Catching Up

I knew it had been a while since my last post, but wow.  It has been a challenging spring, with both Sweetie and PB spending time in the hospital.  Rest assured, both are well now and we are looking forward to a fun and easy-going summer!

Through it all, there has been knitting and reading and gardening and mothering and business-running aplenty going on.  Here are some highlights:

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1. Fiar by Irish Girlie Knits in Black Trillium Pebble sock, Ravelry Notes here

2. Baby Sophisticate knit in Malabrigo worsted, Ravelry notes here

3. A much-needed day of fun at Oaks Park. She rode all. the. rides.

4. Awesome train building with my girl.

5. We recently had a little photoshoot for Stash. I love our merry group of Stash Enhancers!

6. I was featured in an article about crafty tattoos in the current issue (#5) of Pom Pom Quarterly!  What an honor and a treat to be included in such a beautful needle craft magazine!  This special little publication from London is not to be missed. Only a few US shops have it at this point, but you can get a subscritption or order online here or at Stash.

I hope your summer is off to a an easy, breezy start.  See you in this space soon for some wip action!

On the Needles

I have a few things on the needles right now, none of which is seeing much action.  I’m having my semi-annual bout with knitter’s thumb, and it’s a drag.  I’ve been resting my hands this week, knitting a row here and there to test the waters.

Fiar :: I’m modifying this stripey cowl to use 5 shades from a gradient kit I bought from Black Trillium at Vogue Knitting Live.  It’s a bit of an informal KAL with Erin who happened to buy the exact same color! I’m almost halfway done, and I suspect Erin, a super-speedy knitter, isn’t far behind…

Lobelia :: I cast this on at the beginning of last month for another informal KAL with Liz in honor of our new magazine crush, Pom Pom Quarterly.  I got distracted by all my new yarn from VKL (even though the red yarn was also new) and it’s been sitting ever since.  I’m planning on picking it back up once my thumb is happy again, just in time for the Anzula CKAL at Stash.

So what’s on your needles this weekend?

p.s. Both of these photos are from my Instagram.  I’m pretty IG-obsessed these days. You can follow me here if you like.

Yarn Lust

I’ve been wanting to get to this space all week, to tell you about my magical, yarn-filled weekend.  It was like Candy Land, but with yarn.

I went to Vogue Knitting LIVE to represent Stash, and expected to have a great time.  What actually happened was so personally satisfying and thrilling, it blew my wool socks off.

The people were kind and open and enthusiastic.  I met old friends, new friends, blog friends, podcast friends, and knitterari friends.  The wool fumes and collective buzz of knitterly enthusiasm was contagious, and I instantly felt my lust for knitting surge.  This was just the medicine I needed to cure a pretty bad case of Knitting Burnout.  I hadn’t knit in weeks, and was even starting to skip my daily Ravelry check-ins.  It was bad.  Rest assured, this was a brief malady, and I am now on a steady prescription of New Yarn.

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The haul.

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My color palette for the Turnagain Cowl

I had a lot of fun playing with different color combinations of Loft in the Churchmouse booth for a Turnagain Cowl.  I already had the Sap and Plume colorways in my stash, so I started with those and then played with different color stories.  I’m pretty excited about what I came up with, and even though it isn’t exactly wool-cowl weather, I’m itching to cast on asap.

I’m also pretty excited about that mini skein bundle of lavender gradient yarn from Black Trillium, the gradient cakes from Freia, the 2 ply hand-dyed from Spincycle Yarns, and the Madelinetosh.  So much new yarn!

Should you think owning a yarn shop satisfies the urge to impulse buy yarn, let me tell you it does not! When faced with the temptations of new yarn, I am just as powerless as the rest of us yarnaholics.

What yarn or projects are you itching to cast on right away?

You can read more about the trip and see photos full of yarn-drunk knitters over on the Stash blog.

Yarn Along:: Hitchhiking onto The Marriage Plot

Book: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenedies Knit: Hitchhiker Scarf in Madelinetosh Sock’s Black Velvet

This week I’m celebrating the discoveries of others: a book that one of my friends and her husband read in record time, and a knit another friend recommended via Facebook. Whether it’s lack of imagination, or feeling inspired at just the right moment, both the book and the knit are perfect for right now.

This scarf is just the antidote to the single skein of sock yarn dilemma (when you don’t want to knit socks!); you just knit until you’re almost out of yarn, maximizing yardage and garter stitch bliss.  I can often be heard muttering “just one more tooth…”.  The book is a coming of age novel about recent college graduates in the 1980s.  Alternately heady and intimate, it is reminiscent of my Freshman year stint as an English major.  I can tell this will be something I can really sink my teeth into.

Like many of you, I’m feeling inspired to knit down my stash right now. I’ve been casting on new projects with home stash and shop stash like crazy.  To help the matter along, I have some new destash yarn for sale over on Ravelry.  There may even be a giveaway or two in the near future.

What’s in your project bag and on your nightstand this week?

*Yarn Along, from Ginny @ small things: ~ Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

This Week

This is the week! The much-anticipated, long dreamed of week that my new yarn shop opens for business! Deep breath…

I’m feeling a lot of excitement, a little bit of anxiety when I look at that seemingly endless list of to-do’s, some vulnerability about putting my dream out there for public consumption, and a whole lot of gratitude that I get to live that dream.

Last week I hosted a sneak-preview stitch night for some of the Ravelry knitters in the area. It was a great turnout, full of the friendly faces and excited yarn shoppers. This was the first time Stash had been open to non-family members or close friends, and it was exciting and humbling to receive such an enthusiastic response.

This blog is going to remain a chronicle of my personal knitting life, though I’m sure some business talk will creep in now and then. To stay in the loop about the happenings at Stash, check out the new shop blog, website, Ravelry group, and Facebook Page.

Have a great week!  I’m hoping to be back here on Wednesday for Yarn Along.  I have some knitting (a very little bit) and lots of reading to share.

Yarn Everywhere and Not a Thing to Knit!

As some of you wisely pointed out to me recently, during times of change, busy-ness or stress, something has to give.  And yes, housework has been low on the list of priorities to be sure.  Blogging, cooking, crafting, and knitting have also fallen low, which makes me a little bit sad.  I reassure myself that this is a temporary state, and try to enjoy these things as time allows.

Over the weekend I made a trip to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival to pick up some orders for Stash.  It was a lovely day of meeting with the dyers and artisans that will be making up a large part of the shop.  It’s so exciting to see these lovelies in person after all the planning and ordering.  Finally, there is yarn in the shop!

There are so many pretty skeins and a ton of great patterns, and yet I find myself paralyzed when it comes to choosing my first project from the shop’s stash.  Not a bad problem to have, I know!  But seriously, one of my concerns about opening a yarn shop was that it would take the shine off my cherished knitting, make me lose interest.  I’m not saying that’s what is happening, but I do need to remember this as I go forward:

Make Time For the Thing You Love Doing.

A good reminder, no?

This week I’m going to focus on my personal knitting, and will decide on a sample knit for the shop. What do you need to make more time for?

Stash Update

After looking at nearly every available space in my community’s downtown district, I have found a home for Stash.  It had to have the right combination of space, character, natural light, and potential.  I believe this spot has everything I was looking for, plus room to grow. And look at that window!  Can’t you just imagine the wonderful display possibilities?!

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interior before

This whole opening a yarn shop thing is really cutting in to my knitting time.  I had to take advantage of this moment and get a few stitches in on my around town sock!

Now that the space is secured, I am moving pretty quickly in an attempt to open at the beginning of October.  My mind is abuzz with ideas for the layout, including a seating area, gallery space, learning space, storage, and display.  The vendor list is pretty exciting, and I’ve started placing orders and receiving shipments!  And soon there will be the not so small task of cleaning this place up (oh, the dust!), painting, and putting in all of the fixtures.

This is a very exciting time, indeed!  I can’t wait to show you the transformation as it unfolds.

 

Good Company

Going to a yarn event is so much more than the sum of its parts.  Sure there’s yarn, classes, events, and a whole lot of knitters.  And those are all wonderful elements, but what I’m talking about is that intangible feeling, the collective excitement of its attendees, the electric frisson that happens when you’re in a room full of people who just get it.  We all love yarn and making thing with it, and there’s no need to explain why we do what we do. There is both a thrill and a peacefulness brought about by being with your people.

Marketplace line, day 1

Blog/swap friend Carmen!

PDXKnitterati, soon to be featured designer at Stash!

Sock Summit was just this sort of place, made even more exciting for me when I kept running into people I know, either in real life or through blogging.  These connections are very real to me, and I always enjoy filling up my knitterly cup, so to speak.  In addition to getting to spend gobs of time with Stripedsocks who flew out from Connecticut for the event, I got to connect with Michelle, Carmen, a few blog readers (hi again!), and of course Cookie A. and Stephanie.  Yeah, we’re like this.  Especially after Stephanie accidentally stepped on my foot and said “Sorry, sweetie.” I mean, we’re practically best friends now.

And then there was the yarn.  Goodness, there was so much lovely yarn it was difficult to know where to go first.  Fortunately, I had a list of dyers for the shop that I wanted to talk to face to face, so that’s how I stayed focused.  Mostly.  After conducting the yarn business, I was a little stunted as to what yarn to buy for personal use.   I needed to pick out three colors for the Westknits mystery knit along. Then I saw the Catkin shawl on a knitter and knew I had to make one, which led to a handful of skeins from Hazel Knits.  Everyone was wearing beautiful hand knit shawls, by the way.  If I didn’t know better, I would have thought it was Shawl Summit. There were the odd moments when a certain someone dared me into buying a wee turkish spindle.  Guess I’ll just have to keep practicing my drop spindling, eh?  Fairly restrained purchasing for me, but I also know there is about to be a whole lot of yarn coming in to the shop, so I didn’t want to go too crazy.

A Verb for Keeping Warm booth

Hazel Knits swatch towers

All in all, Sock Summit 2011 was a wonderful experience.  Soaking up all that knitterly energy, taking classes and hearing industry legends like Tina Newton and Clara Parkes speak, eating good food and knitting as much as I wanted; all were wonderful ways to spend a weekend.  Now it’s back to life, back to reality, which I am all the more ready to embrace after a delicious retreat like this.

 

Stash Enhancement

I’ve been keeping a secret from you.  Well, not a secret so much as a tender, fragile dream that has slowly grown stronger and bigger over time.  My dream?

To own a yarn shop.

Thanks to the encouragement of my incredibly supportive friends and family, as well as that of my online family (Kathy, I’m winking at you) I am now ready to make the big leap into the unknown.

I am opening a yarn shop!

Stash will be opening in Corvallis Oregon this fall.  The shop will feature yarn, accessories, and artwork created in the Pacific Northwest.  In addition to the retail yarn business, the store will also be part gallery and part gathering space where classes, knit nights, gallery openings, and special yarny events will be held.  It is my intention to create a community gathering place (family-friendly, too!) where people can come together to share knowledge, celebrate each other’s work, and just have a good time in the presence of other creative spirits.  And, yarn.  Lots of beautiful, soulful yarn from talented spinners and dyers from our neck of the woods.  To quote the Contessa, “How bad can that be?”.

There has been a lot of business happening behind the scenes these last couple of months, as well as much navel gazing and contemplating the enormous shift in lifestyle from stay at home mama to entrepreneurial mama.  We have been working closely as a family to come up with a business model and childcare/playschool opportunities that offer flexibility and maximum time together.  It’s important to me to remain very much a part of PB’s daily life, to be able to take her to some of her favorite activities, and to welcome her into my new workspace. I think we’ve about got it figured, which is a huge relief.

And now I’m at a really fun stage in the process: looking for a location and selecting vendors.  I’ll be at Sock Summit taking a peek in person at some of my potential vendors’ newest yarns and colorways.  This is the biggest stash enhancement expedition of my knitting life, and a dream come true!

Look to this space for updates on the progress of the shop.  If you’re so inclined, join the Stash Ravelry group.  And, if you are one of the talented, soulful spinners, dyers, designers, artists, or crafters making beautiful things in the PNW, please email me at sonia AT stashlocal DOT com.  I’d love to take a look at your work.

Let the adventure begin!