I jumped in!

Monday, October 30, 2006

I finally jumped in and applied for a job I've been waffling over, and emailed a guy about an apartment for rent. At the moment I'm lacking in funds, but hopefully new job + destash sale will give me a enough to pay it all comfortably. I will never again get into a position where I can't afford for someone to move out, so I've been really patient about trying to find what I need AND what I can afford. Most important? Cool roommate (OBVIOUSLY), big windows, storage space, and being able to paint my bedroom. I hate white walls, I'll never do that again unless desperate!

I don't want to say too much about the job I applied for, since I sorta believe in jinxing. But it's perfect for my abilities, and though I don't want to be in retail forever, it's certainly the best retail job I can think of for me! Anyway, cross your fingers for me. I'm wondering though... what do you wear to an interview with a corporate-owned art store? Some places seem to love the piercings and wild hair (not that I have either) and others are strictly business. What have you seen people wearing at these places?

a quick update...

Friday, October 27, 2006

I have been really busy here, busy in a good way trying to decide what I want to do. I will be selling off most of my stash to finance a move, so keep your eyes peeled! (No, I'm not happy about it. But who wants to move all yarn and no clothes and furniture?) Also, Blue Moon has updated their socks that rock colors! Despite the destashing, I saw fit to scoop up a skein of Dreidel (I feel weird buying "Jewish" yarn. Like I'm cheating for not buying the Christmas colors. Is that weird? It's just yarn...) and a skein of Henpecked. I can vouch for the beauty of Rooster Rock as well. :) Have a good weekend, and I'll be back next week!

We Love Alchemy

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

While reading through the link that a commenter provided ( Cruelty Free Yarns) I discovered something that made me very happy - that Alchemy is run by vegetarians, who put a lot of effort into using only enviromentally-safe dyes, cruelty-free wool, and doesn't buy from companies that use sweatshop labor. Any one of those is admirable, but all of it together (plus the yarn is gorgeous, have you seen that stuff in real life?!) is amazing. I emailed to tell them how much I appreciate it when companies go the extra mile (or ten) like they have, and this is the response I got:

Here at alchemy we recieve emails from so many nice,
cool people. Howver, you are the first person who has
EVER written to speak to our vegetarian/cruelty-free
stance. I don't make alot of noise about it - even
though I wish I did sometimes, because every
vegan/vegetarian I know feels passionately about that
choice. And we work so hard to make cruelty-free
fibre, researching the farms in varying countries
where the animals live, and working only with small
farms that have real relationships with their animals;
we use eco-friendly dyes; and we do not buy from
China. I know we can get cheap prices there, as most
manufacturers do, but I cannot condone the labor
practices that are employed in mills and other means
of yarn production. So there is the whole human
rights piece, as well.

Thank you for telling me it matters to someone else.
You truly made my day. Unfortunately, my computer is
acting very persnickety tonight, and I cannot log on
to either of the links you kindly sent. I am very
eager to see your work, and will let you know when I
do log on successfully (I have a rahter wacky

thank you again for your kindness and compassion in
writing - and please, do spread the word. I know
there are more of us out there who care!!

So here I am, making noise for them :) I know that Alchemy is pricey and not everyone can afford it. But I know WHY now... all of those things cost money. So while I can't use Alchemy for everything, even though I'd love to, I can still use it for SOME things and pass along the good news and good feelings! (BTW, I bought the yarn above myself. I don't work for them or know them personally. Just FYI!)

(mini) booga bag

Monday, October 16, 2006

Originally uploaded by The Prolific Knitter.
So, I finished and felted the Patons Soy Wool Stripes bag. Love the colors, but this stuff felts like I have never seen. There is no "partial felting". You do not get a choice in the size. It will shrink to half its size no matter how long you do/don't wash it, so go ahead and plan to knit a GIANT bag and then felt it in a tiny bag.

Also, this thing had so much fur coming out it was like Animal from the Muppets! It took an hour with dad's beard trimmer to get all that crap off. The fabric is really soft and firm, so it's good for a bag, but I'm still returning the other 7 (!!) skeins I bought to make more bags. This took two balls and a bit of a third. I'm planning on using bought handles rather than the icord ones... god knows 5 feet of icord will turn into 6" with this stuff.

Patons SWS and Fun with Yarn

Sunday, October 15, 2006

So, I just found out (rather belatedly) that my best friend's sister has a new little boy. Her husband's in the korean army (south korea!) so it's just her and the baby (and my friend) for the time being. I've been wanting to knit with this Patons SWS (Soy Wool Stripes) for a while, and this seemed the perfect opportunity! I'm knitting a booga bag in pink for my friend, since she is the girliest girl I know, and a larger blue diaper bag for her sister! After all, just because you have a baby doesn't mean you've got no taste, right??

It has been really busy here, with us having a huge yard sale (made out pretty good too, if I may say so.) I'll be listing the rest of the furniture on craiglist tonight, so if you're in Nashville or Middle Tennessee and like solid cherry furniture, make sure to check it out. ;)

Consumer Friendly Yarns

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

While I might disagree with the classification "Unfriendly" for companies that require keystone pricing (refusing continual discounting below a certain percentage, if at all) I do find this list handy. A new blog is available listing companies and whether or not they have keystone pricing on their yarns. To some, this is important in their purchasing decisions; for me, it is only one factor. I prefer a company that allows retailers to charge what they can legitimately afford, but I also don't expect my LYS a few minutes away in an upscale neighborhood with nice lighting and helpful folks to charge the same low price. I'm okay with paying more for the camraderie and assistance. Anyway, here's the blog:Consumer Friendly Yarns. What do you think of all this? In a way, having access to the information is comforting - if I decide to get passionate about this, I like that it's available. On the other hand, isn't it illegal to disclose contractual information like that? I don't know the LEAST about legal matters, I'll admit. But I don't want someone to get in trouble doing the rest of us a favor (or trying to, anyway.)

Secret pal 9 Questionnaire!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

These get a bit lengthy! It's only required reading for my pal, of course, but who can resist finding out about someone's knitty preferences?

1. What is/are your favorite yarn/s to knit with? What fibers do you absolutely *not* like? I really don't like acrylic. I guess I'm a yarn snob? I just prefer natural fibers of all kinds - alpaca, wool, cotton, etc. I am one of those folks who would rather spend $20 on skein of yarn I really love, than $20 on a sweater's worth of yarn I will not like to knit.

2. What do you use to store your needles/hooks in? Ziploc baggies on a key ring. I have fancy needle cases, but I like this system best, especially as I have an absolute assload of needles! (great image, huh?)

3. How long have you been knitting & how did you learn? Would you consider your skill level to be beginner, intermediate or advanced? I've been knitting somewhere between two and three years. I'm definitely an adventurous intermediate - I'll try anything once!

4. Do you have an Amazon or other online wish list? I did, but it's not really maintained. Sorry!

5. What's your favorite scent? (for candles, bath products, etc.) All things food - vanilla, spice, lavender, you know. :)

6. Do you have a sweet tooth? Favorite candy? I have a big sweet tooth (and salt tooth!) but have been trying to cut back, so tasty sugarless candies will be much appreciated. I especially LOVE all things gummy! The weirder the shape, the better! (Peach flavored penguins and blue raspberry octopi are the oddest I've had.)

7. What other crafts or Do-It-Yourself things do you like to do? Do you spin? I do spin, but not much lately. I do like batts that have crazy colors and stuff all stuck in them. I have lots of "plain" wool already.

8. What kind of music do you like? Can your computer/stereo play MP3s? (if your buddy wants to make you a CD) My computer can play cds and mp3s. I like uhh... show tunes... musicals... classical.. and movie scores! Music that tells a story, I guess.

9. What's your favorite color(s)? Any colors you just can't stand? I really do not like most "man" colors. Grey, navy, cranberry... they're nice, I just won't wear them. I go for springy, Easter-y colors. Butter yellow, mint green, aqua, lilac and peach, oh my!

10. What is your family situation? Do you have any pets? I have two parents (one each, a boy and a girl!) and three cats. And one dog.

11. Do you wear scarves, hats, mittens or ponchos? Yes, yes, yes, NO.

12. What is/are your favorite item/s to knit? Socks, lace, fingering weight sweaters... ;)

13. What are you knitting right now? A pair of socks, a sweater for my mom, a lace shawl... the list goes on.

14. Do you like to receive handmade gifts? Well, sure!

15. Do you prefer straight or circular needles? Bamboo, aluminum, plastic? I like circulars. I have an insane amount of needles. Please do spend your hard-earned cash on needles, though I would still appreciate the thought!

16. Do you own a yarn winder and/or swift? I own a ball winder. I have no room for a swift... besides, an excuse to visit the LYS!

17. How old is your oldest UFO? I have no UFOs. (bizarre, I know.) I really try to finish things in a reasonable time frame.

18. What is your favorite holiday? Easter! All that chocolate, pastel colors, flowers and new life and did I mention CANDY? And that I still get an Easter basket at 23?

19. Is there anything that you collect? Other than yarn? I have no room right now to collect anything. Art exhibition catalogues, I've got a lot of those. And sometimes they're free!

20. Any books, yarns, needles or patterns out there you are dying to get your hands on? What knitting magazine subscriptions do you have? I tend to buy individual issues, if the projects appeal to me. I don't have time or inclination to go through 5,000 back issues when the internet is at my fingertips. I do love all the RYC (Rowan Classic Yarns) books - right now I have Classic Alpaca and Classic Weekend. As for yarns? Handpainted sock yarn is always appreciated, especially hard-to-get brands like Socks that Rock and Claudia Handpaint. I also love most things Rowan (avoid 100% cotton, please. My wrists will thank you!) especially in their RYC range (cashsoft, etc.) I also love laceweight mohair/silk blends, soft alpacas, and cuddly cottons (i.e. Blue Sky dyed or organic cotton.) Let's be frank: I have "expensive" taste. I know it, and I'm sorry! <:) (Actually, it's not ALL snobbery. I do have eczema, which can flare up on my hands and anywhere that I wear anything remotely itchy. If it will go on a baby, it will go on me! Actually, one of my faves is Wendy Peter Pan, a SUPERsoft 100% acrylic...)

21. Are there any new techniques you'd like to learn? Double knitting for socks, intarsia, knitting in my sleep!

22. Are you a sock knitter? What are your foot measurements? I am indeed a sock knitter! I usually knit "plain" socks for my tv knitting, but occasionally an interesting pattern grabs me (Pomatomus!) I wear an 8.5 US shoe, with thick calves and relatively small ankles. I don't advise it ;)

23. When is your birthday? (mm/dd) It's May 9! Sometimes Mother's Day!

is that all? I feel like I sound like a greedy jerk! But, like I said before, I am a quality over quantity kinda girl. One of my fave SP gifts (though they've all been awesome!) was a skein of Colinette Shimmer 5 in my favorite colors. I also hang out on the knittyboards under "nararabbit" so maybe you can get more of a lowdown on me than I'm capable of giving...

Icarus shawl - complete!

I completed this a few days ago, but between the blocking and the finding-time-to-photograph-during-daylight-hours, it took a while to get a shot of it. Also note how blue my eyes look. I am spooookky...

Two skeins of Alchemy Haiku, bought from Knit/Purl in Portland (love that store! Hate the flat rate shipping when I'm only buying one skein!) This yarn is incredibly soft and the color just glows, much more like the closeups I have over on the Flickr page. But anyway, great pattern, no problems, knit over a two week period (I couldn't put it down. Knit it while watching tv! Knit it while surfing internet! Knit it at traffic lights!) An excellent pattern for a beginner. If you're looking for a sub yarn for the pretty but spendy Haiku, here are some of my picks that are in the same vein (mohair/silk or mohair/nylon).

Madil Kid Seta (need 3-4 balls, depending on size)
Kidsilk Haze
Lorna's Laces Heaven (huge skein tho...)
Colinette Parisienne (3 for my size, 4 for next size up). This would be my first choice, since the colorways are handpainted and gorgeously soft.
Crystal Palace Kid Merino or KM Print (cheap, about $7 per ball, but not as soft by far.)
Fleece Artist Angel Hair or Baby Kid
Some NON-mohair choices for the allergic ones in our life include:
Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca & Silk (spendy, but beautiful. I would definitely remove a repeat since this is a thicker yarn, and thusly will make a bigger shawl.) (5 skeins)
Drops Alpaca (4 skeins)
Misti Alpaca laceweight
Lorna's Shepherd's Sock or Sport (again, thicker yarn)
Any handpainted sock yarn, like Socks that Rock or Soxie, just make sure you have at least 675 yards.
Louet Gems Pearl or Opal
Trekking XXL (imagine this in the dove grey striping... how gorgeous would that be?!)
Skacel Merino laceweight (which has enough yardage to knit two, or double it for a larger shawl.)
Handmaiden Sea Silk (2 skeins)
Handmaiden Silk & Cashmere (3 skeins)
Jaggerspun Zephyr (just slightly over 1 630-yd ball.)
OR you could go with a thicker yarn and even less repeats in the middle, or just make a really big shawl!:
Silk Garden (7 skeins)
Misty Mountain handpainted merino/tencel blend (3 skeins & 3 repeats)
Diakeito Diamusee or Diamusee Fine (gorgeous AND warm!)
Tilli Tomas Pure & Simple (2 skeins, 3 repeats)
Debbie Bliss Pure Silk (4 skeins, 3 repeats)
Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk DK
Rowan Cashsoft 4ply or DK
Rowan Tapestry (self striping!)
Koigu Kersti
Atacama alpaca
Habu Merino roving A80 (800 yards for $20, dye it yourself!)
Suss Knits Tencel (very soft!)
Araucania Nature Wool
Webs' Berkshire handdyed (bulkier... 3 repeats, around 4-5 skeins)

I would REALLY recommend something handdyed whichever weight you choose, because that first section would be totally boring with a plain yarn! Also, weave in your ends before taking a photo. Don't be like me. :P