More Indiscretion

When last I left you, it was Friday morning.  I’d visited A Verb for Keeping Warm the night before and just sort of casually mentioned that I was about to head out to another yarn shop later that morning.  The second yarn shop was ImagiKnit, and it was a delight.

Now, first things first, they had a wee stack of Curls sitting out on the table.  And I know it’s horribly tacky to admit it, but I confess that does always make me awfully happy to see that in a yarn shop.  I secretly suspect anyone else who writes books gets a little thrill when they see their work hanging out in shops, so I’ll try not to feel too bad about the little happy dance seeing them always causes.

DSC_1368But of course the real show stopper was the yarn.  Piles and piles of yarn, rooms full of the stuff!  If Verb was spare and streamlined, ImagiKnit was delightfully exuberant.

DSC_1374Those are actually pretty much my favorite ways to organize a yarn shop.  Either have only a tiny handful of lines and have them all be awesome, or have oodles and oodles of yarn and let me go on a treasure hunt.  I totally got to do both on this trip.

And yes, yes I did find treasures.  The yarn report will happen shortly, as soon as everything is out of the suitcase and I’m caught up enough on life to find my camera and computer again.  You’ll be proud, I actually bought yarn with colors (shocking, I know, but true).

Indiscretion

You’ll have to forgive me.  I had all these grand plans.  While I was away I was going to take advantage of the pretty scenery to take oodles of sock pictures (seriously, I packed along socks in my carry on for maximum sock safety).  I was going to stumble across charming fiber animals (when I had my camera handy).  I was going to encounter nifty knitting-related stuff (also with camera to hand) in unexpected contexts and document it for you all.

But I haven’t.  Instead I’ve spent a fairly astonishing amount of time finding awesome restaurants, reading, just possibly napping, and generally relaxing.  Scandalous I know, but apparently necessary, as any time I tried to do something that looked more like what you might call work, I got hideously whiny and then stopped.

Though, in my defense, on the way to one of those awesome restaurants I did just happen to swing by a yarn shop.

DSC_1365Quite a lovely one at that.  Do you recognize it?  How about now?

DSC_1364Yup, that’s A Verb for Keeping Warm over in Oakland.  It’s not the biggest yarn shop in the world, but it does have one of the highest ‘I want that, and that, and yup, that one over there too’ ratings of any shop I’ve visited.  I swear about 95% of the yarn in that shop belongs in my stash.

And yes, yes I did happen to pick up a thing or two.  But I’m headed out to one more yarn shop this morning, and I want to see what happens to follow me home from there before I confess any more indiscretions.

TNNA

Well that was fun!  I’m back from TNNA.  (It’s the big industry trade show.  Yarn companies, tool & notion makers, and publishers go there to show off what they do, and yarn stores go there to see what they might like to carry in their shops.)  It was a blast.  I finally feel like I’m getting the hang of this (it apparently took me until my fourth show to feel comfortable at it, but I got there, so I’m calling it a win).

I did a few book signings, caught up with lots of lovely people I only get to see once a year or so, met scads of delightful new folks, and discovered some charming new-to-me yarns (you’re going to want to keep an eye on Fiberstory, I’ve fallen madly in love with them).  I may possibly also have brought lots of look books for the new book coming this fall (and sent oodles and oodles of them home with shop owners).  If your local shop went to TNNA, there’s a very good chance they came home with one.  I’ll be talking about the new book here over the next little while, but if you’re itching to know early, that might be the best way to find out!

Oh, I also came home with a little stack of books to review and give away, so we’ll be having some fun with that over the next few weeks.  Totally a productive trip.  Alas, I didn’t manage to take a single picture, but otherwise a smashing success on all fronts!

Commerce

Last time we chatted about the critters of the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival.  This time, let’s talk about the loot.  Now, I’m normally rather restrained at these events.  I just don’t go through much yarn (and when I do knit something, I like it to be in a yarn I can use for a pattern, and that imposes a whole new set of constraints on my shopping).  But I did find a few goodies.

The first is some long, wooden dpns.  I used to think I didn’t care for wooden dpns (and I still don’t like them at small sizes).  But then, when I was at the Japanese dollar store in San Francisco, I learned the error of my ways.  Really long (like 14 inches) dpns are amazing for hats and cowls and just about anything else.  The only thing I don’t like about them is they’re hard to find.

Until now.

DSC_0951One of the stands at the fair had them (plus shorter ones, plus crochet hooks, plus regular needles…plenty of good stuff to be had).  It took every bit of my self restraint not to just get a set in every size.  I somehow managed to limit myself to just one set of 7s, 8s, and 9s.

They’re from Twin Birch Products, and the only thing that kept me from buying them all was the reassurance that I could get more on their website if I found I needed them.  I’m sharing the link with you only on the condition that you promise to leave some for me and not buy them all for yourself.

 Edit to add: So…I hate doing this, but I need to let you know about a problem with the needles. I bought several more sets through the website, and the sizing on them was wildly inaccurate.  Like a set of needles, all labeled as size 3 (3.25 mm) had needles in it that actually measured at size 2, size 2.5, size 3, size 4, and size 5.  I contacted the company and, after several weeks and a follow up email, they sent some replacements.  These were also unevenly sized.  Between all the sets I was able to piece together something I could more or less use.  But there were enough problems that I wouldn’t buy these unless I could check them ahead of time to make sure they were actually all the size it says on the label.  The needles themselves are lovely and smooth…just the sizing was not accurate.

Now I also bought a bit of yarn too, but here the story is a bit more complicated.  First, let’s see the pretty.

DSC_0948Beautiful, aren’t they?  That top one is a 80/20 targhee silk blend in a lovely dk weight that will be perfect for thick socks.  And the bottom one is a corridale fingering weight with one of the prettiest dye jobs I’ve ever seen.  I suspect it will become some cuffs and a cowl.  They’re both absolutely lovely.

And they smell.

Not like sheep (which I would understand), or vinegar (that’s cool too), but like strong perfume or incense.  At the fiber festival (outside, in a stiff breeze, with the scents of critters and food vendors in the air), it was noticeable but subtle.  Once I got them home, it was a punch in the face.  There is no way I could work with the yarn in that state.

I tried emailing the address on the card to ask if they had any suggestions (or if I could replace it with unscented yarn), and my email bounced.  Then I tried going to the website listed on the card, and it’s down.  So I turned to twitter (and got lots of helpful suggestions).

I tried hanging them in the sunshine for a day or so.  No luck.  I tried washing them with my favorite wool wash.  No luck.  I tried a soak in vinegar, then a few more in wool wash.  That took care of one of them and helped the other, so I’ve not given up hope.  But really, it’s turned from ‘yarn I was really excited about and totally wanted to cast on’ to ‘huh, I wonder if this can be salvaged or if it’s a total waste of time and money.’

Now I realize I’m maybe too picky.  I hate almost all scented things and have a rather enthusiastic sense of smell.  So I thought I’d ask you guys.  How do you feel about scented yarn?  Have you ever gotten rid of or stopped buying a particular yarn because of the way they smell (I have actually stopped using one company’s yarns because they put a scent on them, and it means I can’t comfortably work with them or wear the things made from them)?  Do you have any other suggestions to get the scent out?

I really want to use this yarn, it’s beautiful, I just need to find a way to fix it first!

Critters

You know that thing where life sort of conspires against you and you decide you Simply Must Leave For A Bit.  There’s really not any choice about it, you just need to Flee.  Yeah, well, that’s been going on.  So last weekend, I fled.  I went down to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival with a friend for a bit of relaxation and distraction (plus a bit of scheming…because really you need some scheming in any good weekend).

As often happens at these things, there were critters.  Critters are quite good at providing distractions.  There were live silk worms (which I’ve never seen before and which were handled by a small child with much more equanimity than I could have mustered).

DSC00608Sheep and goats (and no, not I’m not sure which are which, I swear the distinctions between the two are rather more subtle than your average picture book would lead you to believe).

DSC00615

DSC00626

DSC00625Alpacas and llamas (again, I can never remember which is which, but I do know the critter on the leash there is named Puddin’, which should make up for my other failings).

DSC00619

DSC00618And even bunnies (which I always want to take home and train to serve as couch cushions…though I realize that plan would present some difficulties).

DSC00613There was yarn, too, but that will have to wait for the next post.  It’s getting a bit of a repair right now and I need to see how that works out before I can report back.

Decisions, Decisions

So, I’ve got finished knitting, I’ve got finished patterns, all I need is photos.  Luckily, I’ve also managed to flee my snowy, freezing home and come somewhere a bit warmer (not warm mind you, I’m still walking around bundled up in woolies, just warmer).  Looks a bit like this.

riseEven luckier, I actually managed to bring the knitting in need of a photo shoot (on the theory that it might be easier to find a spot to take pictures here than at home).  I intend to press my willing victim into service and get two patterns worth of pictures while I’m here.  So now, all I have to do is decide which pattern should come out first (one will come out next week, the other the first week of March).  What do you guys want next, socks?

socksOr a hat and mitt set?

hatNow full disclosure, if something goes wrong, or the pictures don’t cooperate (or if editing them is too much of a bear on the laptop), I reserve the right to be all contrary and ignore your sage advice.  But if you’ve got a preference, I’d love to hear it!

Conflict

What I want to do is tell you all about our trip and the lovely things we did while we were gone.  What I should do is tell you all about the new book that’s going up for preorder on Friday.  So let’s strike a compromise.  I’ll share three pictures from the trip (because three pictures of someone else’s vacation is all anyone should be asked to tolerate), and then we’ll talk about the book tomorrow.  Sound fair?

We spent an unreasonable amount of time watching the sky do this.

sunsetWe spent even more time climbing all over these rocks (the ones at the front were right by where we were staying, and we clambered allllllll the way down to the farthest trees).

rocksAnd we collected great heaping piles of treasures.  They have me pondering an art project in the style of Jonathan Fuller.  We’ll see if that comes to fruition, and if it does, I promise you’ll hear all about it.

sea glassSo there, that’s a reasonable amount of vacation to share and hopefully not bore you to tears.  And next up will be helpful info about the book and its upcoming release (hint, there are goody bags for the first folks who buy it).

Loot

I went to Rhinebeck and didn’t buy yarn.  I know this sounds a bit odd, but I get rather frazzled when I find myself somewhere crowded.  I bailed out after less than three hours.  I wanted very badly to be elsewhere, so we left.  Luckily, we were up in Maine after Rhinebeck, and Maine seems to be exceptionally well supplied with yarn stores.  I visited quite a few of them.

quinceOf course we went into Portland, which means of course we went to KnitWit, which means of course I bought yarn from Quince & Co.  Rather a lot of yarn actually.  That’s six skeins of Tern (three in Dusk and three in Back Bay) and three skeins of Chickadee in Kumlien’s Gull.  I’m not quite sure what might become of them (this will be a theme, I don’t tend to buy yarn with a project in mind), but I think they’ll all turn into something grand.

string theoryAnd as usual, we stopped by String Theory, and I had my yearly indulgence of impressive proportions.  My ongoing obsession with their bases and colors is well documented, and this should be a surprise to absolutely no one.  Along the back are Merino DK in Alexandrite, Caledonia, and Earthquake.  In the front is Blue Faced Sport in Skerry and Caper Aran in Canyon.  I got two skeins of each because I love them all dearly and don’t want to run out.  I’m just going to emphasize that if you have the chance to try this yarn, you really really should.  They can do no wrong.

maine yarnAnd of course we visited a few other spots as we wandered around.  We stopped in at Over The Rainbow Yarns in Rockland (when we were in town to visit out very favorite restaurant in all the world, Primo – if you are even sort of close by you owe it to yourself to go).  I grabbed a few skeins of The Fibre Company’s Road to China Light in Moonstone.  And we also popped into Halcyon Yarn in Bath (I told you Maine was swimming in yarn stores).  There I found something new, a mink yarn by Lotus called Mimi.  I’ve not knit with mink before (though the promotional material assured me this was animal-friendly mink, harvested by brushing the critters, rather than by anything less savory).  I’m going to have to do some reading to see what folks do with it, but it’s so soft I had to give it a try.

That seems like rather a lot of yarn when taken all together – quite possibly enough to make up for not getting any at Rhinebeck!  How about you guys, were any of you at Rhinebeck?  Did you manage to fight your way through the crowds enough to buy some yarn?  I saw lots of folks with bags, so I’m guessing somebody bought some!

Toasty

I’m clearly overdue to tell you about Rhinebeck.  My only excuse is that we’ve gone of on a bit of an excursion after, and, when faced with the choice between staring at my computer or gazing out across the water, the water wins.

But I have found one of the things I picked up at the show to be especially useful on the trip.  You see, I did an odd thing.  I didn’t buy any yarn at Rhinebeck.  I know this is a bit scandalous, but alas it’s true (don’t worry, I have remedied this on the rest of the trip and will report back soon).  Instead, I bought a blanket.

DSC_2427Here is what it looked like all tidily folded out of the bag, with the lovely Dashing Star Farm label all cute and sparkly.  Quite charming and respectably wooly.

DSC_2437And here is how it looked, crumpled and inviting, every time I popped out from under it for a minute to fetch a glass of tea or get a new book.  For you see, it is chilly here, and the blanket is warm, and I’ve been spending inordinate amounts of time snuggled up under it.

I’m really starting to like this blanket as souvenir thing.  Yarn is lovely and wooly too, but you have to do a bit more work to it before it’s ready to be snuggled.  The blanket is much quicker!

Gold Star

I have come to the conclusion that I deserve a gold star sticker for successful adult-ing over the last two weeks.  In that time I put a few hundred books in the mail, went to Detroit for a show, came home, put a few hundred more books in the mail, went to Toronto for another show, came home, and put the very last of the preorder books in the mail.  Somewhere in there I actually managed to do a few loads of laundry, cook a few meals, do a few loads of dishes, and take enough showers not to raise any eyebrows at the grocery store.

Apparently I didn’t quite manage to blog as much as I might like, but these things happen.

As for the Toronto trip, I did that most scandalous of things.  I left the big camera home and only brought the little camera, and even then I more or less left the camera alone while we were there.  Shocking I know.  Every once in a while it has to be done though.  We’ll have to settle for just one picture of the concert (the always fabulous Jukebox the Ghost…they’ve got a new song from their upcoming album on their site and you should go listen now).

jtg 6-26-14As for other activities while we were there, SOMA chocolate will always be worth your time, and The Boy assures me that the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company is also a good place to drop by if you happen to like sake (which I apparently don’t, but everyone has some flaw).  There was a small yarn indulgence at Romni Wools, a bit of breakfast at Lady Marmalade, and dinner at Indie Alehouse (fantastic).   But there was also a much-needed afternoon nap, because the thought of being all industrious and seeing more things made us both a bit weak in the knees.

At least in theory, things should settle down for the next few weeks.  Who knows, I may even actually knit something.