Monday, January 14, 2008

Post Christmas Madness

I have been derelict in my writing.  Post Christmas seemed to be a whirlwind.  I took the week between Christmas and New Year's off and headed down to my home in Fort Lauderdale.  It always sounds better than it is.  Wow! A second home in South Florida...what could be so bad?  Well, I hadn't been there since June, and in my absence a family of squirrels moved into my attic and a family of small mice into my linen closet.  Upon opening my linen closet, I don't know who was more frightened: me or the little brown guy.
In addition, there was a fine layer of dust on everything, the refrigerator smelled funky and as usual, the landscaper misses things here and there.  So the - ahem - vacation, was a marathon of trips to the supermarket for cleaning supplies and Home Depot to eradicate (sounds better than maim, kill, exterminate) my mice family.  For the squirrel and mice families I am trying something suggested by the Wildlife Center.  I bought ammonia and poured it into Ball canning jars and poked holes in the top.  I place one in the linen closet and one in the attic.  It would certainly send me running!
While in South Florida, lest you think I worked the entire time, I had a chance to see Bruce and Tony, old friends of mine who just opened the Aragon Inn and of course I made time for indulging my yarn addiction.
I did a little research before heading south both on the internet and using my handy "Knitters', Needlepointers', Crocheters', Weavers', & Spinners' Travel Guide 2007-2008".  I had carefully laid out a schedule of visits to four different LYS from Miami to Boca Raton.
Ah, the best laid plans...
The first (and last) shop I visited was Great Balls of Yarn,, located in Boca Raton.  I had such a great time and was so comfortable there that the idea of visiting the others flew out the window.  GBOY is one of five yarn shops by the same name located in West Palm Beach, Jensen Beach, Boca Raton, Palm Beach Gardens, and Delray Beach.  They bill themselves as the gourmet yarn shop of South Florida and I have to concur.  The yarns are yummy.  They arrange there yarn a little differently than I am accustomed, by color rather than type of yarn and it really gives the store great ambience.  Most admirably are the ladies working there, Eileen and Myra, specifically.  They could not have been more welcoming or more helpful.  It is a very creative team there.  There are plenty of items (fabulous!) that have been knit up and many of them the patterns are attributed to the store.  I found the Noro Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton book that has the Bettna sweater pattern and just had to pick up the yarn there as well!  Eileen took great pains to help me pick out the yarn and insure the right color lot.  Myra rescued my much maligned sock project (thank you Myra).  This is just the sock that won't get finished.  I was back again the next day picking up yarn and great buttons and books for a friend's birthday gift and while there Myra printed out an exhaustive class list for their shop.  I am a huge fan of Knit 'n Knibble in Tampa but now I think I've found a yarn home in South Florida.  
Back on the home front, I started the Bettna Sweater and have the lower back and left front finished, but also took on additional projects:  the Chanel sweater jacket (Knitter, 
Fall 2007 page 72) for which I'm taking a class at KNK.  In addition, there is the sock with no ending, and in between the trips to GBOY and KNK, I stopped by the Sip and Knit in Maitland, just to buy a magazine and came out with about ten magazines (an obsession only overshadowed by the yarn thing) and more yarn to make a fabulous Mobeus wrap!
What happens when your stash reaches a volume that exceeds your probable lifetime of knitting????
I'm really looking forward to a couple of future knitting events that my friend Mandy and I are attending.  The first is in March, a knitting retreat in Boone, NC put on by the Baskets of Yarn store in Charlotte, NC.  I'm excited that not only do we have a naturally spectacular area to visit, but I'll be learning cable work, socks from the toe up and a figure 8 shawl.  In addition, it's official!  We are going to Rhinebeck in October.  We've made our reservations and I could not be happier.
Now, I'm going to crawl back into bed and will try to nurse my cold...and maybe knit a stitch or two.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Christmas Meditation

Another Christmas come and gone... This year seemed more about the right things, family, friends, and the Birth and less about malls and running around.  
Throughout it all, I worked on my sock. (My first!)  The saying "pride cometh before the fall" could not be more accurate.  I was filled with self congratulations on how well things were going and how far I had gone without a single mistake.  That was about the time I glanced down- way down- and noticed a slipped stitch that made a huge hole in what I thought was my perfect sock.  I tried to pick it up with the crochet hook and somehow things just did not look right.  You guessed it:  I ended up ripping it.  Ugh!
I'm heading to my home in South Florida for a few days.  I'm looking forward to poking around old haunts, spending time with old friends and  - YES! - checking out South Florida yarn stores.
I wanted to include a picture of my dog Cheyenne, who it seems, also has yarn lust.  She now grabs a ball of yarn out of one of my baskets to cuddle with during her afternoon nap.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Oh the shame...

Have you heard of Ravelry? "It's a place for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners and dyers to keep track of their yarn, tools and pattern information and look to other for ideas and inspiration."
It is community driven and a great place to show off your projects, blog, and socialize.
I heard about this site and immediately put myself on the waiting list (yes, I said waiting list).
Ravelry is in beta and so they are inviting people in bits and pieces so they can grow at a rate they can support.
Naturally, when I received my invitation, I was excited.  Over the last few weeks I've been checking out the various tools on the site, like the My Notebook section that includes projects, your inventory of needles and hooks, patterns, favorites and yes, your stash inventory.
I decided to start with cataloging my stash which,  to this point, has lived an anonymous existence in several strategically placed baskets.  Let me say that the baskets are cleverly crafted to appear a normal size but are nearly bottomless upon closer inspection.  
I have managed to catalog about half of my stash and was struck by how much yarn I have.  I had no idea.  Really!
When I had spread the contents of each basket on the floor I realized:  I have a yarn "issue".  I am addicted to yarn. And my stash is larger than a reasonable knitter could use in several years time.  And I know I am not alone.
Yesterday I clicked on the Mochimochi blog and immediately felt better.  The World’s Biggest Stash? at Mochimochi Blog.  
Now THAT is a huge stash.  Having seen that, I think I have plenty of room for some new and delicious colors and fibers!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knitter Nirvana

What a great knitting week.  Well, not in terms of actual production, but when measured by exposure to knitting it was stellar!  I was on a business trip this week in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and had an opportunity to visit Knitting Up a Storm.  Although a little tricky to find, I was rewarded with a great yarn store.  I was killing time before the flight home and thought that poking around a knitting shop would be the perfect way to pass the time.   They have a large yarn selection and a huge section in the back of yarn on sale.  I stocked up on some fabulous Louisa Harding Sari Ribbon at half price!  I also find some beautiful dark gray OnLine Jeans and incredibly soft and yummy Snowflake by Sirdar, all at 50% off.  I then settled in to go through all the boxes of back issues of knitting magazines.  I then wandered through their extensive book selection and needle inventory.  
I then had the presence of mind to take a look at my watch and realize that it was 3:20 and I was scheduled for a 4:15 departure.  You can guess the rest.  I missed my plane...BUT I had plenty knitting supplies and magazines to keep me happy while I waited two hours for the next plane to take me home.
Saturday, I headed to Tampa to Knit and Knibble with friends to spend the day knitting.  This is a thoroughly delightful knitting shop with all the right elements.  A great yarn selection, comfortable places to spread out with your projects, and a group of terrific knitters.  There is a full class schedule and clinic hours where you can get help on your specific projects.  But the regulars are so generous with help as well.  The shop has a cafe with great coffees and desserts so that hunger doesn't interfere.
I worked most of the day learning to make socks.  I'm excited to get this down.  Socks are the perfect project to travel with.
So, as predicted, more yarn purchases, needle purchases, etc.
I spent Sunday morning exploring the Ravelry website.
I started entering my stash inventory into my Ravelry notebook.  I think until this morning I had been able to deceive myself about the actual amount of yarn I had amassed.  No more.  There is no denying the extent of the addiction.  Thankfully I know so many of you are similarly afflicted and doubtless many of you have inventories that exceed mine, so I can then feel a little more virtuous...