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Hey Ya’ll, We Went on the Texas Yarn Crawl!

15 Oct

IMG_3565My mom and I went on The Best Little Yarn Crawl in Texas this past Saturday, and we had a BLAST!  This is the seventh year for the crawl, but it’s the first time that my mother and I have had a chance to go.  In the past, the crawl has been scheduled for one weekend, but this time, the crawl runs for two full weeks.  You can sign up for the crawl online.  The cost is $10 and it allows you a discount on a particular selection of yarns at each of the participating stores.  You also get to register at each store for the store prize.  A passport is given to you, in which you have it stamped at each store you visit.  At the end of the crawl, if you have visited all the stores and have your passport completely full of stamps, then you turn it in for the jackpot drawing, worth $500 in prizes! We woke up really early on the day of the crawl, because he were driving from Houston to Austin and wanted to be at the first store at 8AM, when they opened.  All the stores were open from 8AM to 8PM especially for the crawl.  The The Knittting Nest, located at 8708 S. Congress Avenue in Austin, TX was our first stop.  We arrived about 30 minutes later than planned, but that was OK.  I believe we might have been their first customers, but the store was full of people when we left.  We received our passports and received our first stamp of the day.  We put our name in for the store drawing and received our free patterns and were off to shopping.  We both picked out a Bronotta Yarn.  Mine was the KandyKorn colorway.  Below are some pictures of us at Knitting in the Nest. IMG_3509 IMG_3505 IMG_3506 IMG_3510 IMG_3507 IMG_3508 Second stop was to Hill Country Weavers, located at 1701 S. Congress Avenue in Austin, TX.  Some ladies on Raverly had told me that this was a great store, and right they were!  This store was filled with yarn from floor to ceiling.  Talk about eye candy!  I immediately spotted some pretty pottery yarn bowls.  I’ve been wanting a yarn bowl forever.  My mother had never seen them and she fell in love with them too.  She insisted that I pick one, and she bought us both one.  Mine is a dark purple with a little bit of muted pink on the top.  Mom’s bowl is green stripe.  Gorgeous bowls!  We also purchased yarn, of course.  I had planned to purchase mostly Texas yarns on the crawl, but fell in love with some Hedgehog Fibers Yarn, from Cork, Ireland.  Beautiful yarn, both soft and vibrant in color. IMG_3511 IMG_3512 IMG_3602 Third stop was to The Gauge, located at 5406 Parkcrest Drive in Austin, TX.  This was one of the smaller stores we visited, but definitely work the stop because we got to meet the dyer of DizzyLettuce.  She was a super sweet lady and her yarns were beautiful.  And she’s from Texas!  Mom and I both purchased some DizzyLettuce Yarn.  I bought two skeins.  The first was a dark deep red/maroon, and I plan to make a hat.  The other was a light weight fingering called Speckled BIrd.  I almost passed up the Speckled Bird because I knew I had more shopping to do during the day, but decided if I didn’t buy it, I’d be sorry and be thinking of it the rest of the day, so I weakened and it went home with me. IMG_3515 IMG_3516 Next, we decided to make our fourth stop the Happy Ewe, located at 18360 FM 1431 in Jonestown, TX.  I’ve lived in Texas all my life, but I had never heard of Jonestown.  Jonestown was about 20-30 minutes north of The Gauge.  It’s out on a windy, hilly road and I passed it up and had to turn around.  I loved looking in this store.  They had some really cool spinning wheels, roving, yarn, wicker baskets, etc.  I found some Wooly Wonka Yarn, which I had heard of, but had not seen.  This dyer is from New Mexico and the yarn was fantastic.  I bought two skeins, one to keep and one to give a way as a prize for my video podcast.  (So if you are interested, you can sign up to win the yarn on the Me And My Dog And Some Yarn Video Podcast Group on Raverly).  The winner will be announced next Sunday night during Episode # 4, so stay tuned. IMG_3518 IMG_3519 I had to take a picture of these black horses, since my user name on Raverly is BlackHorse.  🙂 IMG_3517 After shopping at four yarn stores, we were famished!  We decided to check out Yelp to see what was around, and we saw that we were close to Mi Madre and it had very good reviews.  We drove around the block twice to try and find a parking, but had to finally park about a block away and walk.  The food was excellent!  The chips were not greasy at all and in my opinon had the right thickness.  The salsa was spicy… just like I like it.  We ordered the Chicken Burrito and our waiter said they were big enough to share, so we decided to spilt one.  It was filled with shredded chicken, black beans, avocado, lettuce and rice.  The green sauce they served on the side was super spicy, so we passed on it.  I’m from Texas and I love spicy, but man was it hot!  My hubby would have loved it.  Anyways, we had a wonderful lunch. IMG_3526 IMG_3523 IMG_3524 IMG_3590 IMG_3525 At lunch we planned the rest of our day and decided we would visit Old Oak Ranch.  I’m so thankful to the lady we were talking to in Hill Country Weavers.  She suggested this store and boy she was not wrong.  This was the BEST store we visited!  They had live alpacas, which quickly won my vote for best store!!!  LOL  This store is located at 601 Old Oak Ranch Rd in Wimberley, TX.  As we were driving down the back roads of Texas, passing pastures of cattle and cactus, we were thinking that there was no way a yarn store could be out in the country.  Then we came upon it!  The gate was so narrow that only one car could enter or exit at a time.  As we drove in the gate, we saw them… ALPACAS!  We immediately got so excited.  We couldn’t wait to park and check out the store and the alpacas.  Inside the store, as we walked in the door, we spotted a basket of small stuffed alpacas.  Mom bought us both one.  At this store, I bought some Old Oak Ranch Alpaca yarn and I plan to knit an infinity cowl.  After shopping in the store, we took a walk through the garden and to pet some alpaca.  We took some pictures along the way. 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After leaving Old Oak Ranch, we stopped at a pie place in Kyle, TX.  We picked up small blueberry pies for our hubbies.

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Heading down HWY 290, it started raining, then we saw a rainbow.

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But our day was not over.  We still had one more stop.  Last stop was the Yarnorama, located at 130 Gonzales Street, in Paige, TX.  This shop was really neat.  They had two angora rabbits in cages.  The man told us that one was named Coco and the other was called Channel.  The store had weaving machines and spinning wheels and lots of roving.  I almost purchased some roving in the colorway “Blue Bonnets”, which is the Texas state flower.  It was very true to the colors of Blue Bonnets.  Since I don’t spin, I passed it up, but I plan to go back and purchase it in a month or so.  I did buy some FiberObsessions yarn in a silver colorway.  It has sparkles in it and is very pretty.  After this stop we headed home.  We had an AWESOME day!!!  We were very blessed to have such a wonderful day.

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This is my Mom’s stash.

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And this is mine.

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A Cure for Kit

8 Oct

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Hello Readers! As some of you guys know, my sister, Kit, is struggling with a rare blood sugar disorder called Nesidioblastosis, as well as multiple auto-immune diseases & other chronic illnesses. The blood disorder being the scariest and MOST LIFE THREATENING! Kit is in need of a service dog, which will help her with simple daily tasks, as well as alert her when her blood sugar drops low. These service dogs are amazing, but they are very costly. That is why for the month of October, I will be donating $10 from each of my project bags sold on Etsy, to help my sister raise money for her service dog. Please consider buying a bag to help raise money from my sister’s dog. Here is a link to my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/BlackHorseFashions

If you wish to donate directly to her dog, that would be wonderful too! Here is the link: http://sdwr.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.personalCampaign&participantID=1081.
Also, there is more information about Kit and this amazing organization that trains these lifesaving dogs!

You can also donate by mail, if you prefer. Please make checks payable to SDWR or Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers, Inc.

Mail Checks to:
Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers
PO BOX 647
Madison, VA 22727

*** Please write in the memo area of the check …… “For: Lori “Kit” Jewell” *****

Thank you for considering a donation! I know Kit will appreciate your help! 🙂

Dolls for Haiti

17 Sep

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My mom and sister are so creative, that I had to share with my blog readers about what they made during my sister’s last visit to Texas. My sister, Kit, was down here for about two weeks and during that time they made some amazing dolls for the children of Haiti. I’m not sure of the number of dolls made, but I believe it was over thirty. These dolls are taken to Haiti and distributed to the children in need, in local villages, schools and hospitals. What an awesome idea! If you sew, you can check out the website (http://dollydonations.blogspot.com/2013/03/new-doll-drive-for-children-in-haiti.html) for the free pattern and tutorial on how to make the dolls and donate them to the children. The address on where to send your Dolly Donations is on the website for all those interested. They have a total of three doll drives, so you can choose between helping the children of Haiti, Guatemala, or South Africa. What an amazing opportunity and a way to help those less fortunate! Below are some pictures of the dolls Mom and Kit made.

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Video Podcast – Test Run!

26 Aug

I’ve been playing around with the idea of starting a video podcast for a while now. I’m hooked at watching other’s videos and thought I’d give it a try. So, I finally did it! I purchased a new webcam from Amazon and it just arrived. I just filmed a “test run” video. It’s really short, but I wanted to test the lighting, sound, etc. I’m also not used to being in front of a camera, so I hope that is something I will eventually get used to. So, I’d love for you guys to check it out and let me know what you think. Would love comments (good and bad).

Thanks Y’all!

New Curtains for My Craft Room

31 May

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I finally got my curtains hung in my craft room! I’ve been asking my hubby to help me hang them because I needed to replace the rod. He kept telling me he would get to it, but never did. Finally, last Sunday, he called me while I was out running errands and told me he had hung the rod for the curtains. I was a little upset at first because I wanted them hung at a certain length so I wouldn’t have to hem the curtains. It turns out that I would have had to hem them anyways. So, I spend all day Monday (Memorial Day) hemming eight panels of curtains! Yuck! Not a very fun or relaxing way to spend a Memorial day. But the bright side of things is that my curtains are now hung. Yay! The curtains were purchased at Ikea last November. The double rob was purchased at Target. Above is the “after” picture of my room with the new curtains. The picture below is the “before” picture. The old curtains were in the room when it was once my daughter’s room, before she graduated from college and moved away from home.

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Struck it Rich… at Estate Sales

30 May

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Two weeks ago, my mother and I went to two estate sales in the Katy area. My mother and I often go to estate sales on the weekends and search for hidden treasures. Occasionally, I might find a vintage purse, a hankie or scarf, a piece of vintage Weiss costume jewelry, or perhaps a piece of American Fostoria to add to my collection. But normally we don’t find a much. EXCEPT for two weeks ago, when I hit the jack pot! I first want to apologize for not making this post sooner, but I’ve been a little busy lately with life in general. Anyways, we pulled up at the first estate sale and noticed no other cars were there. I checked my iPhone to see if perhaps I had the right address, right date, etc. I noticed then that this was the second weekend for the estate sale, which was a little strange, since most estate sales run for only a weekend. We had second thoughts, thinking there was probably nothing left, but then decided to take a look inside since we were already there. To our surprise, they seemed to have a lot of items still left in the house, so we started in the kitchen. In the kitchen, my mother found a glass bowl for my sister (who collects bowls) and I found some punch cups that match some glasses I already have at home. The name of the pattern escapes me at the moment. Everything was 50% off, so I bought the cups. Then we made our way to the living room, where I found a vintage knitting pattern book on a table. The lady working the check out table told me there was a whole bedroom filled with craft books. As I made my way to the bedroom, I was hoping that more knitting books would be found. To my surprise I ended up with 44 knitting/crochet booklets, most of which were vintage. Yay! I also found a few craft and sewing books.  I was so excited! Although I don’t crochet, I bought some crochet books anyways because I plan to teach myself someday. The picture above is just of half the books I found that day!

Next, my mother and I headed to the second estate sale, which was just about 5 minutes away. As we pulled up, we noticed a lot of cars. We walked in and saw a house filled with glasswares, collectibes, you name it, this person had it. As I walked into the kitchen/breakfast area, I saw it…. a vintage Necchi sewing machine! I’ve been searching for Necchi for a while now. My mother has one that my dad bought her when they got married, almost 50 years ago and it still runs like a dream. The model is a 525, which I’m not familiar with, but it’s definitely an older machine, made of heavy metal, and it says “made in Italy” on the front. It was marked $75, but once again, everything was 50% off! Oh my, what a steal! For $37.50 I got a Necchi machine and a cabinet! The only problem was it has no foot pedal, but I’m sure I can find one. I plan to take it in to Bob McDougal’s and have it serviced. They lady on the phone said she might have one in stock that will work with this machine. I can’t wait to get it serviced and try it out. I also found two candle holders in American Fostoria, at half price!

After our second estate sale, we had worked up an appetite, so we stopped at Los Cucos for lunch and split some chicken nachos. After lunch, we went into the tiny old part of Katy and went to an antique store. My mom found some replacement crystals for a lamp she has and I found a book called “My Valuable Yarn Book”, which I blogged about in a previous post. Valuable in deed! By brand, it list the ounces, yardage, fiber and class of each type of yarn. Since I knit a lot of vintage patterns, this book will be very valuable to me in helping me choose a current yarn brand for an old yarn brand the vintage pattern calls for.

Over all, we had an excellent day! I’m posting some pictures of all my goodies. Never before have I struck it rich with great finds, like I did on this day!

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Bryspun Plastic Needles

24 May

bryspunAbout two years ago, when we went to Auburn, AL for our daughters graduation from Auburn (War Eagle!!!), I decided to start a new knitting project. I started the Beekeeper’s Quilt because a friend of mine gifted me the pattern the morning we left town. I just couldn’t wait to get back home before starting it, so I stopped into a little yarn store in Opelika, AL called Yarnhouse Studios. While there, I purchased a skein of Berroco Sox and a set of double-pointed US4 knitting needles. The yarn store was very nice. The staff was very friendly and helpful, but the selection was much smaller than I was used to. Anyways, the needles I purchased were made by Bryspun, and at the time, I had never seen this brand before. It was the only double-pointed needles that they had in a size US4, so I thought I’d give them a try. After knitting with these needles, I will tell you that I love them. They are slightly flexible, so they are easy on the hands. They are very smooth to knit with and I love the tips. Also, my yarn slides on them well, without grabbing too much, yet they aren’t slippery. To top it all off, they are made in the USA and I love buying things made in the USA! That being said, when my mother mentioned the other day that she needed new needles and that she prefered not to use metal. I quickly suggested that she try Bryspun and that I had recently seen this brand here in Houston at a local yarn store.

My mother met me for lunch on Wednesday and we decided to stop in to the local yarn store to search for her needles. I won’t mention the yarn store we shopped at because I normally enjoy going in there, but this trip was not so enjoyable at all. As we walked in the door, a girl hopped up from the table and greeted us and asked if she could help us find something. I told her that my mother was looking for some new knitting needle and that she prefered plastic, and before I could finish asking if they still carried Bryspun, she blurted out, “Plastic??? (with a look of discuss on her face as she wrinkled her nose), Seriously??? Most knitters don’t use plastic!”. I was shocked by her attitude but I politely finished my sentence and said, “You used to carry Bryspun, do you still?” She showed us to the Bryspun needles and then left us to browse the store. I was so shocked at her rude, sarcastic attitude towards plastic needles. Two days later, and I’m still thinking about it and I can still hear her saying “Plastic??? Seriously?” and I can still see her wrinkled nose, as though she had just smelled rotten garbage. So now I ponder… are plastic needles considered inferior is some way in the knitting world? Are plastic needles the “acrylic” of yarns? Does it make me less of a knitter because I sometimes knit with plastic needles? Do my projects turn out differently because they were knit with plastic needles? I’m now so confused.

Let me just say, that I enjoy knitting with all kinds of needles. I’ve never been a fan of wooden, but I do have some and I do use them from time to time. I actually prefer the metal needles that are coated. My favorite needles are Aero-Bernat, but they are very hard to find here in the US unless you can find them in a thrift store or eBay. I did see them for sale on a website once, it was a Canadian website, but they did ship to the US. I’ve tried all brands too. I dp like my Addi Turbos, because they are nice and smooth to knit with and I love the tips, but the metal they use for their needles make my fingers stink. I know that you are thinking I’m weird, but it’s true! I can’t knit with them without having to go wash my hands right after. I also like knitting with KnitPicks needles and that’s normally what I’ve ordered lately, when I come across a needle size I don’t have.

So, I ask you, my readers…. Do you ever knit with plastic needles? Do you think plastic needles are inferior to wooden or metal needles? Have you tried the Bryspun brand and if so, how did you like them? I’d love to hear from you on the subject! Thanks in advance!