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 29, 2011

Diary of a Mad Housecat, Part 1

My name is Elwood.  That is the name my humans gave me; the name my mother gave me cannot be pronounced by humans.  My brother Jake and I are beautiful all-white cats.  I am a bit taller than Jake and my tail is more impressive, but we are truly spectacular felines. 

My first memory is of being taken from my mother and put in a shelter cage with Jake.  It was small but clean.  They fed us and petted us, and every now and then we went to another place were lots of humans could look at us and hold us.  That's how we acquired our present humans.

The day we arrived at our new home there was a big thing in the corner decorated with lots of toys.  It looked a lot like a tree, but didn't smell or feel like a tree.  Every time we took one of the toys off the tree we were told "no" - I don't know why they put toys out if we aren't supposed to take them and play with them.  There are other cats, too.  Jake is especially fond of Midget - actually, he goes on and on about how beautiful her whiskers and tail are, till I am sick of hearing about it.  I must admit Midget is very nice, though.

There is another black and white cat named Dana - she was pretty bossy at first, and tried to push us around a lot, but seems to have accepted us.  Occasionally Jake gets mad at her and wants me to figure out how to light the stove - he thinks we should burn the witch.  No thumbs, though. 

The orange cat named Mandy hates us with a passion.  She is always growling at us, even when we aren't doing anything.  Mama says her face will freeze that way.  The other white cat, Alexis, is crazy.  Just plain nuts, but harmless.  And then there is Lorelei, who is terribly shy but is trying to learn how to play with us.   She cries a lot and says she wants Katmandu.

We have lots of nice food, just not enough.  Seriously - who can get by on half a can of cat food a day and unlimited dry food?  We have nice filtered water, too, not that nasty smelling and tasting stuff at the shelter.  And LOTS of clean litter boxes.  Our humans use different litter boxes in different rooms than ours.  They are full of water, and after the humans use it the water disappears; it's a lot of fun to watch.  And we get cuddled a LOT.  That's really nice.  I especially like the tummy rubs and chin rubs.

Jake and I are gradually learning the language of our humans.  Sometimes they punctuate their speech with a squirt bottle of water, but we are trying to break them of that habit.  I have learned a lot of words I don't really know the meaning of, like "violin factory" and "Chinese restaurant".  Mostly we hear these words when we are exploring the counter in the kitchen or sharpening on the couch.  Really, how can anyone expect us to walk all the way to the sharpening post every time the urge strikes? Mama gets pretty mad when we eat the houseplants, too, but why put out a buffet if it's off limits? 

About the third day we were at our new home Jake and I discovered that it is really big - lots of room to run.  We had not been able to run at all in the shelter, we were always in that little cage.  We can really get up some speed here.  A few nights ago I was stretching my legs and going for a new speed record.  When I went over one end table I accidentally knocked some stuff off.  Mama was really upset, used the word "irreplaceable" and cried.  I have tried to be very good since then - at least when she can see me.

There is this toy we like that the humans call a "cricket".  It makes a small dot on everything, and we get to chase it.  Try as we might, we never actually catch it.  Someday....

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My name is Arvilla...

...and I am a history geek.  There - I said it.  I love history, especially anything from around 800 AD to 1900 AD.  When Shotime had "The Tudors" series on I waited impatiently for each new episode / season (Tudor England is a particular favorite of mine).  I love the Starz series on Spartacus.  Last night I discovered "The Borgias" on Shotime.

One of the things I enjoy most about historical productions of this ilk is observing the accuracy of the costumes and architecture.  I am hardly an expert on either, but as a result of touring Hampton Court in 1980 I do know that doors were not commonly in use in the time of Henry VIII.  This made some of the scenes in the "Tudors" series a bit unfaithful to history, but did allow for the drama of a slammed door.

The costumes, however, were very accurate, and the costumes in "The Borgias" are fascinating.  One of the things I like to look for is knitted lace.  So far I have not seen a great deal of it, but I will continue watching, just in case.

There - I have justified my history geek-ness as knitting research.

I am looking into getting some Schacht rigid heddle looms in the shop, and possibly some spinning wheels.  Please let me know if you are interested in either.  Kristen will teach classes in weaving, and you will be able to try weaving first to see if you want to get a loom.  The ones I am thinking of carrying are the Schacht Cricket loom - a very, very affordable entry level rigid heddle loom, perfect for someone who wants to experiment with weaving without making a big cash investment.  I hope to eventually have one of each Shcacht wheel available for people to "test drive", so you can order the wheel you prefer.

Purls of wisdom:  Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano
player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

arrivals du jour

Today I finally got in the Malabrigo Chunky, in 7 fabulous colors!  This Malabrigo is plied and very user friendly.

Another new yarn: Jam by K1C2.  Jam is a novelty yarn, fuzzy and bumpy (my camera is still broken).  It would make great trim or accents on a knitted article, and would also be good for making jewelry out of yarn.

I have made up some kits, for those of you who just want everything you need in one spot.  New kits include the Watermelon Cardigan by Never Not Knitting - a little girl's cardi, comes with everything but the button; "Beach Party" aka a felted flamingo kit; and the Scalloped Beaded Scarf kit, with enough Panda Silk DK and color coordinated beads to make the Deanna's Vintage Knits scarf of the same name.

Remember to sign up for the Stitches Midwest bus trip before 01 July.  Sounds like a long time off, but this is on a "first paid, first served" basis, so don't miss out.

Purls of wisdom: pennies do not come from heaven.  They are earned here on earth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Ever have one of those days?

Most days are pretty tranquil.  The cats get me up an hour before I need to be up, I feed them, I drink coffee in the hot tub then go inside and knit.  I shower, get dressed, and go to the shop.  Tranquil.  Peaceful.

Some days...not so much.

A couple of Thursdays ago I went through the same basic routine described above.  Except for the fact that Midget, my designated alarm cat, decided 4:30 was a good time to have breakfast.  In case you were wondering, there is no snooze button on a hungry cat.  So I got up and began my day, taking advantage of the extra time before I had to leave the house to spend some bonus time in the hot tub.  And for this the gods of daily routine decided to punish me.

Everything went fine until it was time to leave.  I opened the garage door, started the car, and tried to back out of the garage.  The Envoy did not want to move; then I noticed the left front corner sitting a bit low.  A lot low, actually.  I got out to look, and lo and behold, I have a flat tire.  Not just a soft tire - a "flatter than a duck's instep" tire.  So I went upstairs, told my husband and asked if I could take his PT Cruiser and would he please put the spare on my truck?  I took the Envoy key off my key chain to leave it with him, got in his car and left.

I was only running a couple minutes late, but that isn't a big deal.  As I was driving up Cleveland - heading into the sun - I had to stop at a traffic light and decided to use the windshield washers (my husband isn't a big fan of clean windows).  It was cold out - about 21 degrees - but that is why washer fluid is designed not to readily freeze.  I squirt the bug juice onto the windshield, the wipers start moving....and only the very tips of each wiper are making contact with the glass, leaving several ounces of foamy bug juice on the windshield.  Did I mention I was heading into the sun?

Isn't that special?

I continued on to work, periodically turning on the wipers in the hope that the defroster would have warmed them up enough that they would actually make contact with the windshield, but no, that did not happen.  The bug juice eventually dried, leaving a lovely film on the glass, but by then I was no longer headed east.  Oh well, I say to myself - I'll stop at a gas station on the way home and wash the windshield there.

The day went on without incident (and without much business) and I headed home.  By then the sun had warmed up enough that the wipers were working properly, and I could actually see out the windshield. I decided that I would be a nice wife and take my husband's car to get an oil change and a wash.  When they checked the tire pressure at the oil change place they discovered there were 80 pounds of air in each tire.  Which explains the buckboard-like ride I had been enduring.  (Never mind how that happened.)

Our garage door opener had been acting up for a few weeks - it worked just fine if one used a remote, but the button on the garage wall to operate it had not been working at all. This was normally not a problem for me - I simply hit the remote in my Envoy.  Bob's car, however, does not get parked in the garage.  While the remote in his car will open the garage door, closing it became problematic due to the faulty wall switch.  So I pulled into my driveway and decided to let myself in through the front door.  I locked Bob's car, the horn gave that annoying beep, and headed for the front door.

The front door frame had been replaced just before Christmas resulting in a very tight fit.  I couldn't get the blighter opened.  Everything now fits so snugly and we use the front door so seldom, that my arthritic hands couldn't turn the key in the deadbolt lock.  So back to Bob's car I go; I unlocked it, hit the remote for the garage door, locked the car again (out of habit), it beeped again, and I went inside.  But now I can't close the garage door.

I went to the front door and unlocked it, let myself outside and unlocked Bob's car.  I hit the remote to close the garage door, locked his car again, it beeped again, and I went back inside through the front door.  The chronic beeping of the horn had called my neighbors' attention to the bizarre Chinese fire drill going in in my driveway.  I really ought to charge these people for the entertainment, but they were decent enough not to laugh while I could hear them.

The next day I took my tire to Avenue Automotive and got it fixed in a matter of minutes - a large machine screw had been the culprit.  All was once again right with the world - Bob is driving his car, I am driving my car, and now the wall switch for the remote is fixed.  My dignity is only slightly damaged.

Purls of wisdom: some days it doesn't pay to chew through the leather restraints.