Looking Back…

3 years ago today, my cousin Allison and I were just pulling into the parking lot here at Loop Head lighthouse in Ireland…

 Loop Head, Ireland, 2005

…When we heard the news of the bombings in London. And we knew her brother Greg was planning on taking the Chunnel from Paris to London that day and we were trying to decide which was better: calling her parents to wake them in the wee hours of the morning to tell them about the bombings, and knowing that Greg was probably fine? Or wait a little bit, let them sleep a little longer, and risk them turning on the TV to find out themselves?

For what it’s worth, we opted to wake them up, and Greg arrived safely in London later that day.

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Choose, Matey, Or It’s Walkin’ The Plank!

Straight vs. Circular…
Metal vs. Bamboo…
Knitpicks vs. Addi…

Personally, I prefer Circular, Metal, and Knitpicks, but, frankly, I’m always puzzled by the people who say “I ONLY knit using X.” How can they say that? I find that it depends on what I’m making and what yarn I’m using. And WHY, pray tell, would I want to choose only ONE type of needle when I can have all the needles in all the land! ARRRRR!

What brought this on? I just finished a shawl using size 13 Clover circulars. And now I’ve gone back to knitting on my cousin’s pink ruffle scarf on size 6 Knitpicks options metal circulars. I had forgotten how much I love the Knitpicks Options needles. Don’t get me wrong. I started on the Clovers and for anything slippery, they’re the first thing I reach for. But the Options…Oh, my, the Options.

They’re smoother, faster, pointer, and bendier. The cable join is smoother, the finish is slicker than the Addis, and the point can put an eye out if you’re not careful. I really, REALLY need to purchase more of these.

I know a lot of it is going from a large project with bumpy yarn on huge needles to something small with alpaca and smaller needles, but these needles just feel great. Has anyone tried the Harmony needles yet? I’ve got a few of the tips in my shopping cart waiting for payday.

On to other things…

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. So be sure to say an Argh, Matey, and perhaps a Shiver Me Timbers today and confuse the heck out of your friends and coworkers.

My most exciting news so far? I’m on the Yarn Harlot’s blog!!!! OMG!!!! It was a thrill enough when I met her and introduced myself and she said “Oh, I know who you are!” And I know it was the sock that did it. LOLOL But still…I’m there! And I’m about 2 seconds away from turning into FanGrrl. Somebody stop me. *ahem* Moving on.

I’ve ordered the pattern for Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Baby Surprise Jacket. Does anyone out there have any suggestions for yarns? I want something superwash, as both parents work and they don’t need to be worrying about handwashing anything. Too bad Noro doesn’t do superwash. That would be perfect.

My mom is going to England in a few weeks. She’s visiting cousins of mine. The cousin I’m related to, Jeanne, is a knitter and my family is from a part of England where all the woolen mills were. Unfortunately, I can’t make it this trip, but Jeanne and my mom said they’d go shopping for me. When I told them I didn’t want to load down my mom’s suitcase, Jeanne replied with “Don’t worry. I’ll ship it.”

This is going to be so bad. LOLOL.

Jeanne sent me the link to a store and asked me to let her know “how I get on” there. Oh, my. My, my, my. I think I’ll get on just fine! I’ve been trying to figure out what to get, and here’s what I decided. Nothing commercial.

I see all the name brand yarns, and if there’s something REALLY spectacular, my mom will grab it for me. Between Jeanne knowing how something would knit up, and my mom knowing my tastes, I’m in good hands there. But if they’re going to the actual mills, I’d much rather have the raw yarn. I’d rather have the natural, undyed yarn that comes on cones. That way I can experiment with dying all on my own and truly have one-of-a-kind yarn. Bought where my family is from, by my cousin and mother, and dyed by me. Trully a family project. Plus all the commercial yarns will be very similar to what’s already available here.

Although if some Cashmere or Silk were to fall into someone’s suitcase I wouldn’t object.

Just sayin’.

Lynda the Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Catching Up: Sedona

I spent my last few weekends in Arizona and I took some side trips. The first was with my friend M up to Sedona. M is both a quilter AND a knitter, so when we were planning her trip, I was looking into yarn and quilt stores. And boy did we score!

We stopped at a number of quilt and yarn stores, so here are some highlights…

Our first stop was Quiltz in Phoenix. This place was massive. Because my mother is also a quilter (M was mom’s friend first) I have been to my share of quilting stores all over the country, and I have never seen one as well stocked as this one. And they had their fabric grouped well, too. A lot of stores do it by color or fabric, and they did to a certain extent, but they also grouped by theme. So if you were looking for travel fabric, that was on this shelf. Dog fabric over there. English Florals in the next room. Really a great store. We spent probably about an hour there and M doesn’t think she saw everything. In fact, while we were leaving we saw an entire stand-alone that had purple floral fabric on it that she had missed. And if you knew M you’d know how shocking it is that she missed an entire rack of purple. It’s unheard of.

Then we hit the road. I can’t remember where all we stopped, but we were hightailing it to Prescott. My cousin is going to school there and I heard there were good yarn stores out that way, and one we were NOT. TO. MISS in Jerome.

Prescott is a fairly small town. There’s a junior college and an aeronautics school and that’s about it. A town of a decent size, but it’s still SMALL compared to Los Angeles. Even compared to Phoenix. There was not one…not two…but THREE knitting stores in Prescott. One was literally around the corner from the other.

The first store was mainly for spinning, and I picked up some gorgeous teal roving. Really pretty with streaks of purple and gold running through. Not sure how this will spin up, but we’ll see. I wish I lived closer because this is the type of place I would come to learn about wheels. They really know their stuff.

The second store was nice. I’ve noticed Alpaca yarns are more readily available out there than here. I bought some great pink for a scarf and hat set for my cousin, this beautiful yarn that looks like a midnight sky, and a couple of patterns. One for the sky-like yarn.

The third store was more what I see here in L.A. A lot of space, not a lot of yarn, but what they had was really nice. And it looked like a comfortable place to sit and knit for a while. And if you needed needles, this was the place to go.

From there we were in a hurry to get to Jerome. I had heard that there was a store there that Should. Not. Be. Missed. I am so very VERY glad it wasn’t.

First off, the drive from Prescott to Jerome. NOT for the faint of heart. Beautiful, but very twisting.

We were trying to get to Jerome by 5, as that’s when the store closed. We made it with about 10 minutes to spare. Luckily the shop owner’s hours are a bit…flexible. LOL

Begin Shameless Plug #2

Knit 1, Bead 2 is one of those stores you wish you lived next door to. It is friendly, the owner was helpful, and the yarns were EVERYWHERE. And the Koigu! *swoon* Oh, my, the Koigu. I have never seen so much in one place before, and that’s even including the Wall O’ Koigu at Wildfiber.

I bought quite a bit of it, as you can see.

And M tried to help me out by making sure I left with a little less of it!

The thief! She’s lucky she didn’t lose that hand! LOLOL.

Once we left Jerome, it was clear sailing to Sedona. Found our hotel (actually timeshare) with no problems, checked in, and lugged all our belongings to the room.

And what a “room” it was!

The view from outside our front door…

Where we had our morning coffee at the Starbucks…

We did the Pink Jeep Tour (HIGHLY recommend them)…

and got to see some of the sights…

Check out Snoopy complete with Woodstock on his nose…

And did A LOT of shopping. Found some turquoise for me, finally. I even found a fish! M quite easily topped me in the “who bought more” contest. She bought the timeshare! LOLOL.
…But I still have my purple Koigu!

Next up: The Grand Canyon

The Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks

Catching Up: Phoenix

You know, there are a TON of things I would post about on a regular basis. And what’s holding me back is, primarily, the time to upload the photos that go with. So today, I’m playing catch up. To spare those with dialup (and even those without) I’m posting thumbnails. Click any of them for the full picture. Also, I’m breaking this up because it’s WAAAAY too long otherwise. LOL
And you might want to send out for some food. You’re going to be here a while. LOL…
I spent 2 months flying back and forth nearly every week from Los Angeles to Phoenix for work. My job and my boss moved and I looked around at the dry, brown, hotter-than-the-surface-of-the-sun Phoenix and said “NO WAY!” LOL Too hot for me out there.
While flying I worked on a sock…
And then ripped it back completely. A shop owner out there told me the best way to beat SSS is to do them both at once. For some reason that was a concept that had eluded me. LOL So I completely ripped it back. And since I ripped it…what about making the Jaywalkers? So I’ve re-cast on about a month ago and haven’t touched it since.

While there I also worked on a scarf for my best friend out of some Alpaca sportweight she sent This turned out to be the pattern from hell. It’s a pretty pattern with no errors that I noticed, and the yarn is PERFECT for it, as it has a bit of a halo from the Alpaca and a lovely shine from the silk, but it kicked my ass. What you see there is absolutely as far as I had been able to get, and it took me about 15 tries and nearly two weeks to get THAT far. Needless to say, It has since been frogged…
…A pink scarf for my cousin that I am discovering I don’t like. LOL. I’m still plugging away on it, though, so she may see it in 2020…

And now Shameless Plug #1
While in Phoenix the first weekend, I quickly found the local restaurants, grocery store, bookstore, and yarn store. Not necessarily in that order, you understand. And while surfing through the NUMEROUS sites for all the yarn stores in the Phoenix area, I found Tempe Yarn and Fiber. They are wonderful. The couple that own and run it are so helpful. I went once to one of their knitting nights and found everyone there to be sweet and funny and they welcomed me immediately and in the few sporadic visits I made there, I never felt for a single moment like I was unwelcome or intruding into an already established group. And the owner (and I feel like a total jerk, as I cannot for the life of me remember her name) was ALWAYS willing to just whip out the yarn and show me something or help me with anything I needed. Had I thought to pack my spindle, she could have taught me to spin, too. And since she was ever so patient with my questions, I know she would have been an EXCELLENT teacher.
If you’re ever in the area, stop in. Lovely yarns, and lovelier people.
Next up…Sedona

The Guppy
aka The Fish With Sticks