Dream Come True

Anne had a contest to talk about local yarn shops. She even posted somewhat of a wish list recently, which is what I think almost all of us need/want in a local yarn shop. Well, I’ve found one that is local, in a back roads, away from the city kind of way. Limerick Fibers (site under construction, but coming soon!), in Gordonsville, VA is a knitter’s dream. It’s cute. The owners are a mother-daughter team, and while I was there, I was introduced to another daughter and her wee daughter. I left work early and drove 25 minutes out into the country, and there on Main Street is the little grey building that is home to the best little yarn shop going.

I was in a good frame of mind to judge, as I’d picked up the last of the back ordered Cotton Fleece from the LYS in the city I frequent. (They know me by name, and even what I have in the works.) They’re nice enough now that they know me (and coincidentally, I’ve spent a boatload of money in there), but they’re still disorganized and always seem to lack whatever I went in there after. Not so at Limerick Fibers. They didn’t know me from Eve, and had not a clue whether I’d buy anything then or ever, but Paula assured me I should take my time, let her know if she could help, etc.

My cell phone has a camera. I should have used it. I have never seen so much Cascade 220 in one place, neatly stacked in wood stained cubes, higher than I could reach, in row after row. Sigh. There was even an entire row at the back with the Cascade Sierra, which is what I wanted to use for hubby’s blankie, but the above-mentioned LYS had one little cube full of maybe three colors, so I went with the Cotton Fleece, and still had to order five of the colors. I’m pleased with my selections, but the multi MONTH wait for the last color was unacceptable, and Cotton Fleece simply doesn’t have some of the colors I wanted. (There they are. There are multiple skeins of many of the colors, but you could have guessed that, since I said it was for a blanket, right?)

So, here is what I purchased, minus one more pattern that is for a swap. Those are Bryspun needles. Almost since I reconnected with my inner knitter, I’ve wanted to try them. Soy? Good, but you know about that, because I went overboard about why I love soy with the SWS. They have sharp points too, just like those awesome Options. Yep, despite my initial less than love for Cascade 220, there’s more of it in there. There’s also Euroflax in there, because Knitters Stash and a mystery customer in the above mentioned LYS said I needed to try it, and the mounds of beautimousness all around are the Plymouth Bamboo that called to me. It wants to be the vest on the left, because I don’t do sleeveless. And again, the folks at Limerick’s are so cool that when I began to walk around stroking the bamboo and talk to the spinny racks of patterns, Paula went downstairs to find the three balls she’d pulled for her own use and for a shop sample. With those three balls, there was just enough for the pattern. Joy! There’s another felted bag pattern on the teal paper, but that’s for a swap too.

These down-home geniuses are also going to have a wish list section on their website. Even without a working website, they noted the ball winder and swift I want for my birthday, and said to send my family in. My husband, sister and mother inlaw have all been so advised. (Already, I trust Paula and her family. I won’t end up with three swifts. They do gift certificates too.) They have spinning and needle felting stuff too.

I also got more lusciousness from Sheri at The Loopy Ewe. It’s in a colorway called “Preppy” in colors I love dearly, by Sknitches. I’m still called “Preppy” and this yarn makes me proud to share the title. It also makes me want to go buy some penny loafers too, but I wouldn’t really wear them. (I wonder if Clarks makes something like a penny loafer?)

Limerick’s could be better. No Sunday hours, only open five days a week, but I do feel sure that if I can’t leave work early and arrive there at 4:30, they’ll stay until I’ve selected what I need and want. They are heavy on Cascade, carrying yarns in that brand I had only seen on websites before. They don’t have much in the way of sock yarn, and I don’t know whether it is a plus or a minus, but they have no Yuck Yarn – that’s Noro Kureyon for the rest of you. However, they’re more than willing to custom-order, which is nice, but realistically, it means that the city LYSs will still get plenty of my business, as will the internet stores. That I feel comfortable sending my family in there speaks volumes. That I checked to make sure they won’t be closed for their family vacation while Anne is here means I’ve found the first “must see” stop on our Virginia yarn crawl.

Speaking of vacations, those crazy gals at the Knitter’s Virtual Vacation Swap are tricky! International dateline and all, sign-ups are already open! Be there or be square. I’m already plotting what would go in my Virginia is for lovers swap box. (That’s the state’s tourism slogan, or was for too many years while I was growing up anyway.) I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing what everyone else comes up with. Maybe I’ll be inspired to add to my places I want to go if I’m ever able to take more than four days of vacation at a time list.

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Movin’ On

Still no photos, but the felted bag swap bag is felted! It was HUGE before I felted it… but more on that once it has been received by my pal. It is beautiful, and assuming it finishes drying tonight, it will fly away tomorrow, along with baby blankie #1 (the only pink one). I never got it to the intended recipient, but another friend just had a baby girl, so away it goes.

I thought I’d respond to a few replies this morning. I love having comments, and being a chatty being, your comments spur on more comments from me!

Ironically, the bag in waiting (not to be confused with the SWS project) will have bamboo handles. Hooray! I seriously think I prefer i-cord to the flat stockinette handles. My husband was helping me stretch and shape said bag and handles last night, and he wants me to BLOCK the handles so they aren’t kinda’ curled in the middle and flat on the ends, but that’s what the picture shows, so I supposed the designer wanted that look. My problem is that I am easily bored, so something has to be changing for me not to whine to Anne about the project. (Hence, my immediate love affair with socks. My current sock project has a four-row repeat for the leg, so lots of change! Wheee!)

Sharon and I had our own little exchange about the joys of online friendships, but I wanted to encourage you again to check out her shop. It’s a great, new addiction that mixes well with knitting! Everyone can appreciate handmade soap, and this creative genius can whip up something personal with just a few words from you. And while I’m shamelessly promoting Sharon, be sure to check out her new swap. I’ve done a “beach in a box” for a friend before, so focusing on my own, tourism-rich hometown will be fun, especially knowing someone else will be doing the same for me.

Y’all also restored my faith in people, as you always do. Even if my own community isn’t full of respect for Memorial Day, there are plenty of people around who do honor the service and the real meaning of the day. And to Miss Me, November 11th is also Veterans Day here too. It is specifically for veterans, which is why I think Memorial Day is taking on more of a general service feel, although originally, I believe Memorial Day was to honor those dying in service for the country, while Veterans Day is to honor them all, dead or alive. However, in our family, Veterans Day does get a little lost in the shuffle, as it is also my very dear mother inlaw’s birthday.

Now, there’s some work to be done. Dang. I hate when work interupts my knitting and blogging!

Remember to Remember

Memorial Day seems to be falling out of “fashion” with a lot of folks. That makes me sad, and a bit angry if I really dwell upon it.

My ultimate online reference, Wikipedia says:

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed this year on 200705-28). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.

For much more information, go read on!

In my community, only the VFW (Veterans of Foreign War) and the Elks do much for the day. No big parade, no fireworks… It has become a “Whooohooo, Summer’s here!” party time, which hardly does justice to the remembrance my area has been respecting since just after the Civil War. You see, some cities were honoring their military dead at least that far back. I don’t mind that it has grown to include a general concept of service or a day of honor for all the dearly departed in our lives, but to equate it only with summer fun is a bit shallow, if I may say so. If you’re living in the USA, you’re enjoying freedoms that our veterans fought and died for. Please take a moment to reflect on that. Freedom really isn’t free, after all.

I’m going to borrow an idea from Sue and have a little personal Memorial Day roll call:

First, those still living:

My father inlaw : US Navy, Cuban Missile Crisis (Only recently have those serving then been recognized as vets of a foreign WAR, as the US didn’t declare war… same with Korea and much more. Sigh.)

My grandfather inlaw: US Army, WWII, Germany

My uncle and godfather: US Army, Vietnam, Vietnam jungles

My long-time former boss and life-long family friend: US Army, Vietnam, also “in country”, earned a Purple Heart

My stepson’s stepfather: US Army, Afghanistan

All the guys and gals from the fire department, representing every branch of the US Military

Next, those still serving:

My cousin’s husband: US Navy

My dear friend and former co-worker: US Navy, two tours in Iraq

Another friend and former co-worker: US Army, just back from Iraq

My second cousin: US Navy

My friend’s husband: US Navy

Another friend’s husband: US Army

(And yes, I know where they are, but I don’t know how classified their locations might be, so…)

And last, but not least, those who have died, but served:

My father: US Marine Corps, Korea

My uncle: US Army, Vietnam War, Germany

More of the firefighters, also representing several branches of the Military

Yet another Uncle: US Army, WWII, Europe. Lost both legs to compression complications later in life. He became my uncle because he and his best friend enlisted together, and he promised his friend to take care of the friend’s girlfriend if something happened. The friend was killed in combat, and the rest is history.

I’m sure I forgot a few, and I wish I could have named all the friends and former co-workers by name, because they deserve the honor, but I’d still be typing in an hour or so. So, my sincere thanks to those who served and are serving, and to their families.

Happy Memorial Day to all of you.

HSKS Trivia

“I’m not trying to say what she did was sensible. I’m just trying to make you see how she was feeling at the time.”

“You should write a book, translating mad things girls do so boys can understand them.”

HSKS trivia time! The above quotes are from the Order of the Phoenix. Hermione speaks first, followed by Ron.

Better Safe Than Sorry

I’m nothing if not conservative. (That’s not a political statement though.) Would that bit of ball have been enough to do the 100 rows of lavender in the straps? Maybe, but I couldn’t take that chance. (Somebody tell my hubby I need digital scales AND the winder and swift for my birthday!) And no Anne, that’s not i-cord. I believe I would rather do 400 rows of i-cord than 400 rows of stockinette at 10 stitches wide.
The good news is that by bedtime, my felted bag pal’s gift will be knitted. Then comes the finishing and felting and such, but that’s the only picture you’ll see until it reaches my pal.
That also means that I’m casting on with the SWS tomorrow, or later tonight! Yeah!
In other knitting news, I have finally selected a pattern for my HSKS pal’s bag. The sock yarn and a pattern are on the way, so that leaves needles, stitch markers and other treats to find. The yarn for the bag too, as I cannot sew a bit, must be purchased, but I’m hoping to do that Tuesday on my mini road trip to check out the promising new-to-me yarn shop the next little village over.
See?! I’m knitting. I just can’t show you what I’m knitting. Sockem? I miss you, but we’ll be together soon. Very soon…
Thanks to all for the well-wishes for Mugsy. He’s doing well. We, however, are not. It’s no fun trying to keep even an 11+ year old Jack Russell from running and jumping. By the time the 8 weeks pass, he will think his name is “Mugsy, no. NO MUGSY!” and he will believe those words are always followed by a human grabbing his little nubby tail, or at least, lunging in that direction.

On the Outside Looking In

My mother inlaw is awesome, especially when it comes to supporting my knitting habit. She’s a bit puzzled by this “swapping thing” though. She gets that Mary won a prize, but while she sat and watched me prepare my pal’s first package for the Spring Felted Bag Exchange, she had more questions than I had answers.

Why are you sending stuff to someone you don’t know? Couldn’t she already have one of these? What if she doesn’t like this pattern? (Followed by, “I don’t, but I do like these colors…” Note to self: remember those colors for a bag at some point for MIL.)

Now, my mother inlaw is nothing if not kind and generous, so it’s not that she thinks it’s silly to send care packages. It’s that we knitters have this whole “swap thing” going, and we seem to enjoy the whole secret pal part a lot. Why is that?

For me, I swap because I tend to get in ruts, and I love that someone else will likely buy something for me I wouldn’t consider on my own. That, and I wanted to know someone else who knits besides The Yarn Family. Not that Anne isn’t the best friend a girl could have, and Tina is so like her little sister with her kind support and willingness to help a novice out, but once I realized from just reading Anne’s blog that there was a whole, vast, international community of cool knitters out there, I wanted to be a part! So, I began blogging, signed up for the most recent Knitters Treat Exchange, and the rest is history.

Now, I must return to cleaning, and making room in the study for my ever-growing stash.

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

Warning – the precious little knitting content is at the bottom.

That’s what Mugsy is thinking. It has been a rough day, for both of us.

Annual visits to the vet aren’t bad. My dogs love Dr. Nancy. (If you live in Central VA and need a good vet, leave your email and a comment.) But today sucked. Mugsy’s 11+, so we weren’t expecting anything eventful. Here’s how the “goin’ to the vet” day works:

The dog in question goes to work with me. This is considered a treat for the dog and the employees not working in the office. Those in the office are excited for precisely as long as it takes dog in question to get on their last nerve, generally less than ten minutes. You see, as Anne can attest, both of my doggies believe the world revolves around them. If you don’t see it that way, they will attempt to educate you. So, at some point, we head to the vet, where said dog also walks in like he owns the place, and the dear people there seem to encourage these notions with too many treats, kisses, and glares at me when I attempt to demand manners from the dog. Afterwards, we swing by Arbys, where the dog gets his own small roast beef, hold the bun for Mugsy, but not for Fred!

That’s how it went for the first part. Then, Dr. Nancy looked at me over the top of her glasses when I mentioned Mugsy’s “loose hip” was acting up. Dumb me. She has a million patients, but *SHE* remembers it is his left hip, yet he is favoring his right rear leg today. Uh-oh. So, after the shots, toenail trim, looking at a warty growth on his neck, letting him lick her face, etc., she asks me to give her a hand. She begins to manipulate his right rear leg, all the while telling me that normally, they have to put the dog under to perform this test, but we both know Mugsy has a whopper of a pain threshold, and he will let Dr. Nancy do stitches, staples, etc. without the usual anesthesia. The result: my old baby has a torn ACL. Surgery isn’t an option because of his age and his size, so for EIGHT WEEKS, no fetch, no long walks, no running, no jumping, etc. With a bit of luck, enough scar tissue will develop to support the other ligaments in that knee.

So, between two shots, the whole temperature taking-thing, and a long day at the office, Mugsy is exhausted. Too much so to protest posing with the two packages that arrived today. The long awaited, twice-shipped Charmed Knits, and my prize from the Charmed Knits contest, Not Your Mama’s Felting are here. The Creative Knitting is in there to remind me to tell you that my July copy never arrived. Sigh. I’ve filled out the appropriate online form on their website, so hopefully, I’ll hear from them soon, and it will arrive soon too. POUT.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go snuggle the invalid and flip through my new books. And knit, of course.