Thursday, December 28, 2006

Should I be worried.....?

Here's the fortune cookie I got today......hmmmmm......not sure if I like this! I guess I'll be staying away from the doctor until he gets out of rehab.....

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Your doctor is looking unsteady because he has been hitting the gin.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

>^oo^< >^oo^< meeeee-oooowwwww!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Happy Holidays!

Haven't had much time for posting this week----lots to do to get ready for Christmas! I'm so excited because my Winter Wonderland Swap partner, Jeremy, received her gift box already! I'm amazed at the speed of that delivery to Illinois since I just mailed it on Monday afternoon! She posted on the swap site about her gifts, which was a nice surprise for me when I clicked on to it---The most joy of gift-giving is seeing someone's reaction when they receive a gift!

This was my first secret swap and it was really fun to send a gift to a complete stranger! I'm also anticipating the fun of receiving a gift in the mail from someone I don't know as well. Maybe part of the excitement of the "secret swap" experience is sending a gift to someone about whom you have absolutely no pre-conceived ideas or opinions----there's a sort of freedom in being able to send a gift simply for the experience of giving it, especially when it is hand-crafted, rather than having the pressure of shopping for that "perfect" gift. You do receive some hints to go on for color and scent preferences, etc., but that still leaves lots of room for creativity in putting together the gift. I'm hoping to join some more swaps in the future!

Meanwhile, I'm still plugging away on the felted clog slippers for hubby. They are a sort-of Christmas gift, although he knows about them and has been observing their progression as I have been knitting them. He also knows there is no way they are going to be done in time for Christmas, but he doesn't mind. I think he enjoys seeing the progress as they begin to look more like slippers and knowing they are for him. Besides, I really want him to be there for sizing while felting them, so I don't have to do any guessing about when they are felted to the right size! I have also started a small felted basket for him (in "manly" colors, of course), which I may have finished by Christmas....Oh well, at least my shopping skills are faster than my knitting skills, so I have some other nice gifts for him as well!

I'm planning on meeting who I call "the knitting girls" tomorrow at Village Yarn & Tea for a little R&R, no-holiday-stress knitting, tea sipping and jib-jab :) It just so happens that I need to leave the house for a while so my hubby can wrap my gifts (yeah!), so of course I really need to leave the house to accommodate him for this important task....

Happy Holidays to everyone. I wish you all a joyful and peaceful holiday. Don't forget to give yourself the gift of some relaxing knitting time in a comfy spot.

^,,^< >^,,^<

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Do I get credit for UN-knitting my projects?

How is everyone's holiday knitting coming along? I'm in the negative zone at the moment, since I ripped out not one, but two WIP's this past weekend. R.I.P. Frog Tree Alpaca Cape Cod Shells scarf, and Fleece Artist curly mohair/silk triangular shawl.

The alpaca scarf has been asking for it for a while. I started it over twice already, and then it went and hid a stitch from me after I had very nicely completed about 8 inches of it! I first tried to rip back just a little to see if I could find the stitch, or where it dropped, but no luck. So I just kept on rippin' until it was gone. BAD scarf! Actually, that felt kinda good, so.....

In moving on through my bag to find another project to complete, I noticed my slightly-neglected triangular shawl mocking me from the bottom of the bag. I took it out to work on it, but then remembered why I've neglected it for a while. I'm just not liking how the yarn-increases on the edges are looking.....maybe I'll find another way to do it.....and there I went. Before I knew it, the shawl was off the needles and I was ripping out stitches fast and furious, and the shawl was rewound into a nice ball of lovely yarn, with not a hint of it's past as a shawl I was kinda pretending to like.

I gotta say, all of that ripping back of stitches felt kinda good----kinda like I had suddenly gained the ability to knit at mach speed......only backwards. Oh well, I feel better now anyway. Kinda scary though, how easy it was to rip out hours and hours of knitting in what seemed like seconds! I still intend to make a shawl out of the Fleece Artist, but the alpaca will have to moved on to some other deserving project----I don't think I could start that pattern over once again!

There were a couple of projects I was able to complete this past week, though. I was finally able to get a (sorta bad) picture of my poinsettia dishcloth with the bobbles in the center, after about 15 tries. Some things just don't want to photograph, and a bright red dishcloth is one of them, but I think you can see the pattern, anyway...

I also finished gathering up what I want to send to my Winter Wonderland secret swap pal...

The peach-colored lacy cloth in the center is called "crocus buds," and the blue cloth is a snowflake illusion cloth, which is hard to see in this picture. There is also a star Christmas coaster, felted mini-bag, bar of handmade peppermint soap, and a cute kitty cat ornament. And of course, I had to include a Seattle souvenir, since she lives in another state---a little zippered bag to carry a knitting project or whatever. It's all boxed up and ready to go---hope she likes it!
If I had my choice, I would have included some delectable dark chocolate and treats of some kind, but she asked for no food on her profile, so I guess I'll have to keep the chocolate....darn!

>^..^< >^..^<

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's finished felting day!

I've been having fun with felting for the past week, and now I'm finally posting the pictures....

Here is my first booga bag for Norovember. I actually finished in November, but didn't get around to the picture-taking until the weekend.

I really like how the colors turned out, but I'm not so sure I like Kureyon for felting bags of any substance. It is a yarn that has thick and thin areas, and it is not a very "solid" or thick felt. The bottom is a bit too soft to hold up solidly with contents inside, so I bought a piece of plastic cross-stitch-type sheet, cut to fit inside the bottom of the bag, and it's now much sturdier and holds contents without bowing out on the bottom. Normally I would just double the yarn, but with the beautiful striping pattern of the Kureyon, that isn't possible without ruining the effect. I love the color effects, but will probably reserve felting this yarn for smaller bags and other felted projects.

While in Victoria, BC last weekend, I bought a skein of Paton's SWS, which is a wool/soy blend. I saw a felted sample in the shop I visited there, and it looked so lovely felted. The variegated colors blend softly into one another, and it felts up very thick and sturdy, with a nice little "bumpy" textured effect.

I knit two mini-bags from a pattern called "Special Companions," a pattern available for free on They are a super-quick knit, so I came home from my weekend away with two bags done and ready for felting!

I made a felted bag previously from this designer (Janet Scanlon) called "My Little Companion," which I absolutely love and use constantly. (If you haven't tried any of Janet's patterns for felted bags, you really should try one----the patterns are well-written and the bags are well-structured and come out beautifully!)

I made these from one skein of the 'geranium' colorway, and had plenty left over for the handles with some extra to spare!

The bag on the right is shown without the handles applied yet. They look cute either way, but I love them with the handles, as they look like an exact miniature of my larger bag. I placed business cards inside so you can see the approximate size scale.

After felting and while still wet, it is easy to slightly change the shape of the bag before drying, so it can be molded into more of a round, basket-type shape as well. The top edge felts with the slight edge-curl of the stockinette stitch still intact, giving it the look of an I-cord rim.

I loved these little bags so much when they were finished, that I bought some more SWS in other colors to make some more. This yarn is less than $6 per skein at Michael's, and easily makes two bags, making the bags a cute and inexpensive project. I think they will make great gifts, or even holders for other gifts. I'm going to try making some in slightly larger sizes to see how they turn out. I would have never known that a wool/soy blend would felt if I hadn't seen the sample in the yarn store!

>^..^< >^..^<

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A 2nd Meathead and crazy weather in Seattle

The weather this week in Western Washington has definitely been crazy! We've had everything from wind to rain to snow to ice to freezing rain----all in five days! I can't remember the last time I saw snow and ice on the ground continuously for that long around here. I also can't remember temperatures in the teens and below with the wind chill. Brrrrrr!

I think I've recovered from the trauma of our snow and ice expedition home from Canada earlier this week. It has been nice to be snuggled at home for the last couple of days during all of this and watch it on the news, rather than being in the middle of it!

All of my current felted projects are felted and drying. My booga bag is dry and ready to put on the handles, just in time for the end of Norovember. I also have two cute mini versions of 'my special companion' bags felted and drying---I'll post pics when they're done.

Meanwhile, still working on the poinsettia dishcloth from the latest monthly KAL, and finished a second hat for the Meathead KAL. Thought I would take advantage of the current weather conditions to photograph the latest. Here's a Meathead on the snow....

And here it is, on the rocks...

Looks like the weather is returning to normal today.....rainy. Hey, I may even leave the house!

>^,,^< >^,,^<

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It was such a lovely weekend in Victoria, until.....

It was such a lovely and relaxing weekend in Victoria, BC. Here was the view of the inner harbour from our room window...

And here is the fun and delicious gift that was waiting for us in our room when we arrived....

The large teacup is made of chocolate and is filled with chocolates and dried fruits. The small cups are chocolates as well. In the center is a canister of the Afternoon Tea Blend served in The Empress Tea Room.

We had such a nice time...We relaxed, had a sumptuous Thanksgiving meal in the hotel's restaurant, toured around town, and had an absolutely beautiful room. I also visited a great yarn store, Beehive Wool Shop, where I bought some new yarns for a couple of new projects. I even had lots of time to knit happily, while sitting in a comfy armchair in our room with a view of the harbour.

On Friday while driving around the area, we spotted a little tea room and decided to stop in. The shop was run by a charming Scottish woman, and we had the best afternoon tea EVER!

The rest of the weekend continued this way until it was time to return home on Sunday. That's when THIS showed up!

It even started to snow in town in Victoria, which is really unusual! This is a view from the car window on I-5 around Bellingham, WA. Very beautiful to look at, but it was an absolutely treacherous, 2-day trip home. A trip that ordinarily takes about 5 hours, including border crossing and ferry crossing, took us two full days!

Talk about terrifying! Cars were off the road right and left on both days. The highway itself was sheets of hardened ice and snow, with a strong wind blowing. Somehow, we must have taken a wrong turn and ended up in Siberia! There was over a foot of snow in our travel area over the two days we were trying to get home.

The first day of travel, we got across on the ferry, then drove to somewhere approaching the border, where we were stuck for hours. We finally gave up and thankfully found a hotel not too far from our travel route. We checked in, starving and exhausted after over 7 hours creeping over just a few miles. Here's a view from our hotel window the next morning....

We then set out on the road again, and had a fairly easy drive to the Canadian border. The Canadians were well-prepared and all of the roads were plowed and sanded. After the border, the rest of the trip was a real white-knuckler! I-5 south of the border was even more treacherous than the roads the day before. The roads had not been plowed or sanded for hours. We crept along and held our breath, and finally made it home safe in about 6 hours (usually a 2 hour trip from the border). We didn't even stop for food or a break---we just wanted to get home in one piece! Here's a view from the car window on the second travel day...

For those of you from a snowy climate area, this may seem overly-dramatized. However, conditions like this are rare in this area, and for some reason, they are never prepared. The coniditions have been so icy, some say the worst they've ever seen. I'm grew up in a southern climate myself, so I am never too happy when they say the "S word" on the weather forecasts. But this last couple of days has had even long-term snow veterans feeling a little shell-shocked!

As I watched the news last night, finally snuggled safely at home, I saw that people sat on the icy roads in gridlock for up to 8-10 hours in the evening after we arrived home, even overnight, trying to get home! Many ran out of gas in the gridlock and had to abandon their cars and walk home! Even the Metro buses pulled over and told riders that they could go no further and the riders were on their own!! Yikes! I much prefer less adventurous times around here, weather-wise!

I'm also a little worried about my dear husband----he needed to go to work this morning. It took him a couple of hours, but he got there safely. I'm just hoping he can get back home again this evening after the ice freezes over on the roads again---it's supposed to be in the teens again tonight!

The funny part of this whole adventure is, I never, never, never travel on Thanksgiving weekends because of all of the crowds and bad travel conditions. But just this once we thought we would go ahead, since the certificate for our room would expire December 1st, and we really needed a relaxing weekend away...

Let's just say my policy of not traveling over the Thanksgiving will resume, effective immediately! It was SUCH a nice weekend overall---a little rainy and chilly, but we had a really nice time overall. But I think I produced enough stress hormones on that drive home to overcome any relaxation gained over the weekend. I can live without another road trip like that for a very long time!

And I was worried about it being a little too rainy last weekend......silly me! Today sounds like a perfect day for staying home and working on my knitting projects! I've already felted my booga bag for Norovember this morning, and I'm going to felt two little mini-bags I knit while in Victoria later today. Here's a picture of my happy little booga bag drying in the window...

Have a happy, warm and dry day, everyone! Hope you can curl up in a nice, cozy spot and knit contentedly----that's what I'll be doing, for sure!

>^..^< >^..^<

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A finished Meathead, and words of wisdom from the Divine Miss M

My Meathead KAL hat is finished! I had to think a while about what kind of embellishment I wanted to add. A crocheted or felted flower was my first thought, but that didn't seem enough to make my hat unique---lots of flowers on hats already! So I decided to pay tribute to what makes each of us (and our meathead hats) unique in our own little way.....

This is supposed to be a picture of the tag details----but once again, Blogger has decided to cut off the bottom of my picture (I guess that's one of those little things that makes Blogger "special"....)

Thanks to Bette Midler for the perfect quote:
Cherish forever what makes you unique 'cuz you're really a yawn if it goes!

Words to live by!

Meanwhile, cute hubby, the Stash Alpaca and I are off to Victoria, BC for the Thanksgiving weekend! I'm really excited to go away for the weekend. Even if it is going to be cold and raining----it's still away!

My only hope is that it is not windy, because then the ferries get cancelled, which will bring the whole trip to a grinding halt! I'll tell ya right now, I'm going to Victoria this weekend if I have to swim the Georgia Strait myself!

Just have to remember to bring along a waterproof bag so the knitting won't get wet while I'm swimming.....

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

>^,,^< >^..^<

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Norovember Booga Bag progress

Here's my booga bag, almost finished and about to be felted! You can see the tiny tidbit of yarn let to finish the last of the I-cord, but I did finish without using the extra skein. (thank you to blogger for cutting off the bottom of the picture...).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Okay, I'm an idiot....

After a surprisingly short search yesterday, I actually found a LYS that had a skein of Kureyon in the same color and lot number! I was pleasantly surprised. I brought it home and began working on the I-cord bag handles, starting with the scraps I had left, of course.

Knitting along, one I-cord completed with yarn on hand ......hmmmm..... maybe this yarn is going further than I thought it would. I am now two-thirds done with the second I-cord, and it appears I'm not going to run out after all! It's very close, but I think I'm going to make it.

So, the result is this---I am now the proud owner of an entire extra skein of Kureyon, in a color I now will not need to finish my bag, obtained by driving into Seattle in the pouring rain, and feeling very triumphant about my bad self that I was so tricky and and found an extra matching skein!

I'm an idiot. Is there a class on how to predict how much yarn you need to finish something? I could really use it.... I guess that I-cord uses waaaaay less yarn than I thought....

>^oo^< >^oo^<

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I ALWAYS buy extra yarn.....except this time....

Of course, the inevitable happened----I'm just a little bit short! Aaaaack!

For the first time, probably ever, I bought the exact amount of Noro Kureyon that the Booga bag pattern called for. Very seldom have I ever needed to use the extra I buy, so this time, I bought only what was stated on the pattern. Let THAT be a lesson to me! I can't believe this, but I am actually short of what I need to finish the bag handles!

So today, rather than the posting pictures of my beautiful bag in progress, while marveling that I actually almost finished it in a couple of days (my knitting speed normally falls into the snail-on-a-slow-day category...), I'm off to try to find Noro Kureyon yarn in the same color, from the same dye lot. I'm hoping that fact that I bought this particular Noro in another state won't hinder my search! Actually, I'll settle for the same color, but the same lot number would be nice.... Wish me luck!

>^,,^< >^,,^<

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Socktoberfest dropout....On to Norovember!

Okay, so call me a Socktoberfest dropout....I finished nary a pair of socks for Socktoberfest. But today is a new in keeping with my never-flagging optimism that I will finish the project I intend to work on this month-----On to Norovember!! Here is my lovely new Kureyon stash, hopefully to become a lovely felted bag.

And just so you know I didn't sit complely idle in October, I did finish this lovely curly scarf, made from Queensland Soft Comfort mohair, knit lengthwise on size 13 circs.

For some reason, rather than working on my socks in October, I was somehow inspired to finally finish this scarf that has been on the needles since last year! I guess I went into a sort-of first-in, first-out mode for a minute, and decided to complete a project that was taunting me from it's knitting bag, at the bottom of the pile.

So, on to Norovember and casting on another new project!......

I'll probably end up working on the socks out of guilt.

>^..^< >^..^<

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Official Halloween Ballband!! :) After the ballband bug bit me, I immediately had to cast on a second one, and decided that Halloween was a good color inspiration....

.....and making his first appearance on this blog, the Official Halloween Minion!

This is Minicat (he's not really that mini, but that's a long story...). He's also known around here as "The Supervisor." The supervisor must, without fail, involve himself in absolutely anything being done around the house, and immediately insert himself in the middle of it to run things....whether that's the way you want them or not! His other job is to continuously torture the other minion, Mochi (the technocat), and make sure that he can never have a quiet moment! Min is actually very a very minion-y sort of way! What better reason to make him an official Halloween icon?

>^oo^< >^oo^<

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Still lookin' for my fall knitting mojo....

It seems that my "fall is here, it's time to get knitting!" energy has not quite hit yet. I've been working on a few projects....a little bit....but my poor Socktoberfest socks have fallen sadly behind the pack---not much progress on those poor babies.

I have, however, been outdoors a bit, enjoying the last few days without rain in Seattle. A couple of weeks ago drove up to Stevens pass to try to catch some fall colors. Here's some distant color on the side of a mountain---looked like a fall carpet.

Last weekend, took a drive to Kayak Point State Park in Skagit County. It was one of the last beautiful, sunny, crisp days! Is this a great sky, or what? And the water looked like glass.....

Checked out what the fishermen were catching on the pier, and hung out with the seagulls...

As for my knitting.....seems I've been having a little trouble concentrating on other projects the last couple of weeks, so decided to try something fun that I've been wanting to knit for a while....a Ballband dishcloth! Here's my first one...

Here's another view....sorry for the poor picture quality....

Okay, so now I've gone and gotten obsessed with Ballband dishcloths! If you haven't made one, they are really fun to knit. The pattern just sort of grabs on to ya....and it's fun to see the sort of 3-D effect emerge as you knit along!

Since Halloween is my favorite, pressure-free holiday, I've already started another one in black & orange! Hmmmmm.....seems like I'm feeling a little knitting energy coming on! steps!....Now, about those neglected socks,... scarves, shawls, slippers......:)

>^,,^< >^,,^<

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th Gremlins, anyone?

Happy Friday the 13th to all! Has anyone had an appearance of those Friday the 13th gremlins? If so, let me know what form they took!

So far, so good around here----but the day has only just begun! So far, it's another sunny day here in 'the convergence zone' (amazing, to say the least...). That's a good start, anyway!

Okay, so on to the important stuff (knitting, of course...):

Continuing to have fun with dishcloths, as I do at least every twice a month with the Monthly Dishcloth KAL. Here is the latest completed cloth---a tiny little kitty cloth.


Some sooooooo soft Frog Tree Alpaca, which has already been cast on. It is destined to become a lacey scarf, called Cape Cod Shells.

...and the latest addition to the overflowing sock yarn stash basket--some Sock Candy and Koigu..

Also recently purchased some gorgeous Colinette Parisienne mohair (sorry, no pics yet...) I'm going to venture into my first lace knitting with it, but haven't decided exactly what yet.

As for Socktoberfest,.....well, um....I'm making a little progress on those socks. Well, okay,.... I'm only just past the cuffs,.... but who's keeping track, anyway? It seems that every time I dig into the bag to work on the socks this week, I get the bug to work on a couple of those other, too-long neglected WIP's. And then, there's this little problem with spending too much time on the computer! It seems that I've spent more time reading about and looking at Socktoberfest stuff and other knitter's blogs than working on my own knitting. I just can't seem to get around to working on my own socks this week....

>^..^< >^..^<

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fall is here...

fall hydrangea
Originally uploaded by twominions.

It's finally beginning to really feel like fall here in the Great Pacific Northwest. It's already the middle of October, but the leaves are just beginning to turn color here. I'm enjoying the last of the huge and lovely Limelight hydrangeas as they turn color in my tiny garden. Today we are having what is probably one of our last warm, sunny days for a loooonnnnng time....sigh. I must say I do enjoy the cooler nights, though. Hooray for knittin' weather!

>^..^< >^,,^<

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Socktoberfest Sock History

In keeping with the Spirit of Socktoberfest, here are the answers to my sock knitting "history." (If you can call a few months a history...). That being the case, I feel a little silly answering questions about my history, but in the spirit of the festivities, here goes:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I started trying to make socks about a year ago, but actually completed a real, live pair only a couple of months ago. In the beginning, I tried to teach myself--totally confused. Took part of a class, didn't like the method used, didn't finish those. Tried to make a pair on DPN's, they were ugly, I frogged them before they had a chance to take an ugly little breath. Besides, those DPN's are too long and they poke me in the palms! Finally decided that since I was so comfortable with circulars, I would try the 2-circs method! Eureka! Finally a successful, completed pair! (no comments, please, about my obvious ADHD problems....)

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time? My first pair were done made from some very bright, rainbow-colored Regia. Since they are only about two months old, they have held up fabulously, if I do say so myself!

What would you have done differently? I would have started decreasing for the toes just a few rows sooner---they are just the teeniest bit too long.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? So far, I love the feel of Lorna's Laces and Koigu, though I haven't had a chance to finish a pair on the LL and Koigu I have stashed at the moment. Still trying to refine my skills a little before using my pretty stash!

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I have never crocheted socks....though I was tempted after I seemed to have such a hard time learning to knit them! I am now able to do socks on DPN's (found some great 5" ones!), but I am still plugging away with 2 circulars, as I like that method.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) Having not yet attempted a short-row heel, I would have to say that a flap heel is my very favorite :)

How many pairs have you made? I have completed one adult-sized pair, one baby-sized pair, and one tiny little mini-sock. I am now, finally, working on my second, regular-size pair!

I'm really hoping that this next pair will just flow off of my needles like water, fueled by the 10 gallons of HELL that I went through trying to finish those that came before them! I do love the process, though, and REALLY love the feel of those hand-knit socks!

>^,,^< >^,,^<

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

(mini) Portland yarn store review

While in Portland for the OFFF, I spent part of Sunday exploring a few of Portland's yarn stores. I know there are many yarn stores in the Portland area, but I only managed to get to four, along with Powell's City of Books. And when they say CITY of books, they ain't kiddin! That place is massive---takes up an entire, large city block in Portland. They have info desks everywhere, since the store covers many buildings and many floors. They even have a fold-out map/directory, as they have separate rooms for different categories of books. If you are a book-lover, or would just love to see such a huge specialty retail establishment, Powell's is FABULOUS! They carry used books stocked along side new copies of books, so lot's of good prices, too. If you visit Portland, I highly recommend a visit.

The first yarn store I visited was The Naked Sheep. This is a charming little store in a mixed residential/business neighborhood, with easy street parking. The store is bright and cheery, with lots of project ideas scattered about. There's a good mix of high-end and lower priced yarns, mostly natural fibers, displayed nicely. At the front of the store are some couches and chairs near the window, with several people working on and getting help with projects. The woman who helped me was very friendly and helpful. This store has a warm, friendly feel, and is bright and cheery with a fun atmosphere. I would definitely visit and purchase yarn there again!

Next, I visited Knit Purl, a boutique-style store in downtown Portland. Parking in this area is challenging. This store is very upscale, with a very expensive look it---modern decor, wood floors, accent track lighting, high ceilings. All of the yarns in this store are high-end, though the prices do not seem overly-inflated. A nice selection of fine sock yarns, wools, silk, mohair, natural fibers. They even have their own line of yarns, though these were no less costly than the other brands they carry. There are also couple of low chairs (and I mean looooow) around a coffee table in the center of the open floor---okay to sit and look at a few patterns, but not exactly comfy to sit and knit.

Though this store was esthetically beautiful and colorful, it had a definite chilly feeling to it---
which was not helped by the woman working, who I am assuming is the owner. While she would answer questions, I felt like I was "keeping her from something...". I did buy a couple of skeins of Noro while there, and while ringing up my sale, she took a phone call in the middle of my transaction and just walked,.....hello?.....I'm still here..... After a minute she yelled to her husband downstairs who came up looking a little confused, and sort of took over where she left off, while she continued on her phone call. It's not that I mind someone taking a phone call, but she didn't even say a word to me as she walked away mid-sale! A little "would you please excuse me for a minute" would have been nice! Very rude, in my opinion!

I thought about cancelling my purchase, but the husband was nice and courteous, so I didn't want to make a fuss. Let's just say, if you want a "warm" yarn store experience, go someplace else. And note to store owner: don't be rude to customers, especially while they are buying yarn....Oh well, I got some nice Noro with no sales tax added, and enjoyed looking around, despite the kinda-crabby owner. While the yarns at this store are nice, the vibe is definitely NOT, and I would probably only go in again if I happened to be nearby or had a Jones for some high-end yarn-shopping.

Next on my mini-crawl was Yarn Garden----yarn store Nirvana!! This store is located in the historic Hawthorne district in a quaint, old building, where the store takes up all 4-5 store fronts of the entire building! Lots of streeet parking all around. This store is literally rooms and rooms full of yarns of all descriptions, along with a cute little cafe on one end connected to the store, with a separate entrance as well. My husband happily had tea and treats and read his book in comfort while I shopped, and shopped...This store even has an entirely separate room for pattern books, librarary-style, with tables in the middle. Lots of friendly help available, including some of the male-knitter persuasion! While color selections of each type or variety of yarn were not all huge, they certainly have many brands of each type of yarn covered.

Their newsletter/class list is a booklet the size of some community college catalogues! Looking at their yarn choices and class selections made me wish I lived closer so I could visit Yarn Garden more often! All I can say is WOW, great store---like visiting a botanical garden of yarns, great variety, with the aroma of a nice, warm latte and some scones thrown in! Definitely on my repeat visit list.

The final store I visited was the one I had the hardest time finding----even with a GPS unit! Perhaps that should have been an omen...? Mabel's Cafe and Knittery----a really crappy end to a great day of yarn store exploration. In all fairness to whomever the owner of this store might be....I must preface my comments by saying she was obviously not present on the day I visited, because I don't believe she would still be in business if the place always runs that way! I found this very disappointing, because I actually had heard comments from a couple of people that knew of this store and liked it!

Mabel's looks kinda cute from the outside, and when you walk in the first thing near the front door is the cafe/espresso counter on one side of the door, with a couch on the other side of the door. The store is very small and somewhat dark inside. The lack of light makes it almost impossible to see the actual color differences of the yarns without holding them up toward the open front door! As you browse around the few yarn shelves toward the back, the look of the store degenerates to pallette-type shelves with cafe and cleaning supplies in the back. The actual yarn store area is only one one side of the room, with the other side being occupied by some type of very messy-looking paperwork desk. Let's just say the retail space is not exactly used to a full extent with yarn....But despite this, I actually honed in on some very pretty Manos alpaca yarn that caught my interest. And this is where things REALLY went downhill.....

I didn't see anyone working in the retail area, so I very politely asked the girl behind the espresso counter if she worked in the yarn area as well as the cafe (because in some places, the barista is just the barista...). Our conversation then went on something like this:

Me: ....above posed question...

Girl: "Well of course I do, I'm here aren't I?"

Me: ....stunned silence...then, "Oh, I'm sorry. I really love this Manos Alpaca yarn, but I can't find a price. Do you know how much it is?

Girl: "Well, it just came in so I'm not really sure---it's probably the same as the other one."

Me: (thinking....WHAT other one?....)......I continue to wait while she punches in something on her computer screen behind the counter.....
I keep waiting thinking she's looking it up or something......
I continue to stand there looking at her from yarn shelf.....holding yarn in hand......still waiting....
....still waiting......salesgirl turns away to back of counter, back to me.....starts running water...
So much for good, old-fashioned customer service! I continued to stand there like an idiot for another minute or two, thinking she might actually answer my question........but NO! She continued to wipe the counters and COMPLETELY ignore me. I then put the price-still-unknown-yarn back in it's cubby and looked around for another 5 minutes or so.

Just then, a girl with a baby came in. The aforementioned salesgirl immediately lights up like a Christmas tree and exclaims to girl with baby, "Oh, hi!!! I haven't seen you in sooooo long! How have you been?....." AHA!----she does have powers of communication, but obviously only to be used with people she already knows!

The store employee and the girl w/baby continued with their friendly chat, while I slunk out the front door right past them, with never a word spoken to me or a look as I passed by them OUT of the store! Geeeeeeez! Rudeness has no bounds, I guess. As I left, I overheard the, I mean yarn store employee, say she was only working Sundays and Monday mornings now....which is probably the only reason the store is still open---she's not working most of the time!

I guess I just can't find enough adjectives to describe the lovely Mabel's and their stellar, friendly and knowledgable sales staff! Let's just say I see absolutely NO reason to ever set foot in that place again.....and I definetely wouldn't recommend it to anyone either.....unless of course, you enjoy being ignored and generally treated like crap by the store staff!....or you like to bring a flashlight to be able to see the yarns.....or you like shopping in a supply room....or you like to shop for yarn with no price info available......THEN, YES! I would say, definitely hoof it on in to Mabel's for some likely equally-bad espresso and abuse! Yippee! To put it very impolitely, this place really sucked! Note to store owner: You might want to reconsider those weekends off.....and consider buying some LIGHTS! Sheeesh......

And so, that concluded my mini yarn store tour of the Portland area. Overall, the experience would have been much better if I had just stopped before that last store.....but hey, that one just served to make the others all soooo much better by comparison! I still had lots of fun, bought some pretty, and sales-tax free yarns, and spent a fun day driving around Portland on a rare sunny weekend! I heard from a native Portland knitter after my return that there are so many more stores to see that I missed. I'll definitely have to check those out on the next trip!

>^..^< >^..^<

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Long weekend in Portland, OR

Just returned from a fun weekend in Portland, OR with cute husband. I must say, he was a saint to put up with being dragged to ALL of my fiber-related follies over the weekend. Stayed at a great B&B in a great area, Portland's White House. The house was a huge and fabulous mansion built in the early 1900's. We stayed in the Canopy Room---gorgeous! Lots of great pics of the rooms on their site. The breakfasts were fabulous, served in this dining room---homemade waffles and baked Swedish apple pancake with fresh, local fruits, all served on fine china. Now that's what I call breakfast! (Is it really worth waking up that early otherwise...:) It was hard to get up and out of the huge feather bed in our room, but it was worth it for such a nice breakfast.

Then it was off to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival in Canby, OR. Spent a few hours there roaming through vendor booths, shopping, watching spinners (including some men!), and best of all, looking at all of the fabulous fiber animals!

Found these Washington spinners having a great time, and one of those spinning men I mentioned....The alpacas are my favorites.

This one even came home with me.....I know he's not a live one, but he also doesn't need to be fed or cleaned! Actually, he is needle-felted with unprocessed alpaca fur, very cute. Here he is getting acquainted with Mochi, the technocat...

*WARNING*---Next section contains material some might find offensive. If that's you, click the scroll button really fast...

Yes, the alpaca is anatomically correct to include gold "family jewels"......(unfortunately, can't say the same for the technocat....meee-ooooow!)

And finally, a technocat and his alpaca enjoy a quiet, new-friendship-kinda moment before the alpaca leaves to fulfill his duties as guardian of the stash....(Stash Alpaca??)...

Overall, the OFFF was fun and a new experience for me----haven't seen that many bags of fur since I tried to felt one of the cats!.....(note to PETA: JUST KIDDING!).

Later that night, had a great dinner at one of the local downtown Portland restaurants, then back to the room to rest up for the great Yarn store tour on Sunday.....more about that later! Overall, it was a great weekend and had lots of fun to celebrate my upcoming **th birthday!

>^..^< >^..^<

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Sheep and alpacas and goats, oh my!

I'm so excited! Leaving for a long weekend trip to Portland tomorrow, to celebrate my upcoming **th birthday. (** = a decade marker too hard for me to admit to yet...). While I'm there, I'm going to drag poor cute husband to the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival in Canby, OR. I love the smell of fresh roving in the morning!

There will be all kinds of vendors (selling hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns....oh, yeah!), and all types of demos on spinning, weaving, raising fleece animals, and other things fibery. I've never been to one of these events before, so I'm hoping it will be fun....and, too wallet-denting, if ya know what I mean....

I'll let you know about it when I return. Gee, I hope the fumes of all of that gorgeous, hand-dyed wool don't overcome me and cause me to buy more than I should----(insert evil laugh)---

ps---Thanks and hugs to Rachel for her help! :) (she knows what I mean....). Check out her blog and look at her impeccable knitting.

>^..^< >^..^<

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Knitting obsession?.....this could be you!

A tale of'll'll'll become very afraid it looks something like you.....

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Fun with dishcloths!

I joined a monthly dishcloth KAL recently, and it's been fun so far! There are two KAL's a month, and here's the first one I knit from mid-August. I know that some consider dishcloths to be on a low rung of knitterly society and can't be bothered to make them---but I say they are fun to knit, inexpensive to make, provide quick FO gratification, allow you to try new stitch patterns without a big risk, and also serve a useful purpose! They also provide me with a fun and satisfying bit of knitting that I can take along and take a break from bigger projects for a while. I really find it fun to have a small, colorful FO so quickly....

Here's an illusion snowflake dishcloth---this one was very fun to make. Hard to see in the pictures, but the snowflake really does 'appear and disappear', depending on the viewing angle. I've been interested in trying out illusion, or shadow knitting for a while, so this pattern was perfect!