Saturday, July 26, 2008

It's about time!

In my previous post, I promised a good photo of my haul from The Knitting Den in South Lyon. At long last, here it is--
Two hanks of Auracania Ranco Multi -- colour nos. 308 (browns) and 305 (greens). These are destined to become socks for Doug, in appreciation for all the driving he does on my behalf.

I had initially ordered these yarns in for the store way back in late October or November of last year, to be delivered in January. When the end of March rolled around and the sales rep. was making his pitch for spring/summer yarns, the Ranco had still not arrived. Hmm. So I canceled the order, with regrets because I had really wanted that yarn.

In other knitting news, I had a customer who came in with a Mary Maxim sweater that needed to be finished. The back was "almost done." I should learn to be more skeptical. The back was done up to the beginning of the fair isle panel. So I finished it, and the rest of the sweater.
All in all, I have to say that it did turn out nicely. I really like that mock cable pattern in the lower section. Wouldn't it make a great baby blanket? I'm working that up next so that I have an additional easy blanket pattern for my customers.

We are celebrating Christmas in July at the store. Helping people remember that the holiday is only 5 months away ... and they do go by oh-so-quickly.
Carrie assisted me with the window displays. The sheep wearing the Santa hat is her special contribution. Cute, eh? That's why I keep her!

What is coming in my next post? Well, there was a second trip to Michigan and a visit to my other favorite not-so-LYS ...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mini vacations

Now that I have the wool shop, my hubby and I don't get too many vacations. So we seize those opportunities that present themselves by way of long weekends and trips to Michigan to have a little fun. Interestingly enough, our idea of "fun" and the daughter's idea of "fun" just don't seem to mesh up. So we delivered her safely to her father and brother, and took off.

We had previously biked at Island Lake Rec. area with some friends several years ago. With that in mind (and a potential detour to Windsor), we hauled the bicycles with us on the trek to the border. Doug's memory was excellent and he drove us directly to the park, where we were pleased to learn that our collective memory of how nice the park is was also correct.

There was a very nice gentleman filling up his water bottle with whom we chatted. He suggested that we might like the Blue Loop--there wasn't very much sand in the trail. And when I say "sand," I do mean sand--inches deep and very difficult to ride through. So we ventured out onto the Blue Trail. This picture shows how happy Doug is with our decision. The trail was developed by the Southwest Michigan Mountain Biking Association. Their signature style was evident--the trail was mostly single track, winding through the trees with frequent turns and overhanging brush. The trail itself was mostly flat -- about 7 miles of flat -- interspersed with some very challenging up-hills and some truly exhilarating downhill stretches. All in all, a 9.25 mile ride, and worth every bit of the energy and time expended.

Originally we had planned to swing through Windsor to visit some friends there (Hi Louise!). Unfortunately, they were not available by telephone for several days prior to the trip and the day of, so we made a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants decision and called my good friend Phyllis. She and her husband live not far from Island Lakes and were the persons who introduced us to the park. They were home and suggested we should come right over. Then they insisted that we should spend the night and not go to some impersonal hotel. Wonderful friends, these two. So we did.

In the morning, Phyllis and her husband had to go off to work at a very early hour. We stayed in bed and out of their way while they did their morning routines. After their departure we did an abbreviated morning routine and departed as well. Looking for breakfast, we ventured into South Lyon (MI) and found this delightful coffee shop, the Gallery Cafe.

We had two different breakfast sandwiches (bagel with egg & sausage or bacon) and a fine cuppa tea and coffee. (I'm still not drinking coffee much and not missing it a bit!)
This coffee shop does an awful lot of things right in my humble opinion. They have a selection of board games, children's activity toys, plenty of room for tables, a piano, good food and a very nice atmosphere. If ever you are in South Lyon, I suggest a stop here.

On our way to Phyllis' house on Sunday evening, Doug wondered outloud "Isn't there a wool shop somewhere close by?" I looked up from the directions and immediately saw this:
The Knitting Den in South Lyon. I swear that man has wool radar, and he doesn't even knit! Or crochet! Or weave! Or spin! He just has a knack for finding wool. Gotta love that in a non-knitter. This little house hosts the wool shop on the main floor and it is filled with more wool than one can imagine. Well, perhaps not. In any event, we browsed for quite some time, and I even purchased some wool. No photo of it, darn! You'll just have to wait until next time!

Ta-ta for now!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Is it summer already?

So the school year has whizzed by with a speed equaled only by the rate at which my daughter matures. I truly don't know where the days go, and I do wish they wouldn't speed by so quickly. Or that I could have a "do over." No such luck though.

My daughter has been lusting after some Noro wools ever since I opened the shop. She walks over to the display, pets the wool, heaves a deep sigh, pets it some more, and reluctantly walks away. She didn't really know what she wanted to do with it, but she adored the colours. Then this wonderful little book titled "Mini Knits" from Noro entered the shop. (And just as quickly exited I might add--if you see it, grab it 'cuz it's filled with wonderful patterns.) I managed to hold onto one book long enough to finish a design. Here, in its finished glory, you see:
This was knit with four skeins of Noro Iro, colour no. 19. The pattern specified Kochoron, but I switched out the yarn since Carrie loved the Iro better. Other than that, I followed the pattern religiously. It took less than a week to knit.

Home knitting has also been produced. Several years ago, I purchased some gorgeous cotton yarn from Knit Around in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The yarn matured in my stash, until I decided that (a) the yarn was ready to be knit and (b) the perfect project had been chosen.

So I cast on for the Cream Tea from Knit Net and featured in the 2007 Pattern-a-Day calendar. No go, the yarn was not right. Switched needles and tried again. Still not working.

Undaunted, I frogged the project one more time and put on my thinking cap. There had to be a reason why I had purchased the amount of yarn that I did. After all, in those days I hadn't graduated to random yarn purchases. Yes--in those days I only purchased yarn for which I had a pattern in mind. Ah, the good old days.

In an amazing feat of logic and memory, I recalled the time frame during which I purchased the yarn (not the difficult part since the yarn carried the name of the store on the price label). So then I just had to figure out what I might have been knitting or reading at that specific time to find the pattern.

Viola!! (If your name is Coris and you are married to my son Jason, please stop reading immediately!)

This is the Too-Cool! Halter Top from the 2005 Pattern-a-Day calendar, modeled by the delightful Carrie. This, too, was a super easy and quick knit project. I used one and a half skeins of ___________________, in a kelly green. Followed the pattern precisely as written, and this is what you get:

I don't know if the daughter-in-law will wear undergarments with the top ... in any event, it is a delightful summer fashion. Coris saw my version of this same top (knit in a white cotton blend) and loved it ... and when next I was near a yarn shop I acquired the yarn. Too bad it took 4 years to get around to it.

Carrie has completed her in-class portion of driver's training and is preparing for the G-2 test in August. Her driving skills are improving rapidly, which is a good thing. I fear my days of having sole control of my automobile are rapidly drawing to a close.

I do hope to have more finished objects to show you ... as soon as the camera batteries recharge!