Archive for October, 2009

I was on the road again this past week. I cruised on up to the Twin Cities for a couple of days to visit a few shops. First I visited Adrianne at Be Ya Gi in Little Canada. We had a great time chatting and sipping coffee and ooing and aaaing over yarn and such. That may seem like a strange name for a shop and it took me a little while to really get it, but it is a mash-up up of “BEads, YArn, GIfts”. That is exactly what they have there, how clever!

From Be Ya Gi, I had a surprise cancelation, so I had some free time to eat lunch and explore Minneapolis a little bit. I visited Russel + Hazel, a stationary store that I enjoyed just a little too much. They had bunny-shaped paper clips! And customizable planner notebooks! And a “Binder Bar”! I was in 7th heaven!

After R+H, I went to Needlework Unlimited, a very large and established yarn shop. There, I met with Karen, who has been at the helm of this great yarn empire for over a decade. Meeting someone that experienced in this industry is a surprisingly rare treat. I enjoyed my visit immensely and learned a lot.

From NU, I checked into my motel for the night. This was my first “yellow-light” situation with a motel. Meaning: I didn’t feel entirely comfortable with the cleanliness or safety of this place, but it was quite enough to make me say “no” and leave. What appeared to be a prostitute was eyeing me from the moment I pulled up. She sat in the newly re-furnished lobby and glared at me as I checked in. I got to my room, a dark cavernous space furnished with cast-off patio furniture and king size bed roughly twice my age covered in cigarette burn holes that smelled of BO. It was early, so rather than hang out in the room, I looked up a shopping district and took off. The prostitute glared at me as I left.

The next day I packed up and hit the highway for Shepherd’s Choice in Anoka. When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by Karen, her daughter Nancy, and their friend (whose name I can’t remember and I feel really awful about that cause she was lovely!) I was blown away by these ladies’ enthusiasm and warmth! I could have stayed for days, I was having that much fun with them. They have just moved the store from a barn out in rural MN to a store-front in a quaint suburb. Despite the stress of moving, these gals were invigorated and inspiring. I am really looking forward to hosting a Fashion Event with them in January!

From Shepherd’s Choice, I made one last stop at Knitter’s Palette in Lakeville. There I met with Pam. We had a nice little visit before I hit the road for home.

On the way home, I made a very important decision: I have decided that I much, much, MUCH prefer taking I-94 from MN to IL over I-90. 94 cuts through rural WI and drops me off right in the twin cities over the MN border. 90 takes me through 2+ hours of rural MN before I get to the city. Rural MN creeps me out for some reason, but Rural WI does not. I-90, however, does have the grandest crossing of the Mississippi river I have ever seen, so, put that in your pocket and walk with it.


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It’s been a slow week here at The Knest.  I’ve been doing a lot of cold-calling which means I’ve actually been doing a lot of message-leaving. That’s not really anything to blog about. So, instead of letting the blog languish away, or worse, posting comprehensive list of voicemails I have left, I put together a “director’s cut” of road photos if you will. These are photos of things I have seen while on the road. I think they are quirky and fun, but did not fit with other posts.

In Madison, WI

Rural Route in Wisconsin


My trusty steed, Lola, hanging out in
Eau Claire, WI

The View from my hotel window in
Waupaca, WI


Spotted a block away from the Waupaca Arts
Center. Too Cool!

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But, Seriously, Folks….
Photo Courtesy of Jordana Paige

I just received my rep kit from the one, the only, Jordana Paige! I was like a bag-a-holic with a box full of beautiful bags! Bad metaphor, but effective. I stayed up half the night just trying to decide which bag to steal and claim as my own. I still can’t decide. Decisions, Decisions…
I can’t wait to show these puppies off. Shopowners, these bags are the perfect item to have on hand for the inevitable husband who sticks his head in this coming season and says “Um, my wife is a knitter and I don’t know what to get her…maybe some yarn…she likes yarn…” and stares around, baffled by the stock on the shelves.

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Introducing Llama Luxury!
 South West Trading Company has introduced a new, very affordable and totally luscious luxury yarn. It is 100% baby llama fiber with a 22.5 micron count. It comes in 8 natural shades ranging from creamy white, through heathered camel and smokey grey to a deep rich charcoal. At MSRP $11 for a 100m skein, it is a bargain! It officially knits up at 5 sts/inch on a 7, but I got a hot insider tip that it is better off at 4 sts/inch on an 8. Either way, I can’t wait to swatch this baby up!

Shopowners, if you are looking for an affordable luxury yarn in natural shades, this is a winner! Please e-mail me if you are interested!

Always looking to strike while the iron is hot, SWTC is also introducing a SOLIDS COLLECTION in their perennial hit sock yarn, Tofutsies! There will be 10 solid colors introduced at the end of the month. Solid colors will show off your more complex or delicate stitch work in a way that variegated sock yarns can not.

To celebrate the new yarns, they are also rolling out the two new patterns you see here. Wouldn’t that brown sweater look great in my closet?
Llama Luxury and Solid Tofutsies ship at the end of October, so look for it on store shelves soon.

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Here a few snapshots from my revolving knitting scrapbook:

A scene from a lovely September day.
Getting my mandatory vitamin D, Doctor’s Orders!

Here is a minor knitting calamity on my StitchDiva Endless Cardi Shawl. At 347 stitches per row, my already over crowded circ snapped!

Stitches flew everywhere, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and sweat and cursing and and and….
But I survived and so has the project.

 More photos as it develops and as better photo opportunities present themselves. I’ll try not to bore you with project-on-the-needles-scrunched-beyond-recognition-against-the-backdrop-of-a-bedspread-or-the-carpet photos.

Here is my finally completed Misti Alpaca Lace Shawl (seen in progress at the top of this post). I started this project as a stress reliever back in college. I didn’t use a pattern, it was just a simple increase at the edges, 2 stitch repeat. I just wanted something luscious that let the colors of the yarn sing. I think I accomplished that in spades. This photo does not do the color or the loft of the fabric any justice. I promise a more satisfying photo soon. I have been wearing the shawl everywhere…I love it.

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I am proud to announce  that I have added Mountain Meadow Wools to my line of manufacturers. This is an awe-inspiring company that I hold near and dear to my heart already. Based out of Wyoming, Val and Heather are dedicated to all that is Good in yarn manufacture. They started the company not because they are passionate about knitting, but because they are passionate about wool as a fine agricultural product of Wyoming. They are committed  to doing right by farmers and ranchers, the sheep, the environment, the independent yarn shops, and the knitters. The yarn is naturally grown, humanely shorn, DOMESTICALLY PROCESSED AND SPUN in the most eco-friendly fashion and naturally dyed (or not dyed). 10% of the MSRP goes back to the farmers. In this industry, that is incredible.

The yarn is all natural, springy, and refreshingly home-spun (no pun intended, I mean that literally). I am confident that it is a joy to work with because Cat Bordhi is a devoted fan.  The retail prices are far lower than any other yarn of this caliber I have come across. I have not knit with it yet, though I plan to very very soon.

Shopowners, this is not to be missed! Knitters, please, ask your LYS about this yarn!

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Here on the homestead the nights are turning colder and the leaves are changing colors so that means Harvest Time! Today I harvested the heirloom beans. We have 3 varieties, all from Seed Savers Exchange; Kentucky Wonder Pole, Cranberry, and my favorite, the Christmas Lima Bean. You may recognize the Christmas Lima from the cover of the book Animal Vegetable, Miracle by, my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you put it at the top of your reading list.

An important lesson was learned: if the pod looks beautiful and rich and vibrant then the bean is immature. If the pod looks like cat-yak, there is one sexy bean inside.
I haven’t quite decided what to cook with the beans. Right now I am just admiring them in a cobalt bowl on my kitchen table. Truthfully, I find the look of them satisfying enough all on their own.

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