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The Shakes

14 Jan

2015-04-24 00.07.47This meme is funny, any yarn crafter KNOWS this is funny – because it’s impossible (or so I was sure). HOWEVER, for more than two years, I have not bought yarn. I can’t remember the date, can’t remember how long it took not suffering when I turned away from temptation – but it’s true. I decided I really did have enough yarn as I had to downsize apartments, it gets expensive buying more while going unused, and I wanted to do more travel. So, with resolve made, I stopped buying yarn. I kept what I had – and even had to downsize MORE this summer with another move (just ask SusannMarie, she SCORED in my purge). Don’t get me wrong, I still have a couple hundred (under a thousand, thank YOU!) dollars of yarn in my closet. I would like to keep it that way as I’m now a poor graduate student.

But today, I saw ONE little tweet from NobleKnits announcing a great sale on Spud & Chloe Outer yarn. I’ve made some lovely scarves from this yarn and one I famously lost. I love this yarn and I love this brand. Even going to the website to find links for this post, I’m looking at the sale going, “Ooooo, pretty! Mohair! Be Sweet Handspun! Free shipping?!” How is this struggle possible?! Is it because I gave up frivolous spending this year? Is it because I got into a grove with holiday shopping and holiday sale spending? Is it because I’ve picked back up my needles? Am I avoiding the stress of a new semester and huge life changes?! Who knows. All I know, is I could use a smoke (not that I ever have) to calm my shaking hands and bundle of nerves wanting scrumptious yarn. Mmmm, yarn. I can smell it.

This just goes to show, you can take the girl out of weekly visits to her LYS – but it always comes back like a heroin habit when least expected.

Looking for an AA meeting,
-Stacy C.

“November Knits” Book Party – the scoop

18 Sep

Fresh off the presses!

I had an amazing experience during my lunch break today and it wasn’t even with food! I went to the Knitter’s Edge, my favorite LYS, to check out the launch of “November Knits” by Courtney Kelley and Kate Osborne. It’s not yet in stores but is rolling out through the fall, you can get it on the Interweave Press’ Website. The book literally came off the presses yesterday and I got to go to the first book party!!!! (Squee with delight here.)

This was honestly the best meet the author experience I’ve had with a book talk. Not only did they tell us the story behind the making of this book, the authors for each of the patterns, the inspiration for the patterns, BUT also an in-depth about each yarn a project was made and yarn substitutes you could use. We saw every pattern sample from the actual pictures in the book!

It was a wonderful experience to have because how many times have you looked at patterns in a book and wanted to know more? What the author was thinking, why they did certain things with patterns? It was neat to get into the mind of someone making a book for something that matters so dearly to you.

If you’re into warm knitting, projects that take little to a lot of time, this is a wonderful book. There are a lot of techniques too, my head was swimming at all the different types of stitches and designs in the book. If you haven’t seen it, yet, check out this link. I honestly think there is something for every knitter in this book – and Kelbourne Woolens just rocks!

I’ve also come to love The Fibre Company yarns and made these lovely fingerless gloves (post coming soon) using “Road to China Light.” Oh, how wonderful their yarn is to pet, work with, and wear.

If you want to know more about the beautiful Kate Osborne and Courtney Kelley, you can always check out what they’ve created on Ravelry.

Back to my awesome knit up sweater on a dreary day,
-Stacy C.

I’ve Been to Shangri-la and I’m Telling You all About it

11 Jul

I went to New York for a quick vacay and experienced one of the best legs of any vacation I’ve ever taken. I was as high as someone eating apple pie in the clouds and visibly giddy. No, it wasn’t shoe shopping, or even free Christian Louboutins (oooo – slap – focus). I was at the great and only Lion Brand Yarn Studio! This might sound like I’ve never been to a yarn store before or my Michael’s is closed for renovations, but that is not the case. I’ve been to my fair share of local and chain stores that carry my supplies but none of them were quite so magical.

First, if you haven’t been, you should go and plan a vacation around it. Second, if you get to go all the time, consider yourself on of the luckiest people in the world! Third, this is a long post, but well worth the magical read.

Before I went I did some research and checked out the website (of course) and took an online tour with the Studio Squirrels. These rodentia really know their yarn. The tour shows all the different parts of the store and sections of things you can look at and check out. I even saw one of them hanging out in the tea/coffee prep area but was sane enough not to ask to take a picture with it.

I walked in the door and saw all the yarn beautifully displayed in a wall organizer. All of the Lion Brand yarns are on display and not all are carried by stores. This is the best presentation of yarn I’ve seen because like was with like, but you also saw all the colors in that particular type of yarn.

Part of the Lion Brand Wall of Yarn

The store has a very homey feel with the hardwood floors, chairs at a big old wood table for people to knit on and also comfy ottoman’s strewn throughout. You feel instantly comfortable and inspired.

@LionBrandYarn tweep and me (@Stacyc55)

I met with the social media/Web guru and had a great time picking her brain about the store, the city, knitting and the Lion Brand, well, brand. I was pleased and surprised to find out how family owned and operated Lion Brand as a company is run. It’s such a prominent old brand, I sort of had the idea that is was big and commercialized as ones of its same age. It was nice to know how much the yarn lover is thought of in regards to the focus of the company.

The staff is the best I have ever met. They are so knowledgable and friendly. Everyone was readily available if I even looked like I had a question and they understood me groping the yarn skeins!

While there, I fell in love with the LB Collection yarns (not carried in any store other than this one). I had never seen this line in person and wanted to buy it all up, but I had to restrain myself – a little – and decided to get some Wild Berry Superwash Merino Wool. I could envision a beautiful sweater but wasn’t sure of what pattern to use, but I didn’t want to walk away without enough skeins. A little desperate, and not very hopeful, I asked a woman approximately how many skeins would it take in this yarn to make a sweater? If you’re holding your breath, so did I. Ye of little faith. She whipped this chart out of her Lion Brand Toolbelt and was able to figure out approximately how many I would need. Then I remembered this pattern on my iPhone I had (turned out to be the LB Sketchbook Cardigan) and her calculations were RIGHT!

My momentous visit

It was a great couple of hours spent in the store shopping, knitting, chatting and dreaming. I definitely think this should be on “One of the Best Stops in New York” lists out there, at the very least for crafters. If you can’t get to the store, don’t despair, you can still buy products online and have a moment when the postman arrives, but it won’t be as great as the real-life experience.

An LB yarn user for life,

Stacy C

Knitting with Intention – Prose

8 Apr

I recently combed through a large pile of yarn that was graciously donated to my knitting group. The yarn came from a woman who had recently passed and her daughter wanted the yarn to find a good home. I was excited when I saw the yarn on the knitting table spread out for the taking. I thought it was such a lovely and generous act to share the yarn with those who would truly appreciate it.

Upon closer inspection of the massive amount of yarn, I was overcome with sadness. The yarn was made up of small bits of remnants from finished projects, small bobbins, and many, many skeins that were ten years old.*

Just as I was amazed by the generosity of this gift, I was also troubled with the thought that all of the yarn on the table had not reached its greatest potential.

My yarn cabinet was sad

This encouraged me to pay attention and keep an inventory of my own stash. My yarn was not being treated with respect. I had bags on top of the over-filled bins, fresh from Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. These bags were jammed into the closet full of yarn and knitting supplies packed in there like a hoarder’s – or addict’s – dirty secret. My overloaded yarn cabinet looked like forgotten children not picked up from school.

I realized I had been hindering myself and my creativity! I was buying yarn because it was pretty, looked cool or that I might use eventually, the excuses were endless, and I wasn’t keeping up with the supply.

My desire to have lots of yarn was preventing me from finishing my current projects. My knitting bags were exploding at the seams! Not an atmosphere for creating, more like feeling overwhelmed with a knitting to-do list to get the pile smaller.

By no means am I advocating a moratorium on buying yarn, please don’t misunderstand! Every skein of yarn has a purpose. I’m encouraging us as knitters or crocheters to make it our responsibility to ensure its purpose is fulfilled after purchase.

I need a purpose!

If a skein sits neglected or forgotten for too long, do we somehow take away its integrity? We can forget the feelings that come from finishing a project, liberation, elation, fulfillment of giving and gratification, to name a few. Think of the person who receives the finished piece and gets the opportunity to share in some of those emotions. Even the yarn has the opportunity to be content because it has reached its potential. It is no longer waiting to be selected from the yarn stash or competing with our newest yarn that has our attention, it is complete.

Knit with Purpose!
– susannmarie

 

*For the record, the yarn that was so generously given has been given a good home. Our knitting group is sending many skeins to the Handmade Afghan Project. Almost all of the remnants were bagged and sent to my Mother’s Day Out program for crafting projects. The rest of the skeins were divided up amongst our group and will be put to good use…eventually.

Ode to Charisma

5 Feb

Think of the most creative or crafty person you know. If you happened to know me before May of 2010, I was probably not your top person or even in your top 10 list of people. I’m still helping some people get over the shock of, “You? Knitting? You can’t be serious.”

Well, I am creative and I want to share with everyone the yarn that spurred me to greatness.

Once upon a time, when I was first learning to knit, I wandered into my local Michael’s store to arm myself with the beginnings of a yarn stash. The isles that held yarn overwhelmed me and I stood there, clueless, trying to figure out what I was going to choose. I didn’t have a plan, project or vision to guide me. The only think I owned was a pair of needles and a plastic shopping bag that was my knitting carry-all.

As I walked down the isles looking into the shiny metal bins, a fluffy shade of colors caught my eye. I moved toward them and as I approached, I noticed these fabulous yarns were mixed with my favorite colors of brown and pink. I picked up a skein and was inundated with the thick, soft texture. A small shiver ran down my spine and a passion ignited. This is the moment my love affair of Michael’s Loops & Thread ™ Charisma™ started and when my fate in knitting was sealed.

The special blend of colors that gripped my heart was “Chocolate Cupcake.” This marvelous blend of supple pink transitioned into a shadowy brown, then a charming tan and finishing in an intense hot pink. I later discovered that this yarn allows me to knit on my favorite size needles, drumstick size. Not having a real idea of what to make, I bought six skeins of this vision in yarn that spoke to me.

I shared my discovery with my knitting group and everyone agreed about its soft, acrylic powers. After receiving validation in my new passion, I began my first real project – even following a pattern! – with a stylish vest for my sister. 

As I finished my project, the incredible sense of accomplishment overwhelmed me. I had managed to create something with my two hands and follow a pattern! I learned how to change needles in the middle of a project, frog and sew! I was on fire! After this first smashing success, I vowed to make as many projects as possible with Charisma™.

I’ve kept my promise and to this day, I’ve finished more than 20 projects using this special yarn. My repertoire now includes winter hats, scarves, fingerless gloves, cowls, and so much more. Charisma™ makes me look like a genius, a knitting master. All my fellow knitters claim I can sniff it out… what’s that? Is someone…?

I think so… Gotta go, someone just bought 2 skeins of Charisma™in, sniff, sniff, electric blue and… sniff, sniff, and cream. I know it.

Lateress on the menjays,
-susannmarie

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