Visiting WEBS

June 29, 2012 § 6 Comments

Even though I have enough yarn to outfit a flock of sheep (ok, perhaps a small flock of small sheep), I was SO excited to go to WEBS, America’s largest yarn store (or at least I think it is?) with my aunt and my mom three weekends ago. We didn’t make a trip specifically to go see WEBS, though, we’re not that crazy…yet. (We did have so much fun that we are planning next time we go visit my aunt to see the New Hampshire town of Harrisville, a national historic district, where Harrisville Mill is located.)

Anyway, after hanging out with my aunt, uncle, cousin, her husband, and their two kids on the first day, we took the second day to drive a few hours west to attend my mom’s high school reunion, located in the western part of Massachusetts. My mom attended a prep school about 45 minutes from Northampton, meaning after the luncheon for the alumnae we high-tailed it out of there, heading south to the yarn capital of North America. We got a little yarn crazy and even a bit yarn-dorky, since my aunt took my picture both in front of WEBS and in the warehouse. (Photos not shown due to massive embarrassment on the subject’s part.)

My mom and aunt both knit, but not really actively anymore. Despite that, they still were really excited to see the store due to its fame, size, and wide selection of yarns. I think actually they were a little surprised at how little I bought, since they kept saying, “Oooh, that’s cute! I bet you could make that!” « Read the rest of this entry »

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The Olympic spirit

June 20, 2012 § 10 Comments

Once upon a time, a little knitting and crochet website called Ravelry ran a fun competition encouraging excellence in the fiber arts to coincide with that worldwide juggernaut of culture, education, and athleticism, the Olympics. Knitters and crocheters and spinners and weavers are all encouraged to park their rears on a comfy couch and tune into the games while crafting away. Advertisements are enjoyed, athletic feats are celebrated, and some good-natured ribbing of the rivals takes place too.

Then, one day, a very large organization sent a letter to the little fiber arts website so as to defend their trademark, which is normal practice. Admirably, it states that “the Olympic Games represent ideals that go beyond sport to encompass culture and education, tolerance and respect, world peace and harmony.” Not shockingly, many knitters support these values too. I mean, we can’t ALL be uncultured criminals hell-bent on war-mongering.

But wait! What should be a polite letter turns into a screed against the noble craft of knitting, doubly amusing considering the U.S. Olympic committee is headquartered in Colorado. Pro tip: it gets cold there. You might not want to insult people who could help you keep warm.

The esteemed Mr. Hirsch, law clerk, Office of the General Council, United States Olympic Committee, stated: “We believe using the name “Ravelympics” for a competition that involves an afghan marathon, scarf hockey and sweater triathlon, among others, tends to denigrate the true nature of the Olympic Games.  In a sense, it is disrespectful to our country’s finest athletes and fails to recognize or appreciate their hard work” (bolding mine).

There’s only one person (well, ok, perhaps it’s the whole committee) failing to recognize others’ hard work. I guess since knitters aren’t Olympic material, considering all that denigration of athletes we knit into every stitch, our money isn’t Olympic material either. I’ve got $49.99 plus shipping and handling to spend, since I’m no longer purchasing the Team USA soccer jersey I wanted…looks like I can get that spinning wheel I wanted that much sooner.

And lest you think the U.S. Olympic Committee is alone in this sort of wacky behavior, check out the Woolsack debacle. No more Team UK jersey either for me.

(You can read the letter to Casey in full after the jump.)

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Super swap part two

June 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

Finally I can now share the details of what I sent to my swap partner! Actually, to be completely honest I could’ve posted a few weeks ago, but I’ve gotten bogged down in other things, most notably schoolwork (ugh) and work work (ugh ugh).

Anyway, the package I sent over personally (as the first one was direct from Northboundknitting with Wensleydale spinning fiber in it) contained two different kinds of chocolates — one type filled with peanut butter and the other with mint cream — a copy of Crochet Today! magazine (I believe it was the March/April issue), a mix cd filled with some of my favorite songs, and this stuffed bunny.

The pattern I chose is from the book Small Animal Amigurumi 動物たちのちいさなあみぐるみ by Izumi Sasaki ささきいずみ. I used Lion Brand Organic Cotton because with very few exceptions I don’t like to use acrylic, and I had to choose a fiber that wasn’t animal-based, due to New Zealand’s strict rules to protect their islands’ ecosystems. While many on Ravelry disliked how the yarn is prone to shedding and pilling, I didn’t mind it so much because I was crocheting so tightly. The yarn did sort of fluff up a bit, but in a nice bunny-like way, so I hope it remains somewhat durable.

My swap partner mentioned in a message to me that her kids love the bunny, and she wanted to know if I had designed it myself, or if not, where I’d gotten the pattern, and I figure this might be good information for others, since most LYSes don’t tend to carry these books (Woven Art in East Lansing, Michigan has some, though not this one specifically). The book can be purchased online through amazon.co.jp, but to be honest it’s probably a lot easier to find it on Etsy through some of the craft book resellers there. The two resellers I’ve purchased from have been excellent, so hopefully if you’re also looking to track down a copy of this book you can locate it. Alternatively, if you live near a Japanese bookstore, such as Kinokinuya, they might have a copy in stock.

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