Are There Enough Martinis?

Author: Valerie LaVay /


Fall has ushered in a flurry of knitting for me. It goes without saying that I could use a martini! The biggest project that I finally completed after 10 months {which included a lot of procrastination) was my first ever sweater. It is an Icelandic sweater made with Lopi wool. It was a project that was part of a knit along done at Fancy Tiger Crafts. Fortunately, it's not as bright and purple as it is in this picture.
It's not purple
 It was a great first sweater project that has me planning another Icelandic sweater for myself in the near future. For now I am drowning in last minute holiday knitting projects. I found a beautiful baby alpaca wool from Classic Elite on my latest trip out to Portland, that had been knit into the Color Block wrap. It's an easy and fast project with a simple design. It was so easy, I decided to go back to the store and get yarn to make one for my mother and one for my mother-in-law. I am knitting my mom's in an off white to beige gradient. My own shawl was knit in the gray shades. In October I completed a candy corn color cowl and a Samhain inspired shawl made from a yarn I designed at a store called Yarnia, in Portland. I guess it would be fair to say that I have knitting fever. I have come to discover the pleasure of knitting while listening to an audiobook or watching some of my favorite television shows. I also enjoy knitting at the airport and on planes because I feel I am getting something done while waiting through what seems to be a lot of travel delays. As long as I know that a martini is not too far away, I can relax and knit on!
Color block shawl can be ued as a table runner as long as no food is involved

Yarn Crawling with a Martini

Author: Valerie LaVay /

Well I might not have had a Martini in my hand, but they were very much on my mind as I went crawling along at San Diego's first ever yarn crawl last week. I was thinking about the Martini I would enjoy as I sat and perused my latest local yarn finds. I was able to visit only 4 of the stores because it came during the last days of our vacation. Next year I will know better! I discovered three new yarn shops that I really enjoyed.
 I really loved The Grove (http://grove.lucyslist.net/) because it is a combination book store, fabric, craft and yarn store. I was in crafting heaven. I could have stayed the entire afternoon in total bliss but I had the husband along and a puzzle will only keep him occupied for so long. As it is, I left there with some local San Diego yarn done by a company called "The Grinning Cat", along with a few fun books about the Day of the Dead, oh, and some fabric.
My other favorite store is up in Encinitas, it's called Common Threads (.http://www.fiberartshop.com/) Owner Nancy is one of the friendliest owners I have met. From the street it looks like a tiny little store. However, it goes on and on inside and is crammed with lots of yarn goodies. I got some yarn specially hand dyed for them for the yarn crawl. It's a beautiful multi color yarn with a strong colorway. I also came away with some fun knitting accessories from Slipped Stitch Studios. I especially love the needle pattern wallet and coordinating magnets.

I was so taken with her things that I made the mistake of getting online only to discover that she has a bag of the month club and that this month the bag is made from "Nightmare Before Christmas" material. Did I order it? All I can say is that Oogie Boogie made me do it and it is my birthday month.
Also in Encinitas is The Black Sheep http://www.theblacksheep.biz/This store had Noro hanging from the ceilings and in many bins. I have never seen so much Noro. I was in Noro heaven. They also had a full selection of Louisa Harding ribbon which is super hard to find. I came away with several different yarns that will be knit into a very bohemian looking shawl. For the yarn crawl they had a tassel make and take that was a lot of fun. So many color choices and a great idea for all of those left over bits of yarn.

Finally, I visited my favorite old standby, Needlecraft Cottage (http://www.needlecraftcottage.com/)  in Pacific Beach. They carry a local yarn called Baa. I picked up a skein along with a pattern designed b the folks at Baa so I can have a San Diego scarf. They also carry some wonderful stitch markers that are made locally which I could not resist. I also picked up two Halloween cross stitch bead projects while I was there.

Not only was this San Diego's first yarn crawl, it was also mine. I have missed the one in my home town of Denver and the one in Portland Oregon  by a week. While i was milling around one of the stores, One of the other shoppers told me about the group of ladies who rented a limo to squire them around for the day so that they didn't have to drive AND so they could enjoy some adult beverages in between. Martinis anyone? I'm in!


WOW It's Martini Time

Author: Valerie LaVay /

Summer means that it's time to knit outdoors! I love to spread my beach blanket out over my lawn, grab some iced tea, iced coffee or lemonade (whichever I have made), some knitting, and of course my cats. Plopped on the blanket I can easily scan my yard to keep an eye on my curious cats. They know that there are some baby bunnies living in the yard because they can see them from the window. The bunnies are smart enough to run and hide at the first sign of intrusion into their domain. The snakes, not so much. I caught kitty eying a small garden snake that was frozen up against the fence just the other day. Kitty's time outside was promptly finished for the day. Poor kitty.
These days I have been playing A LOT of World of Warcraft, thanks in part for a couple of my friends deciding it would be fun to quest together once a week. My one friend is a very experienced player. i have learned a lot from her and as a result, it has made the game much more fun to play. I tend to love the Hunter types probably because they always have a pet with them for company and to help them fight. I have recently started some different types of characters just to check them out. Spending a lot of time in this magical world got me inspired. I love going to a place there every month called Darkmoon Faire. It's dark and mysterious and you can only visit one week out of the month, so that makes it a bit special. The yarn I used has a bit of sparkle to it to add to the magic without being overwhelming. I now have other ideas for more bags with the World of Warcraft theme. I can hardly wait to get the needles out and start crafting.  Every artist needs their muse.

Martinis For Beltane

Author: Valerie LaVay /

Nothing says Beltane better than a cold snowy day. Yes, I live in Colorado. These snow days of April and May, mixed in with beautiful warm sunny days is the hallmark of my state. For the knitter, it presents an opportunity to finish up those winter shawls, sweaters and scarves still on the needles, with the thought being that they may be just be worn one last time before being tucked away for the season. I have been working on a sweater for the better part of the winter that is getting very close to being done. In fact, if it was going to be sleeveless, it would be done! What I did manage to finish is this gradient grey cowl. I bought this wool yarn on my latest trip to Portland and started working on it there. It's a simple pattern and quite striking at that.
My other recent knitting projects have been tarot bags. I was inspired by the fairy tale theme and thus far have complete two bags with a third one almost done. I already have an idea for a fourth one. All i need is a sprinkling of fairy dust to speed up these slow fingers. On second thought, I'll settle for a Martini, straight up with three olives very very dry.


Martini Love

Author: Valerie LaVay /




I always seemed to get an extra kick of craft inspiration around Valentine's Day. What can I say? I am a hopeless romantic who also happens to like the colors pink and red. I decided to make some heart shaped bookmarks to give away as gifts.
 From there, I decided that it would be fun to knit up some coasters to match my Valentine theme drinking mugs.
  It wasn't that long after that the idea of a Queen of Hearts tarot bag came to mind.
It just so happened that I was taking a class on how to dye your own yarn, at my favorite craft/yarn store, Fancy Tiger Crafts during the month of February and naturally doing something with the color pink came to mind, So I tried to introduce some in my kettle dyed skein below.
Thank goodness I ran out of time before I could knit some collars for the cats. For the record, I'm still not crazy enough to add red food coloring to my martini, but I do have a martini glass with lips. Just sayin..