In My Etsy Shop

On the Needles

 

Tuesday
Oct042011

And Now for Something Completely Different...

There are some big things happening in Wool Candy Land, though not really knitting related. But I've got a little work in progress going just at the moment.

Our soon-to-be baby boy, due at the end of next January! We're so excited. And, of course, there's been a TON of knitting happening for the wee bean. 

The iminent arrival of our little tyke means some other changes, as well.

I've decided that, after 3 years of wonderful and hard work, it's time to close Wool Candy. It's time to move on to the next fun and exciting and challenging phase in my life.

So, thank you, everyone, for all of your support and friendship and enthusiasm over the years. I've met some fantastic yarn-y people, who I hope to know for a long time. I hope to return to the world of yarn sometime in the future, but for now, I'm going to work on my other little WIP. 

All of the remaining yarn in my Etsy shop is on sale -- 30% off of everything! Buy early, before it's all gone. (For those of you who are interested, I also have quite a bit of undyed yarn that I'll be destashing on Ravelry. I'll post about this in the Wool Candy group.)

Wool Candy is still also available at these fine retailers, but time is running out!  

 

Wednesday
Feb092011

Stitches West 2011

Holy Cow. 

Guess what's NEXT WEEK? 

Only one of the biggest yarn-stravaganzas in the country! 

Are you ready for Stitches West 2011

I just finished labeling about 800 skeins of yarn. Which means... I'm ALMOST ready. 

Come visit me in Booth 1334, conveniently located near the concessions and restrooms. Have a refreshment, take a moment to refresh yourself, and then binge on some Wool Candy! 

I'll have piles of Eclair Silk, Biscotti Sport, a variety of sock yarns, a big DISCONTINUED yarn sale bin (oh yeah!), and some very sweet baby sweater kits, along with the new Phydeaux/ Wool Candy Winter Joyeux Shawlette Kit, and some Phydeaux Designs patterns suitable for Wool Candy yarns. 

Stitches West will be at the Santa Clara Convention Center, February 17-20, 2011.

Hope to see you there!  

 

Wednesday
Nov242010

Giving Thanks

For Thanksgiving, a mini-rant, and a pile of gratitude.

I was talking to a good friend of mine yesterday who also owns her own business. We were talking about Thanksgiving, about holiday shopping, about the economy. It's well known that the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the single busiest shopping season of the year. Many retailers make their entire year's worth of profit this month. The pressure if on, not only for the retailers, but for us, the shoppers, to buy buy buy.

Since November 1st, I've noticed that my inbox has been filled with all of these emails. You know the ones -- we're all getting them, I'm sure: 

"Get your Black Friday Deals today!"

"Don't wait for Cyber Monday! Shop NOW"

"60% off everything in the store TODAY ONLY!!!!!!"

There's such a sense of urgency to them, as if buying up their piles of stuff will somehow make the world a better place, my life more fulfilling, that by buying that new pair of Gap jeans, I'll singlehandedly be supporting the economy. 

My friend told me that a certain large, multinational retailer was opening at 3 a.m. on Friday with post-Thanksgiving deals. THREE O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING. Does this strike anyone else as insane? 

Hey, do you remember that time the security guard at a Walmart was stampeded to death by a crowd of early morning shoppers? 

It's all been making me think: What if we didn't go to Walmart, or Kohl's, or Macy's on Friday? 

What if, instead, we took that money that we were going to spend on things that we don't really need, supporting giant corporations that don't really need us, and instead put it toward something beautiful, something handmade, something filled with love and thought.

What if we spent that money locally, at the independently owned yarn shop, or locally owned gourmet foods store, or independent bookstore, or tiny Etsy shop run by a single mom in Colorado?

What if, instead of a pile of things, we gave our loved one a single, special, locally grown, carefully crafted piece of art?

I hope I don't sound all "I know better than you." That's not what I mean at all. Really, what I mean is that all these offers and sales and discounts make me feel like all of these corporations are saying, "you can't afford our stuff unless we give it to you for free." Or "You and yours aren't good enough to deserve this at full price." And: "Quantity over quality."

But I don't agree. I am worth it, and so are you.

As a retail shop owner who makes her living based on her customer's continued willingness to spend money in her shop, it might strike you as odd and rather insane that I'm going to say this, but I'm going to: 

Stay home on Friday. 

Don't go shopping. 

Don't buy into the frenzy of sales and slashed prices and discounts. 

Eat a leftover turkey sandwich, read the newspaper, hug your mom or your brother or your significant other. Watch football. Don't watch football. Pick up your knitting, or your quilting. Walk your dog or your cat or your armadillo.

Take a moment to breathe and enjoy the day. 

But Don't Go Shopping. 

Your money is worth more than that. Your time, your family, your friends, your holiday season are worth more than 60% off the latest fashions. 

This friend of mine owns a lovely shop, and they're closed on Friday. The "biggest shopping day of the year," and she's shuttering her doors, giving her staff the day off, and decorating the shop for Christmas. I think that's a lovely idea.

I've been thinking hard about this a lot lately. I own a tiny yarn shop, so I know the value of each and every dollar I earn. I know how much love and labor goes into each sale I make. And I know how much love and labor goes into each purchase each one of my beloved customers makes from me. I love each and every skein I dye, and I love each and every skein that I sell and I appreciate every home my yarn goes to.

We hear it often: these are trying economic times, for all of us. 

But isn't that all the more reason to value each dollar, value each person, and value each purchase? I want to make my holiday dollars go further not by buying ten things for a huge discount. Instead, I want to make my holiday dollars go further by giving things that count, by supporting someone like me, who owns their own business and crafts their own art, whatever that art is.  

Okay, rant over.

In the spirit of independent, art, local and love, I want to send out a big, fat Thank You to a small fraction of the independent and/or local businesses that have supported me and whom I have supported over the years. Thank you all for being here, for your independent spirit, for making my life better in some way.

Bobbin's Nest Studio

Diesel, A Bookstore

Phydeaux Designs

The Fiber Fix

Woolgirl

Knitty City

The Tinsmith's Wife

The Loopy Ewe

Etsy

Packwhiz

Backclip

Yoga Health Center

Planet Granite

Kepler's Books

Berkeley Bowl

 And thank you to all of the people in my life: friends and family, both old and new, fiber-y and climb-y. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Wednesday
Nov102010

New York City, and Rhinebeck 2010

I can't believe Rhinebeck was just about a month ago! We had absolutely the BEST trip to New York. So much fun. 

So.

Much.

Fun. 

I came home with a big order from a new retailer -- Knitty City, right there in Manhattan, and I've been crazy busy trying to get their order out the door before I leave again for the weekend, to go to Joshua Tree to camp and climb. And that's my way of saying -- sorry it's taken SO LONG to post my Rhinebeck Recap. But seriously -- 250 skeins in about 2 weeks. Phew! If you're in the NYC area, stop by Knitty City next week!! :) 

Anywho, our trip!! It was the perfect blend of mellow and exciting, with a train ride up north to Rhinebeck to get out of the City for a day. Mari and Yutaka are the best hosts in the world (except, perhaps, for Mari's mom, in Tokyo). They put us up, and showed us some amazing local places that we never, ever, ever would have found on our own. Not in a million years. 

I took quite a few pictures, which you can see in my flickr stream. I brought my "fancy camera" -- my Canon Rebel, but I also had my iPhone. And I found myself snapping a ton of pictures with the Hipstamatic app. It felt like, as great as my lens is on my Canon, the pictures I was taking weren't quite capturing the "essence" of what I was looking at. But somehow, Hipstamatic gave the impression of something, even though the image quality isn't quite as high. 

We landed late on Wednesday night, and Mari took us for a stroll to Times Square, two blocks from their apartment. Talk about being in the middle of it all! 

 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Thursday, George had to work a bit in the morning, so we just chilled a bit at Mari and Yutaka's, then headed to the Shake Shack, around the corner from Mari and Yutaka's place, for lunch. I have to say, and I hope West Coasters will forgive me, that it was better than In'N'Out. I mean, don't get me wrong -- I have such a weakness for In'N'Out, but the Shack Burger? The bun is all chewy and squishy, and the beef is thick and juicy and fresh, and the special sauce is fantastic. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

George got a Shack Stack. Which was totally crazy: a cheeseburger, topped with this cheese-stuffed, deep-fried portobello mushroom. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

And the crinkle cut fries: all those crinkles add so much crispiness.

Okay, I realize I've just spent way too long waxing ecstatic about one burger joint. Sorry. 

Moving on. 

That evening, we "took in a show" -- Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. It was amazing. I had seen it in London about 10 years ago, and it really held up -- still totally magical. 

The next day, I met with Sylvia (moutons on Ravelry) and Pearl, the owner of Knitty City. I brought a slew of samples, and Pearl placed the above mentioned GIANT order of Biscotti. So exciting! It was great to see Sylvia again, and to meet Pearl and Jennifer at KC. Sylvia took me to the BEST place for lunch, just around the corner from Knitty City. 

I loved Recipe so much, I went back a couple of days later with George.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Seriously good, delicious, wonderful fresh food.

Friday night, we had one of my absolute favorite experiences.

Well, first was a failed experience. We tried to go  Lombardi's, the oldest pizza place in New York City. But the wait was about 2 hours, and we were just too hungry to wait. But here's me OUTSIDE Lombardi's: 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

See? There's a pizza in the background! And the Mona Lisa's chin. Natch. 

We ended up at a lovely little wine bar instead, and had a plateful of delicious bruschettas. 

And then Mari took us to Small's, the most fabulous-est jazz bar I've ever been to. Down a steep set of stairs, filled with mis-matched little chairs and just the friendliest waitress ever. We listened to an amazing xylophone player and his quintet. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

 

Saturday was Rhinebeck Day. We took the train from Grand Central, early in the morning, to Poughkeepsie, then took the shuttle from Poughkeepsie to Rhinebeck. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Rhinebeck blew me away. I mean, I've been to Stitches West a few times, and it's HUGE. But I think you could fit 4 Stitches Wests into one Rhinebeck. Sheep, yarn, wool, alpacas, funnel cake. It was amazing! 

We saw a sheepherding demonstration.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Also duck herding. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Yeah... I dunno either. But it was pretty funny. 

And we saw a sheep shearing demonstration.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Oh.. and some Vicuna yarn. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

$300/ ounce. I need to get into that biz. It's super soft and pretty. But ... yeah... no. George did indulge in a ball of Qiviuk, though. In this lovely brick red color. I knit him a scarf. 

I wasn't shopping for anything... I almost made it out of Rhinebeck WITHOUT any yarn. But then... I met up with Sylvia and some of her Yarn Hoar friends from Ravelry. And we went over to the Maple Creek Farm booth. And it was over, with a skein of single ply silk bamboo. Yum. 

Sunday, we spent the day wandering around Brooklyn and the Lower East Side. We started with a delicious brunch at Brown in the LES.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

Then we went to Brooklyn Flea:

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

 

And then went to Brighton Beach to wander the Russian markets.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

George and I wanted to cook a nice dinner for Mari and Yutaka, to thank them for hosting us and showing us such a great time. So we made pelmeni, traditional Russian dumplings filled with beef and onions. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

And, of course, accompanied them with red caviar and a few shots of very cold vodka.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

 I've been missing New York City since we got home.

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

I feel like we only barely scratched the surface, and I can't wait to go back. 

NYC & Rhinebeck, October 2010

 

 

Tuesday
Oct262010

The Joyeux Shawlette is Here! 

At last... still in time for Fall knitting, the Joyeux shawlette is here! 

The Joyeaux Shawlette knitting kit is an exclusive collaboration between Phydeaux Designs and Wool Candy. it was such an incredible JOY to work with Brenda of Phydeaux Designs. We're looking forward to many more collaborations to come! 

The limited edition colorway, only available in the kit, is inspired by Arthur Rackham's wonderful, whimsical illustrations. "Joy of a Fallen Leaf" perfectly captures the dizzying joy I feel when the seasons change. The heat and bright, hazy sunshine of the summer gives way to a softer, glowing amber light. The skies turn gray, the leaves turn to browns and oranges, and blow away on the winds of winter. 

Brenda's design so elegantly expresses the swirls and shapes of autumn leaves. The simple stockinette bands really accentuate the textured points of the leaf lace sections. 

WIP:  Wool Candy/Phydeaux collaboration!

Not only is Joyeux just lovely (well.. in my little honest opinion), it's such a delightful knit. The lace leaf section add just enough challenge and interest (though the lace pattern is so intuitive -- it only took one repeat for me to memorize), and the stockinette sections give a nice brain break and let the fingers just do their thing. 

Phydeaux/Wool Candy Collaboration:  done!

The kit comes with a skein of limited edition Meringue Merino in "Fallen Leaves," the Joyeux Shawlette pattern, pattern support from Phydeaux AND yarn support from Wool Candy. If you have a question about the pattern, you can contact Brenda. If you happen to run a bit short on your bind-off because you just REALLY wanted to get that last repeat in? You can contact me, and I will send you a little extra ball of yarn to finish up your shawlette.  

There are a very limited number of kits available, and they're going fast! They're available for purchase now, and will start shipping on Monday, November 1. You can find them in my Etsy Shop, Phydeaux's shop, and (as of next week) at Bobbin's Nest Studio in Santa Clara.

I hope you find as much joy in Joyeux as we have! ;)