Thursday, March 29, 2007

Stash Control

I think I need to join a self-help group and if you are reading this blog, you probably need to join the same group. If you knit, then you most likely hoard yarn. I know that my stash probably doesn't come close to some people's, but I could knit from my stash for years and not run out of projects. Most of my stash is yarn that has been purchased for specific projects with the exception of some felting wools and cottons for dishcloths. The stuff for projects is pretty premium as yarns go--stuff like Colinette (a lot of it!) and other hand painted wools, merinos, cashmeres etc. The reason I'm bringing this up is because I had added to my stash substantially in the last 2 weeks. Last night I took a class at Cloverhill in graphing celtic knots which required no yarn. Of course I walked out of there $80 later with a bag of goodies. I purchased 3 skeins of Cotton Fleece in Sedona Red for the Rusted Root pattern. This is the exact yarn I wanted and it was relatively cheap for a whole sweater! I also purchased 3 skeins of Cotton Classic for dishcloths. The real expense was the new Rowan magazine and the spring issue of Vogue Knitting.

Other stash additions: My hand painted yarn from Uruguay which I bought off of Ebay finally came and it is lovely. It rivals Malabrigo except it has a slight barnyard odor to it--sort of like "wet dog" smell. I'm debating whether or not to wash it before knitting.

It is variegated light turquoise and green--for the My So Called Scarf pattern.

The other major stash --soon to be FO--is the Hand Maiden Great Big Sea yarn that I ordered from Loopy Yarns in Chicago. This stuff is like heaven! It is worsted weight 50% silk, 30% merino, 20% seacell. The color is called pumpkin.

This is for the Sahara KAL with the Sexy Knitter's Club. Now I have to find beads to add to the yarn for the beaded bands. I am going to take a skein to Beadazzled to see what goes with it.

I did finish a lovely lace dishcloth called the Moss and Ivy dishcloth.

The color is much prettier than in the photo--it is more of a lilac color.

I've decided that I enjoy knitting lace. Of course I haven't done any really complex lace patterns, but I just bought the book "Lace Style" at Borders which has some nice patterns in it which aren't too complex.

I hope to start my KAL projects this week over spring break between cleaning the pantry and the living room. I also hope to finish 3 chemo caps by next week to turn into our knitting club.

Of course no blog entry would be complete without at least one kitty photo!

Here's Bar (otherwise known as Harley) doing the "cow."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Chicago, Chicago, that toddlin' town!

Not that I would really know! I just got back from our OAKE conference in Chicago this morning. I love it when people ask how the city was. Who knows? They put these conferences in cities with a lot to do and see then they don't give us time to do either! We bugged out of some sessions just to eat real food and one thing I do know is that Chicago is a place with a lot of restaurants! We stayed at the Palmer House Hilton which was a stunning hotel. The "El" ran right outside the door and of course I staked out the Starbucks in the area. I was a little disappointed with this conference. Typically I leave these things really psyched up over all that I learned, but I must admit to being ambivalent about many of the sessions I attended. The children's choirs were spectacular which was a major highlight, but they sure looked different than the groups of kids that I work with. The guest choirs were all from the midwest and they were totally lacking in diversity. It looked so strange to me with my students being of so many nationalities. The Chicago Children's choir looked like the kids at my school. I guess this sort of opened my eyes to why middle America thinks the way it does--at least politically. I think this is one of the reasons I'm so much more comfortable in cities--I like the diversity. I find it incredibly enriching.

So to temper some of my ambivalence, I decided to go to a yarn store. PHD Knitter had told me about Loopy Yarns and I discovered that it was about 5 blocks from the hotel so I went to check it out. It was a lovely little shop with some very nice yarns. I stumbled across the most unusual scarf pattern which I bought.

One of the employees was making this up in mohair. I looked at the sport and fingering weight yarns but didn't see anything right off the bat. While looking for something else, however, I stumbled across this yarn that is 70% merino and 30% cashmere! It feels like absolute heaven. It is a dusty turquoise color and I bought a bag of strung beads that are iridescent black with bronze, green and gold that will look fabulous!

The other yarn that I got was merino sock yarn. This was a large skein which is hand dyed and an unusual mustard color. I believe the brand is Fleece Artist.

There was some other yarn that I was dying to get. It is a new yarn by Hand Maiden which is call Great Big Sea. It is a worsted weight with a nice twist and the content is 50% silk, 30% merino and 20% Sea Cell. The color was a subtly variegated orange color called Pumpkin. I kept thinking about the Sahara pattern by Stitch Diva. The Sexy Knitters Club is doing a KAL with this pattern. I had looked at the Tilli Tomas yarn recommended on the pattern, but I didn't love it. I LOVE this Great Big Sea stuff! The quandry is what to do with the beaded neck, sleeve and hem bands. I just found that Berroco has has a sequins yarn which is just a carrier thread with scattered sequins which I could use with this yarn on the neck or I could add some beads which is most likely what I would do. I didn't buy the yarn because I didn't have my pattern and I needed the details. I went back to the hotel and looked for the pattern info online which I found. I thought I would sneak off to the store again on Saturday but decided against it. Well, I couldn't stand it so I just called the store and they have 4 skeins left which is what I need. I guess it is meant to be. They are putting it in the mail tomorrow! The KAL starts on April 1 so I may get an early start after I finish that blasted Pop Up Paw!

The other purchase at Loopy Yarns was that of two pairs of children's needles. I love short needles! They actually had quite a selection of 7 - 8 inch birch needles but I got the kids' ones in sizes 5 and 6.

I guess you've figured out what attracted me to them!

I finished my first dishcloth on the plane! This is the mid month KAL from the Monthly Dishcloth Yahoo group.

This is knit in Tatamy Tweed worsted which is a blend of 40% cotton and 60% acrylic. It was nice yarn to knit with. I started a new, lacy one in Cotton Classic by Tahki. I really like that yarn.

No post is complete without kitty photos. The night before I left, Harley pulled my bath towel down and made a nest!

It's back to the old grind tomorrow. Tuesday is a professional day, so I get to be a grownup again and go out to lunch! WoW! That's twice in one week only to be followed by spring break next week! Goodie!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lead me not into temptation!

That basically means that I cannot go into any more yarn shops--ever! Of course that won't happen so I have to start knitting like there's no tomorrow. I splurged a bit today. I went to All About Yarn after work today to get some cotton yarn for dishcloths. I am making some face cloths to go with handmade natural soaps for gifts. Anyway--as they always do--the lovely ladies there had rearranged things which means stuff that's probably been around forever looks new because you never noticed it there before. I had just received some patterns in the mail this afternoon and I walked by a basket of yarn that was absolutely perfect for one of them.

This yarn is gorgeous! It is Odyssey by Reynolds--100% merino. It knits to a subtle slight stripe. The color is more muted than in the photos--a light muted teal. I bought 9 skeins! That was a splurge. The pattern I'm making in this is Wicked in the long sleeved version.

I got a couple other patterns as well. One is a halter pattern by Karabella which I think I will either make in the Premier that I have or in Touche. Both are cotton/ microfiber blends that are very soft and comfy.

The other pattern was a Stitch Diva pattern for felted, beaded clogs! I've never seen clogs with beads! I thought they'd make great gifts! That same company puts out another felted clog pattern with crocheted flowers on them.

The next decision will be whether or not to participate in the Sexy Knitters' Club Knit Along. They are doing Sahara which I already have and love. I just don't know if I'm in the mood to make that one right now. If I see the right yarn, I may get turned on to it, but if not, then I'll pass.

I leave for Chicago tomorrow morning for my conference. I doubt I'll have time for anything other than attending the sessions. These things tend to run one ragged! I'm looking forward to it except that my shuttle leaves the hotel at 6 a.m. on Sunday! Yuck! The hour from hell! Fortunately I've already gotten the maps of O'Hare and the terminal I'll be in has 3, count 'em--3 Starbucks! All I could think of is getting into that security check-in line and having to dump my latte! There would most definitely be a terrorist incident if that were to happen! Fortunately the airport has caffeine near every gate!

Maybe I'll get another dishcoth done! It seems I'll do almost anything to avoid finishing that other pop up paw!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

What goes up, must come down!

Mikey's glucose level was normal today! The vet said it was too good so we will check it in 2 weeks! Finally!

It made getting up at 6:00 a.m. to give him his shot worth it!

Sammy is still having her love affair with Elvis. She still insists on getting up on the tank to watch him!

Even funnier, is that he was staring back at her! At first I thought it may be out of fright, but usually he jumps in the water if he's scared. He just stayed on his dock staring up at her!

So my friend Pheelya told me that the Celtic Knot Yarn Shop was having a St. Pat's Day sale today! Of course with a name like that one could expect something to happen on St. Patrick's Day! Being the most Irish one in my family, I thought I would celebrate and hit the sale. Having just joined a dishcloth knit along group, the need for cotton yarn provided me with a perfect excuse to do so! I found some interesting tweedy cottons.

One of them is a blend, but that's okay! The knit along sounds fun. You receive about 9 rows a day to start knitting and you have to guess what the design will be. You're not aloud to tell the group! I figured that 9 rows is enough to give me a break from whatever else I'm working on--but not so much as to take a lot of time! Today is day 2 and I missed day 1. Fortunately someone in the group emailed me those rows!

I also decided to get some goodies for my secret pal. I got some things that I would love for myself which means that she is getting some pretty premo stuff! Of course I cannot divulge that information here. One never knows who may be lurking in cyberland! I found some luxurious hand painted sport yarn for socks made of 50/50 merino and silk! I decided that my feet needed a treat, so I bought it! The skeins are from the same dye lot but they look a bit different so I guess I'll have to alternate them when I knit.

My splurge was on a pair of Beadles! These are bamboo needles with lampworked glass beads on the ends. WoW! Now I know what to do with my stash of beads! Anyway there were some really intricate ones, but I had to get these!

They're kitties!

Of course my kids celebrated the day in a more traditional St. Pat's fashion--drinking! Ems IM'd me at noon and wanted to know if I wanted to come over for green beer. I politely declined that one. Bird called me after "Kegs and Eggs" and imformed me that they were having a party at his place. At least he won't have to drive anywhere! They have too much Italian in them to party so hard today. They have always referred to themselves as "McWops!"

So I got home too late to do the corned beef and cabbage, but we will definitely indulge in that tomorrow--complete with the Irish soda bread! Of course for me no holiday is complete without music so I was delighted to find a Celtic Woman special on PBS. I guess I'll start that first dishcloth and see how that goes!

I guess my new motto will be--"Conquering the stash--one dishcloth at a time!"

"Erin go Bragh!"

Friday, March 16, 2007

Everyone's a clown!

At this house anyway! Ems always comments about how crazy our household is. I mean what would you expect from a bunch of artsy, free-spirited types? So anyway, in spite of the free spiritness that abides here--we have rules just like any other household. One of those rules is that if you use something up, you put it on the grocery list that lives on the side of the refrigerator. Last week Bird was home on spring break. So the items that got used up were not the usual ones. After all, a 20-year old male college student has vastly different taste than his middle aged parents. I will hand it to him though, he remembered the rule as can be evidenced here:

I can oblige him on the first three items, but the rest--well--he's on his own for those and I just don't want to know! That list has had me chuckling all day!

Sam has gotten interested in Elvis for some reason. Elvis is our water turtle. We've had him about 13 years! Ems found him in a local pond when he was less than an inch long! He's rather interesting, but dirty, dirty, dirty! Turtles poop a lot and I've gone through quite a few aquarium filters as a result! I found a good one that is clogged right now. Bottom line is that we have to clean the tank. Once that's done, I can add some fish--for a snack--and plants. When we tell Elvis that he is having some friends for dinner, we mean it literally! We did have another turtle named Fred. He was a mud turtle and not very nice. He didn't last long. I'm not sure exactly what made him sick, but we found him floating aimlessly in the tank, dead. Elvis is rather personable. He sticks his head up when you talk to him like he's listening! The turtles were named after dead rock stars. That was Em's idea. Anyway, Sam has been getting on top of the tank daily. I don't know what got her into this after all these years. She's been here for 7 years, so Elvis is nothing new to her!
Nothing like a sick day! Law and Order reruns, lattes, and taking pictures of cats!

Practical Joke!

The title of this blog is directed toward Mother Nature. How could she? Here we had a series of lovely 70 degree spring days and then, boom! It all came to a screeching halt! Yesterday, I went off to school with open toed shoes and a cardigan knowing that it was going to cool down that night. However when I walked out of work at 4:00, the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees and by the time I got to my massage at 5:30, it was pouring rain and freezing!

This comes at a most inconvenient time as I am getting sick and cold, wet weather does not help! I'm playing hooky today to rest. I feel like I am getting bronchitis which would not be a good thing since I'm going to Chicago in 6 days! That would just royally suck!

When I got home, I was greeted by the herd.

It's funny how they are. Anyone else walks in the house at dinnertime and they don't react in the slightest. The minute my car door closes, apparently they all come running and they are at the door like little kids! Even funnier is the fact that they don't meow or carry on until I am actually ready to feed them. They seem to know that I have to unload groceries and put stuff away. Once I've done all that, however, the singing and dancing commence! Mikey gets on the barstool to attempt to get in my face!

I didn't get anything done on the pop up paw last night. I crashed in front of the TV and stayed in bed late this morning. This is definitely one of the more unmotivating projects I've done. I need to finish it just to get it out of my hair.

When I came down this morning to fix my latte and crash on the couch, someone had beat me to it!
They certainly know how to spend a cold rainy day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Secret Pal 10 Questionaire

Goodie, goodie! SP 10 starts in 2 days and I can't wait! I love surprises! My Secret Pal can find my questionaire in my blog archives for the month of February. The post is entitled "SP 10 Questionaire."

I'm looking forward to the fun!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Spring Has Sprung (or so it seems)!

Everyone who know me, knows I love the snow. As much as I love it, though, I'm ready for spring. Snow helps me make that transition. It is just the natural progression of things. I don't know how people cope in climates that are the same year round. This weekend brought in some nearly spring weather that was delightful. No winter coat--just a heavy cardigan or sweatshirt! The kitties seem to enjoy it as well! I found Bar (Harley in formal speak), lounging in the sun on the dining room table in the construction site!

My friend, Cat came over yesterday for a trip to Savage Mill to get a beaded ID tag holder at ArtCraft. I had my biannual 20% one item coupon and was delighted to find the most gorgeous beaded bracelet. It is a Holly Yashi creation made with gold filled chain and Swarovski crystal beads. It definitely falls in the "why didn't I think of doing that" category. All the bead stringing that I've done and I never thought of putting the beads on wire between chain the way this is done. It is simply stunning! Unfortunately the photos just don't do it justice but it sparkles incredibly! Needless to say I wore it to work today!

I have to go do a mile or so on the treadmill. My metabolism has come to a grinding halt! I tried on some of my spring skirts in an effort to find the right outfit to wear to a reception for new NBCT's at the Board of Ed tomorrow night and everything I own is a little too snug! Bottom line is that I've put on 25 pounds in the last 3 years! I have never had to diet in my life and I eat a really healthy diet--lot's of fresh produce, no red meat, only whole grains and all organic. I hate the thought of dieting because then I actually think about food, which I typically don't do. I lost weight when I walked a brisk couple of miles everyday, so I need to get myself back into that routine!

Next week will be crazy because of all the end of season hockey stuff plus I'm going to Chicago for a conference so I better start tonight! After the treadmill, I can sit and watch 24! I guess I'll get the cuff for the second pop up paw done since I can do that on automatic pilot. Hopefully I can complete it for DH to wear on Saturday!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Vive la difference!

Okay--my apologies in advance as this post is actually a rant. The expression used as my title typically refers to differences between the genders but I am using it to refer to differences among people in general. This has been on my mind as we embark upon two weeks of MSA (Maryland State Assessment) testing in Maryland public schools. What do human differences have to do with standardized tests? Well, the pressure to have all students achieve a certain level on these tests is creating a culture of "one size fits all" education. It is depressing to see how these tests are driving every single decision that occurs in public schools. The only things that matter are math and reading. Period. I hate the thought of 6 year olds having to have 60 minutes uninterrupted of math and even longer in reading. I'm not saying that they shouldn't receive that much instruction, but it should be broken up into age appropriate time blocks. Kids cannot miss math or reading once a month for instrumental music which has a rotating schedule. Anything that doesn't support the instruction in reading and math is not considered important and takes a back burner. Are you interested in history or geography? Sorry--no time for that! Are you a budding scientist? Oops--no can do--but wait! There's hope for you because science testing becomes mandatory in 2008! Of course it will all be writing and not hands on, but, hey! That's okay! It's science! Are you a musician, artist or athlete? Sorry! You're just screwed! I mean--the arts? Ha! That's just frivolous play time!

The saddest thing is that the curriculum has gotten so academic that even the preschoolers are spending the majority of their time in math and reading instruction and they are not learning social skills. As a music teacher who teaches everyone in the school, it is easy for me to see trends in student behavior. I'm finding more and more that the younger ones just don't know how to get along, don't have basic manners and are completely lacking in the social skills that have traditionally been learned in Preschool and Kindergarten. I wonder if we aren't doing these kids a grave disservice in the long run. It seems to me that people skills are very necessary in the work world yet many of these kids won't have them.

Another curriculum issue is that curricula in all subjects is being made "teacher proof." By that I mean that curriculum is now scripted and everyone must be teaching the same thing on the same day following the same script. So much for teachable moments. What happens to the kid who can't keep up? What about the kid (and there are many) who asks a really deep question that takes the class discussion in a different direction? Oh, no. We can't allow that as we must stay on schedule. I fear that we are turning them into robots.

As a teacher in the arts, I really feel the pinch. With all the data showing that the arts help kids achieve higher test scores, why would educators want to trivialize those subjects? Don't we want kids to become creative thinkers and problem solvers? Of course I see it as one more conservative conspiracy. Teach them all to follow orders and not to think outside the box because they may rise and revolt! I also feel that the conservative agenda is one of seeing public schools fail so that we can institute a voucher program and send them all to private schools.

If I've offended any conservative readers--which I probably don't have, knowing my friends--I apologize. We need to do right by our kids. Education is supposed to prepare someone for the future and give them the skills they need to take care of themselves and, if we are fortunate, make the world a better place. I don't see that happening for my students and it makes me truly sad because they deserve so much more.

Some of us will always buck the system and I am one of those types. It gets tiring to have to fight to do what you know you should do and it takes some of the joy away. I feel differently when I'm with the kids because I enjoy being with most of them and I find it rewarding to see their musical (and personal) growth.

Okay. I'm done. Hopefully politicians will someday realize that they don't belong in the classrooms of America. Let them go screw something else up--something which hopefully won't have such major implications for our future.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

You can get IT on Ebay!

You've all seen the ads on TV and it's definitely true! Whatever you want, you will find it on Ebay! Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Ebay! I've bought just about everything on Ebay. It's sort of like a virtual treasure hunt! Half the fun is in the search! The best part is when your new aquisitions arrive in the mail! I received 3 parcels today so it was sort of like a mini Christmas with the exception that I had to actually pay for the goodies myself. The first two parcels were knitting related. The first one was 4 skeins of Karabella Breeze in the color Pumpkin which I found at Julie Poolie's Ebay store. I've bought from Julie before and she never disappoints! I've been looking for a specific color--sort of a mustard, burnt orange, spice type color--to use for the Ms. Marigold pattern by Zephyr. The pattern calls for Knit Picks Elegance which is a nice alpaca silk blend. I happen to have 4 skeins of that in burnt orange but the pattern calls for 5 skeins and it's been discontinued so I went on a search for a suitable yarn in the desired color.

Breeze is a 60% silk, 40% cashmere blend so I thought it would be a nice yarn for year round wear. I will have to swatch it. While it is a DK weight, there are 202 yards per 50 grams unlike the Elegance which has 110 yards per 50 grams. I'm guessing that the cashmere is lighter weight. I'll have to really check the gauge before starting the sweater.

Package #2 contained needles. One of my upcoming projects requires 24 inch size 6 circulars. I tyically use Addi's but the LYS was out of that size. I decided to give Bryspun circulars a try. I happen to love the Bryspun dp's that I have. They are warm to the touch and they have special points which are great for lace patterns. It seems that people either love them or hate them. I've been using my dp's for a lot of projects and I really love them so I figure that the circulars ought to be worth a try. I also picked up a set of size 10.5 dp's as well. I needed that size and bought them in Bamboo which I hate so I'll returen the bamboo ones.

My last package was the biggest treat! Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE Nanette Lepore clothing! It's just too pricey to buy at Nordstroms so I wait until what I want appears on Ebay in my size! Finally, the lime green linen cutwork bustier in a size 6 made an appearance and there was no way it was going to escape! I've been waiting for this one! It's appeared in navy and cream, but not the lime green!

The straps are removeable and this top has the boning and support to keep it up! I had purchased the matching skirt last summer at the Nanette Lepore boutique in Boston, so this will complete the ensemble!

Of course I don't need clothes but since my niece is getting married in July, I figured that to be a good excuse to get a suitable summer frock! Now I just need some bitchin' heels to go with it! I guess the next Ebay search is in the works!

Sunday, March 4, 2007

I got this quiz from Pheelya . I'm always surprized by these things! I guess I see myself differently than the results indicate!

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Shetland Wool. You are a traditional sort who can sometimes be a little on the harsh side. Though you look delicate you are tough as nails and prone to intricacies. Despite your acerbic ways you are widely respected and even revered.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

So much yarn, so little time!

The inspiration just keeps coming but unfortunately the day still has only 24 hours. I got my new patterns from Kpixie earlier in the week and I want to make all of them! The Rusted Root will probably be the first one that I can make since I already have the yarn. I've been sitting on 7 skeins of Classic Elite Premier in a lovely shade of lime green. I can't find the perfect yarn for the Ms. Marigold . The pattern calls for Knit Picks Elegance which I happen to have. I bought 4 skeins to make a scarf in the burnt orange color which I would love to use for this sweater but, as luck would have it, the pattern calls for 5 skeins. So I went on the Knitpicks website only to find that they no longer had that color. I emailed customer service and found that the color had been discontinued. Bummer! So I went to Cloverhill thinking that I might find a lovely Alpaca blend but found nothing. I want a burnt orange sort of spice color. The problem is that I get a color in my head then I can't find it. I also want something that will be soft against the skin so wool is out unless it is merino. There are some alternatives on Ebay. There is Debbie Bliss alpaca silk dk which is pretty nice. The color is redder than I like. I found the perfect color in Karabella Breeze which is a blend of 60% silk and 40% cashmere. Now that combination sounds simply glorious! I've emailed the seller with some questions about gauge. It is a little more expensive but it has 202 yards per 50 gm skein instead of 110. I could probably use only 3 skeins but would be inclined to order 4. I love these Zephyr Style patterns! They are all knit from the top down with little or no seaming and the patterns are extremely well written!

I have time to consider this since I haven't finished the second Pop Up Paw. I have to do that ASAP so I can knit something fun.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Ta da !

Finally! I've just finished the first Pop Up Paws glove. It turned out well except for a couple of flaws that aren't noticeable to the untrained eye. This glove is knit in the round on dp's but there are a few short rows which make the glove really fit the hand. With the short rows I have to turn the work and purl. The tension on the purl stitches looks much looser than the knit stitches which is not typical of my work. The other flaw is where I had to wrap the stitches to turn the work for the short rows. The pattern says to work the wrap with the stitch on the next row and that left a little hole on the back of the hand. It doesn't really show however. On the palm side one of the wraps is sort of loose. Oh well! The second one will be better. As far as patterns go, this one is extremely well written. It was my first attempt at gloves and I was pleased with the overall result.
My issue with this project is that it doesn't motivate me. It's simply a utilitarian item which is uninteresting --read "boring"-- to me. I like to do things that either have interesting patterns or are something that I want to wear. I'm now debating whether or not to take a break from the Pop Up Paws. I have a felt hat that I'm dying to make. That would take 2 or 3 nights then I could do the second Pop Up Paw. My fear, of course, is that I will never do the second one. DH wants to wear them on the 17th so I have a deadline which is good. I think that I will be a big girl, suck it up and just do the second one. At least the yarn, Plymouth Suri Merino, is very pleasant to work with. The hat will be my reward! A fun thing for ME!

Now--about the cats--I find it interesting how the siblings seem to know that they are siblings. Sam and Harley cuddle together yet they won't cuddle with any of the other cats. The same goes for Mike and Greg. They just seem to know who the blood relative is! Go figure!

Here we find Mike and Greg cuddling for their nap. But, wait! Where's Greg?

There he is!

I've never seen a cat who gets under the bedspread like that! I can always tell when he's been there. Often when I get home from work, I find the pillow shams in a dishelveled state. Apparently he crawls between them under the spread! I guess he figures if he can't see anyone then they can't see him so he will be left alone!

I guess I'll go cast on. Maybe I can finish this darn thing by Sunday!

Yarn Snob

Yes, it's a confession. I don't know whether or not there's a self-help group for yarn snobs or not. Quite honestly, if there is one, I'm not sure I would want to go. The fact is--I like nice fibers! I've always been really picky about the fabrics I wear--usually only wearing natural fibers so those preferences have carried over to my knitting as well. With knit items, the cheap stuff tends to pill and stretch out of shape as well as not being all that comfy. By "cheap" I am referring to quality--not price. I'm bringing up this topic because one of my friends-- PHD Knitter at knitting group last night commented on my last blog post that referred to yarn snobbery. As a "starving student" she said that she was unable to be a yarn snob. Au conraire, mon cheri! Yarn snobbery is able to exist at bargain prices! Here I will discuss sources for bargain basement, high quality, knitting fiber!

The two sources that everyone seems to know about of course are Knit Picks, and Elann. Both of these sources offer their own brand of high quality luxury yarns as well as other moderately prices knitting items. Elann also offers a lot of closeout yarns from the big manufacturers. It is worth browsing this site on a regular basis because the closeout stock changes and the colors are often limited so you have to get 'em while you can! My new favorite online store is Fabulous Yarn. This site offers luxury yarns with a 10% discount which rises to 20% when you hit $50. I don't think it necessarily fits into the "starving student" category of "budget priced" but it is a nice place to visit for the ocassional spurge.

Lastly, I need to discuss Ebay. Those of you who know me, know that I am an Ebay junkie. I'm sure there really is a support group for this one! I wrote an extensive blog about a year ago on myspace about this one! I buy clothes, shoes, cosmetics, books, household items, collectibles, CD's, DVD's, fabric, automotive items and yes--knitting needles and yarn on Ebay. The latest finds? Let's see--Addi Turbos for $4! Two pairs no less! Debbie Bliss alpaca/silk yarn for $4 a skein! And the newest one is the hand dyed merino from Uraguay! I haven't gotten that one yet but the auction ends in 3 days. The seller's store is called Handpainted Wool and their yarn resembles Malabrigo. They have a huge number of colourways. Other Ebay stores: Craft and Save, which is actually located in Rockville Maryland and Cucumberpatch UK, which is located in the UK. Craft and save has big name yarns that are 20 - 40% off retail. They are very fast in getting your order to you as well. I have bought Berroco and Debbie Bliss from them. Cucumberpatch has fabulous yarns made in the UK. I first stumbled across them when looking for Colinette yarns which are one of my favorites. I had made a sweater from Colinette and paid $26 a skein from a LYS. Fortunately it was a little bitty sweater which didn't require a lot of yarn. Colinette comes in 100 gm . skeins for those who aren't familiar with the brand. Cucumberpatch carries Colinette for $11 - $15 a skein and they have a huge selection--bigger than I've ever seen in a regular store! The shipping isn't bad either--$4.75 for first skein plus $1 for each additional. Other yarns which come in smaller skeins are less expensive for shipping. The best part is that it arrives in less than a week!

You can also find bargains in Ebay auctions. You just have to search for what you want. Search the manufacturer name first. If that turns up too many choices, add the yarn name. For example you might search "Berroco" or "Berroco Touche" if that is the specific yarn you are looking for. Don't use the word "yarn" in your search if you are searching a specific brand as most auction titles don't have the word "yarn" in the title. If you find something you like, it is worthwhile to "View seller's other items" to see what that seller is parting with. People often use Ebay as a way of cleaning out their stash and you can pick up some real bargains. I saw some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk that went 4 skeins for about $20 brand new. That yarn retails for $11 a skein so someone got a good deal!

So ma petit ami, go forth and be a yarn snob! It IS possible, even for a starving student!