Writing on an Empty Stomach

When I feel well, I wake up ready to go.  This is one of those days where the sun is shining and nothing is particularly uncomfortable.  I sat up when the alarm went off, watched a bit of news, then headed to the kitchen.  I stood at the sink and washed up a pile of dishes.  My SI’s did a bit of moaning and groaning, but I didn’t run out of steam.  I put Israeli couscous in the rice cooker, made myself a cup of coffee, and came to the computer.  If there was anyone in the house with me they would be complaining about my cheery, talkative morning attitude.  I’ve had to train myself to tone it down for the non-morning people in my life. 

There are so many components to enjoying a skill like knitting.  One is the ability to find what you need, whether it is materials, patterns, teaching.  I need to take time to share some of the things that have been useful to me.  Please excuse the list format, but I want to make sure I get all the info organized in a useful way. 

Yarn

  • Your local yarn store is the foundation of early yarn purchases, and should never be completely out of your shopping realm.  Here you can ask questions, feel and see various yarns.  Often there are swatches or sample garments that will show you how a particular yarn behaves.  Until you are more experienced in selecting materials, this is your best resource.  Unfortunately, it is rarely your best price.
  • Internet yarn stores are fabulous for selection and price.  If you know what you want, or have the nerve to experiment a little, you will love this.
  • www.Knitpicks.com cuts out the middle man and offers basic yarns in categories that most knitters use:  you can find a selection of yarns in a wide range of colors in all weights in the wool and blends that are commonly used.  They routinely discount knitting books, too. 
  • www.elann.comis a Canadian company with a huge selection of discounted yarns.  Their own yarns comprise at least four dozen varieties which run the gamut from simple, single-fiber yarns to quite sophisticated blends.  I love this company’s breadth of offers, including eco-friendly fibers like bamboo and tencel and organic cotton.  I have not found these yarns at better prices.  The family of owners are knowledgeable and helpful here, and I always enjoy our interactions.  In the interest of full disclosure, I have done some knitting for this company. 
  • Not long ago I suffered the pain of seeing my favorite local yarn store close.  The other store was unfriendly, and I was in need of a substitute.  www.FlyingFingers.com filled the gap beautifully.  They carry a number of my favorite yarnmakers, including Karabella and Colinette, and their photos display them beautifully.  They talk about yarn, whether it’s the descriptions that accompany their photos, the postcard notes they send with your orders, or Elise’s blog.  They have a propensity for unexpected sales, announced by email.  This is how I got hooked on cashmere!  Their shipping department is wonderful, and their packages come beautifully wrapped.
  • www.LittleKnits.com is a well-stocked company in Seattle that consistently has comprehensive sales on brand-name yarns.  They are my best source of the beautiful Japanese hand-painted Noro yarns.  On any given day, I will find something interesting to read about (they give details on production processes for unusual yarns) and a great price on something desirable.
  • A number of other yarn stores deserve mention here.  I have shopped www.JimmyBeansWool.com for various bargains.  When I want South West Trading Company yarns at a great price, I go to www.discontinuedbrandnameyarn.com .  They also carry discontinued and overstocked Cherry Tree Hill products.  I recently discovered www.yarn.com for the Webs yarn store, and www.gotyarn.com.  Both have discounted yarns.  Be forewarned, GotYarn uses black backgrounds throughout their website and I find that very hard on the eyes. 

Patterns

  • You can find expensive patterns anywhere.  I’m only going to mention free pattern sources. 
  • Keep your eyes open for pattern-yarn deals, where you get a free pattern if you buy a particular yarn.  Even if that’s not the pattern you want to use right now, it will help build your library.
  • www.lionbrandyarn.com has a huge, searchable free pattern library.
  • www.elann.com has a large library of free patterns.  I could scroll through their free patterns forever, as these are sophisticated designs with full-size photos on models. 
  • Sometimes you don’t need a whole pattern, just a stitch.  The best stitch library I’ve found is at knitting.about.com.  The address is:  http://knitting.about.com/od/stitchglossary/Learn_to_Knit_Knitting_Stitch_Pattern_Glossary.htm
  • Another excellent stitch library is at www.lionbrandyarn.com.  Go to the site home page and click on the Stitch Finder in the index at the left.    This has knit and crochet stitches.
  • It is important to note that most patterns are copyrighted and should be treated as such.  Because I sell much of what I knit, I design my own pieces and don’t use patterns.  That doesn’t stop me from enjoying other peoples’ designs and studying how others use particular yarns to enhance their work. 

Alright, good stopping place.  I haven’t had a pill, and I have to save energy to go pick up groceries and dog meds this afternoon.  Woo-hooo, I live an exciting life!

Peace!

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