Saturday, October 20, 2012

Little luxuries

The last of my purchases include these pretties that I can't figure out how to group them other than calling them my little luxuries.
The leftmost bag of fiber is one ounce of bison down.  It is super soft and I am super excited to get to try it soon.  It was found at Hill Country Weavers, along with lots of different bison yarns.  I was very tempted to get the fingering weight yarn which was a 50/50 blend of bison/silk.  It came in gorgeous colors, but in the end I decided that the fiber was a better choice than more yarn.  
My new turkish spindle is from Yarnorama in Paige, TX.  The exquisite woodwork done by Jeri Brock caught my eye.  If you look closely, you can see that there are 3 small sheep on each side of the spindle.  It was one of many different variations, as well as top and bottom whorls.  Yarnorama has spinning, weaving, felting, knitting, etc materials and equipment.  Loved this shop as well!
The swan shaped device in the box is a handturned crochet hook from Furls Crochet.  It is the most beautiful and well balanced crochet hook I'd ever seen.  They are handturned in Austin, and I was happy to discover that they will be selling their products at Happy Ewe.  I was debating between two different hooks, when one of the two was purchased by another patron.  Well, that made my mind up for me!  I'm still thrilled with the hook, and can't wait to need a reason to use an F hook.  ;o)
The buttons were purchased at Nan's Needleworks. This store was fascinatingly found inside of a traditional office building!  You walked inside of an office building, up to the 2nd story, down a hall to a door that opened up to a traditional yarn store!  One of the ladies there does dye work.  I was tempted to buy one of her skeins, but they were a blend of wool and mohair (both from local farmers who had bred them to be as soft as they have seen), but I have found that no grade of mohair has ever been soft enough for me.  And no one I am buying gifts for uses lace weight... so I finally decided to be practical and opted for wooden buttons instead.  

All in all, I am very pleased with my purchases, and actually can't wait for next year's crawl! 

Friday, October 19, 2012

The yarns

I did end up purchasing something from each store.  I primarily tried to stick with local items or unique items.  I took a few pics, so I will give my descriptions of each, along with a mention of the store where I got the item below.
The yarns!
At the top we have a beautiful skein of alpaca from 2 different alpacas raised at the ranch where I got the yarn itself!  The store was called Old Oaks Ranch, and I was stunned when I arrived at my destination.  The ranch has a store that has supplies for knitting, crocheting, and spinning.  Outside the store they have Huacaya Alpacas that they apparently do shear and sell the fiber and yarn from as well.  Next to the alpaca pen, they ALSO have bronze sculptures from local artists and a koi pond grotto.  It was a wonderful place to visit!
Below that left are two different skeins from Lucky Ewe.  They have a wall of local yarns, which I truly appreciated because I love supporting indie dyers.  I ended up falling in love with Alisha Goes Around and had the hardest time choosing one.  In the end, I got the deep brown you can see there.  It is 75% superwash merino, 20% nylon, and 5% stellina (shimmery, but not flashy!).  The golden yarn next to it was from Lucky Ewe's newly launched own yarn line!  They are using natural dyes on a merino/cashmere blend.  How can you resist that?  The really cool thing is that they will try to use flowers they can gather themselves locally if it's at all possible!
The bright pink/orange skein is from Gauge, the closest yarn store to my apartment.  The day I went in, Dizzy Lettuce was doing a trunk show, and after talking with her, I knew I had to leave with one of her many many exclusive colorways.  This one jumped out at me, and ended up following me home.
Furthest right is a gorgeous blue camel/silk blend that is from Anzula, a California yarn.  This yarn (and so many more that I wish I could have brought home...) came from Yarnivore.  This store surprised me by it's ability to carry both unique yarns, but also lots of workhorse yarns.  The wide variety was definitely good.  I nearly bought 5 different skeins of things I hadn't seen before, but I knew I had to pace myself... So, alas, just the one for now.  ;o)

Next up are the bags.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The bags

The bags!!
I won't lie... I'm typically a gallon plastic baggie type of project bag girl.  But those do get destroyed over time, and how can you resist bags that look like these??
The mustache bag is a locally made (in Austin!) simple bag by needle and knife.  It's as simple a project bag as you can imagine, but it does have a nice, sturdy button to be sure it remains closed... and when I took a pic to show B, he told me it was a winner and had to be gotten.  ;o)  This bag was bought at The Knitting Nest, the yarn store where I teach drop spinning occasionally.  The Knitting Nest boasts space enough to have a large table to work at, as well as cozy couches.  The owner seems passionate the community as well as knitting.  She constantly has donation projects going on such as a bucket filled with yarn scraps that you can crochet squares for blankets, dishcloths for a women's group, etc.
Next to this, we have the cutest small project bag I've seen in person yet.  Feisty Knits appears to be a Texas seamstress who has a large presence at The Tinsmith's Wife.  Found in the tiny town of Comfort, I loved every bit of my short time there.  This was the 4th store I had hit up on the crawl, and I kept saying to myself, you know, that last store was so awesome, I can't imagine the next one will be as good... But this store managed to put me in my place.  Filled to the brim with amazing yarns including Shepherd's Wool, Malabrigo, and Madelinetosh... what amazed me was when I found yarns from one of my favorite indie dyers of all time, Stitchjones!  I have not seen Stitchjones outside of the west coast, seeing as she hails just outside of Portland, OR, and so I was ecstatic when I discovered a local source to get her.  :o)
The last bag is notions bag by Frabjous Fibers.  I've gotten some of her fiber before to spin, and it's always been very wonderful.  When I found this fair trade bag designed by Frabjous fibers, I knew I had to get it.  I found this lovely little character at Hill Country Weavers, commonly referred to as the "mothership yarn store" in Austin.  It has a remarkable space that has yarn, fiber, spinning equipment, and weaving equipment.

Next time, the extra luxuries...

Central Texas Yarn Crawl

10 yarn stores, 2 days, lots of driving, lots of new found respect for Texas knitters.  :o)  In the end, I was very impressed by the stores on the crawl.  I can't wait to get to visit them again.

First off, the freebies.  You had to pay $20 to be an official member of the crawl.  This was different than any crawl I'd ever been on before, but in exchange you got a "passport" that you got stamped at each store and if you were a very lucky person, you would get a magical grand prize.  Each store also had 10 prizes that you had a chance to win if you visited that store as well.  In addition, even if you weren't a winner, you still felt like a winner because each store had a freebie you got to have if you were an official crawler.

My freebies!!
You got to choose colors for each of the freebies.  They were all pretty cool.  Starting from the left and going clockwise:  uber soft yarn and pattern to knit a sheep (!), a free pattern book (this wasn't an official freebie, but the store was giving them away in addition to the freebie), a beginning needle felting kit, a cotton blend (periwinkle) skein and they emailed me a pattern for little fingerless mitts, cotton pima (in the plastic baggie), official yarn crawl swag bag, ball of a yarn called "princess" (brown), ball of novelty yarn that makes one of those swirly scarves (red, tan, black), puppy snips and measuring tape, crochet stitch markers (you got your choice of crochet and knitting, I went with crochet since I have none of those), row counting bracelet, and a small kit to create a yarn necklace.  WHEW!!  Honestly, with these freebies, I feel like $20 was a steal!  I did not win a prize, but it was worth it either way.  :o)

In an effort to keep this post from being 50 pages long, I'm going to break up my posts.  Tomorrow I'll reveal my purchases... ;o)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Zilker Gardens

Zilker Park is one of the popular locales for Austin.  It is a large spanse along the "greenway" here.  Lots of grass, Barton Springs Pool, tons of music festivals, movie nights, etc etc.
Zilker Park
But, today we went to Zilker Botanical Gardens instead.  It costs $2/person, $1/senior or child.  It was just beautiful.  The following pics were taken by B (who is not even remotely into taking pics, so that tells you how pretty it is!).
Bridge in the Oriental Garden
Oriental Garden
Bamboo Forest