Friday, June 27, 2008


One of the things I did during my blog hiatus was get hired on full time at the company where I've been working since November. It took six months, but my first official day was May 19. As a result, I now have benefits and honest-to-goodness vacation days. So I took a few days off earlier this week to spend time in Wooster with my favorite mom and favorite five-and-three-quarters-years-old niece, who's actually five-and-five-sixths-years-old now, but you try telling her that. :)

It's amazing what a little R&R will do for your knitting. Look at all this stuff I got done.

The first Brigit sock is finally done. It's sort of embarrassing how long it has taken to finish just the first sock, especially since I'd hoped to have these done a couple months ago. However, it's encouraging to have the first one completely finished. And gifted hand-knit socks are still gifted hand-knit socks, even if they're late, right? I'm using the Brigit sock pattern by Monkey Toes, Berroco's Comfort Sock yarn, and size 2 double pointed needles.

I FINALLY started my Brea Bag, which I've been waiting to do for more than six months. I've had the yarn for a while. It's Berroco's Ultra Alpaca, double stranded, on a size 9 circular needle. This first piece worked up so fast, and was really fun to do. I think this will be one of my favorite projects ever, and I have the most perfect fabric to line it with. This may actually be a knitted bag that I carry!

I finished the February Baby Sweater on Two Needles, by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I love this pattern and everything about this sweater. I used a size 3 circular needle and Handmaiden Casbah Sock yarn, so it's merino, cashmere, and nylon, and it's superwash. It's definitely a newborn size, so my new niece won't be able to wear it forever, but I'm still rather excited about it. All I need to do now is find the perfect buttons and make some complementary booties. (Saartje's, anyone?)

Maggie got to see the finished sweater this past week, and Tuesday night she was talking to her Mama on the phone. At one point she held the phone about six inches from her mouth and looked at me and stage-whispered, "Can I tell Mama about the baby sweater?" Since I was across the room, it was obvious Mama already knew about the sweater, so I laughed and nodded. It was very cute.

Lastly, to break up the deep red/purple monotony, I cast on my Twisted Flower socks by Cookie A. I'm using size 2 needles and Claudia's Handpainted sock yarn in Limeade! The pattern is heavily charted, which keeps me on my toes and is quite enjoyable. I'm already really enjoying this pattern in this yarn.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Amazon: What Is It?

Is it a river?

Is it a ginormous online bookseller?

Is it a mid-size Volvo produced between 1956 and 1970?

Is it the largest rainforest in the whole entire world that is totally in danger of losing its biodiversity due to the massive deforestation taking place and the vegetative carbon release that could accelerate global warming and totally wipe out all the baby polar bears?

Yes. It is all those things. But it is also an adorable female warrior!

So cute! (She looks just like me!)

But don't let the cuteness fool you. She broke this brick so hard the other half disintegrated. Let's see Chuck Norris do THAT!

She climbed this tree with no arms and still kept her spear in her loincloth. Impressive moves, this one.

Pattern is Amazon from Creepy Cute Crochet, by Christen Haden. I used the recommended Lion Brand Cotton Ease and a 3.50mm hook. She has button eyes and a Fimo clay spear. (How fun is it to make a wee spear for a tiny, adorable, yet ferocious Amazon warrior? SO fun.)

Anybody else wonder what (or who) she's storing in that pit?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts

After a long Sunday before Memorial Day at the Great Lakes Sheep & Fiber Festival, Knit Knack expressed an interest in visiting the new yarn shop in Wooster, OH, Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts. We'd been given coupons at the festival and were invited to stop by, so how could we resist?

Knit Knack explored some of the calla lily decor while Dani and I perused the yarn selections and Mom talked with some of the ladies in the shop.

We were all especially impressed with a baby blanket that Donna, the store owner, was making with some of her shop's yarns.

It was difficult to resist all the gorgeous colors of Berroco's Comfort DK, and for only $3 a ball, Knit Knack even had to ask if the price was a typo. It wasn't.

So we had to look at some more. Knit Knack tried to blend in so we'd leave him there, but it didn't work.

We saw plenty of great gifts in the store, too: baskets, soaps, cards, teas, chocolate, handbags, and more. Lots of nice things to see and to bring non-knitters into the shop, as well. What do you do with a non-knitter who walks into a knitting shop? Well, teach him or her to knit, of course!

Hey! Wow, you have to keep an eye on that turtle... he can convince anyone that it's time for a photo shoot!

I can't speak for the amount of Comfort DK that Dani purchased, but I walked out of there with just this one skein of Tofutsies sock yarn. I'll definitely be back again, though. (Can anyone say "Sunday hours"?)

If you're ever in Wooster, Ohio, and you have a little time to spare, I highly recommend that you stop by Calla Lily Yarn & Gifts. It's a beautiful and charming little shop on the square, with a lot of beautiful yarns, interesting gifts, and nice people. Knit Knack and I give it four thumbs up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TNNA 2008

Highlights from TNNA 2008

The People

The stalking continues. One of the first people I saw Saturday morning at
TNNA was the Yarn Harlot. We chatted a bit and she introduced me to Franklin, whom I'd previously stalked only on the interwebs. I also met Carol, my newest stalkee, who even added me as a friend on Ravelry so I can do my job even better.

We also saw my three-time TNNA stalkee Amy (from Knitty) and Jillian (KnittySpin!). (From left to right: Jillian, Wendy, Amy, me)

We also got to see Micheline from Louet. I'm glad we stopped by because this is her last TNNA. She's retiring! Click here for our BFF pick from last year. Micheline is absolutely wonderful and very knowledgeable, and we will definitely miss her in any future trips to TNNA. (Back from left: Lori, Bethany, me, Wendy. Micheline is in the front.)

The Books

I brought home another stack of books this year and here are a few of my favorites:

More Big Girl Knits
I've been looking forward to the arrival of this book ever since the first one came out two years ago. I love the fact that this book continues to give tips on how best to fit your own body and find the style that is right for you. There are some beautiful sweaters, tanks, socks, and even shawls in this book, and it's by Amy and Jillian from Knitty!

Knitting New Mittens & Gloves
This book is incredibly beautiful and full of new creative mitten and glove patterns. I'd looked through this book many times already and was really excited to meet the author and take this book home.

Knit So Fine
I'd only heard about this book last week, and I was really looking forward to reading through it. Bonus: One of the authors of this book is my new favorite stalkee, Carol! There are a lot of great patterns in here for people who are tired of everything being knit out of chunky yarn on size 15 needles.

Closely Knit
This book is so cozy; it feels like coming inside after shoveling the snow and snuggling up in front of a fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and your favorite movie. There are ideas for everyone in your family and gorgeous projects to suit a multitude of tastes. I can't wait to try some of these patterns.

The Stuff

You might not know it, but one of my favorite things about going to TNNA is helping to find new goodies to carry in the store. I'm pretty excited about some of the things that will be arriving this year.

Hiya Hiya Knitting Needles
I have to say that before this past weekend, I'd never heard of these needles. But some of the samples at their booth attracted me, and the ladies let me try a couple sets. They have tubular steel needles that are slick and smooth like Addis, but weigh absolutely nothing. Put a set of their double pointed needles in the palm of your hand and it feels like you're holding only air.

Even more exciting, though, are their 9" circular needles. 9 inches! The shortest circular needles I'd seen before were 12" and unbearable to use. Hiya Hiya had a 9" needle in a sock sample and let me try it. It took just a moment to get used to, and then it worked like a charm. I think a lot of my sock club members are going to get a real kick out of them. And they come in the tubular steel AND bamboo versions. I can't wait to get my hands on a set or two of my own.

Flat Feet by Conjoined Creations
Using a knitting machine, knit up two squares of natural-colored sock yarn, joined by a piece of waste yarn. Splash some purty dye on it, and you've got yourself the new concept of Flat Feet by Conjoined Creations. You knit your socks right from the square of knitted material.

Our store will soon carry this innovative new product, and we will also be one of 50 exclusive stores to belong to the Flat Feet Sock-a-Month Club. We'll be receiving unique colorways once every month or so for sock club, and I'm looking forward to thinking of fun new ways to share this yarn with the members.

Claudia's Handpainted
Last year was the first time we had Claudia's Handpainted yarn in the store, and both the sock yarn and the silk lace were big hits! We ordered a bunch of new colors (and a couple old favorites!) of sock yarn for this year.


I know I promised this post would be about the new yarn store in Wooster, but that will be my next post. To relate the two, I did see Donna (the Wooster shop owner) at TNNA as we were heading out on Sunday. See? It all fits.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm Back

Thanks for being so patient. Pretty soon I'll be able to tell you what I did over my summer* vacation**. But until then...

Memorial Day Weekend 2008 brought with it the same joys as Memorial Day Weekends
2006 and 2007. The Great Lakes Sheep and Fiber Festival was in Wooster again, and this year my friend Dani and I went up to spend the weekend with my mom and some fiber frivolity.

Knit Knack got a few of his closest friends (L-R: Curly, Meekins, and Chip -- Chip's from Canada, eh!) together to join us for the fun.

The boys got in a little trouble with a wool carder... Chip's always sticking his nose where it doesn't belong. Fortunately he was saved without too much wool lost, and we all continued wandering.

Mom and Dani made friends with a tiny gray bunny. Only $95! We almost took him home with us, but, as the common saying goes,
"Accidently winning a sheep at auction changes everything." Um, this statement transfers seamlessly to accidently buying a tiny gray bunny at a fiber festival. Trust me on this.

Knit Knack made a bunch more friends (and Mom came home with a bunch more sheep, enough for a whole flock! And I thought she collected turtles!), we found Lisa, our friend from Cincinnati, and we perused the crazy amounts of yarn and fiber at the Wayne County fairgrounds.

This next bit is a shocker, so you may want to sit down, if you're not already.

Everything I bought? Sock yarn. I know. But I warned you.

Sock yarn the first: Knitting Notions Classic Merino Supersock in Green Apple. I have been heart-ing this yarn at every GLS&FF and Wool Gathering I've been to, but somehow I always manage to find her booth after I've spent all my money elsewhere. This time I had money left, but the challenge was choosing just one color. I can't wait to find the perfect pattern for this yarn.

Sock yarn the second: Trekking Pro Natura in a strained-mango-apricot-puree shade. I'm not sure why this one jumped out at me like it did, but it did, and I like it.

Sock yarn the third: Fleece Artist Handmaiden (rock the) Casbah Sock. This stuff is 80% merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% nylon. And it's superwash! Supersweet! As you can see, this luscious, gorgeous, to-dye-for yarn is not meant for socks. It's meant for Elizabeth Zimmerman's baby sweater on two needles. (That's a ravelry link.) I am loving this pattern and hoping that knitting on size 3 needles is going to make a big enough sweater for a brand new baby girl. I've been wanting to try this pattern for a while, but didn't have a new baby girl to knit for. But, now I do.

To be honest, my mom wasn't the only one who went home with more sheep. The difference is, all my mom's new sheep have names. Mine don't. Any ideas?

In my next post, I'll tell you about the new yarn shop (new yarn shop!!!) in Wooster. New yarn shop! New yarn shop! Okay, I'm better now.

**blog hiatus