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Posts Tagged ‘yarn’

When I started knitting, back in college, I lived in a town with both a Hobby Lobby and a Michaels, but no local yarn shop for several hundred miles. Not knowing what I was missing, I wasn’t greatly bothered by this – until I got bored with knitting only scarves, bought a couple of knitting books, joined Ravelry, and discovered the big wide world of non-acrylic yarn (including wool that actually doesn’t itch! A revelation).

Once I discovered the range of gorgeous yarns available, I became kind of a snob about craft-store yarn – though it has its uses, I admit. And while I kinda miss Hobby Lobby (we don’t have it up here), I miss it for picture frames and other craft supplies, not for yarn. Because I have found a new place to buy yarn. And – this is dangerous – it’s only three blocks from where I work.

The Windsor Button is hidden in plain sight, just another gray storefront on a street of gray storefronts, next to a wig shop (not kidding), and near a taco joint, a convenience store, the entrance to the subway, and a shoe shop. It has linoleum floors and fluorescent lights, and if you were just passing by you’d never know it held such treasure.

But. Walk inside, and behold the rack of yummy Madelinetosh yarns hanging up near the entrance, and feast your eyes on a WHOLE WALL of buttons, of all conceivable shapes, sizes, materials and colors, and you’ll be in crafter heaven.

I don’t only come here for yarn – I’ve bought thread, needles, denim patches and, of course, buttons from this shop. The employees are friendly, the stock large, the prices fair and the location perfect. But I mainly come to pet the pretty skeins of yarn, hold different colors up to my face, or try to find the perfect yarn for whatever new pattern I just downloaded. (My last dozen projects, at least, are made with yarn I bought here.)

I’m so grateful to have a shop just down the street to indulge my yarn cravings – as well as pick up thread or buttons on my lunch break. But I’m even more grateful to have another place to “dwell in possibility.” Because all those skeins and spools and buttons are possibilities just waiting to be knitted and sewn and crafted and transformed into reality. And that makes my head spin. In a good way.

Where do you go to feed your creative passions – or to glean inspiration?

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I didn’t do a whole lot of Christmas knitting this year – just a pair of mitts for Abi, a matching cowl-and-hat set for my J (finished after Christmas), and a pink cowl for my Lizzie (also finished after Christmas, due to deadlines and projects beyond my control).

However, I still love the idea of January as Selfish Knitting Month, and I’d been eyeing a couple of me-projects for a while now. So here they are:

I’d knitted a pink Thermis cowl in a waffle stitch for Lizzie, and I decided I wanted one too – so here it is, made of yummy soft Malabrigo worsted:

(Buttons and yarn from the fabulous Windsor Button, my main source for yarn and sewing notions these days. Ravelled here.)

Next up: a new pair of fingerless mitts, since I needed a backup for my beloved black Princess Mitts. These Snapdragons (Rav link), knit in lovely madelinetosh dk, fit the bill. (The color is Composition Book Grey – perfect for a writer!)

I also squeezed in a baby gift set for a friend, and a black lacy beret for my sister. Still working on another cowl for me – I’m going to need warm handknits for a while yet. I think selfish knitting is definitely allowed when it’s this cold.

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Selfish Knitting Month

I went crazy with Christmas knitting this year. When all was said and done, I knitted three pairs of felted slippers, four cowls, three pairs of fingerless gloves, three hats and a set of three dishcloths for gifts. (I did start this madness in October, so it wasn’t quite as frantic as you might assume.) However, by the end of December I was good and ready to knit something for myself – and so I declared the time from Christmas to the end of January “Selfish Knitting Month.” (I did steal the name from Melynda, whose French Press Slipper pattern made several lovely Christmas gifts.)

I’d been jonesing for a red hat for months, so over Christmas I knitted myself a Star Crossed Slouchy Beret in a lovely, deep red Malabrigo colorway called Sealing Wax. Here it is:

(This was one of the quickest things I’ve ever knit – and it is so soft. It stretched out a little with wear, but after a wash and some fiddling, it fits fine again.)

Next up was one of Melynda’s patterns – the Breckenridge Cowl, made with the leftover Sealing Wax and a pink-and-red colorway called Amoroso. Hence I dubbed it the Valentine Cowl.

I’ve since added two toggle buttons, bought on Etsy, to keep it closed – but the post-button photos aren’t quite as good. I love these colors – and it’s SO soft and cozy. (I always thought I hated wool until I discovered Malabrigo Merino Worsted.)

I apparently can’t get enough of Melynda’s patterns, or cozy cowls, or shades of red – so I had to knit her Autumn Orange Cowl pattern (since mine is cranberry-colored, it’s my Cranberry Cowl):

(Somewhere in here I attempted a black slouchy beret, but had to frog it – rip it out – because it was HUGE when I finished. I was disappointed – but have big plans for another pattern with the same yarn.)

My most recent triumph – just finished last night – is a pair of Princess Mitts, to provide a little contrast to my lovely red coat:

This braided cable is by fair the most complex pattern I’ve ever attempted – and it came out beautifully. I am SO pleased. (And so in love with the softness of Malabrigo Silky Merino.)

I have at least another hat and cowl planned for me before I get back to gift and charity knitting (though I have squeezed in a hat for Lizzie and another pair of slippers since Christmas). It’s lovely once in a while to be able to knit for yourself, without guilt and with enjoyment – and if the weather forecast is correct, I’ve got plenty of cold weather left to enjoy my new handknits.

Thanks for letting me gush about Selfish Knitting Month. Now, to go and cast on the next project…

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