Thursday, July 31, 2008

Back from vacation

Well, it only took me two days to remember that I should change the message on the answering machine back to the regular message and not the one that says I'll be closed July 27. Not too bad. But, I still haven't remembered to get the pictures onto my computer from vacation. We had a great time - more details later...when I get the pictures up.

The flowers in front of the shop are not looking much better but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. However, the good news is that my curb appeal will improve anyway -- the porch is being painted and the carpet on the stairs is being replaced. Yay!

The knit-in was last night - a big THANK YOU to Yvette for guiding us through the process of fair submissions these past few weeks. She's been a big help. And good luck to those of you submitting your knitted, spun, felted or woven creations! Also, thanks to Mary for bringing in pie last night - yum!

I think I'm getting some backordered yarn in today -- check the website under "News" to see pictures....

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Curb appeal

Look at my flowers... the rain this week waterlogged them! The shop is seriously lacking in curb appeal right about now. I'm hoping they will dry out and I'll give them a boost with some flower food. Fingers crossed that they will rebound....
P.S. Don't forget - the shop is closed tomorrow (Sunday) July 27....check back for info on my mini-vacation!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Project updates

A few pictures of my current works-in-progress....

Done By Monday afghan (pattern #4) made with Encore Deepest Mauve (but I think it is eggplant. Or plum.):

I think I'm about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way done with the blanket. It goes pretty quickly and is a good project to do while watching tv. Paul and I are going to a friend's house for a Christmas in July party today and she lives 2 hours away -- I think I'll be done by the time we get home! (even though it is Saturday and not Monday)

Baby sweater from the Louisa Harding pattern book, made with the Louisa Harding Baby Kashmir DK yarn:
I'm about 3/4 done with this one too. Just have to do about 50,000 yards of that lace edging (bottome of picture). I love this yarn. It is so soft and pretty. The pattern was a little involved but still fairly easy. Not so good to do while watching tv.

Forget-Me-Not sock, with Panda Cotton in periwinkle (have I said it's my favorite color?):

It's getting there, but I feel like it's taking FOREVER. Size 0 needles will do that I guess. But it's coming out very pretty and I can't wait until it's done. Oh yeah, I still have to do the second one...
I'm dying to start a Constant Companion bag, now that I've seen everyone making them lately, or a Lucy Bag because that class is coming up too and the pattern is here and the bag is just so great looking. I'm also trying to decide what yarn to make my cardigan in. I've got a little time, but I think I'm going to be done with at leat two of my projects fairly soon.
Yarn store owner frustration: I had a big yarn order scheduled to come yesterday. Well, it came but several things were backordered!!! And they were the NEW things, like new colors of Happy Feet and new Eco yarn (cashmere and silk). So frustrating, especially when I get so excited about them and want to show them to my customers. I'm hoping to make a call to the company to see what the hold up is... On the plus side, I did get in a couple of new yarns that I am excited about - Alpaca Lace (free scarf pattern with purchase!) and a worsted Alpaca yarn called Ranch ("natural fibers, natural colors").

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Here is a picture from the Constant Companion class last weekend:

It was a great class and everyone was happy with how they came out. So far, only Wilna has felted hers and brought it in to be photographed. I hope the others do, too, because it is so cool to see how they turn out.

And, look how many people came to the knit-in last night...

It was so much fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Weekend knitting and the Brady Bunch

I loved the Brady Bunch. I've seen every episode, probably a million times. I often reference the Brady Bunch or am reminded of a particular episode based on things happening in my life. For example, when I'm talking to participants who take the felted clogs class, and I'm explaining how to felt the clogs: "You fill your washer with hot water and add a little dish detergent. You add dish detergent because it is sudsier than laundry detergent, but you have to be careful not to add too much and end up like Bobby Brady." Anyone remember that one? He was trying to hurry up and wash his own clothes before his mom came home but put too much detergent in and the whole laundry room filled up with suds until you couldn't see him! Ha! Loved that one.

The other day, during the Constant Companion class, one of the participants made some sort of comment about "keep on, keeping on" and it reminded me of the episode where the kids were trying to make money by singing/dancing in a talent show. They sang this song that had the words "You've got to keep on, keep on, keep on.... something something something" (I've spent too much time already trying to find the lyrics on the internet...). I think that was also the one where Peter's voice started changing. I mentioned this episode to those that were in the store and even did some of the dance they did - not many people knew what the heck I was talking about.

Whenever I replace batteries in a flashlight, I think of when they went camping at the Grand Canyon and Bobby put hot dogs and beans in his flashlight to take to the Native American kid. And playing cards reminds me of when it was the girls vs. the boys in a house of cards building contest. I know, it's weird.

Anyway, the suggestion was made that I incorporate my knowledge/love of the Brady Bunch in to the store somehow. My brain is churning and I'll figure something out...

Speaking of the Constant Companion class, it went really well! I took a picture of all the bags pre-felting and will post it when I get to the store tomorrow. They are all so different and look great! We will likely offer this class again in the fall so stay tuned if you are interested.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Knitting and Ping Pong

"There is no right way to knit; there is no wrong way to knit. So if anybody kindly tells you that what you are doing is "wrong," don't take umbrage; they mean well. Smile submissively, and listen, keeping your disagreement on an entirely mental level. They may be right, in this particular case, and even if not, they may drop off pieces of information which will come in very handy if you file them away carefully in your brain for future reference. " ~Elizabeth Zimmerman

I found this today, in a timely manner. During the Casting On a Million Ways class last night, one of the participants, who is a fairly new knitter, told us that someone said to her that making scarves was "not really knitting" and didn't count. How discouraging for a new knitter to hear that! We all know what it was like to be a new knitter, so excited about it and wanting to make socks or a sweater or a poncho or something else rather complicated, but only being able to make a scarf for now because you were new and needed the practice. This quote is referring to something slightly different but it reminded me of this and carries a nice message. Persevere with knitting because it's what YOU like, not what others like. And sometimes you can pick up a little info along the way.

I also had a young knitter, maybe 8 years old, come in with her mom and grandma last night. She was going to be making a little purse and she was very excited about it. She was also planning her next project, a hat, and inquired about what patterns she might use to make one. She was very sweet and so enthusiastic. Her older brother was there, too, and he was in the process of knitting a scarf. I asked how far along he was and he held up his hands about 6 inches. He said "It's taken me about a year." But he's still working on it. Tell me that isn't really knitting and doesn't count.

In other news, Paul and I got a wedding present recently: a ping pong table! Oh. My. Gosh. We have been having so much fun. I can't tell you what a great stress relief it is... not because we are great players and are smashing the ball all over the place, but because we laugh SO HARD while we are playing. Last night Paul kept coming up with excuses as to why he was missing the ball -- something like "the dog was looking at me". And for some reason, I was so intent on watching the ball because I thought it was going to miss the table, that I wasn't ready to hit it when it actually did hit the table. We both weren't that great, but I think I won the most games. :)

Oh yes, one more piece of housekeeping: the nice flowering plant my mom gave me for the front porch of the store did NOT die! I posted a while back that I had neglected to water it, and I thought it was dead, but I watered it a lot and it came back. My mom said the only way she knew about it was to read my blog! She thought it had died and then when she came to visit last weekend, there it was, more beautiful than ever. I told her I'd set the record straight. Sorry, mom.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I know you can relate...

I've got four projects going (Forget-me-Not Sock; mitten; Done by Monday afghan; baby cardigan for a store model) and I'm contemplating starting a fifth (an adult cardigan). Plus I've got all this sample yarn the yarn rep brought me that I want to try. The problem is that i want to work on ALL of them at once. How does one choose when you really and truly want to work on all of them? Plus run a store (or go to work, or do your errands etc).

And speaking of choosing... (this may be something I've already discussed, but it came up again today) I put in a yarn order today. It is SOOOOOO hard to choose what yarns and then what colors in those yarns to order. I want them ALL. Too bad I have this thing called a budget. I have been trying to get an idea of what my customers like and keep that in mind when I'm ordering (both with types of yarn as well as getting a good variety of colors). So please feel free to give me your opinion whenever you feel like it. I am open to any and all comments on likes and dislikes.

The aforementioned mitten I am working on is made with Cascade 220 Superwash. I REALLY like this yarn. It is surprisingly (to me) soft and just really nice. I'll post a picture soon. It's in a really pretty light blue, which is not usually what I'd choose for a mitten - I'd pick something darker because that what I associate with winter items for some reason. But I used it anyway and I love it in a mitten. I'm thinking of making the also aforementioned cardigan (the one I'm pondering) in this yarn. Or Kathmandu.

I'm off in search of cooler air. I'm currently in the very stuffy upstairs of my house and feel like I'm wilting...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pool and other things...

Well, the pool is finally up and running. We've been in it a couple of times and it has been quite refreshing! However, I keep having to go back to the pool store and the receipts are adding up quickly -- that might be the deciding factor in wether or not we keep it.

Last weekend was fun here at the store. Some knitters came to knit and we had a lot of laughs. At one point, I happened to mention there was a particular yarn that wasn't selling in certain colors and mentioned the brown/green colorway. Before I could ask one knitter what she thought of those colors, she was already up out of her chair and making a beeline for the yarn. Little did I know that she is famous for loving that color combination and she then spent the next several minutes (maybe an hour) talking about the yarn and thinking about all the things she might like to make with it.

I also learned that another knitter has a home show at her house every holiday season, with many different local artists selling their creations. She has promised to bring me information about it and I will share it when I get it.

I'm stalled on my Forget-Me-Not sock and I'm hoping to get some help with it tonight at the knit-in. I got to the heel flap, where I'm supposed to "Turn, Purl 16. S1, K1 across 32 stitches. Turn, P 32." But I'm not sure if I didn't turn it the right way or what, but when I did that, the wrong side ended up on the outside. So, I will wait to hopefully be enlightened tonight.

In the meantime, I started a mitten since I'll be teaching a mitten class in August. It's turning out slightly big but I'm going to keep going and see how it turns out.