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

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