Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Martini, anyone?

The first of the Holiday KAL designs is done! Introducing the "Shaken, not Stirred Scarf." This design is actually as fun to knit as it will be to wear! Four olive-beaded martinis are surrounded by a sea of lace olives. This scarf is made using one skein of our yarn on size 4 needles, and will be available in all our Sock-aholic Solid colors. Each "kit" will also include the martini olive beads and a cute, matching commemorative martini stitch marker! Look for these in the store in early August.

I'm busily working on the next in the holiday martini series - fingerless gloves! The first attempt was soooo cute, but soooo wrong. I put a really cute stranded wristband on the glove, only to find that it had no elasticity whatsoever. This, of course, made it completely unwearable, so I'm onto Plan B.

We've had some other excitement since my last post... I found out our trademark has been approved! Knitters Brewing Company is now the proud owner of the term "Sock-aholic" as it applies to commercial yarn. To commemorate this special occasion, I added the following definition to the Urban Dictionary .

Sock-aholic (n.): A knitter addicted to the act of making socks, often to the point where it interferes in his/her social life, and drains financial resources which ultimately get diverted toward yarn acquisition.

(example: Mary, a consummate Sock-aholic, was too busy knitting her latest pair to realize that she was being eyed by the handsome man on the other side of the public library study table.)

Tomorrow, hubby and I are off to Mammoth for the Blues and Beer Festival! Should be a really fun time, hanging out in the mountains, listing to some good music and tasting unlimited quantites of craft beers. It's a long car ride, so I'll have lots of knitting time on the way up and back, and plan to take along something easy to knit at the festival, too. Maybe that summer top I should have finished months ago! I'll show and tell in my next update!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Real Forehead Slapper

I've probably blocked knitted piecework 8000 times in my life. Like everyone else, I like to block things as easily and quickly as possible - usually because blocking is the only thing preventing me from wearing whatever the item is!

For non-sock items, I generally choose to block piecework by pinning it out on my ironing board, and then steaming it with my hand steamer. The steam does the job very quickly, and there's no waiting around for the work to dry. The downside is that my steamer does not like to work in the horizontal position - it tends to spurt boiling water all over my work and my fingers - ow! Up to now, I've just toughed that pain out as "part of the process."

So a couple of days ago, as I was blocking piecework for the 8001st time, a lightbulb came on in my blonde head. After pinning my WIP out on the ironing board, I simply tilted the ironing board until it was standing on its end - and voila! vertical blocking. After slapping myself on the forehead, and shouting "Doh!" loud enough for the neighbors to hear, I proceeded to steam the project without a single water spout or burnt finger. I can't believe this didn't occur to me 10 years ago. In the pic you can see a glimpse of one of the Brewery's Holiday Projects that will be announced next month. More on that when it's finished soon!

I'd like to welcome two more states to our Knitters Brewing Company family! Pins have been stuck in the wallmap for Vermont and Louisiana! Welcome to our new friends in the North and South!

KBC has shipped to 42 states! (84%)


Monday, July 20, 2009

Petco Park and some Unusual Pets

Yesterday was the annual Stitch and Pitch event at the San Diego Padres Petco Park. Always a fun event, a section is reserved for needleworkers and their friends and family (or at least those who will be seen with them needleworking in public!) To augment this event, we have our own tradition of gathering our north county group to take the commuter train downtown to the park - imbibing "Mass Transit Margaritas" all the way down! This year we had a beautiful, hot day to enjoy while we watched the Rockies annihilate our poor, pathetic Padres. Oh well... the company was great, the buzz was good, and we got some knitting done when we weren't otherwise distracted by people watching and fatty junk food!

I promised I'd start sharing some photos from our Safari KAL that is currently underway. The FOs are so fun to see - no two are alike! It's just uncanny how much the Tiger Stripe version looks like a real tiger!

The zebras are so much fun, too!

I'm continuing to make progress on my WIP - I'll post pick of that in the next update!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Three New Colors and One New State

It's so fun to release new colors. First, I get to think about what the colors should be. Then, I get to play with the dye to get the actual colors to match the ones in my head. Then, best of all, I get to name them! Here are the latest three Sock-aholic® Solids!

Tidal Wave: Surfs Up, Dude! This one has its roots in our SoCal location. Trade in your board for some sticks and Hang 10 fingers around a skein of this vibrant, saturated Teal.

Speakeasy: Rustic charm in honor of those secret establishments that kept us happy during the Prohibition. This medium Russet has beautiful golden highlights – and is 100% legal.

Last Call: Just like the song says, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” It’s closing time, so wander out into this midnight blue and find your next project destination.

I'm also excited to share that we've added our 40th state to the "where we've shipped" map! Welcome Iowa! It's extra special because it's my birthstate. Only 10 states to go!

Knitters Brewing has shipped to 40 states! (80%)

My WIP update for this post is that I've still been working 2 rows per day on the lace shawl. It just never seems to look any bigger to me, but I guess it will get there eventually! My friend Kelie, who found this shawl pattern at Stitches, is almost done with hers, and it is beautiful! I've also designed and started test-knitting one of the holiday projects I plan to release in late summer. It's very different from the things I've been designing to date, and fits in with the store theme to a tee! I'll share this project in an upcoming post.

We're about a third of the way through the Safari KAL, and the projects are looking so great! The group seems to really be having fun with this crazy pattern, and a few people have been adding little personal touches to their zebras and tigers which makes them even more special. Next post I'll share some of the group's WIP and FOs.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New LYS!

It's rare that we get a new yarn store in the area - and I'm particularly impressed that one has opened during this economic situation. But on Sunday, we got one!

Located in the old downtown area of Vista, CA, Clever Knits has real throwback charm. The new, yet retro, decor scheme coupled with the old neighborhood sends off a cool, funky vibe - creating a space that will be fun for gathering knitters and knitting gatherers alike.

The owner, Helena, is a very nice lady, and has great taste in fiber - there's not a bad skein in the place. From Alpaca to O-Wool, we could easily dream up projects for most of her inventory with little mental strain. We were also quite pleased to find no novelty yarns!

The picture above from the Grand Opening that happened to capture our scouting party... this was shortly after our arrival, and Kelie (famed Zebra sock designer) was already at the cash register!

Helena, on the left, was having fun greeting her new customers. Her personable ways will certainly draw regulars to her new business, and I wish her lots of success!


Sunday, July 5, 2009

It's Party Season

Our annual southern Cal June Gloom has passed, and days are sunny and hot now from the minute we roll out of bed. It's party season!

We began two weeks ago, by bartending at the outdoor wedding party for one of my best friends. It was a real hoot! These two have been together for 17 years, and finally tied the knot. I engraved some napkins for the party that said: Kari and John, It's about Damn Time! After I'd served myself a number of margaritas, the band coaxed me onstage to sing Mustang Sally, which was probably more enjoyable for me than it was for those that had the pleasure of listening. :-)

Last weekend was the International Beer Festival at the San Diego County Fair. The event was quite large, with somewhere around 200 breweries sampling their goods. The tastings were 1 oz pours, but were unlimited, so it's safe to conclude that there was some tipsiness happening. My favorite beer label is shown above- ha!

Yesterday we had some friends over for a 4th of July BBQ Pool Party and had a great time. The Boytoy found some great new pool floaties that got lots of use, and the food was yummy! So yummy in fact, that sneaky Smithers (shown to the left cuddling my Mini Mochi) helped himself to some London Broil off the serving counter while the rest of us were outside eating. Guess he had a good holiday, too!

The real culinary coup was this
dessert made by Judy and Jeff which fit the theme beautifully and tasted as good as it looks. Hmmm... there are some leftovers that might just make a good breakfast...

Today's party is the Grand Opening of a new LYS north of here a few miles in Vista. The name is Clever Knits, and I'll be sure to report. The young gals that own it seem to be pretty cool, based on their blogs and Facebook info.

I've been whittling away at my WIP and am feeling much better about it! I finished the sample sock I was working on for the "potential business collaboration to be discussed later." It's pretty cool - hubby likes it, and that's good since it's a mens sock.

Since my last post, I also resolved to work one row per day on my lace shawl, and so far I've done two per day! I've reached a milestone in the pattern - I've finished the first of the three repeats in the pattern. But does that mean I'm 1/3 done? Hell no! The rows get longer and longer with this rectangular shawl. At this time, the row is 213 sts long, and it will get to 432 by the end. I figure I'm about 15% done. But I'm also thrilled to be making progress!