Thursday, October 30, 2008

I Have Become a Knitting Pimp

Yes, I know I've been away from blogging for a while. It seems I spend more time apologizing for that on this blog than anything else! :-P I've been away mostly because it has been a difficult past few months for me, and I didn't want to be all whiny and "poor me my life is so hard" on the blog because who wants to read about that? But allow me a few moments to vent, if you please:

How is it that a person of moderate to high intelligence, with two Bachelors degrees from two very fine institutions and a Masters degree from one of the "New Ivies", with years of experience both inside and outside her chosen field can't for the life of her find a job in a large U.S. city? I have lived down here for four months now and had only one interview. I can't even get a response to applications for secretarial positions! I'm a hard worker and I'm not asking the moon for salary, but I am in dire need of funds at this point but even the city's temp agencies are dry. Granted, not having any free time does leave me with lots of time to knit...but no money to knit with.


I pimped my services to my large family and they pay for the yarn! Perfect!

I just got back from spending a week and a half in Minneapolis helping my parents unpack and sort out 35 years' worth of stuff. They have moved several times over the years, but there were a LOT of boxes they hadn't unpacked in 20 years or more. Now that they have finally been able to purchase a permanent home (instead of renting houses from the university where my father teaches), they wanted to sort through everything they own and whittle everything down to an organized, manageable collection of goods.

Smart people. The only difficulty is that they had 12 kids (12 kids can generate a LOT of stuff over the years), and all but one child is either in high school, college, or off with families and careers of their own. (Read: tons of stuff, no one around to help.) That's where I came in. Being broke but with all the time in the world (and also, I admit, kind of a drill sargeant when it comes to organizing and THROWING STUFF AWAY--efficient and ruthless), my parents thought it would be worth it to fly me back up to Minneapolis for a week and a half to have me organize effort.

Many days I was working on my own, many days with my mother, and for several loooooong days I was working with my eight year-old sister to organize her room and all the toys a family of 14 generates over the years. She didn't want to throw anything away. I, being ruthless and all, was happy to chuck junk into the garbage bags when she wasn't looking.

Aaaaaanyway...back to knitting content. Knowing that it would be a lot colder in Minneapolis than San Diego (duh), I brought along several scarves of mine that one of my sisters immediately swooned over. So of course I had to give them to her. (It must be that whole knitterly pride thing.) She immediately requested more scarves and leg warmers. She is a nurse and likes to wear leg warmers underneath her scrubs so her legs don't get too cold at work. One thing led to another and we ended up at The Yarnery (love it!) for some yarny goodness. Anyone who pays attention to friend activity on Ravelry will have seen me add a lot of luscious yarn to my stash lately. Don't worry--I didn't pay for any of it. (OK, I did buy a skein of Malabrigo Chunky. Oh, and some clearance yarn from Elann and 4 balls of Kidsilk Haze at 50% off somewhere else. But they were all cheap and I'm all done buying yarn forever and ever amen until I get a job.)

So now the fun thing is that I get to knit with a bunch of fun yarns I have never used before but I didn't have to pay for anything! I do have a few sweaters that I have been dying to make for myself, but it's so much fun to knit for people who want and appreciate your work that I came home and immediately cast on for the Traveling Stitch Legwarmers for my sister. I'm already on the second one!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Good Week For Mail

I had been planning on doing a mini-review of my new pattern books the next time I posted, but instead a new topic came to me in the mail yesterday: a goodie package from The Yarniad! She was having a birthday drawing for a cute little felted purse, so I tossed my name in the hat and it was picked! Yay!

Btw, if you haven't checked out her blog, you really should. I think I discovered it through another person's "OMG you have to go see what The Yarniad made!" posts. She truly does create some very stunning things, and she sews too, so there are many, many beautiful items to gawk at.

Her package arrived in the mail yesterday. I was thrilled with the cute little purse, and believe me when I say that I wish I could sew in zippers that smoothly. But that wasn't all! She also packed up a bath bomb, a packet of tea, a box of chocolates with a cute pin attached, and two skeins of yarn!

The green yarn is Curious Creek Fibers Omo in Birches in Norway, which is actually a colorway I have lusted after online and it is truly glorious in person: shades of green with wisps of silver-gray running through them. The cone is Artfibers Golden Chai, a tussah silk yarn in a beautiful light plum color. They both look so luscious, and they're two of my favorite colors!

Thank you so much, Hilary!!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Can We Say WOW?!?

So, after my little rant on Monday about not being able to get ahold of Kim Hargreaves' Nectar, I was browsing through the message boards on Ravelry and found a post announcing that her latest book, Thrown Together, was now available in the U.S. The post was from the woman who runs Hampton Knitting Yarn in Hampton Bays, NY. I thought, "If she has Thrown Together, maybe she also has Nectar and Rowan 44 in stock," and I called her up right away.

Not only was the woman on the phone immensely polite and helpful, she did indeed have the two books I was looking for. When she asked where I was calling from and I told her, 'California', she said she wasn't sure but "it might take until Thursday for the books to get to you".

Well, considering that I had already been waiting nearly SEVEN WEEKS for my order, three days wasn't such a big deal. I placed my order with Hampton Knitting Yarn and emailed the other online retailer to have her cancel my order. (When I spoke with her on the phone two weeks ago, she told me that if I could find the books in stock somewhere else, I could cancel the order with her since she hadn't charged me anything yet.)

OK, so I ordered the books on Monday, and by 10:30 this morning they were on my doorstep! All three were individually wrapped in tissue paper, and she even included a little packet of peppermint candies and a reusable shopping tote (perfect, because I try to use my own bags whenever possible)!

I am so happy to find a small shop that also has wonderful service for their online customers. I will certainly be shopping with Hampton Knitting Yarn again! Now if you will excuse me, I have some reading to do. ;-)