Friday, March 12, 2010

A Lunchtime Adventure

Pretty much every day I browse Craigslist for listings of yarn for sale. I have seen a lot of crappy stuff out there for sale, but have also come across some great deals. A few months ago I came across 6 skeins of discontinued Noro for $30. That was hard to pass up, and I remember being so excited, hoping that no one had bought it before I could snag it up. Turns out the seller was the owner of a LYS in Tacoma, selling from her personal stash. After meeting her in the store for the purchase, I spent some time browsing every nook and cranny of her store, petting and fondling all the beautiful yarn. About a week ago a listing came up for a yarn shop that never got off the ground, and the owner was selling his inventory at a reduced price. I almost snagged a couple skeins of Himalaya Shokay until someone else came before me and bought it all. That was pretty disappointing, I was so excited to make a project with yarn from a Himalayan YAK!!!

Earlier this week I did my daily search for yarn and came across a listing for a local farm that raises Alpaca's and sells yarn spun with their fiber. I quickly sent out an email to find out more about what the farm had to offer. After a brief exchange we set up a time for a tour and yarn shopping. I drove out to the farm yesterday on my lunch break. It was only a couple miles from my work, and although it was raining, and I was slightly nervous (meeting a stranger! by myself!), I parked in the driveway, let myself into the backyard gate and was met by the cutest Alpaca! He was munching away on some hay, but as soon as he spotted me, he started walking right over to check me out. All black, with the longest eyelashes and a curly mass of hair on top his head, I was soon formally introduced to PJ by Leanna, the owner of the farm. She took me into the barn to meet the rest of the crew, most of which were taking refuge from the rain, with a few in separate outdoor pens. Looking at each of them you could tell they have their own personalities, and would be great animals to own and raise. There was one baby (called a crias) who was just born last August, and one pregnant female, expected to give birth next month.

If you are a knitter, you know just how awesome Alpaca fiber is. It's super soft, really warm, and actually more light weight that wool. Leanna took me inside to the room of the house she uses for displaying the yarn, finished projects, and specialty alpaca items she has for sale. She sells yarn spun from the fibers of the alpaca's she raises on the farm, the skeins all wrapped up with a picture label of the alpaca it came from. There is yarn from neighboring alpaca farms, some dyed, most natural, and some spun with silk to make it even more luxuriously soft. There are stuffed animals made with baby alpaca hair so soft you almost can't feel anything when you touch it, it's like touching air. She has some beautiful hand knit items and some woven items. After much yarn petting and some self control, I left with two skeins of alpaca from a tan colored alpaca named Lucky, and a desire to go back for some splurging in the future! It was a great lunch time adventure, despite the rain, and I look forward to returning and meeting more of these sweet animals soon!

This is PJ!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Longing for needles

Man do I miss knitting. I haven't knit in a full week, which although it doesn't sound like a very long time, feels like an eternity. My boyfriend and I moved last weekend, and with all the box packing, car loads from one place to the next, unpacking and cleaning, there hasn't been much time left over for much else. Before we moved, I had the luxury of being a very short 1.8 miles away from work, so I was able to go home for my lunch breaks. Our new place is a bit further away (10 miles, maybe) which in a environmentally friendly way makes my lunch breaks at home a thing of the past. This week I have spent my lunch breaks going back to the old place, doing laundry (we don't yet have a washer and dryer in the new place) and doing small cleaning projects to make this weekend's cleaning frenzy a bit less tedious. This morning my longing to knit took over, and I packed up a bag with a project and some lunch and headed to work.

I'm working on a pair of wrist warmers. I'm making them in a beautiful burgandy color, and so far I just love them (well, one of them anyway, that's all I've started). This is my first project that involves scary things like thumb holes, so I had paused on it for a long time when I got close to doing something new and semi-frightening. Once I read through the directions a million times I gained a tiny ounce of confidence and went for it. It's just yarn right? I can always (heaven forbid) start over if I mess it up somehow. So the thumb is all tied off and waiting for me to finish the palm before I come back and tackle the strange and new directions. Should make for some good lunch time entertainment!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

...and away we go!

So at the (um, slightly constant?) urging of my friend Cassie, I have started a blog. Finally. I seem to be one of these slightly behind the curve people where the internet is concerned, but I come around eventually. I think I decided it would be fun to blog when I started reading Crazy Aunt Purl's blog. While extremely bored at work, I managed to read from the beginning to current (that's like 4 years of blogging!!) in just a few months, and it was interesting how the words of a total stranger actually inspired, motivated, and entertained me. I thought I might try my hand at it...not that I really expect that much inspiration or motivation will be oozing out of these posts, but hey! as long as we are having fun, it's all good.

To jump right into it, I'm a crafter. Have been for as long as I can remember. I've always loved making things I thought were pretty (whether or not anyone else agrees is always up for debate). I couldn't get enough crayons, markers, colored pencils or paints when I was a kid. Remember those big posters you could color in that had that black fuzzy stuff all over them? They were one of my favorite Christmas gifts as a kid. Loved them. Of course, it took a little finesse to not get all that black stuff on the marker tips, ruining them, while still coloring in all the way to the edge. I have gone through a few crafting obsessions: "quilting" (more on that later), scrapbooking, card making, stamping, jewelry making, painting, sewing, refinishing old windows, turning trash into treasure, etc, etc, and now knitting. I learned to knit about 6 years ago from a co-worker, and probably would have started the obsession then if it hadn't have been for the dauntingly large blankets I was making to get REALLY good at garter stitch. It got boring, and fast! Fast forward a few (ok, like 5) years, add a printer issue stalling my scrapbooking creativity, toss in some yarn talk from Cas, and the obsession with knitting was reborn, in a much better (and less tediously boring) way! Knitting has re-inspired the crafter in me!

I am, of course, more than just a craft-lover, so stick around, this is only the beginning!