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February 2006
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April 2006

New Address

I did something a while ago but I never mentioned it anywhere: I registered the domain '' and plunked my blog on it. So now, you can get here by going to, or you can still get here by going to the slightly less streamlined Who knows what else will end up here at the yarndemon domain? Right now the blog is about all the extracurricular fun I can handle. :) But you never know.....


Drink Up

Yipes, only 3 hours left in the day and me without a post yet. That won't do.

So I found this.
(Click here to see what I'm talking about, if you missed the link above.)

I'm afraid we've missed the deadline (although, the year isn't stated), but it was quite a cute idea! I wish some beverage company here in the USA would fall in love with this idea of knitting cute hats for beverage bottles. Maybe it could be some kind of a contest. Odwalla, can you hear me calling you? Guinness? Absolut?

Make sure you check out the Hat of the Week link, and keep clicking on the "previous hat" link on each page. A few pages back, you'll even find a "Hell's Angels" hat. I also loved the "How to Knit" page -- the first step in how to knit is "Tune in to Radio 4". Who knew? I've been doing it wrong all along!

Gopher Broke

I just discovered the cutest, funniest animation online, from a post in the forums at AnimWatch.

The short animation is called "Gopher Broke" and it was created by Blur Animation. It's nearly getting to be Farm Market season, and this little animation is perfect for farmers who'll be trucking their wares to the market, and for everyone who likes to see very cute gopher tummies. It's about a gopher who tries his best to get some delicious vegetables to eat, but he sure has a hard time doing it!

Click here to link to the animation -- it might take a while to download if you're on dial-up, but be patient because it is really worth it. It is Pixar-quality animation.

North Ronaldsay Sheep

As I mentioned earlier, on Sunday of the recent knitting weekend at the Lord Camden Inn, Linda Cortwright, editor of Wild Fibers magazine gave a presentation and talk about some of her adventures as a fiber magazine editor. One of the things she talked about was her trip to the remote Orkney island of North Ronaldsay, Scotland, to investigate the local breed of seaweed-eating sheep.

I enjoyed the talk quite a bit, and I found an article on the Wild Fibers website that recounted the North Ronaldsay visit Linda made. If you were at the talk and were wishing you could hear about those sheep again, please click here and read the article at your leisure.

Now I just have to figure out how to get my hands on some of that fiber or yarn from those seaweed-eating sheep....

Looking Back -- the Unique One Knitting Weekend (March)

What a great weekend. I had a ball, and I hope everyone else at the Knitting Weekend did too! Sorry I haven't put up a post today til quite late, but as a result of poor planning on my part, I had to work at the store all day today. Actually, I probably would have gone in regardless, because there was paperwork to catch up on and bills to pay. Those vendors, they like to get paid on time. :) I hope to get a fully-captioned photo album of my knitting weekend pictures available in the blog sidebar by tomorrow night.

Friday night, people began arriving at the Lord Camden Inn for the knitting weekend. Matthew and the rest of the LCI staff had prepared a wonderful reception for us, with white tablecloths and pink tulips on the tables, red and white wine as well as coffee and tea, chocolate dipped strawberries, mini chocolate eclairs and cream puffs, cheese and crackers, spanikopita, stuffed mushrooms, and Swedish meatballs. Victoria checked all the participants in and handed out their goodie bags, filled with a schedule, information about the Camden area, and a few goodies from Unique One. Ongoing at the same time, private shopping at Unique One for the knitting weekend participants offered fun and discounted shopping. People went back and forth between the food and wine, and the shopping fun at the store (only a few steps away from the Inn). We had a great time. It was not long before there was a lot of laughter and general happy noises ringing through the halls of the inn. It was a sound I personally basked in. I love hearing people laugh.

I stayed up as late as I could, but around 10:30 I finally dragged my butt off to bed. It was so much fun seeing all the projects everyone was working on, and seeing Nancy Z.'s new spinning wheel, and listening to everyone's knitting and fiber stories, that my head was really whirling! But it was a good kind of whirling.

Saturday was busy and as fun as I can imagine. Everyone who stayed at the Inn started off with a great breakfast (I, of course, had to have a freshly cooked waffle -- yum) and then the first class started. It was a lot of fun, a lot of laughing. I think everyone learned something, and some people learned a lot! We've had some great comments about the classes. Then we had a fabulous salmon lunch, and a little time to chat and knit before the afternoon round of classes. The afternoon classes went off just as well as the morning classes had, and then everyone went their separate ways for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Most went off to area restaurants for dinner, but some (including me) got sandwiches at the Camden Deli and went back to the Inn for some serious knitting and/or spinning. More people trickled back in as they finished having dinner, and soon the Inn was full of happy knitters again. It was a lot of fun. Later in the evening, a demand was made for me to go over to the store and bring back some sock yarn for people to buy, so I did. It's a nifty new sock yarn called "Step", because with each step you take, your feet are softened by aloe vera and jojoba oil that is right in the yarn. The aloe vera and jojoba stay in the yarn through several washings. Anyway, the yarn feels wonderful and it is great to knit with, and the resulting sock you knit feels really soft. I was loving knitting with it quite a bit, so thus the demand was made. We are currently sold out of this new yarn, but I am sure Victoria will be ordering more soon.

Also on Saturday evening, Rudy Amann gave a talk and demonstration of nalbinding, an ancient form of netting used to make garments such as mittens, socks or "booties", hats and scarves. What a fascinating topic! Rudy showed some slides of preserved, historic nalbinding samples, and he had also created a wonderful display, models, and handouts about this intriguing form of needlework. Rudy showed everyone how to do some nalbinding. He had made "starter" nalbinding pieces and got lots of people to try out some nalbinding of their own. Some people even bought nalbinding needles from him and have set out on their own nalbinding adventures. I think it is wonderful that Rudy is keeping this form of needlework alive! Everyone enjoyed Rudy's talk and demonstration very much.

Sunday morning, we were very fortunate to have Linda Cortwright, editor of Wild Fibers magazine, join us and give a talk and slide show about some of her adventures as a magazine editor. I loved hearing her tales! She is an entertaining and enthusiastic speaker, and brings her topic to life. I felt like I had been right there with her in North Ronaldsey, Scotland, to look at the seaweed-eating sheep, or way up in Alaska with the musk ox farmers. After Linda's talk, we spent a little time doing some show & tell, sharing projects and stories. It was a wonderful way to end our knitting weekend.

Throughout the weekend we drew about 16 excellent doorprizes, including (among many other wonderful things) at least 4 sweater kits donated by yarn companies, and an overnight stay in a deluxe luxury room, donated by The Lord Camden Inn. At last count, 14 people have already paid a deposit to come back next year (Thank YOU!) and I am so impressed about how eager folks were to do it all again!

The April Knitting Weekend is currently about half full (it is scheduled for April 21, 22, & 23, 2006 at the Lord Camden Inn). We are also accepting reservations for the 2007 knitting weekend -- right now we only have plans for a March 2007 knitting weekend, but if there is enough demand, I'd love to have one in April 2007 as well. Please call Unique One (1-888-691-8358 or 207-236-8717 if you're local) for details on any of these, or to sign up for any knitting weekend. I have tomorrow "off" (meaning I work at home instead of in the store), and tops on my to-do list is to update the Knitting Weekends part of the Unique One website to reflect upcoming events and provide sign-up information.

Thank you so much, all of you who joined me in this first, experimental, knitting event. I have never organized anything like this before, and I was pleased that everyone seemingly had such a great time. I had never seen people actually walking on air before, but now I believe I have, and it made me happy to think I was lucky enough to be a part of it. You are all magnificent!

Unique One Knitting Weekend Day 2

Oh my, we are having such a great time! So much fun. It's a blast! The Lord Camden Inn is completely fabulous, and there is a pile 'o knitting getting done here -- and some spinning and nalbinding, too!

Once again, I am just putting up pictures today, and these will eventually be in a photo album on the side, with captions for the pictures. But for now, here they are:

























The Big Kick-Off

Last night we kicked off the first annual Unique One March Knitting Weekend with a bang! The Lord Camden Inn put on a magnificent spread of food and wine, and everyone brought their knitting and spinning, and we had a ball. It was a big party! We had so much fun! And we get to continue the fun all day today, too!!!

Here are some pics from last night (I'll make a photo album of the whole weekend, with captions, after I recover from all the fun on Sunday):















Information? Please!!

Something I didn't really need to know: if you search on Yahoo for the phrase "sexy ebony butts" -- my blog comes up as the #21 offering.

Okay, first you might be wondering, "Why?" as I did. It turns out that in three completely separate posts, I used the following phrases:

  • "as to whether men in kilts are sexy, or not" -- Stacy, see? this is kind of your fault. :)

  • "It butts up against the end of the June Knitting Cruise"

  • "my utterly fabulous new ebony crochet hook"


Then you might wonder, how did she find out what comes up in Yahoo when you search for "sexy ebony butts"? Does she generally search for these sorts of terms? And why does she look so normal, so middle-aged, to the casual observer? The answer to the last question is "I am middle-aged"; the answer to the second question is "I'll never tell"; but the answer to the first question is this: in the stats section for my blog, TypePad kindly tells me what search terms people were using and what search engine they were using, if they got to my blog by searching for something. Usually people are searching for pretty normal things, like particular patterns or yarns; sometimes they are looking for Maine-related terms, like "Camden" or terms related to sweaters, like . . . "sweaters". But sometimes, sometimes my lovelies, they are looking for sexy ebony butts. Who knew. Well, now I guess we all do.

Google Page Creator

I love new toys. Google can always be counted on to provide them for me (God bless 'em!). So a couple months ago (maybe more, maybe less) when I heard about the new fun thing Google was offering I signed up for the beta. If you are interested, you can take a look (click here). Be forewarned that it is only available for PC's. Mac owners will have to wait a while. And don't flame me; I write this blog everyday on my cute lil' iBook running Mac OS X. I just happen to have a few computers around the house, including some PC's.

Google's new toy is called "Google Page Creator" and it will bring web page creation to the masses, apparently for free. The free part sounds a little too good to be true, so I don't know how long that will last, but for now it is great. They're only inviting a few people at a time (people who have gmail accounts) to come use the Google page creator, but eventually it will be available for anyone to use -- at least, that's the idea. I feel very lucky that I was invited to play with this fun new toy early on.

Basically, all you have to do is type and click buttons, and voila! A web page springs to life! I spent a little while this morning playing around with it. Funny, how fate provides with what you need just when you need it, sometimes. Just yesterday I pored over the problem of the free patterns here on my blog; when I only had two or three free patterns, readers could just click on the "Free Patterns" category link in the left sidebar, and go to the patterns. It was easy to scroll down a little to browse the two or three patterns. Now that I have six free patterns, it's not as happy an experience. Eventually, I will have even more free patterns here. I wanted to create a separate page or set of pages, listing the patterns by title so that visitors could simply click on the pattern they wanted and go to it, without having to scroll forever through other stuff they don't want.

Then, today in my morning email was the invite from Google Page Creator, opening a door to solve my problem. So here it is: the new & improved Unique One Free Patterns web site. (Enjoy!!)

Ribbed Leaves Lace Scarf

This pattern has been available on the Unique One website for a couple of months, in the "Current Newsletter" section. I thought I'd move it over here and offer it to my blog readers who may or may not already read the Unique One newsletter on line or get a hard copy of it via the mail.

I like this little scarf because it is reversible -- looks the same on both sides -- and it was fun yet relatively easy to knit. I say "relatively easy", because although it requires yarn overs and a couple slightly funky decrease methods, and it looks like it has a lot of rows in the pattern repeat, you really only have to remember two of the rows in the pattern. Just repeat stuff a lot. And every other row is simple knit one, purl one ribbing. It took me a couple pattern repeats to get the flow going, but once I "got it", everything was honeycakes and mead from then on out. I hope you have as much fun knitting it as I did! I'd like to try it in the new merino lace yarn that Victoria just ordered from Skacel (arriving mid-May), or oooh, ooooh, ooooh, that hand-dyed laceweight silk, "Andrea", from Schaefer, that I have sitting right here...... Ooops. Not enough time. But I will put it on my list!



Materials: 3 skeins Frogtree Alpaca fingering weight yarn; size 6 needles

Finished size: 72 inches long x 7.5 inches wide


Cast on 66 sts. Work in Ribbed Leaves pattern as follows.

Rows 1, 3,5, & 7(RS): *K1, P1, yo twice, [K1, P1] twice, K1, R2dec, [P1, K1] 5 times, P1; repeat from * to end.

Row 2 & all WS rows: work in K1, P1 rib, working double yo’s as 2 stitches.

Rows 9, 11, 13, & 15: *[K1, P1] 6 times, L2dec, [K1, P1] twice, K1, yo twice, P1; repeat from * to end.

Row 16: work as Row 2.

Repeat these 16 rows for Ribbed Leaves pattern.

Work in pattern until scarf measures 72 inches long or desired length. Bind off loosely.

Abbreviations used:

K = knit

P = purl

yo = yarn over (wrap the yarn around the needle once, treat this wrapped yarn as a stitch in the next row)

R2dec = slip purl stitch to right hand needle, slip knit stitch to cable needle and hold in front, slip next purl stitch to right hand needle, slip knit stitch from cable needle back to left hand needle, slip 2 purl stitches back to left hand needle, purl 2 together, knit 2 together.

L2dec = with yarn in back, slip knit stitch to right hand needle knitwise, slip purl stitch to cable needle and hold in back, slip next knit stitch to right hand needle knitwise, slip purl stitch from cable needle back to left hand needle, leaving 2 knit stitches on right hand needle, knit these two together through the back loops, purl next 2 stitches on left hand needle together.

All Wound Up

I spent quite a while today winding up balls of Shetland wool (Jamieson & Smith 2-ply jumper weight) for Mary Janes class in Color in Fair Isle Knitting that she will be teaching at Unique One's upcoming knitting weekend. We're all getting pretty excited here -- I went over and finalized arrangements at the Lord Camden Inn yesterday. I have imported help from New Hampshire to come over and work at the store for the weekend while the rest of us are either busy working at the knitting weekend, or participating as guests.

It should be fun!

Result of the Trade Show

Yesterday I went to the New England Products Trade Show, hunting for gifty treasures to sell at Unique One. I found some good treasures, too, but all of them were products from vendors with whom I already do business. I wasn't able to find any new companies that offered new, exciting or unusual products this year. So far, anyway; I haven't given up the hunt yet!!

I was very pleased to order some really beautiful ornaments and necklaces from Goose Pond. We have carried the lovely sheep needle gauge for a year or two, and I personally own some of Susan's lovely jewelry, but it took me until now to finally add her gorgeous necklaces and ornaments to our gift offerings. Unique One doesn't carry much jewelry, but I have always admired Susan's work and have enjoyed wearing it.

I also ordered a new "Daffodil" color of socks from SolMate socks (they're in Vermont). It's a nice, bright combination of yellows and reds and oranges, just perfect for a little shot of spring color. I also ordered a smattering of new products -- they are branching out from socks and are selling hats and dog coats. I ordered some of the cutest little fez hats in cotton, in bright, cheerful colors, and I am going to try one of each size of dog coats to see how they sell. They're pretty awesome, and I don't even have a dog!

I ordered a gorgeous supply of Petal Soft Scarves from One Lupine Fiber Arts. These are lovely silk chiffon scarves that artist Jodi Clayton has hand dyed and then added colorful merino wool elements that are felted right into the scarves. The scarves are soft and drapey and luscious, and I ordered them in yellow and pink and periwinkle and blue and green and white and persimmon and black and a misty gray-green-mauve. They are the kind of beautiful accessory that make you not only look but also feel beautiful when you wear it.

Most of the products I ordered today will be arriving in May and June, so you'll have to wait a bit to see them. But it will give you (and me!) something to look forward to. Meanwhile, I intend to keep knitting.......

(My purple Frogtree fingering bobble scarf that I am crocheting with my lovely ebony Grafton Fibers crochet hook is over 2/3rds done! Wait'll you see what I started in the meantime, with the new cottony ribbon yarn from Filatura di Crosa.)

Oh, by the way -- HAPPY SPRING!!! Today is the first day of spring. :)

Treasure Hunting

I am off to the New England Products Trade Show in Portland today. This is where I buy gifty stuff for the store, like pottery, jams & jellies, magnets, candy -- all the "gift shop" stuff. If you're in the middle of Camden, Maine, you're a gift shop no matter what else you really sell. We are a sweater and yarn shop, but we also have been known to schlepp a lot of squeaky rubber lobsters over the years, too. Oh dear. But, people expect to find it, and once you get past carrying the squeaky rubber lobsters phase, it can be fun seeking out those rare treasures, gift items that I would actually buy if I were a tourist in Camden, Maine. Last year I was a tourist in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and I went looking for touristy gifty stuff to buy there. It was good for me, put me in the shoes of those who come into Unique One purely as tourists. I wanted to buy the tacky, cowboy-boot magnets and the squeaky rubber scorpions. It's different when you're the tourist.

Here are some nifty finds we've made at this show in the past, products which we carry now:

Glass Orchids -- glass jewelry and magnets

One Lupine Fiber Arts -- silk chiffon/merino wool scarves, felting kits

Christmas Cove Designs -- Maine-knit Christmas stockings and ornaments

Maine Warmers -- sheep-shaped warmers

Wayne Village Pottery -- ornaments

So I am off treasure hunting. I will try to find the best, most interesting, most unusual gift items made in New England (preferably, Maine) so that tourists will exclaim, upon entering Unique One, "Cool! Look at this!" I'll let you know how it turns out.

Up Late with the Doctor

Wow, I am really tired. I stayed up WAY too late last night watching the the premiere of the new Dr. Who series on the SciFi channel (it will be on Fridays at 9 p.m.) The new Doctor (Christopher Eccleston), despite being scarfless, manages to capture the adventure-loving irreverence of Tom Baker's Doctor. The Doctor's spunky new sidekick, Rose (Billie Piper) is a nice counterpoint for him, loving the call of adventure and the thrill of experiencing new things. Joe loved that they kept the same opening sequence and music (slightly updated), and I loved that the Tardis looks exactly the same, on the outside, at least. The stories were interesting and entertaining. I am just glad that this new series doesn't suck. I loved the old series so much, and I was afraid the re-make of it could be awful, but it isn't. I look forward to seeing it next week!

Link to the SciFi Channel Dr. Who page.

Link to the BBC Dr. Who page.


A Box o' the Irish

In honor of St. Patrick's day, here's a photo of what just came to the shop on Wednesday:

I was SO EXCITED when my yarn sales rep said that this yarn was going to be available here in the U.S -- I immediately ordered 60 skeins! (Well, there are only 50 skeins left in the store, because a bag of these lovelies managed to come home with me.....). This is Wendy Aran, a fine traditional yarn used in aran sweaters. Right now it is only available in the traditional off-white, "aran" color. However, there are plans to start making it in colors in the fall -- hopefully I'll be able to see the colors at TNNA in Indianapolis in June. But dear readers, the best thing about this yarn is what you'll never discover in a photo: it smells like a sheep! a lovely, lovely sheep! I could just bury my face in the pile of yarn and smell it all day. Can't wait to knit with it. And another thing (as if this yarn could get any better) -- it is Machine Washable!! Yes! But it is not "superwash" wool, which is often rather slippery and dead-feeling. I am not sure how they do this, but they are magic over there in the UK, so I am not asking too many questions. This Wendy Aran feels wonderful, very squishy and very alive. It's my new favorite thing. If I can bear to sell any of it, it is available for $7.00/skein (about 170 yards per skein; aran weight, of course).

Have a happy St. Patrick's day! Go start an aran sweater!!


For the Dogs


Unique One has always been a dog-lovin' kind of place. I remember the day Brenda showed me this picture of her dogs, Zak (the Standard Poodle) and Chelsea (the Little Dog). It had been a great day, out on the boat, and she was pretty happy with the way her pictures of Zak and Chelsea had come out.

So why am I talking about dogs today? Because if you're a dog lover and you live in Maine, or plan on coming to Maine sometime, there is good news: a new dog-themed newspaper is about to hit the streets. It is called Downeast Dog News and it is a FREE monthly paper for people who love dogs and want to read about what's happening in Maine's dog community. It is Maine's only dog newspaper!

I am going to be advertising our dog sweaters (sweaters for people featuring a dog motif on them) in the paper -- keep an eye out for it! Unique One will also be a place where you will be able to pick up a copy of Downeast Dog News. I think Brenda would have approved.

Barky bark, and knitty knit. Be happy!

On a Luxury Fiber Kick

I finished my cashmere scarf, and it is luscious indeed. I wish you could feel it! I'll be wearing it to knitting tonight, so maybe some of my local readers can feel it. I noticed on the Wild Fibers Magazine web site that there is a cashmere workshop offered at Springtide Farm in April and in June. It looks like it's geared for people who are raising (or thinking of raising) cashmere goats -- which I am not! Hi Honey! Not thinking about getting another goat! -- so if you are one of those lucky people who own goats or are about to, it sounds like a nice workshop. I have to say, the Springtide Farms cashmere I used to knit my scarf is indescribably luscious.

Last night I knit half of a beautiful moebius scarf which is destined to be a sample for the store; the pattern is Heartstrings A76 "Mobius ZigZag". In Jackie's picture, it looks like she used some kind of textured yarn. I knew I was going to have a hard time climbing down from my cashmere high, so I am using the next best thing for my mobius: it is an alpaca, merino, and soy silk blend from a farm right here in Camden, Maine: Blueberry Farm Alpacas. This yarn is a luscious reddish-brown with silvery white highlights from the silk and the merino, and it feels SO good. It's $18.00 for 104 yards, and is a DK weight. This mobius will require 2 skeins, and you'll feel beautiful wearing it. Heck, I even feel beautiful knitting it! It's a good way to ease off the cashmere. I should be done the mobius by the March Knitting Weekend, so if you're coming to that, you'll be able to try it on. I love that Abby Fitzgerald of Blueberry Farm Alpacas not only raises her alpacas right here in Camden, but she also gets the fiber spun into yarn here in Maine as well, at The Fibre Company. The alpaca who provided the yarn for my mobius is a darling girl named Abigail Adams -- there's a picture of her by her yarn in the store. I think it is nice for customers to sort of "meet" the critter who formed the fiber.

I ran out of yarn halfway through the mobius because I had only brought home one skein of the Blueberry Farm alpaca, so I switched over to the crochet scarf I am making with the purple Frogtree Alpaca fingering weight and the beautiful hand-turned ebony crochet hook I got from Grafton Fibers. I love this project: it is beautiful but mindless; it is alpaca; it is being made with an elegant and well-balanced tool that brings me joy to look upon. I am a little over two-thirds done this scarf, and I'll be sorry to finish it. But finish it I will, and all too soon. Thank goodness, there's always another project or two (or forty-two) lying around for me to work on. :)

Oh, and Sharon in Nova Scotia, just in case you're reading this, I've even been spinning some of That Camel Fiber on my Grafton Fibers hand spindle. Yup, the camel fiber turned up again (for those of you who don't know the camel story -- it will make a good post sometime). I give up. I'll just spin it, two yards at a time on my spindle. Eventually, it WILL be gone. :)

Ah, the Irish....

I celebrated St. Patrick's Day a little early by meeting today with Paul Mackey, and ordering a TON of beautiful Irish sweaters from him. I love to order from Paul -- aside from his completely adorable Irish accent, his Irish sweaters are always a popular item in Unique One. They are so gorgeous! My order will start arriving around mid-May, and will come in continuously from then on, throughout the summer.

There are, of course, a lot of knitters who read this blog who are excellent at producing their own handknit aran sweaters. I've even been known to produce a few myself, and I will say that outside of Maine wool from Bartlettyarn or Christopher Sheep Farm, my favorite yarn for aran knitting is the lovely Donegal Tweed. There's nothing like it. Even in the darkest colors, the cables and textures show up well. As a matter of fact, my favorite sweater in the whole world (which I can't wear in public anymore because I have actually worn it out completely) is knit of navy blue Donegal Tweed that a dear relative brought back from Ireland for me. It's not an aran design, but it does have texture. I love that sweater. Donegal Tweed is a great yarn.

Shall we all celebrate St. Patrick's Day by knitting something aran, or at least cabled? Or, at the very, very least, green? I think I shall. And with, perhaps, a bottle of Guinness. Mmmmmmm. Knitting and Guinness. Thank God for the Irish!


I continue to be floored by the generosity of the vendors whom I have contacted for donations of doorprizes for the Unique One Knitting Weekends. A package came in the mail from Blackberry Ridge, and inside were three, THREE completely beautiful knitting kits, two scarf kits and a sock kit. Unbelievable. I am definitely going to have fun giving doorprizes away -- wish I could win a few of them! *sigh*

Speaking of generosity, a lady came in today to show us her project. This is one of the most wonderful parts of owning a yarn shop, when people come back, just to show us how a project came out. We have a LOT of fun seeing what everyone has made, and I wish more people would do that. We get to have fun watching the customers carry off potentially incredible projects every day, but it is not every day that we get to see the end results. It is like always watching the opening titles of great movies, and knowing the plots, but rarely getting to see the ends. Anyway, this very talented customer who, I might add, only learned to knit in November, came in with a fantastic puppet she had knit. She had originally gotten the Minnowknits pattern for the knitted snake puppet and had made a few of them. But then a while ago, she came into the store and spotted someone's felting project, and a light bulb went off over her head. She re-designed the Minnowknits pattern, and knit a felted snake puppet. She did a little research on snakes, and knit a particular kind of snake (sorry, can't remember which one; it had stripes, though) and knit in glass beads for eyes and knitted and attached the most charming snake tongue you've ever seen (you know, that's a phrase I never thought I'd write....). This snake puppet had charm and personality, and I am very glad I was lucky enough to be there when she brought it in. It made my day.

I'll Take It!

What a beautiful day! Wasn't it? Wasn't it? Did you go outside and soak up the sun? Didn't it feel good? Spring is coming.

I was in the store all day, so my sun-catching consisted of a few short breaks to run and get lunch or coffee, but those brief trips were lovely, despite the wind.

No knitting to report -- hopefully I'll be getting a little done tonight. :)

Oh, and you folks who are signed up for the March Knitting Weekend -- I will be sending you all a note this week explaining what you need to bring for the classes, like needle sizes/types and such, and an agenda for the weekend. It's coming right up! And so is the April weekend -- still some openings for that one: grab your friends and come on up to Camden. The only thing better than April in Paris is April in Camden. With Knitting.

And don't forget the June knitting cruise on the Isaac Evans. I am getting so excited for that! I can't wait, I CAN'T WAIT! It's gonna be so much fun!

Counting Sheep

I was working on my cashmere scarf, and I wished I had a simple counter for my computer, some little doodad where I could just click and it would add one to the number. That way I could, with the click of a button, count how many rows I had done or how many increases or decreases I had made or how many martinis had passed this way. I use Mac OS X on my iBook, so I figured somebody must have made a counting widget, and I tootled off to grab one. But no, I couldn't find one. Such a simple thing, and it wasn't available. I really wanted one though, so I made one in Runtime Revolution.

My counter is very simple: a picture of a sheep with a box in its belly. Click on the sheep, the number goes up by one. Click the RESET button, it resets to zero. Future versions will have a button that reduces the number by one, if I ever get around to it. I saved it as an application so anyone can use it -- at least, that's the theory. If you want to try it out, you can link to it here:

Download for Mac OS X(1008.7K)

Download for Windows XP(878.1K)

I make no promises that this will work! and I make no promises that this will not make your computer die! Please download at your own risk. All I can say is that the Sheep Counter works on my computers here at home.

Clever Norwegians

I drove down to Saco today to look at this year's line of Dale of Norway sweaters. It was actually a nice drive, and Saco is a nice town. The people are very friendly there.

Just to make it clear: this is the Dale of Norway sweater collection, not their yarn line. Dale has an impermeable barrier between the two parts of its company. The sweaters are gorgeous, ranging from very traditional styles like Setesdal and Fana, to more modern designs. It will be tough choosing the styles for Unique One to carry this year. The new sweaters will be arriving during the summer, July, I think. I've always loved this line because of the Norwegian knitting tradition and because of the high quality of Norwegian wool from which the sweaters are knit.

Oh yes, and we're not mentioning the half-finished Dale of Norway I am "knitting" -- started over a year ago. Okay? Okay. Go over to Amazon or iTunes and listen to Of Montreal's song, "Oslo in the Summertime". It will take your mind off my unfinished Norwegian project. And if you like that song, I also highly recommend Of Montreal's song "Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games", which has nothing to do with Norway, although it does mention Antarctica. Have fun. :)

Cat Haiku

My brain: walnut-sized.
Yours: largest among primates.
Yet, who leaves for work?


So you call this thing
Your "cat carrier." I call
These my "blades of death."


Toy mice, dancing yarn
Meowing sounds. I'm convinced:
You're an idiot.

(Several people sent me a collection of haiku written, ostensibly, by cats. I liked these the best. Still, if cats are so smart, why is it I still have to get up and go open the door for them?!)

Closed for Cleaning

Unique One was closed today -- we spent the day cleaning and painting. We'll be closed tomorrow too, although the Wednesday night knitting group is still on for tomorrow night. You can pretty much count on Unique One being closed for a couple of days around March 7 & 8 -- that's when Brenda died, and it's a hard anniversary for us. We'd rather spend those days cleaning & keeping our minds off it.

If you're a regular customer, you just might not recognize the place when you come in again; we've made some noticeable changes. It should be nice for the customers.

To Kilt, or Not To Kilt?

That is the question. At work, it has become a topic of conversation as to whether men in kilts are sexy, or not. I am not sure how these topics get started; I believe it was during some punch-drunk knitting on Wednesday or Thursday night -- that Thursday group, they are BIG TIME partiers -- but regardless of how the question was generated, it remains. It would be nice to get some input from the general public on this issue, so here's the question, with possible multiple-choice answer options:

Is a man in a kilt sexy?

A. YEAH, love those kilts. Just the thought of those bare thighs wrapped in a wool tartan, oh my god.

B. A man in a kilt is somewhat more sexy than a man in pants. The kilt is okay.

C. A man in a kilt is okay, but the kilt is not as sexy as pants or shorts. Pants or shorts are sexier.

D. A man in a skirt? Okay, that's just wrong.

I would have written this as a poll with cute little radio buttons to push, but I can't remember how to write an html form off the top of my head and I am too lazy to go look it up. Sorry! but if you want to participate in this discussion, email me (yarndemon at gmail dot com) or post a comment below. Hopefully we can put this question to rest once and for all, and get back to knitting our ...... kilt hose. :)

Spring Is Coming

This morning when I woke up at 5:30, it was light outside. Not full daylight, but not dark, either. That was new. I also noticed a couple days ago when I went out to grab a cup of coffee at the Camden Deli, the sun on my back actually felt hot. That was new. Isn't it funny how Spring sneaks up on us?

I had better hurry up and knit those warm weather tops I've started. You can, of course, wear cashmere even on the hottest days, so my little cashmere scarf -- now about half done -- will always be welcome.

Today's Fact

A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

This does not surprise me. It explains why Grace can be outside, way down at the end of the driveway, cowering under the bushes while 781 4-wheelers (or snowmobiles) with nary a working muffler in the entire bunch go zooming by at 50000 decibels , and she can still hear me take a container of cream or milk out of the refrigerator, back in the house. Especially if I also whisper very, very, very quietly to Nicky, "Hey Nick, would you like a little cream, my good little fluffy boy?" Grace is there. She can hear it. Those 32 muscles are pretty amazing. If opportunity knocks, I hope it sounds like a refrigerator door opening so Grace can alert me.

I didn't get a chance to knit on anything today, as I was spending any free time trying to catch up on my editing for NaNoEdMo. I'm still an hour of editing behind, but maybe I can get caught up tomorrow and still knit something. Here's hoping.


Bell, Book, and Cashmere

Cool. That would make a great title for a knitting-themed mystery/horror book. But I digress.

If you were at the Spa and were one of the many people who admired my bell pendant (shaped like a yarn ball with a cat draped over it), you may remember I mentioned it was purchased online by my utterly fabulous & adoring husband as a Valentine's Day gift for me. (Yes. I know. And he's ALL MINE.) The place he ordered it from is Seawear Jewelry. Unfortunately the piece he got for me is discontinued/retired and no longer available, but you can remember what it looked like by clicking here -- they also have a nice selection of other cat-motif jewelry. Take time to browse the whole site, there's a lot there to drool over. And I don't even wear much jewelry.

Some of you may remember last November I participated in NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Yup. Totally useless. Yarn shop owners do NOT need to be writing novels. Noooo no no. Did it anyway. As if that wasn't enough, I couldn't let go of the book that resulted, so I've signed up for..... NaNoEdMo, National Novel Editing Month. Yup. Equally useless. And it's not even like the "book" I wrote is good or anything. I just thought it might be fun to go through the editing process and see what happens. Then if I ever accidentally write anything worth reading, I will know what to do with it, ostensibly. NaNoEdMo started March 1, and it requires me to spend 50 hours editing my book between then and March 31. I created a spreadsheep to letcha keep track of my progress. I'll put a link to it in the right sidebar. I need to edit my "book" for 97 minutes every day to stay on target. Yeah, riiiiight. If you see me typing furiously away during the March Unique One Knitting Weekend, muttering "...but if she has an eggbeater AND a crowbar, why can't she just figure it out?" -- you'll know what I'm doing, and you can blame it on NaNoEdMo (and ultimately, me).

Cashmere. MMMMMmmmmmm, cashmere. That's all for now. I just had to say the word.

Oh Geez! and I'm out of control

Oh geez, I wish I could go to Bonnaroo this year! Most of my favorite musicians will be there, from Tom Petty to Mike Doughty to Andrew Bird. But, I can't go (even if I could afford to go). It butts up against the end of the June Knitting Cruise, which butts up against the Summer TNNA show in Indianapolis, which butts up against the rest of my life.

I started a new project yesterday, and actually I also started another new project four days ago, but in the I'm-hiding-it behavior of a true addict I neglected to mention anything about these things. If you don't admit you're doing it, you're not really doing it, right? Heh heh.

The first project is a crocheted scarf. The object of this game is to use my utterly fabulous new ebony crochet hook I snagged from Grafton Fibers at the Spa. It's a bobble pattern found in Vogue On-the-Go Crocheted Scarves, and I'm using 3 skeins of Frogtree Alpaca fingering weight:
Bobblescarf And The Gorgeous Hook: Ebonyhook

The second project is a cashmere scarf, a kit I also nabbed at the Spa, from Springtide Farm. Yes, these are the people who have the famous goats that strutted through Manhattan with supermodels on the ends of their leashes, promoting cashmere for Saks Fifth Avenue. Let me just say, their cashmere is totally TO DIE FOR. It makes you never want to knit with anything else ever again. *sigh* And Unique One doesn't even sell it. *SIGH* Here's a pic:


Okay. Well I also started a sock with a bran'-spankin'-new yarn we just got from Tahki/Stacy Charles called "Dream". I fell in love with it because it looks like miniature guernsey wool. The company means for you to use it double, on a size 8 needle, but I'm going with a single strand on size 2's, making a sock from my Gansey Socks pattern (a pattern I hand out on the knitting cruises). The yarn is 80% wool, 20% acrylic or nylon. It feels kind of like a wool crepe, so it isn't really soft, and it isn't really itchy, it's just kinda different. I think it will make a cool-looking sock for summer. It feels kind of like cotton, but it's kind of stretchy, too. It is odd and therefore, I love it. Look for it in the store.

Well, all right. I also brought home some Diasantafe yarn to make another summer sweater. More about that later. And I also talked to a friend yesterday about casting on Vivian Hoxbro's Rainbow Jacket. This is getting embarrassing.

In some form of redemption for my knitting soul, I did briefly consider working on my over-a-year-old Dale of Norway sweater yesterday, to the point that I actually located the bag it is in.

You know that old song. "Call Me Irresponsible....."