sock-crazy

A blog about Main Street Yarn, the shop I opened in Rebersburg, PA in which April 2013. I will keep it updated with the latest and greatest new items, classes, and other things of interest in the fiber world. I love knitting socks, shawls, hats, fingerless gloves and other items so I will often post photos and information about my knitting adventures. Golden Retrievers and kitties will also find their way into my discussion. The shop website is www.mainstreetyarn.net

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

After a Long Absence....I'm Back

I don't know where the months went. My last post was in early October right after Lily died. It was a gorgeous, although sad, Autumn without having her to share the days and evenings. Lily was a special SPCA kitty. I said no more. Never. Say. Never.

One day on Facebook the Clinton County SPCA popped up with a post about a kitten who needed a home. I saw that post on Thursday, Dec. 12. On Friday, Dec. 13 (no superstitions here!) I brought home this little bundle of energy and joy. We named her Whitney. No, she is not at all like Lily. I don't want her to be...she is her own bundle of joy.

If she grows into her ears she will be one very big kitty!
 
 
Now for some knitting content....recently finished socks. These are knit from a gorgeous skein of Opal DK. Great to keep the feet warm on these very cold winter days. Opal is probably my very favorite commercial sock yarn. I love sock yarn. Many of you know that but Opal tops my list.
 
 
 
I will return again soon. I promise....


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Lily -- April 2, 1999 to September 29, 2013

You were very much loved and missed even more. I love you. Your momma.


Lily was a great background for knitting


She had great fun using the boxes of yarn as a climbing tree. Opening them will never be the same.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

In Tweed Sort of Mood

I love rustic yarns and this season seems to have brought a bunch of them to the forefront in yarn shops -- including Main Street Yarn. We have an acrylic wool blend in worsted weight from Universal Yarn Company; a blend of New Zealand merino/nylon/angora/alpaca/silk in DK weight called Kenzie; and the newest addition is Blackstone Tweed in worsted which is a blend of wool/mohair/angora.

I have used the Universal Tweed for several years for hats and fingerless mitts. A sturdy, yet soft, yarn that wears well. It is a go-to yarn for me.

Today I finished these --



"Welted Fingerless Gloves" in  Kenzie. The yarn has a nice feel when on the needles and is soft on the hands. This pattern was reordered and will be back in the shop later in the week.

I now have the Blackstone Tweed on the needles for a two-colored hat. I just cast on but like the yarn a lot. There is nothing to show yet but will follow with photos in a few days. The pattern I'm using will be ordered tomorrow and hopefully will be in the shop this week. It is perfect for this yarn but would work with any other worsted of your choice.

What are you knitting?

Until next time....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Finally....a vest pattern

Those of you who knit with me or hear me talk about knitting may have heard (probably too often!) that I really want to knit a vest. (Insert whining...years worth of whining...)

But it has to be the right pattern -- simple, button up the front, worsted weight, and can be worn with some professional attire as well as casual clothing. Some of you are shaking your heads thinking, well that is a lot to ask of one pattern. I totally agree. However, I FOUND IT!! Yesterday I was leafing through the new Downton Abbey magazine. There is was "Chilly Morning Cosycoat." Woo-Hoo! I let out a cheer..

I'm was so excited that I actually knit a gauge swatch. Roberta probably just sank into a chair when reading that sentence. She knows my dislike for gauge swatches. But, I'm glad I did. I am between the small and medium sizes. According to the pattern directions, the small would "just" fit while the medium would be several inches too big around. However, my gauge shows that I should be knitting the small for the best fit. Edited to add that I went down a needle size to a 7 and got gauge. The yarn calls for a 7 and the pattern an 8.

So, I will. And if it doesn't fit me...well, I will have learned an important knitting lesson and it will make a great shop model!


Isn't is lovely? I think so. A simple Garter stitch with bands of Double Moss Stitch. Just enough to keep it interesting and make the project reach completion.
 
 


Vintage worsted weight yarn from Berroco. It is a deeper teal than this photo shows. I can't seem to get the right lighting to show it off.
 

 
The cover of the Fall/Winter "Unofficial Downton Abbey Knits." Get your copy today. The season begins in January, so get your knitting done now. Wear your Downton garments while you watch the new shows in 2014. There are gorgeous handknit garments for ladies and men.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

The days are flying so quickly that I cannot seem to get everything accomplished. I am very happy to say that my evening hours are generally filled with knitting projects -- some for models at Main Street Yarn and the others as Christmas gifts.

My husband returned home from a trip last night and walked into the living room that is filling with boxes of yarns for fall and winter. I am very pleased with the new lines that will be making their way into the shop right after Labor Day. Remember, if I have a yarn that interests you and the color you want isn't on the shelf, please ask. I can order it.

I am so enjoying knitting with Wandering Wool. I have restocked and added new colors to the fingering weight and in a month or so will be ordering worsted weight. The yarn bases are extraordinary and her color saturation is among the best I have ever seen. Rich, deep colors. Oh, but do they bleed when on the needles or being soaked prior to blocking? Not at all. I have knit with numerous skeins and earlier this week finished a shawl in a gradient blend, soaked it and blocked it. Not a bit of color in the water, either. Oh and this yarn blocks beautifully.

Heads up: Below is a photo of the shawl in a gradient. It was blocking at the time...obviously. Dyeing gradient colorways is a very time-consuming (translation time costly) process and at this point gradients are not available to yarn shops. You can get them from her Etsy shop. I will be getting solid color worsted weights. I will display this shawl/large scarf in the shop so people can ooohhhh and aaaahhh over the softness of the yarn and the color saturation.





Until next time....

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Lesson Learned...and Some Unique (to me) Yarn

Keith and I had a great weekend at the LPGA in Sylvania, Ohio...near Toledo. The heat and humidity were intense so I opted to stay at the hotel on Friday. I almost melted on Thursday. Of course I had some great knitting hours. I started a pair of cabled fingerless mitts for a birthday gift for a friend. I completed about 2/3 of the first one on Friday.

Saturday I took my knitting to the golf course. I always take my knitting (used to be counted cross stitch) to the golf course. I was knitting on the mitt making the approach to the gusset increases when two guys plopped their chairs next to mine. They said hello. I responded. One had too many beers for any time of day, but considering it was before noon and his condition he must have started drinking the night before. He scowled at me so I ignored him. He then rudely said, "why are you doing such a ridiculous thing at a golf tournament." I said to pass the time and I went back to knitting.

They were quiet for a few minutes. I leaned down to the left to pick up my bottled water and I thought my knitting fell off my lap...that has been known to happen. When I straightened up I discovered the drunk had my knitting, had pulled out the double pointed needles and unraveled a good part of the project. I was furious but since there really weren't others around knew I needed to keep my cool.

I stood up and asked why he did that. Answer: So now you will have to watch the golf tournament. His buddy saw the look on my face and said he thought they better get out of there. I told him that was the smarted comment I had heard in the last few minutes. They left and I reported them to an LPGA official. But they were nondescript  so could not easily be found in a crowd.

The mitt is at the thumb gusset stage and will be finished by tomorrow. Then on to the second one. Knitting in Public can be hazardous to your progress.

On a happier note, today I was on the road working and saw a Farmer's Market with a sign "fresh lemonade." Wow I needed one. I pulled in, got my beverage and glanced around. Lo and Behold I came across this....

...worsted weight Llama yarn. It is so soft and the cream is gorgeous as is the medium grey. Now off to consider patterns. Happy Knitting....

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Fabulous Grand Opening!

Several hundred people visited our shops today. Forefathers Book Shop and Main Street Yarn were kept very busy. Thank you to our new and not-so-new customers. We so appreciate you.

A big thank you to Celeste, Cathy, and Martha for handling the cooking of the hot dogs and pouring of the lemonade. People loved the free food and beverages on a hot day!

Katherine Dashner and Libby Beiler entertained and educated people about the process of yarn making -- from the sheep to the skein of yarn. They were in the shade but handle the hot outdoor temperatures with grace. They are members the team that won the 2013 PA Farm Show Sheep to Shawl competition. This team has won a number of times in the past few years. Quite a talented group!

Libby demonstrated carding
 
Katherine spins on her traveling wheel
 
Team members working together


Thursday, July 04, 2013

Yarn Dyeing Class

Last Saturday 7 fun women (I include the teacher in that group!) met at Main Street Yarn for a yarn dyeing class. They had such a terrific time and their finished products are absolutely gorgeous. I cannot wait to see what they knit from their hand-dyed fingering weight skeins of yarn. I know we will have a calling for more classes especially since Libby practiced another process this week and has an even more gorgeous product, if that is possible. Here are some photos and brief captions. Unfortunately they cannot capture all the fun, laughter and making or strengthening of friendships.

The yarn was soaked in water for about an hour before class began. Then the excess water needed to be wrung out. The yarn needs to be damp but not saturated for the dyeing process. Looks like a muscle builder!

There seems to be 3 ways to apply dye....

The Spoon Dab on Method...

The Squirt Bottle Method...

 The Pouring Method...

Wrapped in Plastic and Ready for the Microwave

The End Result...but I Suspect Not the Last!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Needles and Project Bags

The Karbonz knitting needles continue to be popular. Restocks went up today. There were advance orders for interchangeable sets so I got one for the shop. Needles are sizes 2 to 6. Additional size tips can be ordered. Our supplier is attentive and ships all in-stock items immediately.


The Hag Bag collection is expanding at Main Street Yarn. These lovely bags in sizes medium and large will go into the shop later this week. The colors are outstanding!


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Knit in Public Fun Fun Fun!! And new merchandise, too...

Worldwide Knit in Public Day (actually week) began yesterday and Main Street Yarn and its following were not to be let out. The overcast skies cleared in time for a free workshop to teach the Sweet Tomato Heel for a sock. Folding chairs came out on trunks, hatches and backseats of vehicles and participants had a great time.


Look how nice this heel turned out! I was handling the indoor duties at the book shop and yarn shop so now I need to get some instruction on this fabulous heel that all just raved about!


Congratulations to Cathy who won a lovely door prize donated by Universal Yarn Company.

In other news: New yarns and bags went on sale this past week and to say some of them "ran out of the shop" is not an exaggeration. Just look at the goodies...and, yes, many remain for others to purchase.


Rich colorways from Desert Vista Yarnworks! Knitters thought it was difficult to select which one (or ones) to purchase. Ha! The toughest part was deciding which colorways to select for the shop.


The Hag Bag collection made its way to the shop. Sorry the photo is blurry..I took it with my phone. The seamstress is another woman-owned small business. I am pleased to say that she joins company with Wandering Wool and Desert Vista Yarnworks. As a small woman-owned business I am proud to support others. Working together is the root of success for each of us. And thank you to those who support Main Street Yarn because you are supporting all of our efforts. We are dedicated to our fiber adventures!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Karbonz Knitting Needles Have Arrived!

Karbonz Knitting Needles -- made from high-tech carbon fiber -- will be for sale at Main Street Yarn beginning tomorrow mid to late afternoon. These New Age Needles are very popular so some sizes are back ordered. We do have a selection in 6" double points and 24", 32" and 40" circulars. Stop by and check it out.

Also, a new really FUN yarn from Universal will be on sale beginning tomorrow afternoon. Hope to see you!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Time to Catch Up....

I cannot  believe that it has been almost two months since I wrote a blog post. Opening a yarn shop, while trying to keep up with life in general, makes one really busy but it is a good type of busy.

Let's see what I have done since I last checked in:
-- Traveled to MD Sheep & Wool Festival with a busload of fiberholics and met up with my good friend Roberta. We had not seen each other in 3 1/2 years. The day flew and too soon it was time to say good-bye but we had a ton of fun
-- Got a case of "startitis" -- translation I've begun and not finished a bunch of knitting projects. Goal now is to complete them soon!
-- I'm learning to use Constant Contact which is a great newsletter program and have sent out two newsletters -- the next one will be later this week
-- Gotten very active on the Main Street Yarn Facebook page
-- Launched the website yesterday -- check us out at www.mainstreetyarn.net The blog updates are available on the website
-- Began investigating yarn companies I don't stock. One big issue in adding most of them is their high opening order minimums. Yikes! $2,000 is more than I planned for an opening order with one in particular. Purchasing from them might get put onto the back burner for a while.
-- Have been giving medical care and fluids under the skin to my older Golden Retriever. Fortunately, his stomach issues seem to be settling down. Now if he only would quit licking the front of his leg. There is nothing wrong with it. I think it is just nerves.

Whew! It has been a busy few weeks.

There are a lot of fun classes planned at Main Street Yarn including how to dye your own yarn, more Magic Loop Sock Classes, and some others we will soon announce.

No photos this time but I will post new photos of a summer yarn and the Karbonz knitting needles in a new blog post later in the week. The timing is all up to the UPS man.