Wisconsin Yarn Crawl

I’m in Wisconsin for a wedding this weekend. I was pretty excited to see a wind farm south of Fond du Lac! It was amazing in scope! I was kind of unprepared despite having seen models and actual blades before. To see a few dozen scattered on the landscape was amazing. It sort of reminded me of oil derricks in Texas … except graceful. (I actually saw a Wisconsin license plate today that said “I MS TX.”)

This afternoon, I went on a mini-yarn crawl. I took 41 north to Appleton and visited Iris Fine Yarns. I was a little disappointed by the size when I stepped in, but was quickly told that there was another room in the back plus a reading library! It was a charming little place with a great selection of high quality yarn: Rowan, Louet, Blue Sky Alpaca, Debbie Bliss, Cascade, Koigu, Lorna’s Laces, etc. I came home with two skeins of Koigu. Be Sweet Yarn was the one thing I saw there that was new to me. They have some really interesting novelty yarns. They also had lots of Habu in the back, but I can’t get over how un-soft it is every time I see it. Pineapple fiber is appealing to me, though.

I was ready to head home after that, but as I headed south I remembered that my research turned up a store in Neenah, which I was driving through. I pulled over and used hubby’s iPhone to see how close it was. TWO MILES AWAY! It was fate that I’d picked just the right exit, too! Yarns by Design was HUGE, and then I found out they also had a back room! That’s where they keep the sale yarn and the spinning/weaving supplies! I came home with a few ounces of brown cashmere for my drop spindle. Every bag of fiber I opened was softer than the next! I barely talked myself out of a skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk, but at $39 I couldn’t really justify it even though I know it’s worth every penny. YBD had a very different stock but with some of the same basics (BSA,Louet, Cascade, Lorna’s). The find there that I’d never seen before was Lucy Neatby‘s yarn!

So, all in all, I had a great tour of the west Lake Winnebago area and met some really nice yarn sellers. I also managed to spend less than a skein’s worth of sea silk. I highly recommend both stores if you’re in the area. I was also told at YBD that there’s a great shop in Fond du Lac if I head back south.

I’m looking forward to our friends’ wedding on Saturday! We should have a fun weekend!

(Sorry no pictures, left my monster camera at home. Sorry I didn’t find all the links for the yarn above, but the hotel has one of the slower connections I’ve used in the past few years.)


Edited to add

I’m not perfect. I’ve heard (and thought to myself) that other knitting bloggers are uber-knitters who can do no wrong. Most of them seek to dispel that myth at some point. Some, to my chagrin, do this by admitting very minor mistakes like how they were off one stitch here or there, etc. Being an occasional perfectionist, I understand, but mistakes of those caliber are not near the mistakes I make. I seek here, in one big post, to forever put to rest any rumors floating around that I’m a pro … assuming any of you may have that mistaken notion (those of you who knit with me surely don’t). I try not to only show my best work, but I have to admit it’s not fun admitting defeat.

Above, you see an original design. I was sooo excited when I felt this yarn, Mulberry Merino by Plymouth. It’s so soft, it’s decadent. I immediately decided to make a baby blanket for my newly adopted (and soon to arrive) godson even though it’s a horrible choice for a baby blanket (hand wash, a little sheady, but still sooo soft). He’s from Ethiopia, and he’s coming to live with his parents in Texas. There’s a single 5-point star on both of those flags. Wouldn’t a star-shaped baby blanket be amazing? A search of Ravelry turned up only crochet patters and a single knit pattern that was from the outside-in for a small pin-cushion. Since I couldn’t judge how much yarn I would need, this needed to be inside-out. I studied the crochet pictures and figured out a pattern. I’d just need to increase out on 5 set points and decrease in on 5 set points. But how do you continue to grow while decreasing and increasing? I came up with a 4-row solution that I thought would work. When I took it off the needles on Tuesday, I had this. It has a nice star shape to it, but even with some purling on the edge, the stockinette rolls (I should’ve done a rib on the edge). Even worse, there are obviously too many increases in the center and not enough on the edge. My husband called it a sombrero. I’m going to rip it apart and make the Star Light, Star Bright blanket instead. It’s hard to be as excited, though. Maybe I need to just pick up a crochet hook again … for the first time in 20 years.


Second on our march through Fail Alley: my Sweet Pea Coat. This was one of the quickest knits I’ve ever done. The construction is amazingly creative. Do measure yourself before picking a size, though, even if you think you know. Since sizing is done by bust size, I used my bra-band size … which is not my actual bust size. I stitched up half of this and held it up to me to see that it’s tiny. It would probably fit on me, but the coat is supposed to be drapey, not tight to the skin. I’ve set it aside until I have the gumption to rip it apart and re-knit, because I really do want this coat!


And finally for today, not a real failure, just an ongoing disappointment. My Auburn Camp Shirt is still chugging along. It’s just disappointing because it’s taking so long. I knit on it all day yesterday (in public) and it’s only grown 2 inches. I have another 4 inches before the next change in pattern. And this is just the back! I know the fronts will go faster, and it will eventually have to be over, but it’s not an exciting knit. I’m so sick of the k7, seeded rib. It would almost be better if it was plain stockinette because then it would be totally mindless. Instead, it requires just enough attention to remind you how boring it is. It will be beautiful, though, I’m sure. I’m knitting this one a size too small on purpose since I think it will stretch and a little negative ease will look good with it.

Sometimes mistakes are the only way you can learn. Sometimes they’re just annoying reminders that you don’t pay enough attention or aren’t as clever as you think you are. At least that’s how it works out for me. I’d love to hear any knitting-gone-wrong stories you have! And especially the tips and tricks they’ve taught you!


Oh, I thought of another semi-failure. My Anthropologie-Inspired Shrug stretched out insanely after washing. I dyed this yarn, so I’m still attached. I think this is yet another thing I’m going to rip out and reknit. Even looking at this original photo, it seems like it began a little too big (see how far below my neckline it falls). My finishing excitement clouded my judgment.


Today is World Wide Knit in Public Day!!! I spent a few hours in Kemah with some fun folks showing off our knitta skills.

Lizzy had a shirt made:

And then we talked her husband into holding a sock:

A shameless plug

I LOVE Sonny and Shear. When Kris mails you a package, she always gift wraps it. I know I’ve posted about this before, but it just makes me so happy to get yarn in the mail and EVEN happier for it to show up like a little birthday present with a card and tea.

Even better, I ordered this yarn Monday when it was marked 40% off for one of their many (as of late) moving sales. If you don’t read Kris’s blog, you should so you can get a head’s up on these special deals … along with following her very interesting posts. You also need to subscribe to the Sonny and Shear newsletter to get the monthly coupon codes. Even more, you get a discount if you turn in used yarn-bands regardless of where you bought them (I’ve been saving mine up)! Thank you, Kris!!!

See, even Plato thinks I buy beautiful yarn.