Sunday, April 27, 2008

Yarn vs. Clothes

Yesterday, I finally visited a new yarn store near my house called The Red Purl. The store is small yet cozy, the yarns are gorgeous and the owner was very friendly to me. Lots of hand dyed yarn like Fleece Artist, Peace Fleece, and Lobster Pot (all yarns I've heard fabulous things about but never got to know up close and personal). Feast your eyes on my booty (not my culo but the yarn people)!

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in Uptown and some Peace Fleece Pyho Mnpa in Shaba Green. I've knit with the this yarn before and I was very disappointed with the wear of it (remember these socks?) Well now they have a hole in them.

I knitted these socks two and a half years ago and after just a few months, they got holes in the heel. I grafted those holes but they still kept coming. This hole is probably the third one on this pair of socks, which kind of pisses me off (being expensive sock yarn and all). So why did I pick up this same yarn yesterday? Because the colors are phenomenal! And though the yarn does not wear well on my feet, the yarn is sooooooo soft. Maybe for the safety of this future pair of socks, I should regulate them to being house socks or bed socks. Too soft to wear in boots in the cold Indiana winters but just perfect for wearing while knitting by the fire, sipping on some hot chocolate or tea.

The Peace Fleece is nice too. A 70/30 wool/mohair blend that is tough as nails yet soft and squishy. The store owner showed me a hat she made out of this yarn and told me that the hand really softens up when you wash it. Sure enough she was right! I just picked it up because the green was so fresh and lovely. I'm not sure what I'll do with this one. Sometimes you just buy things because they make you happy and that's what I did.

Yarn vs. Clothes

Which brings me to my next discussion topic. This past Friday, I was at my desk thinking about knitting (actually, work is where I get most of my ideas for this blog) and thought about women and fashion. Knitting magazines and pattern books are largely influenced by current fashions. Where as in most men spend their extra money on gadgets, video games, or sports gear, typically, women spend whatever dispensible cash they have on appearance: hair, nails, tanning, and of course clothing.

Growing up in New York City has definitely influenced my fashion sense. I remember practically every other weekend my mom, little sisters and I would go to the mall to shop. Sometimes we would buy something, and other times we would just walk around, look at the styles, and finish off our day at a nice restaurant (needless to say my mom went broke doing that but we were spending time as a family). However, since I have become a knitter, my shopping excursions have become less frequent as I have forsaken fashion and replaced it with yarn or knitting related items. I am so for real when I say I haven't been shopping since Christmas. And even though I've been telling myself, "Kelly, you really need to get yourself some new Spring pieces to keep your wardrobe fresh and interesting." I dismiss that thought with, "I don't have enough money right now" and leave it at that.

Nowadays, past food, shelter, and gas for my car, the only thing I'm concerned with is collecting more yarn for my enjoyment. However, I think it's rather funny that I would spend $24 on some hand dyed sock yarn but think that would be an outrageous price for a button up shirt? I would never spend $35 for a sweater from Banana Republic but I would spend that much on yarn for a sweater and tell myself "Man, this is a bargain!"

I mean lets face it. $24 for a pair of socks is outrageous in an economy where you can get 15 pairs of socks for that same price. I guess the point of this whole thing is I realize that my spending habits when it comes to yarn and clothing have changed. Frankly, I'd rather spend $24 on some yarn than $24 on a shirt. Does that mean I'm weird and have lost all my fashion sense? Have you as of late lost all of your style for the sake of knitting? Do you ever think about these things? Let me know what you think about yarn vs. clothing.

Playing Catch Up

Oh yeah, I've been knitting too:

I finished the Back to School Vest from Fitted Knits and have started some toe-up socks out of the Lorna's Laces I scored from Susie. The sock is coming along great, the vest, however, is not my favorite. You see, the vest is too short on the bottom. I know the simple solution is to just cut out the bottom and add some more ribbing, but I'm feeling lazy right now and it's already spring so it's not like I need to have this vest right now. Besides, I'm already psychologically done with it.

And finally, some Lion Brand Yarn:

Two weeks ago I was in a JoAnn's and saw this on the shelf. I have never seen it before and I only bought it because I did not believe that JoAnn's was capable of selling anything but acrylic. The yarn is pretty basic but gorgeous. Called Fisherman's Wool, it's 100% wool, worsted weight, 8 oz, 400+ yards and cost about $9 USD a skein, making it an even better value than Cascade 220. The only drawback is that it only comes in two colors: the cream above and a dark brown color but there are enough dyeing tutorials online to remedy that. I knitted up a swatch and plan on making the Tyrolean Stockings from the Fall 2007 issue of Interweave Knits. I can't wait to get that started!

That's all for now. Today I'm planning on doing nothing but knitting and watching The Shield. See ya!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nothing Much

I know I've been absent these past couple weeks but I find it rather amazing that despite that, I seem to get over 400+ visits every week! (What? Don't act like you don't have a hit counter on your blog.)

Anyway, I have been knitting but I'm too lazy to take any pictures of them right now. Since Sunday afternoon I've been nursing my boyfriend to back to health. He caught the flu from someone at work and he's been spuring out all kinds of evil from every orifice of his body. Poor thing! But this is what a woman does for her man.

It's finally getting warm in Indiana. Last Friday it actually hit 80 degrees F (26 C) and let me tell you the freaks sure come out once the sun decides to bath us in her glory. Pum pum shorts, sandals, tank tops, and dish rags for skirts have all made their 2008 debuts. And though it's hotter now, it's still not warm enough for me. When I say I like hot, I mean I like HOT (90 degrees F, clear sunny skies and humid). I know I'm strange, but I attribute it to my heritage. Guyana is pretty much the rain forest you know.

And while I'm hear, I might as well ask you all a question. I'm planning on going to Stitches Midwest this August and I thought it would be a good idea to walk with cash (because if I use a credit/debit card I will over spend). Now I know that if I ask you guys "How much should I bring?" all I'll get are a bunch of "Well it depends" responses. What I'm interested in is this: If you are going to a fiber fest this year, how much do you plan on spending? What are you planning on getting? Do you like taking credit/debit cards or cash? Let me know!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

That's What Friends Are For

Hey everyone! This weekend so far has been great. I've been meaning to share this with you so here it is.

A couple of weeks ago, two friends of mine that just got married last year came by and gave us a housewarming gift.

Aren't they sweet? Some lovely Jiffy from Lion Brand Yarns. I'm thinking this shall become another crochet blanket (maybe for when they have their first baby in a couple years, who knows). However, the framed scrapbook page was most meaningful to me mainly because it shows that our friends took the time in being thoughtful of their gift to us. In other words, we were worth their time. It almost makes me cry thinking about it.

Receiving their gift made me think about growing up and moving on. As you all know, I just graduated from college last year. Though that was a great time in my life, in terms of my career, nothing exciting has happened since. It makes me sad, but all I can do is send my resume out to prospective employers and hope for the best.

But then I talk to my friends and they tell me things like, "We're getting married" or "I'm going for a job interview in New York and I'm hoping they hire me." In other words, people are growing up and moving on, and I'm having a hard time coping with it.

I mean logically speaking, I know that getting married to the love of your life and starting a new career is exciting and good for everyone. But still, deep down inside, I just wish we could all be together forever. The comfort of having a strong group of friends around you all the time is really enticing but that will never happen. Life is too dynamic for that and change is inevitable.

Has this ever happened to any of you guys? How did you deal with separating from all your college friends or moving on from one place to the next in your life? As you can see, I'm going through a transitional phase in my life and I guess I need some assurance from someone, somewhere.

And this is where the sad-fest ends. I hope I didn't bring you all down today.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

WIP it Good!

As promised, here are some WIP's of mine.

A simple ribbed sock made out of Yarn Hallow Yarn. It's a sport weight so it is knitting up rather quickly. This past Monday I had to go to my monthly departmental meeting at work and decided that was prime knitting time (seeing that they usually take up a whole hour). I got most of the leg done and got working on the heel the next day.

This is the Back-To-School u-neck vest in Fitted Knits by Stephanie Japel. I started this thing last Thursday and I'm almost to the armholes! Super fast, satisfying, and pretty. I got the yarn from Purl a couple weeks back (remember?) and it's nice to work with too. Plus the cheerful color brightens up my evenings while I knit on it.

Last, the spring lace scarf is done. I started it way back in December after Christmas and finished it like 3 weeks ago. I hope you like my amateur photography skills.

I'm pretty proud of it. It's light, warm, and beautiful. I made this one up, though it is not original. See I found the lace motif here and decided it would look so much better as a scarf. Three months later it is done, just in time for Spring weather.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Spring Cleaning

I have finally decided that the only way for winter weather to go away is if I put away my winter clothes. This past weekend I did a lot of laundry, in particular of my hand knits and many delicate store bought items. As you can see they have since taken over the floor space in my living room and now are dry enough to be stored in Rubbermaid bins for the warmer months ahead. Thank God!

My only fear are moths. As you all know I just moved into this house, and I'm not sure if I have them, but I heard that if you just throw some cedar chips or some dried lavendar satchets into the bin with the items, they should be hole-free when it is time to wear them again. Is this true? Please let me know.

As you can see I have also gotten bitten by the crochet bug. This is a giant granny square from what I understand. Lots of double crochets, chaining 3 or 5 or 6 stitches where appropriate. You get the idea (if you don't, well, ask a crocheter). At present, this blanket is good enough for a baby, but I really would like this to cover an adult body.

What has propelled me to learn this technique is the pure interest I have in granny squares. I have to admit that I'm not very fond of the look of simple crochet. But the more complex crochet is really cool to look at and I find granny squares to be aesthetically pleasing. I shared my love for granny squares with a co-worker of mine and she offered to teach me how to do them (BTW, she also knows how to spin, so guess who will be learning how to spin soon!)

Because I knew the basics of single and double crochet, I picked it up fast and 3 nights later I had made about 10 squares. I soon discovered that granny squares are perfect for knitters like myself with tons of odd balls that can't grow up to be anything on their own, but are too much to be thrown away. However, the prospect of sewing hundreds (well, maybe not hundreds, but close to it) of squares for a blanket didn't look as appealing as it once did before. So I got some other random balls and started this blanket.

The rainbow yarn is a throwback. 300 or so grams of lana sedificada ("silky wool" or "silk-like yarn" to be exact) from Buenos Aires. As far as I can tell, however, there is no wool or silk content in this thing at all. I think it's really all acrylic. But let me tell you, the acrylic in Argentina is nothing like the stuff we get here in North America. It is soft, easy to knit with, and comes in THOUSANDS of appealing colorways every season (again, if your interested in making Buenos Aires your next fiber trip destination, refer to my Yarn Heaven post I wrote some years back).

The neutral yarns I bought 3 months ago from Joann. It's by Bernat and it is 70% acrylic, 30% alpaca. I couldn't believe that Joann was selling yarn with natural fiber in it so I got 1 ball of each color. The yarn is not the best quality out there, but it is soft and good enough for my purposes. Besides, Joann seems to be stepping up their game in terms of different yarns these days. Not only are they selling cotton, but I saw some 100% wool yarns that would be perfect for felting, and even some yarn that had bamboo in it. Needless to say, I was rather impressed.

So back to the blanket. This is my first attempt at crocheting a blanket. Let me tell you, this was done so fast, that I'm thinking the next person that needs a baby blanket from me, will have it crochet because it can be done in 3 days (if you get a large hook, of course). The only draw back I see about crochet is that it uses WAY more yarn than knitting does, so projects may cost more money than usual. Still, the speed in which something is made is ridiculous and I find that rather charming.

Anyway, that's all for today. Tomorrow will be some WIP's, some FO's, and of course more of my intellectual banter.