Thursday, July 27, 2006

Travelogue: New-to-me yarn stores

One of the fun parts of travelling on your own to places you've been to before is that there's no rush. There's no need to get there immediately so stops can be planned along the route. And with no one else in the car, I get to dictate where those stops take place. Since I wasn't planning to ride any rollercoasters in the Dells on my way to Minnesota before the wedding but was still planning to stop to meet some friends for dinner, I had a little bit of time to kill along the way.

I stopped at a lovely yarn store in Loves Park, IL just outside of Rockford. The Yarn Sellar was a quick stop off the highway while passing through. I arrived about an hour before closing and she was meeting with one of her sellers and ordering new stock. I browsed for a bit, found some yarn and picked up a circular needle that my LYS hadn't had in stock before I'd left. We had a nice conversation when I was checking out and she was just tickled that I'd found the shop through the website and had travelled from Michigan. Tickled enough to let me pick a skein from the sale bin for free.

That was the only shop I was able to stop in for that part of the trip. While we were in Chicago for training, my coworker and I took a drive one of the evenings after class to Have Ewe Any Wool in Elmhurst, IL. This was a difficult shop to find as it's in the back on the second floor of a building that houses several artsy shops, but the shop itself was also quite lovely and the staff was very friendly. They were open late for their open knit night, and I hadn't thought to grab a project when we left the hotel, and for some reason didn't think to start a new one on the spot with the yarn I'd just bought so we decided not to stay and instead headed back to the hotel.

And finally, on the way home from training, I had the afternoon free to drive home. Once I got out of Chicago traffic and back into Michigan, I stopped at Sit & Knit in New Buffalo, MI. Of the three, this one will be the most dangerous as it is directly along one of my more frequent driving routes. It was also the most interesting, as the location is in a cool old house on one of the main roads in town. Took a few drive bys to find, but it was worth it. The owner's husband had command of the floor and was jovial and entertaining. There's also a cappacino maker in the back, and free lattes are offered to customers. It was like shopping for yarn in someone's living room. Very inviting and friendly, plus there was a good selection of yarn. I enjoyed petting the walls and made a few purchases while finishing my latte.

I may have to see if I can sneak away from some amusement parks for some yarn shops in Denver next month...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Finished Object: Navy Blue Novelty Scarf

Finished Object: Navy Scarf
Yarn: Some bulky Bernat Acrylic and a Geidfra novelty yarn

I've been going for the instant gratification lately, so a garter scarf with some novelty yarn seemed like a good idea. I whipped this one out in a couple nights.

Finished Object: Ribbon not x-back

Finished Object: Ribbon not X-back
Yarn: Moda Dea ticker tape

My first finished garment! Yay. And it proves that I still have a lot to learn. I'm tempted to rip back and make it about 3 or 4 inches longer in the body, but I'm just so happy to be done with it right now. It does fit, but it's stretchy enough that the places where it stretches take up some of the length from the bottom so it comes in a little short. I'm hoping some blocking will help stretch it but it's hard to say with the 100% nylon yarn if it will actually do much of anything. I like how the top fits, so I may just opt to rip out the cast on edge and add the length from there instead if I decide to do that. I have plenty of the yarn still.

Other than the obvious modification of not crossing the straps, My biggest mod was to go down in needle size from the 11 it called for to a 10. The ticker tape is quite stretchy and the whole thing would have come out huge on the other needles. The fit is decent other than the length, and that's fixable. I'm just so phsyched to finally have it done! I don't know what was taking me so long to finish, once I sat down and did it it barely took an afternoon to split for the front and back and do all the finishing.

Finished Object: funky purse

Finished Object: Funky Purse
Yarn: Andes, striping orange and green
This one I love how it came out. I started at 60 stitches and gradually increased until I was increasing every other row and got to 120 stitches. I just sewed up the bottom instead of trying to add any dimension to it, and I love how it came out. I like how the striping starts huge and gets smaller as the stitch count increases. I have another colorway of this in a blue and khaki stripe that should be interesting, and I have another skein of the orange and green to play with too. The top is a little floppy and I think I'll need some sort of closure for it, but I really like how this one came out. Oh, and did I mention that I like how it came out?

Finished Object: Oops

Finished Object: felted bag
Yarn: Diakeito Dimusee

This was a good idea gone bad and I think if I'd made it a ton larger to begin with it would have been ok but once I threw it in the machine, it felted down to really really tiny. It's barely big enough to hold my cell phone. I may just give it to my mom for her dolls. The rest of this yarn that I have (which is super soft 100% wool) is going to become a hat and scarf and not see the insides of a washing machine.

Finished Object: Booga Bag (and matching coin purse)

Finished Object: Booga Bag
Yarn: Noro Kurayon Color # 178

This was the Noro I bought in Lansing a few weeks ago and I started the bag shortly after. It was my knitting around the wedding and I finished the bag part just after the trip and the i-cord during my training class in Chicago and felted it after I got home from that. It was fun, and I love the results enough that I've bought two more colorways of the Noro to make a couple more as gifts. In addition to the bag, I used what was left of the yarn to make a coin purse/wallet by basically making a smaller version of the bag with a flap and tacking down the edges where the handles draw it in. That knit up really quick (I think it took one night) and it was a good way to use up the leftover yarn. I still need to find some sort of fastener for that piece, but otherwise, it's done. I love the finished results and hope to have a couple more done soon.

The Wedding

I've got a bunch of posts in the wings, and I'm just going to start posting them so I feel like I'm getting caught up.

One of the biggest events of the year in our family this year was my brother's wedding. There are a ton of photos here. It was a fun, crazy, whirlwhind, emotional event and I'm so happy for them as this has been a long time coming and they've both been through some rough times to get to this point. For everything that was going on that day, they both remained insanely calm and there really weren't many issues. It was beautiful, and I wish them both the best.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sometimes It's good to just be home

Wow, it's been ages since I've posted anything. The last 3 weeks have been completely crazy and I finally feel like I can take a moment to catch my breath.

My brother got married. That was a whirlwind emotional few days. Following the wedding, we travelled through Minneosota, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan with some friends who were park hopping the area. Landed back in Michigan, spent the weekend with Mike's family here in town. I turned around, went to work on the following Monday and that night was on the road to Chicago for a week of training.

So, I'm finally home. I have a ton to blog about and I'm not sure how I'm going to tackle it all. Wedding, trips, some finished objects, some progress reports, some purchases and new Yarn Store visits to discuss. And all I want to do right now is finish the day at work so I can go home and get some more sleep.