Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yarn Hunting

GP may very well kill me. He's a true friend, as he is not a knitter, nor is he interested in knitting (or desires in any way that I knit him anything) but is willing to go on Local Yarn Store (LYS) outings with me.

We've rented out the community car and plan a trip to Best Buy and any LYS that I can find. I just really feel the need to see what else I can find while I'm up here. I leave tomorrow and want to have been to as many places as I can. The last outing was just great, so I don't expect it to top that experience, but I'd like something that was at least a close second.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


In continuing my journey as a knitter, I find myself running into knitters all over this trip to Vermont. The woman who sat next to me on the train happened to be a knitter, confessing herself after she saw the book I was reading. An older woman with a endearing English accent at the train station this morning I recognized as a fiber conspirator by the bright orange yarn in her bag. I got to talking with her for awhile about what she was working on, it turned out that she was partially blind, and while she can't read on the train, she can knit by feeling the stitches. I've heard that some knitters when they get good enough have this ability, and I certainly hope that I get there some day. Though, I suppose that will come after I figure out how to increase and decrease.

The more I read about the Yarn Harlot's stash issues, the more I have the desire to go out and buy all the yarn in the world. Not only so that I can have a massive selection of yarn at home, but so that I may also have the stories of how I acquired it all. Between wandering in rural parts of Canada and having to defend freshly spun yarn from an overly aggressive, egotistical gray squirrel, there are a lot of history not only behind the yarn, but in Mrs Harlot's history as a knitter. I'm looking forward to creating that history for myself.

My intense desire to go yarn shopping took GP and I to a JoAnn's in West Lebanon. I'd noticed it while we drove around last night looking for a place to eat. However, having some foresight for a change I refused to buy anything. Though I had been informed by the friendly Englishwoman that morning that there were no yarn stores here in White River Junction, I was positive that I had found one online. With my assurance in hand, I re-searched the store when we got to his place and low and behold: it was just down the road! Eureka!

We hopped back in the car and headed down to a store right on Main Street named White River Yarns. I was warmly welcomed by the store owner the moment we walked in, and asked a couple questions about what I was shopping for. And before I knew it: I was sitting down and being taught how to knit a sock. She had some on her work station just for such an occasion and I had myself a great time (with GP being incredibly patient with the whole endeavor). I bought two skeins of yarn and a new set of AddiClick circular needles and left the store feeling incredibly encouraged and with tons of advice.

Guess I just have to put myself out there enough. Though I really wish I had more money to go and buy more yarn before I go!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I'm packing for VT and I'm for the first time am considering what knitting supplies I will need to take up with me. It is a given that I'll be taking up my current project: The BBBB. But I'm not sure what else I should bring. It is a 7 hour trip to and from after all. And though there is reading to do, I have been known to have short attention spans when I'm in a fixed position. It's a wonder growing up I never was mistaken for cheating during a test. The second my body knows its suppose to be stuck to a chair or staring at only one thing is the moment I feel the need to move around and see as much as I can.

I'm thinking that having enough knitting to do or intersperse between reading sessions will help keep my attention. So far I've settled on a couple skeins of yarn from my stash (which is growing nicely if I do say so myself) and just one set of needles. Aside from the BBBB, my goal is to try and teach myself as many different stitches as I can. In hopes of this I went back to Barnes and Noble and exchanged a novel I purchased (since it could be purchased for my Kindle) for The Harmony Guides: 101 Stitches to Knit.

I know that having learned to knit and purl is only the first two steps. Now comes the alternation of the two to make patterns. From what I saw while I was browsing, I liked it because it's a collection of cards, which seems pretty durable and portable. Hopefully I'm proven correct and the instructions will be clear enough and not require too much deciphering (why do I get the feeling I'm being condescendingly smiled at here?).

Well, I better stop procrastinating, or I'll wind up oversleeping. Now, which suitcase do I pack?

Book Hunt

My original plan of trying to hit up all the yarn stores in NYC before I start my new job have fallen through. I leave for Vermont in a little less than 2 days and have made plans with friends for any time that wont be spent cleaning my room and packing for the trip. But I'm not leaving NYC anytime soon, so I think I'll be able to make it around eventually (or so I assure myself).

However, yesterday did prove to be a good knitting book day. I received a gift card for Barnes and Noble from a co-worker at a weekend job I just finished and thought to myself: "Now I can get some of those knitting books that I claim I can't afford". In reality, I hem-and-haw over a purchase of any sort (though anyone who knows me as a reader would disagree with that statement). And so, when I pick up a book of project, patterns or other knitting related topics, I easily rationalize why it is not possibly an option for me to buy this book presently. And I've thus far refrained from buying them on my kindle, as there tends to be a habit of moving text or images around onto other pages. Something I am deathly afraid will destroy some future project. And there is something to be said about my growing shelf of fiber arts related books: I love it.

I managed to pick up Son of a Stitch and Bitch (which I have been considering for months) and Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter. The latter was almost left behind, however, as the copy at the Barnes and Noble I first went to was atrocious.

Now, please consider that I am known for being very careful with my books. I hold them open only as much as it takes to be able to read the words from the gutter. Friends and family have been afraid to borrow books from me specifically for this reason. I once had a friend warn me in advance before he returned a book that he had accidentally bent the back cover and wanted to tell me before I noticed it myself. So when I am shopping for a new book, am not very kind to crack in the spine, bent covers, shelf dust or worn out edges. If there will be any markings on my books, they will come from me, my bag or my pen.

I ended up having to call two other Barnes and Noble before I was able to track down a copy of the elusive Harlot where it was the placed on hold for me. (Sidebar: B&N's customer service was a lot more than I had expected it to be. People were apologetic that they couldn't find the book, offered product and store numbers for me to check in other places. I was positive the universe wanted me to have this book in a better condition.) Thankfully, my inspection upon pick-up proved to be acceptable and so the book was purchased--much to my delight as I began to read it on the way home.

Monday, July 13, 2009


I've finally reached the halfway point of the Big Bad Baby Blanket. It's taken some time, but attending the Men's Knitting Night (which I'll post about later) finally got me to (and a little past) where I'll switch the pattern around until I make the ending seed stitch.

The blanket's pattern originally calls for Koigu Wool Designs Painter's Palette Premium Merino. However, G requested that I give her something that she could just throw into the washing machine at the end of the day, so I substituted it for some Vanna's Choice Baby Yarn. It took some getting used to knitting with two strands of yarn held together (tog) but I think I've gotten the hang of it now. My friends says that the colors remind them of chocolate chip ice cream, which is an idea I've grown rather fond of. Hopefully the baby likes it also.

Other lesson learned, which my reading warned of but I learned when I ended up having to go and buy two more skeins of yarn: gauge before beginning the new piece! I'm about to finish my 3/4th balls of yarn and I've only just reached the midpoint of the pattern. This is something that I may have avoided if I had just stopped to make a quick swatch before I started. Hopefully I've learned at least that much from this adventure into my second project.