Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mitten Tree

Well, I did my Mitten Tree thing again. It was such fun. This year I read the book The Mitten Tree to the children and I contributed a record 11 hats and 6 pairs of mittens. Here are pics.

The wonderful teaching day I had with the children was followed by sad news the next day that my brother passed away. I was greatly comforted by the support of coworkers and knitting friends, and though this has been a very sad time for me, I feel truly blessed that I have the love of coworkers, students, family, and friends. I hope that all readers of this blog will enjoy the love of family and friends over the upcoming holidays. Peace.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Teaching children to knit

I taught knitting to 2 little girls and their Mom yesterday. The girls are incredibly cute, ages 7 (just barely) and 9. It was only the second time I tried to teach such young children,and I made the mistake of trying to teach them casting on. It was perhaps further complicated by the fact that 9 yr old is a lefty and everyone else is a righty, so I thought I'd accommodate the 9 yr old and teach her continental knitting while everyone else learned the American way. That wasn't a good idea either.

Despite the initial frustration and floundering, we soldiered on and all learned the knit stitch at least. Mom mastered everything - casting on, knitting and purling. The 9 year old is highly motivated, and I'm sure I will have a future State Fair winner there. I will have another knitting lesson with them over Christmas break, and I hope to get pictures then.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Life Interrupted

Well, my vow to post daily lasted exactly two days. Life has interrupted. Or more precisely, a life has been interrupted. I received a call on Monday that my brother was in the hospital but he was refusing treatment. He will be sent to hospice care and will not return home. His story is so sad. It is unbelievable that someone has had to endure so much suffering.

12 years ago,when he was just 45, brother had a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and with short term memory loss. His left arm is paralyzed, and he cannot maintain his concentration long enough to read or watch a movie from start to finish. He managed to live on his own all this time, but his health has been deteriorating. Last year, his left leg was amputated above the knee. He has been fighting gangrene in his remaining leg, but he is losing the battle. He had a massive heart attack on Monday. The doctor's recommended treatment is that they amputate his leg and put a stint in his heart. If they do this, he may live for many more years. But what would his quality of life be? So he has decided to die.

I have been reluctant to blog much about my personal life in the past, but I want the whole world to know that I love my brother, that I will remember the happier years.

If you know someone who is a chain smoker, perhaps this said tale of what smoking can do to you will help them quit.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Prize Mittens

I vow to be a better blogger. Even if it is just a quick picture and note, I will post every day until I get caught up on my knitting news.

Here is my student, S., with the mittens that I made for her for completing her reading program. I only have 3 students in this extra-curricular class, so I decided I could make each of them a pair of mittens for completing the course. S was the first to finish. She seems to like them. Her Mom tells me she is learning to knit as well. I shall have the entire school knitting before I am done.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Teaching the Next Generation

Once again, I must begin my blog with an apology for not posting much. I actually have been doing a bit more knitting, having completed 4 sets of children's mittens, 2 hats, and another baby vest since my last post. But I have also been busy with work and Grad school, which started 3 weeks ago. I have a backlog of knitting posts to get to.

At the end of October, I contributed knitting lessons to the school student raffle fundraiser and am excited that I will be passing on my knitting knowledge to the younger generation. I offered 3 different knitting prizes -- a Knitter's Journey Knit with Wire Kit and knitted jewelry lesson for a middle school age student, Private Knitting Lessons (won by a first grader) and Mother/Daughter lessons won by a 3rd grader. I'm excited to share my knowledge with the young winners. But interestingly enough, all three of the prize winners already have some knitting experience--even the first grader! All are very motivated to learn to knit. The 3rd grader told me she was so excited to win the raffle prize that she screamed when her name was called. According to the 1st grader's teacher, she has been knitting since Kindergarten. Her grandma has already taught her the knitting basics and she knits lots of scarves, but I was her inspiration when I spoke to the kindergarten and demonstrated knitting in conjunction with our Mitten Tree student charity project. I look forward to doing my Mitten Tree schtick with the kindergarten once again within the next few weeks. This pic is from last year or the year before, but it's always the same . . . the students are fascinated that two sticks and some string can make so many things. I love young children. I love to teach. I love to knit. Teaching young children to knit it the greatest joy of all.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Baby vest

As promised in last week's post, here is the finished baby vest. It was so quick and easy. It could have been done in one weekend if I had plugged away at it. This is for baby #2 of the 5 new babies at work this year. (Baby #1's outfit was posted in May) The yarn was from a Lorna's Laces kit that I won at a knitting get-away weekend (Another good reason to go on knitting vacation -- free or good buys on beaufiful yarn) I think I have enough yarn leftover for another newborn vest --2 gifts for $0! With 3 more to go, the price is right.

I created the pattern on the fly, and while I think it will fit, I'll make the neck a little wider for the next one. Those babies have big heads.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Is it cheating to post UFOs?

How can September be almost over without a post? I've knit just a wee bit. A vest for a new baby at work is almost done, but I'm too lazy to get out the camera and take a picture of it right now. Will post when finished.

A factor in the infrequent posting is that I've always felt it's a bit of a cheat to post a picture of a garment in progress, rather than post a finished object. Some knit blogs will document the progress on a project every day even if it's only 2 rows! I say that your knitting has become an excuse to blog rather than a blog about what you knit because you are not knitting! You are spending all your time blogging!

Passionate knitter though I may be, I've actually been in a big lull in my knitting ambition for the last year ( even before starting this blog). I used to knit at least 2 hours/day and recently I find a week may go by without my having picked up my knitting. Perhaps it's because I've been doing a lot of small gift projects for others and not much knitting for myself. I do love to make knitted gifts, but there is always a sense of obligation and deadlines (must be done by Christmas/the birthday/baby's due date) when making a gift.

I much prefer to make something for myself -- something out of luscious yarn, in a pattern of my own design--a long term project that I may end up re-working if I don't like it. When I have a knitted gift project, I always feel the deadline dampens my enthusiasm. The luscious angora that I bought at Stitches last year has been calling to me for some time, but I will not touch it until I get these baby gifts out of the way. Pretty much a serial knitter, I try to work on one project at a time and try to get things done. That being said, I still have more than one UFO in my knitting basket. Now if I would take a picture of every UFO in my stash and post one per day I will look like I'm a prolific blogger and goddess knitter. But I'm actually knitting less than I have in years --does that make any sense and is it a true representation of me? No!

I imagine some knitting bloggers out there may have a few opinions about that. Your comments are welcomed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Step Daughter's Wedding

My step-daughter got married this last weekend. It was both a hippie wedding and a grand extravaganza. The wedding lasted 2 days. Darling Step-Daughter, (DSD), is a nature girl, so the wedding was on the beach. A risky choice. It was a bit cool and drizzled as we walked back to the cars.

The Friday night ceremony for close family and intimate friends was followed by dinner at a very nice restaurant. On Saturday, there was an outdoor reception from 3 pm to 9 pm at another park(half way across the state!)for extended friends and family. There would be food and dancing and a bonfire at night.

So what does a knitting step-mom wear to such an affair? That was the agonizing question for me for several weeks (well, months, really) as I searched for the right dress(es) and tried (but failed) to diet. In the end, I bought a simple jerzey knit summer dress with cap sleeves, a low-scooped back, and flare at the hemline - but it was in a beautiful shade of blue and it begged to be accesorized. I knit this shrug and made a necklace, bracelet,and earrings to co-ordinate. I finished the necklace at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and we left for the ceremony at 4:45 p.m.

I was definitely glad that I had made the shrug. All the other women were wearing sleeveless sundresses and shivering in the cold, but I was just right. I was definitely the most dressed up person there next to the bride, though.

The same was true on Saturday, when I wore a sleeveless summer dress with a garden print. I haven't gotten any wedding pictures from DSD yet, so the only pictures I have are these that DH took. You can sort of see the Friday night outfit in the picture on the left. I'm the one who looks like a lush with a wine glass in her hand. The only picture of me from Saturday is this lovely rear-end view.

What is it about the internet that inspires one to post such unflattering pictures that do not make the cut into a traditional photo album?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Knitting Screw Guy

I can't believe it's almost 2 weeks since Stitches. I meant to post this story right away, but didn't get around to it.

When setting up my booth at Stitches, I was helped immeasurably by my neighbors at Mind Your Knitting. I'm forever indebted to the husband of this family business team. Since he may want to remain somewhat anonymous, I'll just call him "Screw Guy." Screw Guy saved my sales for the weekend.

As mentioned in a previous post, Stitches was my first retail venture. (I only sold wholesale to yarn shops prior to this.) Besides packing 500 Knitter's Journey Knit with Wire Kits, I had to get display fixtures and get a merchant number so that I could accept credit cards in order to do the show. My credit card validator and my merchant number arrived just in time as I was packing for Stitches. I knew I had to swap the new merchant number plate for the generic one that came with my validator. I packed a screwdriver and figured I'd take care of it in Chicago.

Well, guess what? One of the screws just wouldn't budge. It looked like the head of the screw was stripped. Panic set in. No Validation plate = no credit card sales.
Screw Guy to the rescue! Not only did he have a better screw driver, he had an arsenol of tools that had no business being at a knitting show. And am I thankful that he did! Screw Guy loosened the screwed up screw with a few quick twists of his superior Philips head. But we weren't out of the woods yet! When I swapped the plates it was evident that the new plate was larger than the old plate- it covered the numbers of the date. But never fear, Screw Guy was here! He had a sharp little cutting tool handy. He expertly cut the plate down to size. I breathed a sigh of relief. Thanks to Screw Guy, credit cards of Stitches attendees were now free to lay themselves down on my validator bed.

Thanks again to my superhero, Screw Guy, fighting for truth, justice, and the American Way . . . CHARGE!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Will work for food

Sorry, there is no picture. I tried to get my friend Carolyn to wear a sign, "Will Work For Food" but she wouldn't go for it. Carolyn is retired from working as a wholesale sales rep in the gift industry, and as you can imagine, she was a great help to me. She has great sales skills and a keen eye for merchandising. She was the one who suggested I turn the baskets on their sides for a cornucopia effect, which made a great difference. We had many positive comments from both vendors and customers about the booth and the baskets in particular. Obviously, it worked, since sales were good.

Boy did we work! We arrived Wednesday to check in and drop off our stuff and we spent all day Thursday setting up. Showtime was Thurday night, when we were open for business for 2 hours. Friday and Saturday we were on our feet selling from 10 - 6, and Sunday we worked 10-4. Our evenings were busy with paperwork, and I had to make samples for the demonstrations I did every day. Our only compensation was food -We enjoyed 2 great meals at the Hilton Garden O'Hare. Am I following my bliss or going crazy? I may not be rich, but I am happy.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Stitches Midwest 2007 Thank Yous

Well, this is it! This is what I worked all summer for. Here is my booth at Stitches. I was so pleased with the comments from customers and vendors that they liked my booth. Not bad for a first time, do it yourself on the cheap venture. I'm especially proud of my logo and banner. I designed it myself with the help of my knitting buddy Melissa.

This mammoth undertaking could not have been tackled without the help of my knitting buddies. Special thanks go to:

Melissa - for help with the logo and packing kits in the 11th hour.

Lauren - for her savy retail merchandising advice -especially her suggestion to use glass block to create shelves and risers.

Karen - for her enthusiasm for my product and support with her pocketbook by being my first Stitches customer.

Kathy - whose appearance on the other side of the booth on Saturday was a welcome surprise

Lynn - for her willingness to listen to me going on and on about this venture on our morning walks.

and most importantly,

Carolynn- who volunteered her van and came to Chicago with me as my unpaid employee. An entire post shall be devoted to this wonderful lady, but I have to talk her into letting me take her picture first.

I was also helped considerably by new friends - my vendor neigbors at Mind Your Knitting.

From what I understand, the attendance at Stitches was down almost 40%. Was it poor promotion? Is knitting that much on the decline? Or is it that the Rosemont convention center is cavernous, dirty, and ugly with far too much walking required for elderly or out of shape knitters? Still, I had very good sales and I have made contacts with several guilds and yarn shops to do presentations and sales.

I'll write more later....
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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Busy Girl

I can't believe I blogged only once in the month of July. Can I really be so busy? It's summer, I should have lots of time. I was teaching summer school the first 2 weeks of July, but it was only 1 90 minute class.

My husband and I enjoyed a mini-vacation to Austin, TX. I was surprised at how much there is to do there. There are lots of good restaurants and bars/clubs with live entertainment. I enjoyed the LBJ library and the Lady Bird Wildflower Center.
I actually got hubby to go out dancing!

Austin is a nice town but way too hot and muggy at this time of year.

I actually relaxed and read Harry Potter while on vacation. I was surprised how I really was instantly in vacation mode. I forgot all about Stitches for a while. In fact, I kind of forgot about knitting. I didn't seek out any yarn shops while I was in Austin, although I did spot one by chance when we went out to dinner.

Speaking of Stitches, I've got 500 kits packed and I'd like to pack 100 more since I've got the supplies. I really have to crank things up. I have lots of details to take care of. I've only been able to work on Knitter's Journey in the evenings because I've been taking a 2 credit podcasting class this week.

Well, busy girl has to get going.....bye!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Packing for Stitches Midwest

Okay, it's about time I updated this blog. Where have I been?

Well, mostly in my basement studio/bead factory, but also right here at my computer, working, working, working because I'M GOING TO BE A VENDOR AT STITCHES MIDWEST!!!!!

I've been going a little crazy buying beads and wire. My goal is to have at least 500 kits at the show, which shouldn't be too hard because I've already packed 250. Because I need so many kits, I've been branching out into more gemstone and wire color combos and I'm really excited about them. I can't wait to knit a few of these for myself.

I've also been busy with business organization and getting my website launched. At this point, it's an informational site, but the store is coming soon. I'm rather pleased with myself for getting my site up and running. I did everything myself, including the logo design. Please, please, please, check it out at

I hope I'll see some of you at Stitches. The teachers are great, the market is super, and the multitude of knitters is awe inspiring. (Go to the Stitches link at right for more information about classes, etc.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Knitting Camp

It's Knitting Camp time, and I won't be there. Sigh! It's not in the budget this year. It has gotten more expensive while my income went down due to job change. I've only been twice to the one and only original Meg Swanson's knitting camp and that was in 1998 and 2000, so it's not like I'm an oft-timer, but I aspire to be.

What is the allure of knitting camp? Well, it isn't the Best Western hotel or the great nightlife of Marshfield, WI. (Although, contrary to popular pre-conception north central Wisconsin is scenic and the summer weather can be quite lovely.) No, what brings me back to knitting camp is Meg herself and the company of fellow campers.

Meg is one of the original knitting goddesses, descended from a knitting Saint, Elizabeth Zimmerman. Being Elizabeth's daughter and protege, Meg has a wealth of knitting knowledge to share. It isn't simply Meg's knitting know-how that I admire. I'm charmed by her wit, her humour and her slightly British manner. (Obviously Elizabeth's influence, but something that seems quite odd to me since I live in the same suburb of Milwaukee where Meg was raised and I know that hers is certainly not the local accent.) Although Meg has an incredible knitting pedigree, she is unpretentious and patient with even the newest knitter. Meg's classes are packed with knowledge and well presented. I know of no other knitting retreat that uses technology to such great advantage. With close circuit TV and large monitors around the room, there is never a struggle to see the teacher's knitting.

Of course, I'm not the only member of the Meg Swanson fan club. Meg's camp draws knitters from across the country and even from around the world. The camps I attended included a handful of Canadians, a Brazilian, and an American living in London who flew in just for knitting camp. Yarn shop owners and knitting designers were common in the crowd. Show and tell was inspiring, if not breath taking at times.

I find the fellowship of knitters to be rejuvenating. Among my fellow campers I've found community. At the 2000 knitting camp, I discovered two campmates lived within 5 miles of me. We enjoyed the camp experience so much that we decided to continue to meet when camp was over. I now knit at the local bookstore every Monday night with these ladies and a few other knitters that we've picked up along the way. They have become my best friends and have given me much emotional support over the years.

Yes, I'm missing knitting camp. I shall just have to sing the knitting camp theme song to get over it: (sung to the tune of Koom-by-yah,)

"Come buy yarn, my Lord, Come buy yarn, Come buy yarn my Lord, Come buy yarn . . ."

Friday, June 8, 2007

Knitted Jewelry

It's the end of the school year, which explains why I haven't been doing much blogging. I was doing a little bit of knitting, of which I'm most proud. I made some lovely knit with wire necklaces and bracelets, and I've decided these are worthy of adding to my Knitter's Journey product line. I hope to be a vendor at Stitches, but being the creative and unorganized person that I am, I have yet to get the application in. It's really putting the cart before the horse, but I'm eager to go the Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee this weekend, where I will buy oodles of beads for my kits. With summer here, I can KNIT, KNIT, KNIT. I hope to finally finish my website, this coming week! From educator to entrepreneur--that's the goal for this summer.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Don't drink the water . . .

Something is happening at my workplace. Babies are bursting out all over. Baby #1 was born at the end of March. I finished her little hat and sweater ensemble with about 1 hour to go before her Mom started maternity leave. Here she is looking very sweet. Looks like it will fit her for another 6 months or so.

Baby #2 is due within the week. Here is the progress so far on her outfit. It could have been done, it should have been done, it would have been done if I hadn't started hating the yarn. Not that it isn't pretty. It will be lovely with ducky buttons. However it is a cotton-silk blend that has no give and no loft. It is not as soft as a baby's sweater should be. Mom-to-be is still excited about it, so I guess I better keep knitting.

Baby #3 is due sometime in June. Well, I do have the yarn for it, perhaps I should think of knitting a 1 or 2 year old size straight off, because it looks like that might be when it gets done. I haven't made any promises to Mom #3.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Dining out with my knitting heroines

If I haven't yet convinced you to go on a knitting vacation, here is another reason.
When you go on these knitting retreats, you can meet, and sometimes befriend, knitting goddesses. This picture was taken at Stitches Midwest a couple of years ago-
had a fun time at dinner with the owners of Habu textiles, fellow Midwest knitters Joan and Maria, and instructor/designers Lily Chin, Cheryl Oberle, and Joyce Williams. Knitting goddesses all.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Midwest Masters in Neenah

From Midwest Maste...
I'm just back from the Midwest Masters in Neenah. Click the link above for the complete photo album. I only went for 1 class and to hang out for a little bit, but I had an incredibly great time. I took a class on vintage knitting with Joan McGowan Michael.

I have to admit, I hardly took the class. I was a very bad student. I was 1/2 hour late (the reason why is worth another post) and I was chatting far more than I was knitting. However, it was worth the class fee just to see the gorgeous garments she made. A beautiful young lady named Rebecca modeled many of the sweaters for us. They all looked terrific on her.

My trip up to Neenah really paid off for me. As I had planned to do, I delivered some of my Knitter's Journey Knit-with-Wire kits to Yarns by Design (the shop that sponsors this wonderful event) But I had additional, unanticipated sales that day. My knitted jewelry sparked great interest from my classmates. In addition to selling some jewelry, I met two yarn shop owners who may have me teach knitting with wire in the near future. It was truly magical how I was making sales without trying. After the class was over, I walked into a few shops with a friend. A gallery owner admired the necklace I was wearing and ordered half a dozen necklace,bracelet and earring sets on the spot! Sorry, I don't mean to go on about myself. Having a knitting business is something that I had dreamed of doing for many years. Even though Knitter's Journey is still a micro-business, I'm thrilled with every sale.

My afternoon ended on another upbeat note when I ran into Bonnie and Anne, fellow knitters whom I know only from these retreats. We keep meeting every 6 months or year or so, and it's sweet to catch up with each other when we meet. One of my favorite things about these knitting vacations is the extended community of friends that I have found. While it was a short trip, I've more to say about my "vacation" to the Masters. Watch for a future post.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Wildcat Mittens the Sequel

I should have known I would be outed! Young Friend brought in his mittens so that I could take a picture of them for this blog. Of course, other friends saw them. "Are you going to make me a hat?" "I'd like a scarf."

Since he has already been exposed, here is Young Friend, modeling his mittens. (Shown with Mom's permission) As you can see, he likes them. YF and his Mom were s-o-o-o-o appreciative, it was even more fun to give than to make. Mom tells me she only lets him wear them on special occasions, and that she will save these in her "treasures" chest. Now that is the joy of knitting!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Wildcat Mittens

One of the most enjoyable and quick projects I knit this year were these "wildcat" mittens that I made for one of the young friends I work with. They are just your basic gored thumb mitten knit with 1 strand sport weight wool and 1 strand of Funny. I am a little bit afraid to blog about them, for fear that other young friends will see this blog and wonder why I didn't knit them a pair. I acknowledge it might have been a bit unfair of me to have made a pair for just 1 of my 14 students, but here was my reasoning:

1) At the time, I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could actually knit 14 pairs of mittens by Christmas while working full time at the real job, teaching at my LYS, creating the kits and packaging for Knitter's Journey Knit-with-Wire kits, knitting hats and mittens like crazy for the school Christmas store/craft fair, and meeting the yearbook deadline.

2) I reasoned that I was making a proto-type for future craft fair mittens, I had to work out the pattern any way.

3) I chatted with Young Friend's Mom about knitting, and she seemed to really appreciate handmade things, so I knew they would be well cared for and appreciated.

4) I regularly give out prizes for accomplishments in my class and Young Friend had done well and qualified for a prize

5) He asked me if I would make him a pair.

Let's hope that my other 13 students don't learn the secret to getting a pair of mittens out of me. Surely they won't want mittens in Spring?

Let's see, if I start now and knit all summer, I might have mittens for all my students by Fall. Of course, that would take care of this year's students. Then there's next year's students. Oh, and my lunch table. And the entire kindergarten since I work with them on so many special projects, let's see, I think that's 70 pair. Oops, I forgot last year's students. Oh, dear. . .

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Totally Wired

Yesterday, I taught a class at my LYS on knitting with wire. It's the 3rd or 4th time I've taught it for them, and the students love it because they can actually finish a project in class. Here are some examples of what we did -

I first experimented with knitting with wire the summer before last, after I attended the Bead and Button show in Milwaukee. I've been crazy about knitting with wire ever since. Here is my first wire-knit necklace.

I've made a ton of jewelry, with the intention of selling it, but I haven't sold much because 1)I'm busy with my real job and grad school and it's hard to get the marketing done and 2)I keep liking what I make too much and deciding its mine and 3)maybe I'm just really shy about getting out there and selling my stuff.

I have been a little bit entrepreneurial though, because my LYS didn't sell all the clasps and wire needed for my projects, I had to supply it, so I've created kits that they sell. They are selling well, we are both happy. Now if I would just have time to get the marketing done and stop being shy about it. . .I'm not quite ready to go global, but I've taken the first steps on another journey inspired by knitting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Southern Yarn-A Knitter’s Journey to Asheville

I’ve just returned from a mini-vacation to Asheville, NC, a yarn paradise—in fact, that is the name of one of the yarn shops there. The Asheville area has everything I like in a vacation –good weather, pretty scenery, a cosmopolitan city with lots of art and entertainment, and most importantly, good yarn shops. The Chamber of Commerce even prints a brochure called “The Fabric, Fiber, Bead Trail” to assist the knitting tourist with finding places to leave her (or his) money behind. I used the brochure to find my way to 4 shops in the Asheville area. I loved them all, but managed to keep my money in my wallet (only because my stash currently exceeds the capacity of an entire closet).

I appreciate all handicrafts. Besides knitting, I dabble in jewelry making and collect pottery, and Asheville has an abundance of those crafts as well. The city has a unique history of promoting rural folk crafts through craft guilds and folk schools. We visited some gorgeous galleries. I was especially impressed by the Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center, The Southern Highland Craft Guild, and the New Morning Gallery.

I liked every shop I visited, and realized that each had something different to offer. If I lived there, I don’t know if I could have a single favorite. My visit was brief, but here are my impressions:

Asheville Home-Crafts
In Grove Arcade
PH: (828)350-7556

-Small shop, not a huge yarn selection, but nice.
-They offer finished crafts for sale. Lots of knit hats and accessories were on display; and it seemed to attract local knitters who were looking to both buy and sell.

Earth Guild
33 Haywood Street
PH: (828)255-7818
Toll Free: (800)327-8448

-A full-service craft shop, in business since 1970!
-In addition to yarn, they sell dyes, beads, polymer clay, looms and weaving supplies, spinning wheels & more.
-Friendly owners told me about the classes they offer.
-Lots of yarn on cones(good for weavers, but also good quality for less money).
-Had their own line of Dragonfly Yarns-special died cottons and chenille.
-Emphasis on high quality knitting yarns over novelty yarns.

Purl’s Yarn Emporium
51 College Street
PH: (828)253-2750

-Colorful and bright,I loved the way yarn was arranged by color rather than type.
-Friendly male clerk.
-Eclectic clientele--lots of college students and 30-somethings, male and female.
-Nice selection of books and novelty yarns.
-Cozy sitting area for their knitting nights.

Yarn Paradise
6 All Souls Crescent
Biltmore Village

-Quaint building in the Biltmore village.
-Cozy knitting table, a knitting group was in session. I was warmly greeted by very friendly owner and her loyal customers.
-Great selection of yarns, both basic and novelty.
-Nice selection of unique buttons.
-Lots of finished objects on display to inspire you!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Knitting Away

For me, knitting and travel are intertwined. Knitting on airplanes is another one of my favorite places to knit. In years past, I traveled a lot for work and I would get loads of knitting done while waiting at the gate or flying cross-country. I love being creative and productive, blissing out on knitting while my fellow travelers are bored and irritable.

I don't travel as much these days, but when I do, it is usually for the soul purpose of knitting. I discovered the joy of knitting vacations back in 1998, when I went to Meg Swanson's Knitting Camp for the very first time. Prior to that, I had been an at-home knitter of intermediate skill at best. Knitting camp opened my eyes, sharpened my skills, and made me hunger for more. I started seeking out knitting retreats and workshops offered by yarn shops, TKGA, and Knitter's Magazine (Stitches). I convinced my husband to go with me to New England, New Mexico, Scotland, and Ireland for the knitting. I also went on lots of retreats without him. I will probably ramble about knitting vacations often in future posts. I have the intention of adding links to my favorite knitting vacations.

I'm posting pictures from one of my favorite knitting vacations--Cheryl Oberle's Knit-Away. It was a terrific trip that combined knitting with scenic beauty. A special bonus - my fellow knitting campers threw me a surprise birthday party. These pictures are from May of '05 at the Knit-Away in Taos. Cheryl is a terrific teacher and a goddess knitter. If you ever have an opportunity to take classes, sign up immediately! I know she will be doing a Folk Shawls workshop in May at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. They offer lots of knitting retreats. Check it out.

The Journey Begins

My first blog, so I shall begin at the beginning. When did I learn to knit? What inspired me to learn?

Despite the fact that my mother was a talented knitter, her crafty knitting style did not inspire me to pick up the needles. Instead, my inspiration came as I rode the train between Paris and Lyon during the summer of 1980. Backpacking around France as a poor college student, I spent a great deal of time that summer on the trains. Over and over I would see French women knitting with gorgeous designer yarns that were nothing like the yarns in my mother's stash. I returned home and begged Mom to teach me to knit. (Which, of course, she didn't do, because she was left handed and I am right handed . . . but that is another story.)

Fast forward to August of 2000. Some knitting friends and I started to meet at a local bookstore cafe. Our group quickly grew from 4 to 14. My circle of friends expanded, and existing friendships deepened. We continue to knit together, every Monday night. Our knitting group is regularly approached by women who say they used to knit, or that they would like to learn. When I was knitting at home, no one ever asked me to knit. In the first year that our knitting group gathered,five people asked me to teach them to knit, and I have taught many more since. Like everyone these days, I'm very busy with work and family, and I don't have much time to knit. I find the time by taking my knitting with me everywhere. I knit in public wherever I can. My favorite place to knit is at an outdoor cafe. Preferably, when I am on vacation somewhere. I hope to inspire new knitters around the world!