On the radar: Yarnia

Here’s a cool interview with Lindsey Ross of Yarnia, a new make-your-own-yarn store in Portland, OR. (Her blog is here).

About a year or so ago, before we opened Stitch Cleveland, I was saying I should open a dye-your-own yarn store akin to those paint-your-own pottery shops. We were talking about it on the Lime & Violet boards, in fact. I think that a combination of the two (paint your own AND ply your own) would be amazing, don’t you? We’re more or less set up for that here in my shop, but no one’s really requested the service before. Think I should start offering it?

Win a 2008 Yarn Club membership!

Would you like to win a 2008 Yarn Club, Best of the Worsted, Bag Club or other Stitch Cleveland club membership? Then take the 2008 State of the Knitgrrl Survey today! All Knitgrrl readers and mailing-listers who take the survey before New Year’s Eve ends (that’s 11:59 p.m. 31 December Eastern time to you) and who provide a valid email address will be entered into a drawing for the club membership of his/her choice, to be chosen at random by someone other than me using the magic of a randomizer.

So: click here to take the survey — good luck!

The usual disclaimers apply. No multiple entries, please fill it out as best you can, any disputes will be resolved using pointy sticks, etc. Thank you!

2008 yarn clubs and more

I’ve been dyeing a lot of yarn (see the Stitch Cleveland Etsy store — some of the superwash merino that’s just brilliant for shawls and socks is pictured at left), and setting up the 2008 Stitch Cleveland crafty club memberships.

So far, the Yarn Club, Best of the Worsted (yes, you can groan at that joke, it’s intentional) and Bag Club memberships are ready for sale, with more to come. See the Etsy store for prices and info.

NaKniSweMo? Oh, don’t ask. I’m being a very bad role model / instigator. Besides, how can I possibly compete with this gorgeous sweater? Lovely, isn’t it? It makes me want to go knit entrelac now now now now!

Speaking of, did you know the NaKniSweMo group on Ravelry is up to 328 members? From Finland to England, Germany to Canada, South Africa to Australia, and just about everywhere in between — you are a good-looking group of knitters, if I do say so myself. And determined, whether knitting through broken bones or frogged-multiple-times projects… so I salute you, even as I, your fearless moderator, fall behind on my own sweater due to deadlines and other things that put food (and yarn) on my table. Hey, I dyed all that yarn above. Could we count that instead? Or could there be a Fiber Enabler award?

If you’re on Ravelry, be sure to check out the Finished! thread to see everyone’s awesome sweaters. I’ll be posting some here, too.

Guess what arrived?

The Kauni I have been waiting for, along with some Kaffe Fassett sock yarn and artist-inspired Opal sock yarn. I spent altogether too much time this weekend knitting and playing with the Kauni, charting things and figuring out just what exactly I’m going to do with it.

Speaking of this weekend, it was Stitch Cleveland’s grand opening party. (Yes, we’ve been open since the beginning of June, but a proper party takes planning!) You can see some photos on Flickr, or on the Stitch Cleveland website. Our cake turned everyone’s mouths amusing colors, but it was tasty. We were packed pretty much all day thanks to the newspaper article.

At the shop, we’ve just started carrying not only the limited edition Amy Butler-scent of Soak — my favorite fiber wash in the universe — but also these adorable handknit pins by a local artist. So, so cute. Click on over to Stitch Cleveland if you want to buy one, we’ve only got 9 in stock right now.

Look, Ma! I’m in the newspaper!

What is this, media week? The Plain Dealer (Cleveland’s major newspaper) wrote a lovely blurb about Stitch Cleveland’s launch party this weekend. If you don’t want to read the scanned-in JPG, here is the electronic version.

Tomorrow, Kelley Petkun of Knit Picks is interviewing me for her podcast. She also reviews non-knitting books. So, here’s my mystery du jour: how can people fit in reading with all their knitting? I am a major-league reader. I have had parents take me aside in the library line and ask, on their curious child’s behalf, how long it will take me to read [all the books I have in my arms]. Poor kid never knew what hit him. I was afraid his eyes were going to get stuck that way. But it usually comes down to an either/or proposition — they don’t generally make audiobooks of the things I like to read, so I can’t listen and knit.

(For example: here’s the last book I read. At 576 pages, we’re talking days of audiobook).

Guilty pleasure of the week: watching the Victoria Beckham Coming to America special. I hurt my wrist the other day, so knitting and anything involving gripping motion with my hand was out all night. It’s still hurty, actually. I’m trying to work through the pain, which is stupid but necessary. Deadlines loom!

Angry. So angry. (Plus, Stitch Cleveland on TV tomorrow!)

Ravelry got a blurb on Tech Crunch (via Amy). Now, the blurb was a little bit condescending, a smidge smartalecky, but I have no real problem with the blurb. What I do have a problem with = obnoxious male commenters who think knitting is not nearly as cool as their BOY STUFF. But it’s cool, the women have it covered. Zumagirl said, for example:

Smart business people will do a little research on the myriad of online communities before assuming that any one group is not tech-savvy enough to be worth catering to.

Yeah. Stick that in your techie startup pipes and smoke it, pals. Don’t make me send the Yarn Harlot over there with stats about knitting, knitbloggers and the power of the almighty knit-dollar.

In happier news: a producer from the local morning show (That’s Life, with Robin Swoboda) called this morning and so we’ll be demo’ing nuno felt and talking about the Stitch Cleveland launch party this weekend tomorrow. For you Clevelanders, that’s FOX 8 at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday.

My mother has already yelled at me about my hair.
Keep your fingers and blow dryers crossed, willya?

Crochet shelves & The Knitgrrl Show #1

Check out these very cool shelves inspired by designer Gudrun Lilja’s grandmother’s traditional Icelandic lace crochet work. Read more about them here. (Via Supernaturale)

Susan Beal has a great big comprehensive Maker Faire post here at WhipUp.

Our friend & yours, the divine Natalie Zee Drieu, wrote about Stitch Cleveland and about the Knitgrrl Show’s debut on the CRAFT blog. Speaking of both:

We are really working hard each day at Stitch Cleveland. Our interns are helping with the new pattern line Megan and I are doing, and because we’re covering such a broad range of sizes (XS to 3X) from the ground up, we’re doing separate slopers for every size to make sure the fit for both knitted and sewn items is dependable. The bust and related measurements are derived from the womens’ Yarn Standards dimensions as closely as we can, since so many knit designers and publications are using those sizes as a standard.

My goal is this: if you know your measurements, you will immediately know what size to knit or sew without relying on some magical number (Am I a size zero or a XS? And what about those crazy negative sizes some designers started doing — what’s up with that?) Personally, I have such crazy broad shoulders in relation to my bust that I always have to size up with standard patterns, which leaves excess fabric flapping around under my arms. Very annoying, and if you’ve read Big Girl Knits — which you should, no matter what size you are — not flattering at all.

So, as best we can, we’re going to try to solve some sizing problems by relying on actual bodily measurements and not some made up numbers or size classifications. The word “Garanimals” came up at one point, and I laughed so hard, stuff almost came out my nose.

And as for the Knitgrrl Show:

  • Don’t forget to tune in at 2:00 Eastern for the show tomorrow. The phone number currently listed on our host channel page is (718) 664-9504, but I’m not sure if it might change, so click over and check before dialing. If you’d rather ask questions using AIM, I’ll have it turned on an hour before the show begins, so send your questions to knitgrrlshow. Be sure to include your name, city and state.
  • When you call using a landline or cell phone, you will automatically be placed into a call queue from which I can take callers. While the show is live, a “Click to Talk” button will appear on our host channel page, and you can use that to call in via VoIP with your computer and its microphone.
  • Whatever method you choose, we’ll look forward to talking to guest Nikol Lohr and you tomorrow at 2:00!

p.s. don’t forget Nikol is quite the spinner, too, so you can ask her questions about that as well!

Almost there…

Megan was busy while we were away at TNNA, painting our shop. Want to see the sneak preview? I’ll warn you, it’s still messy…but I’m excited enough to share.

The front of Stitch Cleveland. No sign yet, but it’ll go above the windows. Isn’t the front door a pretty shade of blue?

I love our neighbor’s door. Aren’t the rosebushes spectacular? I get to look at those all day, lucky me.

Still a little messy in here. Megan’s reupholstering the grey chair at the far right. You can see a tiny bit of my green comfy chair next to the exit sign. The white bench in the middle is going, there isn’t quite enough room for it.

When I first saw the new color of our slat-wall, I had unpleasant Duran Duran 1984 Rio-album cover flashbacks, but I love it now. The color’s a little off because of the lighting, but you get the idea.

Seriously. I love that door. I could look at it + the ivy all day. Imagine how cheerful that will be when there’s a million feet of snow this winter.

Our two back classrooms are still a mess. See those tubs? Yeah, that’s yarn I’m destashing to the store. Some of it, anyway.

Meet our neighbors, they live out back under the shed.

Detail of our neighbors’ faces. There are two of them, they are kitten-sized and unbelievably adorable. We spent a good ten minutes just watching them pop in, pop out, pop in, pop out…

There’s still a lot of work to do, as you can clearly see, but it’s coming together nicely and I’m really pleased so far. Megan’s husband managed to stretch the buckled carpet, which was quite the miracle. The windows let so much light in, you barely need the overheads during the day, which is great. And I have a comfy chair! Yarn plus comfy chair plus internet = happy me. What do you think so far?

Next: Small children stop by with their grandmothers and get creeped out by my mannequin Hazel’s real eyelashes. (Yes, my mannequin has a name. Shush. You’d name her, too if she was looking at you like that. It’s hilarious, she’s got molded plastic hair, but real eyelashes).