Archive for yarn

Geek is the New Chic: Yarn Theory in Practice

Posted in Fiber Friday, Knitting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Growing up, when I heard the word “knitting” I thought of those haloed, plastic-feeling acrylic baby blankets, old ladies in rocking chairs, and the world’s most unflattering sweaters.  If you know enough to have found this blog, chances are you know the needle arts have come a long way.

Not only do we now have thousands of  amazing patterns available for funky clothing, accessories, and even lingerie, but we have BODY PARTS (just in time for Valentine’s Day)!

And in line with our total geekiness, I am writing today about one of my very own LYSs (that’s Local Yarn Store for people like me who are new to the lingo) whose name comes from the field of physics.  Yarn Theory in Bedford, Virginia, owned and operated by Jan Mosely.

The LYS is beginning to take the place of the coffee klatch, girls’ night out, and other forms of therapy.  Yarn Theory is no exception.  Every Thursday evening from 6 pm to 8 pm you can find anywhere from two to twelve knitters seated in the comfortable conversation area in the middle of the store.  The store itself is situated in downtown Bedford, in an old house with a lovely wrap-around porch.

Jan personally welcomes people to the store, which is soothingly tidy and homey.  She seems an unlikely candidate for a yarn store owner, as a former physics major (yes, she graduated), but she joined the cult of the knit and never looked back.

I figured I would pose the same question to her that I posted last week here – where is the strangest place you’ve ever knit?

Like many of you, she didn’t think it was all that strange that she knitted on the TGV (a high-speed train through France).  But when I asked her the oddest item she ever created – well, it puts Baby’s First DNA Model to shame.

While studying physics in college Jan handed in an assignment that included her interpretation of the origin of the universe.  Knitted.  She says it was many-colored, and had a series of ever enlarging triangles in a spiral.  The end was, of course, unfinished (whew!).  I would love to post a picture, but she left it there.  In fact, it was on display at Loyola University in New Orleans for a time, and for all she knows it still is.

While there, I of course fondled every single yarn in the place.  She keeps some Mmmmmmalabrigo, Auracania, some really gorgeous sock yarns, some specialty bling yarns, and some super reasonably priced wool in a great assortment of colors and a variety of weights.  There are really tons of others, but I’m so addicted to Malabrigo Worsted I had a hard time walking away.  As for her favorite yarn, Jan says, “Whatever I want to work on next is my favorite yarn, not necessarily what I’m working on now.”

If you are anywhere near the Lynchburg, Bedford, or Roanoke areas, her store is definitely worth the trip.  If for no other reason than being in a store with such a great, geeky name.

And so you know, I have no affiliation with Yarn Theory or its owner, nor is this a paid advertisement; I just wanted to highlight a local business.

Jan shares tips and techniques with Teresa

Jan shares tips and techniques with Teresa



And the winner is…

Posted in Fiber Friday, Giveaway, Knitting with tags , , , on February 1, 2009 by Ms. Ex

Number 22!  That would be Liz who knits in her research lab.  I just love down time at work, don’t you?

I’m impressed with the yarn prowess out there.  Knitting while walking a dog?  In the bathtub?  Kudos to you all!

Nicole L. and Marlene – than you for sharing.  Ahem.

And in church?  I confess, I have pulled the yarn out and fondled it, but really ladies…

I love the idea of knitting in a bar.  And at a casino.  Actually, I like the idea of doing odd things at any inappropriate time or place.  But what about the cigarette smoke?  Isn’t that a problem?

And one has to wonder if all the labor/hospital knitters are the reason for things like these and this.  WARNING:  the first link is not for the faint of heart; it contains photos of crafted naughty bits.  Can we say, “too much time on their hands”?

I thank you all for playing, and I hope you will stay tuned for more exciting adventures.  And in case that’s not enough – more free stuff.

Fiber Friday Yarn Giveaway!

Posted in Fiber Friday, Giveaway, Knitting with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2009 by Ms. Ex


I had no idea I was so good at marketing myself!  I expected a much smaller response, so I have decided to close this contest earlier than expected.  This way, the odds won’t be so paltry for everyone.  The contest now officially closes at noon EST February 1st.  Please remember that I cannot ship internationally, so if you do not have a U.S. mailing address, you cannot win.  Of course, you can still comment if you like.  I will use that random integer program doo-dad to generate a number, and I will announce the winner by 3 pm February 1st.  That’s tomorrow for all of you who, like me, normally have no idea what the date is.

And fear not!  There will be more giveaways coming.  I will likely stick to needle arts supplies, and I will try to highlight WAHM wares.  So if you make something beautiful for knitters and crocheters and would like some advertising for the low cost of a donated prize item, let me know!

Thank you all so much for participating, and for entertaining me.  And I do hope you’ll be back to follow me shamelessly using my dysfunction as writing fodder.  I am so relieved to find I am not the only one who hides in the bathroom, and I cannot wait to try knitting in the bathtub.

Well, here it is:  the first Fiber Friday giveaway.  I decided to donate my own handiwork to the cause and offer up this lusciously soft, hand-painted 100Purewool 3-ply yarn.  If you aren’t familiar with Purewool, they are a wonderful supplier of Uruguayan hand dyed merino and corriedale wool yarns in a variety of weights and some really fun colorways.  This was a natural three ply yarn that I hand painted in shades of eggplant, brown, maroon, orange, and some purples and blues.

It knits up beautifully, as you can see in the photo below.  It seems that when I paint yarn I always love it so much I have to keep some for myself.  This skein is worsted weight at 218 yards and 3.5 ounces.  One skein would probably do a pair of shorties (hint, hint!) or some fun baby hats and booties.  Or you could actually knit something for yourself for a change.  Be decadent.  You’re worth it.

Or maybe not, what do I know?

So here’s the scoop:  Leave me a comment telling me the weirdest place you’ve found yourself knitting or crocheting.  I’ll tell you mine:  on a bus in NYC after a day of kicking around town.  My baby was attached to my breast.  I’m a multitasker, what can I say?

And you don’t win by being the weirdest.  I already occupy that spot.

Instead, I will choose the winner from both entries by randomly drawing a name  from the empty bucket of Sam’s Club cheese balls that I finished off the other night.

I promise not to get artificial cheese powder on your yarn.

I’ll announce the winner next Friday, February 6.  Comments will close at 8 p.m. Thursday, February 5.  Please note this contest is for U.S. Shipping addresses ONLY.  Pass it on!

Sheepy Pants

Norwegian Wood Hand Painted Yarn: Sheepy Pants

Sheepy Pants in Norwegian Wood

Sheepy Pants in Norwegian Wood

If you don’t know about Sheepy Pants, go check them out.  It is absolutely the best pattern out there.  Amanda Harrington (the awesome designer) does an excellent job of explaining all the different techniques, including the kitchener stitch.

Born to Be Difficult

Posted in Knitting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on September 14, 2008 by Ms. Ex
Socks in Progress

Socks in Progress

I think I might need some serious help.  I have decided to knit my first pair of socks, learn how to knit continental style, and do all of this on two circular needles.  At the same time.  Any of these things would be a great challenge in and of itself, but me?  I choose to do all three.

I haven’t been knitting lately, and we had a few cool days here in Virginia that put me in the mood for wool.  I broke out the longies for baby B, dressed the wee ones in long sleeves – I even got to wear a snuggly sweater.  Then I hit the stash.

There is a reason knitters call their supply of yarn “the stash” and anyone who knows what I am talking about surely doesn’t need it explained that drug users also call their supply – you guessed it – their stash.  I realized long ago that my yarn habit was filling an emotional void, meeting needs that weren’t getting met elsewhere.  Of course, now my needs are being met for the most part, so what do I do with all this wool?  I press on, folks.  After all, obssession is as much about discipline as it is about misdirected, maladaptive instinct, and I am nothing if not disciplined.

So the socks – a great quickie pattern from Knitty called Thuja, they use worsted weight yarn, which means super thick, springy socks that I cannot wait to get on my feet.  Okay, they are supposed to be for men, but I’m thinking I can live with them a little loose plus I knit pretty tightly.  Anything, ANYTHING, to avoid using sock yarn.  Isn’t that the definition of madness?  Sock yarn is like golf – everything is impossibly small and far, far away (in distance or time).

I have high hopes that these socks will be ready in time for fall, along with the shawl I started in July.  With any luck, I can even make myself a hat to cover the still-nearly-bald head before winter.