Sunday, January 30, 2011

Tilli Thomas' Mystery Skeins Have Arrived!!!

There's no mystery about Tilli Tomas' Mystery Skeins except how they can make such exquisite yarns and colors for under $20 with 130 yards of silk, ribbon, alpaca, etc! We have them in a bouquet of spring colors and Valentine's Day Red.

Although many folks think I have the perfect job, it is work and it's work that doesn't pay well! So you've really got to love it. When I got that box from Tilli Tomas on Friday, I was so excited to see this gorgeous fiber. I love, love, love this, I thought. And I counted my blessings to be surrounded with such stunning colors and textures. It is absolute heaven. Couple that with the arrival of Done Roving's hand-dyed yarns and Pagewood Farms Rustic Spun, and I tell you, the store never looked so beautiful. And I'm excited to be going in to work today so I can see it all again.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Things

I got up early this morning to do the February calendar and here's how it's going. I get some coffee. Sit at my desk. Stare out the window at my lemon tree. See how many different birds I can spot on the wisteria. Turn on my computer. While it's warming up, I knit on the Braided Necklace with Tilli Thomas' Disco Lights. Ok. I'm in Constant Contact. Staring. Nothing's coming. I know, I'll get one of my favorite fountain pens...that'll help me get in the right frame of mind. Let's see which one. I try several of them and decide to go with the standard Monte Blanc that is the least exciting pen in my collection but it is good for every day writing. I smell the fragrant ink that I bought in Florence years ago. I don't think there's anything more genteel than having perfumed ink. It's heaven. Hmmm. Oh look, there's that ball of Rayon Metallic in Old Gold. Geeze, I love that so much. I pick it up and turn it this way and that like a pitcher getting a good grip on a ball. I put it down next to the ink bottle. Hmmm. Look, these are some of my favorite things. I know. I'll blog about them. I get the camera and here I sit one hour into my day with nary a word written on the calendar. Does any of this sound familiar?#! Okay. I'm really, really gunna do the calendar now. But wait, I better wash those jeans I want to wear today. (And so it goes.)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heart Stitch Marker Holder By Puffin

One of the most unique vendors at the TNNA was Puffin & Co, the creator of this ingenious Stitch Marker Holder. The entire piece is made of copper, brass & nickel. There is a very powerful magnet on the back of the holder to keep it securely on your blouse without making any pin holes or other marks. The markers attach to the holder by a lobster claw...two per claw so when you are ready to use them, you just unhook the marker and away you go. Ingenious. Just ingenious! The markers do have jump rings which can tend to snag, but Puffin's are made of brass. They're a little finer and the joins are precise so snagging is not an issue. They retail for $30 which is an incredible value especially when you see the quality of the piece and those 6 markers. Aside from the heart, there is a cat holder and a lamb holder, with one being cuter than the next. We also carry their packaged stitch marker sets (6) in each pattern without the holders and their adorable needle gauges made out of Alder, a hardwood from Thailand. You must see them!!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One Button Waistcoat

Every once in a while you come across a winner of a pattern and you want to make one in every color. This One Button Waistcoat by Sirdar is that kind of pattern. A customer of ours came in wearing this vest whereupon we demanded the pattern. She indulged us and I chose to knit it in charcoal grey Chunky by Misti Alpaca. I took a chance with this alpaca thinking that it was so soft and drapey that it wouldn't look too bulky. It worked. Many a customer has tried this vest on in the past week or so and it looks terrific on everyone. The small and medium take 6 skeins of Chunky and the large takes 7. So it's a bit of an investment but when you know it's going to look good on you and feel great, it is definitely worth it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Gap-tastic Cowl Underway

We started the cowl last night and it is, indeed, fantastic! I chose Hand-Painted Chunky by Misti Alpaca which is 100% baby alpaca (meaning it is going to be one of the softest fibers you will ever feel). What I really like about their hand-painted is that it doesn't stripe and it doesn't pool. You get just these wonderful little dots of color throughout that are so pleasing. And it does go incredibly fast. I didn't bring a second ball home with me after the KAL and I should have! But then I'd have been up far too late. This yarn should come with a warning label...cannot stop once you start!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

True Grit, Frankie & Gap-tastic Cowl

Some days are just bound to be better than others. I am very excited about seeing True Grit this afternoon! Can't wait to see Jeff Bridges on the big screen saying ... "ain't nuthin' I kin do fer ya, son"! And if you are a fan like I am, you won't want to miss "American Masters: Jeff Bridges-The Dude Abides" tonight at 10 p.m. on KPBS.

After the movie, it's a quick stop to visit my chick, Frankie. For those of you who are Frankie followers, you're not going to believe what she did last week! She laid her first egg!!!!!! Actually, she's been laying one a day for the past 7 days or so. She's the first of the 5 chicks to bless us with one. I'm so proud of her. I take back everything I said about her when she was going through her ugly duckling phase. Here she is in all her Rhode Island Red beauty!
Don and Celeste surprised me with 3 little eggs, precious as jewels on Sunday. Here they are: They were so pretty, I almost didn't want to eat them, but I did!!!

After spending face time with Frankie, I'm heading to the Grove for the 6:00 p.m. Gap-tastic Cowl KAL. (For more details, just hit the top right bird-nest icon for our current schedule). We'll be knitting it in Misti Alpaca. I just got in 30 skeins of their Hand-Painted Chunky which I will be using for mine. It is gorgeous and I can't wait to get my hands on it. So join us if you can. We allow wine.

Monday, January 10, 2011


At the TNNA, I always scout for indie designers to promote small businesses while satisfying my customers' needs. Oftentimes, customers come to the Grove looking for a simple tank top pattern or a man's simple crew neck sweater. Oddly enough, there are few to no patterns that fit that need. Go figure!

Enter Karen Alfke and her ingenious pattern designs...called "unpatterns". Karen has written patterns for basic designs that suit any yarn, any gauge, and any size. Her patterns are written for bottom up or top down (requiring little finishing) knitting, both equally suited for beginners.

As I read over her patterns, I felt like I was reading my own words starting with ... to get a custom fit, the best place to start is by measuring a sweater that fits you. My approach is based upon a lifetime of knitting and reading patterns as well as the experience of having knit too many sweaters to count. With this experience, I am able to simplify steps and communicate information in a way that is easily understood. Now none of this exists in writing...until now. Karen has done this beautifully and working from her patterns, you will feel like a very experienced knitter is sitting by your side helping you with each and every step.

Although some of her patterns are not going to be available until mid-February, her accessory patterns are ready to ship. So within a couple of weeks, we will be receiving her hat and sock patterns. I will announce their arrival on Ravelry. I think you are really going to like them and I can't wait to help you select just the right Schaefer or Pagewood Farms sock yarn to go with them!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

TNNA Treasures!

Last night I went to sleep dreaming of yarns, designs, and new class ideas (which actually isn't too different from every other night!). But last night's dreams were fueled by yesterday's TNNA in Long Beach where hand-painted yarns seemed to be in nearly every booth. We missed the fashion show the night before but heard that lace accessories were prominent. Although attendance was light, we saw a lot of familiar and welcoming faces and we placed quite a few orders.

I thought it would be fun to share with you the highlights over the next few days (not in any special order) starting with I hope I'm not the only one head over heels in love with this line cuz i bought just about everything they sell!!!

Can you find the lambie bank? She wears a little tag around her neck that says...why should pigs have all the money?!# And the salt and pepper shakers come with that little patch of grass under them. And there are key chains, coasters, and even aprons that come in all those fun colors. These will be shipped to us from Chicago midweek so we should be getting them in early next week. I'll be waiting in the window watching for the UPS truck and will let you know through our group on Ravelry when they arrive!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome 2011 With Open Arms!

Since we've had the shop, our New Year's Eve's are quiet, blessedly quiet. To me it signifies the end of the hectic retail season and a busy family time. All I really want to do is put my feet up and relax with David and Scout. No wild parties for us. No sir. We drink wine, play Scrabble (!), boil lobsters for dinner, listen to music loaded with memories, watch the ball fall in Times Square and sometimes we actually make it past midnight! This year was no exception except to the degree in which Scoutie involved herself.

Scout has got to, got to, sit right next to her dad at all times. Here we are sitting on the sofa with our deluxe Scrabble game in between us. This is not okay with Scout. She stands stamping her little white boots, snorting, and looking up at David as if to say....yeah, and where am I supposed to sit in this scenario. We ignore her. Eventually she jumps over the side of the sofa and lands on the back of it worming her way deep into the cushion behind David. Crazy, isn't it?

And she looks at me like, What? What?

Everything David does, she does. Here she is studying the board as intently as he is.

And when he got bored, she got bored (and didn't even try to hide it).
We barely made it through one game.

Then David starts getting the lobsters ready. Of course, he has to put one of them on the floor for Scout to play with before it meets its end.

She is absolutely clueless as to what a lobster is. She just sniffs and stares at it with her head turned and one ear cocked, with that little snaggle tooth showing. Enough already! I grab the damn lobster and put it in the pot myself. Geeze, boys and their dogs.

Well, I am hoping you all had a New Year's Eve that suited you just perfectly and that you have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year!!!