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Archive for October, 2007

Last spring, 10 women from my knitting group piled into a rented van and set out to visit 5 new yarn stores in one day. We made it to 4 of them, purchasing 52 skeins and 2 cones of yarn in the process. We had so much fun, we decided to do it again last Saturday. Our fearless leader rented another 12 passenger van, and we set off into the Great Unknown (well, Boerne…)

 

Some of my pictures are not cooperating, so sorry for the lack!

 

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Our first stop was at Sandra Singh’s. Sandra runs an internet yarn business and maintains a showroom in her home. We visited her on our crawl last spring, and had several requests to go back – in fact, hers was the only shop that we all wanted to visit again! This time, she even opened up a 2nd room for us, featuring a dazzling display of Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock. I am quite pleased to say that 2 lovely periwinkle blue skeins of SS came home with me. Sandra also had a nice selection of Schaffer, Cherry Tree Hill, Berroco, and Malabrigo, along with some lovely Namaste glass needles. Someday I’m going to figure out something clever and creative to do with those needles, and then I’ll buy a pair.

 

At Sandra Singh’s

 

Sandra came with us after we left her house. At this point, we discovered an unpleasant truth: twelve adults don’t really fit well in a twelve passenger van. Entering and exiting the van became quite the coordinated drill! Extra bonus points go to the four skinniest women, who got stuck in the very back seat.

 

 

Stop two was the Old Oaks Ranch, where to our delight, we found a small herd of alpacas grazing in the front pasture! Most of us, including myself, had not seen an alpaca in person prior to this. One particularly friendly alpaca, Romeo, even let us pet him. Old Oaks Ranch was a delight to the two-week old spinner in me. I picked up a few ounces each of rovings made from bamboo and milk (who knew! Milk is quite soft and silky!) and a silk hankie to toy around with. Old Oaks sells “Paint Pots” of rovings, which are plastic tubes filled with rovings dyed to different colors, ready to make unpredictable projects. They also had for sale a few fleeces, some dyed mohair locks, soy silk and wool roving blends, and lovely braided kettle-dyed wool rovings, along with spindles, cards, weaving looms and other non-knitting fiber-related equipment. After all that, they still had yarn, too – Colinette, SWTC, Lang, Berroco, Harrisville Millworks, Schaffer, Nashua, and some incredibly soft, fluffy alpaca yarn from their own stock. Lots of yarns were sold off of the cone in bulk – you just decide how many ounces you want. I heard that Old Oaks just started up this year, so I look forward to visiting in the future and seeing what else they have for sale from the cute alpacas out front.

Alpacas at Old Oaks Ranch

 

 

 

After lunch at The Dodging Duck in Boerne, we ventured on to Ewe & Eye, where we were greeted by the very well-behaved Dachshund, Rascal. Ewe & Eye is part yarn and embroidery store, and part toy store – very fun! They had some lovely printed cross-stitch canvases for sale, along with a large stock of cross-stitch supplies. The knitting department ran heavy on Rowan, with many Rowan publications and a wide selection of their yarns. We also saw a good selection of Addi needles, including the new lace needles and wood DPNs. They had a fun selection of ribbon yarns, and the owner has on display a lovely entrelac shawl which she has designed. I heard her mention that she sells the pattern, although she did not have any copies in stock that day.

 

Fourth stop was just down the road, at Rosewood Yarns, also in Boerne. Rosewood had a very nice selection of Cascade, including some colors which I believe were custom-dyed. I also saw Louet Gems, Colinette, and even more neat ribbon yarns. A dedicated spinning room had a few spinning wheels, some mid-range spindles, and a selection of rovings, including wools labeled by the breed, dyed silk hankies, and dyed mohair locks. Rosewood had a great selection of Fibertrends patterns, once of which came home with me (another lace shawl, anyone?), some very fine-gauge needles including size 0000 Addi DPNs, and a limited selection of tatting supplies.

 

Last stop on the tour was The Knitting Nest, in far south Austin. This shop opened a few months ago, right when we were compiling our itinerary for this crawl, and most of us had already poked our heads in the door at some point since then, but everyone seemed happy to visit anyway. The Knitting Nest stocks Cascade in every color they make, along with some Lorna’s Laces, Dale of Norway, O-Wool, Peace Fleece, and a few others. I liked the large dining room table which occupies half of the sitting area – another store that I frequent has a large table like that, and I find it easier to work on projects and talk to friends while sitting at a real table, rather than on a sofa.

 

All in all, another fun day. I think that next time we’re headed out to Houston?

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Today I attended the 2007 Austin Knit Out and Crochet, sponsered by the Lone Star State Knitters. I attended this event last year, when I was still puzzling out the mysteries of thread crochet and had not yet touched a pair of knitting needles, so it was neat to reflect on just how far I’ve progressed since then. Last year, I did not know how to knit at all and had never seen anyone spin outside of a historical re-enactment. This year, I had many women come over to ogle at my lace, and I was the one spinning for others who had never seen it done!

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 This year I also got to see a women working with a knitting machine, which I had not seen in action before.

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A few days ago, my husband found out that an old friend of his is now a father. I hadn’t even known that his partner was pregnant! We talked about sending them a little something, so a few days later I borrowed a pattern and made up a little pumpkin hat. I had seen a pumpkin hat that someone made about a year ago, and always thought that it would be neat to make for a fall baby. I finished it last night and took it to the Knit Out today, in hopes of finding a fun place to photograph it. Sure enough, a cardboard cutout of Stephen Colbert, who has apparently just released a new book (I tend to be oblivious to these things) provided a fun photo opportunity.

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Aw, so cute and cuddly!

Pattern: Fibertrends Patrick’s Pumpkin

Materials: Mission Falls 1824 Wool, 1 skein each colors 533 (orange) and 532 (dark green)

Needles: DPNs, sizes 4 and 6

Cast on: October 11, 2007

Finished: October 12, 2007

The pattern is unbearably cute, and the yarn is just awesome – soft and fluffy, with great stitch definition The only thing I didn’t like about the yarn was that it did not fare well when I had to rip back.

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I had a fun day, except for the weird incident involving an older man who came up behind me, grabbed my hair, and started rambling on about how he used to have red hair just like mine, but is bald now, and lifted up his cowboy hat to show me, all while maintaining a death grip on my bun. I extracted my head from his grasp, smiled and muttered a few inanities, and finally he went away. Personal space, anyone?

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You remember how the new Icarus looked 10 days ago?

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It’s grown a bit. I’m not working particularly hard on it, but the stockinette portion of the pattern goes quickly.

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 I still love the yarn – it’s Baruffa Cashwool. Nice and cuddly.

I’ve been trying to figure out what spinning is all about, so last night I drove to San Antonio for a spinning lesson at Yarnivore. My teacher was just wonderful and I had a great time.

Here’s what I got from my two-hour lesson:

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A very small, lumpy skein of yarn. On the scale of first projects, it rates much better than my first attempt at crochet (it is recognisable as the intended craft, and I never felt ready to throw anything out the window) but not quite as good as when I picked up knitting (when I looked at a few pictures, picked up the materials and started knitting).

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My mom asked me on the phone what one uses to spin with, so here’s my drop spindle and some roving (unspun, prepared wool). You can watch some videos of spinning here if you’ve never seen anyone use a drop spindle before.

My spinning teacher remarked that she knows a lot of musicians who knit, and theorized that it might be fun to have a recital. The more I think about it, the more fun that sounds. I’m dreaming about prepared piano pieces involving knitting needles…

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