Monday, November 30, 2009

Fun With Leftover Sock Yarn, Volume 2

Make your very own Ouch! pincushion.

Fun With Leftover Sock Yarn, Volume 1

Make little sweater ornaments and swap them. I got the one on the left today:

I made the one below:


In honor of International Comment Leaving Week, I visited some new-to-me blogs. I didn't make it through the whole week, but did find a few things to share. They don't all have anything to do with fibers, but the point was to comment on things in blogs not like one's own.

Kathryn Alexander has an amazing color sense and some unique ideas with patterns. There are 32 colors in the DooDad Scarf and maybe that many shapes. My apologies to the person whose blog had this link. I neglected to make a note of it.

Unravel Me had an idea I'm swiping: Ten Things Tuesday. You post a list of ten things. On Tuesday. I'm better at coming up with lists than I am at writing fascinating blog entries, so this is a Good Thing.

If you want to make a blog entry that looks like a Post-It Note, visit Superstickies. I saw these on several different blogs.

Dame Emma's blog has shown me the way to Abeego. If you feel guilty every time you use plastic wrap, this will help.

Ta Da! For the third year running, I've completed NaBloPoMo.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Z is for Z twist

For someone who claims to be interested in spinning, I know very little about it. I've recently learned that the yarn basically twists one of two ways: s twist or z twist. If you look at a some yarn, the fiber appears to twist to the left like the middle of the letter s or to the right like the middle of the letter z. This is important to know when you get into plying. Plying involves combining more than one single. When you ply, you do it in the opposite direction from the way the singles were spun. If the singles were spun with an s twist, the plying is done with a z twist, or vice versa.

I haven't managed to do plying very well so far, but I have made it to the end of the alphabet. Yay!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Friday, November 27, 2009

X is for XS

...or as people who don't abbreviate it, cross-stitch. My pal Joan turned me onto it back in the early 1980s and I was addicted to it for a long time. When I moved from Denver to the Atlanta area about 10 years later, I started attending classes at Spirit of Cross-Stitch. It was a kind of convention where you could take classes and there was a huge marketplace of people selling cross-stitch supplies. I went to it so many years that I probably could still navigate around Winston-Salem, NC without a map. Ahhh, good times.

I've blogged about some of my newer xs finds recently, so I went digging for some old favorite links.

Dragon Dreams come from Jennifer Aikman-Smith. Her designs include both needlepoint and cross-stitch.

Hoffman Distribution is the best place to go when you are hunting for a pattern. You can search by designer, category, or keyword. They've even got a shop locator.

Told in a Garden is where you can see the designs by Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum. She's probably best known for her beautiful angels in flowing gowns. I haven't worked up the enthusiasm to commit myself to one of those angels yet, but it may happen. I've done some of her smaller pieces and some of the free Christmas designs.

More recent additions to the cross-stitch world come from Mochimochi Land. This is my version (pink substituted for the orange of the original, minor mess made of the yarn tangles) of her cross-stitch Stackable Cats. Anna's got a cute new design on her site now, featuring elves.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

W is for Weaving

People who do fiber projects are often split up into two groups: process* and project. Process people are motivated by the process of doing the craft. Project people are focused on having something completed in the end. I'm definitely a process person. I've got a big bag of completed hand knit socks that have been pretty much ignored since I finished them that proves it.

Weaving is a process that I enjoy. I have an Ashford Knitter's loom that I got a couple of years ago. Once I get it set up to go, I can happily zip through yards and yards of leftover sock yarn. I then have a piece of handwoven fabric that I do not know what to do with. It goes to live with the hand knit socks and the loom gathers dust.

My other loom is a vintage Weave-It that my grandma gave me. It makes 4" squares. The process of making the squares is fun, but again, I don't know what to do with them. A few years ago, I saw ads for a company called Buxton Brook Looms. They were making looms just like the Weave-Its that were called Weavettes. I haunted their website for a while, hoping that something would appear in the pattern section. Nothing did, so I forgot about them until today. I don't know if Buxton Brook Looms is still out there or not because the link I found for them didn't work. I did find Hazel Rose Looms. They offer looms similar to Weave-Its, only they are made from wood.

My other finding was that there are a number of patterns on the web for things using little hand-held looms. The next time I start to burn out on a knitting project, maybe I'll give them a try.

*My wanderings during NaBloPoMo turned up a third category: pre-process. The pre-process knitter loves to gather together all the supplies for a project. Guess who has a big stack of specially made project bags, a big sock yarn stash, and duplicates of most sock-sized dpns? Paula, the Pre-process knitter.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

V is for Vogue

I've never been much interested in Vogue Knitting. Their designs are fashionable and sometimes pretty, but usually they don't have things that I would make.

knit.1 magazine was a different story. I'm not in their demographic, but still enjoyed the magazine very much. I had several things that I wanted to make out of the Spring/Summer 09 issue. I tried every LYS in the area and couldn't find a copy. I think I ended up ordering it from WEBS.

It occured to me that I hadn't seen or heard about an issue since then. It turns out there was a reason for that: it isn't being published any longer. Darn it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

U is for Uberlieferte Strickmuster

Uberlieferte Strickmuster is a 3 volume set of books by Maria Erlbacher. I believe they've been out of print for some time. They are kind of a holy grail for people who are into twisted stitches. As you may have guessed from the title, the books are all written in German.

I had heard that Schoolhouse Press was going to reissue the books in English. I had no idea that they were available until I happened upon Twisted Stitch Knitting while shopping online at Webs. The books have been consolidated into a single volume. This one's on top of my Christmas list. Also my Amazon wish list, because they've got it, too.

What the heck are twisted stitches and why would someone want to twist them? You know how a knit stitch looks like two parallel lines? In twisted knitting, they look a bit more like an X. Most instructions I've seen tell you to knit through the back leg of the stitch. I knit in a weird manner so knitting through the front leg gets me the X. This serves to raise the stitch up off of the surface a bit and makes some extremely cool-looking patterns. This bit of Bayerische might give you an idea of what it looks like. Click the Bayerische link for a much better look.

Monday, November 23, 2009

T is for Tatting

What kind of fiber art or fiber craft have you tried that you just cannot seem to do?

I have hardly mastered everything there is to do, but I can usually do most things I try to learn. The big exception is tatting. If you've not seen it, tatting's done with a shuttle. Loops and knots turn thread into lace. I turn it into a huge mess that I throw across the room in frustration.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

S is for Surprises

I enjoy fibery surprises. I think that's why I like to knit with multicolored yarns and like to dye yarn. You never know exactly how the colors are going to come out.

That's probably also what's behind my interest in swaps. It's fun to figure out what a complete stranger would like and to follow a theme and hope you've bought and/or made things they'll like. It's also big fun to get something in the mail that someone's done for you.This is a swap sent to me recently by someone named Kati. The theme was Favorite Season. I must've been a pain to shop for because my favorite season is autumn and my least favorite colors are brown, orange, and red. She did a great job anyway.

I've always liked the idea of grab bags. The odds are that you won't like everything you get, but you never know if there will be something really good in there, too. I indulged in a grab bag from Discontinued Brand Name Yarns not too long ago.I expected (and got) things in textures and colors that weren't exactly my favorites. I know I'll used at least some of them. The nicest surprise was the brown chunky weight yarn. It's merino/alpaca/silk and is called Uruguay, despite being made in Peru.

The best surprises are the ones you don't expect at all. I entered a pattern competition that Berroco had a couple of months ago. I'm used to competitions where you have to send a prepaid envelope if you want your entry back. Not only did Berroco send my socks back, they included a whole set of their Fall/Winter 09-10 pattern booklets. Nice surprise, Berroco, thank you.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Late breaking news

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
These slugs and snails were honorably mentioned in the Mochimochiland photo contest. If you need to use up some leftover sock yarn, these little guys are a fun way to do it.

Speaking of using leftover sock yarn, Berocco has a new set of Minutia. Go grab yourself a pdf! These started out a couple of years ago as miniature sweater ornaments. The 2009 set has other garments and they are so cute. I want to make a doll that could wear the clothes. I'd have to make a few adjustments for fit. The doll would have to have a long skinny I-cord neck to wear some of those turtlenecks.

R is for Recycled Yarn

I was thinking about recycled sari silk again today. Am I being picky, thinking that it isn't actually recycled? I did a little research, and have decided that I should not be complaining about the recycled label. It's actually correct.

Recycled yarn is yarn that was once used for something else.

  • Recycled sari silk started out as part of the sari weaving process: recycled yarn.
  • Cotton and Ecospun started out as cotton yarn and plastic soft drink bottles: recycled yarn.
  • A sweater purchased at Goodwill and unraveled: recycled yarn.

If it is yarn and not trash, it sounds good to me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Q is for Queen Fiber

I was reading some posts the other day by people who have no use for recycled sari silk yarn. Although I haven't used it much, I have several skeins in my stash and I like the way it looks.

Somewhere along the way, I got it in my head that the yarn is made from old saris that had been chopped up and spun into yarn. I was wrong. I don't know why the word recycled was attached to this yarn, but it isn't accurate. The yarn is made from leftovers (aka waste) from the sari weaving process. The fibers in the yarn haven't actually been used for anything previously. I know there's a word for this but I don't know what that word is. Upcycled? Downcycled? Tricycled? I don't know.

To confuse matters further, the words silk waste have a couple of different meanings. There's the kind that is used to make recycled sari silk yarn. Then there's the kind that is leftover after reeled silk (aka the good stuff) is created. That silk waste is converted into something called spun silk, also known as queen fiber*. I don't think that spun silk is related in any way to recycled sari silk yarn, except that they both began with silkworms.

I learned that there are a number of different sources for recycled sari silk yarn. It is not all the mostly-red, overspun yarn that the posting people were complaining about. There are solid colors, variegated colors, and colorless yarns you can dye yourself. The fiber that the yarn is made from can be purchased and you can spin it yourself.

*Of course it would have made more sense for me to post this tomorrow as "R is for Recycled Sari Silk" or the day after as "S is for Sari Silk". I'd still be in need of a Q.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

P is for Pick a Pattern

I had a self-indulgence attack today in Hobby Lobby. I'd been thinking for a long time about buying Socks a la Carte by Jonelle Raffino, Katherine Cade and the SWTC Staff. The only thing I need less than another book of sock patterns is more sock yarn. I did buy it and some sock yarn too, but the yarn was on clearance so I've got half-off the guilt.

The book is divided up into sections. You have a series of choices for the cuff, more choices for the body, and still more for the heel/foot/toe. There's a section with flip pages, so you can get an idea of what each combination looks like. It's quite a lot of fun to play with the pages. It's spiral bound so this is easy to do without damaging anything. There's even an elastic bookmark thingy that you can use to hold your new design in place.

The sample socks in the book are all knit using SWTC's Tofutsies. This makes the book a really good idea for a variegated yarn nut such as myself. I don't think they started making solid color Tofutsies until after this book was published, so all the designs are suitable for semisolid or wilder color combinations.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Intentional post

If you're a member of IYSSC and have abandoned all hope, don't despair. Check out this new forum on Ravelry. If you know other members, spread the word.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled alphabet.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

O is for Other Popular Patterns

I was browsing the pattern section on Ravelry today and found a few things to share.

  • Number one in popularity is one of my favorite patterns: Felted Clogs (AC-33) by Bev Galeskas from Fiber Trends. I love these. I make a new pair about once a year and they are on my feet constantly all winter.
  • #56 is the Picot Flower. It's a cleverly constructed crocheted flower. I've made these as pins and as decorations on hats.
  • The next time I need a little something fun to add to a swap, I'll remember this Lip Balm Holder.
  • If I end up carrying a cell phone again, I'll definitely want to make this Pop Tart Case to keep it in.
  • Don't care for Pop Tarts? How about a nice Donut Pincushion?

Monday, November 16, 2009

N is for Nostepinne

I've seen pictures of nostepinnes before, but had no idea what they were for. My curiosity got the better of me, and I went and looked it up. A nostepinne is a Norwegian ball winding tool. You use it to make a center pull ball out of a hank of yarn.

I'm going to file this one right next to stitch markers under Attractive Tools That I Don't Need. I have one of those ball winders with a crank that you turn that does the same thing. A hand-turned piece of wood is much more appealing than a mostly plastic ball winder, but the ball winder's faster and more fun for me.

Have I done my rant on stitch markers? I use the little plastic rings that come with my electric toothbrush heads. They come in four colors, I get a new one every month, they are lightweight, they fit all of the needles I regularly use, and they don't snag anything. Some of the fancy ones can be tempting. I love WeeOnes, though I think I'd just line them up and look at them instead of use them. Some of them have a special purpose, such as the set someone gave me that go with a new sock knitting technique. Most of them are not practical because they have so many thing that the yarn can catch on. If I can get just one stitch marker maker to use something other than split rings in his/her markers, it will have been worth boring anybody else who slogged through the rant.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

M is for Mmmmmmmalabrigo

If I was forced to choose only one brand of yarn, Malabrigo would probably be it. It has a lovely texture and the colors are wonderful. I really don't know that much about it beyond really liking it, so I did a little research.

There are a number of new colors, including Ravelry Red, a pastel-ish mix called Kaleidos, and Deja-Vu (my favorite). I'd include a picture of Deja-Vu, but every picture I find looks different from the others. That's the charm of Malabrigo.

Malabrigo makes more than just yummy merino wool. They've got angora, organic cotton, and something called silky merino. Silky merino is half silk, half merino. Atardecer is now at the top of the I want list.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

L is for London

A mind is a terrible thing to lose. Yesterday was supposed to be K is for Knitty. This entry was a bit of a stretch with that theme, but L is for London is even worse. I don't care very much. It's my blog and I'll do what I like.

I think that Knitty is a wonderful resource for knitters. I think I'd pay to have access to such great stuff, and I don't have to. That's why I think it is a good thing to click on ads and patronize companies who make Knitty possible.

That's a noble-sounding motive, but I just clicked on something out of pure, selfish interest. There's a tour of London, Bath, and Wales next year, right before my birthday. It'll include a trip to Hay-on-Wye, which I've always wanted to visit. It's a village in Wales that's full of bookstores. It'll include staying in Cardiff. It's geeky, I know, but I want to see places where the Torchwood crew has been. I do not have the cash for this adventure. If I did have the cash, it would go toward replacing the roof of my house and the ceiling in my kitchen. It's good to have goals that you can't reach. It give you room to dream. It also gives a space for some magic to happen. My passport expires next year, so my step in this direction will be to renew it. I can afford that much. Okay, universe, it's your move.

Friday, November 13, 2009

K is for Kiwi

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
Kiwi is a spinning wheel made by the Ashford company. Ashford's in New Zealand, which explains the name. Kiwi wheels are some of the least expensive, which explains why I have one.

What I can't explain is why it sits unused. I enjoy using my drop spindle. I like making yarn. I have a little stash of fiber to use for that purpose. I painted the wheel so that the MDF portion of it would look more cheerful. I hunted down a broken part and repaired it. Still, it sits untouched day after day. Maybe I'm scared it'll break again?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Possible Projects

I'm taking a time out from the alpha blogging to make a project list. If I put it here, then it won't be written down in 17 different places or bouncing around in my brain. Note to self: Ravelympics is Feb 12-28. Plan accordingly.

  • Hoodie Vest from green yarn-have all supplies except maybe needles
  • Selbu socks-have the supplies, need to choose the patterns
  • Ravelsocks-find the graph, check for supplies
  • Eiffel Tower top from the UFO bin
  • Imagine sweater-different yarn?
  • Jelly Bums patterns
  • finish Cookie sock
  • Journal bag from recycled sari silk
  • Chocolate box
  • Nesting dolls
  • Reconstruct Christmas sock pattern
  • Next year's zodiac amigurumi
  • Lucky Cat amigurumi
  • Hello Kitty amigurumi
  • Chicken or the Egg pattern
  • Wool eater blanket (find where you stashed the koigu)
  • Car charms
  • Fruity Oaty girls
  • Able Sisters hats
  • Sock themes: Adventure, AC Lovely

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

J is for Jelly Yarn

I have a whole bucket full of novelty yarns. It's furry, eyelash, curly, and flat out weird. It's all man-made fibers. I don't have any idea what to do with it, despite having bought some of it on purpose. This makes my interest in Jelly Yarn a bit disturbing.

Jelly Yarn is a skinny tubular plastic yarn. It comes in a variety of bright colors, three of which are glow-in-the-dark. It appears that the market for such yarn is the tween knitter. There are patterns for purses, dog leashes, decorations for flip-flops. You can make things to put inside a snow globe.

I'm many decades past tween, I rarely make knitted accessories, and my cats won't put up with leashes. Between my ufos, queued projects, and ideas for projects, I could easily work into the next century. Why do I still want some of this?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I is for Intarsia

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
There are basically two ways of knitting with more than one color. One is stranded knitting* and the other is intarsia. With intarsia, you work along in one color and then change colors when you need to. You wrap the yarns around each other so that there are no holes.

I'm working on this map of the world afghan which is intarsia. It is working out better than intarsia has in the past. My problems** have been with things other than the knitting itself, which is encouraging. I may pick up the intarsia sock pattern I charted a couple of years ago and give it another try.

*go back four days for my rant on this subject
**problem 1=chart reading
problem 2=stubbornly using one aran weight yarn when the rest of the afghan is worsted
problem 3=cats thinking that yarn bobbins make swell cat toys

Monday, November 9, 2009

H is for Hardanger

Originally uploaded by Paula knits
Hardanger is a variety of embroidery that's usually done with white thread on a white background. The name comes from Norway, although the techniques are thought to have originated in Persia or Asia. The picture is of a needlebook I did in a beginner's class about 15 years ago. Someone who knew what they were doing would no doubt have made those little eyelet thingys in the middle in a much more uniform way. Still, it's cute. Hardanger is one of those things that I've been wanting to try again.

Contemporary Hardanger utilizes color in both the backgrounds and embroidery threads. There are a lot of free patterns and instruction right here on the Internet. An excellent source for supplies and patterns is Nordic Needle. I once traveled to Fargo, North Dakota specificially to visit their shop (and to add the 48th state to states I've visited). I highly recommend them.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

G is for Gilmore girls

It's only been a week and already I'm stretching my alphabet/fiber concept out of shape. If you think this is bad, I can't imagine what will happen when I hit X and Z. What do the Gilmore Girls have to do with fiber? Other than the Knitathon for the Muddy River bridge in that rather sad last season, not a whole lot in a direct way.

The Winter Olympics are going to occur in February 2010. This means that the Ravelympics will also occur. You pick a project that will challenge you. You cast on during Opening Ceremonies. You knit like the wind, completing the project before the end of Closing Ceremonies.

You can associate yourself with any number of teams. I was thinking about joining Team Grilled Cheese because I'm hungry and that sounds really good right now. I changed my mind when I saw Team Copper Boom. If you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you'll understand the reference. If you're not, come back tomorrow. Maybe you'll be lucky and I'll have come up with a better H theme.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

F is for Fair Isle

Fair Isle is a specific kind of stranded knitting. It traditionally has only about five colors and only uses two per row. It gets its name from the southernmost of the Shetland Islands, north of Scotland. Real Fair Isle patterns come from there.

-rant on-
Fair Isle is NOT:

  • every kind of stranded knitting. It's one specific kind, with only two, count 'em, two, colors per row.
  • any kind of stranded pattern that has two colors per row. If you've charted out a tribute to your favorite tv show or video game that manages to only use two colors per row, good for you. It's probably really cute, but it is NOT Fair Isle. Fair Isle patterns tend to look geometric, not like space invaders.
  • a sweater from Target or Old Navy with traditional-looking patterns and two colors per row in shades of bright green or purple.

This is Faux Isle because it is ramie/cotton blend and not wool. Other hints are that the colors are not correct, the pattern may or may not be traditional (it came from China, not Scotland), and yours truly bought it at the SuperTarget on Highway 92.
-rant off-

Carry on.

Friday, November 6, 2009

E is for Extreme Knitting

Extreme knitting is knitting taken in non-traditional directions.

It can be extremely big, like Rachael John knitting 1000 strands of yarn with what appear to be tree limbs. If you've not seen this video, take a few minutes to watch.

It can be extremely small, like Althea Crome's beautiful tiny garments.

It can be an extreme technique, like Kory Stamper knitting two socks at once using double knitting.

It can be extreme in materials used in place of yarn, such as wire, fiberglass, and lead.

It can be extreme in what is knit, such as a tank cosy, a motorcycle, or a Ferrari. It might be internal organs. It might be toilet paper (scroll down to see it).

It can be extreme in how knitting is used, like knitting graffiti artists who tag trees, lamp posts, and park benches.

It can be extreme in being combined with other activities. My search turned up people who knit while they drum, use various exercise equipment, and climb mountains.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

D is for DPNs

I've got a set of Knit Picks Harmony double pointed needles. For sock knitting, these are very nearly perfect. Each is a set of six, so I don't have to worry if I manage to lose one. I like that they are multicolored. What I don't like is that they are all the same multi colors. I frequently have to check them with a needle sizer to make sure I'm using all the same size needles in a project.

I decided to see what other kinds of dpns there might be out there. A quick search turned up some good information at Knitter's Review. Their reviews introduced me to some new stuff:

  • Swallow Needle Mfg. makes needles from casein, a milk protein. There have been reports of pets eating these. I have bamboo needles with little kitty teeth marks in them, so I don't think they'd last long in my house.
  • I have a set or two of plastic needles in really big sizes that have been kicking around here for decades. Plastic seems like a not very good material for dpns, but Knitter's Review says they're good for arthritic fingers to use.
  • Signature Needle Arts makes high precision aluminum needles, including dpns. These are supposed to be the Ferrari of knitting needles and are priced accordingly. I'm not fond of metal needles for knitting. It brings back memories of knitting in college. I dropped an aluminum needle on a cement floor in a big class in an auditorium. You can guess how much noise it made. Anyway, if some people come to my house with a big cardboard check, I'd like to give these a try. They make their 4" needles in a way that they don't poke the heck out of your palm. I've made some earring-sized socks with 4" size 0000 needles and it's like having a bunch of sharp tapestry needles stabbing you when you use them.
  • Regia (the people who make the sock yarn) has a line of smaller-sized dpns. They are aluminum and come with a pair of cute sock-shaped point protectors that keep all the unused needles together.
  • Lantern Moon Sox Stix are hardwood needles that come in nice storage bags. The problem I have is that they come in 7" and 5" lengths. 5" is definitely too short for me. I have a set of 7" bamboo needles that are too long. Sorry, Lantern Moon. I still love my black sheep tape measure from you, though.
  • Blue Sky dpns come in pretty tins. I'm a sucker for clever packaging, so I'm glad I read the review. The needles are somewhat fragile and there have been reports of splintering. Also, they are 5" long. Too short to be tempting.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

C is for Cat Bordhi

My mother used to knit socks. My brother and I and many family friends of the same age have personalized Christmas stockings that she knit for us. She made wonderful argyle socks for her father. I was fascinated with how she worked with those little bobbins of yarn. I think that's the source of my interest in sock knitting.

I've been through a number of sock phases over the last decade. I was obsessed with self-striping and self-patterning yarns. I learned enough about dyeing so I made socks from my own hand dyed yarn. I've enjoyed the challenge of twisted stitch knitting and more intricate patterns such as those by Cookie A. Lately, though, I've begun to burn out on socks. I've got a whole mountain of them which I don't wear because the leg portion is too narrow.

The solution may have appeared. Cat Bordhi's book Personal Footprints tells you how to knit a sock to fit perfectly. I enjoy designers who find great new ways of doing things, and Cat Bordhi's the best I've found. I learned to knit socks on two circular needles from one of her books. I tend to use my Knit Picks Harmony dpns most of the time, but two circulars do a better job. I bought New Pathways for Sock Knitters because I was interested in seeing exactly what the new pathways might be. It was piled together with several other knitting books which have moved around the house over the past year. I completely forgot about it until I bought Personal Footprints a few weeks ago. Socks will be moving up higher in the queue soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

B is for Bargains

I think it is fun to get a great deal on yarn, so I'm always on the lookout for bargains.

One good way is to support your LYS. One of mine has a frequent shopper card that gives you a credit once purchases add up to $100. Another shop gives you a 10% discount for a purchase done in your birthday month.

Bargains can also be found online. Discontinued Brand Name Yarn is exactly what the name says. The yarn in this picture came from them. If you include shipping, the cost was about 55% of the normal prices for these yarns. Another place I've gotten great prices is Little Knits. If you're lucky enough to live in Seattle, they've also got a brick-and-mortar store.

Ravelry is a great resource for bargains. There are forums for people who are destashing. You can do searches for yarns that people are willing to sell or trade. I was looking for a specific yarn recently that wasn't available from the dyer. I found someone on Ravelry who had exactly what I wanted for less than it would've cost at retail.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A is for Alpaca

Big Horn Mountain Alpacas is where I purchased my favorite swap thing ever. The recipient really wanted a drop spindle and alpaca is one of her favorite fibers. I was delighted to find this company's inexpensive spindle and fiber kits. They even come with a picture of the alpaca that the fiber came from.

Here are a few fun alpaca facts from the Georgia Alpaca Association:

  • Alpacas have no teeth on top, instead they have a dental pad and do not bite.

  • Alpacas were first imported to the United States in 1984, but are no longer legally imported.

  • There is no need to groom or bathe alpacas but they do need to have their toenails trimmed.

  • Alpacas are shorn once a year. You can expect to get any where from four to ten pounds of fleece from a single animal.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Fiberlicious Alphabet

Happy National Blog Posting Month. It's that time of year again where I will blog on a daily basis rather than in my usual arbitrary manner.

I've chosen an alphabet theme, in hopes that will give me an instant direction to go in each day. That will leave three mystery days. What will I select for those days? Stay tuned.