Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The last couple gifts

As promised, here are the last couple knits that I actually finished in time for Christmas. First up is some handspun merino: 440 yards of fingering weight 3-ply (I navajo plied this one). My mother bought the fiber a couple years ago when we went to Maryland Sheep & Wool for the first time. We both were captivated by all of the lovely fiber available but less thrilled with the yarn selections. After holding out for about a barn and a half, we gave in and bought drop spindles and a bunch of fiber. The spinning bug bit me hard that spring. First, I learned why a drop spindle has it's name (probably putting permanent dents in the floor while I did so). After much swearing and frustration, I asked for a wheel for my birthday/graduation from college that year and haven't stopped spinning since. My first couple attempts at spinning were nothing to write home about but I was absolutely delighted that I had made yarn all by myself. Actually, it never ceases to amaze me when I take a project off the wheel - I just made yarn!

When you look at a picture of the first yarn I ever made

you'll see why I am so proud of my mother's present:

That's a 4.00mm knitting needle for scale.

My last present was a secret project for my husband. Given how suspicious I must have sounded whenever he came home, saying things like "stay right there, give me a minute before you come in any closer" and hiding the project under some papers in the bedroom, I am surprised that the gift was still a secret and delighted that it worked out that way.

About a month or so ago I spun up this lovely worsted-weight three-ply alpaca.

Since the yarn reminded me of tree bark in winter with its hints of silver and chocolate I looked around for a suitable stitch pattern that would evoke the same feelings. There were a couple of possible stitch patterns in my Barbara Walker books but with exams coming up I did not want to take the time to design a full pattern; plus, I needed something that I could knit while I studied. Finally, I settled on Anne Hanson's lacunae pattern and resized for my slightly larger gauge. Simple and elegant, it was just what I was looking for.

DH likes it too.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still working on the Christmas knitting

Yes, I know that Christmas has already come and gone but I still have two last projects to finish up before my holiday knitting is complete: socks for my father and a sweater for my sister. Happily, one sock is done and the second one is well on its way. Sock number two is about an inch longer than this:

Pattern: Gentleman's Shooting Stockings with Fluted Pattern from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in color Black Parade

My sister's sweater is a basic bottom-up raglan with turned hems and a cable detail between the raglan decreases and is knit out of this lovely alpaca:

I made a similar sweater for myself a couple of years ago and I am basing the pattern (if you could even dignify my notes as a pattern - it's really just EZ's percentage system with some waist shaping) on that. My sister borrowed the sweater when we went to Rhinebeck this past fall and asked if I would make her one if she could find the yarn.

I have some interesting projects coming up (as well as some finished ones that just need a bit of blocking to be truly complete) that I am going to keep secret for a little while. Hopefully some pictures of what I actually finished for Christmas will distract you.

First, socks for my grandparents:

On the left is my grandmother's present: "Lady's'" Sock with Lozenge Pattern from the same Nancy Bush book knit in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, color: camouflage. I say "lady's" sock because I added a bit of calf shaping to the basic pattern and downsized for a smaller foot. On the right is Gentleman's Fancy Sock, same Nancy Bush book, knit in Dream in Color Smooshy, color: November Muse.

Some handspun socks for my father-in-law knit with yarn spun from Spunky Eclectic superwash corriedale, color: burning bush.

More socks - this time for the DH, knit with some Socks that Rock mill ends.

That's it for now. I'll share the rest of my Christmas knits tomorrow, including a secret project that I managed to pull off without my husband knowing about it (I'll always thrilled to be able to do that).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Piles of Purple

With the exception of socks, it seems like everything that I am knitting these days is purple. First there is Victoria, which is coming along nicely. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how far a single skein of the Shibui merino-kid goes. This is one skein:

That is the back, just past the start of shaping for the armscye. So far I have been very pleased with this pattern - the details are clever and well thought out. I especially appreciated seeing short-row shaping on the shoulders. This is something that I have been adding to patterns for a while now and it was a joy to see the technique actually incorporated in a published pattern. Perhaps this is yet another benefit of twist collective: patterns written for a knitter instead of a style guide.

In addition to Victoria, I have another gorgeous creation from the talented folks over at Shibui. My husband came home last Thursday with these (my latest project for My Sister's Knits)

and these

It would be tough to say which delighted me more. But I digress. The latest installment of purple consists of 4 skeins of Shibui dk alpaca (to die for) and 3 skeins of a silk-mohair blend (heavenly). The two are held together in the Cabled Rib Wrap. I got to see this sample knit up at the Shibui booth at TNNA last June and it was absolutely stunning. I am so delighted to be working on it now. The combination of the two yarns is breathtaking. Not only is the dye job beautifully done but the softness and drape of the yarns is a true delight.

I have been spinning too - some merino and then a border leicester-mohair blend from Foxfire Fiber that I picked up at Rhinebeck. More on that when I can snap some pictures of the finished products.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Vote

I just got back from my local polling place. Now it's your turn. Go out and vote.

(Nayyir says so too)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My gauge swatch lied to me

It is not often that I actually use the recommended yarn for a pattern. Usually this is for one of three reasons: because I am trying to use up stash yarn, because I think the recommended yarn was not a great fit for the pattern (for example, I much prefer the malabrigo worsted that I chose to knit my wisteria to the pattern choice - probably because of my deep aversion to all of the "flashing" that is going on in the sample), or because I just cannot bring myself to use the yarn selected by the magazine. A good example of this is the gorgeous cabled hoodie in this falls's Vogue Knitting, which is knit in Lion Brand. Perhaps Lion Brand has changed since the last time I saw its wares (admittedly this was a couple of years ago) but I have absolutely no desire to knit with what I have seen.

That said, this weekend I finished Wisteria and cast on for a new sweater in the recommended yarn. (Brief aside - I only have a couple very bad pictures of the finished sweater so the reveal will have to wait until I can get out in the sun with a camera). Before heading off for Rhinebeck a couple of weeks ago, I was down at My Sister's Knits, where Carol had just received a shipment of Shibui yarns. I had a chance to see these yarns for the first time at TNNA back in June and have been eagerly awaiting this shipment ever since.

I knew when I walked into the shop that I wanted to knit Victoria, a beautiful cardigan with some lovely refined detailing, in the recommended yarn: Shubui Knits Merino Kid. After much debate, I came away with a gorgeous deep purple (I think the actual color name is "Mulberry") and as soon as Wisteria was finished, I cast on. I even knit a swatch. I got 6 stitches to the inch on size six needles (4.0mm) and promptly switched to size 7. I knit a second swatch. 5 stitches to the inch was attained and I cast on for the back.

Two hours later when I sat down to knit some more after dinner I was looking at the patterned section, whose gauge was supposed to be ever so slightly tighter than the stockinette gauge, and thought it looked suspiciously like 4 stitches to the inch. Not one to be distracted from working with a lovely yarn, I told myself not to be ridiculous and kept on knitting. A few rows later, the fabric was starting to have a bit more drape than I really wanted so I convinced myself it was time to check with the ruler.

I was getting 5 stitches to the inch all right, but not in the patterned section. The little stockinette bit at the bottom for the finished hem came in at 5 stitches to the inch on the size 6 needles that I had used. I have no idea how my tension changed so much - perhaps I relax a bit when I am reading from a casebook as opposed to watching football while I knit.

Whatever happened, here is version 2 of Victoria. Isn't the yarn stunning?

Now, because this post has been sorely lacking in pictures, I'll leave you with shots of what tempted me so at the Briar Rose booth at Rhinebeck.

First, the sweaters (to be).

Legend - 1300 yards of dk weight merino in reds and burgundy (I keep thinking cranberry)

Charity - 900 yards of aran weight corriedale in greens and browns

Two skeins of Grandma's Blessing, a sportweight superwash merino sock yarn, for husband socks.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Fall Colors

This weekend I took a break from my normal life and headed off to Rhinebeck. I have learned two tricks to keeping the stash acquisition under control:

1. Pick up a sweater's worth of new yarn the night before you leave for a sheep and wool festival.

Ok, I admit that this one is a bit tough to do, especially when trying to stick to a budget. That said, it is a delightful plus when you knit for a yarn shop. On Thursday I handed in a sweater from the new Debbie Bliss magazine (Ravelry link) and picked up some new yarn in return.

(modeled by Erica, the lovely Alpaca with a Twist rep who was visiting on Thursday)

The yarn? Seven skeins of Shibui merino-kid in a gorgeous purple, destined to become this. It certainly helped to take the edge off when I got to Rhinebeck.

2. Figure out a budget (I ask my husband to pick a number and that is what I stick to) and bring it in cash. Do not allow yourself access to a credit card. I learned this lesson at the Midwest Fiber and Folk Festival this past July. No matter how good your intentions may be, as soon as you bring the credit card out your budget goes out the window.

My sister discovered this phenomenon over the weekend. To be fair, it was her first fiber festival and we all know how that can affect one's good intentions.

What, you may be asking, does my post title have to do with my latest ramblings? The beautiful scenery of the bed and breakfast where we stayed this weekend.

The trees just do not look like this in Chicago.

By the time I decided that I could take the weekend to go to Rhinebeck, most of the rooms in the immediate vicinity of the festival were already booked (mind you, this was in June) so I broadened my search a bit and found Brookfield Farm, a lovely B & B about 40 minutes away from the fairgrounds.

These were the delightful pets on the farm:

It was a lovely weekend.

But wait, what about the yarn? What did I buy? My adventures at the Briar Rose booth will have to wait until later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Introducing Ivelet

I think this is the first time in quite a while that I have finished a pattern that is current. Usually it takes me 6 months to a year to decide whether or not I like the new patterns that have come out (the Tangled Yoke Cardigan is a good example). Naturally, I was really tickled to see ivelet mentioned in this week's Knitter's Review.

Well, two football games after I sat down at the couch to do some seaming, I can happily say that Ivelet is done. Ravelry does not have this pattern up yet so here is the pertinent info:

Pattern Name: Ivelet
Source: The British Sheep Breeds Collection
Yarn: Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds

Size: M (36-38")
Yarn Used: 10 skeins of Rowan Purelife British Sheep Breeds in color 951, Black Welsh
Needles: 10 and 10 1/2 circulars
Mods: I used short-rows for the shoulder shaping instead of the stepped bind-offs in the pattern (I find this quick and easy mod helpful when seaming up the shoulders. I like this article on Knitty for directions on how to convert to short-rows.

Made for: a shop sample for My Sister's Knits

Before I forget, here is the sweater.

I only had one minor issue when knitting this sweater: the publisher forgot to include the chart for the sleeve pattern. I remember a few frantic minutes in the yarn shop flipping back and forth through the booklet after reading the words "cont in patt from chart for sleeve . . . " and not finding any chart. Happily, Rowan has the chart in the errata page on its website and you can find it here.

The sweater is warm and cozy, which I definitely appreciated while doing a photo shoot in the wind by the lake. I might just have to make one of these for me.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Where did the summer go?

One answer to that question is spinning. I finally was able to enjoy some quality time with my wheel over the last few weeks and produced this:

310 yards of sport-weight superwash Corriedale 2-ply in color Burning Bush from Spunky Eclectic.

This week I have slowly been turning that ball into socks for a Christmas present for my FIL. I have learned my lesson: if I want to give knitted Christmas gifts, I have to start in August.

Before the Corriedale, I spun up 950 yards of merino/tencel laceweight in a gorgeous purple that is now becoming the petite version of Anne Hanson's Cluaranach (Ravelry link). Pictures of that to come later when I can get some sun.

Oh, I also started Kate Gilbert's Wisteria a couple of days ago. I was knitting happily along the collar chart yesterday morning when I realized that I had twisted the second set of 2x2 crosses in the wrong direction 6 rows back. I thought for a brief moment about leaving it and calling it a design element but my perfectionist side got the better of me and I ripped. It was a good thing I did since I learned something pretty nifty about the Malabrigo worsted single that I am using. In addition to spit-splicing incredibly well, Malabrigo is also easy to rip! The stitches do not drop at all; they just sit right where they are supposed to be until you put them back on the needle. Hopefully I will not have to take advantage of that particular property of the yarn too much more.

Pictures of Wisteria? Not yet - still waiting for the sun to come in.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Stash Enhancement

The darling husband and I had a lovely weekend with his parents at the Midwest Fiber & Folk Festival. My previous fiber festival experience consists of two trips to Maryland Sheep & Wool and while this festival was no where near the size of Maryland, it was delightful just the same.

I am going to be completely shameless with this post and try to distract you from the lack of new knitting or spinning content with pictures of what I bought this weekend.

The first purchase of the day went to Frontier Fiber Mill, husband and wife alpaca venture in Indiana where they not only raise the alpacas but run their own mill. The quality of the fiber was superb and I cannot wait to start spinning. (The yarn looked lovely also but I was too captivated by the roving to venture much to that side of the booth). I liked their wares so much that I got about 6oz destined to be a scarf for the darling husband:

And another 3+oz for me!

Then I made my way over to the Briar Rose booth, which I have been looking forward to for months ever since seeing the beautiful dye jobs featured on Knitspot. After displaying an impressive showing of self restraint, since the entire booth was to die for, I came away with this skein of alpaca laceweight, destined to be a Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl (Ravelry link).

Next comes just over a pound of 80/20 Coopworth/Silk roving from a lovely farm whose name I cannot remember, destined to be a February Lady Sweater.

Last, but certainly not least, I stopped by the Knitting Notions booth. Actually, this was the first booth that I looked at on Saturday but every color and yarn was just too beautiful to take in all at once and I knew that for the sake of my bank account I would have to look a couple of times to prevent purchasing the entire inventory on impulse. After my second trip back to the booth, I came away with three skeins of laceweight for a Wing o' the Moth shawl (Ravelry link) and some sock yarn for the next pair of husband socks.

That's all I've got for tonight. I'm almost done with a Tangled Yoke Cardigan (Ravelry link) - I just need to graft the underarms, weave in some ends, and find buttons. Hopefully I'll have a finished object post later this week.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Oh my

Darling husband and I moved to a new apartment last weekend and boy does packing/unpacking/etc. put a damper on blogging. Surprisingly, I have managed to get a fair amount of knitting done over the last couple of weeks (mostly socks) and even have a few pictures. Now, if only I could find the USB cord for the camera I would even upload and post them.

Spinning? The poor wheel has been sitting unused and neglected for the last week or so and both flyers (original and WooLee Winder) are resting in the bin full of fiber. Once we get the air conditioner set up, I'll think about getting the spinning wheel going again. It's just too hot and muggy to spin without it.

That's it for now. I just thought I'd write up a quick post to say that I haven't fallen off the face of the earth and that more interesting stuff is coming (just as soon as I find that USB).

Monday, June 9, 2008

Returning to Normal

Or Not.

Husband and I got back from TNNA last night and I have been trying to get my head out of the wool fumes. Wow, that was an amazing experience. I got to meet Anne from Knitspot, Pam Allen from Classic Elite, Linda Cortright from Wild Fibers Magazine, just to name a few. Plus, the Yarn Harlot was kind enough to hold my sock.

(Apologies for the slightly blurry photo, Stephanie).

Husband and I were there with My Sister's Knits and I had a blast helping choose yarns and colors for the shop. Carol, the shop owner gave me excellent advice when she said to bring layers since the convention center was freezing. It certainly was and so I could happily debut the Green Blob, now a beautiful shawl all grown up and blocked (pleasantly warm, too). Sadly, no finished object shots yet - those will have to wait until the weekend when hopefully I can convince the darling husband to come outside and play photographer.

Now that we are home again, I spent the day knitting up sleeve #2 of the Debbie Bliss sweater that I have been working on for the shop. I hate to confess that some minor math difficulties have made this project take longer than I would really like. This afternoon I recalculated the sleeve cap (my row gauge is off - always is) for the second time. Apparently trying to do some fairly basic calculations after getting home from class at 9:30 at night makes me think that 25 stitches over 4 inches equals 5 stitches per inch. Let's just say that my initial numbers were a bit off. Now my numbers are correct and sleeve cap #2 is half-way done. Of course, I still need to rip and re-knit sleeve cap #1. Maybe this was just my subconscious trying to tell me that I do not tink nearly enough to justify my blog title.

In other wool adventures, I decided to wash a bunch of the darling husband's sweaters so that I can get them packed away for summer. It turns out that my washing machine actually does a phenomenal job. Fill the tub with lukewarm water, pour in some Soak (love that stuff), let it sit for 20+ minutes, run the spin cycle, and then lay out the sweaters to dry. It turns out that finding space for six giant sweaters was by far the hardest part of the process. It is pretty hard to get to our dining table at the moment after what I did to the living/dining room.

First, I have two sweaters from four or five years ago. The one on the left was slated to be the second sweater I ever made for the darling husband (then darling boyfriend) and I had planned to gift it to him on our first anniversary. It actually turned into sweater #3 when I realized that the big fisherman cabled mass was not going to be ready in time. The sweater on the right is one that I made during the summer and fall in the year that we were engaged (two independent occurrences, I swear).

Again, apologies for the blurry photo - the flash obliterated all the detail.

You may recognize the space in the next picture as the former home of my blocking apparatus, now doing double-duty as the sweater drying area. I had originally thought I could fit all six sweaters there - don't know what I was thinking. At the bottom we have Cobblestone, this year's birthday present. Moving clockwise to the left, we have the second finished sweater I ever gave my husband. It turns out that lopi yarns knit up at 3 and a half stitches per inch make for much faster sweaters than cables knit in dk weight yarn. At the top is a hooded sweater that I designed using the wonderful book, The Sweater Workshop. Finally on the right we have a basic raglan that I knit at least 3 years ago - I remember the apartment we were in when I knit it but can't pinpoint the time much better than that (we were there for two years).

Well, I turned the air conditioning on to try and get some of the humidity out of the air in here. I think I am just going to have to get used to the scent of wet wool for the next few days.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Tough Choice

Husband and I are off to TNNA in a few hours. Both he and my bank account are very grateful that I will not be able to purchase any of the lovelies that we see. However, I do have another dilemma: what knitting to bring? You know the deal - I want something that I can whip out of my bag and knit a few stitches here and there but it also has to be suitably impressive. I dug the front of Cromarty out of the bottom of my knitting basket to work on when knitting with a friend last weekend. I was a bit too distracted chatting while trying to figure out where I was in the chart that I had to frog the rows that I had knit and go back to where I had stopped months ago (and I honestly could not tell you when I last worked on this piece.

Here is a picture of the back from last summer. Subtract a row or two and that is about how far along I am on the front.

After last weekend, Cromarty will not be my bag knitting on this trip; rather, it will stay in the hotel. So, back to the drawing board. The perfect carry-around knitting is, after all, socks. So I thought I would bring this along to play with.

Remember my dyeing adventures from a couple weeks ago? This is the final product. I kept trying to get out on the deck and take a picture in unfiltered sunlight but we seem to have attracted a very large bee whose sole purpose in life appears to be zooming around our deck. Perhaps it likes residual fumes of furniture stain from when we refinished a couple of tables a few weeks ago. In any case, it has taken over the deck and I have stopped trying to venture out since it zooms at the door whenever I open it.

If you will excuse me, I am off to pull out Barbara Walker and swatch.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Busy Weekend

Wow, the weekend just flew right by. There was visiting (no pictures, unfortunately), pie baking, and plenty of knitting. Since this is a knitting blog, after all, I'll jump straight to that.

First off, I blocked the green blob. Here is a teaser photo until I can get some good F/O shots (probably this weekend):

Since our current apartment has hardwood floors instead of carpet, this is my blocking apparatus:

Two sets of 2x2 foam exercise mats - about $30 for the pair from Target. The packaging has a picture of a man lifting weights and helpfully says "weight bench not included." Since the mats come wrapped in plastic with a cardboard sleeve, I wonder where one might hide the weight bench. But I digress . . .

The darling husband has been working on a felted bag for me off and on for over a year. Under the guise of helping him finish it up on Saturday, I somehow managed to tack down the handles, weave in the ends, and sew up the bottom seam and gussets. I'm not quite sure how that all happened, since all I sat down to do was untangle the yarn. Probably that whirlwind pace is what made the straps end up being slightly off center (I distinctly remember calculating stitch counts so that they would line up properly). Oh well. I'm calling it a design feature. Still a little damp, but here it is:

One last thing - this weekend I got together with a good friend from college and during the visit was presented with a beautiful birthday present: a lovely handmade quilt.

I'm hoping that this will spur me on in my own never-ending quilt project. We'll just have to see.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Cold Feet

I was lazy this morning; there is just no other way to describe it. I was working in the study and complaining to myself how my toes kept getting cold and how awful that was (insert grumbling about how it is supposed to be warm on the second-to-last day in May). The smart thing to do would have been to get up and walk down the hall to the dresser in the bedroom and grab a pair of socks. But no, I was lazy, and just grabbed the recently finished hand-knit sock that was sitting on my desk. Good, one foot was warm. Another hour or so goes by and the toes on my bare foot start to feel like icicles. Do I get up and go find a complete pair of socks? No. But I do spy another lone hand-knit sock over on the bookcase and thus solve my problem. With this:

On the left is plain stockinette from Lorna's Laces, color: Pioneer (and yes, I still have to weave in the ends). On the right is a super-comfy merino/cashmere/nylon blend from Creatively Dyed.

See? Second sock syndrome can actually help keep your feet warm. To be fair, the mate of the sock on the right is on the needle and almost done and the Lorna's Laces mate is slated to start when that one is finished.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dyeing and Other Adventures

Well, I had good intentions of posting many times over the past few weeks. During that time, I learned that not only do good intentions not write posts by themselves but they actually make it harder. The thought process usually goes something like: oh my, so many things to write about, where should I start? Oops, don't have pictures for that, I'll just wait until I gan get some light/time/you name it. Can you see where I am going with this? So this is going to be a bit random but at least it is a post and not merely good intentions.

I finished spinning up the blue-face leicester 3-ply sock yarn over the weekend. I have some gauges in my fingers from drawing out the chains for navajo-plying to prove it. 430 yards of sock weight. This is what it looked like when it was done:

Then I decided to have some fun with Kool-Aid. This is the Knitty article that I used for some pointers. After the first run through with the dye, this is what I had:

Ok, I know that the color is hard to see but suffice it to say that it was pale pink. A really pretty pale pink with subtle variations and lots of depth but I just do not wear that color. So back into the dye pot it went.

This is what it looked like after dunk number 2:

Pretty, but still pink. Back into the dye pot a third time. Hopefully I can snap a few pictures tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Apologies to Thumper

There are some yarn shops where you feel welcome the moment you walk in the door and where you always look forward to returning. And then there are others where you will never walk in the door again.

I love a shop with a varied and tasteful selection from which to browse but the most important thing, that which will bring me back again and again, is the atmosphere created by the staff. The best shops are warm and welcoming without becoming oppressive. These are places where you can wander to your heart’s content, have questions answered thoughtfully and with kindness, and ultimately be left to browse and pet as you please.

This post, however, is not about one of those shops (although I will end with a shameless pitch for my absolute favorite yarn shop in Chicago); rather, this is about a shop to which I will never return and why.

There is one yarn shop in the city that I have found slightly off-putting but always came back to from time to time, until last Thursday. This particular shop is conveniently located, offers frequent sales, and, most importantly, is the only place within city limits (and accessible via public transportation, no less) that carries Fleece Artist, which I adore.

Now here comes the part where I would make Thumper sad. I have always tried to follow that childhood advice (“If you don’t have something nice to say . . . “) but here I think it worthwhile to examine the difference between shops to which I will joyfully return time and time again and those to which I will never come back.

This particular shop (and no, I won’t tell you its name) sent out an email last Thursday announcing a Mother’s Day sale where everything in the store was 25% off. I have been displeased there in the past but not so much as would turn me away from a quarter drop in the price of my beloved Fleece Artist.

On previous occasions I have found the staff there at best condescending and at worst overbearing. The women who work there have usually been perfectly nice but all seem to assume that every customer who walked in the door needed some hand-holding when choosing yarn and starting a project. I consider myself to be an accomplished knitter and a progressing spinner (accomplished will take a while yet) and do not walk into yarn stores to be coddled. It is just not my cup of tea. However, for Fleece Artist and a sale, I can put up with a bit of condescension.

Unfortunately, that was not what I got last Thursday. I had managed to catch a ride home that evening with my husband (I try to avoid the CTA at rush hour if at all possible) and off we went to the shop, visions of fiber braids dancing in my head. After making my selections (all in very predictable-for-me shades of green) we headed to the check-out counter. The woman at the register greeted us not with the kindness one usually expects at a yarn shop, or even politeness, but actually borderline rudeness. I had brushed this off as just a symptom of someone having a busy day – the shop had, after all, just sent out an email promising 25% off and it could not have been a quiet day. However, she then looked over my shoulder at my husband standing behind me, saw that he was male and thus presumably not a knitter (for the record, he is quite a proficient knitter and I proudly wear his works) and proceeded to ignore him for the rest of the transaction.

One of the most important things for me when I go to a yarn shop is how the employees treat my companions, who may or may not be knitters but who nevertheless have been known to return to a shop to secretly fetch some item over which I had fawned in their presence. At the very least, it seems good business sense to acknowledge the person who pulls out the credit card.

It was this disrespect for my husband, on top of less than stellar experiences in the past, that made Thursday evening the last time that I will ever set foot in that store.

And the funny thing about the whole experience was that on that very same day I had received an email letting me know that I had won two skeins of hand-dyed sock yarn from Creatively Dyed for commenting on her blog about all of the wonderful things about my absolute favorite yarn shop in Chicago: My Sister’s Knits.

Now for my shameless plug: My Sister’s Knits is just that sort of wonderfully welcoming shop that I mentioned at the beginning of the post. The owner is kind and gracious and a pleasure to know (plus she has a beautiful selection of yarns). And you know what? My husband likes it too!

Since one cannot have a blog post without at least a picture or two, here is what I picked up last Thursday.

I got this:

And two of these:

Which I pre-drafted into this:

In other news, the Baby Surprise Jacket is done!

(Yes, it still needs buttons)