Saturday, January 30, 2010

Have You Been Anywhere Great Lately?

Before Knitwits, I used to travel a lot. I would finish my trips and head off to take full advantage of my free flight benefits in a quest to find the perfect yarn shop. I carried a yarn shop directory in my rollerboard suitcase and I would research of the closest yarn shops in each state and city that I visited. Yarn shops are like snowflakes-there are no two alike!

When I discovered Knitwits on my way to workout at Better Bodies, my life changed. Back then, Knitwits was a teeny tiny yarn shop in the back of a pottery painting studio. The shelves were stocked with lovely novelty yarns and large knitting needles since scarf knitting was all the rage. For me (a sweater knitter) Knitwits was not the perfect yarn shop---but, there was something very special about the shop. The people in the shop were smiling and laughing and you couldn't tell who actually worked there. I ended up spending the rest of the day and most of the next day at the shop. I bought some Araucania organic cotton yarn in circus peanut orange because this was the only yarn that they had a sweater quantity of.

After Knitwits opened, I found myself spending more and more time in the 41017-it was no longer just a place where I picked up mail, did laundry and repacked my bags. Suddenly, I had friends in the 41017-not just an address. Crescent Springs, KY began to feel like home to me.

Six years later, I leave the 41017 only for work and the rare special occaision to venture off to a new restaurant or movie (with someone else willing to drive). My quest for finding the perfect yarn shop is over. The perfect yarn shop for me is right in my neighborhood!

On my last trip, a co-worker who knew me from my travel days asked me if I had been anywhere great lately. They were expecting answers like Italy, France, Miami, Las Vegas, and Maine. The new me answered, "I went to see Avatar in 3-D." Boy, have things changed!

Knitwits was a birthday present from George Haney to Janet and what a great gift it has been for all of us. This weekend marks the second anniversary of George Haney's passing. He is dearly missed!

Janet and Sarah are hoping to spend the weekend together in Ireland. I will be manning the shop. If you're looking for somewhere great to go this weekend, join me in sharing George's memory and gift.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The New Year

Well, this New Year is off to a bang.
The shop has been busy and the classes are full!
Work (Comair) has been busy and the flights are full!
My needles have been busy and my project queue is full!

So, has anything changed? Well, yes they have. This year, things just seem more fun and purpose-ful. I seem to be enjoying myself more and stressing less. :-)

This year, we've planned things for the shop that we're really really excited about.
The Sweater Workshop that Ashley is leading is a great, laidback way to learn some tips, tricks and helpful skills that really bone up your knitting. If you missed this go 'round, be sure to sign up for the next session. Ashley is a great teacher and the Dr. Suess-like project is totally stress free knitting.

The Block of the Month KAL is a great way to create a family heirloom over the course of the year and the friendships made will last a lifetime. The skills involved grow with each block and each block is a manageable amount of knitting.

The Freeform Purse Class is a great way to learn to knit flowers and embellishments while using up your stash and scrap yarn. I'm really excited about this class because I need to learn to knit with freedom and go "outside of the box" (patternless). We are also planning a purse finishing workshop that will cover linings and adding purse handles like a professional.
The girl from Jul, a really lovely line of buttons, handles, buckles and knitting stuff, will be teaching this and having a trunk show of her lovely creations. So...pull out all of your unfinished felted bags, knitted purses and purse patterns that you have dreams of making and have them ready for the purse finishing workshop and trunk show.

Also in the works is a Knitting Retreat. We had one year's ago and we think it is time to plan another one for this spring.

We also know that life is made up of more than just knitting time, so we're working on some programs to indulge our other hobbies---like wine, movies, food and fellowship. A Wine Tasting Event should be on our schedule in the next few weeks. I'll drink to that!

Well, so much for stressing less--that roster of exiting things in the pipeline makes me realize how much easier it would be to announce these goodies if we had an updated website! I'm going to move the website project towards the top of the to-do pile.

Only one more day of flying and I'll have some time off!
See you soon.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Breaking All The Rules

I truly tested my knitting skills, luck and sanity with my latest project. In one single project, I broke ALL of the rules every written about knitting!

Here’s the deal, someone knit “Not Steve” a wool hat several years ago and he loves this hat! He describes this hat as “Perfect”-he really likes the color, the fit and the warmth. He mentions this hat often and I finally got a chance to see the coveted hat about a month ago when we went for a long winter walk. When I saw the hat, “Perfect” was not what came to mind-I envisioned the Sublime Best Guy Hat or the Lima One Skein Hat. I didn’t envision an oversize yarmulke or extra deep knitted Frisbee - but I hid my surprise because I knew that this hat was THE HAT, the standard that all other hats would be compared to.

When “Not Steve” mentioned that he needed a basic black hat for work, it was a bittersweet moment. I would love to knit him something-but do I dare? They say “Never knit your man a sweater.” I don’t know who “they” are and I know a black hat is NOT a sweater-but knitting for a man is tough.

All of my current projects have gotten too large to tote around on a four day trip and still have room for a decent supply of clean clothes. I needed some yarn to keep me entertained for 4 days so I grabbed some yarn from the shop. For "Not Steve's" hat, I took one skein of defective, black Baby Alpaca Grande-this would be warm and cozy and the choices of black yarn are quite limited. It was defective because Jill had been trying to wind it for a customer and it refused to wind in one piece, so we set it aside. I could only locate one set of 16” circular needles before I left on my trip- size unknown but somewhere around a #4 or #5. The Baby Alpaca Grande ball band recommends using a #10 or #10-1/2 needle-oh well. I had no pattern in mind-so I was going to have to wing it and trust my hat knitting experience to guide me. Nothing but the best for Not Steve--defective baby Alpaca Grand, mystery knitting needles that are way too small and no pattern. This should work well!

I cast on 122 stitches to insure a good loose fit. After thinking about it for a minute or two, I took off 2 stitches. It still sounded like too many so I started over with 80. This sounded like too few so I added 8. Eighty-eight was the magic number! Round and round I went. Then, I decided to add a personal little touch and charted out a 2SOAR2, a phrase that he uses. Round and round I went again and again. After about 8 inches, I started my decreases and with about a yard of defective Baby Alpaca Grande left, I was finished! I tried the hat on and it fit me pretty well and looked good! :-)

Knitting for a man with one ball of defective yarn, no swatch, wrong needle size and no pattern--there is no way that this hat should have worked! The knitting police should have arrested me!

I talked to “Not Steve” about this chance knitting endeavor. The analogy I used was driving across the country with no map or GPS and one tank of gas. He was not surprised in the least that I was able to accomplish the nearly impossible when it comes to knitting. (He knows me well enough to know that driving to Ohio without a map, GPS and one tank of gas is NOT possible for me.) He has always been very supportive of my knitting obsession and encourages me to think about taking my knitting to higher levels like possible knitting business opportunities.

Back to the hat. As pleased as I am that I was able to knit a hat while breaking all of the rule of knitting, I think the Defective Baby Alpaca Grande Hat will only serve as a prototype for “Not Steve’s” real work hat. It is probably too fitted and not Frisbee-like enough for his liking. I’ll have him try it on and make adjustments from there.

If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
Katherine Hepburn

Friday, January 8, 2010

Pajama Time

Almost a week between entries? Bad blogger! I got so busy with inventory, year-end paperwork, flying and knitting up our gorgeous yarns that this poor blog just got neglected. But for those eagerly awaiting an era of more frequent posting, some good news -I have lots to blab about.

I have been knitting like a fiend. After knitting a bazillion Christmas stockings, knitting something fun and with luscious yarns is so exciting. I'm totally inspired by the yarns we carry and the patterns we rediscovered during inventory.

I just completed a Bolsoi Beret out of Sublime Wooly Merino. This wasn't really planning to knit this hat - in fact, I followed the wrong pattern- I meant to knit the Russian Hat. But, I really love the beret. I took a ball of Glimmer on my last trip and knit a sample of a Scarf from the new Vogue Knitting. This is a super great pattern for learning lace, bobbles, cables, pattern and chart reading. I'm also close to finishing the crazy Norah Gaughan pentagon shrug from the cover of Winter 2006/07 Vogue Knitting (see above). I'm using Winter White Rowan Cocoon because I really like this yarn! This project was easier and more fun then I thought it would be. Norah Gaughan is a genius and I had to knit one of her patterns. While I vowed to finish unfinished objects and knit projects that have been in my cue, I can't help myself from starting new and totally unplanned things!

Yesterday's snow day provided me with an unplanned day off. I stayed at home all day with the fake fireplace on. I stayed in my pajamas until 2:00, showered, and put on a fresh pair of Pj's. I piddled around getting little accomplished all morning and then I knit (knitted? ). I can't remember the last time I hunkered down at home for a whole day! I'm feeling slightly guilty for
indulging my current knitting obsession-and not blogging-but it was the perfect day for it.

I'll really try to be a more disciplined knitter and a better blogger. I need to blog about some of the great stuff we're working on like Ashley's Sweater Workshop, meeting with reps for Spring yarn buying and our future KALs, but for now, my car needs to be scrapped off, the shop needs to be opened and I need to get out of my pajamas!


Friday, January 1, 2010


Happy New Year!- and I'm not just saying that to be polite, I really mean it!
It is very hard to believe that it's another New Year and the start of a new decade! As you know, I'm not really a holiday person and New Years is one of those holidays that I don't really enjoy-too much anticipation and too many expectations. This year is different! I must be excited about it because I'm up early (again) and looking forward to enjoying every minute of today.

2010 kind of snuck up on me and with our new motto "Aim Low", my expectations are not too great as to disappoint me in this new decade. I excited about today and this new year because I feel like I am starting this new year with a healthy attitude and positive outlook. I have chosen to accept my crazy life and be responsible for my ability and inability to complete the tasks at hand. I am no longer my own worst enemy.

I will always have a growing to-do list, I will always have to juggle two jobs and too much to do in too little time, I will always have too many knitting projects to finish and a stronger desire to start new ones--but these are the things that make life exciting and challenging. With help from our many friends, our loyal customers, and family....things will get accomplished and we will have fun doing them.

There are many great things about blogging. It is easier for me to share thoughts, comments and observations through the blog than it is for me to express them verbally. Blogging helps me organize the noise in my head and filters out the nonsense (for the most part). And finally, blogging makes me accountable for my actions-by making a public announcement in the blog, I feel like I am responsible for seeing my actions through. So, we will get things done and we will have fun!

Today's To Do List:
Eat something "long" like spaghetti or sauerkraut-this is for a "long life" according to my mother.
Drink 7 glasses or more of water
Finish something-anything big or little
Do something fun
Enjoy the day!