Friday, February 27, 2009

'You can say Knit-TA, but not Knit-TER' and other useless ramblings on a Friday morning

**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

And now for something completely different:

Okay, I am a complete dork (Um, no need to agree with me so quickly..) Not only do I read about, obsess over, blog about, and participate in knitting activities, but now I let it influence nearly every aspect of my life. AND for an extra ounce of dorkiness, I actually imagine everyday life in knitting terms. For those of you NOT familiar with Mike Birbiglia, please partake in his comedy: I'll hold.

So based on Mike Birbiglia's skit, here's the knitter's version:

Me and my knitter friend were driving down the street in my Honda minivan and I turned and said, "Hey Knitter, pass the chocolate," and she said, "Not until we get to the yarn shop, knitter." And I say, "Knitter, please!" And she says, "Knitter, what?"

A non-knitter came up to me and said, "Great blog, Knitter." And I said, "Actually, you can't call me Knit-TER. Only we can call each other knitters. You can say Knit-TA, but not Knit-TER." She was like, "It's okay, I've got fiber friends and they're cool with that."

So yes - my dorky secret is out. I actually dream about these things. Just like I imagine LYSs duking it out 'West Side Story' style. There's gonna be a rumble tonight... Two rival yarn shops singing and dancing with knitting needles and crochet hooks as they stare each other down.. Okay, it may be time for me to get another hobby.. Step AWAY from the yarn and no one gets hurt.

I'm so psyched because I am meeting up with the peeps for a stitch 'n bitch this morning. They're such a cool group of ladies! Do yourself a favor, knitters - if you can't knit at your LYS, don't want to knit at your LYS, or don't have a LYS - Get your knit on with a group of ladies in your area. There's no need to knit alone. (If you're knitting alone, it's time for a knittervention.) Get yourself some yarn-lovin' via, Yahoo Groups, or find some fiber friends via the uber-cool Ravelry. . I was lucky enough to meet these ladies via a yarn shop and also at a local knitting group {insert shameless plug for CranKnitters here}. Like any good dork, I look forward to the group weekly! It's slap your mama good!

In other useless, KnitPurlGurl news, I was invited to go on a yarn field trip to a couple of yarn shops in Pittsburgh. So exciting. We're really fortunate to have quite a few yarn shops in the area. I've most often mentioned Knit One because it's the closest to me and I regularly knit there and/or takes classes there from Knitting Goddess Connie (Guru of all things fiber). But I need to mention another great shop that I've been in, Yarns Unlimited. I believe I've mentioned them before in my blog. They were the very first yarn shop I visited when I moved here. Very nice shop. (It's in a really cute little town outside of Pittsburgh. I could park in Sewickley and just walk through all of the shops all day.) I apologize for not remembering the name of the woman who helped me. But when I got there, kidlets in tote, she was warm, welcoming, and VERY patient with the munchkins. Infact, she took the time to show Brian some books for kids who knit and let Maddie run amuck through the store. I've also had the fortune to visit Natural Stitches - though I must admit as much as I liked the store and the very attentive staff, I've not gone back because it's so far from where I live. So in keeping with my 'support your local yarn shops theme,' I wanted to give shout outs to a few of the local yarn shops in the area that I've had the pleasure of visiting.

Alright.. off to procure a STRONG cup of joe and pick a project to take to the stitch 'n bitch. My brain is in ADD overdrive and I need to self-medicate with some caffeine and chocolate.

Later, knitters!

Oh- P.S. I've gotten some terrific yarns and fabric scraps that I need to take pics of and post! I will try to accomplish this sometime this evening (in between my sunchip and chocolate consumption).


Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Sneak Peek of What's to Come..

**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

Okay my pretties.. just a little sneak peek at our March giveaway! The wickedly awesome Knit Witch is going to be giving away a bundle of goodies. Be sure to check back on Monday, March 9th for all of the details!

*** Do you have your own business or know of someone who does? Why not sponsor a giveaway on KnitPurlGurl and drive traffic to your site?! Contact me at knitpurlgurl[at]gmail[dot]com for details!!***


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I'm a Top Momma!

**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

I'm a Top Mommma!

My Mommatudes Blog is on the front page of Top Momma today!!! In order to stay there, I need y'all to follow this link to Top Momma and click on my Mommatudes Badge:

The more clicks I get, the longer I will stay on the front page!!! Can y'all help me out?


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Advice to Local Yarn Shops

**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

I am a firm believer in supporting our local yarn shops. I personally support my LYS. {Enter shameless plug for Knit One here.} Let's face it - any small business really needs community support if they are to survive. Local yarn shops are a terrific place for beautiful yarns, terrific notions, and community. A friend of mine who works in a yarn shop in Ohio asked me what other yarn shops do to attract customers as her poor little yarn shop is in danger of closing. This got me thinking about the specific needs of today's knitters. So here is my advice. You can take it or leave it. And it is just one person's perspective.

  • In this economy, knitter's are stretching their dollar. Some knitters cannot afford to continue buying yarns as they had before. So don't get defensive or hurt if some of their yarn is from an online store or a discount craft store. KnitPicks, Yarn Market, WEBS and the like are not the enemy.
  • DON'T display jealousy if a knitter has visited another local yarn shop. It's very unprofessional. It makes knitters feel uncomfortable. And uncomfortable or embarrassed customers aren't likely to return.
  • Do not make fun of a knitter's supplies/yarn/notions. If a knitter is using a cheaper yarn or notion but STILL coming into your shop - then keep your opinions to yourself. Again, an embarrassed customer isn't a returning customer. (Newsflash: knitter's LOVE KnitPicks needles. Don't make them feel like criminals for having them!)
  • Offer ways for the knitter to save money while helping your shop. Offer a swap day. Have knitters bring all of their unused yarn and display it for swap with other knitters in the community. This shows the knitters that you are concerned with their bottom line. Their bottom line counts too. If they have money to spend and they are coming to your shop, they will buy from you.
  • Host giveaways, retreats, and fun activities that don't cost the shop money but may save the knitter money. Some yarn shops host retreats where they buy as a package and get a discount for X amount of people attending. The yarn shop then passes this discount onto the knitter and forms bonds. Your shop will not make any money off this deal but will reap the benefits because knitters will be flocking to your shop to see what activities are next. They can't buy anything if you can't get them to the shop.
  • Host KALs, CALs, and non-cost demos. This encourages yarn sales and forms relationships with potential buyers.
  • Tap your resources. Have a knitter with a blog? Host a giveaway on it.
  • Host a treasure hunt in conjunction with other local businesses. Small businesses helping other small businesses helps everyone. Get people into your shop who wouldn't otherwise have visited.
  • Take advantage of holidays and special events. Host sit 'n knits during sporting events. Participate in the World Wide Knit in Public Day. Have special classes that coincide with holidays: knitted chicks for Easter; knitted flag for 4th of July; felted baskets for Easter or Mother's Day...
  • Team up with a local artisan to provide hand-dyed yarns. These specialty yarns will make your store stand out.
  • Host a related money-saving class. Example: a LYS I used to visit hosted a class on making your own stitch markers. Ladies from the local bead shop taught it. Then a yarn shop teacher held a class on knitting with beads. Knitters bought specialty yarns from the shop and jumped over to the bead shop to buy beads!
  • NEVER pressure a knitter to buy something at your shop. Be helpful, but don't pressure.
  • Don't discount word of mouth. Knitters LOVE to share their experiences, finds, and community. Be good to your loyal customers and they'll be good to you. (Anger a knitter and you can be sure she'll tell her entire network of fiber-enthusiasts how you've wronged her. A knitter scorned = drop in business.)
  • Give discounts for large quantity buying. A knitter needs 10 skeins of cotton for a sweater? Offer a discount for purchases over a certain amount. This is how larger stores stay in business. It can be a small discount. But a discount is a discount and will make your customer feel like a queen.
  • MARKET-MARKET-MARKET! Get your name out there! Blog, Podcast (so easy nowadays), Tweet, have a group on Facebook. Ravelry and webpages are not the end-all, be-all of internet marketing. There is alot you can do to reach out to potential buyers. Be accessible to your customers. Yarn shops that only have websites and close their doors at 4p, don't have as much communication.
  • Borrow ideas from other craft stores, not just yarn shops. If you must close early, host a midnight knit once a month. I used to go to midnight crops (I'm a scrapbooker). We'd make a reservation (they only accepted so many) and pay $8/person to attend. Then we could use the supplies in the shop and we got 2 slices of pizza and a can of pop out of it. Why not do something similar? We cropped and shopped until Midnight once a month! I LOVED IT! I went to Girls' Night Out at the Art Center (in Ohio). We'd craft until midnight. We all brought our own things to work on. We paid $5 for the pleasure of 2 slices of pizza and a can of pop and an evening of fun! I've also been to a Spring Fling - which was an all night craft-in (like a sit-in). It was $15 and we got dinner and snacks as well as had oodles of fun! BE CREATIVE!
The point is.. people do not shop at local yarn shops because they are getting good deals. The yarn is typically more expensive. The notions and books are almost ALWAYS more expensive. Knitters have so many resources nowadays. Why buy a higher-end yarn from you for $15/skein when they can get it online for $10/skein with free shipping? They come to feel the fibers. They come for the personalized attention. They come for the community. Promote those things. Don't spew negatives. Always promote positives. Don't belittle a knitter for shopping elsewhere. Highlight the fabulous finds they'll only find at your shop. Negativity breeds negativity. And in today's climate, people are feeling down and disconnected. Offer a positive, personal experience and they'll shop as often as they can afford at your shop. Can you afford to alienate potential customers?

There is currently a discussion going on at Ravelry regarding this post. There are some terrific insights and great suggestions there by other yarnies! Check it out!


Monday, February 23, 2009

Thick & Quick Scalloped Capelet

**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

Thick & Quick Scalloped Capelet

Thick & Quick Scalloped Capelet

Okay - I just had to take pics of this finished capelet!
1.) Because anytime I actually finish a project, it's a monumental, earth-shattering event (just ask my knitting group)
2.) Because I think it actually turned out so cute!
3.) I can't believe I crocheted something other than a washcloth!!!

Unfortunately, hubby is on a business trip to Cleveland and took my digital camera so I had to use my piddly camera phone. So these pics aren't ideal, but you get the idea!

Thick & Quick Scalloped Capelet

As you know, I am trying to learn to crochet. [Trying being the operative word here.] So I visited the awesome blog, Hooked on Needles, and browsed all of her fabu videos! I watched the Close Scallop Crochet Stitch video and thought I'd give it a go. I yanked out the Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick & Quick I had stashed and a size 'N' hook. (I bought the yarn on clearance - apparently no one else wanted super bulky yarn in 'Pumpkin.' Who knew?) I chained 73 and began the pattern as instructed on Mary's video. After I had gone through an entire skein and only had about 5 inches of length to show for it, I knew that my measly 4 skeins would not a blanket make. So, I decided to make it into a capelet.

Thick & Quick Scalloped Capelet

I completely improvised this pattern. I crocheted it until it reached approximately 8 inches in length. Then, I put right sides together and whip stitched the edges. I weaved in the ends and turned back right-side out. After putting it on Maddie, I discovered that it needed to be cinched at the top so that it was a bit more fitted. I weaved a single strand of yarn starting at the front center through the top row hole (where the dc were crocheted) and then through the next row dc hole and back through the next top row cetera until I came all the way back to the front center. I cut the yarn long enough for a tie, made some pom-poms (which I will probably re-do as they aren't as full as I'd like them to be), and attached them to the yarn drawstring.

Maddie LOVES it! It's very cute on her. I only wish my pics were better!


Thursday, February 19, 2009


**Don't forget to enter the Wonderful WEBS giveaway and the Just Ice Hammered Silver Earrings Giveaway. Giveaways end soon - so enter today!!**

Okay, it has come to my attention via yarn-wary husband, that I am a yarn-pusher. Apparently, I give away needles and yarn and show others how to cast on and knit in the hopes of them forming an addiction. Now, I do not own my own yarn shop. I do not spin, dye, or sell my own yarn or notions. So I beg to differ. However, I can kinda see his point. Kinda.

Pictured is our son, Brian, who has chosen to knit a floppy bunny in Camo-colored yarn. Yes, I knew he liked camo. And yes I supplied him with the yarn. And the needles. And the pattern. So this doesn't look so good afterall. Hubby was quick to point out that not only do I push yarn, but apparently I've expanded my dastardly pushing to include sewing, scrapbooking, general crafting, and crocheting. Case in point - my 3 year old daughter was embossing plain paper with hearts (one of those cheapy embossing rollers you roll the paper through) and then using my chalks to chalk the embossed hearts last night while our son was knitting the body of his floppy bunny.

To my own defense, I must say - I don't walk around on street corners in a conspicuous trench trying to sell pinking shears and ModPodge. So I think some of what hubby is saying is a bit unfounded. But, I guess I must concede that there are craft/knitting supplies in every room of our apartment and in my car. My daughter asks for ModPodge by name for her crafting projects. My son knows he dislikes Lily Cotton but likes Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton and that it's organic. My son has never made a model airplane, but has knitted scarves and sewn together and lined a canvas beach bag (in boy colors he likes me to point out). My kids are excited every time we go to the yarn shop, JoAnn's, or Michaels. And even my dog has something handmade by the family.

Craft is not a crime, I tell you! It's a privilege. An expensive privilege. But a privilege nonetheless!


Monday, February 16, 2009

Wonderful WEBS Giveaway!!!

Ultimate Blog Party 2009
If you were directed to this post via the Ultimate Blog Party - PLEASE click HERE. I linked to a post accidentally. I guess that means I've been partying TOO hard ;P

Who hasn't shopped WEBS, Amerca's yarn store? It's just jammed-packed with yummy yarnie goodness, knitting, crochet, weaving and spinning supplies. And the generous Ms. Kathy Elkins of WEBS has offered to sponsor a giveaway on my blog! She has stuffed this cutie-patootie Lantern Moon Project Bag with all sorts of goodies:
  • 8 Skeins (2 each of 4 colors) of Huntington Sock Yarn
  • 2 Sets of DPNs
  • A bottle of Eucalan
  • A Tape Measure
  • Hand Balm
  • A Pin
  • A Catalog of Sock Patterns
A $75 package!!!! You know you want it!! So, here are the rules of the giveaway:

  • You must visit the WEBS store and browse their wonderful wares.
  • Pick out your fave yarn and notion and come back here to KnitPurlGurl and post your faves (Please be advised that these comments are moderated as I do receive inappropriate comments from time to time. So if you do not see your post immediately - it's because I have yet to check my email. Do not re-post. Allow 24 hours for your initial post to appear.)
  • The Giveaway begins today and ends on midnight Monday, March 2nd.
  • The winner will be chosen by random number generator and posted on March 3rd!
  • You MUST include your name & email address to be chosen or your post must have a link to it
Want more chances to win this awesome giveaway? Kathy & I are going to give you even MORE chances to win. For 3 extra entries:

  • Visit Kathy's blog, the WEBS Yarn Store Blog, and leave her a comment.
  • Come on back to KnitPurlGurl and leave a comment under this post that you've done so.
  • Become a follower of KnitPurlGurl and leave a comment that you're following me and you receive an extra entry. If you are already a follower - leave a separate comment that you already follow for another entry.
  • Blog all about the contest on your blog; come back and post that you've done so with the link and receive another entry!
This is a truly fabulous giveaway! Be sure to check out the WEBS podcast and many helpful videos found on the WEBS Yarn Store Blog!

Be sure to pop on over to my mommy blog, Mommatudes, and enter the Hammered Silver Earrings giveaway!

*** Do you have your own business or know of someone who does? Why not sponsor a giveaway on KnitPurlGurl and drive traffic to your site?! Contact me at knitpurlgurl[at]gmail[dot]com for details!!***


Sunday, February 15, 2009

This One Time, At PGH Knit & Crochet Festival..

So this weekend was the 5th Annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in Mars, PA! It was amazing! This is the first time I've ever attended the festival and I was not disappointed in the very least. Not only did I take some really interesting classes (especially since I am at a adv. beginner knitting level), but I got to meet knitters and crocheters from Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York! And best of all - I fondled ALOT of yarn!

I took 4 very interesting classes. I hadn't planned on taking any classes - but then I got there and thought, why not? Saturday, I took the Duplicate Stitch class taught by Ellen Oehlbeck (TKGA Extension Master Knitter) and the Knitted Heirloom Rugs class taught by Rose Ann Hunter. Both were very interesting. I absolutely LOVE the duplicate stitch and will likely use it often now that I know how to do it. (I only got 1/2 of my name completed during the class.)

We didn't really make a project in the Knitted Heirloom Rugs class as much as we made a teeny swatch of knitting with fabric and a swatch of a confetti rug which is knitting with yarn and small strips of fabric (2" long by 1" wide) placed between the knit stitches. Here are my teeny samples:

On Sunday, I took the Illusion Knitting Class taught by Cynthia Spencer of Stitch Your Art Out. We learned how to combine knitting and purling in the same row & then alternating colors by row to create a striped effect when looking head on or a hidden pattern when looking from the side. I could not get a decent picture of the swatch so that you could visualize the hidden pattern. But trust me - it is there.
I also took the Mitres Class taught by Jane Bigelow of A B-ewe-tiful Design. In this class, we learned how to create mitred squares (diamonds) and triangles. We were just beginning the second diamond when the class was ending. It's a very easy technique but can be a tad fiddly and if you knit slowly (as I do) can take a long time to knit - but well worth the beautiful and unusual pattern it creates. You're looking at the Right side of my work. I'm using self-striping sock yarn (Knit Picks Felici) so that I get a great visual effect to showcase the mitres. Since it is worked with a size 6 needle, the yarn is a bit floppy looking right now. It will look more precise after blocking (at least that is what the instructor has promised me! ). I got to meet (and stalk) the awesome Robyn Chachula of Crochet by Faye (and Knit & Crochet Today) Fame! Of course, I could not resist dragging her and a random knitter into the main hotel area for a quick pic. Thanks for being such a sport, Robyn!
(Oh and FYI: Those of you who take my picture - please take it from my right side, at an angle, and higher up or else I look 20 pounds heavier with 6 chins like in this photo! Seriously - could I look any heavier in this picture?! For clues - look to my profile pic on the right which was taken at Thanksgiving. And NO, I have NOT gained 20 pounds since then. It's all in the angle, baby! LOL! Thank you to the knitter who was kind enough to take this picture for me - I appreciate it!)

I HAD to take some pictures of the festival market place. Some of the pics did not come out :( and after taking a few, people thought I was a bit crazy for snapping pics of booths, so I stashed the camera and bought some yarn.

These Angora bunnies from McMahon Fiber and Rabbitry were amazingly calm given that they were surrounded by over 1,000 knitters, crocheters, and fiber artists who were all drooling over their soft, luxurious fur! They were selling these cuties complete with bunny cage for only $75 each! -A TOTAL steal if you are a fan of Angora!

These needles were SO adorable, I just HAD to snap a quick pic! These were at the Soup to Knits booth and the lady at the booth gave me the, 'Why are you taking pictures of my wares?' look, so I only took one picture. I am smitten with the little sheep topped needles in the middle!!

Then I stopped by the Bagsmith booth where they were showcasing these GINORMOUS knitting needles and crochet hooks of the same size! I think the demonstrator said these were a US Size 50! These needles will set you back $50+ a pair! So cool!

I think this next yarn was at the Misty Mountain Farm booth. I just thought this yarn was unique. It's hard to see - but the shimmers are gold fleck in this hand-dyed yarn! So beautiful.

There were so many vendors - 51 booths of fiber fabulousness!!! But I only bought one item from one vendor. I bought this beautiful superwash merino hand-dyed sock yarn, 'Calypso,' from Creatively Dyed Yarn. It is absolutely gorgeous and my crappy camera does not do it justice! The colorway is called Durian.

At the very end of the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had won a Chinese Auction held by Hog Heaven Rescue Farm, an animal rescue for hooved animals. I won this glorious bag kit for the 'Ole Bag'! The kit was generously donated by Glory-ous Knits and Gifts of Watsontown, PA. The kit is a $75 value!! It came complete with the bag pattern, 6 Hanks of Cascade Yarns 109 Tweed LE in Pink, Blue (electric blue in color), Green, Blue (periwinkle in color), Yellow, and Red (more of a magenta if you ask me) colorways and packaged in a cute Asian-inspired gift bag.

I had so much fun and cannot wait to take what I've learned and put it to good use!!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Gem Junkie Valentine's Soup Giveaway!!!

Be sure to visit Mommatudes and enter the Gem Junkie Valentine's Soup III giveaway!

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