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Monday, October 18, 2010

Non-English Speaking Yarn

Earlier this year hubby went to Finland (and was stuck there a few extra days courtesy of Eyjafjallajökull). I asked him to buy me some Finnish yarn. The only stipulation being that he had to buy enough to make something. I had visions of him returning with balls of yarn that would make one glove or one sock. To assist with my request I told him where there was a yarn shop in the town where he was staying. Information I had obtained from a Finnish group on Ravelry.

Being the dutiful husband that he is he went to the shop and bought yarn. I am impressed that the person who helped him was able to describe in English to a non-knitter what each of the yarns were suited for. She told him that there is not much of a demand for Finnish yarns as the locals want yarn from elsewhere which I totally understood because they are looking for something different.

He managed to come home with a ball of Finnish sock yarn and 3 balls of Létt-Lopi from Iceland.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Helping With the Stash

The last post was about additions to the stash. Most of them are skeins which will have to be wound before they can become socks or shawls. This is an occupation for movie watching and something I do by myself - all requests for help from the other occupants of the house being refused. So I treated myself to this as an early Christmas present from my husband.

A Boye Electric Yarn Ball Winder

I bought it at Michaels and I used a 40% off coupon which made the price much more reasonable.

I love it. I tried it out on some yarn that I was in the process of unpicking and then I went onto a lace weight yarn. It was yarn that I had already wound by hand but was unhappy with the way I had wound it. Next, I wound yarn from a skein. I had to hold the skein between my hands as I do not have any sort of yarn holder or swift, and having the skein on the back of a chair which I would do for hand winding did not work with this machine. But it is so quick that I wasn't holding skeins for long.

When I was looking for pictures of this machine (I ended up taking my own photos for this post), I found some reviews. The common complaint was that the balls were wound too loosely. I had this problem at first but found that if the yarn is tensioned before going into the machine, the resultant ball of yarn is more compact. The machine does not produce a cake like those produced by a hand winding machine. The final shape is much more like the put ups from Red Heart.

I love this machine so much that I am winding all my balls of yarn before I use them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In The Stash

This post is courtesy of my husband. I showed him the yarn I bought in Denver and he said I should put it on my blog. Apparently, as I write about what comes out of the stash I should write about what goes in the stash.

We moved from Denver about 4 1/2 years ago and in that time some yarn stores have closed and some new ones have opened. During my trip, I visited 4 yarn shops, plus Joanne's, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. The stores I visited were chosen solely based on their location.

The first place I visited was I Love Knitting, opened since I moved away. This shop was at a disadvantage being the first place I visited as I hadn't really decided what sort of yarn purchases I intended to make this trip. I was the only (potential) customer and the proprietor (I assume) acknowledged me and I said I was just looking. She let me look without talking to me further. I was very good and didn't buy anything just because I was there.

The next shop I visited was Colorful Yarns. I have a feeling that it might have opened before I left Denver. It is in a strange location and I am glad I phoned for directions. It is not in a position where shoppers would drop in as they are doing other shopping so you know everyone is in there because it is their intention. I decided that I wasn't going to waste my time just looking at the same yarn in yarn stores, so when I walked in and the proprietor asked if I needed help, despite there being many other customers she came up to me to ask me this, I told her I was visiting and was wondering if she had any yarn that was specific to the area. She showed me sock yarn dyed by a woman in Morrison. The name of her studio is Red Rocks Fiber Works. That seemed very local so I bought a skein. The other local yarn I bought was a mix of yak down and fine como. This came from a yak ranch in Elbert near where the boy child went to scout camp. I shall have to decide very soon if this will become a hat or a scarf as it is already cold here in Calgary. (Spot the post I wrote but took forever to finish.) I really liked this shop, the helpfulness of the owner and all the different yarn so I just had to buy more. I have decided that the easiest yarn to buy is sock yarn as I know how much is needed for a pair of socks. To the local yarns I added yarn from a dyer in Portland, Oregon. This is where Him Indoors grew up, so it seemed appropriate. I chose the Mount Hood Rose colorway. Then there was all the yarn that I had read about in the Ravelry sock group so I bought a skein of Madeline Tosh and a skein of Smooshy by Dream in Color. Oh and I got some needles – for sock knitting and some gifts to give with the WCOBBS blankets.

Here's a picture of the yarn. (Minus the yak/como which must be so special that I don't want people to see it?)

You would have thought that would be enough except there was a new yarn store I wanted to see. My next trip was to Lamb Shoppe. This is in a nice setting in an older part of town, just north of Cherry Creek North, if that makes sense. I was tempted by some sock yarn that had been dyed in Elbert, not the same place as the yak yarn, but I came to my senses because there weren't any colours I liked so I would really have been purchasing because it was independent and local and not because I liked the yarn. I ended up buying some more sock yarn – Panda - as well as the Noro I showed you in a previous post.

Well that really should have been it. Except I surprised myself and went to Knitty Cat. I hadn't planned to visit but I went to a liquor store in the same complex. (As an aside, I went to the liquor store to purchase Canadian Whiskey. Whiskey that is imported from Canada to the US which I would take back to Canada because it is way cheaper in the US. Go figure.) The reason I was surprised that I visited Knitty Cat is because I hadn't been too keen on the store when I lived in Denver. The owner always came across as aloof with her favourites and cliques. This visit she was very friendly and helpful and even offered the swift and ball winder to wind the yarn I had purchased - Araucania Ranco Solid and Alpaca Sox.

All in all a very successful trip.