Thursday, September 29, 2005

Another View of Stitches

By now, Blogworld has covered the topic thoroughly, but I feel like I ought to chime in. These are going to be some pretty unformed thoughts, though, because otherwise you wouldn't see them until weeks from now.

I didn't see anything I wanted to knit. On the attendees, on display in other booths, anywhere--usually, a few things will grab me and at least tempt me to cast on. Or make me think about borrowing a design element for some other project, or something. Granted, there were some mighty attractive shawls on display, but I don't know that there were any I didn't already know about; it was more like, "Right, I'm always thinking about making Lotus Blossom, maybe I oughtta move it up in the queue."

Not that I disliked what I saw. But there were lots of very busy sweaters made of multiple different textures of handdyed and/or novelty yarns, and I used to really, really want one of them (cut me some slack--we're talking about the late 1980's here), but I'm over that now. These sweaters follow the same trend I see in yarns at Stitches: the visual environment is so overstimulating that everything seems to get "louder" every year in an effort to grab the shopper's attention.

And not that it was hard to find stuff to buy: I came home with laceweight silk/cashmere from Skaska in some mingled green tones, and laceweight yak/silk in a natural color that I have no name for: grey? taupe? putty? The kind of color I never like, buy, or knit with. I think I got carried away in everyone else's enthusiasm for it. And Linda MacMillan of Oak Grove Yarns, whose yarn I've been buying for 15 years now, has started doing a sock yarn, so I had to bring some of that home for Suzanne. (Two pairs' worth: one in Golden Roses, one of Suze's favorite colorways; one in Arabian Nights, which is mine--at least since Desert Dawn was discontinued).

And I bought these things why? I mean, did I have no yarn at home? The story all over the show floor seemed to be the same: people buying and buying even though they already had plenty of yarn. When was the last time you met a knitter who has no stash? A knitter with only one project on needles is rare enough, but a knitter with no yarn warming up in the bullpen is rarer still. I'm not really joking when I conjecture that there are two separate hobbies here: one is knitting, and the other is buying yarn. And part of me says, "If we're not spending the rent, it's a pretty harmless indulgence." But after awhile, I start to wonder. This is America, where so many of us have so much more than we need that we can't even always remember the difference between "need" and "want." What are we doing?

So I tried a thought experiment: what if I didn't buy any yarn? What am I afraid of? After all, my situation is sort of the ultimate test case: even if I wake up in the middle of the night and desperately need to CAST ON RIGHT NOW, I'm still only 4 blocks, one key, and an alarm code away from being able to get more yarn. (Note that "alarm code" item: don't any of you go getting any funny ideas, now, you here?) And I think that, for me, the problem is not that any single yarn I see is so beautiful that I think I'll never see one as good again. It's the fear that, even if I'm never more than 10 minutes away from more yarn, it won't be the right yarn: I'll suddenly want to make a baby surprise jacket, for instance, and there just won't be any boy-appropriate Koigu on that particular day.

Should I buy less yarn? Well, frankly, me personally, I don't buy that much (not just because I have such easy access, but because I can't justify too much knitting with yarns we don't carry in the shop). Should you buy less yarn? It would be pretty odd if I suggested it, wouldn't it? I'm not at all certain that the retail yarn industry could survive if all of us suddenly stopped buying any yarn in excess of what we were knitting at this moment. But at the same time, I'm deeply suspicious of the whole American culture of consumption and excess, and I wonder if there's maybe some saner and more satisfying approach.

Though of course not where there's Koigu involved.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Preliminary Stitches Report

I have a feeling that Lisa will be occupied with other matters today (finishing reassembly of the shop? swatching some of that fabulous Skaska skinny yarn she bought? figuring out how to attach an IV drip of Wawa coffee to her wrist?), so here is the preliminary Stitches report from me.

I am hopelessly prejudiced, but I did feel that we had one of the nicest booths at the show. For those of you who didn't make it (and we know who you are), here it is:

We had Koigu (of course!) and Anne, both in some new shades, and Luxe Silk, and some kits, and the new Nashua Creative Worsted (which was very popular), and Nashua's Wooly Stripes -- a great substitute for Kureyon or Silk Garden, by the way -- and Manos, and some sale yarn, and RosieKnits patterns (including a bunch of new ones that debuted at Stitches).

And here is our entry for the Stitches Fashion Show:

Overall, I thought the marketplace seemed somewhat smaller than in years past, and we were all able to think of several vendors who usually were at Stitches but weren't this year. The Stitches management forbade the random taking of photographs (is that constitutional?) so our photos are limited to our own booth. We didn't see nearly as much novelty yarn scarves, or ponchos of any kind, as we thought we might -- I guess most of the Stitches attendees got that memo saying "Novelty yarn scarves are so 2003, so please leave them home." We saw lots of beautiful lacework, which was an unexpected pleasure, mostly in the form of shawls, but also some ponchos and scarves in lace, too.

I am sad, however, that I did not take a photograph -- XRX be damned! -- of the living infomercial right across from us: The $220-Iron Man.

I don't think he sold many.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Last chance to c'mon down!

It's your last chance today to come to Atlantic City to Stitches!

Here's Grace, showing off the Koigu, which is selling like hotcakes -- we've got some new colors, too. More later this week on the show....

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

More Volunteers Needed/What a Mess

Probably one or two of you have heard that Stitches East is this weekend--and as usual, we're packing the shop up and taking it on the road to Atlantic City. This involves several Important Announcements:

1. The shop will be closed on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Frankly, it won't be all that open on Wednesday (tomorrow), either, but if you come by early in the day, we will sell you yarn. Sometime in the afternoon, though, we're going to lock the doors and drive away. So no Knitting Circle.

2. If you're going to Stitches, you should print out a coupon for $2 off admission. You should also bring your Rosie's tote bag, because you'll need something to carry all your purchases in, and if you come to our booth (#326-330) with a Rosie's tote, you'll get a coupon for use back at the shop.

3. We need help putting it all back together. The show ends Sunday at 4, which means we should be back in town around 8 or 8:30. But it's not just a matter of unpacking the boxes, because we're having some work done in the shop while we're gone (it's exciting! Wait 'til you see!), and we doubt that the guys doing the work are going to put everything back just the way they found it. So . . . We're looking for a few--maybe 6?--people to work late Sunday night. By "late" I mean "at least until midnight but potentially until dawn." Rosie will provide pizza and all the caffeine you can hold, and payment in cash or yarn credit (as you prefer). Please call or e-mail (rosieATrosiesyarncellarDOTcom) if you're interested. And spread the word. This gig doesn't require any knitting expertise; if you have friends/roommates/siblings who are available for the hours and would like the bucks, by all means recruit them.

Looking forward to seeing you all in AC! Did I mention that we'll have new shipments of Koigu and Anne there?

Friday, September 16, 2005

Help Wanted

This is it, girls and boys: your chance to become part of the Rosie's team. With Courtney and Brent now out-of-state and Jim once again employed (elsewhere) full-time, we find ourselves a bit short-handed here in the Cellar. Come help us out! If you're interested in part-time work, and have hours available during the week or on the weekend, here's what to do: send e-mail to rosieATrosiesyarncellarDOTcom, with something like "Job Info" in the subject line. We'll send you back an application.

Note: If you've already told someone here that you'd like to be considered, send an e-mail anyway: it'll save us having to phone you and get your address, and we'll know that you're still available and interested.

This is the part where I'd usually make some joke about what it's like to work here, but I'll refrain, so as not to discourage anyone!

Sidewalk Sale Encore

It was such a success last weekend that we're doing it again. Sidewalk Sale tomorrow from 10 to 5--more $1/$3/$5 baskets, plus free pattern(s) with purchase! There's also a sidewalk sale up the block at Hello, World for those of you who love their stuff.

The sale makes a great excuse to drop by and see my favorite new yarn of the season: Creative Focus Worsted from Nashua Handknits.

It's quite a bit like Classic Elite's Montera, a yarn I love but which is a little too warm for our climate: it's 75% wool, 25% alpaca, soft single-ply. But the Creative Focus is thinner (label says 5 sts per inch), so it should be more practical around here. It should also felt like a dream. And the color range is terrific--yes, that's all 38 you see there; there was no sense trying to choose among them when we ordered. 220 yards per 100-gram ball. And like all that isn't enough, there's the price: $8. I worry that the importers have made a math error somewhere. Alpaca blend for the price of basic wool? They assure me this is the right price.

Meanwhile . . .

Lisa is making the Clapotis from Knitty in Lorna's Laces. She blithely added a few repeats and is now wondering if her yarn supply is going to hold out.

Wendy's finished the revised collar on the sweater for her nephew (read the saga here), who obliged by arriving late Wednesday afternoon. Welcome, Jacob Douglass! (She asked me to crop out her face, I swear. But I do like that necklace.)

Cathy is nearly finished Bark from Rowan 38; it just needs a single-crochet border. It's a little hard to believe this is what it's supposed to look like, but it's a little hard to tell from the picture in the book, and she seems to have followed the instructions exactly. Note also the perfect fit of the recently-finished Linen Print vest above.

That about covers it from here--hope to see you all over the weekend, either Saturday for the sale, or Sunday before or after the Knit Out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

At Last, Marianne!

--and also to encourage those of you who've had pictures of your projects taken but haven't seen them online yet:

Marianne made this

and it is one of Campbell's Favorite Things (although that's Kitty holding it).

Later, when she had some dark-red cotton left over from another project, Kitty wanted it with lots of shiny sparkly stuff, and Marianne made this:

This is a better use of Odyssey Glitz than I, for one, had ever imagined. I can also now imagine similar treatments on people about 3 or 4 times Kitty's age.

And isn't the look of satisfaction on Kitty's face what we're all hoping for when we knit for someone else?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Back At the Keyboard

Sorry for the hiatus. We've been busy with this

and this

and this

and an overwhelming quantity of peaches and apples from a pick-your-own extravaganza on Labor Day. (No photos of that because the digital camera lives at the shop. But go ahead and imagine every pot and pan in my kitchen covered with cooked fruit, and the floor and stove and counters and cabinets covered with spatter from apple butter. Now I remember why we only pick apples about once every five years.)

Here's some of what you've been up to in the meantime:

Regina finished the socks she was working on a few episodes ago.

The zigzag nature of the lace pattern may not be terribly evident in the dark color of the yarn, but the openwork shows much better with this color than it does even in the original photo on the pattern.

Michelle has cast on for Birch (shown here against Kelly's dress, because Michelle is wearing pretty much the same color as the shawl):

She's experiencing some, ahem, frustration with it right now. I've noticed that Birch consistently provides the fastest trip ever from "This is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen I must make it RIGHT NOW" to "Will someone please burn this thing and put me out of my misery".

Later, Michelle switched projects to some Koigu socks (shown here against the sleeveless top she finished recently and brought in to show--no, she swears she doesn't always change her outfit to coordinate with each project).

Sherry's doing the cover sweater from the current issue of Knits in Drops Alpaca:

And here's Barbara reminding us that it's not, strictly speaking just a Knitting Circle.

Sadly, there are no photos available from earlier in the afternoon, when Grace and Dorlynn got into a thing about who was going to finish her scarf first. I believe Grace got cast off first, but there was some dispute about whether weaving in the ends counted, and then I think I left the room before they started duelling, with their needles for sabres.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

News You Can Use

We're having a Sidewalk Sale on Saturday!

(The raindate is Sunday). All kinds of stuff, really cheap. At this point, it's so crowded in the shop that we don't have room to put out all the sale yarn. It seems silly to put it in cold storage when we want to get rid of it anyway, but we just can't spare the floorspace for baskets etc.

So please, come over and do your part to improve the traffic flow.