Archive for the ‘knitting’ Category
I don’t like to talk about this very much. Because it’s embarrassing! Me! Crushing on a craft icon–Martha Stewart.
Not that I have anything against crafting. I love crafting. Right now I am on a knitting binge. It can be done inside. It’s relatively un-messy–unless you count the remnants of yarn littering the floor or the stitch markers that seem to be everywhere! And it doesn’t hurt my hands.
See, I am the anti-Martha when it comes to crafting. I am messy. I am unorganized. I fly by the seat of my pants when it comes to directions. Yes, even in knitting I don’t follow the instructions exactly. I mean, if the directions tell me to do something that seems awkward or unnecessary, I will change it. It’s art, people…there are no mistakes in art!
It all started eons ago. I always admired her because she never looked like a super model when she was doing things on TV. She seemed much more interested in what she was doing rather then how she looked while doing it. I love that attitude! Hair not perfectly coiffed? Doesn’t affect her ability to wield a hot glue gun!
I drifted away. I got my iPad. She had an interactive magazine…well, I’m sure you can guess the rest. I pour through each issue of Martha Stewart Living. There are things I want to do! This month I am inspired to make ganache to frost a cake and make some truffles!
Martha even made her way into knitting! The article in Holiday Vogue Knitting about her and her new yarn, made me love her even more. She’s determined to make good-quality products for people. I had to have the yarn!
See what I did with it? I made a cowl. The Llama Verde cowl pattern I got at Mosaic Yarn Studio at this summer’s yarn crawl. Martha’s yarn feels sooooo good. It was inexpensive. I found it at Michael’s.
I watched a Martha Stewart representative on the Home Shopping Network earlier this week. Now I want her punches! Her scoring board! Her glitter! Her stamps! And I don’t even do paper crafting any more!
This Martha Stewart girl crush could become mighty expensive…
Do you craft? Admire any craft idols? Anyone you want to turn me on to?!
When I heard about this book I was so excited! Cat Bordhi was teaching this method at a local yarn store and I didn’t want to wait for the class. Instead, I rushed to my even more local yarn store and bought the book. I stopped at a gallery next door and raved about the possibilities of this book.
Imagine, knitting a sock tailored exactly to your foot! Short or long, wide or narrow…your socks would fit so well!
I barely made it in the door before I whipped open the book. I searched for a piece of cardboard to make my own (albeit rather strangely shaped) personal footprint! Then I really started reading.
When I discovered that the first sock was knit only for one needle size and one gauge and was pretty useless except it gave you your reference points for future socks, I was disappointed. I am not a patient knitter. If I’m going to knit a sock, it had better fit me when I am done.
This book clearly isn’t for me. I don’t want to spend time knitting sample socks. I want to spend time knitting a wearable sock. But give it a try if you’re new to socks. There’s a lot of information on sock making that you will find helpful!
This post originally appeared on October 7, 2009.
I am being defeated by hand-dyed silk ribbon and seed beads. Seriously, I thought I was stronger than this, but I am seriously mistaken. I’ve survived divorce, death, teenage twins (well, so far!), a precocious 10-year old, and it will be the hand-dyed silk ribbon and seed beads that finally get me!
This all started about a month ago, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Kelly and I detour to Richmond, Illinois, on our way to Lake Geneva. We are set on making one last try at this elusive yarn shop. It’s been closed on all of the many other times we’ve gone there. I have, on more than one occasion, declared Wool, Warp & Wheel and the town of Richmond, dead to me.
But, to my pleasant surprise, the shop is open. It’s a warm, cozy shop. There’s a dog for petting, a bird for oohing, and an angora rabbit that did nothing for me because it was hiding in it’s cage. Beautiful samples are hung and draped everywhere. It’s a petter’s paradise and I was tactically enthralled at all the different things to touch and caress–samples, yarn, ribbon, roving (that’s the fiber for spinning). Yum!
Then my eyes fell upon this half-knit sample of a simple scarf. Oooo! Soft and shiny! The edges are scalloped with beads. The beads run through the length of the scarf. It’s gorgeous and it’s calling my name. And I buy it.
Let me start by saying that at this point, for my aggravation and pain, it would have been better for me to just buy a finished one. Seriously, even if it cost twice as much finished, it would have been worth the snarling, crying and bad words this scarf has brought out of me.
The hand-dyed silk ribbon is an array of luscious colors: emerald green, lime green, purple, deep blues. The colors meander along the smooth, silk strands. It feels good, it looks good.
It is evil. There. I’ve said it. I have purchased and am working with evil yarn! It saw me coming, muhahaha-ed to itself and sucked me in.
I started by putting the first hank of seed beads onto the silk. I didn’t realize you should first wind the hank of yarn around the provided cardboard spool. (Yes, there was a small label suggesting you wind it around the cardboard, but no where was there a Surgeon General’s warning that you must wind the silk around the cardboard!)
I start winding. Oops, some beads popped off! There they go rolling across the laminate flooring, under the furniture. Luckily the boys are home and they hop to retrieving the errant beads. I continue winding.
I am still unclear as to how I ended up with a hand-dyed silk ribbon gnarled mess. One minute I was winding, and the next it had all wrapped itself upon itself. Twists and Tangles. Tangles and Twists. I keep working at it. Then I put it aside…I need a break.
I show my tangled mess to Kelly. We sit in The Studio (aka the garage) for over an hour, untangling the yarn. I had to resort to cutting it in places. So the one-piece hank ends up in about 50 pieces. Kelly announces she cannot spend the night and must get home to her family. I think I silently sobbed as I watched her leave.
Jim comes home to me and the snarling ribbon sitting on the chair. Tentatively, he asks what I am making. I know I was a little snarly when I said, “A babushka!” and draped the snarling, evil ribbon yarn over me head. We chuckled. I thought about killing myself to end my misery.
I do get the ribbon untangled that evening and happily start knitting. Knit, knit, slide some beads, knit, knit. Oops! I didn’t notice I came to the end of a piece of the once-whole ribbon and some seed beads went flying. Tinkling over the laminate, rolling under the furniture, kids scrambling after it. What fun ribbon and seed bead knitting is!
The scarf of knit in two sections, from end to middle on both pieces. I finish the one end and am slightly concerned that it is very short. I am a short, but rather plump person, so I require more than 24 inches in a scarf. I ignore my feelings of distress and knit on. I transfer the second hand of seed beads to the ribbon. Knit, knit, slide some beads, knit, knit.
I do encounter problems when I come to the ends of pieces, because I have beads where they shouldn’t be. I surgically transfer them from ribbon piece to ribbon piece with a floss threader. (Thank you Dr Karas, my beloved dentist for these samples!) It’s tedious, but it gets the job done. I only lose a few of the beads. But now when the beads tinkle across the floor no one eagerly jumps up to get them. There are snarls and grumbles from the boys.
I finish knitting the beads on the second half, as just as I suspected, the scarf is nearly Barbie-sized. I decide I will just knit the rest. I contemplate a complicated lace-stitch, slap myself upside the head and knit on.
Yesterday, I finished the second half! It was done! It’s gorgeous. If you don’t look too closely you will not see the yarn joins. I only have to join the two pieces using a three-needle bind off. I search through my knitting books to find the instructions (the actual instructions that came with the kit are long gone, having been disposed of during a rabid living-room clean up where I assumed all loose papers on the floor were the boys). I finally find it in a Stitch & Bitch Nation book. It looks simple enough.
A half hour later, after dropping and retrieving stitches numerous times, I am tearing my hair out. How could something that looked so simple on paper be so freakin’ difficult?! It’s got to be the evil, devil-spawn hand-dyed silk ribbon. I put the separate pieces away, yes, with some seed beads flying! I greet Jim, tell the boys what to do for dinner, and go sit in front of my computer and sob.
Yes, two hanks of iridescent seed beads and a hank hand-dyed silk ribbon have reduced me to tears. To sobs. Real tears! Mascara smearing, racoon eye making, red-eye inducing tears. Luckily my family does not notice this because there’s no way they would understand why I was crying over knitting a scarf. (Honestly, though, I am a little concerned that I was crying at the desk and no one noticed….are they freakin’ blind?!)
I swore when I was done that I was DONE! No more knitting that scarf. I don’t care if it cost a great fraction of the grocery budget for a week. I don’t care that I have worked on it for a month. I don’t care that it’s gorgeous (oh, is it gorgeous…and it even feels good!). I just want it gone. Out of here!
And everywhere I go, there are lone seed beads mocking me. In the powder room (which has been swept and scrubbed numerous times in the last week) there’s one. On the stairs going up to the second floor, there’s one…and another. They are taunting me. Teasing me. I hate the freakin’ seed beads!
But during the night I came up with a way to salvage it. I will use a big-eyed needle…and some scrap yarn…I’ll lose a few rows, but it’ll be worth it! There will be pictures…
I am so glad I found a new yarn studio. Because I can never have enough yarn!
The Woolly Lamb Yarn Studio is located at 6007 N. Nina Avenue in Chicago. The owner, Brigitte Biver, was wonderfully personable and helpful.
Kelly and I spent quite awhile petting yarns and pouring over pattern books. The front room of the studio is sunny and bright from the wide windows. Samples hang everywhere. There was a great selection of yarn, accessories, and books. A cozy-looking couch invites you to grab some knitting and sit for awhile.
A back room has a giant table as the centerpiece. Shelves of yarn and books surround it, as well as more samples. It would be a nice, cozy place to take a class or have a knit-in.
Woolly Lamb is the sole local seller of Bergere yarns. If you haven’t felt the Bergere yarn, hurry over there to pet some. It is gloriously soft and I imagine it makes amazingly comfortable items. The Bergere pattern books are also fun and frivolous with some gorgeous garments and accessories. Brigitte carries many of them and she let us page through them all.
I give this local business a solid two thumbs up. The shop was the right blend of cozy and well-lit. There’s a wide assortment of yarn and accessories. The owner is friendly and personable. Even if you’re not a knitter, check out the store for inspiration. Maybe you will be a knitter by the time you leave!
Woolly Lamb Yarn Shop, 6007 N. Nina Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Phone: 773/631-6208.
I’m starting a new feature focusing on businesses in my area. I am not being compensated for these reviews. If I ever am, I will let you know. I’ve mentioned several times that Kelly and I like to go on adventures. We’ve visited a lot of different types of stores in our area. Now I’m sharing our adventures with you!
Mosaic Yarn Studio is located at 1585 Ellinwood Street in Des Plaines, Illinois. We took a convoluted way to get there, then realized there was a much easier way! It didn’t matter what it took to get there, because Mosaic is a yarn store to visit!
First of all, it’s vast! This isn’t a small single store-front yarn store. There are three separate areas of the store, filled with yarn, samples, books, and accessories. One area is a giant classroom, where there are more samples and pictures of students’ completed projects filling a bulletin board.
I fell in love with a hair pin lace knitting kit and wish I had gotten it. Not that I need another project to do. But the samples they had hanging alongside it were luscious. There was a scarf, a shawl, and a small blanket. I might have to go back for that.
The two women working in the store were wonderful to deal with. I didn’t get their names (because I didn’t think I would be writing about the store!) but they were friendly, funny, and helpful. If we saw a sample we liked, they would know the pattern book and the yarn used. I questioned the softness of a yarn and one of them pulled out a project she was working in the same yarn. They were able to be helpful without being cloying. They knew when to step back and let us pet the yarn without interruption.
It’s unusual to find a shop where everything seems to be working. At Mosaic, the yarn selection, accessory selection, the employees, and the spaciousness made this the yarn shop to visit here in ChiBurbia!
Mosaic Yarn Store
1585 Ellinwood St.
Des Plaines, IL 60016
Phone: (847) 390-1013 Fax: (847) 390-1256