Bill and I took a big first step this morning and went through our Tivo season pass list. We whittled it down from like 33 shows to 10 (a few of which will drop off as soon as the current season is over, like The Apprentice and American Idol). We still aren't ready to give up our absolute favorites (like The Office and Grey's Anatomy), but I am sacrificing The Bachelor and The Amazing Race. Our next step is going to be eating at the dinner table instead of in front of the television. We'll see how that goes...I need to remember to take baby steps instead of doing everything all at once and then getting depressed when we get overwhelmed and fall back into our old ways. ANY-way...
When you're in a knitting funk, what could be better than spending an entire day on a bus filled with knitters, shopping at six different LYS and buying stuff you wouldn't normally shell out for because you're getting a 15-20% discount? Um, nothing?
Yesterday, the TKG Westside Spring Shop Hop '07 officially went off without a hitch. I was one of the committee members, so it wasn't quite as relaxing as it had been the previous year when I was just a participant, but it was still a total blast. I brought my new camera along and took many, many pictures. I also scored some totally sweet stuff. This year, my focus was mainly on yarn for the kids as well as single skeins of stuff I wouldn't normally look at because it was too expensive.
I've got a gazillion photos of folks in the shops, so I put together a Flickr set (this will also go on the Shop Hop blog). I met up with a few bloggers you might know:
Here are Tiffany, Amanda and Katrina at All About Yarn, our first stop. I kept forcing Amanda to turn sideways so I could get belly shots. Isn't she just adorably pregnant right now? She looks like I do when I'm about six months along (when I'm two weeks from giving birth, like she is, I look like two Amandas).
All About Yarn is a little shop in a suburban strip mall that doesn't look like much from the outside, but inside it is AWESOME. Renee and Mary (who are also TKG members and on the board with us) have fantastic taste in yarn, and have plenty of stuff I could've spent my money on. I was still waiting for the caffeine to kick in and stressing out about my role as timekeeper (I had to ring a bell at 20 minutes and then as a 5-minute warning), so I only got around to picking out this:
Three balls of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran in Cranberry (hmm, I wonder what these might become?) and a ball of Knit One Crochet Two PJ's, which is basically a strip of fleece posing as yarn. This will become a hat (or some such thing) for Sydney. The lovely ladies of All About Yarn also snuck in a nail file from Oat Couture. Sweet!
Next up was The Knitting Bee, where we were greeted with mimosas and a whole new store full of lovely yarn to explore. Talk about sensory overload! I succumbed to temptation in a big way here:
I picked up four balls of pink Touch Me to make a little top for Sydney along with a magnetic board for holding charts (and keeping track of where you are). But my biggest coup was the gorgeous Della Q circular needle case. It is sensational. Here's a close-up view:
Isn't it purty? Now I can get my circs out of that shoebox in my office... The only hitch in the whole day happened at (but had nothing to do with) Knitting Bee. We were supposed to have our box lunches delivered there so we could eat them on the bus ride back into town, but the delivery person totally screwed up and we had to leave before she got there. Fortunately we were able to send her on to Knit-Purl, our next stop, and it worked out just fine. Better, in fact, since Knit-Purl let us use their classroom space as a lunchroom, which was a lot easier than trying to balance what turned out to be gigantic lunches on our laps on the bus...
Here's what I picked up at Knit-Purl:
Yes, that's Koigu on the left. It's also Koigu on the right. Looks funny, you say? It's worsted-weight Koigu! I've never seen this before, so I was a little bit over-excited. In the middle are Nature's Palette (this will soon be available at Gardiner Yarn Works - yay!) and a hank of the Handmaiden Sea Silk. I decided to live dangerously and pick up a hank. I think there may be some lace knitting in my future...
Our fourth stop was Dublin Bay, which is a relatively new shop on the edge of downtown. People were going nuts at this shop, which carries a very unique selection of yarn (particularly from Ireland, the UK and surrounds). They have a whole wall of Jamieson's Shetland Wool along with killer selections of Fleece Artist, Handmaiden and Cherry Tree Hill. Here's what I found:
I got a bunch of different colors of Jamieson's DK for some colorwork swatching along with two very decadent skeins - on the far right is a lovely hank of worsted Frog Tree Alpaca. Nestled in next to it is a delightful little hank of Artyarns beaded silk. Yummy! Now I need to figure out what I'm going to make out of that little gem. It needs to be something spectacular.
Here are Tiffany (blog linked above), Jenni and Karen, relaxing in the midst of the frenzy. Right after I took this picture, I sat down and joined them!
At this point, I was suffering some SERIOUS yarn overload, but we still had two shops to go. Lint was next, and about that time, I was feeling about the shop hop like I'm starting to feel about this post. However, I was cheered by the appearance of this in my shopping bag:
I designed a tank top for Y2Knit last summer out of the Blue Sky Cotton, but of course had to send it away once I finished it. This year, I have big plans to make one for myself. Of course, I'll have to grow a 2nd set of arms to do it, but I have big plans. I also got the only books of the day - "Knitting For Peace" and "Not Tonight, Darling, I'm Knitting", which are both great books with wonderful little tidbits about the wild world of knitting.
Finally, we headed to Molehill Farm, our last stop of the day. Molehill is a great little shop in a refurbished house. The highlight is the bathtub, which they fill with sale yarn. Of course, with 55 knitters crammed in, there was barely room to move. I didn't get too many pictures of this shop because it was SO ridiculously crowded. They made it up to us by serving wine, cheese & crackers. I left with these two lovelies:
The hank on the left is silk/merino from Great Adirondack Yarn Co, and the one on the right is Mountain Colors 3/4 Wool (out of the sale tub, no less). We managed to get everyone checked out, across the street, onto the bus, and back to the starting point with about 15 minutes to spare before we went into very expensive overtime on the bus. It took about 10 minutes to get everyone unloaded, leaving us with about 5 minutes to spare. Talk about perfect timing!
When we were on the bus, thanks to Donna's tireless efforts, we had fabulous raffle prizes for everyone (a few friends of mine were very generous donors, including Mama-E, The Sweet Sheep, Lavender Sheep's Fiber Garden and Knot Another Hat). This is what I drew - a little felted bag kit from Blue Sky Alpacas including a pattern and four hanks of Melange. I might actually make this - it looks like a fun, quick knit and I could use a little bag like that.
And finally, the best part of the shop hop was the goodie bags! Donna dazzled Lantern Moon with her negotiation skillz, and they gave us these awesome Origami bags below cost, along with the cute little sheep tape measures.
I now carry this bag just about everywhere with me. My only complaint is that when you're wearing short sleeves, it's a little scratchy when you carry it over your shoulder. The easy fix is to carry it on your lower arm instead (or don't wear short sleeves), so I can't compain too much. The bags retail for around $40 and the tape measures for like $8, so this more than covered the $35 we had to pay to go on the shop hop. Not to mention we each got a beaded scarf kit from Interlacements (these retail for about $40 as well, I think - I don't have a picture because I seem to have misplaced mine somewhere - go figure). There were also a ton of coupons, yarn samples, wool wash samples, hand cream, a ball of Peaches & Cream, a Dale of Norway pattern book and a little bag of notions. So much stuff! Again, big kudos to Donna for securing all this great stuff for us. Wow!
Now, I've got another big ol' thank you to send out to my SP10, who sent me all this lovely stuff last week:
A sock project tube (which is now holding my long-suffering Dublin Bay sock from my Summer Sock Party '06 swap partner), some peppermint aromatherapy oil, some yummy lip balm, a cucumber-melon candle (which is currently burning to try to get the smell of chickens out of our living room) and a ball of Regia, transported all the way from Germany, that I love SO much. Could those colors be any more me? My pal totally rocks. I feel bad burying this pic at the end of this long post, but I figured I'd better post about it while I was on a roll. With my frequency lately, it could be days (or weeks) before I got around to it!
Now I've got to get myself motivated to run 6 miles. It's about the last thing I want to do (right up there with eating liver & onions or campaigning for the NRA), but I'm going to do it. Oh, I forgot to mention, the highlight of the evening yesterday was when I got home and Owen greeted me by throwing up on me. It hasn't hit Sydney yet, but I'm waiting fearfully for the other shoe to drop. Just so they get it out of their system by next Sunday, when we leave for Sea Socks! Yahoo!!! Life really is good, isn't it?