Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Holiday Spirit is in the Air

I'm supposed to have both blankets for KMP done by next Saturday. Egads! Good news is that I'm working on the border of the Afghan of the Sandman (round 4 of 10) so that may even get done today or tomorrow. Bad news is that I'm only one or two rows into skein 2 of the knitted baby blanket. Worse news is that the blanket looks way too long and may require a third skein. This means I've got to get it done and check the length and if necessary, buy another skein and keep knitting. So I'm suspecting I won't have it done in time to mail out on Saturday. I am hedging my bets by including some cute little onesies with funny iron on decals (details to follow in a future post - including photos).

I'm also feeling extra crafty and the holiday spirit is definitely in the air. I've got Christmas music playing as I type. I made applesauce and cranberry sauce today for Thanksgiving. The house smelled wonderful with cranberry, apple and cinnamon wafting through the air. (Note - if you don't have orange zest to add to simmering cranberry sauce, a shot of Triple Sec will do the trick nicely.) I've got the menu planned out for Thanksgiving, too. I'm not hosting this year, but I have plenty to prepare to bring down to dinner. Spinach dip, veggies, pumpkin squares, a crab ball with crackers....::drooling::

I'm also putting together the Christmas gift lists - what to buy and for whom - so I can keep an eye on the sale ads and online deals. It will be a leaner Christmas this year so I want to buy just the right things at the best prices. Speaking of a lean Christmas, the hopes of buying a new fake tree to replace my old, little tree have been put on hold. Instead, I found a more affordable holiday project. I bought a wooden advent calendar from Joann's which I'm going to repaint and include candy and/or little gifts for Sean to open each day until Christmas. I'm hoping this creative project will make up for not getting a new tree, ornaments and decorations. It is definitely cheaper ($30 for the whole project). I'll work on it next weekend so photos to follow.

Thank goodness I'm only working Monday and Tuesday and will have 5 days to work on all this craftiness. So much to do and so little time.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Yarn Shops in Columbus, Ohio

A fabulous wedding was preceded by a trip to 2 of the 3 yarn shops in Columbus, Ohio.

First stop was at Knitters Mercantile located at 214 Graceland Blvd.

"Yarn store" yarn Columbus Ohio "Knitters Mercan

Located in a strip mall, I was a bit hesitant to enter but it was a hidden gem to discover. A well-sized store with some of the most friendly yarn shop staff I've ever encountered. The whole store exuded zen. The rows of shelves of yarn drew you in to explore all the colors and textures. Now - to point out yet again - I am by no means an expert when it comes to all brands, blends or types of yarn. I just know what I like. And let me tell you - I liked waaaaay too much in this store. One of the friendly staff members asked if I needed any help and she pointed me to some locally created yarn by Tuscan Grove. I just couldn't resist it! The colors were so gorgeous that I could have bought many skeins - instead I settled on this one.

Tuscan Grove Fresco 2

It's 100% superwash merino wool in what is termed the Venice style (more info on their web site). The colorway is called Fresco and I absolutely love how the purple compliments the autumn oranges and yellows.

Knitters Mercantile also had a great selection of notions, hooks and needles and a good selection of books and patterns. I happened by the sale rack of books and picked up a fun box of crocheted bag patterns. At 50% off, this was a great find.

Knitters Mercantile Purchase

You'll also see a advertisement card for Knitters Connection 2009 which will be held in Columbus June 17-20, 2009. Though I'm not sure that I'll actually be able to go, I did join the group on Ravelry.

The store also has a table in the back for classes. While I was there, a knitting class was going on. The teacher was so patient and was explaining things in a way that all the students seemed to understand. Seriously - if I lived in Columbus, I would take classes and be at this store all the time. It had such a homey, relaxed and inviting feeling. I felt as though I could have hunkered down in one of the chairs and crocheted or knitted away for hours. It even had a "Crochet Friendly" decal from Interweave Press near the front door. It's a definite must see if you're living in or just visiting the area.

The second stop was at The Yarn Shop located at 1125 Kenny Centre.

Columbus OH The Yarn Shop

Located in another strip mall-type location, this store was much bigger than the last. It included tatting materials and lots of embroidery. It was also a bit brighter (more windows) with higher ceilings. It definitely lacked the homey feeling I so enjoyed at Knitters Mercantile. The selection was wide but I can't say that I was wowed by it. There was a lot of synthetics and yarn that I've seen at other stores. There were a few gems here and there but I wasn't as drawn in as I was at the previous store - but that is not to say their selection was lacking. The hook, needle and notions selection was amazing - everything you could possibly need was there. There were oodles of patterns and books plus a huge selection of speciality buttons. They also have a play area for kids to occupy themselves while parents are shopping.

I was a bit turned off by the staff at the store. They weren't nearly as friendly as at the other store. The one person giving some instructions to a new knitter was actually quite aggressive and rude to her student. Had she been trying to teach me, I would have called her on it and/or got up and left. Perhaps this was the student's fifth time trying to learn and the instructor was just frustrated. Then again, the instructor struck me as being more of a knitting snob rather than a frustrated teacher. Do you know the type I mean? The women who seem to love knitting but they use it as a way to show how they are superior to others. For example, if you asked what a 2x2 rib pattern is, they would look down their nose at you as if you were not worthy of speaking with them. That's the kind of vibe I got from her.

Those somewhat negative impressions aside, this was still a really great store. I just know that I personally wouldn't make it my regular LYS if I lived in Columbus. I did end up making a purchase of some fun Harry Potter themed sock yarn. It's not like JK Rowling needs more money but I couldn't resist the commercial tie-in to sock yarn.

The Yarn Shop OH Purchase

It's by Opal, a German company, and they have a whole series of the Harry Potter sock yarns. The one I bought is the colorway for Dumbledore. I giggle when I look at the label because it's in German and looks like "Halibut Prince" (in German - Half Blood Prince is Halbblut Prinz).

Though I didn't make it to Heavenly Creations, the two LYS stops were really great. I'd highly recommend a trip to both if you're in the area.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Off to the Great State of Ohio

Sean and I are headed off to Ohio for a wedding on Saturday. We're driving there so I should be able to check out one, if not all three, of the yarn stores in Columbus.

Heavenly Creations
1188 W. 5th Ave.

Knitters Mercantile
214 Graceland Blvd.

The Yarn Shop
1125 Kenny Centre

I should also have quite a bit of time to work on the two blankets for KMP during the drive up there. Both blankets have got to be done this month because she's due in December. Plus, ANOTHER friend is prego. I think she's due in April.

Will I ever finish the BUBBLES bubbles wrap??? Not if the rate at which my friends are breeding continues. :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Sigh of Relief


Dear America,

Thank you for not f-ing up the election this time. I really appreciate it. Good job.


Monday, November 3, 2008

Early Christmas List

Seriously - these are too freakin' cute.

End communication.

Completed Project: Knitted Meg Griffin Hat

Hope all had a wonderful Halloween! Here's the hat I made for my costume - the title says it all.

Meg Griffin Hat 01 Meg Griffin Hat 03

See any resemblance?

Say it with me now -- "Shut up, Meg!"

Details on my Ravelry page.