Monday, May 26, 2008


In the last 5 months 3 of my local yarn stores have closed or are in the midst of closing. The first was The Rug and Yarn Hut -- 10 years ago I learned to knit and this store was easily the one I frequented most. At the time there weren't as many yarns stores close by. Besides the Rug Hut here was also The Knitting Room, The Braid Box, Continental Stitch and Uncommon Threads. In the 10 years that followed The Knitting Room relocated (still in the area), Knitter's Studio opened, and so did Commuknity, Yarndogs, Full Thread Ahead, Purlescence and Bobbins Nest. Yarn Place opened and carried it's own line, and The Braid Box was sold and moved across the street to become Knitting Arts. About a month ago Knitter's Studio announced it's closing and last week so did Knitting Arts. From 5 to a dozen, now down to 9 there are still many choices for a south bay area knitter such as myself. So why do I feel sad?

Today I went to Knitting Arts to see what was to be had on the 3rd day of their "Going Out of Business Sale" on a busy Memorial Day weekend. They decided to just put the whole store on sale for 30% off -- yarns, notions, books -- patterns were 50% off. I was out of town for the long weekend so it wasn't until after 2pm that I finally made it into Saratoga. The place was almost empty, bereft of its usual splendor. At the other closing sales I made small token purchases. At the Rug Hut I came by twice to see Karen but missed her both times, I bought 3 balls of a 50/50 silk and merino blend and a book I already had. At Knitter's Studio I bought 4 sks of Malabrigo cashing in my Frequent Knitter's card. That's it. The Rug and Yarn Hut's closing didn't come as much as a surprise, it was slowly coming to an end anyways. I didn't really frequent Knitter's Studio all that often although I usually bought when I did. And Knitting Arts? I came pretty regularly, I rarely missed a sale and for a couple months our group was meeting there. As I walked around the store looking for what was left of the pink, I began to stuff my basket and found that I couldn't stop. I brought home 6 sks of Misti Alpaca Chunky in a rose/gold twist, 6 sks of Alchemy Vita in a pinky mauve, 21 sks of Rowan All Seasons Cotton in a medium pink, 4 sks of Rowan Purelife in a nice rosey pink and 3 sks of Cascade Quatro because it had pink in it. After that I made another pass around the store and found 3 balls of Rowan Kidsilk Spray in taupe and 2 sks of Alchemy Haiku in almost the same colorway. There was a bundle of Lorna's Laces roving in Tuscany, a felting kit and at the register I found a lovely pink glass button. While waiting in line I perused a nearby basket of beads and found 7 tubes of rosy red ab and 1 tube of pink. I just couldn't stop. Was it the because of the 10 weeks of stash dieting? Through the years Knitting Arts sponsored many events and classes none of which I had attended. I came in only to pick up yarn whether at a sale or just when I needed it. And now it's all but gone.

When I left I almost went to Yarndogs. I wanted to go in and just check its pulse, see if it was okay. There are other yarn stores that are close by. I can't possibly visit them all, but by choosing to support a small portion I guess I cast my vote on who gets to stick around. However, if it were up to me, my vote would have been to keep Knitting Arts, it will be sorely missed.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Game Over

10 weeks. That's how long we lasted. A couple days ago Cris and I mutually decided to end the game. You read the rules. Here's how it actually went. When we first started this both of us were getting ourselves organized on Ravelry. We were uploading our stash, queuing patterns, finding yarn for the patterns. But sometimes we didn't have the yarn for the pattern. So when Cris wanted yarn for her Urban Aran she gave me a bag of Silky Look and I let her buy it. Then when I wanted yarn for my Sahara I gave her some Suri Alpaca and she let me buy it. And when I had to use (or lose) my frequent knitter's card from The Knitter's Studio she bought yarn with me (I mean, what are friends for). Before she left for camp stitches I bought yarn from Webs so she would have a budget. While at Camp Stitches she bought extra yarn so I wouldn't be so far behind. See what such good friends we are? Through it all we knit. We had to and that was the problem. We HAD to.

But that's all over with now. Now I can knit what I want (and not weigh what's left or base any considerations on the game). And what I buy, I buy, period. Although I do like the idea of keeping track of what I knit. And weighing that against what I buy's not a bad idea either. Ravelry helped us both examine are stash and use it. This isn't the year to reduce the stash for me. But maybe, I'll make better selections. Maybe I'll buy smarter. I'm going to keep track this year. See what I do knit. I'll adjust the stash reduction to count the whole thing as I finish (not just what was knitted since March 5th -- so there'll be adjustments).

The Lamb's Pride above? That's what I picked up at Green Planet Yarn last night at our knit group. Cris and I both let loose. I'll use it as the main color for Candy, the contrasting color I already have in my stash. ;) Oh, and when we ended the game, I immediately ordered a lace sampler from Knit Picks and some odds and ends from Discontinued Brand Name Yarn. Not sure if I'll continue to track of stash additions...I don't think the side bar is long enough.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Strength is Irrelevant

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
Remember the Webs 2 month sale? The one where they would announce one set of sale yarns in April and another whole new set in May? I perused the list in April and came out unscathed. I resisted, I was strong. This month's list? Not so. Firstly, there was the last 20 balls of soft pink chunky cashmere from Debbie Bliss. Perfect for a Wanderlust Hoodie. And having just finished Lady Eleanor, I just had to have more cashmere -- even if it was a mere blend. DB's is extra soft and cushy. 1420 yards.IMG_2412Then we have Sulka from Mirasol. More of a heathery lilac pink. Who could resist this alpaca, merino, silk blend? I can't believe this is worsted -- it's pretty thick. At 1870 yards (yup that's 34 balls) this will be enough for the Tweedy Aran Cardi by one of my favorite designers Norah Gaughan. Right, the game. Yeah, I've fallen way behind. The knitting machine's looking mighty attractive these days. However, my buddy Cris is at Camp Stitches this week. She purposefully left with no room for yarn in her suitcase. However, I received a text message that she arrived safely and that she was encouraged to buy another suitcase and fill it with her purchases. That could even things up!
And yes, I've noticed -- only pink yarn is worth losing the game.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Lady Eleanor

Originally uploaded by theblairgirls
All done with my version. Since I only had half the amount of yarn I reduced the pattern from 7 rectangles per row to 5. I estimated this would make it about 6 ft in length. I was close, in the end it came out to 5.5ft. I love how the colors change and I'm glad I found a pattern worthy of this yarn. The yarn, Classic Elite Embrace is 100% aran weight cashmere.
IMG_2341 This is how close I came to running out of yarn. That little bundle to the left of Elsa's nose is 4yds. The thing is, if I didn't have enough for the last row of triangles then I would have to go back 2 full rows of entrelac in order to finish. Each row of rectangles is offset from the other, causing one row to have 2 end triangles. The shawl must end with a row of 5 triangles. This caused much consternation while knitting. I was on the last row of 5 full rectangles when I thought I may not have enough. As I knit I watched the ball slowly wind down. Half way through the finishing row I didn't think I'd make it. I knit faster, needing to know the outcome and this is how it ended. I actually knit the last row twice, the first time I knit it the gauge was all wonky and it ruffled as seen here w/ Elsa. The next morning, knowing I had enough, I frogged the last row and reknit it, s-l-o-w-l-y, and w/ smaller needles.
Since I started this before the game only the remaining 4oz of the ball count. Less the 4yds, 280yds.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Make Mistakes

The Yarn Harlot was at the Maker Faire today. When I found out last week that she was coming I bought tickets for the whole family. K and I brought our knitting and enjoyed her talk while L and the hubby checked out the mouse trap.

I was knitting merrily along on my socks and turned a heel while listening and casting sideways glances at K to see if she was enjoying herself (she was). Afterwards we got in line to have her sign my book. I wore my olympic effort and introduced K. I didn't make the blog...but she did.

Later there was a knit-with-the-Harlot event. I had trouble finding it and got there late. I stood in the back and got this shot as she was talking to Jasmin -- can you see Jasmin? -- she's the one with the pink hair. Jasmin also scored some lovely pink handpaint. Better her, than me.

The Harlot finally got a mic and I finally got a seat, but I wasn't paying attention. I was lost in this mess. After the heel I found that I had made a mistake so rather than take out the entire heel, I strategically dropped a few stitches.

And correctly knit them back up. What happened was somewhere before the heel flap I got off by a row (or two) in the pattern -- it's cabled and when cabling you do your crosses on one row and on the following row you rest (knit the knits, purl the purls). I must have crossed when I was suppose to rest, resulting in well...something I couldn't live with. So it had to go.

Other mistakes? Earlier this week I got tripped up at a yarn store and bought yarn (see suckage note on the sidebar). Shortly after that, Webs announce part deux of their 2 month sale and I had a bit of a falling down (how hard will be reported later after the mailman delivers the damage). So at the Maker Faire? Rather than avoid the vendors all together (which I should have) I collected business cards. This doesn't fix the mistake...for which I will pay, dearly...but it's a sure sign that I'm on the road to recovery.