Community, Fall, goals, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Local Yarn Shop, Socks, Whats on My Needles, Whats on the Needles Wednesday, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Rhinebeck Is Goals

Hey Everyone!

This morning I finished up the first sock in the pair of “Road to Rhinebeck” socks I am currently working on.

This was a sock set with a main variegated hank and a smaller contrast / coordinating tonal hank for at least heels and toes. I have gone on the conservative side and not tried using the contracting tonal for a top rib in the cuff. I may kick myself later for that, if I end up with a decent amount left over. I just wanted to make sure I had enough for the heels and toes for two socks.

This sock, seriously evokes all things fall for me. Cozy Sweaters, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes, turning leaves, fires in the fireplace, Gilmore Girls, Mel in Virgin River – the scene from the first episode or two when she is walking down the street in Virgin River talking to her sister on the phone in the cute sweater and boots.

Yes, one sock made me think of that. Well, it did have the help of visiting two local yarn shops yesterday. Those made me think of rainy Portland October days, with a cup of tea, hunkering down in a cute yarn shop working on a knitting project, or squishing the yarn. For me, Starlight Knitting Society was the coziest and most inviting of the two. It also really made me miss Happy Knits. Happy Knits was a yarn store here in Portland, on SE Hawthorne Blvd, that I fell in love with. They closed a few years ago (Pre Pandemic) they had a very light, airy, welcoming shop that wasn’t super crowded but had an amazing selection. In the back, they had a large table to sit around and work on projects as well as a couch that faced the natural gas stove. It was amazing in the colder wet months to go hang out, look at yarn, squish yarn, get inspiration, work on projects. I miss that space.

I have known about the Rhinebeck sheep and wool festival for several years. It is the big festival. I really want to go, and I want to try to make it happen next year. This year isn’t going to work for me, since I have other things I need to deal with first. Rhinebeck is one of things that I feel like I should experience at least once.

We don’t have many fiber festivals out here on the West Coast, and the ones we do have aren’t on the same caliber as the ones that take place back east.

All the smaller indie dyers I follow and typically buy from are from east of the Mississippi River, and the “better” fiber festivals are part of the circuit that most of these dyers go to.

Which is why I would love to go to Rhinebeck, especially, as well as some of the other fiber festivals back East and find more small, Indie, US based dyers who have amazing yarns.

Fall, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Local Yarn Shop, Socks, Summer, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Portland Yarn Shops

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to the Tuesday after Memorial Day. Here in the US Memorial Day Weekend is the “Official start of Summer”. So everyone who works a typical M-F job has gone back to work now after the long weekend. I worked this weekend, like I have been doing every weekend for over a year. So now it’s my weekend.

I have been wanting to go do some yarn shopping at some local yarn stores, so I finally went to a couple today. Both were in Portland proper (aka in city limits).

I went to Starlight Knitting Society on SE 52nd Ave – a few blocks south of SE Woodstock Blvd.

The other was CloseKnit on NE Alberta St at NE 22nd Ave.

I had been to Close Knit once before, this was my first time stopping at Starlight. I had driven by Starlight so many times but had never stopped, I decided it was time to stop there and see what they had to offer. I really liked Starlight Knitting Society.

I bought some sock yarn at both shops.

These are the three sock yarns I bought at Close Knit. Teo are a lighter weight sock yarn, and the one on the right is a medium weight sock yarn.

These are the five hanks of yarn I bought at Starlight Knitting Society. The two purpley-pink hanks are the same yarn, I would just need to hanks to make a pair of socks. The blue and greens are all a lighter weight sock yarns and will make great summer socks for getting back into hiking.

Not only was I looking for pretty colors, I am also amazed at the wide variety of weights that are all considered to be “fingering weight” which is the weight most commonly used for socks. The lighter weights require a smaller gauge of needle and more stitches to make a sock, where as the heavier weight yarns require a slightly bigger gauge needle and fewer stitches.

One of the yarns I bought is from Paris France, and another one is from Germany.

I love supporting American Indie Dyers, I also enjoy working with yarn from other places.

Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Winter, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Snowed In

Hey Everyone!

The past couple of days have been crazy. We have been getting snow here in the Portland Metro area, down on the valley floor.

Since I work nights, and it seems to like to snow and cover the roads right at the times when I have to make a decision of do I go or Call Out, I end up calling out and staying home and safe.

That also means, more knitting has been getting done.

I am currently working on my pair of sea monster socks with yarn from deep dyed yarns. This sock, is the second sock in the pair. I got the first sock finished up last week.

As much as I love being home, Knitting, I would love to be getting back to work and back to earning money. Until this snow storm I hadn’t missed a shift in the five months I have been at this job. I really hate missing work when I am supposed to be there and it is harder to relax knowing I am supposed to be at work.

Well, at least we still have power and heat this time around. Things could be way worse.

Autumn, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Winter, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

How is it November already?

Hey Everyone!

I totally meant to write this post a couple days ago, but my weekend got away from me.

I had received the two yarns orders, that I had ordered in the mail earlier this week. One was from Deep Dyed Yarn, the other from SavvySkeins.

I got them wound up Wednesday morning, and I love how they look wound up into cakes.

I am definitely excited to get these knit up. Most of these will be knit up after the first of the year, since life is pretty busy right now with work and everything else going on.

Wednesday morning I also made my mom’s birthday pie. Her birthday is always the week of, or even on Thanksgiving, so I started making her, her favorite pie the first week of the month so she can enjoy it and pumpkin pie. Then I usually get her something else for her actual birthday.

Autumn, Fall, KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Local Yarn Shop, Skills, Socks, Summer, Winter, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Unicorn Night Mares

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This evening, I finished up the pair of “Unicorn Night Mares” socks that I started right before I interviewed for my new job. This pair of socks has taken me about three weeks to knit up, since life has happened.

The colorway is: Unicorn Night Mares, the yarn base is: Fingering, and it’s from KnittedWit.

My first week of the new job went well. I am definitely looking forward to life after my first paycheck. This fall and winter, I am definitely going to be checking out some yarn stores and tea shops. This is going to be an awesome fall and winter

I am also waiting for my knit picks orders to arrive this week.

blog, goals, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Local Yarn Shop, Skills, Socks, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Project Bag On The Go

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I had an interview this morning, across town. I knew where I was going as it was right on the route I took to one of my old jobs. I left early as usual, and took the sock I had cast on last night with me in my new sock project bag.

I got a couple rounds done while I waited for my interview time to get closer before going in. I have found that being early and getting a bit of knitting done always helps me be a bit calmer and not as nervous.

I started keeping a “purse project” with me when I went places I might have have to wait, or have down time where I really couldn’t go anywhere back, like a decade ago when I worked for a short time at a daycare. Days where I worked 6 hours or more, at that company I had to take a mandatory hour lunch. State Law only mandates a 30 minute meal period for 6 hours+ worked, but the company scheduled us such that if we worked over 6 hours we had an hour lunch. So I had started taking a dish cloth WIP with me to work on. Having knitting to work on helps pass the time.

Now that I am into working on socks, it is definitely my “purse project” or “on the go project”.

As I mentioned yesterday, I definitely want to try out different brands of yarn, besides for my own curiosity as well as for content. I have been looking at local yarn shops to see what they have. I know it takes money to buy the yarn, which is part of why I want and need a better job.

Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Skills, Social Media, Socks, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Goals and Dreams Change

Hey Everyone!

To my American readers and followers, I hope you all had a safe and happy 4th. To our neighbors to the North, I hope you all had a good Canada Day!

I had the 4th off which was nice, though I worked Friday, Saturday and today. With the truck being delayed until Saturday and then showing three hours late on Saturday, stock crew was asked to come out for am extra shift this week, as our availability allowed. I was able to go in today and got a bit done.

For so long I have been anti TikTok, but with a little convincing from one of my coworkers (she uses it to share her art), I finally created one to share my knitting. While most of my first few videos aren’t knitting related (only 3 of them are), I have been kind of getting a feel for the platform. IDK how far I will go with it, but I am still testing it out.

I keep hearing on the news, that employers in my current industry (retail) as well as others similar to mine (grocery/restaurants/ manual labor) keep complaining about being short staffed. Some people not wanting to work is just a fraction of the problem. I have been back at work post furlough for about a year now, and looking for another job in my industry or a similar industry closer to home for said year (and many years pre-COVID). My own experience this past year, has been one of Cricket’s (aka silence). I have applied to many jobs that I can reasonably do with minimal training (ie how that specific company does things), yet I have only had three phone calls, and two interviews in the past year, and all of them were in the past 2 months. Yes, I was only at Home Depot for a short time, for various reasons that all boil down to it not being a good for for me. So I don’t totally buy the “we can’t fill all our open positions”. From my own experience, they aren’t calling everyone who applies and are choosing to not fill said positions. It is definitely frustrating for someone like me, yet, I feel like the past two months have made me rethink some things.

One of those things is possibly starting my own business one day. If I were to start my own business, I am strongly leaning towards a yarn dying business. I have also thought a yarn making business would be cool, where my company would buy raw wool and processing it into wool. Or doing the whole thing, from processing the wool, spinning it and dying it. If any of it works out, it’s still a ways out.

Not counting my KnitPicks socks, all my other socks were at least dyed here in the USA.

One of the things I definitely want to do more of it test out the different bases I have knit socks out of, while hiking and really see how they hold up / last with a bit rougher wear and washing after each wear. I want to know which bases hold up the best boot socks for hiking.

A few of the places I want to go hiking and test the ruggedness of my socks include: Mt Saint Helens, Sun River, anywhere really in Alaska, in Banff / Lake Louise as well as Jasper Alberta.

Autumn, Fall, Inspiration, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Socks, Winter, Wool, Work, Yarn, Yarn Store

Racing against Time and the arrival of Warm Weather

Hey Everyone!

I finally finished up the “make it pink, make it blue” socks on Sunday. At this point I am still leaning towards selling this pair eventually, but I want to wait a bit, and see if there are any more pairs I knit up that I decide to sell as well.

I am still have the second “let it snow” sock on the needles, but I went ahead and cast one one of the Bumble Bee Acres Farm yarns I had ordered last autumn. I chose the campfire s’mores colorway to cast on. I had gotten this colorway on the Coquette yarn base. As this is an autumn colorway, it is no longer available in their shop.

This is just the progress I had made by about 4:30 this afternoon. As of writing this post (at 11:00 at night), I have made a bit more progress on the leg.

Last week, I want to say it was on Thursday, that I was surprised that the latest Bumblebee Bee Acres Farm order “shipped”, and actually shipped on Friday. I could be wrong, but I get the feeling that they process and get orders ready throughout the week, but actually ship and take to the post office on Friday’s, or at least that has been the case with my last two orders (I honestly don’t remember the first). Now that I feel like I understand their system a little better, my opinion of them isn’t quite as low, and has gotten a bit better. That being said, I am still trying to buy from people / small businesses that have a bit better turn around and align with my values a bit more, or are at least able to stay neutral as far as their business is concerned when it comes to polarizing issues.

This last order from bumblebee acres arrived yesterday, and here are the three Hanks that I ordered:

The colorways are from the Outlander Collection. From left to right they are: Safe Harbor, The MacKenzie, and Murtagh. All three of these colorways are on the coquette yarn base. As of writing this post (February 4th, 2020), they are still likely in the shop should you choose to order them.

One of the things I have learned about indie dyers is that some of them only do a limited run of certain colors, and when it’s gone, it’s gone while others keep particular colors in stock on certain bases, and when their stock on hand is low, they dye up more while others keep particular colors in their shop and dye to order (and are up front about that and about turnaround time). So, if I am shopping a new shop that I haven’t dealt with before, I know that I need to snap it up if I really want it, just in case it sells out. There are others, that I know keep an inventory of certain colors, or if it in in the shop, it is dye to order, so if I like it, it can wait until payday to order.

Now that work has slowed down, and I have a lot of sock yarn that I have ordered the past few months, I am trying to get as many pairs of socks knit up as I can, while it is still too cold and wet to hang them outside to dry. I love line drying / blocking socks. Since all of my socks are at least part wool, the idea of putting them in the tumble dryer is definitely a no-no. I would just as soon wait several months for warm weather to dry them outside then tumble dry them. This is for my newly knitted socks, I have other hand knit socks, that if I wear them, I will wash them, and hang them out (even if it is cold and wet) to air out the smell of the wool wash, then bring them in to finish drying. I would eventually love to live in a house with a wood burning stove (among other things) and be able to set up a collapsible clothes dryer at a safe distance away, and put my socks over that to dry near the fire. By the time I have worn my socks, and they have already been blocked and shaped so I wouldn’t need to really block them in the way I need to block the new ones, to get the feet shaped right. I would and will likely set the new ones aside for warm weather to allow them to hang up on the blockers on the clothes line once I wash them for the first time.

I also use a different wool wash for the first time I wash my socks, than I do for subsequent washes. I prefer using the laundress wool and cashmere shampoo for the first wash, I feel like it helps get all the excess dyes, waxed, and anything still there from the processing and anything left behind. Once I have done that and I am washing them after having been worn, I use either Kookaburra Brand or Outback Gold wool wash. Both have tea tree oil which not only is a deodorizer, but also has anti microbial properties. Both claim to be biodegradable, which is nice. Though I am leaning a bit more toward the Australian Gold, as it is made in the USA and the smell isn’t as strong, but we will see in the long run which one I stick with.

KnitPicks, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Local Yarn Shop, Winter, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store

Another LYS is Closing

Hey Everyone!

I found out this afternoon that another Portland yarn store that has been one of the main yarn stores for years will be closing its brick and mortar store in a couple months. That will make the fourth yarn store (that I know of) to close its physical store in about 5 years. While the reasons given, typically are personal in nature (family illness, time to move on etc), I can’t help but wonder if the rising rent / lease prices in the shop front spaces and the growing move of consumers to online retailers is also part of what is driving this shift in Portland’s (and thus Oregon’s) LYS scene.

I also kind of feel like the crafting (knitters and crocheters) community here isn’t what it once was. Then again Portland isn’t what it was 10 – 15 years ago. The demographics of the area has been changing a lot since many of these yarn stores opened.

We do have a handful of local / indie dyers here in the area (only one that I can name off the top of my head), and the closest fiber festivals are 15 – 18 hours away, in SoCal.

I know I order a lot of my yarn online, and while I have definitely ordered a fair amount of yarn from KnitPicks, and will likely order from there again, most, of not all the sock yarn I have ordered in the last year has been from small, indie dyers from back east.

I would definitely love to see things change out here, since this part of the country is home. At the same time I definitely want to attend a few fiber festivals, meet my favorite dyers, and see some more of the country.

Autumn, Fall, Knitter's Talk, Knitting, Knitting Projects, Socks, Wool, Yarn, Yarn Store, Yarn Store Review

Multiple Occasions of Poor Customer Service

Hey Everyone!

My last yarn order FINALLY arrived. Let me tell you, waiting for definitely was irritating. I have ordered from the company I ordered this yarn from a total of three times, and all three orders had shipping delays that were not communicated until after the order was submitted if at all. My first order was delayed because they were too busy with fiber festivals and only had a blurb about it on a side page that was not easily accessible, and didn’t pop up until after I ordered. The second shipment was the quickest to ship, but was still quite slow to ship. The yarn I had ordered this latest time, I only ordered because I wanted the colors that bad. I knew I was doing a preorder, but the statement about when shipping was going to occur was a bit confusing, but had stated that orders would start shipping on September 20th. So, ok, I put my order in on the first day preorders were open, which was like the 6th or 7th of September. September 20th, came and went. So did the 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th, and 28th. Finally, Sunday the 29th, I got an email in the evening that my order shipped. “It’s about time”, I thought to myself. On my shipping tracking it stated that the label was created super early the morning of the 30th, which the time difference accounted for. Ok fine. I’d deal. So I checked the tracking info a couple of times a day, to see when it would be accepted by the post office (ie to get an idea when it was taken to the post office). Monday passed, so did Tuesday (which was October 1st), and Wednesday, as did Thursday. Friday morning I had checked it again a few times throughout the morning (like before I went to work, when I got off work, and when I got home from work), so I finally went and showered after I got home (as I was hot, sweaty and gross). I got thinking that I should email the owner to see what was up, once I got done with my shower, as having been waiting 15 days after shipping was supposed to start (and 5 days after the label was created, which is usually a sign it will ship that day), it was nuts. It finally shipped, on Friday, and arrived today (a month after I ordered it).

So, I will not be ordering from this particular company again. I should learned after the first or second delay, but three times in a row, is unprofessional, and I am sure that I am not the only one this has happened to.

I guess it gets to me, because I have not only ordered from plenty of other companies online, and had way better customer service and communication. Not to mention the fact that I have worked from a professional knitting studio, and I have been the one to make runs to UPS, USPS, and even a fedex run in the time I worked there, because the item got finished up and packed after the UPS and Mailman had already come to the studio. It was important to us, and the business to get orders out in a very timely manner.

The yarn itself is beautiful, though the product is only half the experience of yarn shopping. Customer service is the other half. Shipping turn around time and being clear on actual shipping time, is a big part of that for online orders.

This is the yarn I had ordered:

Like I mentioned, it’s beautiful, but the experiences I have had with shipping delays that were not clearly communicated right up front, on multiple occasions, were the largest factor in why I won’t be ordering from Bumblebee Acres fiber Farm anymore.

Earlier this afternoon, I finished up the first sock of the pair I am knitting up out of Heirloom Pumpkin from Forbidden Fiber Company.

I have been wanting to work with this yarn for quite a few months. I love the colors even more now that I am seeing them in a sock.