Archive for February, 2007

28
Feb
07

More Dirt!

I heard a rumor that the viewership of “Dirt” with Courteney Cox went down after the first few episodes. Well I want to tell the powers that be – I love “Dirt”! Don’t even think about getting rid of it! It is my second favorite show these days, after “The Office” of course. (“The Class” running a close third – inching up, actually, after the drama on Monday’s show!) After the date rape scene of last week, this week they’re being held hostage by a child star who wants some publicity! (“Oh my God, he killed Kenny!”) I really enjoy this show.

There is other dirt going on here – gossip. I finally received the yarn I ordered on February 14th. It looked gorgeous in the photo, and I was supposed to get a PayPal rebate (that’s still up in the air), so I bought it. After I paid for it I heard *nothing*. Not even a “we’re really swamped, but we got your money and plan to send you the yarn”. Nothing. Finally last week I emailed them to ask about it. I got a “we’re really swamped” email. Like that’s supposed to be my problem. It seems to me if you can’t keep up with your orders, maybe you shouldn’t list as much so you can fulfill what you sell in a timely manner. Meanwhile I started reading their feedback, and the one negative stood out – the person had ordered purple and black yarn and received red and black yarn. She also said it “smelled heavily of perfume”.

So today I come home to a package, one week after the “we’re swamped because we’re so popular” email. It did smell a bit (more than yarn usually does, but not as bad as the mothball-smelling yarn I bought on Ebay once), but mostly I’m not convinced I like it. It’s not as soft as I would have imagined, and the colors aren’t doing too much for me in our fluorescent lighting. I’m going to check it out in daylight tomorrow and hope I change my mind. I’m in trouble if I can’t order yarn online, since obviously I have been not motivated to buy yarn in a store lately either.

That being said, I’m spending the day in Oakland tomorrow and will probably stop by at least one yarn store.¬† Does going to a yarn store 30 minutes away count as “vacation” yarn? ūüėČ

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27
Feb
07

Who needs Stitches? Or a LYS, for that matter?

I’m done with my Second Sock Syndrome II sock. I knitted it out of Knit Picks Sock Landscape in Rocky Mountain Dusk (a gorgeous purple, lavender, dark blue and black) on size 3 needles. My swap partner does Magic Loop, however, and since it was a rather large needle size for socks, I wanted to send her a 40″ size 3 Addi needle. Since I had done Stitches on Friday (in their defense, they did have Inox and Addi needles that I could have used there, but the places that had what I needed had really long lines because they had the best yarn choices.) I decided to just stop by my LYS.

I used to have one LYS two towns over (which then moved even closer), but then a LYS opened in our town. Technically there is a “needlepoint and knitting” store in my town already, but their yarn selection is spotty and their hours are horrible – they are only open 9 to 5 on weekdays! The new LYS in our town was at Stitches so I assumed like the other hundred LYS (local and not so local) at Stitches that they would be closed because they had a booth at Stitches. That, and the last time I was there they only sold Crystal Palace and Clover needles.

So I went to my former LYS. I have never liked their new location (being right next to a Jenny Craig doesn’t help – I hate the guilt), because it is really crowded. It’s not messy or anything like other LYS (we run the gamut around here, and there are quite a few to choose from as well), but just organized in such a way that you cannot bring a stroller in and frankly it’s not very roomy even if you don’t bring your stroller. The first thing I noticed was that they were closing on Sunday *so their employees could go to Stitches*! They’re already closed Monday, and Stitches is at least 3 days, they can’t find staff who can come in while other staff go and then rotate?

Anyway, I used to go to their “odd ball” basket and find some nice skeins. In this case I hit the “gauntlet” of one of the two staff members at the store following me around and not making me feel comfortable to shop. They also do not carry 40″ Addi needles, so that was a waste of a trip. Did I mention I didn’t buy anything? In a yarn store?
Since I knew another LYS that did carry a great selection of needles (but a bit of a drive), I called them and to my surprise they actually had in stock (and were open) a 40″ size 3 Addi needle! I convinced (not very easily) the kids to let me go to the yarn store to pick it up. We all went down there, found a couple of nice staff members, got the needle I wanted, and (this is the important part of the story) *again* I did not buy yarn! The kids were good. I did get some shopping time, but nothing called out to me.

So this weekend I went to Stitches and two LYS, and window shopped at Little Knits and Webs and I did not buy yarn! I’m very surprised at my restraint. However, this could lead me to the #3 weird thing about me. At least my ex-boyfriend thought it was weird enough to mention.

3. When shopping, I make a collection of things I want to buy (being somewhat of an impulse shopper), and then somewhere from the store to the line, I end up putting a lot of it back. I just start thinking why I don’t really need all these things and put them back. I also do a lot of returning, even after buying stuff. I wish I could do this with chocolate – since I really don’t need all the chocolate I buy and eat. ūüė¶

Anyway, the main reason I don’t currently need Stitches or a LYS is the amazing swap gifts I’ve received recently!

I am very late in mentioning my Sock-ret Pal, who sent me a gorgeous handmade bookmark all the way from Singapore!

I also received two gorgeous skeins of yarn from two different people of Good Yarn Karma:

Mellenweit Sock Yarn from Jae!

Fiesta La Boheme from a generous anonymous donor!
I received some gorgeous hand-dyed yarn from my Swap-bot handdyed yarn swap:

and last but not least, my Sassy Sock Yarn swap from Swap-bot came, all the way from Norway!

And that makes stash accounted for: 82 skeins. Socks to be made: 12 pairs.

26
Feb
07

Questionnaire time!

**I updated my wish list link! Amazon does not make it easy to do!**

I’ve joined the second Punk Rock Gift Exchange, so here are my answers to the questionnaire:

1. How long have you been knitting/crocheting/spinning?
I learned crocheting first but haven’t done it in years. I’ve been knitting regularly since 2003.

2. Do you consider yourself a beginner, novice or experienced yarn artist?
Intermediate. There are definitely things I haven’t done yet, like intarsia, fair isle, steeking.

3. What fibers (materials) have you knit/crochet with?
Most standards. I haven’t tried any of the new and exciting ones like hemp, bamboo, banana skins, tofu, etc.

4. What are your favorite yarns?

Here’s my Top 10 list. Basically I love soft yarn. I prefer mid-sized wool or silk.

5. What fibers are you dying to try?
I also have a list of my dream yarns.

6. Do you prefer solid, self striping, or handpainted yarns?
I like them all, but I guess I prefer variegated. I don’t like that fake fair-isle stuff that is usually used for sock yarn.

7. What fibers do you dislike?
Scratchy or acrylic-y yarn.

8. What are your favorite colors?
red and black.

9. What are your least favorite colors?
pastels.

10. How did you learn to knit/crochet/spin?
I learned to crochet at a class at the library. My mom taught me how to knit in high school.

11. What projects are you currently working on?
My Sock-ret Pal socks, my 2nd Sweater-a-Month KAL sweater and some others that have been buried …

12. How old is your oldest UFO? What is it? Will it ever be finished?
I don’t know anymore!

13. What is the most heartbreaking project that you ever frogged?
I am too scared to frog my A Good Bias shrug or my Silk Corset, but they probably should be frogged.

14. Do you prefer straight or circular needles?
Circulars.

15. Do you own a swift and/or a winder?
Yes.

16. Where do you keep your needles?
Everywhere!

17. Do you enjoy helpful hints about your knitting or does it just piss you off?
It depends on how it’s worded.

18. What techniques are you still a virgin in (lace, cables, ect.) and are you interested in trying them?
I haven’t done much colorwork (just stripes), no steeking or other scary stuff.

19. What knitting magazines do you subscribe to?
Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting.

20. Are there any books, needles, yarn, patterns that you are dying to get your hands on?
I’ve got an Amazon list that I keep up to date on books and CDs, and of course my Dream Yarns list.

21. Do you enjoy knitting socks? How big are your feet?
I do, sometimes. They’re so useful and portable! I wear a U.S. size 8 and my left foot is 10 inches and my right foot is 9 1/2 inches. Go figure. It’s nice when I’m ready to be done with a pair of socks and just make the second shorter, definitely.

22. Do you have a wish list?
Yes, I update my Amazon list often.

23. What are your non-knitting, crochet, spinning hobbies?
I’ve gotten more into beading lately, I like watching TV, listening to radio and collecting tea and covers of popular music.

24. How do you feel about sports?
Not a fan.

25. What is your favorite season? Least favorite season? Why?
Spring. I love the feeling of it being gorgeous after a cold and/or rainy Winter (in Northern CA).

26. What is your favorite holiday?
Valentine’s Day (for the red and candy!), Easter (for the candy!) and Mother’s Day.

27. Do you like handmade gifts?
Yes!

28. Do you wear jewelry that isn’t real?
Yes. I’ve been more and more into necklaces lately.

29. What are your favorite foods? Scents that you love?
Chocolate! (Except anything with hazelnuts.) I have been getting more into tea lately, and I love the smell of coffee, chocolate, vanilla and most flowers.

30. What is your family situation? Do you live alone?
I have one husband and three kids.

31. Do you have any pets?
No, my husband is allergic to cats so we don’t have one ūüė¶

32. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3’s?
My computer, etc. can play MP3s. I love all music if it is a cover. If it’s not a cover I like everything except jazz, rap and that American Idol-like singing.

33. What are your favorite movies? TV shows? Actors?
My favorite current TV shows are The Office and Dirt. I love Office Space, Better Off Dead, the ’80s teen movies, and The Warriors as movies go.

34. What do you collect?
Knitting needles (it seems – I’ve got them everywhere!), yarn, patterns, knitting books, CDs, covers of popular music, tea and chocolate!

35. What do you do in real life — besides knit and blog?
I’m technically a work at home mom, when I get work. I’m trained as a librarian but haven’t worked in a library in 7 years. At this point it’s mostly about kid stuff.

36. When is your birthday? Is it a national holiday or just another day?
March 26th. I don’t celebrate it too much, but it is nice to be remembered!

37. Do you have any allergies, medical conditions or disorders that your pal should be aware of (ie. diabetes, food/pet allergies, etc.)?
No.

38. Are there any scents, phobias, or sensory thing (ie, the way certain objects feel) that your pal should be aware of?
I don’t like overly smelly stuff, like those candle stores at the mall. Unless it’s chocolate or coffee of course!

39. What is the most difficult thing that you have ever knit/crochet?
Well, I started Annie Modesitt’s Silk Corset which was challenging, but I gave up on it. So I guess I’d say that.

40. What is your personal style? Is there a time period/fashion movement that you take your cues from?

I like to be comfortable mostly, but I probably try to dress goth and/or New Wave when I can. When I was thinner and had more time and money to dress myself, I used to dress more romantic-y or Victorian.

And in the interest of getting through my stash, here’s more!

1 skein of Kaalund laceweight yarn from Get Knitted. Skeins accounted for: 77.

25
Feb
07

Another failed cart.

This is the second time today (at least) I’ve come thisclose to ordering yarn. I still haven’t heard anything about the yarn I ordered on Etsy on February 14th, and I’ve definitely had some buyer’s remorse for having ruined my “yarn diet” of a couple of months.¬† I was dead set on ordering a big order from Little Knits, but even though the yarn is a good price, it’s nothing I really can’t live without.¬† Not so my latest “dream yarn” order from Webs. Interested?

http://yarn.com

Shopping Cart Contents (nothing is final until you submit your order)
item# item description unit price u/m qty cost adjust quantity here
HIPHOP~00BER7255 Berroco Hip Hop 7255 Red Spyda $13.00 skein 10 $130.00
 change qty
then click
TERRA~00TFC~00MADDER Fibre Company Terra madder $16.00 ball 7 $112.00
 change qty
then click
WATERMARK~00121POPPIES Fiesta Yarns Watermark 121 poppies $19.00 skein 5 $95.00
 change qty
then click
 
Continue to Shop
Refresh Display
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Empty your Cart
Order Subtotal: $337.00

  • Prices subject to change without notice.
  • All transactions are in U.S. currency.
  • $120 or greater yarn purchase 25 percent discount of $84.25 active.
  • Massachusetts deliveries subject to $0.00 sales tax.
  • Shipping cost is estimated.
  • Orders will be confirmed via email.
Order Discount: – $84.25
UPS Ground Shipping: $6.85
Grand Total: $259.60

But look, I’d save $85!

25
Feb
07

The second most weird thing about me.

When I sat down to write this meme that has been circulating, I couldn’t easily think of six things (I know there are way more than six things that are weird about me, definitely), but now I’m at number 2! As you may remember, the #1 weird thing about me is my disdain for anything popular.¬† I’m surprised I’m still so into tattoos since pretty much everyone’s *mother* (Hell, my kids’ mother has tattoos ūüėČ ) has a tattoo these days.

#2 is: I hate reality shows and I hate awards shows.¬† Some part of this spins out of my hatred of anything popular but it’s also the anti-popularity of anything or anyone I like not getting the award while no-talent hacks get it every time.¬† I am so happy that the Oscars got moved up a couple of years ago, because they used to be closer to my birthday which made me extra mad. February isn’t so bad, since I can ignore them more easily.¬† Luckily I’ve got tons of work to do tonight (and TiVo) so the lack of TV won’t be that annoying.

Here’s something else non-popular (for now):

I’ve got Maia’s yarn!¬† She was nice enough to swap with me for some mohair my friend was destashing, and I got this gorgeous handdyed sock yarn! It’s definitely in my queue!¬† Skeins accounted for: 78.¬† Sock pairs to be made: 10 (that is, I’ve got yarn enough for 10 pairs of socks so far!)

Actually, let me renumber my list. I gave my two handdyed yarn skeins away during the Handdyed Yarn Swap on Swap-Bot, so I actually have only 76 skeins of yarn accounted for! I’ve still got the 10 pairs of socks to make, however.

24
Feb
07

The shark.

So, did you see the shark on “Grey’s Anatomy” this week? No? That’s probably because Meredith jumped it when she was clinging to life after almost drowning. That episode was excruciating. I had to watch it in fast forward because it was so bad. Izzie is still the biggest bitch. Like she can talk about screwed up relationships to George. And like she has any idea whether George and Callie should be married or not. But I can tell you if they break up, it will be because Izzie put a seed of doubt in his mind. Then the Mark and soon to be gone Dr. Montgomery. I really hope it’s just a rumor that they’re starting a spinoff already, starring Kate Walsh as Dr. Montgomery. I don’t find her compelling enough to follow to another show. For that matter, I have no idea why I watch Grey’s. I hate all the characters. And did I mention an entire hour where the lamest character in history is in some sort of limbo, interacting with dead previous characters on the show.

I guess I got some knitting done, though. I’m hard at work on my Sock-ret Pal sock (still #1), but my camera isn’t working so I can’t take a picture or even document my stash. Darn.

ETA: One problem solved:

Skein #77 in my stash chronicle – the beaded lace yarn my Sock-ret Pal sent me. I can’t wait to knit with it, it’s gorgeous, and all the way from Singapore!

23
Feb
07

Yawn. or, &((*)_%^##@

(My entire post was just deleted! Let me curse some more *)*^%%##@!!!)

I’m quoting Chris with the title. Except the cursing part. That’s all me.

Anyway, I was saying that it was in the cards for me to go to Stitches West today. I had very little traffic, and made it the 26 miles South to Santa Clara in about 25 minutes. I had bought online tickets for 2 days just in case there was a long ticket line, but there wasn’t. I had a star sighting. (Okay, it isn’t much, but I love seeing people from TV.)

First of all, it was extremely poorly organized, at least for someone who hadn’t studied the map beforehand to make a beeline to specific stalls. I happened upon Ellen’s Half Pint Farm really easily, which was great, because it was my favorite yarn purchase from last year’s Stitches. I found my favorite colorway, Eclipse, but the yarn was $110-140 and I didn’t feel comfortable spending that much at one time, even if it is enough for a whole garment. (I heard Ellen telling another customer this.) Ellen has jumped on the sock bandwagon, and had a collection of sock yarn facing out of the booth. I almost bought some sock yarn until someone pointed out to me that it was sock yarn (wool and tencel, I think) and then it just didn’t look that good to me.

On a related note, #1 on a list of “6 Weird Things About Me” would have to be:

1. I hate to do anything when it becomes popular. If it’s popular, it turns me off just because it’s popular. I knit socks. I enjoy knitting socks. But I’m tired of seeing sock yarn everywhere and hearing about socks everywhere. I really hoped that 2007 would be “the year of” something else, since 2006 had been “the year of the sock”.

So, back to Stitches. So as I vainly attempted to figure out where I had been before and where was a new row of booths, I found a number of places. I was disappointed about the vast number of LYSs that were represented. Not just local LYSs, but LYSs from all over the country. I’d prefer to go to a show and buy yarn I can’t get somewhere else. Unless it’s extremely cheap, but I didn’t get the feeling anything was that cheap, and also I felt guilty buying tons of yarn even if it were cheap since I have so much at home.

There were a number of booths of yarn (and other products) sellers that weren’t LYSs, but nothing called out to me. I used to buy anything red or black, but now I’m pickier and am looking for a good colorway and/or something I can’t get easily anywhere else. My finances and yarn closet only stretch so much. I even deigned to visit the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth (see #1 above, I hate Socks that Rock), but none of the nice colorways I’ve seen online were there.

Disappointment #2 or 3, wherever I am, was Carolina Homespun. This is a local yarn store (I think – they’re in San Francisco, but I don’t think they specialize in yarn, more spinning. I haven’t ever gone to their store in person) where I bought the bulk of my Stitches West 2006 Haul. They usually have a set of bins with discounted yarn. Last year they had tons of gorgeous yarn, and it was a deal where you got a bigger discount if you bought 12 skeins. This year there was a much smaller selection and only two skeins I considered buying. They were 25% off.¬† I just changed my mind before buying.

So I circled the market a few times, passing LYS after LYS, even the olive oil seller a few times, when I decided to just pack it in. Maybe I wasn’t in a buying mode, I don’t know. But I’m not sure if I’ll bother going back for my second day pass. If I do, it quite possibly will be for that $110 Ellen’s Half Pint Farm yarn. It is gorgeous!




Elspeth

is a knitter, librarian and pop culture enthusiast in the San Francisco Peninsula. Email me at emmckee@rocketmail

Tweets, if I bother

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