Written on March 7, 2011 at 6:05 pm
Filed under: Newsworthy with tags: ,

Sometimes I feel as if I find inspiration in the oddest of places. I found a copy of the 1979 Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework in a thrift store two weeks ago.

It’s also the best $1.99+tax I’ve ever spent.

It’s gorgeous, hard cover, full colour photographs. Many of the knitting and crochet designs are incredibly dated (and no, those designs have not made a comeback yet). It has a huge section of embroidery, some information on quilting and rug-making (latch hook and punch needle). There’s information on making lace (there’s more than just tatting [!], which I never knew before). There’s some great stitch patterns that I have never seen before in any of the other stitch dictionaries that I own, so I was really excited to be able to find this.

Surrounding my new-old book is some new yarn. All of the Regia is sock yarn, the four closest to the bottom are going to be knitted into socks. The other two are marked for dolly-related knitting. But the three at the top? Oh, I only wish you could all see how beautiful it is. It’s Rowan’s Cotton Braid and I just got it today. It’s a discontinued (boo!) line of yarn from Rowan and it’s in this gorgeous rainbow of colours (goes from pinks to oranges to greens to blues to violets). It is a novelty-type yarn (which kinda surprises me that I even bought it because I generally don’t really like working with novelty yarns), but it’s gorgeous and made primarily of natural materials (68% cotton, 22% rayon, 10% linen). I can definitely see a nice summery scarf made from it!

Yarn Shopping Tips

Written on January 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm
Filed under: Article with tags:

I love shopping for yarn. My yarn weight of choice is generally sport weight or worsted weight. I’ve been known to buy sock-weight and bulky though, on a whim. I have been guilty of buying yarn mostly because it happened to be on sale. Bad, I know. I’ve gotten better now! I only buy yarn now if I see a project in mind for it, or if I have a project in mind already prior to purchasing the yarn. So here are some things that I suggest that you do (or don’t!) while shopping for yarn:

  • DO pick up the balls/skeins of yarn to feel how the yarn feels against your skin. A great place to test is the back of your hand or wrist.
  • DON’T pick up the balls/skeins of yarn and rub it against your cheek. Especially if you’re wearing cosmetics and get your makeup all over the yarn.
  • DO look at those pads of free patterns hanging by the yarn – take one!
  • DON’T look at those pads of free patterns and then rip several off for yourself, or rip them in half and leave the other half on the pad or on the floor.
  • DO put the yarn back in the correct bin/box/shelf when you’ve decided that you don’t want to purchase it.
  • DON’T leave the yarn on the ground or on a random shelf.
  • DO choose enough yarn for your project – you never know if it’s going to be available the next time you go. Make sure you pick all from the same dye lot!
  • DON’T buy yarn just because it is on sale/heavily discounted. Buy yarn that is in colours that you like, buy types of yarn that you will actually use and can see yourself using. If you hate working with anything thinner than worsted weight, why would you buy it just because it’s 50% off?
  • DO substitute yarns for the ones that are called for in patterns. Could that brand of yarn be discontinued? Or maybe the pattern calls for something with 50% cashmere and the cost is too high? Look for appropriate substitutions. You’ll want something with the same weight and similar content (substituting cashmere-merino with acrylic fun fur will not get the same results as in the photos).
  • DON’T juggle yarn balls in the middle of the store. I’ve seen this happen before and it ended badly as the yarn ended up on the store floor.
  • DO go shopping with a budget in mind. Don’t spend more than you want to spend. Only want to spend $50 on yarn? Only spend $50 on yarn!
  • DON’T go shopping with an open-budget or a credit card with plenty of space for a huge yarn purchase. I’ve witnessed my sister do this. Half an hour later, she dropped $80+ on yarn (beautiful yarn, but yarn that has stayed untouched for over a year).

Happy smart yarn shopping!