A Chapter Ends

If you are wondering where I’ve been, the answer is, I’ve been taking some time to mourn the loss of something I really loved, which I am now losing, and trying to figure out how to properly acknowledge it here.

Anyone who has read my blog for much length of time knows how much I enjoyed working at the yarn shop, and how grateful I was to be part of it. It is closing in the next few weeks, although I already feel as though it’s gone, given how bare the shelves were the last time I was in. The owner, my boss, is an amazing lady, but even the most organized and efficient among us cannot be in five places at once. She is moving into a new career working for yarn companies and thus can’t continue running a shop too. I understand it, but it is a loss for all of us who loved it.

I always jokingly called it my happy place, but it really was. I didn’t spend nearly as much time there outside of my work hours as many of my coworkers or customers did, due to my other obligations, but I do feel the loss very much. I have many happy memories there, and I learned so much about the industry and of course, yarn itself. My current skill level in knitting and crocheting both is eons beyond where it was when I started working there. When I started designing, it was the first place outside of my family to support and encourage me. My boss was always there to bounce questions off of or to offer guidance.

The sign outside always said not to knit alone, and thanks to Unwind, I fully understand why. When you are in a place where people are supportive and always happy to share what they know, you grow and improve in ways you simply can’t when you are working on your own. It is hard to sum up all my memories or all the things I will miss into a few short paragraphs, but  a yarn shop truly is about the people. I think the most special parts of life are about the people you share it with, and I will miss all my personal interactions more than anything. Of course I made friends and will keep in touch with everyone the best I can, but I will miss the place that drew us all together.

I tried to write this post carefully so it was not too much of a downer, but I thought such a special part of my life deserved a proper mention and notice. Sometimes we do have to just stop and mourn something we loved before we move on. I will miss sitting in the shop getting inspired by the beautiful walls of yarn, taking a look at the latest store samples, and of course, working events with my coworkers and hearing customers’ stories. I am taking some time to feel the void before I hopefully find something equally fulfilling to fill it with. But I am a better knitter, crocheter, and designer because of my time at Unwind, and good friends are never to be taken for granted. So even though I am sad, I am also very grateful.

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Unfurled

Inspired by an orchid, this shawl unfurls color as you knit it. This baby goat mohair is as close to the softness of flower petals as I could get!
Inspired by an orchid, this shawl unfurls color as you knit it. This baby goat mohair is as close to the softness of flower petals as I could get!

Just want to share my latest pattern, which I am also honored to have on display at Unwind! I hope you will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed designing it. Colinton Australia is a total luxury, and I truly hope my design does it justice! Flowers are so full of color and texture, I can promise with certainty that this will not be the last pattern I design inspired by them!

The Doubles Remix

As anyone who’s read my blog for awhile knows, I love knitting cowls. You can imagine my delight and excitement when Stephanie at Unwind Burbank let me design two patterns for Yarn Crawl LA this year!

I’m one of those knitters who aims to use up every scrap of yarn on a project. I’m not too crazy about leftovers. Aside from the fact that these two cowls are soft and squishy, the other great thing about the design is that you can just keep going until you’re almost out of yarn. Just make sure you leave enough to do the rows of ribbing, but otherwise, just knit through your supply!

One day I was looking to make a superfast gift for someone, and I realized I had two skeins of Malabrigo Rasta, which this pattern lends itself to perfectly. This yarn really highlights the texture of my design pattern, and I used every last inch to make this cowl! For those of you who are not familiar with Rasta, let me just say, it is so chunky, that with a few modifications to my original pattern, all you need is 2 skeins and 2 days (or 2 hours, depending how fast you knit!) and you have yourself a supersoft, squishy cowl. This is going to be my go-to version for when I need to pull a gift out of thin air!

RastaChunkyVersion
RastaChunkyVersion2
The Doubles Remix

2 skeins Malabrigo Rasta – shown in Stitch Red #873
Size 15 24″ circular needles
Stitch Marker

CO 84 sts. Place stitch marker and join to work in the round, being careful not to twist stitches.

Work 1 1/2″ in 2×2 rib, then switch to the double seed stitch.
(Double Seed Stitch: Rows 1-2: K2, P2. Rows 3-4: P2, K2.)

Work in Double Seed Stitch until piece measures 9″ from CO. Switch to 2×2 rib for 1 1/4″. BO in pattern.

I’m Published!

http://unwindyarn.com/the-blog

I love being a part of Unwind and am so honored to design for the store for Yarn Crawl LA 2014. Many thanks to my boss for the kind writeup and for helping me get my name out there! Those of you around LA, please stop in the store that weekend!

Yarn crawling is truly fun and educational! I did it two years in row, and within a 4 day weekend, I learned so much about what makes a good yarn store, and what turns me off. (Little tip to every yarn store owner out there: the quickest way to make your customers LEAVE is to not put prices on anything! And I have yet to find even ONE knitter/crocheter who would disagree with me that it is obnoxious to have to go stand in line at the register every time you want to price a ball of yarn!!) It’s also a great way to see practically everything new, since all the stores pick and choose which yarns to carry. I always end the weekend feeling as though I’ve seen pretty much everything the yarn companies are offering at the time, and have lots of inspiration to carry me forward!

Tinseltown

In honor of the Oscars, which of course is probably the most famous thing about Los Angeles, I would like to share with you all a little more about my home. I would first like to say that, contrary to what alot of people outside of LA think, there is NOT a celebrity standing on every corner with hoards of paparazzi. It is correct, however, that the film industry touches everything here, and often in unexpected and surprising ways.

There is the obvious  – such as when I’m driving my kids to school and on random days, pass huge trailers along our daily route. Or when I’m rollerblading up Chandler, running across a photo shoot in progress. Huge trailers with lots of equipment are usually all we see when they’re shooting – I have never glimpsed Jennifer Lopez in North Hollywood. Then there is the experience of watching a movie and seeing a friend’s name roll across the screen in the production credits or seeing backgrounds in various scenes and thinking, wow, I was just there 3 days ago! As for celebrities themselves, you never know. I was walking up the street one day here in Burbank and as I crossed the street to Blockbuster, I saw Jay Leno at a stoplight. (For those who don’t know, he keeps shiny antique cars in the Burbank airport hangar and often takes them out for a spin around Burbank.) Jay is very friendly and will wave and say hello when recognized. My husband went to the grocery store last year around the holidays and saw him in the parking lot too.

All of these experiences are common to Angelenos. Then there are the moments when the film industry touches you in the oddest of ways, which happened to me last week. I was at work, doing my job at the yarn store, and in walked a lady looking for knitting needles. But she didn’t actually want to knit, she needed them for a movie set. She wanted to know what kind of knitting needles were used in the 1800’s, and unfortunately, I was not able to tell her. My boss, the yarn store owner (who knows way more knitting trivia than me), did not know either. But out of curiousity, I came home and did some research, which I will share now. This article leads me to believe they could have been either metal or wood. I’m not sure I’d want to kill a walrus just to have a pair of needles though. As for what movie is being shot with knitting, we will have to wait and see. But I will watch for it, just as I watch the fashion magazines to see what shoots might have taken place five minutes from my house.

And just in case anyone is wondering, no, I did not move here to be an actress. I do not work in a restaurant, hoping to be “discovered”, and my husband is not an actor either. We love Los Angeles very much, but both of us are way too shy to have any desire to go audition and do the “acting thing”. But we are not above being impressed by the special moments that can happen only in the City of Angels. 🙂

Gold with Figs

I’ve had this project finished for quite awhile, but kept forgetting to post photos. It was designed by my boss, owner of the most beautiful little yarn shop in Burbank (actually, the ONLY yarn shop in Burbank), and was so fun and easy to knit up, I’d like to make more in different colors. Minimal seaming (YES!) and very quick. I’m wearing it here with the dress I instantly thought of when I saw this yarn, but I’ve also worn it with dark jeans, a white tank top, and heels. It’s knit in Madelinetosh, which as I may have mentioned before, is just silk flowing through your fingers (even though this is merino!).  My only self-criticism is that I should have knit it tighter. It has stretched out more than I like and does not revert when I wash it.

The tree I’m reaching toward is a large white fig tree in our back yard. I’m not crazy about the taste of the raw fruit, but it is beautiful to look at the figs when they’re sliced in half. All light green on the outside, and pink and white on the inside. I want to take good closeups this summer when the fruit comes in, and when that happens (probably in August), I will share with you all for inspiration.