.

    Remember, it isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass – it’s about learning to knit in the dark. Till next time – knit happy!

    Thursday, June 17, 2010

    First post-trade show arrival!

    Yippee!  The Aurora Yarns Whisper we chose at the trade show has arrived!  This stuff is gorgeous - the colors don't quite come across in the photos, unfortunately.  Whisper is a hand-painted lace-weight yarn, 1362 yards per skein.  No two skeins will ever be alike, as the artist paints what she sees at the time the yarn is in front of her.  Could be a sunrise, could be a pine tree, could be a squirrel.  It will always be unique and beautiful.

    I also received an email from UPS that my Malabrigo Rasta will be here tomorrow!  I cannot wait to see this stuff - the samples at the trade show were spectacular.

    The class list is firming up - I now have someone to teach the kids' knitting class, ages 6 to 12, limit 3 students at a time.  I will publish the first newsletter on 30 June.  That issue will have a list of classes that will be available, without schedules.  The issue going out on 31 July will have the class descriptions and schedules.  I am going to teach 3 of the classes - Intro to Cables, Funky Felted Bags, and Magic Loop.

    I also saw at the trade show a small shawl knit out of Zauberball Lace, in a blue and white striping colorway, and one larger shawl from the black and white colorway.  This stuff stripes up so beautifully - it's a pity there is no way to determine what it will look like from just looking at the ball, but believe me when I say it is worth knitting.

    Next Monday I am going to K'zoo to MaggieKnits!  I had no idea she was so close, or I would have gone long before this.  I stopped by her booth at the trade show after seeing the most incredible long sweater on one of the participants.  I stopped the woman and she told me it was a MaggieKnits pattern.  I sincerely hope I find time to knit this sweater for myself, it is too special not to make.  I also heard a rumor that Maggie will do whole day workshops.  If she and I can work out the scheduling, I will ask her to do a workshop on a Saturday or Sunday.  I spoke with someone who has taken one of Maggie's workshops, and she said that your really, really get your money's worth.  Stay tuned!

    Well, I have to put in a Crystal Palace order that I have been working on for three days.  Knit happy!