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Archive for the ‘shopping’ Category

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Last year, I started the Diagonal Mesh Shawl with Brooks Farm Four Play that I got at last year’s Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.

It’s a very nice pattern, yet I’m not happy with it for some reason, so I’m considering sending it to the frog pond and making something else with these four skeins of wool/silk yarn (that’s 1,080 yards), such as this beautiful chevron shawl that Vickyd made. What do you think? You can see more images of this project on my ravelry or flickr.

Speaking of the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, guess who’s going? Right on! Me.

Well, not just me. This year I’m dragging my DH and two boys (age 8 and 15) with me to enjoy the unbelievable crowds that gather once a year at the Howard County Fairgrounds in West Friendship, Maryland. There we plan to partake in some yarn ogling and fondling, along with some pushing and shoving to get into the booths we want to explore more. Ok, ok! Not them… me. They’ll probably go watch the sheep shows or maybe sit in the car and watch a movie on the DVD player until I’m tired of walking or standing in lines and make my way back to the car in the middle of the field. Somewhere.

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When I went last year by myself, I was done in two hours because I went with a plan in mind to hit every vendor in the shortest amount of time possible and shop till I couldn’t carry anymore. This year, since I’m taking everyone, I have no doubt that it will likely take all day since I want to find something interesting for the boys while we’re there. Like a working sheepdog demonstration. I’m sure they’d like that. Hopefully it won’t get rained out and I’ll bring back some good loot (like a set of hand carders, a drop spindle and bare roving), as well as some nice pictures to share with everyone.

You can see images of my first trip to the festival here: 2007 Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. How are you spending your weekend?

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Last weekend, I spent a good bit of time dyeing yarn in my kitchen, and I had this great idea — sock sets. Have you ever seen socks that have different-colored toes and heels? I’ve seen a few and I really like the effect, as long as the colors match. So I decided to dye yarn to make a sock set. I’m curious what sort of response these will generate. I’ve only done one set, and they are listed in my Etsy shop for sale as one item.

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set

Sand in my Stitches Kona Sock Set – Indigo and Jewels TooSand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK

Then I found a couple of skeins that I forgot to list that have been done for awhile. After I got off the phone with my DH today, I immediately knew what to name the colorway. At right is Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DK – Clueless.

Sand in my Stitches Pure Merino DKAt left is the same yarn in the colorway Chartreuse. This yarn is so crazy bright, you may need to wear shades to knit with it, and I love it!

In my stash were a couple of skeins of KnitPicks Simple Stripes, and since I didn’t like the colors of it, I overdyed it and now it’s wonderful. Two skeins makes an average-sized pair of socks, and I’ve got another couple of skeins overdyed in red drying in my bathroom right now. Tomorrow I’m planning on overdyeing the final two skeins in another color.

Sand in My Stitches Sock String

Sand in my Stitches Sock String – Darkness

Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock

This final image is of Sand in my Stitches Baby Sock – Turquoise and Lime.

The base yarn is Dale of Norway Baby Ull and is so very soft; very similar to Sand in my Stitches SoftSock. Of course it would make great adult socks, but it would also make a super baby set — hats, mittens and socks — know anyone who’s expecting? ūüėČ

All of these yarns have been listed in my Etsy shop for sale. Now I would like to add a huge thank you to everyone who’s given me the confidence to do this, and to all of you who knit and crochet because I truly am inspired by you. Not a day goes by that I don’t wonder what would make a good yarn and color combination for a certain project or pattern, and if I could make it (which, in turn, keeps me creative), and I really appreciate that!

Knitting-related, I’m working on a secret scarf for a swap. Once I get that secret scarf done, I’m going to (hopefully) knit a pair of mittens for my SP11 pal and then I can ship her final package to her. I’ve never knit mittens before, so we’ll see about that one. And I’ve got everything ready to go into an “angel” package for my second pal in the dishcloth exchange.

Whew! When these three swaps are done, I’m planning on finishing all my WIPs (entrelac scarf, nightmare socks, Clapotis, log cabin baby blanket) and concentrating on mastering the art of knitting socks. Will that day ever come? Only time will tell!

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As a knitter, I love anything that has to do with knitting — knitting needles, knitting patterns, knitting stitch markers, knitting row counters — but I especially love these really cute clay stitch markers that I just received from Anita! Look at these cute little peas!!!

Gifts

Really, the photo I took doesn’t do them justice. You’ll have to see an actual product shot over at Anita’s etsy shop, Yarndemon Designs. She also sent me another lovely pair of beaded stitch markers, and a very cool retractable tape measure which has a crocheted cover on it that fits like a glove! I couldn’t figure out how she did it, so I had to ask, and it’s genius! I never would have thought of it, but it’s perfect for any crafter, and she crochets these in many different color combos. These will be living in my accessory case and I’m going to show them off every time I’m knitting in public, that’s for sure!

Malabrigo worsted in Violetas colorwayBut wait, there’s more! I made an order from WEBS a few days ago and it just came in today. At left is Malabrigo worsted merino in the colorway “Violetas”, which is full of varying shades of purple with some splashes of navy blue. I actually bought this for a particular project, but now I’m not positive what it was pegged for is going to get knitted. Details on this later. For now, it will remain in my stash. If you ever wondered about all the hype concerning this yarn, it really is super soft and squishy, and does not have the least bit of scratchiness to it.SWTC Gianna yarn

And this beautiful, chunky red yarn (SWTC Gianna) came in with the Malabrigo order today, and it’s pegged for a pair of soft mittens for my SP11 pal. Hopefully I’ll get them done, but if not, I will just be sending the yarn, which was on sale, by the way! Free time is rarely found around here, but mittens are smallish, so it shouldn’t take too long to knit them. Once I find a good pattern for them, that is. I want to knit them in the round on circulars, not DPNs. Anyone out there in blogland know of a good pattern?

cupcake charmLast but not least, another little gift came in that I ordered for my SP11 pal, and I just have to show everyone. This necklace charm is from the etsy store, Popalicious, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to like it. The last package I’m sending her is going to be themed around that object which is painted on that charm. (I’m not typing the actual word, in case she does an Internet search for that word and finds me! I must remain anonymous!) ūüėČ

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The boys and I are heading out this morning to Stitches East in Baltimore. We were actually going to leave at 8:00 a.m., but I haven’t been sleeping well. Last night we let the boys stay up late to watch a movie, I got to bed around 12:30 a.m., woke up at 4:45 a.m. to test Corey, he was low so I had to wake him up and give him a snack, then I went back to bed and couldn’t fall asleep till about 5:30 a.m. Through the monitor I heard the boys’ alarm clock go off at 6:00 a.m., then DH’s alarm went off at 6:30 a.m. and they were both buzzing in my ear until I nudged DH. Then DH woke me up at 7:00 because he knew I wanted to leave early… then he woke me up before he got ready for work at 7:30, then he woke me up at 7:45 again to say goodbye. He was letting me stay in bed and sleep, but if I really needed that last hour of sleep, there was no way I could get it with all the interruptions… lol

Anyhow, Baltimore is only two hours from here, and it’s not like we’re on a schedule. We’re going to be walking around the market, and the first place I’m going is the Malabrigo booth. I can’t wait to see the color selection in person, because none of the yarn shops around here carry it, plus I have a whole list of other booths I want to visit for potential swap gifts. Yesterday, DH said I better not be trying to bring home an alpaca… but we’ll just have to see about that… ūüėČ

It’s going to be a very full day — tonight we’re going to be in Ridgely, Maryland (where’s that, you ask?), to meet some friends from Virginia. Covenant is playing at The Fish Locker at 8:00 p.m., and I can’t wait to see them!

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Wool2Dye4

Wool2Dye4, Lynchburg, VA, http://www.wool2dye4.com: Another wonderful online shopping experience was had when I ordered from this company. My interest and desire to dye yarn has piqued since I ordered Austin Peacock from See Jayne Knit Yarns, so I’ve been doing some heavy research into dyeing yarn, and looking into the prices of bare yarn and acid dyes.

I already know that KnitPicks has a wonderful selection of bare yarns and even an acid dyeing starter kit, but when I found Wool2Dye4, I was rather impressed with their selection, and also that they’re an emerging business that specializes in quality undyed yarn and accessories. Since that’s exactly what I have been searching for, I placed¬†my order, and four days later, I received it! Even though I ordered it and knew what was coming, that didn’t stop me from being as excited as my youngest son on his birthday!

Bare yarn from www.wool2dye4.com.

The¬†yarn on the bottom is an 8 oz. skein of 100% Merino Superwash sock yarn, and the yarn on top is an 8 oz. skein of 100% Kona Merino Superwash. For my first attempts and experiments in dyeing yarn, I’ll be using this:

Kool-Aid packets in a range of flavors/colors.

Oh yeah!!! Because I’ve never tried dyeing anything (that excludes a tie-dyed tshirt experiment in the early ’90s), I’m going to use food-safe Kool-Aid in an assortment of flavors/colors. The colors are orange, pink lemonade (pink), cherry (red), black cherry (deeper red), grape (purple), ice blue raspberry lemonade (blue) and lemon-lime (lime green). (These were not part of my order.)

Also included in the package was a Royal New Wool Winder and a book: Dyeing to Knit: How to Use and Create your Own Beautiful Hand-Dyed Yarns by Elaine Eskesen. Along with a nice handwritten note on the invoice from the shop’s owner, Sheila Mahone, she included a sample of Eucalan no rinse wool wash, and of course, her business card. In summation, this online shopping experience was very satisfying!

After I set up the new toy wool winder on the edge of my desk, the boys and I immediately put¬†it to work! We grabbed two hanks of wool that I couldn’t yet use because they were in hanks (if I tried knitting with a hank, it would quickly turn into a rat’s nest) and taking turns, the boys and I¬†made two lovely center-pull wool cakes that are now ready for action!

Yarn cakes wound with the Royal New Wool Winder.

The results of our playtime! On the left is a 250-yard cake of Blue Heron Yarns beaded metallic wool in the colorway grass that I had purchased at the Fibre Cafe in Cambridge, MD. On the right is that 280-yard hank of Merino, in the colorway Wood Violet, that I got from the only vendor at the 4th Annual FiberFest, Dragonfly Fiber Designs. Cool, huh? ūüôā

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Recently, I’ve been doing some shopping on the Internet, because I either don’t want to drive 45 minutes east or west to go to my local yarn shop, or¬†already know that there’s a big chance that my local yarn shops won’t have what I need. Plus, I found some fancy yarn online that I couldn’t resist. I feel that it would be good to spread the word about my recent online shopping experiences, so here are a few reviews.

1) Paradise Fibers, Spokane, WA, www.paradisefibers.net: I sent my Secret Pal 10 (SP10) spoilee an email with more specific questions for her to answer about her preferences, like and dislikes, etc. She replied, and then I searched the Internet for an item that I wanted to get for her. I found it here, in the proper color and at a decent price, so I made an order for it. (Sorry, I can’t tell you what it was that I ordered, because she hasn’t received her package yet!) Since I ordered it so late at night, it was the next morning when I received an email about the item; they didn’t have any of that particular item in store at the current time, but would be getting a shipment in about a week, and they would mail my item as soon as possible. And they did. It came packaged properly with an invoice and a handwritten thank you message from the owner, with an attached business card. Since I’ve ordered once from them, I am now on their promotional email list and get occasional emails about store sales and specials.

2) WEBS, Northampton, MA, www.yarn.com: The last time I visited one of my local yarn shops, Sea Needles in Bethany Beach, DE, I picked up a couple of Inox 24″ size 2 circular needles and have been using them to knit my first sock (still in progress). I love them — the price is decent, they’re smooth, the cable doesn’t retain memory, the tips are perfect — so I was searching for Inox 40″ circular needles, and found them here, so I ordered them in size 2 and 3. I received an email after I paid for them that the size 2 was on backorder and may not be in for weeks, however the size 3 came within five days. It was a few weeks before I received an email that my backordered size 2s had been shipped. When they arrived in a floppy plastic bag envelope and I opened the package, they were bent. I made a mental note to myself¬†not to¬†purchase anything but indescructible items from them in the future.

Etsy! I have to break the list here and tell you that I love, love, LOVE Etsy! What’s Etsy? A web site marketplace for all kinds of handmade items (even cookies) and they have a good¬†deal of¬†hand-painted yarn vendors which I’m¬†especially interested in.

3) Kindred Spirits Yarn, Great Neck, NY: Beautiful hand-painted yarns from a self-professed avid knitter. I ordered880 yds. of hot pink & orange laceweight merino from Kindred Spirits¬†Yarn an 880-yard hank of laceweight merino and as the owner offers to complimentary wind any purchased yarn into center-pull balls if requested, I made the request (because I have yet to purchase a swift and winder). My yarn came in a Priority Mail box, wrapped nicely in tissue paper and with a business card and invoice. A good transaction, and the yarn is wonderful! She has a very nice selection of wool silk, wool lace, wool sock and superwash sock yarns in her etsy shop, so if you’re in need (or want) of any of those yarns, go see them!

Austin Peacock from See Jayne Knit¬†Yarns4) See Jayne Knit Yarns, Vancouver, Canada: Finally, the pi√®ce de r√©sistance! Remember this post: Natural inspiration? I sent that peacock’s feather close-up photo to Jayne, the owner of this Etsy shop, who promptly went to work¬†trying to dye¬†yarn to look just like the picture. With her magical dyeing skills, she¬†had soon¬†made the most beautiful colorway for yarn that I’d ever seen… Austin Peacock! Four 250-yard hanks of hand-painted luxury merino alpaca silk DK in that colorway is now mine,¬†as a special Mother’s Day gift to myself. I’m considering making a clapotis with it, but I’m not positive. When the package arrived, it was packed professionally, and each hank had a handmade beaded stitch maker and Austin Peacock colorway from See Jayne Knit¬†Yarnsa business card attached to it, along with handwritten yarn specifications on the back. It was a superb transaction, the yarn is more gorgeous than the picture, and communication with Jayne was excellent. She will definitely get more business from me in the future, and I highly recommend her! I¬†am in love with¬†this yarn!

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G‚ÄôzOne¬†Type-VLG White Chocolate cell¬†phoneAfter my DH got home from work last night, we went out to check out the new cell phones that Verizon Wireless carries. Ever since the LG Chocolate came out, I’ve wanted one, but then they had to make it in five colors! Oh NO! I have the worst time making color choices, whether it’s for clothing or cell phones or yarn, because I like them all. I knew I¬†was interested in¬†the white Chocolate, but then they came out with¬†mint (love that green),¬†and¬†a strawberry (shocking pink — perfect for little me in a family of men). The only thing I didn’t like about the mint was the red light in the buttons. All of them have red lights. Why couldn’t they change the light to blue¬†or green¬†for the mint? I decided I wanted to get the one I originally liked: white Chocolate.

My¬†DH was interested in a certain phone, but after he picked it up and played with it, he decided he didn’t really like it. So he looked at them all, and chose one with a rollcage; perfect for us actually, because the phone he’s using now got dropped in the Indian River bay (dockside) during the summer (didn’t start working again for 6 months), and I ran over mine with my 2500 Suburban (still worked perfectly). Since we were just investigating the phones, we didn’t get either, because if we ordered them online, we would get an extra discount. With the cell phone window shopping done, it was now time to get some dinner to hush up our poor, helpless, starving¬†younguns in the backseat.

At the local mall, we dined on Villa Pizza in the food court, and when everyone was almost finished, my DH started looking over at McDonald’s.¬†Then he¬†got up¬†and informed us that he’d be right back, and off he¬†went toward McDonald’s with a sneaky grin on his face. My youngest said, “He’s getting me a toy!” and I agreed, “Yeah, he’s probably getting a happy meal.”

He¬†returned with his hands full of soft-serve vanilla ice cream cones, one for each of us. To say that we were surprised would be an understatement. I think he’s reminiscing about our trip to Disney, because each day that we were there, we had an ice cream snack for our mid-afternoon break. ūüôā

Next up was grocery shopping, but DH was getting tired and wanted to get just the necessities,¬†so he was going to Walmart. If I’ve never mentioned this here, I’ll do it now… I can’t stand Walmart. There’s just something about that store that bothers me and just getting near the parking lot makes me irritable. So I started to raise a fuss, then thought better of it… instead I said something like, “You could always drop me off at Michael’s while you go to Walmart. I need a 40″ knitting needle anyway, so I can see if they have one…” DH looks totally confused, then asks, “Forty inches? What do you need a 40″ knitting needle for?!” (LOL, this is still making me laugh!) I said, “Because I found a website tutorial on how to¬†knit two socks on one circular…” (LOL) He says, “OHHHH!!! I thought you meant a 40″-long stick!” and proceeds to open his arms that wide to demonstrate… LOL, the boys and I started cracking up!¬†As I remember it as I type this, it’s still pretty funny. But I guess you had to be there…

This morning, the cell phones were ordered and within an hour, I got en email that said they were shipped already. So fast, I wonder if they’ll be here tomorrow? Can’t wait to play with mine…

Crafty update: The crocheted market bag will be done tonight and I’ll be able to get a picture of it up here tomorrow. And my one sock is still a work in progress. Before I even went into Michael’s last night, I knew they didn’t have 40″ circular knitting needles, so I ordered some from WEBS today after I ordered the cell phones. Some nice Inox circulars will soon be mine in both a size 2 and a size 3.

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