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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dealing with the non-knitterati

Most knitters have at one time or another come across someone who simply does not understand the "why" of knitting (or for that matter, social skills).  They will admire your WIP or the finished sweater you are wearing and then say "I could never knit - I can't just sit and do nothing".


I have a younger knitter who recently was asked "Aren't you a bit young to be knitting?"


These people are implying that a) knitters are lazy and b) only little old ladies knit.  I don't know with which I take more umbrage. 

The implication that if you are knitting you aren't doing anything is definitely insulting, and is a splendid exemplification of Mark Twain's famous quote "It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."  People who say things like this obviously have never made anything with their hands, nor are they astute enough to realize that the person they are antagonizing is holding two potential lethal weapons.  They are apparently operating under the delusion that hand-knit objects spontaneously generate while the knitter in question indulges her/his inner sloth.

The implication that only little old ladies knit is an exquisite example of full-blown extralocal ignorance.  In Europe school children are still taught how to knit.  In the Orenberg region of Georgia, children as young as 5 are already knitting to help support their families with world famous Orenberg lace shawls.  In the Andes children knit so they have enough warm clothes to wear.  Some of the most famous contemporary knitwear designers are well under 65, such as Melissa Leapman, Cat Bordhi, Cookie A., Cheryl Oberle, and many more.  Celebrities including Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Dakota Fanning, and Cameron Diaz knit and have helped make the craft more popular over the last several years, and none of them are in any danger of being considered "little old ladies" any time soon.

There are several potential responses to these transgressors of simple social graces.  My favorites are:

  1. "I may be a knitting addict, but at least  I don't share my needles"
  2. "I have to do something with all the yarn I spin" (this one usually makes them back out of the room slowly)
  3. "You have two eyeballs, I have two sharp sticks - you do the math" 
  4. "I learned to knit in prison."
  5. "My psychiatrist told me to knit if I ever felt like killing someone again."
  6. "Are you being deliberately rude, or merely stupid?"
Merry Christmas to all, from me, Bob, Kristen, Karen, Jake, Elwood, Igor, Dana, Midget, Alexis, Lorelei, and Mandy

Friday, December 16, 2011

A word about hand-knit socks

I just received this from one of my best customers, and thought it was too good not to share.   If you have been vacillating about whether or not to knit socks, this might just answer all your questions.  Enjoy.

Hand-Knit Socks

Debra Bronow - Manhattan Beach, California
Entered on January 20, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
I believe in hand-knit socks.
There was a time when knitting was a necessity, and in many parts of the world it still is. Where I grew up, in remote northwestern Alaska, it was more practical and expedient to knit a pair of mittens than it was to wait for mail-order gloves.

Today, in my warmer, more urban corner of the world, knitting is a luxurious addiction. It is a way to indulge my creative urges, support cottage industries all over the world, and even fit in some meditation.
Over the years, I have knit chemo hats and preemie hats; sweaters for adults and children of every size and shape; bibs and baby blankets; sturdy cotton dish-cloths and delicate linen hand towels. I presented both of my sons with hand-knit prayer shawls at their bar mitzvah services.

But always, there are socks in progress. As long as there are heels to be turned, I am patient with carpool lines, waiting rooms, and the longest traffic light in town. Socks are the perfect size to express personal style and practice new techniques. Stockinette or lace, toe up or top down, wool or cotton; hand-dyed and hand-painted, or a simple solid color—the possibilities are endless, and sock yarn is affordable.

Most hand-knit objects come with a long life expectancy and instant heirloom status. But that’s just not the nature of socks. Hand-knit socks are made to be worn. Though they really are sturdier than the store-bought kind and can be mended, even the best socks will eventually wear out. People who wonder why I knit sweaters are utterly flabbergasted when they see me knitting socks; they feel obliged to point out it would be quicker and cheaper to buy a bag of those one-size-fits-all polypropylene tubes. Some knitters wonder why I would waste good wool and precious knitting time on a project that probably won’t—and like underwear, really shouldn’t—be handed down to the next generation.

To me hand-knit socks are a modern-day equivalent of biblical foot washing. Hand-knit socks say I love you enough to make something completely mundane but beautiful, with the full knowledge they will be hidden by your shoes. I love you enough to pay attention to the details—to the size and shape of your foot, your high arches or narrow heels, your preferences for thick or thin in your footwear. I love you enough to make something that, if used properly, will end up smelling like sweaty feet. I love you enough to make something that I fervently hope will wear out before you do, and I love you enough to stick around to knit the next pair.
It always comes back to love, doesn’t it? Love and how we express it. Some people say it with roses. I say it with hand-knit socks.

Independent consultant Debra Bronow works with nonprofit organizations and college-bound students. She has been a knitter, writer, and artist since early childhood. Ms. Bronow lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, a standard poodle, two spinning wheels, countless knitting needles, miles of yarn, and several freshly sheared fleeces.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

New kits

There are 15 knitting days left to Christmas, but that is still enough time to make a Hogwarts scarf for your favorite Harry Potter fan.  I now have kits made up for Hogwarts scarves in the Griffindor colors.  Each kit has 150 grams of each Griffindor color and a pattern..  I also have colors for at least some of the other three Hogwarts houses.

Purls of wisdom:  don't take life too seriously - you'll never get out of it alive.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Let it snow!

I love snow.  This morning Bob & I had coffee in the hot tub while it snowed like crazy on us.  And snow makes me want to knit (even more than normal).  Plus it makes everything look clean & fresh.

I am please to announce I have another Matchless spinning wheel at the shop.  I received two yesterday, but one has already sold.  I have ordered another Matchless and a Saxony-style Schacht-Reeves wheel.  I just love the "old-fashioned" look of Saxony wheels.

If you're in need of a calendar for the new year, I have Interweave Knits The Sweater Workbook 2012 wall calendar.  Every month has an analysis of a different sweater type - drop sleeve, raglan, top-down, etc. - and the pros and cons of each, as well as helpful hints.  There is lots of room for writing appointments on each day, too.

If you are looking for a last minute gift to knit, I have dyed some Yeti in Christmas red, green & white.  This will knit up really quickly, and definitely puts one in the spirit.

I have more Interlacements "Rick Rack" on order, as well as more Toasty Toes and Spider Web.  I presently have a Toasty Toes sweater on the needles at home (Chic Knits Eyelet Cardigan) and I LOVE THIS YARN!  It is a pleasure to knit with, both for its texture and color.  I am using the "Oceans"  colorway.

On the needles at the shop, an HPKY giant skein in Turandot  colorway that I am knitting into a throw for the shop couch; the classs project for the Provisional Cast On & Kitchner Stitch class; a Feza Alp Oriental sweater, and a few other UFOs that I will - eventually - finish.

Purrls of wisdom: kittens are not born with brakes.  It is an acquired skill.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December!

I am pleased to say I have just received another shipment of the Indian Lakes hexagonal knitting needles.  I now have all the currently available sizes:: #6 (feather); #7 (owl); #8 (fish); #9 (rowboat); #10 (arrowhead); #10.5 (lantern); #11 (acorn); and #13 (turtle).

This week I received the Interweave Knits Accessories issue - really nice, quick projects to suit almost anyone.  The new issue of Simple Knits is also available. 

Today yielded a very large shipment of Universal Yarns Poems and Classic Shades, seven colors of each.  A customer brought in some absolutely stunning honeycomb mittens she is making with Poems as the "background" color and charcoal gray as the "foreground" color; I am knitting as fast as I can on two other projects so I can make myself some mittens like hers. 

Three more colors of Feza's Platino arrived today, too.  Platino is the thick 'n' thin yarn in multis.  I also have 5 more colors of Chanel, perfect for a quick knitted evening wrap or scarf.

There are only 24 more knitting days to Christmas!  If you haven't filled out your Wish List at the shop, you still have time.  It's like a gift registry for knitters.

Purls of Wisdom:  Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton asked "why?".