December 14, 2008

Putting your money where your yarn is

Fingerless mitts
Originally uploaded by miminh3

If you haven't listened to David Reidy's essay on how to spend your knitting money in these troubled times, do so now!

I'm not as eloquent as David but I have been thinking on how to be a responsible knitter during this recession.
- give money to charities like Heifer
- knit for charity and give extra yarn to charities
- knit from the stash as much as possible
- buy yarn only if it's special or one-of-a-kind
- buy from small indie producers and if possible, sign up for a monthly club (the regular payment is good for everybody!)
- ask for gift certificates to the LYS from lovely relatives (I got a gift card from my in-laws to spend at Knit a round!)

These rainbow mitts were a quick knit. I bought them last year as a kit from La Droguerie (the brown background is bamboo and the color stripes are alpaca). I would definitely put yarns from La Droguerie in the "special/one-of-a-kind" category since they're hard to get by for me. I'll be in Paris over the holidays so I have been thinking a lot about what I should stock up on there. I've been eyeing these two projects:
-Veste trapeze en alpaga et bambou
-Gilet a rangs raccourcis en alpaga et plumette

I give thanks to the KR retreat!

Originally uploaded by miminh3
The weekend before Thanksgiving was spent in Williamstown at the Knitter's Review retreat. Though it was my third retreat, I still have doubts when I go spend a weekend with strangers. But here's the thing, these people are not strangers! They're friends that I've met online or in real life (at sheep and wool festivals or prior retreats) or soon-to-be friends. Instead of an imaginary husband, I was accompanied by an imaginary roommate as Rho unfortunately broke her arm a few weeks before the retreat :(

I was lucky to get in the Thursday extension and this made a big difference for me. More time to relax, more time to get to know people, 2 classes instead of one, and the opportunity to see the "behind-the-scenes" (Jen from Spirit Trail and Barb from Foxfire fiber are probably tired of it, but I thought it was great to pack/unpack the booths for the marketplace!).

My list of knitting resolutions is more realistic this year so I'm determined to make it work!
- knit at least one charity item per month
- knit 6 pairs of socks
- finish one lace item (my New Beginnings project from last year!)
- finish one color item (this year's New Beginnings project: Kate Gilbert's Bird in Hand mittens)
- finish one sweater (the Kim Hargreaves top that just needs to be seamed...)
- knit one item from handspun yarn (not necessarily handspun by me)
- have a stash that I feel comfortable with

November 09, 2008

Finding the right sock

For the past two months, I've been exclusively knitting small projects for charity:
- hats and squares for the 7 Long Project from Stash and Burn. I even won a prize in their drawing, woohoo!
- hats for the KR retreat charity
- washcloths for Friday Night Supper (I am putting together some toiletry packages with soap, shampoo, toothpaste/toothbrush,... and a handknitted washcloth!)

These projects make me feel very productive but it's about time that I go back to my favorite stand-by: knitting socks! So I am now on the hunt for the pattern to get back on track.

September 30, 2008

On a hat roll

Yesterday, I sent 4 basic hats and 3 squares for the 7 Long Project. Jenny and Nicole said that it would be an ongoing project so I plan on sending more hats throughout the year, but using varied patterns and always superwash yarn.

I also have hat #2 on the needles for the KR retreat. These hats don't need to be machine washable so I've been using baby alpaca, silk/wool, and cashmere. Hmmm, cashmere...

Boy and I are going to San Diego next weekend so I'm looking forward to stopping by an In-n-Out burger and escaping the rainy weather on the East Coast. I'll have a copy of the new Stephanie Pearl McPhee book to keep me company on the plane as well as my knitting, of course.

September 12, 2008

Back from the land of chocolate

View of the Matterhorn
Originally uploaded by miminh3
The trip to Switzerland was a blast: crystal-clear lakes, glaciers at 4,000m of altitude and awesome food. This picture of the Matterhorn was taken from our hotel balcony in Zermatt.

I was even able to do some yarn shopping! Some highlights were
- HandArt located in the lovely neighborhood of Niederdorf in Zurich
- Vilfil (also in Zurich) which was overwhelming by the sheer quantity of yarn available
- the crafts market in Luzern where I was able to purchase some handspun yarn (the fleece came from the local milk sheep).

I am currently knitting hats for the 7 Long project organized by Jenny and Nicole from Stash and Burn and for the KR retreat. Let's see how many hats I can knit by the end of November...

August 18, 2008

Yarn stores I mail-ordered from

For completeness, here's the list of yarn stores I've ordered from over the phone or over the web.

Brick-and-mortar stores

The Fold, Marengo IL
Jimmy Beans Wool, Reno NV
Knit-Purl, Portland OR
Lettuce Knit, Toronto ON
Loop, Philadelphia PA
Modern Yarn, Montclair NJ
Purl, Tustin CA
String Theory, Blue Hill ME
Three Bags Full, Vancouver BC
Webs, Northampton MA
The Yarn and Fiber Company, Derry NH
Julija's shop, Antwerp Belgium

Online yarn stores

Angelika's Yarn store
Little Knits
Loopy Ewe
One Planet Yarn and Fiber
Pick up sticks
Sonny and Shear
The Sweet Sheep
Two Swans Yarns

Indie dyers

Blue Moon Fiber Arts
Briar Rose Fibers
Funky Carolina
Hello Yarn
Knitterly things
Spirit Trail
Spunky Eclectic
Sunshine yarns
Sweet Georgia
Tanis Fiber Arts
Wool Candy

August 17, 2008

Yarn stores I have been to

182 brick-and-mortar stores and counting... as of 4/15/2013

Far North Yarn Co., Anchorage
The Tangled Skein, Eagle River
Skeins, Juneau
Mission Street Arts & Fibers, Ketchikan
The Point, Ketchikan
A Flying Skein, Seward

Jessica Knits, Scottsdale
Tempe Yarn and Fiber, Tempe

Knit Schtick, Costa Mesa
The Sheared Sheep, Costa Mesa warehouse, Tustin

Fancy Tiger Crafts, Denver
The Stichin' Den, Estes Park

Knit New Haven, New Haven

Stitch DC (Capitol Hill)
Looped Yarn Works (Dupont Circle)

Hanalei Music Strings and Things, Hanalei (Kauai)
Yarn Basket, Hilo (Big Island)
Tink and Ink, Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
The Needlework Shop, Lahaina (Maui)

Loopy yarns, Chicago
We'll keep you in stitches, Chicago

Bee's Inc, Bar Harbor
Halcyon Yarn, Bath
Heavenly Socks Yarns, Belfast
Philbrook Fibers, Bethel
String Theory, Blue Hill
Purl Diva, Brunswick
The Knitting Experience, Brunswick
Unique One, Camden
Shirley's Yarns, Ellsworth
Pins and Needles, Farmington
Grace Robinson & Company, Freeport
Mainely Alpaca, Kingfield
Fiberphilia, Orono
KnitWit, Portland
Portland Fiber Gallery, Portland

Knit and Stitch, Bethesda

The Creative Needle, Amherst
The Knitting Room, Arlington
Abbott Yarn Shoppe, Beverly
Creative Yarns, Beverly
Yarns in the Farms, Beverly Farms
Windsor Button, Boston
Newbury Yarns, Boston
Stitch Boutique, Boston
A Good Yarn, Brookline
Gather Here, Cambridge
Mind's Eye Yarns, Cambridge
Woolcott and company, Cambridge
Sparks Craft, Cambridge
Stitch House, Dorchester
Coveted Yarn, Gloucester
The Fiber Loft, Harvard
The Creative Stitch, Hingham
The Sheep Shack, Holden
JP Knit & Stitch, Jamaica Plain
Colorful Stitches, Lenox
Wild and Woolly, Lexington
The Woolpack, Littleton
A Yarn Over Marblehead, Marblehead
Island Alpaca Company, Martha's Vineyard
Knitworks, Martha's Vineyard
Black Sheep Knitting Company, Needham
Three Bags Full, Newburyport
A Loom with a View, Newburyport
In The Loop, Norfolk
Webs, Northampton
Seed Stitch, Salem
Metaphor Yarns, Shelburne
Cranberry Fiber Arts, South Hamilton
Mt Laurel Yarn Boutique, Sturbridge
Knit Purl, Sudbury
Butterfly Yarns, Wakefield
The Island Yarn Company, Waltham
In Stitches, Weston
Another Yarn, Winchester

Busy Hands, Ann Arbor
Flying Sheep Yarns, Ann Arbor
Knit a Round, Ann Arbor
Hampton Mills, Birmingham
The Knitting Room, Birmingham
Right Off The Sheep, Birmingham
Center Street Knits, Northville
Old Village Yarn Shop, Plymouth
Skeins on Main, Rochester

Camas Creek Yarn, Kalispell

New Hamsphire
Elegant Ewe, Concord
The Yarn and Fiber Company, Derry
Knit Pickings, Plaistow
The Yarn Basket, Portsmouth

New Jersey
Knitting to Go, Princeton
Pins and Needles, Princeton

New York
Trumpet Hill, Albany
Stitch Therapy, Brooklyn
Purl, NYC
Knitty City, NYC
The Point, NYC
Habu Textiles, NYC
Lion Brand Yarn Studio, NYC
Yarn Company, NYC [old and new stores]
School Products, NYC
Homespun, Ithaca
Knitting Etc, Ithaca

Twisted, Portland
Knit-Purl, Portland

Rhode Island
Great Purls, Providence
A Stitch Above, Providence
Knit One Purl Too, Wakefield
A Perfectly Twisted Yarn, Tiverton

Desert Thread, Moab
Blazing Needles, Salt Lake City
Unraveled Sheep, Sandy
Three Wishes Fiber Arts, West Jordan

Knit or Dye, Brattleboro
Kaleidoscope Yarns, Essex Junction
Green Mountain Spinnery, Putney
White River Yarns, White River Junction

Fibre space, Alexandria
The Needle Lady, Charlottesville

Apple Yarns, Bellingham
Seattle Yarn, Seattle
Tricoter, Seattle
So Much Yarn, Seattle
Hilltop Yarns East, Seattle
Acorn Street Shop, Seattle
Weaving Works, Seattle
Fiber Gallery, Seattle
Churchmouse yarns & teas, Bainbridge Island

Knit on Pearl, Jackson Hole


Wool Shop Direct, Melbourne

Stitches Etc, St George's

Urban Yarns (Point Grey), Vancouver BC
Three Bags Full, Vancouver BC
London Wul Farm, Lakeburn NB
Baadeck Yarns, Baddeck NS
LK Yarns, Halifax NS
The Loop, Halifax NS
Gaspereau Valley Fibres, Wolfville NS
GNK Marketplace, Charlottetown PEI
Biscotte et cie, St Bruno QC
Mouline Yarns, Montreal QC
Ariadne Knits, Montreal QC
Effiloche, Montreal QC
Fil et Fibre, Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures QC
La Dauphine, Quebec QC
Moulin a Laine, Ulverton QC
Romni Wools, ON
Lettuce Knit, ON
Americo, ON
Knit Cafe, ON

Phildar, Paris and other cities
La Droguerie, Paris
Bon Marche (mercerie), Paris
Le Comptoir, Paris
Entree des fournisseurs, Paris
Lil Weasel, Paris

Handknitting association of Iceland, Reykjavik
Isfold, Reykjavik
Vik Wool, Vik

This is Knit, Dublin

Lana della Vecchia, Rome

Avril, Kyoto
La Droguerie, Tokyo (Shibuya and Ikebukuro)
Namura Tailors, Kyoto
Masuhisa, Nara

The Netherlands
De Afstap, Amsterdam

New Zealand
Touch Yarns, Alexandra
Ashford art and craft center, Ashburton
Artisan Fibres, Christchurch
Wool Yarn and Fibres, Christchurch
Wild and Woolly yarns, Devonport
Kiwi Gift Shop, Queenstown
Agrodome, Rotorua
Shearing Shed, Waitomo
Knit World, Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch

Boutique Naturel, Luzern
Vilfil, Zurich
HandArt, Zurich

United Kingdom
Loop, London
I Knit, London

Late to the party - my BSJs

Two Baby Surprise Jackets
Originally uploaded by miminh3
You know how some people tell you about how great Battlestar Galactica/raw vegan food/(fill in with anything with a cult-like following) is and then it seems too much to you so you don't even want to watch/eat/hear it? That's the way I feel about Elizabeth Zimmerman, so I never read any of her books or watched any of her videos.

But I was interested in her Baby Surprise Jacket because it seemed like a great project to use small quantities of handspun yarn -- so I present to you two BSJs knitted in commercial yarn (very logical, right?). The top one used up two skeins of Manos silk blend, the bottom one (for a coworker whose wife is expecting a son) used up one skein of Sheep Shop 3. If I ever knit a third one, it will be with my handspun yarn :)

The Sheep Shop 3 was part of my loot when visiting Purl in Soho. My birthday gift certificate also brought 2 skeins of Farmhouse yarns Bonnie's Bamboo, 2 skeins of Fibre Company Canopy, and a project bag from Blue Sky Alpacas. If you're ever in NYC, you should visit Purl -- it's one of my favorite yarn stores. I thought it would be fun to keep a list of all the yarn stores I've visited so I'll start the list soon and keep it linked on the right-side bar. I'm pretty sure I've been to more than 50 yarn stores, I wonder how long it would take me to get to 100...

In two weeks, Boy and I will be on vacation in Switzerland. We will be travelling between cities by train so I should get plenty of knitting time. My travel project is a knitted gift for Jane so it's a secret, except for one big hint: it uses yarn from one of her favorite hand-dyers...

July 12, 2008

Catch 29

Here's a quick recap of the last few months:
- I knitted Patricia's shawl (a design by Lisa Lloyd) in Foxfire Cormo silk. It was going to be a present but I love squeezing it so much that I might keep it for myself.
- I knitted a Baby Surprize Jacket using Manos silk blend. I bought coordinating buttons -- as soon as they're sewn on, I'll post a picture.
- I'm done with the back of Jasmine, from Kim Hargreaves' Nectar collection. This top should be done by the end of July which gives me one month to wear it before the weather changes again.
- Boy and I went to Montreal so I *had* to stop at Ariadne Knits and Effiloche. Such lovely yarn stores... I wish they were local! (the food in Montreal wouldn't hurt either, it really reminded me of home, aka France)
- This is the last year that I'll be in my twenties (sniff). The pain of getting older was lessened by a lovely gift certificate to Purl from Boy. A trip to NYC is planned for later this month so I will definitely use it then.

April 27, 2008

Pas grand chose

Because of my impending exam, I've lost some of my knitting drive. But the new book by Kim Hargreaves "Nectar" is sure to change that. I ordered the book along with the kit for "Glisten" -- a nice summer vest should give me enough motivation to start and finish it before the end of the summer.

I've re-organized my patterns, updated my stash spreadsheet, made a list of my UFO's (5), and sent some yarn away to good homes.

By the way, if you know of an organization that needs yarn or a knitter who needs some fibery love, please let me know by email/PM through Knitter's Review. I'd be happy to share my humongous stash with people.

April 13, 2008

At last, a finished object!

Stash busting baby blanket
Originally uploaded by miminh3
The baby blanket for my coworker used up 17 skeins of sock yarn. Woohoo! The gender is unknown so I had to find colors that worked for both genders. This was a good stashbusting and mindless knitting experience. For once, I remembered to take a picture before giving it away (see Arleta?!). I just need to weave the ends in and wash it.

This gave me some motivation to knit myself a lap blanket so I placed an order with Briar Rose Fibers for some yarn. And I took part in this weekend's Woolgirl sale. And I signed up for all four seasons of Sundara's seasons club (talk about gluttony!). My stash-busting has therefore been totally negated by my yarn shopping :)

I am obsessed with these Ivy socks by Shibui knits. The kicker? I have the exact required yarn in my stash...

April 03, 2008

Three years already

Originally uploaded by miminh3
Boy and I celebrated our third wedding anniversay last week. Boy's parents sent us this beautiful bouquet, how nice of them!

The traditional theme for the 3rd anniversary is leather. I am looking forward to our 7th anniversary... the theme is wool ;)

Waiting for Godot

Milford Sound
Originally uploaded by miminh3
Sorry I haven't posted pictures from New Zealand yet... I still have to go through them, resize/rotate them, and add captions. Unfortunately, I have to work on something until early May so in the meantime, here's a picture of Milford Sound. "Milford Sound" was erroneously named, because it's really a fjord. To give you an idea of scale, you can see two boats on the water -- those are really big boats that take tourists on cruises but they look tiny, don't they?

March 06, 2008

Kia Ora!

Sheep, seals, and birds in NZ
Originally uploaded by miminh3
Click on the picture for a look at the large size and what do you see?
Sheep. Seals. Birds. The sea. All in the same spot!!

Boy and I are back from a trip to New Zealand where we visited a dozen yarn shops, went to the Ashford craft shop and museum (the birthplace of Jane's and Rho's spinning wheels!), and attended a sheep show at the Agrodome in Rotorua. I bought more yarn than I expected, including the sinfully soft Merino/Possum yarn from Touch yarns.

I'll try to post pictures on Flickr this weekend but in case you were wondering, the goal of the trip was not stash enhancement... We saw geysers, toothed whales, yellow-eyed penguins, bottle-nosed dolphins, glaciers, fjords as well as sheepies, sheepies, sheepies and more sheepies :)

February 04, 2008

Already February?!

New niddy noddy
Originally uploaded by miminh3
I played with my spinning wheel during December and most of January until my left foot met the corner of some hardwood stairs as well as a Bosu ball... but it's all fixed now so I can return to spinning.

I was tired of using my arms to make skeins of yarns so I bought a niddy noddy at Mind's eye yarns in Porter Square. The single ply you see is some South African fine also purchased at Mind's eye yarns. My singles look mostly okay now but I am still working on the plying part. I know, "practice, practice, practice"!

In an effort to destash, I have started knitting a blanket for one of my co-workers who is due in May. The blanket will be made up of 9 squares, each of them 12" by 12" in a different color. I'm using my humongous stash of sock yarn for this and so far, I've used up 5 skeins of yarn for three squares (purple, red, and yellow). Not bad, right?

And before I forget, here's my new love: Manos silk blend. 70% merino, 30% silk, Manos colors, 150 yards, and retailed at $11.50 for solid colors/$12.50 for variegated colors. Don't say I didn't warn you!!