This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Greater Boston Yarn Crawl and Rude Reality

The GreaterBoston Yarn Crawl occurred a couple of weekends ago. The original post I had planned and which I wrote in my head talked about how I couldn't afford to buy more yarn, that I now had 30 large bins to house my yarn stash, that I will have to move all these bins, and store them in a house that will have living space of about 1000 square feet (well, I hope it's that large), and that I hadn't really knit up anything from the yarn I got at last year's Yarn Crawl (except for those two skeins of Art Yarn that I got at the Creative Warehouse, but the rest of the yarn is still in my stash). Let's face it: The last thing I need is more damn yarn.

That is the post I planned to write. Rude Reality, however, had quite a different agenda for me, alas. Nicole and I visited a grand total of six yarn stores, beginning Friday night. I was so good. At the Stitch House in Dorchester, the MadTosh was on sale for $18 a skein, and I bought nary a bit. I looked at it. I felt it. I weighed the merits of one colour over another. But none of it came home with me. I must also admit here, if I am to be honest, that I have a fair amount of Tosh in my stash, since I bought most of what was on offer when the beloved and much lamented Windsor Button Shop closed its doors a couple years ago.

Stitch House, Dorchester. All the Madeline Tosh!

On Saturday morning, Nicole and I got an early start on the Crawl. We were going to get our Passports stamped, pick up some free patterns, and enter the drawing for the big baskets of goodies that most of the stores were raffling off. This is where Reality got rude. The first store we hit was the Iron Horse, in Natick. I love this store, and it's the first time I'd visited it since last year's Yarn Crawl. Not having a car makes it difficult to get there. The owner and her colleague remembered me, and gave us a very warm welcome. On Saturday Berroco yarns were on sale. I decided to buy some Ultra Alpaca, a 50-50 blend of wool and alpaca. But I couldn't find a green I liked, so I got the Vintage. As I sit writing this, I looked at the fibre content and discovered that it is 52% acrylic. I don't knit with acrylic, and so I will see if I can sell, trade, or gift this yarn, and I'll get something else. I'd like to make the Deathflake* hat pattern (free on Ravelry) for a friend. But now I see I'll be getting some other yarn. I still like Iron Horse. It's not their fault that they don't know my prejudice against artificial fibres, and my fault that I didn't check the fibre content before I bought the yarn.
Iron Horse, Natick. I love this store, even though I didn't get what I wanted.

The next stop on our itinerary was the Black Sheep Knitting in Newton. Beautiful yarns, a kick-ass raffle basket, but I didn't buy any yarn there. I did, however, enable someone to buy lots of yarn, discussing what colours a boy would want to wear in a hat. That was a lot of fun. If I can't buy yarn for myself, I'm always happy to help someone else buy yarn.
Baah Yarn at Black Sheep Knitting. This is a great yarn to work with.

We moved on to the Creative Warehouse next. There are some lovely yarns there, but again, I didn't buy any yarn. But I saw some stuff I would like to go back and checkout some time. The crew there is friendly, and Nicole and I fell in love with an expensive skein of yarn ($104) to make a shawl. I liked the blue, she liked the red. We'll save our pennies to buy it some day.

The penultimate stop was the Island Yarn Company, in Waltham. The GPS took us there via back roads, including one unpaved road that was hell on our bladders. But Island Yarn is wonderful! A good selection of yarn there is dyed by the owner, and yes, I did buy two skeins of chunky yarn. The gorgeous Tanzaneta blue yarn, and the yarn designed for this year's Crawl, as yet unnamed, known as GBY2015. I got the chunky weight, and it reminds me of the latter moments of a sunset, right before night falls.

Our final stop was Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge. I have loved this store for many years, and when I lived in Somerville, it was always my go-to store for just about anything I needed, knit-related. I bought a small kit of Malabrigo lace weight, three skeins pre-packaged with a pattern. This was a special sale item for the weekend, and the colours I got were orange, red, and black. I'm thinking a cowl for a friend, done as a gradient. The Plymouth yarn was on sale for Saturday, and if I'd had more money, I would have bought some of the deep, dark blue. It was so pretty. But I suppose I have enough blue yarn. There was a new alpaca/merino blend in natural shades there, but it was a bit too pricey for me, and it can wait until I am a bit more flush before I add it to my stash.

Several of the stores had visiting yarn companies giving trunk shows. The only one that really piqued my interest was Toil and Trouble, from Salem, MA, at Mind's Eye. She had some beautiful hand dyed yarns on display, and again, I wish I had more money, so I could have bought her out.
Toil and Trouble yarns, at Mind's Eye. 
I can't wait to add these to my stash. 
I might even knit them up!

I guess I could say it was a successful Crawl, in one way, since I scored some beautiful skeins of yarn. It was not a successful Crawl in another, since I had not intended to buy any yarn at all, and only went with Nicole to keep her company. Really, though, who am I kidding? There was absolutely no way I was going to go on a yarn crawl through some of the best stores in the Boston area without buying any yarn. As they say, “Don't pee on my back and tell me it's raining.”

*There is also the Deathflake 2 pattern.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oops! I did it again!

Some days it doesn't matter how bearish one might be, one is really like Brittney Spears. I have a couple days off from work because of Rosh HaShannah, the Jewish New Year (Happy 5776!). I thought I'd do a little work around my room, organising yarn, putting books on the shelves, hoovering the rugs, putting the yarn in zip loc baggies, and so on. Then I uncovered the new bin I'd bought a few weeks back to hold my new yarn, and began filling it. And filling it, and filling it. Until it overflowed. Oh dear. As dear Brittney would say, "Oops, I did it again!" I need another damn bin.

My yarn acquisition is definitely getting the better of me. Because I really need to buy a new bin or two to handle the yarn I've got sitting on the bed. And on the sofa. And on the desk. And on the bureau. Oh, and I need to store the yarns I got while in New Orleans; they're still in my suitcase. I think I'm up to 28 or 29 bins. I might as well make it an even 30. Don't let's even talk about the Christmas ornaments I've been collecting for the last four years, even though I haven't put up a Christmas tree since 2008 (because, you know, this is a blog about knitting and yarn, not Christmas ornaments). I don't even want to think about the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl that's coming up this week. I need to sit in a lotus position and chant, "I don't need more yarn, ohm. I don't need more yarn, ohm." *le sigh* Of course, I won't need more yarn until I become a Buddha, and I don't think I can become a Buddha until I knit my entire stash. On the other hand, if I've achieved SABLE, then I might live forever trying to become a Buddha!

But I've got plans! I've got big plans! I've acquired some kick-ass patterns for next year's knitting. And I've even been choosing the yarns from my stash that I want to use. I'm really really really going to try to stick with stash yarn! Really! Unless I discover I don't have the right colour (not everyone wants to wear blue). Or the right fibre (because some people are allergic to wool, but not alpaca). Through the good offices of Ravelry, I've gotten the following patterns: Ho'okipa shawl; Inland Sea; and Twin Leaf (all available on Ravelry!). I've got my knitting set out for me once I finally finish this year's holiday knits.

Now, off to Boutique Target so I can buy more bins. Because I'm damn sure going to do it again.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

New Orleans' Yarn Haul

I'm back in New Orleans for an extra long weekend (five whole days!), and of course I made a trip to the Quarter Stitch and to Bornside Yarns. Because when there are two yarn stores within walking distance, it's a clever thing to visit both. Of course, they're in opposite directions, but that didn't matter at all. Since I've been to the Quarter Stitch so many times, a couple of the people who work there remember me, and that's really nice. I got to hear about Jen's trip to Ireland working as a crewhand on a sailing ship, and the different things going on in town. At Bornside Yarns, the owner didn't quite remember me, but after I supplied a couple hints, she sort of did. We got to talking about things to do in New Orleans, Unitarians, Catholic churches, and things to do around the year. In all, both were very good visits.

At Quarter Stitch, I picked up some Malabrigo Rios.
One skein of Azul Profundo to make a hat.

Two skeins of Bobby Blue, to make a shawlette.

At Bornside Yarns, I got more yarn!

 One skein each of undyed Plymouth Homstead Yarns, in brown and white.

Two skeins of Wisdom Yarns' Poems Silk, 75%wool and 25% silk.
Not sure yet what this will become, but it's soft and lovely, and shimmers.

On the whole, some really good haul for a few hours' shopping at two really lovely yarn stores.