Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Location, Location, Location

Greetings, fellow yarnies!  Or real estate friends...this post will mostly be about real estate and how I haven't had any time to knit.

That's not entirely true...I did review Viking Odin Superwash in my column it is:

The pattern was the free exclusive pattern during the Chicago Yarn Crawl at Wool and Company in St. Charles...if you didn't get a chance to pick it up, definitely purchase it.  You have enough yarn for one pattern-length cowl and then one one-section-shorter cowl if you reverse Colors A and B in the pattern, so for two balls of yarn you have two Christmas gifts out of the way!  Also, since it's knit in the round and the colors show up by slipping stitches, there ain't a purl in the bunch (save for two rows).

You know how much I hate to purl...actually, you know how much my friends Kathleen and Dawn hate to purl...

Anyway, I have been in Donald Trump mode this week, which is why I decided to do a yarn review this week in my column.  The pattern takes literally a few hours to make...GREAT instant gratification knitting.  I closed on a three-flat yesterday (for those of you in Florida or Texas or anywhere else where there is no basement, a "three-flat" is a three-unit apartment building that looks like a big house).  Then today, I put my own house on the market and am getting ready to list one of my rental units.  Basically if it isn't about rent or mortgages, I probably can't hear you.

Here is my finished cowl, by the way...

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go and fix a dishwasher for one tenant and bring boxes and a bottle of wine to another one.  Seriously.  Then I have to wash the walls and floors of my house, put a few items in boxes, introduce myself to my new tenants, and I'm thinking I'll pick up my knitting needles again around November or so.  God help me.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yarn Crawl Hangover

Good evening!

I have one more Yarn Crawl article left in me, but for now, I just thought I would recap.  Especially since I actually...gulp...finished a project this week!  See, this is what Zauerballs are for...

See, I got to a point where I had to, HAD to, finish my Zauerball socks.  While I was laid up like an invalid and still working at both Planet Walmart (I got kicked out two days in a row, and a doctor at Elmhurst finally told me, "You're not planning on standing at all, are you?") and Knot Just Knits, I had plenty of spare time all of a sudden.  For those who don't know, I knitted two socks at a time, from both the inside and the outside of the ball.  For all of you Zauerballers, I know the company recommends not pulling from the inside of the ball, but I had zero problems.  And if you go from left toe to right toe, you see the colorway from the outside to the inside core of the ball.  Note the approximately eighteen inches of yarn left on the top of the socks...that's how I roll.

Crazy Zauerballs should not be wasted.

Anyway, the reception to my pattern was overwhelming...I was so very thankful for that.  For those of you not in the area, here is the listing on Ravelry:

Now, it's time to get back to the Vogue Knitting pattern.  I have one panel of...I don't remember...eight?  Ten?...finished.  Slowly but surely, both knitting-wise and life-wise, I'm getting back on my feet.  The first major thing was checked off the list, and the second major thing should be checked off this week.  The Yarn Crawl was not really something to check off my list, but at the same time, it gave me an iota of confidence that I had lost over the last couple of years.  I also heard a tiny bit of negative feedback through my Ravelry group about the Yarn Crawl, which is still positive because small businesses are just like any other company; they need to hear where they can improve.  There certainly wasn't a bunch of negative feedback DURING the Crawl...I ran into more friendly yarn enthusiasts than I can even count, and I even got used to Renee pointing to me and saying, "Amy here is the person who designed this awesome pattern!"

On second thought, I still turned slightly pink when she called that out.  But it's a big deal to me...after the following picture was taken, two more balls of Eco+ were sold to make my pattern.  Now, Eco+ is pretty lofty but it did take up two thirds of the table when the Yarn Crawl started...that's four feet of table reduced to eight inches of table:

Anyway, I was also so happy to help out Elizabeth, who has been so good to me and my creativity pretty much since she opened.  I remember going in there ten days after her doors opened for business...I had no idea a yarn shop had opened in Oak Park, but I happened to walk by and look in the window.  I doubled back, and of course a beautiful friendship was born.  Elizabeth is a good yarn psychologist.  She handed me a ball of Kauni in their rainbow colorway and said, "This has yardage for days, the colors are great, and it felts like a dream.  Walk around with it.  See if it speaks to you."

It did.  I purchased it.  I made the hat in my The Fiber Friend facebook page and that photo was taken at the UPS store, right before I sent it to its intended recipient, one of my favorite members of the military EVER.

Oh yeah...that hat was worn in Afghanistan.  This hat:

Have a good night...I'm going to compile my feedback from the Crawl.  Or knit.  Or think about walking, which I can't do much of.  Or make sugar free pudding with almond milk.  Or...

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Other Side Of The Coin

Good evening!  It's Yarn Crawl and Stitches Midwest week, so I have had a lot to write about, but I've also had a lot of knitting time, thanks to a few key moments.  The first one is that I went to the Pacific Northwest for a few days, and...well...the flight was a bit long.  I was knitting my Zauerball socks, but there is one pattern on the front and another on the back, so I have to be able to see the instructions for both sides at the same time.  This is what I came up with:

Then, I finished my size of the Yarn Crawl pattern for Knot Just is the listing on Ravelry if you'd like to see it:

I made it in a different yarn, figuring I needed to make sure it could translate.  It did, well enough where I wore it to work one night.  On the first day of the Yarn Crawl, I worked at Knot Just Knits and the first person I encountered was gushing about my pattern.  Every nerve I had about thinking, "I hope everyone but me doesn't think it's ugly" vanished in a millisecond.

So that's when I decided to post the pattern on Ravelry before the Yarn Crawl ended...Elizabeth already told me she didn't care, so I knew it wasn't a big deal.  Within 24 hours, I had sold three patterns and 74 people had favorited it in their library.  Wow...double thank-you.

Then I spent Day Two at the Woolly Lamb...they are usually closed on Sundays so I wanted to see what Crawlers were coming in.  If I can get my butt out of bed in the morning, I'll write an article about it...such a great store.  Great yarn.  Great atmosphere.  Great help.  Just great great great...I can't say enough nice things about the place, and of course they are the Chicago-exclusive distributor of Bergere de France, which is the most heavenly of the heavenly yarns, ever.

Tomorrow, I am heading back to Knot Just Knits for a work is so interesting to me to be an employee versus a manager.  I am the first to admit that I'm not the best at my "day" job, but I am decent at managing a crew, making good decisions, and getting people to be productive.  It has been a long time since my only job was to basically sell stuff and make the customer happy, but we are.  It was actually GREAT fun, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow.  Knitters are simply awesome.

By the way, I'm wrapping up my coverage of the Yarn Crawl with a Best of the Best list...if you have any feedback, please do contact me privately with your thoughts.  I can't actually do the Crawl this year since I'm an employee, but I want customer-driven feedback on what they like about the Crawl.  Specifically..

Best atmosphere 
Friendliest employees 
Best free pattern 
Best raffle prize 
Best LYS neighborhood…where are the best surrounding restaurants and shopping? 
Best yarn selection
Best non-Yarn Crawl sales and deals

Please also share with other Crawlers...either have them email me at or contact me through Ravelry at thefiberfriend.

I'm hoping to finish the Zauerball socks (in the photo above) by the end of next week so I can get back to knitting the Vogue 30th Anniversary asymmetrical tunic pattern...that Cascade Eco+ and one and a half finished panels keep staring at me, but I'm already doing one confusing pattern with cables.  Makes more sense to finish that sucker and then put the Zauerball socks on my feet while I knit the tunic.  Who's picturing it?  Oh by the way...I'm knitting the Zauerball from the toe up until I run out of yarn, meaning they will probably be knee-highs.  Enough of a visual?

Let me know how the Crawl is going...I'd love to hear from you!