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Month: April 2015

New Pattern Released: Four Points Socks!

New Pattern Released: Four Points Socks!

I’m thrilled to announce the release of a new pattern, the Four Points Socks. While on maternity leave, I saw a gorgeous, Vitamin-C-infused, skein of Unwind Yarn Company’s Honeymoon Sock and craved it. During some middle-of-the-night nursing session, I started picturing large cables combined with […]

Love Your Blog Challenge: Gratitude

Love Your Blog Challenge: Gratitude

I spent so many years knitting in a bubble. I taught myself to knit from a library book. I bought a lot of yarn for a lot of years from soulless big box stores. I was not part of a knitting group. I didn’t read […]

LYS Review: Genuine Purl, Chattanooga, TN

LYS Review: Genuine Purl, Chattanooga, TN

Fair warning: this review is going to be biased. I’ve put off writing it for a long time because of the depth of my feeling, but here goes.

Genuine Purl was my first Local Yarn Shop (LYS). I crocheted big rectangles before I ever knit, and Genuine Purl was the place I got quality yarn, my first non-100%-acrylic, for my first real project – a giant blanket that I started at the end of my senior year of high school to take to college with me.

My $90 crocheted rectangle, going strong since 1999 - no clue what the yarn is, but it was from Genuine Purl.
My $90 crocheted rectangle, going strong since 1999 – no clue what the yarn is, but it was from Genuine Purl.

Holy crap, nice yarn can be expensive.

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Fortunately, some of my graduation gifts were gift certificates to the shop, because that blanket end up costing $90. This seems perfectly reasonable to me now, but on a high-schooler’s budget, it was daunting. However, I have to credit Genuine Purl with opening the world of quality, drool-worthy yarn to me.

Genuine Purl is owned by the mother of one of my high-school teammates. It has been a must-visit place every time I’ve gone home to Chattanooga. From that first glorious blanket, which is still in use, to my most recent purchases to make hats and mittens for my family, Genuine Purl has been a steady, if erratic, presence in my knitting life.

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Genuine Purl is where I bought the yarn for my first blanket.

Genuine Purl is where I bought the awesome “K1, P1” magnet that decorates my car.

Genuine Purl is where I dashed to in the rain after having my wedding dress fitted across the street, abandoning my mom and sister and grandma and friends because I couldn’t not.

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Genuine Purl is where I visited just before moving overseas. Because all of my worldly goods were already packed, they graciously offered to mail my yarn to me, even having to fill out a customs form.

Genuine Purl is where I went to knit night while impatiently waiting for my second son to be born and where I brought him at 3 weeks to show him off.

I’ve never really felt like I’ve had “my” LYS in a place where I live. But I claim Genuine Purl with all my heart.

Genuine Purl is located at 140 N Market Street in Chattanooga, TN. It features a wide range of scrumptious yarns, like Malabrigo and Koigu, plus a rainbow of colors of the budget-friendly workhorses like Berroco.

Berroco on the left, Koigu on the right
Berroco on the left, Koigu on the right

It also has a large embroidery section, with floss and gorgeous hand-painted designs to cross-stitch. Sale yarns are kept in a playpen. The shop is teeming with lovely samples, Knitters Pride Carbonz needles, project bags, and books. They have a frequent buyer program and knit night on Thursdays from 5 pm to 7 pm. The best way to know what’s going on with them is to follow their page on Facebook. And they’re always happy to see you and hear about your adventures. 🙂

So many pretty colors that I almost want to dive into embroidery.
So many pretty colors that I almost want to dive into embroidery.
Gorgeous hand-painted embroidery templates
Gorgeous hand-painted embroidery templates
Playpen sale yarns
Playpen sale yarns

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2015 Yarn Crawls

2015 Yarn Crawls

Have you ever been on a yarn crawl? A wool walk? A shop hop? Insert other clever name here? I haven’t. I want to. However, the geography doesn’t work for me – I only know of one place to buy yarn in Kenya, so the […]

Love Your Blog Challenge: Ugly

Love Your Blog Challenge: Ugly

This week’s prompt from A Playful Day is “ugly.” So I’m going to write a post about my husband. Now, lest you think my marriage in trouble, let me clarify that this is actually going to be an ode to my husband. (Husband, if you’re […]

Love Your Blog Challenge: Beginnings

Love Your Blog Challenge: Beginnings

Last week’s blog post, as inspired by A Playful Day’s Love Your Blog Challenge, generated the most comments I’ve ever gotten. Since the topic was “Interactions and Community,” seems only appropriate, no? This week’s prompt is “Beginnings,” so I’m going to dive right in again.

New beginnings necessitate major adjustments. We have a new member of our family, which is pretty much the ultimate beginning. Everyone in the family has adjusted incredibly well, including our toddler, for which I am unbelievable thankful.

I live in Kenya, but I traveled home to the U.S. to have the baby. Because of airline restrictions on flying late in pregnancy, this meant I had to return 6 weeks before the baby was due. He was 8 days late, and then it took 7 weeks to get his birth certificate and passport so we could return to Nairobi. This meant I was away from my regular job, which engages and exercises my brain in very fulfilling ways, for 14 weeks.

So my brain turned to knitting. I very carefully packed the projects I thought would last me through the 3 months, ruthlessly ordering them by date: Christmas gift, baby item, everything else.

My "Maternity Leave Knitting List" - before I started marking things off with astounding speed.
My “Maternity Leave Knitting List” – before I started marking things off with astounding speed.

I stretched further, designing a hat for my brother. I wrote more blog posts in December 2014 than in any other month, mostly about finished objects. On January 1st I submitted the hat to the Knit Picks Independent Designer Partnership. Throughout January I ran my first test knit through Ravelry, definitely a learning experience. I wrote and designed and knit until my fingers hurt. I bought a new spinning wheel. Then I succumbed to Instagram enabling. Packages of yarn and fiber kept showing up at the house. I knit myself multiple pairs of socks, some of which I wore while in labor and during recovery in the hospital. I finally managed to get back to Kenya, reuniting our family in its new configuration, and… I was tired. I didn’t knit a stitch for more than a week.

It’s funny. None of this outpouring of creative juices was planned. I knew I had projects I wanted to knit, but my brain, feeling underused, fired up its creativity sector and powered through those 3 months. It gave me something to think about and do and produce, instead of sitting on the couch and twiddling my thumbs, waiting for something to happen.

The baby is a wonderful new beginning. But because of the down time he created before and after his birth, I feel like my flock of self-published designs really began, too. One wouldn’t have happened without the other. Knit Picks accepted the hat, and when I look at my designs page on Ravelry, it feels like a respectable little start.

My five most recent designs - some still in progress
My five most recent designs – some still in progress

 

I’m Type A. Off-the-charts Type A. So I tend to want to know where things are going, what’s the plan, what’s the next step, what do I need to make that happen? And then I need to reel myself back in and remind myself that I have no intention of becoming a full-time designer or blogger. I like my regular job too much, and it fulfills me in ways I can’t describe. But it doesn’t produce tangible things. Knitting lets me produce tangible things. Designing enables others to produce tangible things that once existed only in my head. (Such a rush!) Something Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch said on a recent A Playful Day blog post resonated with me – or at least I felt it should:

I’m often asked about my goals for the blog. There has never been any ‘plan’ for CftC. As in the beginning, I’m still writing about the things that interest me. I’ve never been a slave to statistics and the blog is not a stepping-stone towards some other goal – it is what it is.

That’s what I need to remember. It’s okay if there are no plans or goals for this blogging/designing THING. It is what it is. I’m enjoying it. As long as that’s the case, I need to just go with the flow.