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

Friday, April 30, 2010

fun, fun, fun

Greetings earthlings. What a charming day this has been. I came in with the idea that I would set up a spreadsheet for yarn inventory, as I can't yet afford inventory control software. I got some small progress made, then Santa came (also known as Keith, the UPS guy).

Twelve boxes! Count'em - twelve! I got my Interweave Press books and magazines, my miscellaneous publisher books (from Notions Marketing), and my Crystal Palace order. I got hundreds of bamboo needles: circulars, straights, dpns, and crochet hooks, in every size and length made. I got stitch holders in a variety of sizes, stitch markers, point protectors, sheep tape measures (I love'em!), two kinds of yarn swift - one is only $36 and made of wood! I got patterns - lots of great patterns. I got lace blockiing wires (Elizabeth - are you reading this?). I got ball winders. And most of the distributors were kind enough to throw in some freebies to use as door prizes when I have the grand opening (which will be early June, as compared to the "soft" opening I am doing in a few weeks).

What didn't I get? The hooks for the slatwall to hang this stuff up, nor a price gun and labels. Of course, I hadn't ordered the price gun & labels, as they cost so much, so I wasn't really surprised they weren't in any of the shipments. I thought I had ordered the hooks, but apparently I spent so much time trying to decide which company to get them from, I only THOUGHT I had ordered them. Fortunately I have lots of drawer space, so most of the hanging stuff is hanging out in drawers till I order hanging hooks.

The price labels, on the other hand, are an issue. I had a bunch of odd labels someone had given me so I started out by cutting these into price-sized labels on the paper cutter, and writing the prices in by hand. After a few hours of doing that I realized I was in jeopardy of having my sanity certificate revoked. Then I remembered I have a LOT of file folder labels. I figured out I could put four prices in each label comfortably, print them out on the inkjet, and then slice them up with the paper cutter. Good old American ingenuity.

It worked. It saved my sanity certificate. I labeled the bamboo stuff, I labeled most of the patterns, I labeled the Mini-Mochi sock yarn and the Panda Silk. I only have over a thousand labels left to put on, just for the stuff that has arrived so far. I'm not even going to label the books, as they come with the price printed on the back. I am SO glad I didn't wait till the last minute to start this. I am so glad I came up with a way to print these instead of writing them out by hand. I am so glad there is beer in the fridge.


I ordered books this week. I love books - all books. I ordered from XRX, Interweave Press, and others including Martingale Press. I have pre-ordered a few, too, such as Magnificent Mittens, and Think Outside the Socks. There are books on lace, books on kids clothing (the one on hoodies fascinates me), books on techniques, such as color knitting and cables, and books on regional patterns, such as Northern Knits. There are even a few books on fixing mistakes.

I also ordered Malbrigo this week. I got lots of the worsted weight Malabrigo, which is softer and less expensive than Manos del Uruguay. Malabrigo is introducing a super-bulky yarn called Rasta - 2 stitches to the inch on size 13 to 15 needles - which I will be getting in late June. It is gorgeous, just like the Malabrigo worsted. And Malabrigo has Silky Merino, a 50% wool 50% silk yarn that is heavenly. I did not realize that Malabrigo also makes lace-weight yarn, painted like the others it makes. Lovely stuff - I didn't order any (I am running out of initial capital) but will probably get it later this year. Keep in mind that I can special order ANY YARN that anyone wants, even if I do not have it on my shelves.

I also ordered some Berroco and K1C2. If you haven't seen or touched the Berroco yarn Seduce, you will be amazed. I have been reading about it in the Berroco newsletter for months, but the photos do not do this yarn justice. Especially in combination with Bonsai, a bamboo yarn, Seduce makes incredibly drapey, lightweight garments that can be worn even in the hottest weather. I ordered some pattern books for these yarns that I think you will love.

I ordered some Berroco Jasper. The rep, Joan Looi, had several sweaters with her that she has knit for herself, and the Jasper stripes up beautifully. The colors and color changes are subtler than in many self-striping yarns, making the result look much more organic.

I ordered some Berroco Peruvia Quick, a nice bulky yarn that comes in amazing colors. I can't wait to make myself a coat out of this yarn.

Weekend, a cotton/acrylic blend that is machine washable, has an incredible hand. It makes cool knitted garments you can throw into the washer - perfect for kids' stuff or an everyday garment for yourself.

Sundae is another bulky yarn by Berroco that I will be ordering a bit later this summer - fabulous colors. It, too, will make lovely outerwear garments.

Linus is a Lang yarn (Berroco owns Lang - did you know that?) that is a solid yarn with random, short stripes of contrasting color that pop up erratically in the knitted fabric. It is a lovely effect, similar to the way slubs pop up in raw silk.

From K1C2 I ordered TyDy, a cotton yarn that is absolutely gorgeous. Unlike other brands, I could not find a single color in any of the K1C2 lines that I didn't like, so choosing was difficult. This yarn is so pretty and so soft it could be worn bra-less (if I was 15 years younger). Fear not - in the interest of public decency and not being laughed out of town, I won't be doing that any time soon. At least not obviously - thank heaven for baggy sweatershirts.

Off to the yarn shop with me! Today I am expecting my Notions Marketing order, and possibly my Crystal Palace order. Feel free to stop by if you're in the neighborhood - I can't sell anything yet, but at least now there is stuff to look at. Remember - please knit responsibly.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Opening date!

At first I was targeting 15 June to open the shop. Seemed like a reasonable date, allowing me time to get up and running. Then I moved it to 27 May, thinking the Memorial Day weekend might be a good time to be open. Then I found out about the annual River Park Neighborhood sidewalk sale on 22 May, and decided I couldn't pass up that much foot traffic. But since that is likely to be a very busy day, I don't want it to be my first day without a "shake down" run, so now the opening date is (drum roll please) 19 May 2010!

This will be a "soft" opening - no grand opening signs, no door prizes. I will advertise in the local paper, just to let people know, and will otherwise rely on word-of-mouth. I think I will do a grand opening Memorial Day weekend, but that is subject to change.

This past Saturday I went to an alpaca shearing down around North Liberty. I spoke with the owner and she is willing to sell me alpaca yarn. Even better, she is willing to bring an alpaca to the sidewalk sale, so people can meet one of the animals the yarn came from. I am psyched to have a local alpaca source!

This morning I am meeting with the Malabrigo rep, tomorrow with the Berroco rep. Yesterday I got a delivery of 5 book racks. Bob opened one up and lo and behold - they are for paperbacks. Most of the knitting books won't fit in these racks, and even worse, they are flimsy and cheap looking. So back they go - less a 20% restocking fee, and I have to pay return shipping.

I couldn't get my color printer at home to feed the business card stock - it just jammed every time I tried, no matter what setting I tried. So I had to buy a new printer / scanner / fax for the office - a Kodak ESP 7250. I got it hooked up last night (I was at the shop until 8 PM) and it works like a dream. So far I love this new printer. I got about 40 business cards printed - on both sides!

Well, off to the showers and then to the shop. If you are reading this and you are local, come see me 19 May. Until then, please knit responsibly.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


After taking the grand tour of upper Indiana, my business debit card finally arrived at the bank yesterday. It seems the postal carrier wouldn't deliver it to the shop address for reasons known only to him, so it was sent back to the bank in Warsaw. When I realized it was rather late in appearing I went to the local bank branch and they discovered it was in Warsaw, and promised me it would arrive last week by courier. It did not arrive. This was problematic, as I need to place a lot of orders for a variety of things, and need the card to do so. They promised me it would be there this past Monday. It did not arrive. I was less than pleased, but they finally got it yesterday, and I placed orders for displays, notions, an entry mat, went to OfficeMax, and paid for a yarn order that was in a state of limbo pending a credit card number.

Now I have to wait for my sales tax certificate to place orders with a few other yarn distributors, such as Mountain Colors. If any of you have never knit with Mountain Colors yarns, you are in for a real treat. Not only are the colors simply gorgeous, but the way this stuff feels is amazing. It is like butter, without the slipperiness and calories.

The bathroom is painted! I need to get new switch plates for it, and need to get CLR to clean out the sink, but it looks pretty damned good. The landlord stopped by yesterday and said he would get the flooring installed soon, too. It is currently just sub-floor, which did make painting less trouble as I didn't have to worry about drips or splatter.

Yesterday I put primer on the office walls - they, too, were that nasty, dark, cheap paneling. I am going to paint that with a key lime green paint I have on hand. It's prettier than it sounds, believe me - my living room is painted in it.

Yesterday I also attended my first River Park Merchants Association meeting - what a bunch of helpful, nice people! I don't think I could have picked a better location for this shop.

Today I will finish painting the office, then this afternoon I have a sign company coming out to give me an estimate. I think I am going to go with a nicely painted wooden sign, which I will illuminate with solar powered floods to save on electricity. I like the whole idea of solar power.

Speaking of reduce, re-use, recycle, I am going to start out with using plastic shopping bags from my personal "stash". I must have a couple hundred Meijer bags, and even though Meijer will recycle them, it only makes sense for me to use them instead of purchasing more plastic.

I am also working on my first shop model. It is made of Malabrigo worsted from my stash, in two colors - Purple Mystery and Cuarzo (a kettle-dyed lilac). I am making the Off-set Tabard from Elise Duvekot's book "Knit One Below". It is looking fabulous! This is the best way to achieve knitted vertical stripes. I altered the bottom edging slightly by using the check stitch pattern in another part of the book for the first two inches, and I am knitting it in one piece instead of two. If you haven't used this technique - which Elizabeth accurately points out is just a brioche stitch - you really should try it. The fabric it produces is lovely, and it lends itself to some fantastic colorwork. After I finish that I am going to make the Brown Sheep beaded lace blouse, which is done in Cotton Fleece. I love knitting with beads. Hopefully I will get it done in time for the opening.

I must now hie me off to the showers - it is amazing how with hair less than 3/4 of an inch long I can still wake up looking like I should be hanging from a keychain. Till next time. If you have any yarn, knit it now. :-)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Monday!

Ah Monday - ain't it grand? Today I was supposed to meet with the Malabrigo rep, but that has been rescheduled to tomorrow. So after I go see the nice folks at the Indiana Dept. of Revenue, I am going to finish priming the bathroom, start priming the office, and time permitting, get a first coat on the bathroom, at least the trim. That dark paneling already looks better with only white primer on it. I need to get baseboard molding, and have no idea what to do about the Rube Goldberg arrangement of the water lines. You'd have to see it to believe it.

I am told by my best knitting buddy that the shop was painted yesterday, changing the Pepto-Bismol pink to beige. Anything but that awful pink. To those of you who like pink, remember - all things in moderation (except yarn), and that much pink is NOT moderation.

I also have about a dozen phone calls to make and hopefully my debit card will arrive so I can place on-line orders for things I really need and can't buy locally.

The local merchants association tells me there will be a sidewalk sale on 22 May, which is 5 days before my target opening date of 27 May. I'm thinking I may want to do a "sneak preview" on that day, even though I don't think the shop will be completely ready to open. I have a lovely (?) 8 foot table I can set up outside the shop for the sidewalk sale. All that foot traffic should not be wasted. So if you're in the neighborhood, stop on by!

Off to the showers with me. Knit it if you got it!

Friday, April 16, 2010

And now for something really different....

We took the Brown Sheep order over to the shop yesterday. The landlord had to have a locksmith come to put in a new lock, as the old key could not be copied, but I ultimately got the key to my shop!

Remember I said I got four huge boxes of Brown Sheep, and they were firmly packed? That may have been an understatement. I had to take everything out and compare it against the packing slip, and let me tell you, that is a LOT of yarn! Better still, there are about 150 skeins on backorder.

Today I have a boatload of errands to do (I have got to get the water turned on so I can flush the toilet, if nothing else), then I have to meet someone from the bank at the shop about taking credit cards. Visa and MasterCard, only - sorry all you AmEx people. And cash, of course. I will not be taking checks unless I discover a big demand to do so.

The bathroom and office are both paneled in very, very cheap very, very dark paneling, so I am going to paint that dark, depressing stuff a nice light shade of whatever I happen to have languishing in the closet. They still have not put flooring down in the bathroom, so now is a good time to paint, but it will probably be this weekend - today is a touch busy. Bob is going to run phone line from the outside box to the inside of the shop.

I also need to get a massive push broom for the storage area and some means of getting close to an inch of dust off the storage shelving. I am thinking that for daily cleaning I will get one of those new Swiffer things that has mild vacuum capability as well as the dust cloth, and a Swiffer WetJet, of course. Those things are one of the best inventions since push button phones (yes, not only do I remember rotary phones, I remember when you picked up the receiver and gave the number you were calling to the operator. There wasn't even a dial on the phone).

Anyhow, the laundry is done so now I can take a shower with minimal temperature changes. Till next time, and remember - friends don't let friends knit with bad yarn.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

first delivery!

Day before yesterday I got home from running slightly fewer errands than dollars in the national debt, and there was a notice on the door from FedEx that a delivery needed signature. So I signed the slip, put it back on the door, and went about my business.

Yesterday as I was vacuuming the house I noticed the FedEx truck pulling out of my driveway. I opened the front door and in front of my garage door were four HUGE boxes of Brown Sheep yarn! I didn't think the order would get here so soon.

So I loaded them into the back of my SUV, since I take possession of the shop today anyhow. The curiosity got me, and I opened one box to look at the yarn. The skeins are packed in the boxes so firmly that I don't dare take them out, as I am certain I will not be able to get them all back into the box. All of the yarn will go to the shop with me today, along with a little seating, and a few other things I will need to have on hand as I get the place ready to open.

This morning I also took a giant leap of faith and turned down a job paying $130k so I could continue with the shop. Now I HAVE to succeed.

Till later. Please knit responsibly - friends don't let friends knit with junk yarn.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

tomorrow's the day!

...that I take possession of the shop. It is still woefully pink, but the property manager assures me it will be painted within a week.

Yesterday I ordered from Skacel - Addi Turbos, Zauberball yarn, Trekking XXL yarn, a killer tweed. Wait till you see the handpaints in Zauberball! To die for! And next week I meet with a rep that carries Malabrigo, Trendsetter, and other yarns. I am in sensory overload and loving it!

Today I have had a few spare hours to play with some of the techniques in "Knit One Below", using two colors of Malabrigo from my stash. I am loving this technique. Anything that creates vertical stripes of color without angst, stranding, or stiff fabric is wonderful! If you haven't read the book, get a copy (wait and buy it from me) - it has amazing patterns in it.

Till next time, knit happy and responsibly!

Monday, April 12, 2010

We begin this week....

Greetings and defenestrations! This Thursday I officially take possession of the shop at 2915 Mishawaka Avenue. I have a few final details to take care of - getting the water turned on, sending a check to AEP for a deposit, etc. But I am getting closer and closer to actually opening The Yarn Gourmet!

A non-related question: does anyone out there have a Brookstone digital photo keychain? I got one as a gift and have lost the instructions for downloading photos onto it. Please let me know.

Hopefully my checks will arrive so I can get some orders placed - I used up all the checks in the "starter kit" from the bank. This week I meet with the Skacel rep and the Malabrigo rep, and will place an order for some displays and books. Books........I love books, almost any kind of books. I will be carrying Interweave books, as well as XRX books and a couple less well-known publishers. Any requests?

Stay tuned, and please knit responsibly.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

No guts, no glory

Today I place my first order for yarn and notions. Scared? Me? To coin a phrase, I'm scared s***less. But I can't very well open a yarn shop without inventory, now can I?

I am meeting today with Joanne Cole, the local Edwards-Drew rep. She carries Brown Sheep, Crystal Palace, Isager and some others. She also carries a brand of needles I have not heard of before - Daisy. These are made by Crystal Palace, out of ABS resin. They are purportedly lightweight and comfortable to use - I will test drive a set later today. But what I find really, really interesting is they are color coded by size, e.g., all size 9 needles are the same color, all size 10 needles are a different color. Why didn't anyone think of that before? It won't make needle sizers obsolete, but it sure is a convenience. I'll let you know what I think of them. Has anyone out there used Daisy needles?

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'm getting closer....

Woooo-hooooooooo! I have settled on a location! It will be - drum roll, please - 2915 Mishawaka Avenue in South Bend. I will sign the lease Monday. It is close to two hair salons, The Sweeper Company, a gallery, and a computer / IT place. The last is particularly good, as I seem to have an evil troll occupying my computer.

Now all I have to do is decide what yarns I want to order - within my budget. I could easily order three times my budget, but restraint, restraint. At this time the plan is to start out with a nice selection of luxury yarns and expand as my cash flow expands. Tentatively the initial selections will be ArtYarns, Brown Sheep, Crystal Palace, Fiesta, Mountain Colors, Skacel, Malabrigo, Jamieson's Shetland, Interlacements, and Isager. By fall I hope to be able to add Prism, Great Adirondack, Claudia Hand Paints, Debbie Bliss, Noro (that is already available locally, which is why it isn't included in the "first take") and others. Patterns will include Knitting at Knoon, a bunch of XRX books, and some Interweave Knits books, plus a few miscellaneous patterns/books.

I am still without a website, but that will come soon.

Does anybody out there weave? The Jamieson's Shetland is supposed to be good for weaving, as are a few of the others. Also, if there is sufficient demand for roving and other spinning supplies, I may add that at a later date.

This weekend is probably the last weekend I will have to spend on my gardens, so I plan to get as much accomplished as possible. The roses have been pruned, but need to be fed, wood chip mulch needs to be put down, more of those damned oak leaves need to be gotten off the gardens (they never end), the beds need to be edged. Also, we have a new garage door opener that has to be installed, a new door sill to be installed, and the copper dragon weathervane my father gave me for Christmas to be installed. That will be hairy, as it is VERY delicate and getting it up to the roof is already giving my poor husband heartburn.

And then.........I will have to be at the shop organizing and ordering and coordinating. My original target open date was 15 June, but I may try to move that up a bit. Stay tuned, and please knit responsibly.