Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Completed Project: Garter for The Mistress

One of my dearest friends - a sister by choice - got hitched on Labor Day weekend. Since I could not be there in person, I made her a garter to wear.

05 Beth Garter

Yes, that is a skull button on the garter. Nothing less for Mistress Dark Forces. I also made a matching tie clip for the groom.

07 Beth Garter

You'll also notice the calla lilies on the garter, one of the Mistress' favorite flowers. The grey matched the sash of her beautiful wedding dress. I did a pretty good job considering this was the first garter I ever made and I had no idea what I was doing except for directions from the internet and a lot of hope.

I also personalized some beer cozies for the bride and groom. They told me they used them all weekend. It made me smile. :)

Beer Cozies

While today I celebrate my third anniversary to the most wonderful man in the world, this weekend I get to celebrate with Mistress Dark Forces and her man as they host what surely will be one hell of a Halloween reception in San Diego! The Queen will also be there and Perches will be there in spirit. Fingers crossed I can get the second garter finished before I leave so she has something to throw.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Completed Project: Baby Set (hat and booties)

This set is for a cousin due in December/January but with a baby shower in early November. They are keeping the gender of the baby a surprise until the birth so this set is in yellow and the baby blanket I'm making will be in lavender.

Hat and Booties 02

Both patterns came from Knitting-A-Day calendars though it is not actually a set (2 different patterns). Details (yarn, needle size) can be found on Ravelry for the hat and the booties.

For the hat, instead of sewing the brim to make a picot edge, I thread ribbon through the holes to match the bows on the booties. If I were to make the hat again, I'd leave out the holes and the picot and just have the brim roll up.

I was reminded when making both projects that I really need to learn to check the properties of the yarn I'm substituting for the yarn called for in the pattern. The yarn I used has a bit too much stretch so I'm not as happy with the results.

I have to buckle down and crochet! crochet! crochet! the baby blanket that must arrive in Massachusetts by November 6. But the sock yarn on my shelf is tempting me to bring DPNs and a skein with me to Chicago.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

LYS in NYC: Lion Brand Yarn Studio and Purl Patchwork

At the beginning of this month, I had to travel to New York City for work. I love taking the train to NYC and points north. It's so much more relaxing than air travel. Not only to you have more room to relax, but you also don't have to worry that your needles, hooks or other crafty items will be confiscated by TSA.

I got into town in the late afternoon with plenty of time to meet up with the Queen and check out a couple of fabulous yarn and fabric stores. Our first stop was the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Lion Brand Studio

Do you see the woman in the front window? The staff members took turns sitting in the rocking chair to knit and crochet next to the giant knitting needles and crochet hook. Click here for the big version - might be easier to see it all.

If you look at the web site, you'll see photos of the inside.

Is this technically a local yarn store or is it really a retail store since it's owned by a large company? I'm going to keep it categorized as an LYS since there is only one store and even though all they sell is Lion Brand yarn. It was a great studio, one that I would frequent often if I lived in the city. While the prices of the yarn were not as good as a 40% off coupon at Joann's, I was tempted to buy skeins and skeins of it. There is something about a well-done yarn display that can make even the most frugal shopper through skeins into a basket regardless of price. Luckily, I regained my composure and put back the 4 skeins I whipped off the shelf. But there was one skein I could not put back. I had not seen it in stores before and the colors were just too good to pass up.

Lion Brand Sock Yarn 02

It's sock-ease yarn in the most delicious colors. This must be skein number 15 in my sock yarn collection. I wanted to buy tons of other stuff I didn't need - the Queen laughing with me (and sometimes at me) as I walked around the store saying "I need this!" even when I didn't know what it was. I ended up with just one other item - some black eyes for a dustbunny long overdue.

Lion Brand Studio Purchases

The Queen also picked out Homespun in Barley for her future blanket. Once these baby blankets are done and friends stop breeding for at least a couple months, I'll be able to start on it. :)

The store was great and I'd highly recommend it. For me, my trip meant other item crossed off the 2009 Crafty Resolutions list!

Our next stop was to Purl Patchwork, which is the sister fabric store to Purl Soho.

Purl Patchwork

The Queen picked up some beautiful fabric sets. I didn't buy anything there, but not for lack of wanting. I'm just not in the position to start yet another crafty hobby until I get either a bigger house or a larger storage cabinet for the craft room. If you ever did want inspiration to start quilting, Purl Patchwork would do the trick. I should also mention they had great spools of embroidery threads perfect for crocheting doilies.

We had planned to to Purl Soho, too, but the lure of frosty brews and pub fare was too strong to ignore. We had a wonderful evening chatting over copious amounts of beer until the hour grew late and the knowledge that neither of us could skip out on work the next day forced us to head home.

I really must make the trip up to NYC more often (and next time not for work). It's too much fun to see the Queen and enjoy the energy of the city.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Perches is contemplating her own store and the Queen is getting uber crafty with fabric. I'm feeling the very strong pull of the creative world, too. Liberating me from the padded cell of an office cube. Freedom from pointless meetings where people drone on and on about unimportant and unnecessary things.

I sit in meetings and I imagine new designs and patterns.

I make lists of projects I want to start or finish while people think I'm taking notes.

I crochet in my mind to make the meeting more interesting. (I know - that one's weird. But if happen to do it, you know what I'm talking about.)

I envision a quaint little yarn store, filled to the brim with yarns of all colors and textures and prices. And I see my name on the door.


Someday - hopefully sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, visions of fiber happiness will make the days in the padded cube bearable enough for me to return each day.

And in the meantime, there may just be a virtual store front in my future, too.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LYS in New Haven, CT: Yarn, LLC

This is a waaaay overdue posting about my trip to New Haven, CT back in July. I only noticed I hadn't blogged about it when I came across the photo of the store over the weekend. That also reminded me that I had not photographed the yarn I bought (nor did I add it to my Ravelry stash). That will be forthcoming next time I take photos.

So here we go - a yarn store review of Yarn, LLC in New Haven, CT.

New Haven Yarn Shop

There are two locations and I went to the one located downtown. I was glad to make it to the store this trip (I was thwarted by a late train in 2008). It is a tiny little store with an adequate selection of yarns. The yarn was organized by color and not by brand or fiber type which I found confusing. I was also irritated that few things had prices, either on the skeins or on the shelves. I don't like having to ask about the price of every skein I like. The saleswoman was very nice and her husband was there learning to knit (his first project - SOCKS! So very ambitious!). And though she was nice, I can't say that I liked the store that much. The selection was just a bit too limited and the organization of the store made it hard to find things. I did end up with a skein of sock yarn. At the time, I had just completed my first pair and I was excited about staring another pair. As of today, it's still in my stash - but it's not alone. I think there are 10 other skeins of sock yarn waiting to be used.

All in all, a decent little store but not one that I would recommend you go out of your way to check out. Perhaps the other store is different or bigger or better.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Completed Project: Baby Boy Starghan

Here's the starghan, finally finished - too late for the baby shower but in plenty of time for the baby.

Julie Starghan 06

After having to rip out the first attempt, I was true to form and hooked this blanket out in record time (just 10 days). The weaving in of the many ends took a few days (out of procrastination, not difficulty). I used Lion Brand Cotton-Ease (same as I used for a baby blanket last year, minus the terracotta color) and the size should be just right for the little guy's crib. As always, full details on Ravelry.

The blanket and one of the blue-green baby hats have been shipped to the momma-and-daddy to-be. I hope they keep the little guy warm and comforted.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"One of these things is not like the other..."


Do you love this skull mug as much as I do? I picked it up at Annapolis Pottery. It has beautiful blue hues around the outside and a greenish blue color blend on the inside. I really wanted to take it to work so I could sip my coffee from it during the dreadful staff meeting but I don't think my co-workers would get it. They think I'm crazy as it is.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Easton, MD LYS - Yarns & Company

Made another trip out to the lovely Eastern Shore a few weekends ago. Seriously - I need to move there. If only I could get a job there making what I make now or perhaps a teleworking position that would allow me to work from home. That is the dream!

We started in Easton and walked the quaint streets while enjoying the absolutely gorgeous fall weather. We popped into Irish Traditions, a store which was the most authentic Irish store I've seen stateside. I picked up some Christmas gifts (yes - CHRISTMAS gifts) and saw the most wonderful paintings and knitted items. The store owner was so nice, too.

Unfortunately, the Christmas gifts didn't exactly stay Christmas gifts as I gave them to Saoirse last weekend out of fear she'd outgrow them before Christmas.

Irish Shop Purchase

We then popped into Jake's Pet Boutique where there were plenty of items with which to spoil Seamus. But they didn't have his favorite treats so while we were tempted by the items for sale, we didn't purchase any.

The next stop was Yarns & Company just down the street.

Yarn and Co Easton MD

Proof again that Sean is awesome, he kindly took Seamus for a walk around the block and I checked out the store. I'm sure I could have brought Seamus in with me, but the 11 year old Yorkie in the store wanted nothing to do with Seamus nor Seamus to do with him.

Yarns & Company is a super cute store with a rustic feel. There is a great selection of yarn and the prices are very reasonable. The ladies in the store were so very friendly and I got some assistance with my sock and hat knitting issues (those pesky loose stitches at the beginning of a DPN in the round, aka ladders). I ended up buying some gorgeous hand-dyed yarn from Australia (which also came with a free shawl pattern) and a little skein of baby yarn in light blue. I also got a pair of bamboo knitting needles in size 5.

Yarn Purchase Easton

This store had the best prices for Clover needles I've seen (besides Joann's with a 40% off coupon). The store is definitely worth checking out if you're on the Eastern shore.

While we had a nice time in Easton, we were itching to go back to St. Michaels. I had hoped we'd like Easton more since the homes are bit less expensive than St. Michaels but one must follow their gut and our guts were drawing us back to St. Michaels. I'm guess the same was true for Seamus as he seemed a lot more relaxed and happy-go-lucky (i.e. not barking at everyone and everything) on the streets of St. Michaels as he did in Easton. Seamus also enjoyed our lunch at the Crab and Steak House. He loves hanging out under the table and barking at dogs passing by.

Seamus at Lunch

I did make another stop into Frivolous Fibers. They had changed the layout of the store slightly since last I was there. There is now a couch and it is a bit more open. I didn't buy anything - not for lack of looking and not for lack of wanting. I'm just very much aware of the mammoth stock pile of yarn I have at home and the number of projects I have to get done by the year's end. Best to put off some other yarn purchases while I get the things that need to be done, done.

What about the yarn I bought in Easton? Of course that doesn't count because that was my first visit to the shop. Plus, I do have projects in mind for the purchases. I'm using the shawl pattern that came with the hand-dyed yarn to make a birthday present and the light blue yarn will be made into a baby hat using the size 5 needles. :)

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My husband is wonderful for so many reasons, one of which is his understanding of my enthusiasm (obsession) with crocheting and knitting. He's even so kind as to feed that obsession. Case in point - a couple weeks ago he came home with a bag full of crocheting and knitting books. A coworker had brought a bunch of books to work that she had been given by a neighbor. Before donating them, she gave first dibs to her coworkers. Sean scooped up all the crocheting and knitting books available and carted them home on the commute. What a guy!

So here's what I've got:

Books 01

Universal Yarn Finder by Maggie Righetti - It's an index of yarns including names, where you can buy it, needle gauge, texture, cleaning care, yardage, etc. I guess it's like Ravelry's database in hard copy. But one thing to note - the book is copyright 1983 and 1987. I don't know how many of the yarns in the book still exist or if the descriptions are still accurate after 22 years. I'm really happy my cover doesn't look like this one.

DMC: Spring Into Crochet No. 15230 - Designs by M. Kathleen Colussy and copyright 1986, I'll be honest there are some ugly patterns in here. The best one is the cover design.

The Harmony Guides 450 Knitting Stitches Vol. 2 - Considering the price on Amazon is $42.99 for this out of print item, getting it for free was quite a deal.

Treasury of Crochet Edgings by Sharon Valiant and Judy Teague Treece - Seems like a great book at first glance.

Crochet in 4-Ply Cotton #7106 by Hayfield - A lot of motif white cotton tops. Maybe 2 of them are wearable.

Knitting Counterpanes by Mary Walker Phillips - Very fun patterns in this book.

Anchor White Crochet Lace: Book No. 11, Art. No. 17751 - So many wonderful lace pillows in this book. There is a round one I'm hoping to make. The only problem is that all patterns are charted instead of written out.

Sweater Design in Plain English by Maggie Righetti - I'm no where near knitting a sweater, but I hope this book will come in handy when I am ready.

More proof Sean is awesome is that when he placed an Amazon order for a book he wanted, he bought me a book off of my wishlist (because he's that nice and to get free shipping). This is one I've wanted for a while.

Books 02

Comparing this one to the older book on yarn should be fun.