Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Crawling Around for Yarn

Busy, busy, busy. Two yarn crawls. Yes, TWO. The first, on October 6, was sponsored by a LYS, carrying 50 yarnaholics just like me on a chartered bus to five different LYS in the Texas Hill Country.

The second Yarn Crawl was one that I organized for our local Austin Knitting and Crocheting Meetup Group. This past May, I organized one where we visited Sandra Singh in Spicewood, Yarnbow in Lakeway, Craft-O-Rama in Austin, and Artisan Yarns in Burnet. We had, in a word, a BLAST. There was such a clamor for another one that I figure we could do this each season, covering different shops.

Personally, I like this smaller scale yarn crawl a lot better: We rent a 12 passenger van. The ideal capacity, we discovered, is NOT 12.

It is 10, reasonably, in comfort. On our May crawl, we had 10. On this second one on October 20, we filled it to the stated capacity of 12, and it was tight. Twelve is just a tad too many, for a variety of reasons: First, the van. People need elbow room; we're knitters, after all. Second, most shops are overwhelmed when of us 12 arrive at once.
Tough to get personal service that some need, as well as make purchases a timely manner, since there's usually one computer per shop for all transactions. And as you already know, each computer transaction takes forever. Multiply that 12 times and you have wasted a precious thirty to forty minutes at each and every shop when you could be ogling and fondling yarns someplace else. All that time adds up fast: On our small scale crawl, we spent a total of more than two hours just waiting to make purchases in the various stores. That's a lot of waiting-around time. Third, it's tough to get timely and good service in a restaurant for a party of 12. We time our lunch to be on the late side, but it's still difficult on a Saturday. On this latest trip, we tried the Dodging Duck in Boerne. They offer wonderful homemade beers, and the menu choices include a delicious German lunch complete with homemade soft pretzels. Lastly, we plan an ambitious itinerary: This time around, we visited Sandra Singh in Spicewood, the Old Oaks Ranch Fiber Studio in Wimberley, Ewe & Eye and Rosewood Yarns in Boerne, and a brand new shop in Austin, The Knitting Nest. See? We could have used those two hours!

The best discovery? There are so many yarns and so many yarn manufacturers and small-scale hand-dyers that there are only a few common overlaps in the products each shop offers. Even with products overlapping, the colorways each offers are different. Everyone wins, and it is a bonanza for knitters, crocheters, and fiber artists.

So, all this yarn means I must have a lot of projects.


Christmas is coming, and this Santa is busily working away on various items. I don't think it prudent to be more specific, since some of the giftees may peek in on this blog. Sufficeth to say there are currently 8 Christmas gifts on the needles. To top it off, I joined two Knit-A-Longs: The Mystic Waters Shawl KAL, which started today (eek!) and a Spring Shawl KAL, which begins January 1.

I can thank (or blame) Ravelry for my absence, too. I found the KALs there, and a bunch of patterns that I am adding to my queue soon (well, after Christmas is over). It is an astounding, globally diverse community of knitters making a mind-boggling array of projects. It's fabulous!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Teaser: A FEW Photos from Giverny, France

Giverny. Just saying the word evokes beautiful light, tangled gardens, the perfume of roses and waterlilies. It was amazing. Here are a few I just can't keep to myself. They are meant to be shared, like Monet's work.Not coincidentally, this is Monet's house, surrounded by those amazing gardens. Heaven. No wonder the guy lived to almost one hundred.

You can't imagine how heavenly it was to wander around his place and see the paintings come to life. There were so many "AHA!" moments.

Inside the house, the salon walls are covered with his work. COVERED, top to bottom. All the furnishings in this public room are shades of gold and ecru, so your attention is carried up and down the walls. It is such a happy feeling room.

Each and every room is painted in a different palette of colors, and all the furnishings are yet an entirely different palette, making for a strikingly lively yet harmonious scheme. Monet's love
affair with color really glows and shimmers here. Unfortunately, no photography is permitted inside the house. So you must go for yourself and see. Imagine the palette of the gardens in an interior space. That'll give you some idea of how color is splashed and dabbled around inside.