Yarn Crawling With Martini in Hand

Author: Valerie LaVay /


This past week here in Denver we had the "Yarn Along the Rockies" yarn crawl. This year's crawl included 24 stores ranging from as far north as Lafayette, to as far south as Colorado Springs. I had initially decided to hit just two or three stores and ended up visiting a baker's dozen. Along the way, I visited some old favorites and made some new discoveries as well. I did not limit my purchases to just yarn. My purchases included, stitch markers, dragon scales, fancy knitting needles and alpaca earrings. I clocked many miles traveling up and down the Front Range and was thankful for a wonderfully fun book I was listening to on Audible books. I was also glad to be able to share the last day of the trek with my husband. We combined yarn crawling with a wonderful lunch in Boulder a an incredibly good pub called "Fate". While all of the stores were charming in their own way, I just had to take a few pictures at a cute store in Lafayette called "Mew Mews". The store is named after the cat who is as sweet and friendly as can be. I offered a swap of three of my cats for her but the owner said no deal. I had to settle for a picture.
The WIzard
In the corner of the store stood a knitted figure about 6 feet high. It was simply incredible. The details were astonishing. When I looked closely there were tiny mice being held in one of his hands, no doubt food for the snowy white owl he held in his other hand. I have seen this fiber artists work before at her booth at Denver Comic Con and never realized that she was based out of this tiny store in Lafayette. I met some lovely store owners and had some fun conversations along the way. I would have to say that my favorite "yarn crawl experience" was at a store called "A Knitted Peace"
MewMew
(http://www.aknittedpeace.com) They were so well prepared to welcome the many visitors. I was particularly thrilled to see a huge cooler full of icy water bottles that were a welcome treat on such a warm day. Their pattern was beautiful and available online or as a quality printed pattern. When I purchased my yarn crawl bag it was full of goodies that included some things that were useful to the yarn crawler such as a pen and paper pad so you could note down your favorite yarns and such for future purchases. I also appreciated the discount coupon they included in the bag for use on a return visit. Best of all was the incredible yarn selection. I'm pretty sure I bought too much yarn but how could I resist?
As far as my own knitting projects go, I have finally finished my sweater, or should I say jacket? It turns out that I made the wrong size so instead of a sweater I have a nice boxy jacket. I have since cast on the same sweater pattern, this time using Cascade Heathers in a yummy purple. I am determined to get it right. I also finished enough squares to make a youth blanket for an ongoing community project I work on and have since begun another one, this time with a pink theme. This next one will be slow going as I have to devote my knitting and crafting time to get ready for the Denver Witches Ball where I, along with my friend, will be sharing a space in the vendor section! I'm very excited to be able to sell my hand knitted tarot bags and tarot cloths plus other magical items to a kindred collection of people. Spending so many hours in my craft room may necessitate making my martinis by the pitcher, this time stirred, not shaken....
Future blanket

Cold Martinis, Hot Nights

Author: Valerie LaVay /


The Summer is passing too quickly, especially in terms of knitting projects. I have been seriously considering entering my stash of unfinished projects into the Guinness Book of World records for consideration. I really feel I have a shot to win. The other week I spent half the day in my craft room, just organizing the yarn stash. All I can say is that if I ever dare buy another ball of black yarn, my husband has permission to shoot me. Earlier this Summer I went to a trunk show at Fancy Tiger Crafts to see the fabulous Stephen West and Steven Berg.
with the fabulous Steves
This of course resulted in buying several wonderful patterns and of course, yarn. It was special "for the tour only" yarn. I had to do it. Speaking of Stephen West, I joined his Summer KAL and have started working on the "Vertices Unite" shawl. I love all of the stripes! The scarf is fun and easy to knit while I am watching television. Did anybody mention "Outlander"? Oh my! I am about 8 rows from finishing my Dream Stripe shawl using the beautiful Anzula Nebula sock weight yarns. I hope to have a picture up of the finished project sometime between now and the time I die. Speaking of insanity, I found yet another KAL that I cannot resist. It's called the" Four Elements Dragon Mystery KAL". It's a "choose your own adventure" pattern. It reads like something out of Pathfinder. It is a double knit scarf so your dragon will show up on both sides looking ever so cool. Speaking of Pathfinder, I have started making dice bags
both for myself and to sell. I have also been knitting lots and lots of tarot bags both for a special order I received, and for my Etsy store. OK so maybe now I don't feel nearly as bad about the dozens of unfinished projects I have.
The one thing I am getting done are the squares that I work on for an ongoing charity project group I work with. I have a bag of yarn in my car and a square on the needles at all times. I have taken said yarn on hikes, overnight trips and whenever I am in the car. It takes the boredom out of being a passenger.
Our group is now doing some youth size blankets in addition to the regular size blankets. I found out the other day that the youth size blanket will be 20 squares so I now have focus and plan to wait until I have 20 done (all nicely color coordinated) and pack them up and drop them off complete with finishing yarn and a picture for the assembly team. While the knitting has been sitting in bags, I have been getting a nice bit of sewing done thanks to my embroidery machine and some great designs that are out there. I have started embellishing handkerchiefs. My goal is to single handedly bring back the handkerchief industry. I figure my Etsy store is the perfect place to start. Handkerchiefs, are after all, very earth friendly and at the very least make good costume accessories and if nothing else are a good conversation piece. I tea stain white handkerchiefs to give them a vintage feel and take the glare of stark white away. You know, I have always hated ironing so it was only natural for me to take up sewing.
You gotta love 100 % cotton. NOT. I am on my second iron in 4 years. I loved my pink iron but it finally gave up on me so I went with a Rowenta (a very low cost model) which I heard were good. Yes, I went for color over quality with my last iron. It was pink after all. Generally speaking, when purchasing my crafting items I like to go with good brands but the most basic model. My thought is that if I outgrow the basic model, I can upgrade at a later date. So far, this has served me well. For now I am being kept plenty busy with sewing and knitting, not sure I can fit one more crafty thing into my brain. Martinis, however, are quite another story....

Martini Madness

Author: Valerie LaVay /

It's been well over six months since I last posted! Why? Well, because I have been knitting myself crazy of course! I am always  knitting either  my personal knitting projects, for my Etsy store or my charity knitting. To top it all off I recently purchased an embroidery machine, so the adness has escalated.
Shortly after my last post on here, I began the 2014 Rose City Yarn Crawl KAL. I knew I had little chance of attending this year, but my heart is always with Portland so I decided to join the fun. The project was a bit of a challenge but well worth it since I love the end result. I have been using my shawl a lot now that summer has arrived since Rocky Mountain nights are always cool.

Roses and rain
I added beads to the last section of the shawl. It was very time consuming but I love the results and am happy to be using another new knitting skill. I used Anzula's Nebula fingering weight yarn that I had in my stash! I absolutely LOVE Anzula. It's all about the sparkle. The purple yearn in the shawl is darker and more muted in person and prettier than the picture.
Just before the holidays I got a wild hair and decided to knit a winter cowl and matching hat for myself. I used some wonderful Classic Elite yarn that I purchased at one of my favorite Portland stores called "Close Knits". Because the yarn was a bit bulky, the set knit up in no time and I was able to wear it to my friends Yule party. I was nice and warm as I stood by the fire outside, celebrating the season. I plan to make this set again as a gift to someone for this upcoming Yule. Keeping fingers crossed on that promise.
Nice and warm
Once the new year rolled around, I was determined to do a project from a pattern and yarn I had purchased almost a year ago, once again at "Close Knits" in Portland. I found the Classic Elite cotton yarn with no problem but had a harder time hunting down the pattern. I finally found it and made a Sweetheart Tea Cozy. I love the red and white combo for Valentine's Day. The pattern was a tiny bit confusing but super simple and fast to make. The problem though is that it turned out a bit bigger than I thought so my teapot is completely covered. I actually stuck it on my head and thought it might look nice as a hat but then decided  that I would need to knit a cowl to go with it first.
Tea cozy or hat?
I currently have three active WIPs. I am just about finished with my second sweater. For some reason I am hung up on getting the sleeves done. Hopefully I will be able to post the finished pictures of it soon. I am more than halfway through a shawl called "Dream Stripes" that I am knitting with yet more Nebula yarn that I just had to have when I saw it at the trunk show at my favorite local shop, Fancy Tiger Crafts. Finally, Stephen West came out with a Summer KAL where he gives you a choice of three different patterns. I chose "Vertices Unite". It looks like I will need to keep plenty of chilled martinis on hand this summer as I knit away on my back porch. Heaven!