Thursday, August 31, 2006

What I Did on My Summer Vacation and Exciting Things to Come!

Here's my post on the UFO August blog regarding my progress for the month - overall I'm very happy with everything I completed. I am more than ready to move on though. Lots of things that I want to start, but I am going to stick to the "finish 2, start 1" rule that Jeanie (of UFO August) uses as I think that will avoid the backlog.

Yesterday I swatched two of the new Elann newsletter yarns and I like their mohair/wool blend that they're offering on sale in the middle of September, but probably won't buy it.

Here's my new "wish list" of projects to start - some I have to do as they're Christmas gifts and others I just want to do.

I think my new rule for work in process (besides the ones that are currently in process, which are "grandfathered in" in my mind) is going to be that I allow myself to have one project for myself going, one gift project, and one webcast project (mindless knitting for the CPE webcasts I watch at work.) I saw other people's ideas for this and their lists were similar except they added small gift projects or socks to the list. I don't knit socks (yet) so I can't very well have that criteria, and most of my gift projects are sweaters, not anything small like scarves or hats. Ideally, the WIP would include different needle sizes to give my hands a break.

I'm very happy with "what I did on my summer vacation"! I started a blog, lost 7 pounds and kept it off, finished a lot of projects, "met" some great fellow bloggers, took golf lessons and played my first nine holes last Sunday (found out I am great at chipping - now need to get the speed going when teeing off). I look forward to continuing with the lessons/practice indoors this winter, going to my new gym that opened Tuesday of this week, working on my new projects including my very first KAL, starting my new online class that I'm taking this time instead of teaching, starting my new Marketing class in the MBA program and attending the Sewing Expo in St. Charles in October for the first time. Lots of exciting stuff happening.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Knit-Geek Questionnaire

Got this one from Kate's blog (which is great by the way - check it out!) You can also get the template there to answer it yourself!

1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting?

Putting off the finishing and starting too many new projects. I have been trying to do more projects in the round to eliminate/reduce the finishing required and have just joined a new blog “Two Steps Forward, One Back” where we try to finish two projects before casting on for a new one.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person?

It makes me calmer and more patient. If I have to wait for something, like getting my car washed or for an appointment at my salon, etc. I always have something to do, which is essential for me.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit?

I think I would be a lot more stressed out and/or I would need to find something to take its place. I’d probably be going to the driving range a lot more to practice golf, and drinking, shopping, eating more.

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first?

I know I would buy a knitting machine, but I’m not sure yet what kind as I haven’t allowed myself to research them yet. I am allowing myself to look into this after I get through year end at work next year as a little present to myself. As far as yarns – I’m not sure – I pretty much buy whatever yarns I want right now (herein lies the problem.)

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it?

Intarsia. Holes all over, taking too long and three million ends to weave in.

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why?

I would have to say Stephanie Pearl-McPhee as she has been able to voice many of the things that we often feel or think as knitters and does so in such a funny way.

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity?

I would say the actual knitting itself is more solitary for me, as I don’t really like the mindless types of projects that I have to do if I’m trying to talk and knit at the same time. I could never do scarves all the time or sweaters that say “continue in stockinette stitch for 12 inches” as I would be bored stiff. However, it is very social from the standpoint of the online community and knitting blogs/boards – I’ve never felt like I had so many resources to turn to for any other activity!

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you?

Not really. I’m more interested in style and knitting items that fit me well and flatter my shape than focusing on creating “knitting masterpieces” for their own sake.

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be


10. Some statistics:

(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit?
1 ¾! Learned in January 2005.

(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)?

Again, 1 ¾.

(c) how many people have you taught to knit?


(d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family)

Not totally sure I’m interpreting this question right – but about 5% of my knitting is baby gifts for people that aren’t related to me at all. About another 25% is for my husband’s aunt, uncle, mom, dad, cousins and their kids for Christmas. Immediate family would just be my husband, and all he’s gotten so far is a scarf. I haven’t gotten around to any charity knitting yet.

11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? i.e., once a week, once a month, etc. Where do you do it?

Not often – but when I do it’s in the summertime outside at a beer garden or outdoor restaurant area.

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

Probably Stephanie Pearl-McPhee because she seems like such a fun person from the one book signing I attended.

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient?

In a word, finishing.

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it?

The possibilities….the patterns. Being more of a fashion-oriented knitter, I am strictly someone who falls in love with patterns then finds a yarn (or usually uses the yarn called for to exactly duplicate the results) rather than the other way around.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized?

I’m usually in my knitting room/office – sitting on my round “cuddle lounge” either with or without my cats. Jim is stopping up from time to time to say hi and ask me if I need anything. I’m either watching TV or a movie - or more often listening to an audiobook or music. It’s definitely not the most organized place I’ve ever seen, despite my half-hearted on-off again efforts. Tools – I have a ballwinder and swift, all kinds of row counters for my multiple projects and am usually using addi turbo needles.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other?

It’s pretty even among Jim’s family members.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter?

The way I knit – I “throw” the yarn like American style knitting, but I do so with my left hand instead of the right.

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now

???? The sky’s the limit, really.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it?

??? Something really soft that I could pet, like angora or silk. Or a huge skein of something sturdy like Cascade Ecological Wool that I could reknit into different things over and over again.

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them)

??? I can’t really say. I like lots of books for different reasons, but there’s not just one book I keep returning to.

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not?

It is for me – the relaxation and de-stressing aspects remind me a lot of yoga. It can be difficult at times, similar to a difficult yoga pose, but the results are worth it in the end.

22. What important thing are you trying to put off doing whenever you knit?"

Nothing usually.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Louisa Harding Tank - Done

It looks OK by itself...

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But not so great on me.

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You can't really tell from this picture, but the back is loose and gappy. I made the Small, but I think I needed to make the Extra Small. Even though the finished tank = the finished measurements of the small, the stretchy fabric just kind of drapes instead of conforming to my body.

I was reading on the Knitty boards that one way to fix this is to work a few rows of crochet on the top, but in this case, the ribbon edging is inelastic so I'm not sure how that would have worked. I could maybe wear it with a shirt under it....or find someone who it fits!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Another Finished Item - Rowan Plaid "Hurricane" Vest

Another finished item, modeled by my husband Jim....

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Wish I could wear things that are that bulky and get away with it!

That's item #7 on the unfinished item log...I'm getting through it!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Margery's Toast, GG is Saved from the Froggie Pond

Well, tonight I took a look at two of my other projects with a hard eye toward whether I could salvage them or not.

One of them was a casualty - "Margery" in Silky Wool. It was supposed to look like this

but it really looked bad in the light celery green color I picked for it - I had about 1/3 of the front done, so no big deal. I might attempt it again in the medium olivey-green or rust colors of Silky Wool that I have, or maybe in a different yarn altogether. I think that the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool is nice to work with and has an elegant drape to it, but it looks bad in reverse stockinette in a light color - almost like it looks scratchy or something, even though it's not. So that one has been ripped out after a few Corona Lights.

The Green Gable that I started last month, on the other hand, is salvageable and I actually don't even think it needs any fixing. I joined the Green Gable Knitalong a few weeks ago, hearing about how so many people had problems with the sizing, and mine looked really big on the needles so I thought I had the same problem. Surprise! I put it on waste yarn and I think it's actually OK. I wrote about it here

but here's a picture of it. I think it looks OK, except for the fact that I think I put it on a little crooked. Excuse the way I look - that's what I look like when I'm staying home and I don't think I'll be seeing anyone. Eeek.

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Finished another one...

The Rowan Plaid cabled scarf is now done....


I am getting really sick of my unfinished projects and am READY to start something new.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lots of Swatching and New Rowan Mag 40

I swatched up my Brooks Farm Harmony yarn for the Knitted Bodice KAL starting on September 1st... I used size 5 addis and will go up one size to get the exact gauge for the pattern, but I like the fabric.

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I also stopped by Knitche over the weekend and bought two skeins of the new Rowan yarns to swatch.

Here's Tapestry - I really like this one - got gauge on size 4 addis (22 sts x30 rows is the gauge.) The fabric reminds me of Kid Classic but I like the variegated nature of this yarn and it feels soft to work with. I like the Sorrel pattern in Rowan Magazine 40 (finally received it the day before yesterday!) which uses this yarn and it's on "my list" of future projects.

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Here's the new Romance yarn - got gauge on size 10 bamboos. This one I'm not totally sure about - I like the color I picked out but the fabric is pretty bulky. It looks nice when knitted up but I'm not sure if it would be too scratchy to wear without anything under it.

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I also bought Little Big Wool but haven't swatched that one yet. It seems like it is supposed to be a replacement for Polar, but it isn't as soft. We'll see how it knits up.

On Rowan Mag 40, I was surprised at how heavily they featured a (somewhat) older but one of my favorite yarns, Kid Classic. There's a great pattern called Aelf that I really like.


Cute huh?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Another One Down!

I posted this on the UFO August blog too, but I was so proud of this one I had to post it here too.


Pattern: Dress Me Up from The Yarn Girls' Guide to Kid Knits
Yarn: Stacy Charles Victoria and Crystal Palace Fizz
Needles: Addi Turbo, Size 7 and Size H crochet hook

Yay! This is the first Christmas present I've completed so far!

More Progress on Items 12 and 14

I posted new pics at UFO August on items #12 and #14 from my unfinished project list. The exec summary is: two more items have all the pieces knitted now and just need to be sewn. I'm hoping to get a lot more done today.

Still WAITING for my Rowan Magazine #40. Has anyone with a Rowan International subscription gotten theirs yet in the mail? It seems like every local yarn shop has them, but I still haven't received mine yet. This year I really liked the project they were giving with membership as it matched another project I had in the works already, but after next year, I'm not sure I'm signing up again. And when I emailed them through their site to ask, I think it said something crazy like a 7-10 day turnaround time on responses!!! Whaaaattt? How does a business get away with that? Wait, I know, because we put up with it? Ok, it's too early to be ranting this much. Maybe I should switch to decaf.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


My goal for today was to figure out how to post a button to my blog. I decided to start with the UFO August button, and went to the UFO August page, then did "View Source" in Internet Explorer, found the button part of the text, and pasted it into the template section of my blog. After a few tries, I got the button to post, but now it moved everything to the left side at the bottom, instead of the right side at the bottom.

I really need an HTML class. I am just a little too old (eek) to have learned HTML in school and I think I (finally) understand how people feel when they are trying to work with technology they aren't familar with. I have to admit I haven't been all that sympathetic to those people in the past, and I want to say, I officially apologize. Now, I have to find some sort of online or offline HTML class to sign up for or book to buy b/c I can't stand not knowing something I need to know.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Progress on "The List"

I've been making a lot of progress on my unfinished objects lately - I'm actually finding it fun to pull out these old projects that I haven't worked on since last year and work on them/finish them up. I am so restless though - I can't even finish one all the way through with regard to the "finishing" - i.e., I will sew one side seam, then need some variety and have to pick up the neck on a different project, then have to do the crochet edging on another. It's just crazy how un-monogamous I am with these projects....what does that say about me? Wait, don't answer that.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Remainder of the Stitches Midwest Purchases

More Brooks Farm - this one is Primero (100% mohair) in a rose/green colorway (sorry the picture is so dark, I'm showing the large version of the pic to compensate...)

Brooks Farm Primero mohair (rose/green)

Tess Designer Yarns superwash merino in a coppery/red-brown/chocolate colorway...

Tess Designer Yarns superwash merino (500 yard skeins!)

And some unbelievably soft Quiviut (maybe it all is, this was my first encounter with it) that I bought from Windy Valley Muskox.

Quiviut from Big Valley Yarns

And that is finally IT!

Monday, August 14, 2006

My Weekend Progress on UFO August

If you read the UFO August blog, just ignore this post. But I thought I would post here for those who are interested. I finally had some progress over the weekend on my unfinished projects, and knocked three out with progress on some others.

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First item - Linen Print Pullover. This one came out looking more sheer in the photo than I thought it would be, so you can see my cami right through it in the pic below so I thought I would also show it on a hanger. Not crazy about this one.

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Item #2 - Fetching. Picked up the thumbs and I love it! This was the first time I tried fingerless gloves and it wasn't that hard. I even used the Magic Loop method for the thumbs and it was very do-able.

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#11 from my list - sew strap onto felted purse - Done!
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And a progress pic from #3 - Louisa Harding tank. I did one strap/armhole pickup and it came out pretty well! Not hard, just tedious and took a long time, so I see why I've been putting it off.

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A Case of the Mondays...

Remember in the movie Office Space where they are talking about the obnoxious corporate restaurant guy saying "Sounds like somebody's got a case of the Mondays" in whiny sort of voice? Well, I think I have that today. I just felt "blah" coming into work today and wanted to snap out of it, so I started thinking of good things that offset (and actually outweigh) the blahs. Here's my list - I actually feel better from this silly little exercise!

coming into work
cell phone's not fully working
not having blogged my addl SM purchases or Fos
being 2.5 lbs more than my lowest point
drinking too much wine over the weekend
how much I spent at the SM market


Pete's gone (PITA houseguest for last three weeks)
all my finished objects over the weekend
blogging about them later all at one time when Jim can take pics of me in them
knowing I'll be down at least 1.5 lbs in the next few days (was there Friday)
having fun over the weekend
SM purchases
saving money by deciding not to try Botox and Restylane yet
new hair color
figuring out that spray tanning works for me fine so I can stop UV tanning
my new retin-A product, Tazarac as it is really clearing up my skin

I had done this originally side by side but I'm an HTML "dummy" so don't know how to format it as a table in here. But the important thing is, I feel better. If you're feeling blah this morning, take a few minutes to try doing this. It worked for me!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Early Stitches Midwest Finds from Market Preview Night

Really quick pre-work post -

Brooks Farm Riata - 4 skeins (luscious!)
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4 More Skeins of Brooks Farm Riata
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Tess Designer Yarns ribbon (this stuff feels incredible!)
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Garment Designer - software for making sewing as well as knitting patterns - I love this!
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Buckle for if I ever do Tempting II and a perfect button for CeCe:

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And a cute coffee mug from Pearl's Knitwits (I have to go online to get a tank top from them too.) I also bought a few cards from them - they were extremely sweet.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Scary List for UFO August - As Promised (Warned?)

1. Finish side seams on Linen Print raglan pullover

2. Fetching fingerless gloves - pick up thumbs off waste yarn and finish

3. Pick up around armholes & sew Louisa Harding tank

4. CeCe in Calmer (coral shade) - last sleeve

5. Plymouth Napa ballet pullover from Interweave Knits back issue - finish sleeves

6. Noah's v-neck Yarn Girls "Mikey Liked It" pullover - finish sleeves and sew

7. Frank's Rowan Plaid vest - pick up neck and do shoulder and side seams

8. Vicki's Jaeger Natural Fleece vest from JB38- pick up neck and do shoulder seams

9. Mia's Yarn Girls Victoria dress - do edging and sew together

10. sew fuschia Cork baby sweater

11. sew strap onto Malabrigo felted purse

12. yellow/orange cork garter ridge sweater from Rowan Cork Collection – reknit back neck, seam

13. Greek Pullover from Interweave Knits – seam

14. Noro V-neck – finish last sleeve and seam together

15. Jaeger Natural Fleece V-neck with "fur" trimmed sleeves from JB 38 – pick up neck, seam

16. Green Gable in Brown Sheep Lilac Haze - almost at armholes (top down)

17. "seashell" Rowan Plaid cabled scarf

18. Bob's Big Wool basketweave cardigan from Men in Knits - almost done with back armholes, need to do left & right front, sleeves

19. Debbie Bliss lace/bobble jacket - finish back

20. Silky Wool Margery sweater (working on back)

Floors are Almost Done!

Here's an (almost) finished object from my husband, Jim...

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Me, not so much. To be honest, I am kinda temporarily blah about the projects I'm currently knitting and am itching to start something new. At the same time, I really want to finish these lingering projects so I think maybe this knitalong will give me some motivation. In this "UFO August" knitalong, you post your list of unfinished projects, sorted by priority (top priority first) and work through it, posting your finished projects as you go. For each finished project, you get entered into a drawing for a prize.

I thought this was a really a good idea and I hope it works out well so we can continue to do "UFO September", "UFO October" - because there's no way I can do all of mine in one month. Although I was enheartened to read that some people's lists are as long and scary as mine! So, as soon as I hear from Jeanie adding me to the knitalong, I will be posting my scary list here and over there. I would post the button on my blog, but I'm too clueless to figure out how to do that.

Friday, August 04, 2006

One CeCe 3/4 Length Sleeve Down...

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and one to go!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Like a Hole in the Head....

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need more yarn like I need a hole in the head. I tried previously to take “inventory” of what existed in my yarn closet and I’ll tell ya, the results aren’t pretty. (Well, they are, but the fact that I’ve spent $4000 on yarn so far this year – thank you, Microsoft Money- is decidedly not.)

As a result, I’ve come to the decision that I’ll limit my future yarn purchases this year to 1.) Stitches Midwest next week and 2.) any irresistible selections from the swatching membership for the remainder of this calendar year. At the risk of one of you tracking me down and breaking and entering to snatch any of these lovelies – take a look at this inventory. It’s truly insane, and I know it’s not even complete.

Tahki Bunny Print blue/green variegated for drop stitch zip-front sweater

Tahki Bunny Print orange/brown variegated

Stacy Charles Victoria copper/brown/cream

7 coral Tahki Cotton Classic

8 bright lime green Tahki Cotton Classic

6 Rowan recycled chunky brown variegated - Sally Melville skirt?

10 Elsebeth Lavold sedona red Silky Wool

SW Trading Co green bamboo for Summer 2006 Interweave Knits tank

3 sk Giotto - Katy Ryan tunic in Interweave Knits Spring 2006

sushi wallet felting kit

3 pomegranate tartelette

green/brown kimono angora/kimono ribbon - Louisa Harding v neck sweater with ribbon edging

gray Jaeger mohair art- ?? "Maggie" from Rowan Mag 35?

Debbie Bliss Soho green/brown mix

4 Cotton Braid "Cezanne" for tank top + one extra (may use for purse?)

10 blush linen print, 1 peachy, 1 refresher for lace top in the Linen Print Collection

louisa harding seafoam green Kashmir dk for ???

4 sk gray/white big wool fusion –gender neutral baby sweater?

green/gray Noro Kureyon – was going to be Noah’s sweater – may be next year’s Christmas gift

pink All Seasons Cotton

Noro Kochoran - v neck sweater?

silk variegated green/brown/cream yarn from Stitches Midwest - custom sweater from 1000 sweaters book or one of RYC sweaters in DK weight or Annie Modesitt lace corset

blue/gray Biggy Print - swatch to Colinette Point 5/Shimmer 5 patterns' gauge

Colinette Point 5 - turquoise

colinette prism - reddish peach

colinette giotto - blue/green

colinette giotto - copper

white Jaeger Trinity for cabled tank

yellow all seasons cotton for ?

White cotton tape for ??? (10 skein pack)

Terracotta Canyon Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece – for lace tunic in Hot Knits by Melissa Leapman

Brown Sheep Burly Spun in periwinkle/lime for cabled Celtic pullover in Hot Knits

2 skeins coral Brown Sheep cotton fleece

2 skeins lime Brown Sheep cotton fleece

So do ya all agree that the last thing I need is YARN???????? I read Amanda’s post about reaching the bottom of her yarn basket with amazement – how does this happen? How does one muster this much self control? I have to hand it to her.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Mikey Liked It V Neck in process pic

Mikey liked it v neck

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Works in Progress

Well, my golf lesson at Cog Hill on Sunday morning went GREAT. I really clicked with the golf pro, Rachel Teresi, co-founder of Women to Women Golf School in the Chicago area. She has a really organized approach and as she puts it, she teaches objectively rather than subjectively. I also found it very interesting that she did not take up golf until she was 28.

I am in the process of setting up another lesson with her for one of the mornings this weekend and plan to take ½ hour with her each week. An hour was really nice for the first lesson but I think most of the instruction is covered in ½ hour and the rest is practice. I set up a new daily task on my Outlook task list to practice the two drills she showed me – if it’s on the task list, it gets done (usually) – if not, it doesn’t.

Knitting – I finished the front of Noah’s Yarn Girls “Mikey Liked It” v neck sweater and am now working on the first sleeve. Pictures to come... My webcast knitting – had a 1 ½ hour one on a new accounting pronouncement yesterday so got a lot done during that one. Next I have to get going on my mother in law’s vest and on Noah’s sister McKenna’s fair isle cardigan (here's what it should look like when it's done!)
It’s only the beginning of August though.

Also finished both fingerless gloves except for the thumb because I RAN OUT OF YARN even though I unraveled my gauge swatch! I never run out of yarn, so my row gauge must have been tighter than the pattern designer's. So, have to go back to Knitche to get another ball - I'll just make another pair with the rest of the skein I buy, just a little shorter and give one away as a gift.

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Went to two yarn sales over the weekend/yesterday – although I’m bummed about the reason for the sales (shop closures.) Tangled Web Fibers in Oak Park is selling everything for 40% off starting today (they just had cotton on sale over the weekend so I scored some Colinette Wigwam (in “Copperbeach”)
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for the Summer 2006 Interweave Knits brioche tank at 40% off. I’m going to try to go back there this week, maybe tomorrow night, to stash up.

The second yarn sale is at Flying Colors in Clarendon Hills – the building is being demolished and the nice owners decided that it was time for them to retire rather than moving to another location. Apparently they’ve moved once before in the last few years, so they weren’t up for doing it again. They are selling everything at 50% off, and I had been over there before (twice) when everything was 40% off and the selection was better. They still have Rowan Big Wool, Jaeger Natural Fleece and Rowan Chunky Print so I was debating going back for it. I bought a 10 pack of more Tahki Bunny Print in an orange/brown colorway,

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9 skeins of Stacy Charles Victoria in a variegated copper, dark brownish ash and cream color

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and 4 back issues of Interweave Knits (my absolute favorite magazine.)

And house progress pics - the french doors and new stairs are now in

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Next up? New hardwood floors!
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