Sunday, November 8, 2009

I'm Moving...

Yep. I'm moving. Again. But this time you get to come with me.
I've decided to move the blog over to wordpress. All the old content has been moved over so you won't miss a beat. The new blog has a few more features than this one. I am very interested to get your feedback on the new digs.
The New Address is Http://
The only thing that has changed for you is ".blogspot" is now ".wordpress"Please update your RSS feeds, bookmarks, etc.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Super Cute Pattern Alert!

This is Emmery from Jordana Paige.

This super-cute felted sweater is sure to jump to the top of your queue. With its fun ruffle edge and practical full collar, this garment has a perfect of whimsy. It is knit in mostly stockinette with minimal finishing so this project is well within the reach of the average knitter. This sample is shown in Blue Sky Alpacas Sportweight, but I bet it could be knit in SWTC Karaoke or Mountain Meadow Wool Cody!

Shopowners, this pattern is available now so if you are interested please contact me! Knitters, ask your LYS owners to contact me or just leave me a comment telling me what shops you think should carry this pattern.

Monday, October 26, 2009

On the Road Again...

I was on the road again this past week. I cruised on up to the Twin Cities for a couple of days to visit a few shops. First I visited Adrianne at Be Ya Gi in Little Canada. We had a great time chatting and sipping coffee and ooing and aaaing over yarn and such. That may seem like a strange name for a shop and it took me a little while to really get it, but it is a mash-up up of "BEads, YArn, GIfts". That is exactly what they have there, how clever!

From Be Ya Gi, I had a surprise cancelation, so I had some free time to eat lunch and explore Minneapolis a little bit. I visited Russel + Hazel, a stationary store that I enjoyed just a little too much. They had bunny-shaped paper clips! And customizable planner notebooks! And a "Binder Bar"! I was in 7th heaven!

After R+H, I went to Needlework Unlimited, a very large and established yarn shop. There, I met with Karen, who has been at the helm of this great yarn empire for over a decade. Meeting someone that experienced in this industry is a surprisingly rare treat. I enjoyed my visit immensely and learned a lot.

From NU, I checked into my motel for the night. This was my first "yellow-light" situation with a motel. Meaning: I didn't feel entirely comfortable with the cleanliness or safety of this place, but it was quite enough to make me say "no" and leave. What appeared to be a prostitute was eyeing me from the moment I pulled up. She sat in the newly re-furnished lobby and glared at me as I checked in. I got to my room, a dark cavernous space furnished with cast-off patio furniture and king size bed roughly twice my age covered in cigarette burn holes that smelled of BO. It was early, so rather than hang out in the room, I looked up a shopping district and took off. The prostitute glared at me as I left.

The next day I packed up and hit the highway for Shepherd's Choice in Anoka. When I arrived, I was warmly greeted by Karen, her daughter Nancy, and their friend (whose name I can't remember and I feel really awful about that cause she was lovely!) I was blown away by these ladies' enthusiasm and warmth! I could have stayed for days, I was having that much fun with them. They have just moved the store from a barn out in rural MN to a store-front in a quaint suburb. Despite the stress of moving, these gals were invigorated and inspiring. I am really looking forward to hosting a Fashion Event with them in January!

From Shepherd's Choice, I made one last stop at Knitter's Palette in Lakeville. There I met with Pam. We had a nice little visit before I hit the road for home.

On the way home, I made a very important decision: I have decided that I much, much, MUCH prefer taking I-94 from MN to IL over I-90. 94 cuts through rural WI and drops me off right in the twin cities over the MN border. 90 takes me through 2+ hours of rural MN before I get to the city. Rural MN creeps me out for some reason, but Rural WI does not. I-90, however, does have the grandest crossing of the Mississippi river I have ever seen, so, put that in your pocket and walk with it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sights From The Road

It's been a slow week here at The Knest.  I've been doing a lot of cold-calling which means I've actually been doing a lot of message-leaving. That's not really anything to blog about. So, instead of letting the blog languish away, or worse, posting comprehensive list of voicemails I have left, I put together a "director's cut" of road photos if you will. These are photos of things I have seen while on the road. I think they are quirky and fun, but did not fit with other posts.

In Madison, WI

Rural Route in Wisconsin

My trusty steed, Lola, hanging out in
Eau Claire, WI

The View from my hotel window in
Waupaca, WI

Spotted a block away from the Waupaca Arts
Center. Too Cool!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


But, Seriously, Folks....

Photo Courtesy of Jordana Paige

I just received my rep kit from the one, the only, Jordana Paige! I was like a bag-a-holic with a box full of beautiful bags! Bad metaphor, but effective. I stayed up half the night just trying to decide which bag to steal and claim as my own. I still can't decide. Decisions, Decisions...

I can't wait to show these puppies off. Shopowners, these bags are the perfect item to have on hand for the inevitable husband who sticks his head in this coming season and says "Um, my wife is a knitter and I don't know what to get her...maybe some yarn...she likes yarn..." and stares around, baffled by the stock on the shelves.

Friday, October 9, 2009

New from SWTC

Introducing Llama Luxury!
 South West Trading Company has introduced a new, very affordable and totally luscious luxury yarn. It is 100% baby llama fiber with a 22.5 micron count. It comes in 8 natural shades ranging from creamy white, through heathered camel and smokey grey to a deep rich charcoal. At MSRP $11 for a 100m skein, it is a bargain! It officially knits up at 5 sts/inch on a 7, but I got a hot insider tip that it is better off at 4 sts/inch on an 8. Either way, I can't wait to swatch this baby up!

Shopowners, if you are looking for an affordable luxury yarn in natural shades, this is a winner! Please e-mail me if you are interested!

Always looking to strike while the iron is hot, SWTC is also introducing a SOLIDS COLLECTION in their perennial hit sock yarn, Tofutsies! There will be 10 solid colors introduced at the end of the month. Solid colors will show off your more complex or delicate stitch work in a way that variegated sock yarns can not.

To celebrate the new yarns, they are also rolling out the two new patterns you see here. Wouldn't that brown sweater look great in my closet?

Llama Luxury and Solid Tofutsies ship at the end of October, so look for it on store shelves soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Insert Needle As If To Knit...

Here a few snapshots from my revolving knitting scrapbook:

A scene from a lovely September day.
Getting my mandatory vitamin D, Doctor's Orders!

Here is a minor knitting calamity on my StitchDiva Endless Cardi Shawl. At 347 stitches per row, my already over crowded circ snapped!

Stitches flew everywhere, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth and sweat and cursing and and and....
But I survived and so has the project.

 More photos as it develops and as better photo opportunities present themselves. I'll try not to bore you with project-on-the-needles-scrunched-beyond-recognition-against-the-backdrop-of-a-bedspread-or-the-carpet photos.

Here is my finally completed Misti Alpaca Lace Shawl (seen in progress at the top of this post). I started this project as a stress reliever back in college. I didn't use a pattern, it was just a simple increase at the edges, 2 stitch repeat. I just wanted something luscious that let the colors of the yarn sing. I think I accomplished that in spades. This photo does not do the color or the loft of the fabric any justice. I promise a more satisfying photo soon. I have been wearing the shawl everywhere...I love it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Introducing Mountain Meadow Wool

I am proud to announce  that I have added Mountain Meadow Wools to my line of manufacturers. This is an awe-inspiring company that I hold near and dear to my heart already. Based out of Wyoming, Val and Heather are dedicated to all that is Good in yarn manufacture. They started the company not because they are passionate about knitting, but because they are passionate about wool as a fine agricultural product of Wyoming. They are committed  to doing right by farmers and ranchers, the sheep, the environment, the independent yarn shops, and the knitters. The yarn is naturally grown, humanely shorn, DOMESTICALLY PROCESSED AND SPUN in the most eco-friendly fashion and naturally dyed (or not dyed). 10% of the MSRP goes back to the farmers. In this industry, that is incredible.

The yarn is all natural, springy, and refreshingly home-spun (no pun intended, I mean that literally). I am confident that it is a joy to work with because Cat Bordhi is a devoted fan.  The retail prices are far lower than any other yarn of this caliber I have come across. I have not knit with it yet, though I plan to very very soon.

Shopowners, this is not to be missed! Knitters, please, ask your LYS about this yarn!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Beans Beans, the Magical Fruit

Here on the homestead the nights are turning colder and the leaves are changing colors so that means Harvest Time! Today I harvested the heirloom beans. We have 3 varieties, all from Seed Savers Exchange; Kentucky Wonder Pole, Cranberry, and my favorite, the Christmas Lima Bean. You may recognize the Christmas Lima from the cover of the book Animal Vegetable, Miracle by, my favorite author, Barbara Kingsolver. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend that you put it at the top of your reading list.

An important lesson was learned: if the pod looks beautiful and rich and vibrant then the bean is immature. If the pod looks like cat-yak, there is one sexy bean inside.

I haven't quite decided what to cook with the beans. Right now I am just admiring them in a cobalt bowl on my kitchen table. Truthfully, I find the look of them satisfying enough all on their own.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Waupaca Fashion Gallery

I'm working on improving my HTML image formating skills, So please be patient. I'm testing out a new concept where I post alternately text-heavy and image-heavy entries. This way, I am hoping to create a more code-friendly back end for myself and a more reader/viewer friendly blog. Please comment or e-mail me with your opinions!

The Waupaca SuperModels; Doris, Anita, Victoria, and Karen

One Rowdy Crowd!

The Big V Vest Strut

A Peri-Fairy

Waupaca's Answer to Vana White

One Chic Suit

The most lovely Therapi Braided Wrap

The Belle of the Ball

Friday, October 2, 2009

"I Survived Waupaca Wisconsin!"

And I loved every minute of it!

I just got back from my first roadtrip since my surgery. First, I was at the Sow's Ear in Verona, WI, where I met with the lovely Heather. The Sow's Ear is one of my favorite shops I've visited yet. It is a combination coffee shop/yarn shop and does both beautifully! I am hoping to get back there soon for a Fashion Event (details to follow).

From Fair Verona, I hit the trail northwards to Waupaca, Wisconsin. It was a lovely 3 hour drive through farm country during harvest time. The leaves are starting to change color and the sky, for the most part, was deep and endless blue. I could not have asked for a more beautiful drive.

Once I arrived in Waupaca, I was greeted by the warmest, most welcoming group of artists at the Waupaca Arts Center. The Arts Center is home to a shop run by 5 artists; each with their own specialty. They have Yarn, weaving and knitting supplies(Lamb's Quarters), beads, pottery, baskets, recycled clothing, photography, etc. You can find the Waupaca Arts Center on Facebook at "Waupaca Arts" and the yarn shop portion at
<---Anita, Jane and Victoria from Lamb's Quarters
At the Arts Center we hosted a Fashion Show and we must have been the talk of Central Wisconsin! Women drove in from over 60 miles away to see the show!

Extra-Special Thanks to shopowner Jane, Photographer Byron, and Models Anita, Victoria, Doris, and Karen!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Yaks and Yarns and Yucks (their title, not mine)

image courtesy of Denver Post

BijouSpun yarn is one of the lines I carry. Eileen over at Bijou Basin Ranch, home of the yak yarn, just sent me this link. The Denver Post did a piece on the Ranch that I really enjoyed. If you have a moment, I highly recommend that you watch this video. The yaks are so sweet and the fiber; so luscious!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Surgery Update (No Photos, I promise)

If you do not want to hear about my insides, kindly disregard this post.

The surgery was a success! That being said, I feel like I survived the most punishing ab-bootcamp ever invented by the U.S. armed forces and have nothing to show for it but 4 small stab wounds. They removed my gallbladder laprascopically, through a 2 inch incision in my belly button and made 3 more small incisions around my abs for sport. You can watch a video filmed by my doctor if you dare. Turns out, not only was the duct blocked by a very large gallstone, but I had several more small stones in there too. It was all so infected that it had adhered in a whole bunch of places not only to my liver, but also to my stomach. This stinking gallbladder had actually pulled my stomach out of place! I will not even describe to you what they found inside the thing, but my doctor was pretty shocked. Apparently I really should have been so jaundiced that I glowed in the dark for the last year or two. I guess I am so pale that nobody would have noticed!

I spent one very, very long sleepless night in the hospital. I gave the hospital staff quite a scare when I had a bad reaction to the anesthesia several hours after I woke up. Turns out that because I am such a good girl (I don't smoke, drink, eat a lot of processed food, take medications etc) my body could not process all the chemicals from the surgery. I suddenly couldn't breath, started convulsing, and lost feeling in my arms and legs. They took an emergency EKG that showed a heart arrhythmia. That was petrifying, but it passed. My nurse, who has been in the field for nearly 15 years, said that I was the only time she ever saw anyone have that reaction.

After a day, my mom took me back to her house I spent two days being a lump on her couch. Each day I have been getting a little stronger. Last night I was well enough to come back to Grandma's house and sleep in my own bed and see my bunny-babies. Now I am sitting around, hoping people will visit me. I not supposed to leave the house or get out of bed much until my follow up appointment on Wed.
When all is said and done, I do have the gallstone in a little jar. I think I should make a necklace...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wish Me Luck


After several years of mysterious and debilitating nocturnal pain attacks I have finally gotten a diagnosis. Turns out I have at least 1 inch-wide gallstone lodged in some sort of duct near my liver. Tomorrow I am going to have my Gallbladder removed. I will be in the hospital for only one night (hopefully) and then will be stuck in bed for about a week. Wish me luck.
In the mean time, here is a photo of my bunny-girls discussing important bunny issues.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Gifted Purl Spectacular!

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Gifted Purl for the Fashion Event on Friday night! It was so much fun and I felt so welcome there. I would like to extend a very special thank you to Mollie, the shop owner, and my 4 volunteer models; Jeanette, Allie, Casey, and Lindsey. They were total pros and such good sports. Here are some photos of our fun from Friday.

This is called a "Knitter's Handshake".

Here are Mollie, the shopowner and gracious hostess, and Kat, my special guest, the General Manager of Southwest Trading Company.

I have two fashion events planned for October. 1 at Montoya Fiber Studio in Evanston for Thursday, 10/8 and another at Sister Arts in Chicago for Thursday, 10/15.

If you would like to have a fashion show in your area, Please leave a comment or send me an e-mail! I love these shows and they are a great time for everybody!