January 18, 2010

Road work ahead

The outer part of the Fiddlehead mittens is knitted, so it's time to weave in the ends... now I understand why Purlewe was working on weaving the ends of her multiple pairs of Fiddlehead mittens at the retreat! Tanis' kit includes merino yarn for the lining but I have two skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in dark blue in my stash so I will use those for the lining. I have enough leftover yarn in the contrast and background colors that I can use them along with the unused lining yarn to knit a cute child hat.

My next project is a secret! I was sitting on the sidelines of Trico' 13 in 2009 but decided to join in the fun for Defi 13 in 2010.
- I'll have a finished object every month
- the monthly theme will force me to think outside the box
- I'll be able to connect with the French-speaking knit-bloggers that I've been admiring from afar and discover some new ones
The first theme is white and I've already chosen the yarn and the pattern. The secret project will be uncovered on February 28!

January 04, 2010

Yarn shop travelogue: Hawaii

To me, a trip to a new location requires a visit to the local yarn store. This might explain why I have been to 107 yarn stores so far!

I would like to record my impressions of some of these yarn stores on this blog. Keep in mind that my perspective is that of the travelling knitter who might want to pick up some souvenir yarn, rather than the local knitter who needs sweater quantities of yarn in various weights and fibers.

The first destination in this yarn shop travelogue is Hawaii where I just spent ten days. You might not associate Hawaii with knitting but I was able to stop by four yarn stores on three islands!

The Needlework Shop in Lahaina (Maui)
You will find knitting, cross-stitching, and quilting at this store. The yarn selection emphasizes bamboo and other non-wool fibers and was on the small size *but* there were lots of nice goodies such as project bags that are quilted by the shop staff. The store is located in downtown Lahaina; as a tourist would undoubtedly walk around in that area, it would be a shame not to visit this store.

I picked up a skein of merino wool by Maui Yarns (right skein in picture), one yard of batik fabric (background of picture) that I might ask Amy to use for a custom bag, and some turtle-shaped buttons made out of coconut.

The Yarn Basket in Hilo (Big Island)
Holy moley, this store has an inventory larger than many of the East Coast yarn stores I've been to! I'm pretty sure that you could find there a yarn that is not carried at your LYS (except if your LYS is Webs perhaps). I was especially impressed by the wool section and the sock yarn selection. Once the owner mentioned that some of her customers spend time on the mainland or have grandchildren on the mainland, her wool inventory made sense to me.

Before my trip, I realized that I would not be able to see the Hawaiian Homegrown Wool Company at the farmers' market but lo and behold, there was some of their Romney wool that is raised, handspun, and handdyed on the Big Island at the store (middle skein in picture).

Tink and Ink in Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
This yarn store just opened a few months ago but it already has a nice selection of Aslan Trends, Berroco, Blue Ridge Yarns (from Virginia), Freedom, Noro, etc... When I was there, the ladies were sampling the various Malabrigo yarns (the chunky yarn is so squishy) and talking about which ones to order. I bought some Freedom Sincere organic cotton, Blue Ridge alpaca lace, and a pair of oak DPN needles made in Hawaii.

Hanalei Music's Strings and Things in Hanalei (Kauai)
This is a store that combines musical instruments (ukeleles) and yarn -- how fun! The owner has excellent taste and was able to pack this space with a lot of yarns: Frabjous fibers (from Vermont), Aslan Trends, Artyarns, Berroco, Noro, and many many more. There are many beautiful pins, unique buttons and handles for knitted bags.

What caught my eye was a line of yarns that are handdyed in Kauai using botanical extracts. There was cotton and merino but I bought a skein of baby alpaca with silver thread dyed with hibiscus flowers (left skein in picture). It is sinfully soft and will make a gorgeous buttoned wrap with the matching coconut buttons I got there.

Well, that's it for my knitting adventures in Hawaii. Aloha and Mahalo!