Archive | February 2018

Road Trip, Part 3

Okay, post three of UNL road trip, are you ready? Thanks for following along! (You can read Part 1 and Part 2 to catch up if you like.) The girl was very kind and allowed me to drag her to two yarn stores while in Lincoln, and she was very happy as long as I let her use my phone to take artsy yarn photos, some of which are in these posts.

After Yarn Charm, we made our way to The Yarn Shop. Like Yarn Charm, it was hard to find, located on the back side of a strip mall so you couldn’t see it well from the road. Nevertheless we persisted, and were greeted by a long stretch of sock yarn on the wall. That’s a good start! I saw Biscotte Yarns, Araucania, Ancient Arts Fiber, some Malabrigo, and more brands I wasn’t familiar with. But since I’d just spent a good chunk of change at the previous store, I didn’t grab as many skeins this time. I kept picking things up and putting them back, mostly because of the guilt.

Like that 2-skein set in the top right photo? It was gorgeous, but I couldn’t justify $64. And those tonals in the bottom photo? I really wanted one of each color, but I managed to resist the temptation. Still, I walked out with four more new skeins.

The top photo is Biscotte Bis-sock because um, hello, that yarn is to die for. Then I had to get the pretty purple Arucania Huasco worsted; love their yarns, love those shades. The colors in the Ella Rae Lace Merino Aran (bottom middle) called my name, and somehow the wonderfully named T-Shirt and Jeans sock yarn from Ancient Arts ended up in my pile too. That was it, I was done…until I spotted the Addi FlexiFlip needles on the counter.

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Yep, I bought some. Can’t wait to try them! Have any of you tried them? What do you think?

One last fun thing: I found these socks in a little store downtown. I was tempted to buy both pairs they had, but in the end limited it to one. I love them so much.

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So yeah, I think it’s safe to say I conquered the yarn stores in Lincoln. Or they conquered me? I think I’m glad we didn’t have time to go to any more. Between the book stores and the yarn stores, I’m not sure I can afford to help pay for college anymore!

Road Trip, Part 2

Today it’s time for the yarn part of my Nebraska road trip story. (You can read Part 1 here: books, donuts & more!) I was excited because there were FOUR yarn stores in Lincoln, though I wasn’t sure we’d have time to hit all of them. I was right, we only hit two, but I did plenty of damage at just those two.

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We went to the most promising one first, called Yarn Charm. And we had to work for it! I put the store name into Apple maps and let Siri navigate, and when we turned into a remote industrial area I started to worry. There were lots of warehouses, one small strip mall of offices, and nothing that looked like a yarn store. Sure enough, when Siri announced, “The destination is on your left”, we were looking at a large expanse of open land. Um, what the heck, Siri? I found the address online, plugged into maps, and we drove 20 minutes back the way we came until we found the real Yarn Charm. And guys, I walked into Malabrigo heaven! And Madelintosh! And Blue Sky Fibers! And so much more to choose from!

I picked up yarns as I wandered, knowing I’d have to make some tough decisions in the end. It was hard, guys. Really hard. They did have a charming little table I could use to sort through my options.

I finally narrowed it down to the ones I couldn’t live without. The rainbow is Malabrigo worsted, the purple is Tosh DK, and the bottom is a stunning OOAK silk blend from Zen Gardens. It will be a special souvenir shawl, since it’s kind of UN-Lincoln colors.

Then I picked out two special souvenir skeins from local indie dyers, Indigo Boulevards and Lazy B Yarns. Both are sock yarns, and the dyer behind Indigo Boulevards was actually the one working the shop when we were there, so it was really fun to be able to buy her yarn.

Yarn Charm is where I got the fun “Knit Nebraska” t-shirt in the first photo. Had to get that, right?? This was a super fun yarn store, and if the girl ends up going to college in Lincoln, I’ll be sure to visit her a lot!

I do have more yarn to share (you can spot it in that first photo) but apparently this road trip is meant to be three blog posts, so I’ll share the rest of my yarn in the next post.

Road Trip, Part 1

I have so much to share! I’m pretty sure this will be a multi-post story, because otherwise it would be TL;DR for all of you. This past weekend, the girl had an audition for the music school at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, so she and I got to take a short road trip. The audition was Saturday, so we drove down Friday morning to give us plenty of time to explore Lincoln. We were most excited about bookstores, so our first stop was Bluestem Books, and it was our favorite! It was a beautiful shop with a big knitting section right in front:

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There was also a charming children’s room with a big, squishy armchair, and a lovely literature section, with lots of collectible first editions. We both found a couple of books there. From there we went for lunch, and we were told to try Runza. I loved this table sign:

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Sadly, they call it “hand-knit” when it’s really crochet, but it’s an awesome scarf and I love that they’re doing this! Our second bookstore experience was A Novel Idea, and it was a fun store too. It was more funky, had an eclectic selection, focused on reading copies more than collectible copies, but we still found books to buy. And two shop cats to pet! I also loved that they featured knitting/crafting books in their front window.

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This was the awesome staircase between the basement and first floor. Wouldn’t you love to do this in your house? I would!

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We had our first experience with room service (loved it!), ate a lot of junk food, and walked all over downtown Lincoln. The campus is right next to the downtown area, which is super convenient. We had a delicious meal at Vincenzo’s, a locally owned Italian restaurant, and made our way to Indigo Bridge Books. It’s an independent new bookstore, so it had a small selection of new books, as well as an attached coffee shop and other fun stuff (notebooks, pins, totes etc). I was very tempted by this bag.

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We made sure to visit Hurt’s Donuts, open 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. It was sort of like a secret club, hidden inside a big building downtown. We had three people stop us as we left to find out where it was. They have so many wild and crazy donuts and we bought six and all six were delicious. Choosing just six was very hard. (FYI: Andes Mint, Dirt, Twix, Cookies & Cream, Cosmic Brownie, and Cookie Monster.)

Of course the real reason we were there was the university. It was cold and icy so it was hard to explore the campus too much.

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But there were good informational sessions, and a pizza lunch where we got to sit with the flute professor and ask whatever we wanted. The audition went well, at least to my untrained ear, and the girl felt good about it, so now we just have to wait for some good news. And if it’s good news we get, the girl has her Cornhusker hat ready to go!

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It was just a really fun trip, and I’m so glad I got to spend this time with her before she runs off and leaves me. Next time, I’ll tell you about all the yarny goodness, and believe me, there’s plenty of it!

This is not ideal

Well, crap. Edward is injured and needs some help. This has been looming for a while; his first injury occurred a few years ago, and things have been building since then. Now, don’t fret too much: Edward is my car. But I am fretting. Most importantly, I love my car and I want Edward to serve me well for at least another couple of years. But also, there’s just never a good time to spend money on car repairs. I think it’s time, though. The biggest one is likely to be the original. Someone who was not me was driving Edward and going too fast when he hit a stretch of unpaved road and the car bottomed out on a manhole, damaging some important metal body work on the bottom. Clearly that wasn’t urgent, because I’ve been driving like that since then.

But that incident also damaged the belly pan, or whatever that protective plastic layer is called, and it came loose once when it didn’t get fastened securely after an oil change. I went back, they refastened it, I went on my way. Then a few weeks ago, I pulled too far forward in a parking space and that pan caught on the concrete stopper thing. When I backed out, the pan came loose, and though I drove immediately to a car place, it was too damaged to save. (In my defense: I didn’t pull forward that far. It was like when you pull forward super slowly until you gently bump the thing. So, I mean, clearly there were already problems, right? Right.) Anyway, I knew I needed to get it replaced, but I put it off. Like you do.

Okay, right. No problem. I parked more carefully after that. Then last night, I took the mother and the boy to dinner, pulled slowly into a parking spot, heard something weird so I put it in reverse and bad things started happening. Apparently there was a bolt/screw thing sticking up out of the concrete stopper thing (don’t you like all my technical jargon?) which caught on the edge of the front bumper, and when I reversed, it started pulling the bumper loose from the car. GREAT. JUST GREAT.

Guys, I swear, I am not a bad driver. I have never had things like this happen before, and just keep happening. Anyway, this feels like a storm of all these little things swirling together to make for a sad little car. I did get the bumper mostly back on, but of course it’s not great. So I’m pretty sure my day off today will include a trip to the body shop to get an estimate of time and cost to get Edward put back together again. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t break the bank. I was hoping to leave him there and steal the girl’s car, because she and the husband are out of town for a music school audition. (They’re in Colorado. I’m totally jealous.) But she took the one car key with her. Of course. So I’ll figure out a plan B and it’ll be fine. It’s fine. It’s all fine.

*deep breath*

After all that, let’s finish with something happy, shall we? Here’s my new sock, started last night. It’s going to be a plain vanilla sock to let the yarn take center stage.

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The yarn is Hedgehog Fibres Sock in color Medusa. Love it!

Pretty in Pink: LAMY Al-Star Special Edition

Through all my years as a pen enthusiast, I always said I didn’t like the look of the LAMY Al-Star or Safari pens. Something about the clip put me off, despite how much I loved all of their bright colors. Then I wrote with one, and I’ll be darned if I didn’t love it. I love the triangle grip, I love the smoothness of the nib (my fave is the Medium), I love that the ink flows generously. They’re lightweight but a generous length, making it easy for me to write with one for prolonged periods. The ink cartridges are proprietary, which isn’t the best, but they’re big and last a long time, and you can choose from a variety of super fun colors.

Once I realized how much I enjoyed writing with one, of course my opinion of their appearance changed, and now I like the utilitarian look of the clip. In a short time, I managed to add four LAMYs to my collection, and I thought that would be enough for quite a while. Then I saw their 2018 Vibrant Pink special edition, and I was weak (Sorry, honey. Couldn’t resist!). Mine arrived yesterday and it’s stunning!

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That’s a true representation of the color: it’s this gorgeous shiny metallic fuchsia, which might be close to overtaking purple as my favorite color.

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Of course I had to get some of the matching Vibrant Pink ink cartridges too. I think I’ll need to order more right away!

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The ink is just as pink and vibrant as the pen. Why would I put any other color in there?

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I ordered mine from Goulet Pens and was delighted that they added a Tootsie Pop to my package; that’s a neat touch. But I’m pretty sure this pen is available at most of your favorite fine-pen sites too. Just don’t wait too long; I bet this one will be a hot seller!

FO Friday: Miso Shawl

Okay, maybe this is cheating, since I actually finished this one a couple of weeks ago, but I hadn’t shared it yet because it took me about that long to get it blocked and then take some halfway decent photos. But today is Friday, and this is a recently Finished Object. This is my Miso shawl!

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Blocking is the key to this shawl. When I bound off, it was maybe 60 inches at most. I could wear it, but not comfortably; it kept slipping or coming undone. So I blocked this baby aggressively, pinning it out as far as the garter stitch would let me, and now it’s over six feet and I love the length!!

fullsizeoutput_f33I also love the colors. It’s very dark at first glance but then you look closer and see the hints of red and purple and blue. This is Madtosh Euro Sock in the color Daenerys.

fullsizeoutput_f31The lace pattern was easy to knit, but you do have to pay attention to where you are in the pattern. I set it down for a while and came back later, and at some point I messed up and it’s glaring if you’re looking for it. But oh well, I won’t wear it all open and spread out anyway. I’ll wear it more like a scarf, so I’ll be the only one to know how much I screwed up!

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This was a fun knit and I’d definitely make another one. It will be perfect for spring…if spring ever comes!

WIP Wednesday: Sweater Progress

The sweater WIP is still going, and I’m enjoying it more than my first sweater experience. I love my Harvest cardigan, but so much stockinette is just not my favorite knitting. So this new one, the Textured Pullover, is a 10-row repeat that keeps me going with color changes and alternating stockinette rows with k1, p1 rows. I zipped right through the yoke, discovered my stitch counts were wrong because I’d put my BOR marker in the wrong place, frogged about 10 rows, knit them again, and was finally able to put the sleeve stitches on waste yarn.

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Look at this pretty raglan sleeve detail!

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I’m not convinced it’s coming out big enough to fit me, but if not, I’ve got a girl who might wear it.

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Now I’ve just got about a foot of the body to knit, and it makes for perfect knitting while I watch the Olympics!