Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas - It Ain't Over Yet

You've survived Christmas! Yay!

I love Christmas and did you know that even though Christmas Day is over, it is still Christmas time? We are in the Twelve Days of Christmas period which actually begins on Christmas Day and ends on the 5th of January, also known as 12th Night. So go ahead and play the Christmas music. It isn't over yet!

I love Christmas music and have no problems playing it all year. I like to annoy people all year long. It brings me peace and joy.

And now my celebration of Christmas on behalf of all you knitters out there.  Note: no true love here because that's what knitting is.

Here we go, everybody sing...(or try to because meter is broken all the time so just say those parts really fast).

On the first day of Christmas I gave to myself (because I didn't get it for Christmas) a ball winder and a wooden swift.

On the second day of Christmas I gave to myself, two sets of lace blockers and I didn't buy another winder and swift because I just bought that. But I did buy some soap for woolens and some blocking mats.

On the third day of Christmas I gave to myself three full sets of needles, one in birch, one in metal, and a carbon set in a little size for those sixteen inch cables, and a coffee at my favorite coffee house.

On the fourth day of Christmas I gave to myself, four yarn box subscriptions so I can get presents all year long.

On the fifth day of Christmas I gave to myself, five balls of quiviut yarn. And nothing else because I ran out of money.

On the sixth day of Christmas I gave to myself, six different pairs of scissors because they were really cute and you can't have too many scissors, and besides, it was payday.

On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave to myself, seven magazine subscriptions about knitting and crochet and a funky pair of reading glasses from the drugstore.

On the eighth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, eight novels about women detectives that knit and solve murder mysteries, and a box of chocolates.

On the ninth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, nine different organizers for my needles, yarn and books and a new computer to put all my information in.

On the tenth day of Christmas I gave to myself, ten pattern books, and a bag of knitting accessorizes (I keep losing knitting markers and tape measures).

On the eleventh day of Christmas I gave to myself, ten light bulbs for the magnifying crafter's lamp that I also bought which I'll put up beside the chair that I also bought and the big screen TV that I also bought.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, (Big breath, here we go...)

12 balls of Berroco Ginkgo for a cardigan
11 balls of different colored King Cole Tinsel for Christmas ornaments next year
10 balls of Berroco Andean Mist for a hooded shawl scarf with pockets
9 skeins of Estelle Worsted for a temperature afghan
8 balls of Queensland Sunshine Coast because I think it's pretty
7 balls of various sock yarn to keep my toes toasty
6 balls of Ella Rae Classic Wool for a cabled pull over so I can look like a fisherman
5 balls of James C. Brett Marble for a really cool looking coat
4 balls of Berroco Noble for a textured stitch scarf
3 skeins of Ancient Arts Reinvent in a cat color for something not for a cat.
2 skeins of KFI Luxury Silk Sport for a really exquisite shawl with beads


1 cake of Lang Mille Colori for I don't know what yet.

Here's the special for this week. It comes from Ice Yarns because it's cold outside.

75% OFF

Ice Yarns Hand Dyed Cord
100% Wool
100 m/100 g (5)

Regular Price: $16.00
Sale Price: $4.00

Lori says that when this yarn first came in it smelled like pomegranates.  She wanted you to know that.

Posted by Anna Maria Junus

Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter From a Very Special Customer

We got this email from a customer who made time out of her busy day to come in last week.

Dear Lori, Anna & Margaret,

I was in your lovely store the other day. Of course I didn't tell you who I really was because you might not have believed me, or you would have said among yourselves "the poor dear is delusional" and had me picked up by psychiatric services and thrown into one of your hospitals. It's happened before and it's such a to do to get me out. Nick gets beside himself and starts yelling and the help has to cover their ears and come break me out of prison. So I've learned it's best not to say anything to grown-ups about it. 

I just wanted to tell you how delighted I am with your store. We have a very nice knitting shop here at the North Pole in Santa Village run by my good friend Sadie. She brings in yarn from all over the world and it is such lovely yarn, but the other day I simply had to get away. You know when you're having those days when the elves are fighting and your husband is stressed out over deadlines and the chocolate machine goes wonky and flings chocolate around and the reindeer are butting heads and no one can find Rudolph to check on flight plans. Oh don't worry, we found him. He was off on another adventure with the dentist. They do that now and then but I wish they would wait until after Christmas. I handled all that very well, but when I burnt the gingerbread cookies (and really it only takes such a little silly thing) that was when I lost it and decided to run away for the day.

So I asked the North Wind for a ride and flew down to your shop since I heard such wonderful things about it. I thought about taking one of the sleighs - we have several - but they get too much attention and they were all being serviced getting ready for Christmas Eve. For those who don't know, we have sleighs sent to several points throughout the world so that Santa can have fresh reindeer and a new load of toys. 

Your staff was very kind to me and helped me out when I needed it and left me alone to wander when I didn't need help. And oh the joys that I found! Lovely merino tonal fingering yarn that I 'm planning on using for a fair isle "My Favorite Things" scarf for Nick.  I'm already designing and searching for motifs for it. It will of course have reindeer, cookies, toys, snowflakes and children on it.  I may use Dr. Who and Harry Potter motifs as well and I think I'll add palm trees. You see we like to go to warm beaches to bring in the New Year and have a rest before we start up production again. 

I also found Baby Bunting for my slippers and I'm going to make myself a coat out of the Flutterby Animal Prints. And I also bought some Ella Rae Superwash Classic Wool that I'm going to use for a vest for Nick. We have to dress him in layers for Christmas Eve so that he can take pieces on and off depending on where he is. His fur lined red coat gets too warm when he's in the Bahamas. I bought sock yarn for the elves - we have our little knitting circle on Thursday evening, and I treated myself to some gorgeous KFI silk yarn to make myself a shawl. I picked a deep blue tonal that reminded me of the night sky here at the North Pole and I picked up some Mill Hill beads to knit into it.  Plus I bought a large set of Chiao Goo needles. Oh, the splurge on that one but I think I deserve it. Besides, I'm wrapping them up and putting them under the tree for me from Nick. He doesn't know this yet. 

A very successful shopping trip and just what I needed. I went back home with my purchases and was able to solve all the annoying problems that had besieged my day including the annual debate over the nice and naughty list. We have some elves that simply don't understand children and would just put everyone on the naughty list. I keep sending those elves off to the stables but they keep sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong and causing problems. Every family has at least one.

I would love to say I got out my knitting needles right away but life is so busy here before Christmas that I fall into bed each night exhausted and then I have to deal with Nick and his constant worrying that we won't be done in time. He does this every year in December and I have to prevent him from having a complete melt down but we always manage through it and we're always ready by Christmas Eve even though it is a mad rush. 

Although I can't get out to your lovely store very often I will make sure I do come more often and I think I'll bring Sadie who loves to see other yarn shops even though she's in one every day. 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope the coming year is Joyfull. And yes I know I spelled it wrong but I spelled it the way it should be. Our lives should be FULL of JOY in spite of all the hardships that come our way. I know it's frantic at this time of year but remember, perfection is over rated and is not meant to be achieved. Spend time with people, especially those who have no one. Enjoy your loved ones. Take care of yourselves. And remember...Be JOYFULL!

Love, Mrs. Claus

P.S. I have talked to the North Wind about the cold and asked him to be a little kinder to you Christmas week. He's a bit stubborn and says he's been behaving himself the past two winters but he simply has to stretch and be himself this winter. He said he would think about being nicer but he made no promises. He can be a stubborn fellow and a little greedy. I did tell him that he should restrict himself to three months like the other seasons, but he got a little huffy about that. So let's hope he does decide not to be so harsh. 



100% Acrylic
100 g/100 m/109 y Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $8.00
Sale Price: $2.00


But never fear. Here's the back up one.

61% Baby Alpaca 24% Nylon 15% Merino Wool
50g/125y/115m Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $19.00
Sale Price: $4.75

By the way, did you know that Mrs. Claus has a Kodiak Bear that loves to give her rides? They have racing events with the polar bears. It's become quite an event and the bears enjoy it as much as the elves and Mrs. Claus do.

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who for the first time has all presents bought and wrapped more than a week before Christmas)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Things You Should Not Do To Yarn

Welcome to an episode of "Things You Should Not Do To Yarn".

There are people out there with nothing but time on their hands. They have knit their entire wardrobe. They have provided for every person that they know and many that they don't. They have covered every teapot, every toilet paper roll, and even, knitted coats for the trees in their yard. They have been told repeatedly "no more knitted goods or we'll have to put you in a straight jacket."

So what is a knitter/crocheter to do? Well for starters, they make their own straight jacket.

Marc Jacobs knit straight jacket:
 Note: this is NOT the way you wear a straight jacket. Also note: this is just a sweater that a knitter who loves sleeves got carried away with one drunken night.

 So now that you've made the straight jacket...

Crazy leggings are in fashion. Come on. Is this really any different than what you've got in your closet or on your legs right now? Look it even comes with a tummy hider. I bet yours don't.

I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while
my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.

Perfect for a boy between the ages of 10 and whatever. Yeah, you know the guy that says "I didn't know I couldn't put metal in the microwave." Also perfect for your American friends who voted for He Who Must Not Be Named. 

Sometimes I feel sorry for models. Yes I know they are prettier than the rest of us which isn't fair. And they make money based on something they didn't earn, which isn't fair. But would you really want to be the guy who has to wear this on the walkway? He is forever captured on the internet for his friends to laugh at him. This will be shown at every birthday party, at his wedding(s), and at any moment when his loved ones will want to humiliate him. Maybe models don't get paid enough. Plus it's pretty hard to pick up girls in an outfit like this no matter how pretty you are.

I could be wrong but it looks like the same model. I think this guy will need some serious therapy sessions. I'm sure there must have been a crying jag in the dressing room after the show. Designers can be so cruel.

Okay, okay. This is what you do. You put this on and come into your kid's room early in the morning before they're awake. Then you wake them up, gently. And when they open their eyes, you smile at them and say "I'm hungry" in a raspy voice.

Cats are supposed to have some level of dignity. It's part of the cat creed. Foisting something like this on your cat could cause him/her to be blackballed by the Cat Association. Yes, such a thing exists. I had cats that told me. Note: Cats are not unicorns.

Yes. That is a sock monkey dress. In fact two sock monkey dresses. All these things need are wings to make them flying sock monkey dresses. Just show up in this for a blind date and see how far the relationship goes. 

Every girl needs a knitted Xena Warrior Princess costume. Not sure how well this will deflect swords or arrows. It might slow the trajectory of a bullet. I wouldn't recommend testing it out. Now this might get you somewhere on a date.

There is a place for ugly Christmas sweaters. There is no place for this. Ever. Not even at Halloween. This is something a serial killer would wear. Don't be a serial killer.

There is one other that I didn't think was appropriate to post on this blog. We have a customer who is being paid to make it and she is horrified by it. There is no way I can show it without offending someone. But here is the link. Note: You have been warned. Do not blame me if your eyes get burned out of your head. DANGER DANGER DANGER

If you clicked on this link I am not responsible for your foolish decision. Take yourself to get some help.

As for this week's sale we offer you some comfort for these traumatizing images. It's soft and you can make pretty things, sensible things, useful things with this yarn. Things that you can be proud of saying "I made this." Of course you can also do to it what shouldn't be done to yarn, but we don't recommend that.

40% Superwash Wool, 40% Acrylic, 20% Alpaca
50 m/50 g Chunky (5)

Regular Price: 4.50
Sale Price: $1.13

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who knows how to treat yarn with dignity and respect).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Stones, Sticks, and Strings

When I was a kid I read a story called Stone Soup. In it a wanderer approaches a cottage. When he knocks on the door a woman answers. He begs her for some food and she tells him she can't give him any because she doesn't have any. So he tells her that he can show her how to make soup from a stone.

Which makes me start asking "if he can make soup from a stone why is he going around begging for food?"

She doesn't think this though because she's not internet savvy, so excited about the prospect of making soup from a rock which is free, she invites the stranger in. This was back in those much safer days when you let strangers into your home even if they were carrying weapons and there were no laws to protect the commoner and seeing people hanging from trees and heads on pikes was a perfectly normal thing.

They get a roaring fire going in the fireplace and they put a cauldron over it (hey first sign of a witch - a cauldron) and they put the wanderer's magic stone and some water into the cauldron. They boil it for awhile and then the wanderer says "you know, this soup would be better if we had some vegetables. Do  you have any?"

And so the woman goes to her cold room which is anywhere in the house that doesn't have a fire and she produces some potatoes, carrots and onions. They peel them and throw that into the pot and then the wanderer says "it's too bad that we don't have any meat."

So the lady says "I think I might be able to find something," She goes to her larder and finds the remains of the chicken that she ate the night before and they add that to the soup because back then it was perfectly safe to eat chicken that's been sitting out all night since salmonella hadn't been invented yet.

And then the wanderer says "I don't suppose you have any herbs, just to add a bit of flavor?" She goes out to her garden and she gathers up some herbs and they chop them up and throw them into the pot along with some incantations of blessings and good wishes because, you know, they have a cauldron.

Meanwhile as they wait for the stone to magically produce the soup, the wanderer entertains her with songs, tricks and games and they have a lovely chat by the fire. They exchange contact information and she tells him about the husband that died and the ungrateful children who no longer call on her and he tells her how he lost his entire family in a village fire set by the evil king's soldiers and now he wanders the countryside seeking revenge.

The fact that she is alone in her house with a tormented revenge seeker doesn't bother her at all.

When the soup is done he takes out his stone and pockets it and they have a lovely meal together. She gives him a bed by the fire for the night and he leaves the next day, rejuvenated and with a full tummy and she feels refreshed from the company and the new knowledge of making soup from a stone.

So what has this got to do with knitting?

Not long ago, necessity required knitting. Want a sweater? You knitted it. Want socks? You knitted it. Want a blanket? You knitted it. Knitting was not leisure time. It was work. Women walked around the house doing chores and knitting. Back then they were able to produce two extra arms to do this. They could knit, feed the baby, stir the laundry in the pot, and sweep the floor all at the same time. If you didn't have yarn you unraveled something to make something else. It was not considered fun times when you wanted a hobby to do. People who had to knit didn't have hobbies. They had work and sleep.

Now if you need something, you go to the store. You can pick up a ten pack of socks for like ninety-nine cents. You buy a sweater for under twenty. Whatever you want you can buy cheaply enough and still have money for lunch in the food court.

However to make a single pair of socks you pay about twenty dollars for a skein of yarn. It's not financially practical. Necessity has become the stone.

Instead we knit for pleasure. It's cheaper than a round of golf, more social than a night at the movies, definitely more fun than a barrel of monkeys. (Yes, seriously. Would you really want a barrel of monkeys in your home?) We knit for relaxation. We knit for connection. We knit to leave a bit of ourselves with others. We knit for style. We knit to wear unique items. We knit to prevent ourselves from eating or smoking or drinking. We knit to forget our problems or to solve our problems or to reach the state of zen where we can levitate ourselves above the crazy.

We don't knit for necessity, no matter how much we tell ourselves that we use that stone. We have filled our cauldrons with other ingredients for feeding ourselves and we make connections with other wanderers through life, with knitting.

Which brings us to today's sale. It's a lovely yarn, perfect for sweaters, scarves, cowls, hats, and mittens.


60% Acrylic, 25% Cotton, 15% Wool
165 m/100 g Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $8.00
Sale Price: $2:00

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who has never eaten stone soup or been stoned).