Monday, August 31, 2009

Fair entries--ugh what a day!

So I went to the fair today to drop of my lapghan and other items I'm entering and I must say I was surprised at how unpleasant the experience was. There was a LONG line of people waiting to check in and luckily when I got to the front, I passed through rather quickly since I had preregistered. That was the end of the pleasantries apparently.

I walked down to the needlework department table (after being misdirected several times) and waited in another line. I handed over my entry form to 2 ladies I'm guessing were just shy of 90. (FYI--I have no problem with the elderly in general). They started asking me for my items in the order listed on the form and argued over every one of them. They didn't know knitting from crocheting, yet seemed to dispute each entry as being the wrong category. Then they both felt the need to make snarky comments about each item (baby hat was too small, scarf looked like a belt, Steeler baby booties were just a silly idea, etc). The one lady had ragged fingernails and snagged 2 of the items before they got to the display tables.

When they finally finished insulting me and the items, they handed them off to the woman who displayed them according to category. She then made her own round of snide comments about each entry. I fully expect if I get each of the items back, they will be dirty, snagged, and obviously not winner of any ribbons.

What happened to the family friendly county fair that I remember as a kid? Perhaps if these ancient fair organizers are not happy about accepting this reseponsibilites, they shouldn't do it! I heard the ladies at the next table gushing over each entry given to them (flowers) and they were nothing more than ordinary flowers like the ones I got from the store to plant outside. Apparently, the long time fair entrants and friends of fair staff got the pleasant treatment only.

Guess I'll find someplace else to enter items next year!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Lion Brand FREE patterns!

I have long been a fan of Lion Brand yarn and recently found their wonderful website, blog and newsletter. Recently, Lion Brand put all of their 2700+ patterns on their website to FREE status. There are some patterns that are still copyrighted to other designers and have a fee to download, but 2700 is great news!

You can search the patterns by search terms or categories. My ONLY complaint is that the have the same pattern using different types of yarn and call it different patterns. That kind of bugs me. But overall, I think it is a great resource for finding new and interesting things to make--especially if you use any of their yarn like I do!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

CPSIA update!

CPSIA has voted not to include yarn in the lead testing requirement. Here's the first part of the article at

"A new vote has exempted fabric and yarn from the lead testing and certification requirements for children’s products under the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The exemption, which is expected to go into effect within a matter of days, does not include snaps, buttons, zippers and the like. The result is that the final garment will still need to be tested."

So as long as there are no snaps, buttons, etc, we are cool! Good news for those of us who pulled all the baby stuff off their site or stopped making it to comply!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Lapghan--like it or hate it?

So I decided to enter some items in the local county fair. And like every good procrastinator, I sent it the entry form before I had finished (ok, started) most of the items. I have 5 of them done, but the final one is bothering me. It's a crocheted lapghan. I've never made one before, but let's face it, it's just a small afghan or about the size of a baby or child's blanket.

I pulled out some yarn one night and finished this one rather quickly. However, the next day, in the daylight, I wasn't as excited about the colors as I was the night before. Is it too funky? Should I do another one with different colors instead? I need YOUR help!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2 new yarn stores in 1 day in the big city!

So yesterday I had a meeting in Pittsburgh and I thought why not scope out some new yarn stores. I found several in the city and a couple on the way there. I decided on 2 and managed not to get lost on the way to the first one. I won't name it because the lady was rather scary and offered to give me lessons, but called me stupid when I said I wanted to learn socks on circular needles versus dpns. Needless to say, she did not get any of my business.

The second store was Knit One in Squirrel Hill. I got lost on the way there (thought it was in Shadyside) and they gave me great directions by phone. Very fun place and if I lived in the city again, I would probably live there on their comfy couch. Picked out some great yarn by Beracco--Vintage Wool and Comfort Chunky. I asked for it to be wound into pull skeins and they showed me how to do it on their winder--so cool!

Been exploring Berocco's website and found a blog and new FREE patterns. Love it!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Wicked the cat and yarn...

This is Wicked the cat. He is 5 1/2 years old and since I adopted him almost 4 years ago, he has lived up to his name in many ways (hence the reason I named him that). However, the one thing he had NEVER done was show any interest at all in my yarn stash. I laughed at the many stories of other knitters/crocheters who had cats destroying their IPOs or digging in their stashes. I was very thankful that Wicked was rather uncharacteristically well behaved in that area. I even used to tempt him with small balls of left over yarn, but he had no interest at all.....that is, until this morning.

I woke up and Wicked was not asleep on the washer as he normally was each day. I knew something was up so I was careful to look where I walked in fear of stepping in something warm and squishy. In the living room stretched from end to end was an unraveled ball of eyelash-type yarn. Wicked left sort of an art project for me. Almost all of it was damp or wet from him chewing on it. Gross! I guess he had a fun night! He was already under the sofa expecting to get yelled at, but I just laughed. Guess I learned my lesson on trusting yarn with a cat--can't control their playful nature forever.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Approaching other knitters.

So I was at the library last night picking up some books, when I saw this woman about my age or so knitting in the reading area. Something light blue and complicated looking on circulars. Now I wanted to go over and say hi, maybe introduce myself as a fellow knitter and ask questions, but she was wearing headphones, which to me is a clear "Go away and don't bug me sign." I read all these stories on other blogs and Yahoo groups about people who found a knitting friend by seeing them knitting in public, but I guess I'm too shy to approach a total stranger and invade their privacy. Jeez, I need some help! lol

Friday, August 14, 2009

I followed a crochet pattern!

I have been crocheting for almost 30 years and so far I have avoided following a pattern. Let me explain. My aunt Norma taught me to crochet when I was about 12 and if she taught me more, the only stitch I remembered was double crochet (dc). So I made many, many, many scarves, afghans, and baby blankets with this boring stitch thinking I was quite talented. A few years ago I decided to learn knitting and then looming shortly after and I began to realize crocheting was much more than one simple stitch. I learned a few more, but avoided actually making something from a pattern. Not sure what I was so afraid of.

Then on Facebook, I found some old high school buddies. One suggested I look up his wife on Etsy (Jaybird Designs). I did and immediately bought a pattern for a really cute scarf. After much, much frogging, I finally completely the first one.

Jen (the designer) had a good laugh over my years of experience and difficulty completing an easy pattern. But I'm quite proud of conquering my fear and whipped out a second one.

I have since gone pattern crazy and plan to master a lot new stitches and stich combinations. Jen's work can be found at

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Adventures with first flat panel and blocking

Well, after using looms for 2 years and only making tubular items, I decided to finally learn how to do flat panels. I had tried a year or 2 ago , but gave up as I couldn't figure out how to slip the stitches on the ends (still can't). But knitting them seeming easier, so I tried a scarf with super bulky Red Heart Zoomy. I ewrapped the whole thing--big mistake I guess. Not sure if the yarn increased the issue, but it rolled up to be 2" wide. I crocheted a border on it, but that didn't help, so I frogged it off.

So I had another first--blocking. I wet it completely, folded it in half (it was over 8') and pinned it to my ironing board.

After letting it dry, I took out the pins and was SO EXCITED because the scarf was perfectly flat. I picked it up, shook it out a little, and ZIP, it rolled back up again. Not quite a small as originally, but a tube nonetheless. I was rather discouraged because I had mastered the tube scarves ages ago and really wanted something nice and flat. I chatted with my list buddies on Yahoo and realized that the all ewrapping or knitting was the culprit and without purls, it was always going to curl. So, I decided to leave it like it is and promote it as a long scarf good for wrapping.

I love it now!