Friday, September 21, 2007

This Just In: From an Endcap at Michaels

Brian needed size 11s so he could start a pure Manos* version of My So Called Scarf.

We naturally stopped at Michaels so that he could get said size 11s.

We saw this on an endcap.

I say, it only figures Vanna White is a crocheter.

She has a whole line of "Vanna's Choice" yarns from lion brand. Dude.

The celebrity endorsed yarn was cutesy when Vickie Howell did it. Vickie is a real live knitting celebrity and designer. But honestly the Vanna yarn is just dumb.

Also, P.S. Though we didn't buy any yarn, I bought a copy of Big Girl Knits. I couldn't help myself.

*It is worth mentioning that the Manos Del Uruguay (in colorway Meadowland or something like that) Brian bought was from the Flying Fingers website. Recall our recent disappointment at the hands of their unadvertised vacation. Despite all of that, enclosed with the order was a personal note to Brian on a sexy sheep postcard and a sheep gauge counter dealy. Kevin and Elise, how you taunt us.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Barn Yarn Sale

As advertised (see my previous post) Brian, Knitting Group Sue and I embarked for the Barn Yarn Sale Saturday morning. A former Local Yarn Shoppe owner was destashing from her basement. Brian remarked that it might not be so bad to have had a yarn store and go out of business because you end up with the greatest stash of all time. Arguably, this woman totally had it and then some. And destashed for charity! All of her proceeds went to help build a school for children with autism.

We drove into the far reaches of New Jersey, sweating the whole way as we realized all of the good bargains might be gone by the time we got there. At 10:30 we finally pulled into the parking lot of a spectacularly green farm. Just magnificent, really.

Brian's excitement was so great he had to keep his eyes closed.

There were many cars parked, which led us to believe the great bargains were already gone.

However, the real magic was not outside on the tables, but inside the house. So, really it wasn't a Barn Yarn Sale at all, it was actually a dining room yarn sale. Go figure.

Look at all of that Koigu!

It was really difficult to choose from the great things for sale. A lot of cashmere, fancy merino blends, etc...

And, to be honest, the true magic wasn't just in the deals it was the sheer variety and quantity of Out of Business LYS things available. The volume of things for sale was astronomical!

Novelty yarns coming every which way!

A mega ton of sock yarn.

Mini skeins of Koigu that totally delighted me, though I could find no practical use.

There was knitting paraphanalia everyhwhere you looked.

And an entire dresser full of knitting magazines from the last five years.

I developed a serious crush on this French Angora on the cone.

It was $200 for the cone. I decided to adopt an Angora Rabbit sometime in my life instead.

She even had partially knit kits available!

And, for the seriously lazy knitters, some FO*s!!!


Ultimately, I got some great deals but came out mostly unscathed. Like yarn, I also have a thing for collecting totebags and got a super cute one for $2 and a super cute picture for my chicken themed kitchen.

My favorite bargain is something I never would have been able to get for such a deal anywhere else. You know that glittery type of string you can thread along your knitting to give it an extra bit of glitz? This is just up my alley, and yes, I already have a skein of it at home. Well, I got a whole freaking bag of those skeins and for the sum total of $10!!!!

The pink is my favorite.

I got two skeins of blue koigu for socks and a random skein of Cascade something or other that was too sumptuous to pass up.

Brian scored some nice merinos and a bag of Rowan tweed.

This is only the second time in our friendship I have spent less on yarn than Brian has. Technically I spent more at Knitting Nation two weeks ago, but half of what I spent was on Brian's birthday present.

However, the greatest moment of the day was when all of Sue's wheeling and dealing paid off and she got 52 skeins of great wool for felting for $3 a skein! It is single ply and bulky so it felts up really well. I jokingly asked the woman if she would throw in the storage bin and she did!

Ironically enough, Sue began our trip by telling us she didn't have a stash... What a way to start!!!!

*Finished Objects

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Best Knitting Treats Ever!

Holy crap!

These are truly the most wonderful cupcakes ever!

Click here for the full entry. She even includes a tutorial!!

I am allergic to wheat so I can't have regular cupcakes. But give me a little flourless chocolate cupcake action and four hours to spend knitting individual cupcake toppings and I am all over it!!

Maybe I really will make these cupcakes for our Wild Jersey City knitting group!

[ETA: Ellen totally beat me to the discovery, though I didn't read her post until now...]

Today I received the following email:

Subject: [jerseycityknitting] Big yarn sale in NJ this weekend
To: jerseycityknitting @ yahoogroups . com

A friend of mine who lives in Princeton asked me to pass this along:

I got a call yesterday from Lee who used to own the Glenmarl
Woolworks in Princeton. She's got more yarn than she knows what to
do with and is having a giant sale out at her farm - details below.
Feel free to pass it on to anyone you think might be interested.

GIANT YARN (yard & barn) SALE
Saturday & Sunday
September 15 & 16 (Rain or Shine)
9am to 3pm (no early birds please)
139 Route 604 - East Amwell, NJ
(between Ringoes and Sergeantsville)

fine yarn, knitting needles, books, notions, patterns, coned yarn,
spinning wheels including antique walking wheel, spinning fibers,
looms, equipment, handpainted needlepoint canvases & completed
needlepoint pillows, coned yarn, cashmere & novelty yarns...Koigu,
Rowan and lots more... including saddles, harness, computers, office
furniture & IKEA shelving...

Listen, I know I just went on a yarn binge two weeks ago, but the turmoil in my life continues, so I am doing more yarn retail therapy. Plus, how often do you get an invite to a YARN YARD SALE??? With Koigu and not just a bunch of late 70s acrylic leftovers from someone's Nana's attic?

I am picking Brian up at 9 AM Saturday.

Pictures forthcoming.

I certainly hope there is a sheep to go along with the barn.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When Crochet is Cute

Both myself and Brian constantly criticize crochet as an "inferior fiber art" and "just a whole bunch of flat knots". It's true, our derision of crochet is all over this blog.

However, I am here to tell you the universe is conspiring to change our minds about crochet.


Go look at her star afghan! Go look right now! That truly makes me want to learn to crochet it is so cool. Honestly, I have no idea with what witchcraft she is able to make that star happen but it is truly truly cute beyond words.

Edit to Add: I just got Spindelicious to give me the pattern for it. It is located here clickie but I am not sure if the pattern is written in english? I mean, what is the deal with crochet patterns I just don't understand. dc=ch 3? Huh? I feel like I am trying to read bytes in a series of 1s and 0s and it just isn't coming to the fore. I think I am going to have to get a real crocheter to help me learn how to read a pattern before I have any hope of star afghans in my life.

Also, Spindelicious totally spins amazing yarns located at her etsy shop. My favorite is Parisian Candy.


Angie from my knitting group showed up crocheting. Once we all got over the shock, we realized her crochet basket weave pattern looked very much like knitted basketweave and she went very quickly along on her blanket. I think the gauge had a lot to do with it (thin, maybe DK weight yarn and small hook) but still, it was just as good as knitted basketweave and clearly more efficient.

I don't know if I will ever quite get over the Traumatic Event from our trip to AC Moore when we were first learning to knit. There were crocheters there who knew we were knitters and they talked derisively about knitting while we stood just one aisle over. Oh, I can't stand knitting! Those needles clacking together? It just GRATES my nerves! Right? I mean, our first introduction to crochet was marred by this. Also, that woman had crocheted a cozy for a toilet paper roll. I can think of a million other things that need warming in a household before toilet paper.

Anyway, I am starting to change my mind.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Brian's Birthday Yarn Binge

Though Brian's birthday isn't until September 13, I thought it would be fun to go on a yarn shopping trip. We hadn't been yarn shopping together in quite some time and also I owed him from some ebay destashing I helped with when he moved a year ago. Brian took an hour and a half train ride up to Jersey City from Princeton (it usually doesn't take that long but it was a holiday weekend) and we had a lovely brunch at a French restaurant I LOVE.

After breakfast of lamb sausage crepes, we proceeded on the hour and a half car journey up to Tarrytown, NY.

View Larger Map

We went through New Jersey to try to avoid the traffic in the city on Saturdays. We failed and hit traffic anyway.

Once over the Tappan Zee Bridge and onto our destination, we cruised Main Street in Tarrytown and remarked that the new location for our favorite LYS* looks just like the old location for our favorite LYS. However, as we went down the street looking for Flying Fingers, we had a hard time finding Wooly Wooly, the Fiber Glass Yarn Ball Sheep that is so ubiquitous of Flying Fingers. We thought for certain she would be in the front window.

All we found, however, was the following:

Yes, it appears that they are decorating in craft paper and with no warning from the Flying Fingers website, everyone related to the yarn store is on vacation and we are stuck in Tarrytown with no yarn to drop bills on.

We felt like this:

However, I am a travelling attorney and I have done my share of closings in the Greater New York City area (and beyond) and my legal assistants know to hook me up with directions to the closest LYS to my far flung closings. This once led me to a barn in the middle of nowhere, but I digress.

I have had the pleasure of visiting Knitting Nation twice previously, and it is located just over the Tappan Zee bridge (from whence we came) in Nyak, NY. I went to this store once right after they opened and bought materials for my first socks and once again a little over a year ago. I was always impressed by the yarn and the book selection.

This time, however, they really outdid themselves. The store was full to bursting with yarn, sample projects and the bookshelves were overflowing. We were giddy and spent at least 2 hours in there poring over potential purchases and giggling over new yarn content since the last time we had any sort of yarn binge.

We both bought sock yarn with Chitin content. Tofutsies had a ton of colorways and it was really difficult to decide which one. Brian got a great beige colorway that I convinced him to get because how often do you really find sock yarn in a great muted colorway like that? Mine was a pretty outrageous color.

I grabbed a stack of books I wanted to look through. Not only did they have virtually all of the Elizabeth Zimmerman tomes, they had Barbara Walker, too. Some LYSs just have a few pattern booklets and the major "new guard" knitting books. I had been reading a lot of blog posts about the new guard versus the old guard and I wanted to see for myself. Obviously, I have only been doing this for about three years and have enjoyed immersing myself in the new knitster culture, but I also want to know where we come from and get a feel for it myself.

Nicky Epsteins Knitting on the Edge series reminds me a great deal of the Barbara Walker treasury I looked through, but I don't think I have found anything contemporary that reminds me if the Elizabeth Zimmerman series. I would really like to read her work in depth because the mathematical concepts are so intriguing. If only I could get my mother (a math teacher with a pHd) to read knitting books though she does not knit.

Brian scored some Noro Silk Garden (not on sale) as his birthday present from me in a fantastic colorway, both masculine and colorful, we both got some Classic Elite Miracle on sale, the aforementioned crab sock yarn, he got a couple of other yarns on sale, I bought some magical pink fuzzy yarns that looked so good I almost don't want to knit them and instead put them in a vase. For $20 on sale I was really excited to get all this pink yarn.

The anniversary sale is totally the best time to "stumble in" to Knitting Nation, even though the proprietess does not wind yarn on the ball winder when you buy stuff on sale.

Anyway, our day was not a total bust even though we are still sort of pouty about Flying Fingers not even putting a note on the website that they are closed for Labor Day Weekend.

Check out our whole Yarn Day Adventure at this flickr set!!

*Local Yarn Shoppe

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bunny Hat!

I have an FO*!

I knit up this hat a couple of months ago when I first purchased the book "Itty Bitty Hats". It is the Bunny Tail pattern. It knit up very quickly, I believe I was finished in about 3 days of off and on knitting, and all it required was a circular size 7 needle** and some 7 double points. I even used STASH YARN. The yarn is Plymouth Encore DK colorspun in a grey and pink and white colorway. Brian and I both bought some on one of our Smiley's yarn riot binges (where you buy yarn quite literally by the garbage bag full). I note that there is a yarn riot next week and I am so not going.

I believe I initially intended this yarn for socks. I double stranded the yarn which resulted in a really pleasant subtle color change. It took less than 2 skeins and I am pretty sure I still have more of this in the stash, so it may still end up being socks.

I was looking all over for the hat, since I had knit it with my cousin's baby Pahtoot in mind and she recently mentioned Pahtoot has outgrown most of her hats. I finally found it this weekend and wanted to add a face, so I made a couple of bobbles out of stash yarn for eyes (embroidered pupils) and a couple of bobbles for the nose and then a short three stitch i cord folded in half for the teeth. I hope I secured them well enough so that 14 month old Pahtoot can't rip off the bobbles.

Rusty was a reluctant knitwear model.

This is Pahtoot at 6 months in the arms of her momma, my cousin. She is sooooooo cute.

I bought a Tulip Cardigan kit and will be knitting it up for her.

In other news, I was extoling the virtues of Ravelry to Brian this weekend and he is now on the waiting list!!
Found you!

* You signed up on Yesterday
* You are #30899 on the list.
* 19406 people are ahead of you in line.
* 202 people are behind you in line.
* 36% of the list has been invited so far

*Finished Object
**At the time most of my Denise circulars were in use so I actually bought the required 7 circular (worth investing in because virtually all of the patterns in the book require that needle and I intend to knit many of those cute hats).

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wild Jersey City Girls

The first thing that comes to mind when the subject of "wild and crazy times" surfaces is not likely your knitting group. This would change were you to move to Jersey City and knit with these wild ladies.

For example, we went to the Hoboken event for Worldwide Knit in Public Day in June. Hoboken is the next town north of Jersey City and a quick Light Rail trip away. Everyone had blankets and chairs and it was a grand ol' time.

I brought Macy because she is a dog that enjoys fiber arts.

We met a woman who is pictured here using a nitty noddy.

Apparently she spins fiber while on her commute to work. Something about using a drop spindle while she walks to the PATH station, standing on the PATH using a drop spindle and walking to the office from the PATH. I imagine this is not a rainy day activity. You can see video here of using a drop spindle and I am still trying to imagine being coordinated enough to do that while walking and, say, avoiding being hit by a car.

The darkening skies did not scare us off, but they did break up the rest of the crowd. We simply decided to proceed on a yarn crawl and go check out Patricia's Yarn's new digs. One of her store workers gave out 10% off coupons which was definitely an incentive.

Macy approved of the new store and selection of yarn at shih tzu level.

Sue and Babs discussing which yarn to stash.

Barbara, aka Babs, suggested we get lunch and after knitting in public, she ate naked in public. This is a photo of her just after finishing the naked portion of her afternoon.

Sue and Kim just had regular burritos.

Our knitting group doesn't just go for the public nudity, we also do crazy stuff in the restaurant we call our home base. Though the group has existed since January, 2005 (there is another group that has been meeting in Jersey City longer but when we started no one could find anything out about them online) we have only been at Beechwood for about a year. The service is atrocious and usually their pastries are a few days old, but they serve dinner and usually have plenty of space for us. Plus, they don't mind when we do crazy stuff like convince Beth to bring her swift and ball winder and go to town.

We are usually an every other week group, but lately have been going on our "off weeks", too (right, we're getting totally unpredictable). What is funny is we see Beth on our "off weeks" at other groups. Once she was with her moms who knit group and she was with her book group (and about 8 bottles of wine) a couple of weeks ago. I can't wait to surprise her on a Wednesday and see her with her motorcycle affinity group or something.

And I'd like to leave off with a shout out to Spanky, Last One Skeining's betrothed, who totally bought LOS the beautiful knitting bag she is modeling in my below post. She deserves the awesomest boring brown stockinette stitch sweater ever.