Toy Shoppe and Needlework

When we took our son to college orientation sometime mid-summer, I had an opportunity to stop by a store I had been wanting to visit for some time. I am so glad I did. Ewe and Eye is as enchanting inside as it is outside.

Ewe & Eye - Toy Shoppe

Stepping inside Ewe and Eye is like walking into a fairyland. They carry the prettiest toys from all over the world. Their life-like dolls are just the right size for swaddling. There is a full array of Paddington Bears from England and all shapes and sizes of hand crafted whimsical fairies in almost every room.

Ewe & Eye - Rabbit

Ewe & Eye - Carousel Horse

Each room has delightful surprises and a curated selection of unique toys.

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Just look at this incredible Wizard of Oz collection!

Ewe & Eye - Oz

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Now what could be more perfect than a toy store that carries yarn?

Ewe & Eye - Needlework

They carry a lovely selection of yarns including Rowan, Prism and all colors and weights of Colinette, among many others. They even had yarn dolls.

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Mr. Jimmy, the Owner and Toy Man Extraordinaire (really, it says so on his business card) was charming and quite knowledgable about the yarn inventory. He can also tell you about every line of toys they carry. After perusing the store and chatting with this delightful gentleman, I selected these skeins to take home with me. Just look at this chunky raspberry gorgeousness.

Ewe & Eye - Raspberry Yarn

This ridiculously soft skein is to become a pair of socks for my husband.

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If you are ever in Boerne, stop by Ewe and Eye and say hi to Mr. Jimmy.

Frail Silk

On a weekend trip to San Antonio with my son, I managed a detour to Inskein Yarns. Inskein Yarns is located in a strip mall on a busy street. It is very small and does not have a huge selection. Despite its tiny size, there were 7-8 women huddled into a circle taking a knitting class.

They didn’t have any unique yarns but I found this skein of Maharashtra Silk which has 800 yards of 100% pure silk.

Maharashtra Silk 1

I liked the greens and purples and the yarn has a nice feel and sheen. Unfortunately, as I wound the skein into a ball, the yarn continuously fell apart. The single-ply was too frail, as if it had been spun too loosely.

The only thing I can think of to salvage it is to ply it with another fingering weight yarn. Any suggestions?

Recycled Jars

No one in my immediate household drinks coffee, except for me. So rather than making a whole pot, I make a cup at a time using instant coffee. Over time, I have accumulated a few empty glass coffee jars. The shape of these jars fit perfectly in my hand and I hated to simply throw them away. It seemed like such a waste. So, I found ways to reuse the jars.

Recycled Jars - Spices

They turned out to be perfect for spices like cinnamon sticks and leftover sesame seeds. I reduced the clutter in my pantry by saving smaller items in these jars rather than keeping bulky cardboard boxes or using plastic baggies. They also look very nice lined up in my pantry.

Recycled Jars - Kitchen

When I spin my own fiber, I use an old ball of acrylic yarn to tie up my skeins for storage or before dyeing. This little strawberry jam jar was just the right size. My son punched a hole in the lid and presto, I had a yarn pull jar.

Recycled Jars - String

Leftover candle jars are also great for storing items in plain sight. When the candle burned out in this thick glass, it became a repository for my double-pointed needles and other knitting doodads.

Recycled Jars - Needles

These empty candle jars collect my leftover yarns. From time to time, these leftovers become useful – like for wrapping packages, adding a hint of color to another knit piece, or for anything where a piece of string is needed. The lids keep the dirt and moths out and they display nicely.

Recycled Jars - Yarn 1

Recycled Jars - Yarn 2

My yarn jars make me happy and I feel like I am contributing just a little bit to making the earth greener.

To Spain or Bust

Another knit hat is off the needles. Simple pattern with reliable results. This hat is intended for a gentleman my husband met on his trip to Spain last year.

Another Beanie

On his walk along the Way of St. James, he stopped for the night in León in northern Spain. There, he befriended the owner of the Taller de Grabado y Estampa. He spent a few hours talking with the owner and artisan, José Holguera, in his engraving and stamping studio. My husband came home with these beautiful limited edition lithographs of the Catedral de León and a pilgrim’s staff imprinted by Holguera on his lithographic press.

Holguera Lithograph Catedral de León

Holguera Lithograph Staff

Over the holidays, an envelope stamped with Correos España arrived. It contained a beautiful lithograph of a modernist starry night.

Holguera Lithograph Star

As a token of appreciation, my husband wanted to send his friend a gift – so he asked me if I would hand knit a hat. The hat needed to be special, even in its simplicity. I went through my stash and selected the yarn I brought back from my trip to Colombia. It is 100% hand-spun wool in natural, undyed hues.

Natural undyed wool 1

I used the darker brown. The photo of the finished hat was taken under different outdoor lighting conditions so the richness of the brown does not come through as in this photograph.

Natural undyed wool 2

I was concerned it would be a bit scratchy but it is soft and warm. I doubled the yarn as I knitted to make it especially cushiony. It seems fitting somehow – 100% undyed, hand-spun wool from Bogotá, Colombia, hand-knit in Texas, for a friend in León, Spain.

January 2015 FO: Cabled Brioche Scarf

During a trip to Germany, we had almost a two-hour visit with the owner of Atelier Zitrón who after talking about the quality fibers they used, walked us into a showroom full of yarn spun especially for hand-knitting. Three skeins of Opus 1 yarn have been in my stash since. The skeins come infused with aloe vera and jojoba.

Opus 1 Center Pull Balls

When I came across the Cabled Brioche Stitch Scarf pattern, I knew it would showcase the vibrant colors of the yarn.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 1

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 2

The brioche pattern creates a nice loft and the cabling adds layers and depth.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 3

The rich colors add yet another element of interest.

Opus 1 Brioche Scarf 4

This one might be a knit gift to me.

Yarn in Navasota

On our Mother-Son college road trip, I teasingly told my son that I only planned to stop at five yarn stores en route to Texas A&M. My 17-year old was not amused. I wish there were that many yarn stores along the way! He was actually quite patient with me when I took the business exit through Navasota so that I could visit WC Mercantile.

WC Mercantile 2

Navasota is a small town with just over 7,000 residents. It’s downtown is lined with quaint historic buildings that house antique and other local shops. It was a cold and rainy day so I headed straight to WC Mercantile located on East Washington Avenue. And what a delight it was!

WC Mercantile 3

WC Mercantile has a wonderful selection of yarns for the knitter or crocheter and a large space devoted to luscious fibers and spinning wheels. I went straight for their local yarns spun from Texas Alpacas.

WC Mercantile 4

WC Mercantile 5

Love these project bags!

WC Mercantile 1

The owner was very nice and helpful. She was at a table teaching a customer to knit. This is why I love local yarn stores.

WC Mercantile 6

In the back of the store, they had a cute little Christmas tree on which hung sheep ornaments and these. Too cute!

WC Mercantile Ornament

In addition to yarn and fibery stuff, I couldn’t resist these cards. They look like original watercolors. I particularly like the one on the left. No grannies here!

WC Mercantile Cards

Navasota is about 45 minutes north of Houston. I am looking into one of their day-long wheel spinning classes. It would be a nice getaway from the city. If you are ever in the area, stop by and enjoy a few hours of all things fiber!

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December FO: Chimborazo Textured Hat

This year, my niece Victoria started college. She is an exceptional student who finished in the top 5% of her class. (It’s my blog so I am taking editorial license to be a proud aunt). She is a scholar-athlete who competed in both individual and team sports and even broke a track record. She received scholarships and grants but it was still a stretch to cover all those college costs. I honestly don’t know how regular middle-class Americans can afford to send their kids to college. So, she is living with us and commuting to school every day. We emptied the guest room, picked up a great daybed from IKEA that pulls out into a full-size bed for guests. We also got her a desk and a really cool chair and let her decorate the rest of her “dorm” room. She has black-and-white posters of Marilyn and Audrey and the New York skyline on her walls and small LED lights around the perimeter. It has been a delight to have her in our home. We have two boys so she is the daughter we never had.

As the weather started turning a bit cold, I decided to knit her a hat. I found this pattern which she promptly approved of with the request that it be in a white or cream color. I found this off-white bulky yarn at the fiber festival. It was half off and perfect for the hat. It’s Yearling by Juniper Moon Farm, a wonderful blend of 60% merino wool and 40% cotton, and it has been discontinued. I love this yarn! I already have several skeins of it in bright colors in my stash. It’s a great yarn for knitting in Texas because the wool brings warmth but the cotton tempers it a bit.

Juniper Moon Farm Yearling Color 01

Once I got past the brim, the basket weave texture started to show itself.

Chimborazo On the Needles

I love the look of it! My niece loved it too.

Chimborazo Back View

I topped it off with a big pompom.

Chimborazo Full View

Chimborazo Side View

Now she can keep her head warm as she goes from class to class.

November FO: Regular Guy Beanie

Finally, the Fall season begins with all of its colors and cooler weather. Between work and stressing over my son’s college applications (he’s a senior), it has been busy. After not getting any knitting done in October, a warm hat seemed just right for November.

Regular Guy Beanie 1

For the yarn, I took this lovely variegated skein in Autumn colors out of my stash. I picked this up during a business trip to Nashville, Tennessee (Brentwood, actually). I made it to Bliss Yarns on the one day they are open late. It was a lovely little yarn shop with a large choice of colors and brands and a very helpful staff.

Regular Guy Beanie 2

I wanted something local so they pointed out a bin of MissBabs Hand-dyed Yarns & Fibers out of Mountain City, Tennessee. I selected Yowza – Whatta Skein, approximately 560 yards of 100% Superwash Merino. This skein was “hand-painted” in luscious colors called Rumor Has It.

Regular Guy Beanie 3

I used the Regular Guy Beanie pattern, a free Ravelry download. The one departure I made from the pattern is that I doubled up on the yarn to give the hat a cozy thickness. This one is for my middle brother who was just elected to my hometown’s school board. I am so proud of him!

Knitting in Comfort

Anytime I travel, besides booking a room and mapping out my route, I always look up local yarn stores. On our girl’s weekend to Fredericksburg, I found two listings that looked promising but turned into dead ends. Stonehill Spinning simply wasn’t there. In its place was a vitamin shop. I have nothing against vitamins but it was disappointing. The next shop, Things in a Room, was there on Main Street but no longer carried yarn.

But our adventure didn’t end in Fredericksburg. On our way back, we took US 87 south toward Interstate 10, which took us through Comfort, Texas. There, on a balmy Sunday afternoon, was The Tinsmith’s Wife.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Interior

Located in the historic downtown, The Tinsmith’s Wife fills six large rooms with beautiful, colorful, exquisite yarn. There is one room with a large table for sitting and knitting. Other sitting areas are scattered throughout. This one was my favorite. Can you imagine sitting there, knitting in comfort and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face?

The Tinsmith's Wife - Sitting Area

Then there was the yarn.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 1

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 2

Feeling light-headed yet?

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 3

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 4

You should have seen my mother and my aunt. They behaved like giddy school girls trying on the sample knits and choosing the yarns they wanted so that I could knit shawls, scarves and sweaters for them. Clearly they forgot that I actually do have a day job and do not, as much as I would like, spend all my days knitting.

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 5

The Tinsmith's Wife - Yarn 6

Wendy, the owner, was lovely and helpful. She let me know that The Tinsmith’s Wife is a stop along the 2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl. The dates are already on my calendar.

2014 Hill Country Yarn Crawl Logo
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