Thursday, April 30, 2009

Not Pink Floyd

But definitely a wall. And I have hit it. Not writers block or knitters fatigue but a wall of sheer exhaustion. Most people can either see this coming or they never suffer from it, at least not in any sense of regularity. I, however, am not most people. I do this to myself more often than I would like to admit because I have no sense of balance. No sense of how many activities constitutes "too much". I have to have my hand in every pot: dyeing, knitting, working for this company or that, regular job, knit nights, guild, blogging, working out, church, nursery, missions team, leadership team, book study, plan this, plan that... I enjoy it all, I really do. But that's the problem, I enjoy it all.

I also find it incredibly difficult to go from "vacation" mode to "work" mode. I have to ease into it. I loved my time in Washington over Spring Break but found I was even more despondent than usual when returning to work on Monday. And I didn't help myself by taking a day off the very next week for Stitches. Now I'm counting down the hours until I can send the kiddos off for the summer and I can start breaking down my room.

And so, I find myself up at 10:00 on a Wednesday doing some "light" pattern editing which (again, I loved to do and gladly offered my services) left me mentally exhausted. I was already physically exhausted because I had little sleep in the previous nights and no naps for the prior 2 days (which is kind of a big deal to me). The result was my OCD flipping out and simultaneously turning into the grump monster from H-e-double hockey sticks. Luckily no one was around to see it.

Today has not been much better. In fact I found myself crying this afternoon because I'd gotten snippy with my mom because I didn't want to talk about finances.

But now I have calmed down a bit. I will call my mom and apologize later when I am in a more right state of mind. I have called a dear friend to come and give me a massage (she's a licensed and has her own table and everything!) and I'm about to go have a little lie down for about 30 minutes.

In the near future I see myself really taking a look at all the things I'm involved in and analyzing the things I really want to stay involved in. I will not stop knitting or going to knit nights or drop out of church or anything like that but I've got to stop trying to be the hero of everything.

Ok, I've whined enough for one night. I'm going to go take a nap.

Monday, April 27, 2009


To my little brother and his girlfriend Brandi.
They got engaged on Saturday night!
I'm so excited for the 2 of them and I couldn't have asked for a better sister!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Epic Adventure-Part 2

In which our heroine runs into her nemesis Yarn Budget and soundly vanquishes him.

I went armed for battle.
Like the shirt? You can get your own here.

My first stop of the morning was in the Market. I thought there would be much more of a rush of people but it didn't seem too bad for me. I had a plan though and I was sticking to it.

I headed straight for The Yarn and Fiber Company booth. They were selling Cascade Eco + at a good sale price. I got this nice burnt orange (I'm really into this color right now. I can feel a burnt orange stage coming on...)
and this slightly heathered blue. It will make some nice sweaters. Because sweaters are kinda my thing.
Then it was over to Cast-On Cottage and Needlepoint Garden's booth. Oh how I wish their store was closer to where I live! They carry every color of Cascade 220. Every color. And the ladies there were all really nice. Helpful without being pushy. Funny and generally pleasant. Just a wonderful experience all around. I made out like a bandit.

2 skeins of red tweed
2 skeins of a twisted grey, black, brown, and white (one of my favorite purchases of the day)
2 skeins of a sunny yellow
And 2 skeins of black that are destined to be combined with some already in the stash yarn for...wait for it...a sweater! Bet you didn't see that coming.
My last stop was at Purrfectly Catchy. They were selling hand made sock blockers and stitch markers. I was really impressed at the quality of their sock blockers and their prices were great. $35 for 2 hand made, wooden sock blockers! That's a deal considering I've seen places that sell plastic ones for $22 (plus shipping). And these blockers have been used by many of the big names in knitting for photo shoots. I got the star ones since, well, I'm a rock star :)
After all my shopping I stopped by the Malabrigo reps booth for a picture with the Malabrigo Junkies from Ravelry. Then Antonio and Little Bob went to lunch with us.
After lunch I took a phenomenal Celtic cables class with Melissa Leapman. I really wish I had taken one of her design classes now. She's a really, really smart lady who translates her technique well in the classroom setting. Unfortunately, at the end of the class I'd been concentrating so hard on making cables that I developed camnesia and didn't get a picture of Melissa. I will, however, show you the mad crazy cables we made. It all starts with a circle.
Then jumps right into a simple knot.
I finished a little early so I tried my hand at designing a figure 8 cable following Melissa's directions.
I was on the right track. Look at that axis cable! Maybe I'll try my hand at the third swatch.
Maybe not tonight. Penelope is unimpressed by it all.
Stitches South was a ton of fun and I can't wait to see what next year will be like. I hope it keeps growing and there are even more vendors and teachers and friends to meet. I had a great time and, while I did go a teeny tiny bit over budget, I really felt like I got some good purchases. Now I just need a massage from head to toe. Buying yarn is exhausting!

On a somewhat separate note, I had an epiphany last night. I think I want to own a yarn shop that carries every type of Cascade yarn. All 4 lines, all their hundreds of yarns. I thought up this idea while wondering why I can find Cascade 220, Eco, and Eco + at some places but can never find an LYS that sells Magnum or Heritage sock or many other lines. To me it would be heaven. I'd call it Queen of Cascade since I am the Queen of Cascade (John from Churchmouse said I was!). Think I should email the Cascade rep I met and tell her my idea?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Epic Adventure-Part 1

It's a tale or mystery, intrigue, romance, and yarn on the high seas. There was deception, drama, and knitting. And that was just the first day!

Welcome to Stitches South.

Ok, so there was no high seas, deception, and relatively little drama (unless you counted my gasp at an outrageous yarn price) but it was a whole heck of a lot of fun!

I started my day nice and early with a class with Sandi Rosner called You Don't Need A Pattern for That.
She was a delight. We all made little baby sized hats and Sandi answered a ton of questions for us. It was nice to get some ideas about basic design. When she mentioned the Pythagorean theorem for figuring sleeve caps it was funny to hear a collective groan. I don't think any of us will be taking Melissa Leapman's class on design any time soon. I did pick up a pattern for a quick and easy baby sweater so I will be using that to help clothe baby Britt, my new cousin, when he arrives in July.

This is the hat that I made this morning.
And this is one from another lady in our class.
As all the members of the class knit we inevitably starting chatting. I talked a little about my charity knitting and at the end of the class the lady at the end of my row gave me her hat to donate to Warm Woolies. So very sweet of her!

I then headed to the Market and for the first time in my life I was genuinely overwhelmed by the amount of beautiful yarn there was. I actually showed a good deal of restraint as I went from booth to booth. Today I purchased only one of a kind yarns that I thought might get really picked over by tomorrow. It was so cool to see all the hand dyers and it felt really good to support them. Maybe one day I'll be hosting my own booth at Stitches and I hope people will support me as enthusiastically as they did the artists today.

As I was wandering through the concessions seating area to get a water I notices out of the corner of my eye someone watching me very closely. I was wearing my @theknftyknttr shirt and a lot of people had been noticing it throughout the day so I didn't really think twice about it. I just figured she was trying to read what it said. About 2 minutes later she runs up to me and says, "I'm lemonesque!" She's one of my Twitter pals! It was so cool to meet Abby/lemonesque in real life.
Since joining Ravelry and Twitter I've wanted to be one of those people who goes to conventions and knows everyone in the room thanks to my mad networking skills. It would make me feel like a rock star. Abby may be from Georgia but she's putting me one step closer to rock stardom. Look out Yarn Harlot!

I ended up spending a good deal of money in the Market but I feel like I got really good stuff out of it. Tomorrow I plan on picking up some staple yarns (read Cascade 220 and Eco+) and some sock blockers. I have a plan, I have a map, I need to get more cash...

I got a skein of worsted yarn in Where My Beaches At? from the Indie Dyer along with a pattern for the Antarctica hat made with one skein of her yarn.
Because I'm a Malabrigo Junkie (I totally blame Mary Ellen for that one, always talking up Malabrigo at knit nights) I got to meet the totally funny, awesomely sweet duo of Antonio and Tobias. I chatted with them for about 10 minutes (hilarious guys, and sweet, have I mentioned that?) and they gave me a skein of their test yarn. Amazingly sweet. Did I already say that? Can't remember... I tried to get them to join Twitter but Tobias said there was too much on the internet for them to keep up with already. Funny guys. Srsly.
The very first stop I made this morning was actually at the Sanguine Gryphon's booth. I know that Wendy has knit with her yarns before and Mary Ellen (ever the enabler :)) said that her stuff would go quick so I made a beeline for Gryphon's booth. I wasn't disappointed. Picked up a skein of Bugga! sock yarn in Acrobatic Snail. Luscious.
Also one of the first places on my list was Creatively Dyed Yarns. I follow Dianne's blog so it was very cool to meet her in real life. And she is even more positive and nice than I ever could have expected. You know you've meet a gem when the very first thing she does is fish out a Ravelry button for you. As soon as I saw this skein of sock yarn I had to have it. This is her newest method of dyeing. I can't wait to see it on my needles!
Eventually I wandered over to Mass Ave. Yarn Shop where I found this Mission Falls pattern book.
Inside was the pattern I've been drooling over for months now, Natalia. It's one of the few patterns I've wanted to actively seek out to knit. It just looks so modern and classy. Totally my style.
Then I flipped over the page and saw Hillary.
I knew this booklet had to be mine. No question about it. I actually think all the designs in the booklet are really well done. I can already imagine several gifts coming out of there.

My final purchase of the day was from Schaefer Yarns and this was my personal splurge. A lumpy bumpy skein in the colorway Toni Morrison and a skein of mohair blend in Chamomile. These are going to be combined into a shawl/wrap for me.
I wanted to make a little shrug or something and then I saw a shawl in these colors on display and decided to go that route instead. I think I'll use the stitch pattern from the little Arctic Blanket I made and just kind of wing it. Or maybe I could actually research something. Winging it seems to be more of my personal style though.

I came home this afternoon and totally crashed on the couch with Penelope. I've never been so tired! I blame it on yarn fumes. I didn't know that was a side effect. Be warned.

Tomorrow will be more Market, more classes, more fun with friends. And more pictures.

P.S. I would have gotten pictures in the Market but they wouldn't allow pictures or video. Bummer. Guess you'll just have to go.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Night of the Random Post

1. I would file this under "Things That You Do Not Want to Happen to Your Apartment Complex." Thankfully this isn't my building but the neighboring one.
2. Tonight at knit night I finished the back of my Half and Half sweater for Warm Woolies. That's 100% genuine hand dyed yarn there and I think it looks pretty dang good if I do say so myself. Of course I'm kind of biased...
3. Tonight at knit night my good buddy Albert brought by some shirts for our group.
And some shirts for people who are on Twitter and also happen to be knitters.
Hopefully both of these shirts will be available soon at my store. Keep your eyes peeled!

4. Getting so excited for Stitches! As Laurie said tonight, "There's only one more day between you and Stitches." I've got the stores I've got to hit up on Friday ASAP already marked and a path mapped out for optimum yarn viewing. My swatches are knit and most of my other notions have been gathered. Now just need to clean out my knitting bag. It seems to be bursting to overflowing...

Monday, April 20, 2009


So, I haven't just been buying yarn lately, though it might seem that way. I have actually been knitting some.

Exhibit A: Partial body and two non-swatch swatches for the Mystery Sweater Knit-A-Long #2 for Warm Woolies.
Exhibit B: Partial body of a self designed sweater in hand dyed yarn for a Warm Woolies sweater.
Exhibit C: One finished Space Monkey sock. The second sock has been started.
Exhibit D: A finished fair island sweater for Warm Woolies (sweater #4 of 10 for those of you playing along at home). I can fit it over my head, the body is long enough for me, but the sleeves are a little too short. I think it will fit a 14 or 15 year old pretty well. I had originally planned to write out the pattern for this sweater but I've had a lot of trouble getting the numbers to work out right so I don't think it will come to pass (at least not any time soon).
Exhibit E: Portioned yarn being knit into swatches for a Melissa Leapman cables class at Stitches South! (1 down, 2 more to go)
Exhibit F...almost: This languishing skein of Cascade 220 (this was before my addiction to Cascade yarns had come to fruition so I only have one skein of this lovely red) will become a swatch and then eventually (I believe) a project at a Sandi Rosner class at Stitches South!
So, as you can see, I have been accomplishing a little bit on the knitting front. I've got to finish up my swatches for classes at Stitches South and then plan my route through the market (gotta make sure I hit all the vendors I want to). I'd love to finish my self designed sweater this month as well but I also need to label yarns before the May Atlanta Knitting Guild meeting when I'll have my table for the very first time. For now it's off to finish those swatches and pet a kitty :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Recently I have come into some new stash acquisitions and I would like to take this post to let you see all the yummy new yarns in my possession. Some are from my recent trip to Seattle and some are other avenues. Before I begin though I'd like to take a moment to admit something.

I have a torrid, unabashed, deep seeded love for Cascade yarns.

My favorites are not the fuzzy, novelty, super expensive or exotic. My favorites are 128, 220, and Eco +. You could probably throw Magnum in there too.

Even though these are considered "workhorse" yarns I cannot resist them. I've tried. I really have! But as you will see, I'm drawn to these yarns like a moth to a flame.

It does not bode well that when my super close LYS Rare Purls opens its doors in a few months they will stock Cascade 220 year round. Not good at all.

The first stash addition came from WEBS and arrived just before I left for Seattle.

3 skeins of Eco + in a bright fuchsia color
3 skeins of Eco + in lilac (both these colors are discontinued)
6 skeins of Cascade 128 in a bright green
6 skeins of Cascade 128 in Puget Sound (bright blue)
6 skeins of Cascade 128 in Sage (a little bit greener/brown in real life)
All of the above yarns were part of WEBS's major sale they have in the spring so I got all that yarn at a very decent price. Of course I wanted more but it was no problem when I went to Seattle to acquire some.

2 skeins of Eco+ in a burgundy color (from Canvas Works)
5 skeins of Cascade 220 in a very bright orangey red (even brighter in real life) from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas (on sale!) and already swatched for a Warm Woolies sweater KAL.
2 skeins of Cascade 220 in a sunflower color from Churchmouse
2 skeins of GGH Kid Melange from Churchmouse. This is a special purchase because I think I'm going to use it to make a lace scarf for a friend's mom (Brandi, what do you think?).
1 skein of MALABRIGO sock yarn in Abril. This is some of the yummiest, cushiest yarn I've owned. The socks I make out of these are going to rock. This also came from Churchmouse.
1 skein of Hazel Knits artisan sock yarn in Cami Chic from Hilltop yarns. Wendee (the dyer) lives in Seattle and works at the Hilltop East store!
5 skeins of Cascade 220 in purple heather from Hilltop
1 skein of Araucania Aysen yarn (silk, alpaca, and merino, yum!) from Canvas Works
And finally, 1 skein of Araucania Ruca in some beautiful Spring-y colors. This yarn is made from sugar cane and feels like silk! (Also from Canvas Works)
As you can see, I had great success with the yarn stores in Seattle (and Olympia and Bainbridge Island). And at all of them I managed to pick up some Cascade yarn :)

One final stash enhancement came from my Aunt Jenny. She and my Uncle Mark are getting ready to have a baby so they are clearing out some things from their house. Jenny's mom used to crochet but she had given it up. However, she still had some stash left over. Jenny asked me if I wanted it and I agreed (you can never have enough yarn). I thought I'd be getting a few odds and ends, maybe enough to make a patchwork blanket out of. Was I ever surprised when I got a 2'x2'x3' box full of this:
It's all acrylic all the time but there are sweaters, nay, afghans worth of yarn in there. I have taken pictures and carefully documented color, amount, and brand of everything in the box. Hopefully I'll get the pictures up on Ravelry but for now I'll spare you (there were a lot). I don't know how Jenny and Mark got all that yarn in the box because, even with careful repacking, it was bursting out of the top.
Here's my list I made as I took pictures:
The total count was 123 skeins of yarn. I'm speechless. I do have plans for several colors I found in there. And no worries Jenny, baby Britt will be well clothed for several (several) years.

The last thing I'll leave you with is not yarn related but just funny. Some of you might be familiar with the monorail cat. Well, it seems like we have an extension service running through my apartment.