Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Portsmouth and Old Hickory - Two Not So Local Yarn Shops

My husband travels for business all over the country and has stopped in many a knitting store to pick up a skein of sock yarn for me as that is usually all he has room for in his luggage. Before he leaves , I always consult Ravelry and my Fiber Mania handbook to find out if there are any LYS near where he will be staying just on the off chance he might be able to spare a moment to search for another skein or two.  Recently,he returned from a  trip that had him traveling between Portsmouth, NH and Nashville, TN and the wonderful husband that he is, he managed to find time to visit shops in both cities. Rob has said he really doesn't mind stopping in as long as I have an idea of what I want.  (I guess he gets overwhelmed by fiber overload and finding himself in an environment usually consisting of women with pointy sticks.)  This time I had him searching for Dream in Color-Smooshy which got rave reviews on Ravelry and I hadn’t seen it here in Texas, unfortunately both stores did not have it in stock.  The first store he visited was The Yarn Basket in Portsmouth, NH.  The Yarn Basket has been in business for 27 years and recently moved to their new location on Deer Street and is chock full of bins filled with bright multi-hued skeins. He walked in and the helpful ladies seeing his befuddled and dazed face immediately offered assistance.  After learning that the yarn I desired was not in stock he put me on his speaker phone and let me talk to the ladies.  After numerous discussions of what fiber, color and weight I was looking for we decided on Regia Hand Dye Effect in lovely tones of brown and gray. This will make a nice pair for Rob and help to spur him on to future yarn searches.

 The second stop on his trip was Nashville, TN and he discovered Knit Happy on his own!  He earned extra brownie points for calling and asking me if I wanted him to look for a yarn shop (silly question, of course the answer will always be a resounding "YES")  Knit Happy is located in Old Hickory which is a section of metropolitan Nashville in an unassuming strip mall.  He called me from the parking lot and asked what he should be looking for and I told him just to go in and ask the lady where her sock yarn was.  The store although small had plenty of yarn but alas no Dream in Color.  Rob again put me on speaker and the helpful lady asked the usual questions and started to tell me what she had on hand.  The phone reception wasn't the greatest so I quickly agreed to Cascade Heritage Paint in a luscious yummy shade of blues and purples that reminds me of blueberries.  This will definitely be a pretty pair of socks for me as Rob has assured me that he doesn't want a pair of blueberry colored socks. All in all I scored some beautiful yarn for my bounteous stash.  I would definitely recommend both of these stores for traveling husbands as well as traveling knitters.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bassets and Knitting...or...How I learned to Put Away My Knitting

My birthday present this year was this adorable basset, Leonard, who we adopted from the North Texas Basset Hound Rescue Society.  He is a very young 2 years old and a joy to have. We are not new to the joys of basset bliss as we have had 5 other droopy drooling wonders during our marriage but the last time was 6 years ago and I was not ... (gasp)... a knitter. Yes, it is hard to believe but at one time I was not the passionate knitter that I am today.

Here is my story and the lesson I learned.  I had grown bleary-eyed knitting the black cabled seminarian for my son and had put it aside in favor of knitting something for myself.  I decided on the lovely Summer Treat Cardi and  would make it with Jaeger Roma yarn in my stash.  Thus, I could virtuously justify my starting a new project as I would be destashing!

I cast on and then I heard the washer stop so I placed the skein and the needle on my chair while I went to put the washing in the dryer.  When I came back  I discovered that Leonard had unwound the skein throughout the living room so I renamed my project  “Leonard’s” Summer Treat Cardi in his honor as it was obvious that he approved of the yarn (angora blend).  Fast forward two weeks and the cardi is coming along nicely when disaster struck.  You would have thought I had learned my lesson but I didn't.  Having knitted past my bedtime the night before, I had stopped and instead of placing my precious cardi in my knitting bag, I left it on the coffee table.

A little background is necessary before continuing my saga.  To say Leonard does not like getting bathed or dried with the dryer does not even begin to describe how he reacts to the sound of a hair dryer but the groomer had suggested we work with him at home.  So.....I was drying my hair and kept shutting off and talking to him while he sat in the doorway of our bedroom and whimpered.  I swear only a few minutes had passed when I looked up and he was gone.  In the space of a few minutes he had got the cardi off the table and managed to chew my addi turbo needle into 4 pieces and snarl up the project. I came out to find the cardi hanging out of both sides of his mouth and the stitch counter on the floor chewed into unrecognizable plastic pieces. I really couldn’t blame him as I was the one that left it out instead of putting it away in my knitting bag. I frogged about 5 inches and cut off all the slobbery bits and  managed to get it back onto another needle. I finished Leonard's Summer-Treat Cardi and learned a valuable lesson about putting away your knitting if you have bassets in the house!

Friday, July 23, 2010


Ralph, 1989-2010
June 26th, 2010 was a very sad and difficult day for me.    As I write these words I find my throat tightening and tears running down my face.  Ralph came into my life 21 years ago and I will remember him forever.  Our journey together began in Freeman, SD on the dusty gravel parking lot of Ralph's Feed Store.  The feed store was 20 miles away from our little 4 1/2 acre homestead and I needed duck feed.  Who knew as I drove my farm truck down the country road that soon a small gray and white kitten was going to become the newest member of our family.  I pulled into the lot and as I went in to do business, I heard a loud meow and a bundle of fur ran across the lot and clawed his way up my shoulder.  As I carefully pried his little needle-like claws out of my tender flesh, Ralph, the owner, came out and asked what I needed.  He brought out the 50 lb sack of feed, tossed it into the back of the pickup and said I could have the kitten as it was a stray. Now, I dearly wanted to say "yes" but I knew my husband did not care for cats so I reluctantly said "no", placed him back on the ground and drove away.  I made it about halfway home before I told my children I couldn't leave the pretty kitty and turned around.  I drove back into the lot and got out but did not see the kitten.  As I resigned myself to just going home, again I heard a loud meow and suddenly he was back on my shoulder. Ralph came out again and assured me I could have him so off we went to begin our life together.  The kitten turned out to be male and since he adopted me at Ralph's Feed Store, I named him Ralph.  My husband, at this point of the story, swears up and down that after we left, the owner placed another kitten on the lot outside!

Ralph had chosen me and he was my cat.  All his love went to me and it was only in his later years that he did more than tolerate my husband and sons.  I will always remember how Ralph loved to let me hold him in my arms and purring loudly he let me rock him like a baby.  Ralph's health began failing 2 years ago.  He was very arthritic and walked stiff legged like a little old man with a walker, developed cataracts, and kidney disease but he still wanted to be held and rocked.  I rocked him for the last time just before our vet came in and then gently stroked him while she injected the euthanasia solution.  He went so quickly and peacefully that  I wasn't ready.

Tomorrow it will be a month and I still miss him and know that I will always miss him.  Rest in peace faithful friend; you will never know how very happy I am that you chose me.