Saturday, June 28, 2008

Yarn Shop Update

I was spending the day with my mom and we decided to drop by one of her LYSes.

After reading my last post I'm sure you will not be shocked by why I was annoyed.

We parked and walked toward the door. Mom said she thought they might be making sno cones. When we got closer we realized they were dyeing yarns. The instructor told us it was a class and we could watch but it might be better for the child if we stayed away. I understand but come on. They were on the sidewalk in front of the store. Where else should we walk, the parking lot?

When we entered the shop I barely had a chance to adjust my eyes when my child was swooped upon and led to the "children's area." Again, you know how I feel about this. This time I was treated like I had brought in an unpleasant bug and it had to be squashed immediately (attn LYS, they are not Moths, they are children). Fine, but was it neccessary to stare at him in horror when he ran through the shop looking for me because he had to go potty? Would you rather he piddle in the "Children's Area?" He stayed with me for the rest of the time. I wasn't really looking for anything (after my score the day before--another post) but I found a pattern I liked and purchased it. Only to learn that they frown upon credit cards for purchases of less than $10.00. Bite me. I frown upon carrying cash in my too-frequently-misplaced wallet...

...And being treated like "A Breeder."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Times Change

When I was a new knitter (age 7), and once my mom accepted this fact, I was taught a very important lesson--knit with the best materials you can afford. Yarn is expensive but you get what you pay for. That was long ago and generally this still holds true.

So step forward 15 years to when I started living on my own completely. I had a job that paid me no money and I scrimped for months so I could enter the yarn shop about 200 feet from my home. I finally had saved $150.00 for this indulgence. I didn't think I would need all of it, but I wanted to be prepared.

Imagine how I felt when I walked into the shop, was greeted by the employee (for her benefit we wil assume she wasn't the owner), given a once over, and ignored. I asked if she had Vogue Knitting--she haphazardly gestured toward a wall. I leafed through the current issue and found a sweater I liked and asked her if she had that yarn or something comparable. She glanced at me and sniffed a little. At this point I was annoyed, but the clicher was when I started poking around at yarn. I picked up a ball to check its fiber content and put it down when I saw that it wasn't 100% wool. She said--assuming I had seen the price tag-- "the craft store has cheaper yarn." I was mad but I still wanted a project. I ended up buying a couple small cones of a rayon ribbon to make a purse. I was prepared to spend over $100, and I spent $15. To this day I wish I had said something ala Pretty Woman.

I get better treatment now. I worried it was because I was looking old, but I'll assume it's because knitting is more mainstream these days. But I have noticed two trends that yarn stores are missing:
  • Children are learning to knit
  • Parents spend money on their kids

It seems a logical conclusion--sell to kids. And yet somehow they just miss it:

  • Kids (and mothers of kids) rarely feel welcomed in stores
  • There are few quality products (books, patterns, yarns, needles) that are age appropriate
  • Products that are marketed to kids are cheap quality and do little to encourage creativity

Between the ages of 3 and 18, kids go through many stages. Rainbow acrylic yarn and plastic needles don't cut it. Don't be afraid to challenge kids--my first knitting swatch was intarsia because I didn't know it was hard.

My 5yo can knit. He has the attention span of granola, but he knows how the yarn works. He has claimed my Bamboo size 12's and has his favorite rainbow acrylic yarn (you win some you lose some). He made a blanket for a stuffed animal and is convinced he can make himself an alligator scarf. I dare a yarn store owner to show him the "toy basket" so mommy can shop. Who do you think I'm shopping for?

The best formula for a new child knitter:

  • needles they choose themselves (or make!)--my son shopped from my needle vase
  • Whatever yarn they want (alas the craft store may be the smarter place for this)
  • Your time to teach them.

And whatever you do, don't tell them they can't do something. Everything is easy if you make the steps small enough.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Favorite Things Friday: Kids Books for Grown-ups

I love reading. I was the nerdy kid in gradeschool who actually read the whole book in the first week rather than just the assigned chapters. I read quickly too. I love kiddie lit because there really isn't a whole lot of deep thought required, they read quickly and there are usually sequals.

Many people knit while reading, but I find I read so quickly that I can only knit a few stitches before I need to turn the page. There is just too much hand movement going back and forth and it bugs me.

So I don't give myself much reading time. Because of this, I hate wasting that time reading books that I end up not liking. I'd rather read a beloved story 50 times than start a new book and get frustrated halfway through. And yes, I'll even skip to the end to find out if it's worth reading the rest of the book. So judge me.

My favorite children's rereads:

  • Harry Potter (Duh)
  • A Little Princess
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Chronicals of Narnia (read all of them)
  • Holes

Monday, June 16, 2008

Um...Another Hobby?

I want to make a quilt. Not just any quilt. This one.

And here is my first block:

Not bad for a beginner, huh? Don't mind the out of focus. It's just my camera.

The Wool Market

I wanted to love the Wool Market. I liked the wool market, I really did.

But I don't feel the need to go back next year.

Maybe I'm maturing. Last year I would have left with bags of yarn and maybe some roving and possibly a fleece. This year: Two skeins of yarn.

The majority of the market is devoted to animals. They were fun to look at. And I learned that goat kids yell and scream just like people kids, Paco-Vicunas will set you back $50,000, and I am still allergic to bunnies (but not thier fiber!). But I wasn't in the market for livestock.

I want yarn. There was some there. It's mostly local-ish independant vendors and they have beautiful things, but just not my style.

I've heard lace is the new socks; There was only one vendor who sold legit lace yarn in washed-out pastel colors. My goal was to find lace yarn in deep jewel tones. I bought two skeins of white. They're gorgeous, but I don't have my peacock yarn yet (and if you think I'm going to learn to dye yarn on cashmere/silk or angora/silk...). Either these vendors aren't quite in tune with the market, or they don't care.

There was a lot of bulky weight yarn and so much novelty yarn. And it's my impression that the knitters who learned to knit five years ago (you know, when the real rush started) now want smooth, fine yarns that will showcase their skills and create the garments that the unfortunately stereotyped grandmothers never did.

Growing/Hunger Pains

My mom and I went out for lunch this weekend after spending a morning petting bunnies and paco-vicuna (more on that later). We decided to eat at a little cafe in downtown Estes Park. I wasn't all that hungry and kmew going into it that all I really wanted was a small salad and a large water.

My mother was convinced I was going to starve to death:

They have veggie burgers, they have a veggie wrap--you could ask for no cheese. They have the California sandwich--you could ask for no bacon. There's pasta primavera, and alfredo.

Mom, I'm fine. I'm not going to starve. I'm not going to suffer from poor nutrition. I still love you even if tofu freaks you out. I'm just. not. hungry.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Favorite Things Friday: Vegan Recipes

I'm focusing on finding vegan recipes (though technically I'm a mere ovo-lacto vegetarian) because they are more interesting. I don't need a cookbook telling me how to eat meatless anything. It's the cheese and egg subs I'll need to make the full conversion.

Sin Dawgs: There's an excellent video on the site, print the recipe first. My husband loves these and has requested them repeatedly. Also a hit in my knitting group.
Vegan Babybacks: Surprisingly good. I suspect after a year of no meat I will think they are exactly like meat.
Vegan Bacon: When you add this to whole wheat bread, lettuce, tomatoes and avacados, it works. DH says it's better than some of the real bacon he's had.
Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Mousse Frosting: I bought this book because, really, who can resist a cupcake? Even my FIL liked it. Though he was mad when he found out it was tofu.

I'll post more as I find them. I ran into a "cheese" sauce I want to try.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Peacocks, Revisited

I got my pattern for my Peacock Shawl. Now I have a mission for Estes Park Wool Market.

Who wants to sell me the perfect yarn? Laceweight, a perfect bluey-green, maybe some sheen, maybe some gradiations. I'm a clean slate.

Eating Meat Makes You Deaf

I was talking to my mom yesterday on the phone while making my lunch.

Me: I'm making Herb Encrusted Tofu with mushrooms in a creamy marsala sauce. I'll put it over some polenta.

Mom: *pause* What's Urban Crusted Tofu?

Somehow, I know that if I had said "Herb Encrusted Chicken" she would have heard me. But, alas, "tofu" was in the sentence and the point was lost.

Lunch was wonderful however.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


We are celebrating Mother's and Father's day this weekend due to circumstances beyond my control. I will be totally happy exploring this venue with free reign of the credit card (I have been yarn-dieting four months for this). This is mother's day to me.

So my DH felt bad about not doing anything on the real Mother's Day and got us a hotel in Estes Park. I can spend Saturday in my Nirvana. He can spend Sunday in his. Sounds like a great deal all around.

Then I found out my husband has been sniffing around an import store looking for bento boxes so I had to break the news. "Honey, I already got some, they're coming from Japan."

"How could you do this before Mother's Day? What am I supposed to get you now?"

"Um, a day surrounded by yarn with a credit card in my hands? I got you a Wii."

Silence. Pure, golden, silence.

Let the knitting god(desses) reign.

Has Anyone Seen My Hamper?

Ah layers. Layers are great. It is the only way to dress in Colorado. They can be stylish (though I myself have never mastered this). They can be warm, cool, somewhere in between. They can dress up or dress down. But they have one ultimate advantage for the other people who live in my house: They create laundry.

And really, why else do I keep hanging around?

Exhibit A:

I realize the picture doesn't look like much, but that folks is my husband's laundry from Saturday/Sunday. The pile is about 2 feet tall.

First we went to the Drive-In. It was nightime and potentially chilly. I packed a jacket and a blanket. DH wore seven layers. I counted. Seven

We signed up for a shift in the Relay for Life. Our shift started at 10:00 PM and as we were leaving it started to rain. Normally this is no big deal as we have spent a quarter of our lives in Seattle. I packed a sweatshirt (for the chill) and put on my good raincoat. DH found every non-cotton shirt he owns (six--I counted) and put them on. Was he warm yes. Was I...yes.

But this way he can indulge my obsession with laundry. I mean, I insist on doing it everyday so I must love it right?

Lets not discuss the growing pile of towels that have amassed from the two weeks of swimming lessons we are doing. Or the stomach flu my 2yo had (he's fine now, thanks for asking).

I can't knit, I must. do. laundry.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I have a thing for peacocks. It's not an obsession and I think I am merely a degree or two above the average person who thinks they're pretty.

But I was reading the Yarn Harlot's website and stumbled on this: A peacock shawl

Oh I have delusions aspirations with this. I want beads. Must have beads. A beautiful solid yarn in a blue with lovely sparkly beads.

Obsessed am I.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Pleased to Report

I switched to vegetarianism a little over a month ago. It was my Earthday decision this year (I always make a commitment on Earthday). The choice was environmentally motivated. I hid my scale in a closet so as not to cloud my judgment and to focus on my intentions.

And after a month I took out my scale out of curiosity.

I've lost six pounds. Not a lot, but it's in the right direction. I put the scale back in the closet. I'm happier with it there.

Friday, June 06, 2008

He Gave Me Permission

I revealed my enexplicable passion for bento to my DH. I even showed him some websites. His comment:

"Maybe we can try some bento picnics this Summer."

I didn't tell him the boxes are 3-6 weeks away. Baby steps you know. I wouldn't want him to know I'm completely over the edge. Though I think he suspects.

I did promise myself that I would not accessorize my bento until...well look at that; I didn't give myself a deadline...until Summer then. No accessorizing until Summer.

Solstice Summer, or School Summer, or Weather Summer? If we're going to have picnics we'll need the accessories sooner than later. See ya. I'm going shopping. Again.

Favorite Things Friday: Cooking Websites

When my smallish stash of cookbooks fails me, I turn to the internet: Recipes that have been published by various cooking mags. A database of recipes from anyone. Read comments first because they can have more info than the recipes do. This one is a new one I found since I became vegetarian. They have recipes with videos and the recipes are great. I've made a handful of them already.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dear Colorado

Dear Colorado,

I'm Sorry. It has been cold, wet, tumultuous, and gray (though the Seattle part of me is okay with this). Please accept my apology. You see, I put my winter clothes away. I know, it's my fault and I take full responsibility. I thought I would be safe to wait until June.

To make it up to you, I'll put the Summer clothes away on Labor Day and ensure another three months of heat and sun.

Yours Truly,

Mountain Mama

It Had to Happen Sooner or Later

I don't like milk anymore.

I've heard so many stories of people who become vegitarian/vegan and start to dislike certain foods they used to love.

Yesterday I schlepped all over the city to run some errands for my husband. When I finally got to him (to deliver casual attire for a conference) he presented me with a mocha. It was really very sweet of him. I took one sip and asked if it was soy--the taste was off.

"No, just a nonfat mocha"

Hmm. Maybe because it was from a hotel which "Proudly Brews Astrodollars" as opposed to the "Astrodollars" shop.

But this morning our power was out and I schlepped the kids to the "Astrodollars" and ordered a simple latte. The taste was off. And when I got back to our power-restored home I drank some of our milk (after a sniff test). The taste was off.

I don't like milk anymore.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

From Bento to Bags

I am quickly losing my ability to be rational.

I found my perfect bento.

It's a charming blue and has a dragonfly motif. In a house of boys I felt the dragonfly would be considered manlier than fat bunnies or flowers. Although the darling bunnies were tempting. And the flowers.

I then found that this bento has a whole darned series: Three different sizes, special bands, chopsticks, drawstring bags, cutlery and something called a Furoshiki.

I ordered the whole kit. Then I looked up Furoshiki. And I ended up on a site where my pretty bento (arriving in 3-6 weeks) is an accessory.

It seems a Furoshiki is a piece of fabric in which you wrap your bento (or books, watermelon, wine) with a couple clever little folds and knots. The origami artist in me... Ah you didn't know I was one of those did you? Or perhaps you forgot--I was in a job interview and they asked me to fold something. I made a darling little frog (with a high difficulty level). I'm sure that's why I got the job. But I digress...The origami artist in me is enchanted with Furoshiki.

Luckily, along with the one included with my order, I also have a stash of fabric. I could make these. And be the envy of...

...well, no one actually.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Catch Me Now I'm Falling

I stumbled on this website and have become head over heels infatuated with bento boxes. They so charming. They're so portable. They're making me live the delusion of making charming little lunches for my family everyday. Forget the fact that my husband will insist he needs for than 2 cups of food. Forget the fact that neither kid will be having lunch at school next year. Forget the fact that I can barely get lunch on the table at lunchtime.

And then there are accessories. Little tiny bottles for sauce. Little tiny chopsticks. Little tiny dividers in various patterns.

I'm swooning.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My best friend is in pain.

I am 1100 miles away.

I want to go to her and give her a big hug and listen to her and cry with her.

And I am 1100 miles away.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why Can't I Drop This Weight?

My kiddos were watching Toy Story last night. There's a THX clip before the movie that involves a robot playing with one of those cow toys that you turn upside down and it make a mooing noise.

My 2yo saw this toy and said "Look W---, ice cream!

Where would he get this idea? How did he make the correlation between cow splotches and ice cream? My guess is with number 10.

And for your very own mooing pleasure: A cut-out cow.

Eventually my diet will be dairy free, and I confess I will miss the ice cream.
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