Yarn Store Review: Sweet Yarns

I was recently in my hometown of Sudbury, Ontario (and those of you who follow
my Twitter already saw a photo of G and I at the big Nickel!), and was
please to find out that they have a brand spanking new yarn shops,
called Sweet Yarns. They don’t have a website, but their facebook page is great, and often lists discounts and class info.

I’m
going to make a bit of a generalization and say that it’s hard for
small yarn shops in suburban areas heavily populated by big box chains
such as Walmart, Michaels, etc. People get in the habit of just picking
up yarns where they are also buying paper towels and forget about
supporting the local and independent businesses. But Sweet yarns has
done a g rat job of distinguishing itself- Paulina, the owner, only
stocks yarns that are not carried by the big box stores, and has lots of
knitter faves, like Berroco, Malabrigo, Debbie Bliss, and Rowan
yarns. She also has lots of great classes, and the atmosphere is totally
the kind where you can bring your knitting, pull up a chair, and hang
out for a bit. I’m so happy to see Sudbury get a great LYS! I’ll be popping in every time I’m back home, for sure.

I have no idea why I have that horrible look on my face- I think I was confused as to what that gentleman was knitting. turns out, it’s an oversized Christmas stocking! Getting a huge jump on your holiday knitting- now that’s clever.

My mom is a huge supporter of my knitting- she would
love it if I could just stay at home and knit her a whole new wardrobe,
all the time. But we did pick up some yarn for a new cardigan for her, and what will be these legwarmers for me.

KCBW: Yarn Wrangling

Day 3 Question: 
“How do you keep your yarn wrangling organised? It seems like an easy to
answer question at first, but in fact organisation exists on many
levels. Maybe you are truly not organised at all, in which case I am
personally daring you to try and photograph your stash in whatever
locations you can find the individual skeins. However, if you are
organised, blog about an aspect of that organisation process, whether
that be a particularly neat and tidy knitting bag, a decorative display
of your crochet hooks, your organised stash or your project and stash
pages on Ravelry.”

There was a time, about two years ago, where I bought a bunch of freezer sized ziplock bags, hauled all my skeins of yarn from their various hiding places, and entered all their details in an excel spreadsheet. Then I put them in the big ziplock bags, stood on them (make shift vacuum seal!) and zipped them shut. They were then stacked neatly in an armoire. 

Screenshot of a portion of the original spreadsheet

But I’ve been in almost every one of those bags by now, and I’ve definitely added substantially to my stash since then, and it’s all a hodge-podge mess again. I have yarn tucked away in my closet, in drawers, in boxes under the bed, and even have loose skeins running amok in my folded sweaters. And I didn’t keep up with my yarn spreadsheet. none of the yarn below is in the spreadsheet, and that’s just some of what I bought in 2010:

yarn

Confession: I thought the spreadsheet would be an awesome tool for when I was at work thinking about knitting- if you walk by the screen, it totally looks like I’m doing work! What is nice about looking at this old screenshot is I did indeed use some of the above yarns for their intended projects.  As for Ravelry, I use my project queue as a place to keep notes of certain yarns I’m intending to use.

KCBW: Days 1 and 2 Combined

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 is such a great idea, and I couldn’t’ resist taking part! Although I’m not usually one for blogging every day, I think all the questions are really interesting and relevant, so I’ll double up on some of the days.

Question 1: A Tale of Two Yarns
“Part of any fibre enthusiast’s hobby is an appreciation of yarn. Choose
two yarns that you have either used, are in your stash or which you
yearn after and capture what it is you love or loathe about them.”

Love: Mirasol Sulka
Knits in Question: Shoulder Warmer, Ravelympic Pullover, Mini Cardi.

Mirasol Sulka Yarn

What I Love: 
Oh, what don’t I love about this yarn?? it’s wonderfully soft, the colours are all richly heathered and prismatic, it’s a dream to knit with, wears wonderfully, and the Mirasol yarn company does great work in helping disadvantaged, rural communities that tend to alpaca herds in the region. They have made great inroads in building a school, establishing a clean water supply, focusing on nutrition and education (illiteracy is extremely high in the region) for the children who work in this industry. Indeed, the company is named for a little girl in the area that was tending 3,000 alpacas when they started.

Loathe: Valley Yarns Huntington
Knit in question: My folded pullover.

 What went wrong: I really enjoyed knitting with this yarn. It was so soft and lovely and knit up like a dream. But when I went to wet block…. disaster. The dye bled, and the sweater grew to enormous proportions, so I put it in a tumble dryer to help get it down to a smaller size again, and it got all pill-y and fuzzy and old looking, right away. I know the photos don’t show it- the lighting was fantastic that day and made everything look a lot more flawless than it really was. Yarns that grow immensely in the blocking stage just cheese me off in general. So does dye that bleeds.

Question 2:  Skill + 1UP
“Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in
terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have
you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet
cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last
year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had
you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last
year?”

I’ve expanded my world of cast ons and bind offs this year. The i-cord cast on was a new one for me, and the super stretchy bind off has pretty much rocked my world. I also have been using Kitchener stitch a fair bit, even though it’s not my favourite, but I find this tutorial so helpful, and it’s really not that bad. I also tried short row shaping for sleeve caps (for top down sleeves) and I’m a big fan of that. I’d like to advance my crochet skills- hopefully this is the year! This blog post is the big draw for me.

Modification Monday: Zigzag Gloves

Original Pattern: Helix Socks

Knitter Extraordinaire: Onkuri (Ravelry ID, Blog)

Mods: Transformed the pretty spiralling stitch sock pattern into a fabulous pair of gloves with a zig zag design instead. Project details on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I’m blown away by this modification! I can easily see how a sock pattern can be transformed into some awesome fingerless mitts with a few small and clever tweaks, but this is so creative- ditching the spiral design and changing up the direction so that the zig zag emerges, and turning them into gloves where each finger has a zig zag as well… KABOOM! Mind. Blown.

Late to the Twitter Party

Hi All! I’m more than a little late to the Twitter party, but I’ve joined in order to tweet about the knitterly goings on in my life. If you feel like checking out my tweets (wow, that sounds dirty)  my twitter button is over there on the right! Give me a few hours to get myself sorted with some decent tweets.