Monday, July 16, 2007

(Not a) Yarn Snob

Below is the ATC I made for my swap partner in this month's CMP exhange. The theme was, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

I am not a yarn snob.

This past Friday, after Maia's dentist appt., I decided to check out a couple of yarn shops in Sarasota. The first one was beautiful, with highly-creative, finished pieces all about the shop. The owner - and crafter of the pieces - was there and she was extremely sweet and helpful. But when she showed me some of the sock yarn I was looking for, I don't think she quite understood when I told her that my purchases were partly going to depend on pricing. So, she did show me some terrific yarn at about $11.00 a skein, of which I would need two, in order to do both socks. Knowing that these were going to be a gift, I didn't think that too bad... When she showed me the beautifully hand-painted yarn for $58.00, though... and then proceeded to tell me that I would get at least one pair of socks from this... perhaps two depending on how tightly I knit and that she thought that was quite economical, I knew that we were not on the same page.

The next shop I went to was one that looked as though its been there a while. It had more yarn and didn't present itself in such an artful manner, but was lovely, nonetheless. There was a table at the back and there were 5 or 6 elderly ladies sitting and working on their projects and just laughing and chatting and having a wonderful time. I wondered how often they met there. It seemed to me that a yarn shop is a much better place to be than a bar "where everybody knows your name."

This second shop had a bit better pricing and I can see myself going back when I have a bit more time to look and want to make a gift for someone.

Mostly, though, I had a pattern from Knitty for some cute, feminine tank tops that I was going to try for my girls. This was sort of a "whim" purchase and, needing 6 skeins of yarn, I wasn't prepared to lay out $50.00 or more.

Now someone might tell me that $25.00 for a hand-knit sweater is a good price, which is true. But, frankly, I just don't look at it that way when 90% of our clothes are second-hand and I am used to paying $2.99 for the same type of sweater.

I love to listen to knitting podcasts and hear about all the sumptuous yarns and fantastic designs that are out there and I'm sure that some day I will splurge on some special yarn. Perhaps when my children are parents themselves and I will be bringing in an income to our household again, then I may spend some more money on lovely yarns.

But I don't want to have to wait for that day to start knitting. And I'm certainly not going to go into debt for my hobby. Nor do I want to not be able to have money to give away in one form or another. I do wonder about some of these podcasters who seem to have an infinite supply of yarns containing mohair, silk, and cashmere. Who gets paid that well to have such a stash that so many of them talk about - a stash that they often laughingly admit would take them a year or more to knit through and will provide them with enough socks for a lifetime?

So, much as I loathe chain stores, and as much as I like to support local businesses as much as possible, I headed over to Michael's and got a few soft, acrylic skeins in pretty colors, that the girls got to choose and some cotton for that gift that I'm working on.

And no, the sweaters won't be heirloom quality. And no, they won't last forever. But nothing does. And my girls will only be this size for just a wee bit longer and though they may not be able to - or want to - pass these tops down to their own children some day, they will know that their Mama still knitted for them, that they got to pick their own colors, and they got to wear something that (I'm hoping!) will be pretty to them for a season.


The promised salsa recipe is not really a recipe, because I do it differently every time. The basic ingredients are:


Onions (any type, including green)
Lemon or Lime juice

I would say to use what you have available locally for the freshest, most wonderful-tasting salsa.

I blend everything up in my food processor and use right away or freeze. I usually use about 3 or 4 tomatoes depending on size. This last time, I kept one out to dice, so that it would be a bit chunkier.

a bit of chipotle (fresh or from a can) lends a smoky flavor (it also lends a lot of heat, so tread lightly depending on your taste!)
pinch or two of salt

Give it a try and see what you think! Don't give up if it isn't just what you like right away; keep fiddling until you come up with something you like!

Have a happy Monday ~ Welcome to the week!


Marianna said...

I'm not a knitter so I can't speak to the yarn, but I think it is a shame that the local stores feel like they can't sell yarn that is affordable for people on a normal budget!! Seems like so many things, knitting has gone upscale.

BTW, I'm not sure if you saw my post tagging you. Hope you don't mind. You are suppossed to share eight random things about yourself and then tag eight others (although, I couldn't come up with eight people to tag!)

hsing3kinder said...

Mrs Pivec,
First I love the atc. All the shades of blue are gorgeous!
I am not a knitter either, but I can see how easily it would be to get caught up in all the offerings at the stores you visited. I am with you on small independent stores, but I'm also with you on the budgeting. As mommas (especially mommas at home) it is part of our job to teach the children about money, spending and saving. You set a good example for your girls and I'm sure they will be very excited about your sweaters!
The salsa recipie looks really tasty and pretty easy. I've not made my own before, it is about time I tried.
And lastly, did you find some new fiction to read??

Kelli said...

I went to a very fancy (and lovely!) yarn store with my sister a few years ago and had instant sticker shock! The yarn *was* amazing but we ended up going to Michaels on the way home too! LOL


skatey katie said...

you write your recipes just like me:
a little bit of this and a little bit of that, oh, hang on... three of these and two of that. and tweak it a little as you go.....
love that your gorgeous kiddos are so inspired about creating in the kitchen!!!!!!!!

Unknown said...

Hi! I've been trying to make salsa at home, too, and am encouraged by the simplicity of your recipe. Can you tell me what kinds of peppers you typically use?

Thanks! And you are so smart to get your daughters cooking so young! I have two teens who never cook, and I really wish I'd done more than baking with them when they were little.

Love, Jen in NC. (who has a daughter in Sarasota & a sister in Bradenton)

Jessica C said...

I know what you mean about the yarn!!! I splurge sometimes but usually I use and buy everything on clearance! :)

Creative Life Studio said...

Wow, Jen! Your family... so close to me! Have you visited here before?

The peppers I use have been just a tiny dab of the chipotle and then, most recently, just one jalepeno with the seeds scraped out.

I think I could have left more of the seeds in... it's hard to judge for everyone's heat level.

I know that green or red peppers would be good... or yellow... or whatever you like at the farmer's market. I think canned chiles might be nice too. I'm still experimenting myself. :)

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