Thursday, May 31, 2007

Musing on Yarn Stores and Other Thoughts

My titles sound a bit like titles of Panic! At the Disco songs....

So, I'm down in South FL visiting my dad. He's been working down here, so Mom and I brought Jacob (my brother) and Adam (my nephew) aka the two hyenas to visit. I wasn't wanting to come, but yarn crawls were promised, and crawl we did!

Details and pictures of the yarns later, but for now some musings on stores.

We went to three places, The Knit and Stitch in Cocoa, Stitchworm in St. Petersburg and Knit 'n' Knibble in Tampa.

Some had better stock than others; Stitchworm didn't have Noro which I was after, but they did have some nice pretty yarn.

One thing that struck me in all of them was something I've seen in all Florida yarn stores. Older proprietors and customers (in general, although some young employees), all of whom sit around at a table talking. Very nice, but people in browsing aren't brought into the conversation which could seem a little stand-off-ish. At the same time, I don't like it when a proprietor shoves yarn in my face. I know what I like, and I don't need you to tell me without me asking a question.

The locations of stores is also interesting to me. In Atlanta Why Knot Knit is in a little house smushed up between wearhouses, and Knitch is in a conberted firehouse. Both unique, charming and adding to the display of wonderful yarns. In Florida they're mostly in strip centers, even my LYS, which isn't bad, just more generic leading to a fairly generic feel inside.

Not all the stores can support the designer yarns, understood, although one yarn store in FL that I didn't go to, but saw online seemed to have mostly Lion Brand. Fiber snob I may be, but, seriously? Notsomuch.

Overall, though, most stores have basically the same thing, so it really is the display and the atmosphere that makes or breaks a store. Knit 'n' Knibble (which, unfortuately, I continually read as Knit 'n' Kibble) is really good as far as selection, lots of Cascade, Noro and so on. Their idea is good, coffee and such, but I wouldn't so much say that have a café as they serve coffee, similarly to Knitch. Not bad, though.

I think, though, my favorite store would have to be the Knit and Stitch, because while they are small they are very nice, entertained the hynenas while my mom and I were shopping and were just generally a good store.

A lot of Florida yarn stores don't have websites, which makes it difficult to decide which to visit. They seem to be the only Florida enterprise not aimed specifically at tourists....

I need to review A History of Hand Knitting, but before I do that; I read a fantastic book that my dad bought me at Barnes and Noble last night entitled When I Was a Soldier

It's a memoir of a girl, Valèrie Zenatti, who was born in France but lives in Israel from the age of thirteen and is thus drafted into the army. The book very expertly juxtaposes her pre-army life with her experiences in the service. I saw myself and my friends in her, and had to imagine what our pampered, in college selves would do were we forced into military service. Not fare well, I think.

The book is very well written, jumping between diary entries and narrative, but all first person. It is well-translated from the French. My one complaint is that the end comes fast, but overall it's a very well written book. Definitely worth the read and a good reminder that the American way isn't the only way people grow up.

Mkay, massive picture post when I get home!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Charms and Color!

Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting my first colorwork! It's a washcloth/display piece for my best friend's eighteenth birthday, knit in cable cotton and it needs to be blocked, but it's done!

I got the letters from the Knitter's Alphabet and I probably could have just as easily duplicate stitched it, but I felt the need to try stranded colorwork, and it went pretty well!

Next up will be the twelfth Lizard Ridge square.

Today, before my follow-up eye appointment my mom and I stopped by Books-A-Million, where I picked up a copy of Alison Hansel's Charmed Knits

I've wanted it for ages, and it was between that and The Yarn Harlot's Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off! I really wanted both, but since the Potter Premieres are in July, I decided that Charmed Knits was more time-sensitive.

I really like most of the patterns in it; and the Hip House Scarf is going directly on my To-Knit list, and will be knit after the Lizard Ridge block, as I have yarn left over from the Gryfindor scarf I knit last year. After that will eventually be Hermione's Magical Knitting Bag, Hermione's Cable and Bobble Hat, the Quidditch socks and the Invisability Shawl. Also, probably, the Snitch tree ornament and Errol for my friends for Christmas. Also, eventually and ambitiously the Clock Blanket.

Some of the projects are a little out there for me, like Molly's Amazing Technicolor Housecoat, and of course I haven't any kids to knit for (my brother and nephew live in Florida. Not so much on the sweaters, although maybe an elf-hat at some point), but I think that's what makes the book well rounded.

I also really like that the yarns are mostly common and affordable; some from Knitpicks and a lot of Cascade 220, which is readily available at my LYS.

Overall, I'm VERY impressed!!!!!

We're heading off to south Florida on Friday, and I'm really hoping to make a couple of yarn crawls with my mom, and shall update then, of course!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Eight Things

I'm pretending like Purlesence tagged me cuz I wanna do it :D

1. I'm adopted. My parents used to take foster babies, and I was their forty-first. My mother says when she first saw me her thought was: how am I going to tell my husband that I want to keep this baby? A year later (a year and two months, actually) my adoption was finalized. I've always known that I was special and chosen. I always thought that when I was eighteen it would be a big deal to get my folder from Children's Home Society. I still haven't done it, even though I want to.

2. If a year can have a theme, I think the theme of my first year of college was: people and things are never going to be what you expect them to be. It's not necessarily a bad thing. It's just true. First impressions are not to be built on, because you will undoubtedly think people are different from who they are and be disppointed. Also, even when you think you know someone well, you may not. Life's like that and people are like that.

3. I feel like I'm still waiting for things to happen. I'm fairly happy with where I am, but I want to know where my life is going. I want so much out of life, and i'm afraid to never get it. Afraid that I'm wasting time. I'm eighteen, already. When did that happen?

4. Knitting is one, if not the only, craft that I can do. I have horrible fine motor skills and had ages of occupational therapy.

5. My childhood was filled with work with disability rights because of my mom's job, and I claim that I don't want to have anything to do with that when I grow up. Except that I do the Youth Leadership forum nearly every summer, and in my novels someone always seems to have some sort of disability. While my best friend wants to be a poli-sci major I feel like I'm fighting the battle for awareness. from a different side.

6. I'm eighteen. I've never been kissed. That scares me.

7. I'm very close to my mom. I don't know where I'll be if I ever lose her. Maybe it comes from growing up needing someone more than most kids, but I really do rely on her and love her very much.

8. My disability is called Dermatosparaxis, it's a form Ehlers Danlos causing easy bruising and tearing of the skin, soft tissue infections and low vision. It's a part of me, like my blonde hair, but also how I define myself some times. I'm a writer, a student, a knitter and I have a disability.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

How about that time when I FINISHED MY SOCKS!

That's right, you heard me, the socks of forever are DONE! Ladies and Gentlemen I have knit my first socks for myself! (my first socks were actually for my best friend Carly).

See? Proof:

And more proof!

I'm seriously excited just to have done these and have them fit, but I do have some pattern notes.

Pattern: Knitty's Universal Toe-Up Sock Pattern

Yarn: Knitpicks Parade, Gumball (discontinued, I think) 334 yrds (2 balls)

Notes: I knit them too big. They fit, but the slide down on my legs and the heel on the left one sticks out of my shoe :-/. When the pattern says multiply by .9, multiply. The socks has been measured to your foot, it is not going to make it not fit. I promise. Also, my Socks on One String technique works well, but remember with a pattern like this knitting from the opposite side of the ball will cause it to reverse as seen in the top cuff of my right sock.

I also wasn't nuts about the yarn, it split easily, and in the end I somewhat dislike the colors and the gray bits.... but it is cheerful!

Aside from all of that, I am enamoured of sock knitting. I found a couple balls of sock yarn in my mom's stash and will probably steal one to make more that actully fit soon. And these will be bed socks. Yay bed socks!!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Two Socks on One String

Hi y'all.

Socks aren't done. Surgery took more out of me than I thought :-/. it was sucessful though, and I'm happy with it. My body's just like "Ha, you thought you could do things to me and then go on with your life, haha"

So I didn't get back to working on them until last night, and then I figured something out.

I'm on the cuffs, and I want them to be even, ish. So I rolled my yarn into a center-pull ball and put together Socks on One String!

It seems to be working well. I do a repeat or so on one and then even the other one up, so there shouldn't be too much of a cuff difference between them. I'm going to work on them and listen to The Sticks and Strings Podcast, Lime and Violet and Cast-On before the Grey's Anatomy Season Finale!

I leave you with: Sinister Ducks! and my teddy bear who has taken up knitting:

Monday, May 14, 2007

Weaving Tales

Is it odd that I suddenly find myself encompassed with the desire to learn how to spin, dye and weave along with my knitting? Something about creating more things with fibers just appeals to me immensely. I think I may make that part of this summer's endeavors.

My socks are coming along, they should be done by Thursday. I'd say Wednesday, but I'm having minor eye surgery tomorrow and I may also have to frog the cuff of the left sock and kint it with larger needles.

My wonderful swap partner from the LJ Swap 4 sent me the pattern for Wicked so I've spent a lot of today browsing for yarn online. I'm thinking Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in the color Wine. Any thoughts?

Not much else for today; pictures when the socks-that-may-actually-be-wearable are done!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Summer Cleaning

Finals are in spring. Cleaning doesn't happen. But today I took it upon myself to organize my stash.
With the aide of these:


became this:

Fixed a lot of clutter, found some needles and found some yarn that I don't think I'm ever in my life going to use.

I also have some Lizard Ridge pics for you all! Nine blocks done!

Oh, and check this out. It's adorable! Don't Stop Believin'=best song ever.

Off to finish cleaning out my iTunes so I can dump a whole lot of music on it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


Yes!!! I have the whole summer ahead of me to knit, to read, to do the LJ Secret Pal, and:

TO GO TO EUROPE! It's official!!!!! I got my passport today. I am headed to London, Paris and Avignon in July!

I'm so excited. Nervous, but excited all the same!

No FOs right now, but finallly a list of the Kureyon colorways I've used:


Yay! Tomorrow I'm having sushi with an old friend from High School. Right now I'm listening to the Beach Boys and being happy :D

I should have a finished LR block tomorrow :D