VBYC, YOUR Local Yarn Shop: The Fiber Arts Trendsetter in Acadiana!

21oo Verot School Road, Suite 8 Lafayette, LA 337-216-4564
To send email, write to: vermilionbayyarnco at Yahoo

M: noon-6pm; T: 10am-8pm; W: 10am-6pm; Th: 10am-8pm; F: 10am-6pm; S: 10am-4pm; Sun: Closed


Beginning Knitting and Crochet: Beginning classes for knitting and crochet are scheduled one-on-one at your convenience during business hours. You may schedule lessons just for yourself, or for yourself and a few other friends. In beginning knitting, you will learn your stitches while you create a beautiful chunky yarn scarf. At the end of your mastery period, you'll have a fabulous accent you can actually use!

Classes a la carte: If you weren't able to attend a specific class, or you missed out entirely on one, here's your chance! Simply schedule the class topic of your choice at the time that's convenient for you.

How Much Do Classes Cost? At Vermilion Bay Yarn, we're all about getting you moving on your fiber projects and getting you going with new techniques. All classes (including beginning knitting and crochet) at VBYC are $20 plus materials. You do not pay each time you come in to continue the same class.

What's Available At Vermilion Bay

The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your local source for the fine yarns of Rowan, Classic Elite, South West Trading, Cascade, Plymouth, Schaefer, Malabrigo, Muench, GGH, Brown Sheep, Lana Grossa, Tilli Tomas, Universal, and many others! We offer high quality needles and hooks from Addi, Chiaogoo, Hiya-Hiya, and Brittany. Vermilion Bay Yarn (YOUR local yarn shop) is YOUR one stop for all your knitting and crochet notion needs: counters, holders, markers, darning eggs, tapestry needles, etc.

Knit Cafe: The Evening Fiber Art Group meets on Tuesdays from 6pm-8pm at the shop. Bring your project(s) and sit for as long as you like. Food, coffee, and soft drinks are always provided, and everyone is encouraged to add to the buffet.

Need something repaired? Favorite sweater with moth holes? Heirloom lace with a snag? Bring it in for an estimate.

Don't have time to knit or crochet it? The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your only local custom fiber art source! Please visit the shop for an estimate.

Knitting Parties at VBYC: Gather together 10 of your friends or colleagues and set a date/time for a knitting party at Vermilion Bay Yarn! Beginners and seasoned knitters can participate in the same party! Folks who've never knitted before will learn how and the experienced knitters work their own fun project! Contact the shop for details!

Our Return Policy

Now and then we purchase a bit too much, or decide that a different yarn might be better for a project than the one we selected. Here's how VBYC accomodates merchandise returns. This policy is also clearly displayed in the shop by the register. Thank you for your business!

Merchandise purchased at The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company may be exchanged/returned for shop credit only. No cash refunds. No exhanges/returns on special orders. Gift Certificates may not be redeemed for cash. Yarn presented for exchange must be odor-free and in new condition with the yarn band intact. Yarns wound into skeins are not accepted for exchange.

Knitting Rescue and Project Help

We are most willing to assist YOU, our customers, with quick help or to fix minor blemishes in your fiber work at no charge. As I see it, that's all part of what YOUR local yarn shop is about, especially if your project originated from VBYC. If you find yourself in need of frequent coaching on a particularly challenging project, or if you require detailed assistance with a project obtained elsewhere, we encourage you to make that project into a class ($20 fee applies) for the duration of your work.

30 December 2010

The Vermilion Bay Light

The draft of the New Year's Newsletter, the January 2011 edition of The Vermilion Bay Light, has been completed. Just a few final touches and it will be ready to email. Be looking for your email from me in your inboxes in the next few days. Highlights include a review and description of new yarns, loads of fiber work tips, your favorite columns "A word from Jason about..." and "Ask Stuart", the infamous "Indisposed" picture, and much more! I am so happy that you all enjoy the newsletter, and thank you very much for the many kind words I receive from you each month. It's really a joy to prepare it for you. It is my hope that both the newsletter and this blog may be a way for you to experience, if only in part, the magic of The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company between visits! If you haven't been receiving your copy of the Light, it's either because your email isn't in the list, or because you've changed your email and forgotten to update it. There's one cure for that: email me with your new address or give me a call!

New for New Year's Eve

Haven't tried the Takhi Cotton Classic? This DK weight mercerized cotton is a fantastic choice for adult knits as well as items for babies and children. This yarn holds up to practically anything you throw at it. Many of you have seen my Pat O'Brien's vest made of Tahki Cotton Classic. I made it almost 12 years ago, and it still looks brand new. Great stitch definition, a dream to knit up, and best of all: a price that doesn't blow the project budget. The colors are vibrant and bold. My favorite is this red. The color in the picture reads a bit lighter than reality. These hanks are a bold, rich, dark, piercing red. Start off your new year with a smart sweater project in Takhi Cotton Classic!
Fans of the adorable Dumpling Pouches: More are here, and in completely new colors and prints. Every knitter needs a set or three. Stitch markers with a flair.
Hiya-Hiya needle fans: The needles you love for socks and lace are here waiting for your cast-on!

29 December 2010

As they say in high dollar French...

"HOLY CRAP!" That's actually what slipped out of my mouth yesterday as I completed the finishing work on a fantastic new garment for a client. All the seaming was done, and I had carefully woven in all the tails. The piece was ready to wear. I held it up, and there it was. Right in the middle of the yoke. A hole about the size of a nickel. Not an eyelet, but an actual hole in the fabric. The stitches were coming undone. Already there were a few live stitches just hanging out, framing an empty spot in the knitting. What was that about? As it turns out, there had been a knot in the yarn, and, by manipulating the piece during the finishing process, the knot had worked itself open and caused the fabric to unravel. I've written a couple articles here on the blog as well as in the newsletter, and y'all have all heard me harp on it over and again in the shop: never, never, never, never tie knots in your yarn. "Well, I've always tied knots". My answer: Mt. St. Helen's was just a beautiful tree covered peak in Washington state, until the early 1980's. I can not stress enough the importance of taking the time to join yarn properly and to weave the ends into the fabric. Woven ends are secure. Knots are not secure. No knot, regardless how tightly tied at the moment, will remain a knot forever, especially in a garment that is worn by a human being (or even by a pet!). Normal movement of the body as well as the interaction of the knitted piece with other articles of clothing will....and I repeat: WILL eventually help the knot to untie itself. A woven end stays put and becomes part of the fabric, whereas a knot stays a knot (for a time), something foreign, apart from the fabric. The finishing job yesterday had a happy ending, thank goodness, because my client had supplied me with the remains of the yarn used to work the garment -- to complete the seams. Since the ends of the knot were so short, they could not be used to make the repair. So, I needed to make the gash worse at first so that there would be enough material to execute the repair. New yarn was required to replace the unraveled portion, and the old bit I wove in as a customary join. If you are in the habit of accesorizing your fabric with knots, stop doing that. Stop doing that NOW! Weaving in the ends of the new yarn and the old yarn is just one of the many little techniques that set a garment apart as an expertly finished piece. Here's how: Work your yarn until you have about 6-8 inches left. Take the new strand and lay it next to the old yarn with the yarn ends facing opposite directions. Now, work with BOTH old and new strands together for 2-4 stitches. The tails can hang on the wrong side to be woven in completely as part of the finishing, or you can work them in as you go. This same technique works for crochet as well. In knitting, when you return to the spot with the join on the next row, just remember that at the join, the stitches each have two strands. Treat these double stranded stitches as regular stitches: if you knit each strand by itself, you'll have a sudden unwanted increase. No more knots, folks! So you say the yarn came with a knot tied in the hank? That happens sometimes. But knots tied in the mill are just about as good as knots tied in your wingback at the house. If you come up with a knot, unknit your work until you have a good tail about 6-8 inches from the knot and untie the knot, or cut it out if the yarn is fuzzy. Join the ends as I've described. No knots. Take a look at our machete-prepared friend pictured above. You can think of him as the knitter and his long-toothed adversary as the knots you USED to tie in your fabric. Most of the time, all you see is nostrils and a pair of eyes on the surface of the bayou. But disturb that? Watch out where he might sneak up and bite you....

21 December 2010

It's the week of Christmas (but you already know that)

If you're anything like I am, as soon as the 4th Advent candle is lit, you get a little giddy in anticipation of the Christmas celebration. Throughout the pre-Christmas time we experience joyous preludes to the holiday: preparation of tasty baked items , decorating the house, getting things spruced up for festive gatherings of family and friends, finishing up Christmas gift projects for those we hold dear (and dropping vague hints here and there to help build the suspense). The closer we get to the 25th or even the 24th, the Advent wreath seems to fade away and the Christmas tree becomes our center of attention: what magic this season brings! May you all enjoy a blessed and happy Christmas celebration wherever you are, and may the hope of the Incarnation accompany you all throughout Christmastide and the New Year. Merry Christmas from The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company, YOUR local yarn shop!
Be sure to take note of the VBYC Christmas and New Year's schedule printed at the top of the blog page.

16 December 2010

Sliced Bread: Old School. The new best thing is here!

Forget buttons. Take a look at these! Fabulous shawl sticks with classy toppers! Choose your look: elegant, demure, whimsy, flirty, brash, understated, WOW! Each one of these lovelies is unique. Transform your wrap or scarf from the workaday to the wonderful! Don't know what to get your special fiber fan for Christmas? Right here. Stocking stuffer, or tie the little bag onto the gift bow of another gift as a Santa sussy. Look for the colorful Shawl Stick palm display the next time you're in. Scan the horizon for the neon ostrich plumes, and you've found the shawl sticks! The affordable price and great look of these awesome accents are perfect for any budget. Do you play Secret Santa or Kris Kringle at your office? Right here. My advice: if you're playing Dirty Santa at your office party, you'd better take two. One that you can keep for yourself, since these sticks will be the gifts that get stolen by all the players again and again. They're just that terrific!

15 December 2010

So Groovy!

We're counting down the weeks to Christmas, and maybe you have a couple gift projects that haven't come to mind yet. Problem solved: the Bouquet Scarf. While Santa's helpers are assembling the bicycles, setting up the doll houses, and filling stockings, you can be finishing up your bouquet scarves. This fabulously whimsical scarf takes no longer than 90 minutes to knit. Super Chunky yarn on size 17's with a one-row pattern repeat. The flowers are made of the same thick-thin roving-like yarn and are tied right on to the strand. Since you can move the little rose buds and pansies around on the strand, it's a snap to get all the blooms on one side of the scarf. One hank does it! There are multicolor options as well as solid background options for this really really neat item. It will certainly make you smile. If you've made last minute scarf gifts from Lana Grossa Ciao or SWTC Dream Big, cut that knitting time in half, and that's how long it will take you to finish your Bouquet. Hiding tails? Lord, it's easy! Two tails: what ever you have left from the cast on and the little bit from the bind off. No blocking required. My advice: you can wait till Christmas Eve to start this project, but if you want to make it, you probably need to put on the speed to pick up the best hank to make you grin! The Bouquet Scarf. Materials available NOW at VBYC, YOUR local yarn shop! Merry Christmas!

14 December 2010

Kudos, Blaine!

Kudos to Blaine from Men's Knit Club who put the finishing touches on the VBYC shop tree yesterday afternoon! Just in time for today's Christmas Party! The tree looks great! So festive!

Christmas Party!

Today, Tuesday, December 14th 10am-8pm is the annual VBYC Christmas/Anniversary party! Bring your favorite Christmas party food item and settle in for as long as you like! We're celebrating the season as well as two fabulous years of VBYC, YOUR local yarn shop! Many of you remember that cold, rainy day two years ago when we huddled out on the sidewalk with a 10' length of Nature Spun Worsted that I cut in half with a giant pair of scissors! What a magical, wonderful day that was! Thanks so very much to all of you who keep that magic alive! Merry Christmas to all of you!

10 December 2010

Leave the landing strips to the airport people..

Scarves are pretty nifty items, that's for sure. But, (and there's always the "but"), a scarf is an accent. It's not necessarily something you wear indoors. Yeah, I know. There're those particular scarfs you can work up in a novelty yarn that have Fake Fur, Zingly Dingdots, Dootlezoinks, and Fibblefloots, and those have their place, I suppose. Remember, Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias complimented the ueber-accesorized Annelle as she arrived at Mae-Lyn's Christmas party: "Our ability to accessorize is what sets us apart from the animals." But don't get a notion that creating a closet full of 6"X65" swatches of knitting is all there is. Knitting a fathomless quantity of landing strips is fine, if that's your thing, but at some point, it's got to get boring. Consider another project, something with a bit more of a challenge. Make a vest or some other sort of garment that's fitted. Something that has a pattern beyond "repeat rows 1-5 twelve million times until your knuckles bleed." Select a basic sweater pattern or a vest pattern that has, perhaps, a simple stitch pattern, or a modest Aran pattern like the one pictured here (this design is in the Filatura Lovely Jeans book, by the way). "But it's south Louisiana. We just don't wear that." What? And you make scarves for a blizzard, and 35 million of them, yet you wear, what, short pants and short sleeves in winter? No. Make a sweater. You don't have to use a big wooly wooly yarn either. Use a blend. Make it cotton. How about a cotton silk blend? A nice alpaca blend? There are fibers for us in the Deep South, fibers we can wear comfortably in our mild autumn-winter. No excuse. "No, that's just too hard for me." Honey, that's what I tried to tell Mrs. McNabb in second grade when I was quite content printing. With her help, I learned handwriting. Didn't like it at the time, but hey, it worked. At VBYC, YOUR local yarn shop, you have all the help you need for your sweater projects. You won't be flying without a net. Think past the scarf! What a great sense of accomplishment you'll have when you look at your perfectly fitted garment!

Fabulous. Just Fabulous. Absolute WOW!

Shawls, scarves and wraps need special accents, and The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company (YOUR local yarn shop!) has exactly the items that will add just the needed bit of Fabulous to your look. The handcrafted Jackfruit square pin is an amazing work of art that is sure to compliment your new wrap, or the the scarf of a special someone this Christmas. Elegant art deco styling abounds in the Calla Lily shawl stick. Rosewood, sterling, and pearl. Three of nature's most beautiful elements unite in this sleek, stunning piece. Classy! Hurry on in to VBYC, YOUR local yarn shop, to select just the right pin, stick, or other closure/accent for your holiday outfits.

08 December 2010

Special Guest at Knit Cafe!

Last night at Knit Cafe we welcomed Erin from the Independent and Deep South Magazine. She was visiting us in preparation for a fabulous article that will appear soon in both publications. There's buzz about VBYC, YOUR local yarn shop! If you've never been to Knit Cafe or any of the other knitting events here, or if you haven't just come in and sat for a while to work your projects, take some time to experience that magic! I know that many folks are on the go and may not have a lot of time to sit and linger. Regardless how much time you have, whether it's an entire free afternoon or just 5 or 15 minutes. Come in and have a seat, knit or crochet a row, half a row, or whatever. It's always a pleasure to see you and visit a little! Be on the look out for Erin's terrific write-up! The photo here I borrowed from Erin.

07 December 2010

YOUR local yarn shop!

You've probably noticed the new VBYC motto here on the blog and everywhere else where there's mention of YOUR local yarn shop. I say "new", but really, the motto isn't new at all. It's actually always been YOUR local yarn shop, because YOU are the the ones who make it what it is. Without YOU, there would be no VBYC. A couple weeks back, one of the knitters was relaxing in the shop working a baby afghan. She glanced down at her pattern and noticed a little reminder at the bottom, printed there in bold face by the designer. She was taken by it and read it aloud. It went something like "A local yarn shop is a treasure. Support your local yarn shop." What a fantastic reminder to all of us, both me and you. Seems to me the message from the pattern leaflet pretty much repeats our "new" motto. It's important never to take things for granted, especially these days. Also, it's important for us yarn folks to appreciate our local fiber community and to do that every day. In our work we support each other in our endeavor to prepare terrific fiber creations for ourselves and those special to us. What a joy it is to see a yarn that sits in the bin find a home to be worked into something that will be used and bring happiness to someone. Wearing a knitted or crocheted garment handmade by a friend, relative, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, or partner is like being hugged by them all day long. You know they thought of you as they purled, knitted, trebbled, or chained. And when you see the stitches accenting your outfit for the day, you are reminded of them, their love for you, the time taken to select yarn, to create something beautiful with you in mind, and to give it to you to use. Our job, both yours and mine, is to foster the giving of self. And oh, the rewards that come back to us! It's hard work, that, and requires much patience. As the guys assembled last night for Men's Club, a little girl sat learning to knit. Brand new needles, brand new yarn, eager eyes, and fingers learning new movements, looping loops. A bit of frustration, a split strand, a few sighs. "It does get easier" came the encouragement from the guys, many of whom themselves had recently learned to knit. Patience. "And in the end, the reward is great." Vermilion Bay Yarn is YOUR local yarn shop. Support it and let it support you. The reminder printed on the bottom of the pattern spoke of a treasure. And it's right. Every person, regardless of age, gender, or whatever, who walks through the VBYC door is both a treasure and part of a larger treasure. YOUR local yarn shop celebrates community. There's no mold to fit, no dress code, no hairstyle requirement. Just be YOU. Embrace that. Celebrate it. VBYC does.

29 November 2010


That's the only way to describe it when the Namaste truck comes, especially when there's something new in the Namaste line that comes. You absolutely NEED one of these new, re-invented Hip Holsters -- yeah, they were just invented last summer, so for the fall they're re-invented. When they started off, the fact that they were only available in canvass and in only two colors, peacock and black, guy yarn shop owners were soooooo pleased, I'm sure. Finally, something that comes in only two colors. Short lived joy, that leads to even more joy as soon as we guy yarnies stop thinking like guys and thinking more about fabulousness. Namaste has come out with a spectrum of colors for the groovy Hip Holster in the same terrific Vegan Leather as the rest of the bag line. And the fabu colors are here at Vermilion Bay Yarn! In addition to these, the same delicious colors in the Monroe and those ultra swishy circular needle cases. So if Namaste makes you short of breath, here's more: Della Q. Need a mobile knitting unit? You need a Della Q Agnes. It holds everything, including 12 afghans, 3,700 40" size 8's, puppy snips, dumpling pouches, all your other notions, and still has room left for a baby hat and the baby. Plenty of Priscillas and Eden silk pouches too. The Della Q clothes line is full up, folks, so fill the pouches with your projects!

26 November 2010

Christmas shopping for fiber people

If you're reading this blog, you more than likely are a fiber person or you have a fiber person in your family or your circle of friends. A fiber person is usually someone who always has a little bag with some knitting or crocheting that comes out either at home or in public places when there's time to sit. They're also known to wear handmade knitted or crocheted garments. You know the type. They're creative and usually quite personable and friendly. If you're a fiber person buying for another fiber person, you know the score: what do get, how much to get, things that are practical, usable, or just plain cute. If you're the girlfriend of a fiber person, or even the boyfriend of one, or even just a platonic friend, a co-worker, or a relative, but you don't engage in fiber arts, here're some tips for you while searching out niftiness for your person. The most uncomplicated approach is a gift certificate. That way, your friend can come in and find the project he likes or the bag that she needs. If the thought of a certificate is a bit too impersonal for you, then you'll have to shop a little, and think, just for a bit, like a fiber person. The easiest strategy for a non-knitter or non-crocheter is to find notions or bags. A good collection of notions and such is always appreciated: individual packets of markers, pins, counters, darning needles, a Knit Kit, project bags/pouches, knitting bags, winders, and swifts make excellent gifts. If you're a bit more adventurous and would like to gift a project or project supplies (yarn/needles/hooks/patterns), we can help you with that. You may need to hunt down a pattern for whatever project you're thinking of. Otherwise, a general idea is necessary: sweater, vest, hat/scarf, socks. Generally, these things require a supply of yarn. One of the biggest mistakes non-fiber folks do in a yarn shop is to attempt to make a "yarn bouquet" or a "yarn gift bag": a hodgpodge collection of solitary balls/hanks/skeins in a bag for a knitter. In such a case, if the fiber person lives here in town, I can anticipate his/her visit within a few days of receiving the bouquet in order to exchange a host of orphan Annies for a supply of something to make a project. When buying yarn, it's necessary to buy enough of it to be usable. A well-intentioned "bouquet" of twelve different 87 yard balls, although received with gratitude, will more than likely end up being restocked in favor of a sweater supply of 10 identical skeins. You can shop for chocolates by selecting 12 different ones for the same box, but yarn doesn't work like that. Guys who don't knit or crochet: don't think you'll be out of place at Vermilion Bay Yarn when you walk in. Remember, VBYC has a vibrant men's knitting group on Monday nights, so you're not out of place. In fact, you'd probably enjoy learning to knit or crochet and joining us each week on Mondays. When you come in, feel free to ask questions about anything. There are never silly questions here, and when you come in you're never interrupting anything we're doing! Come on in and find a gift or two for the groovy fiber folks on your list!

A Bounty of Color!

Just in time for Christmas knitting and crochet projects! Take a look at these colorful beauties from Cascade. In the next 72 hours or so, also be looking for fabulous Nature Spun and Lamb's Pride worsted from Brown sheep, as well as bags and accessories from Della Q (we love our Della bags and pouches!), as well as new designs from Namaste. Whether you're a knitter or a crocheter, or even if you don't engage in any of those scandelous activities, there's plenty here for your projects, or for the projects of the special fiber artisan in your life!

24 November 2010

Knitting Notes: The Schaefer Criss Cross

This piece is conceived for 2 hanks of Laurel, worsted weight mercerized cotton yarn, on size 8 needles. The cast-on happens along the length of the piece, which, if using the original yarn, really does require a circular needle of length. I'm currently working up the Criss Cross as a custom knit, but I'm not using Laurel. I'm using Audrey, a fingering weight yarn (50/50 silk/merino) on size 6's. The original Laurel version has a complex bank of interlocking fringe on each end, but because of the nature and personality of the Audrey, I've opted out of the fringing and have changed the knitting orientation completely, working the piece from end to end on fewer stitches, instead of casting on the length and working side to side. The pattern operates on multiples of 6, so it's simply a matter of working out the gauge to equal the appropriate dimensions. The wrap can be simplified as well into a scarf with one hank of Laurel the same way, working a number about a quarter of the original cast on and knitting from end to end. It's a versatile pattern, and knitting orientation really makes no difference. Now, needles. In order to make the criss cross row, there is a set-up row before involving multiple yo's. I started out this piece as indicated, using a circular needle. With this thinner yarn, the circular just didn't cut it, although it splayed out my stitches nicely at the end of each row and I could see the whole piece lying flat. What I've found is that in such profusion (with a lighter yarn), the yo's don't behave well as they come up onto the needle join (no, stop right there: I know what you're thinking: "well, if you'd use a Blah Blah Zingaling Needle with a rainbow cable and ultra sharp surgical Doodledee and invisible signatorial Blitzerang, you'd have no troubles with that." It makes no difference. I tried the Blitzerangs and the Zeedlzotts as well as the Chickaleeta Rainbow Zippitydobs. These yo's just don't like needle joins, regardless who made the needles, what continent they're from, or how well they slice, dice, speak foreign languages, or make pesto). So, if you're working on smaller weight yarn and knitting from end to end, I suggest this (gasp!): use a good old fashioned 14" Brittany Birch straight needle. Yo's are happy, and they don't get all twisted up with the knits, and stitch drops are much less frequent. If you haven't tried the Criss Cross, you're going to love it. You get fabric pretty quickly because of the dropped yo's, and the design is interesting. The weight of the yarn varies the look of the piece, and you can accomodate different yarn weights simply by taking a different approach to the knitting orientation. The pattern is available here for purchase alone, or it's free with the purchase of a yarn supply. This project is worry free, really, and quite makeable by knitters of all levels of experience. The row cycle is memorizable, which makes the project mobile. Make a Criss Cross Wrap!

23 November 2010


It's Thanksgiving week, and folks are on the move: leaving town to visit relatives and friends elsewhere, and folks coming into town to visit loved ones here. It's a busy week, that's for sure. In observance of the Thanksgiving holiday, The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company will be closed on Thursday, November 25th. But that's the only day this week we will be closed. The regular weekly schedule remains unchanged, including tonight's Knit Cafe from 6-8. VBYC, your local yarn shop, will re-open after the one-day Thanksgiving break on Friday, November 26th at 10:00am. Of course the most important part of a yarn shop is YOU. That's what makes VBYC what it is: this diverse mixture of unique people from all walks of life coming together in one place to share a common interest: the creation of terrific fiber items. In the process, we find out that we're not all so different from each other after all. Everyone adds a bit of themselves to the mixture and the result is an exciting and energetic melting pot of ideas. I am thankful to all of you for helping create such a place where ideas are shared openly where friends are made, relationships are forged, and where everyone can be themselves without fear of reprisal, judgement, or ridicule. In our cynical, crass, and caustic world, it's good to have an oasis to escape to where we can just "be". To everyone who frequents Knit Cafe, Men's Knit Club, Sunday Tea, and to all the folks who stop in every day throughout the day: Thank you so much. YOU are The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company. Happy Thanksgiving!

19 November 2010

La Vie en Rouge

It's getting to be Merry Christmas time, and look here! Our friends at The Knit Kit are putting us in a mighty festive mood with this Christmastime treat: The Knit Kit in red! It's the Christmas edition! How neat is that? Count out the changes in all your festival projects with this dandy all-in-one marvel packed with the things you need to do the job right, along with a good dose of Christmas cheer (eggnog not included). If that just wasn't enough, I paired the beautiful new red Kits in the display with some festive red Cascade Pastaza, a terrific 50/50 blend of Lama and Wool. Making an Einstein coat for yourself or your honey this Christmas? Make it from this! Folks who have used Pastaza years and years ago for project happily report that those garments just keep on going strong as if they just were finished yesterday. Pastaza is durable and long-lasting. Pick up a red Knit Kit and some Pastaza while you're at it! Merry Christmas!

11 November 2010

Schaefer Audrey in Kubler-Ross. 5 Steps to Fabulous. 1 Exquisite Yarn.
Schaefer Color. Schaefer Sock. Your Feet on Clouds.

One Nail ain't a manicure; one Sock ain't a pair.

I've heard it said that some folks never make socks because they would never finish the second one, maybe not even start it. Eh? Reminds me of the gal who paints the nail on her thumb, brushes the sweat off her brow, throws her new bottle of Passionate Vampire Lover Red into the corner and declares: "Ok, I'm bored. I'll just paint the one and be done." Not that I'm saying that's kooky or anything, but, that's just a bit kooky. If you've never tried making socks, my advice is not even to entertain the notion of making a drawerful of partnerless wonders, unless you have a clown suit to match. Look at a sock project this way: it's a two part deal. The project isn't done until you've made a pair. Just because you've grafted a toe doesn't mean you're done. There's still a second part. Some people fight the one-sock-for-me-thanks phobia by working two socks at once in order to fool the brain that it's just one sock, and that's fine. But don't think that that really, really saves any time. It takes about the same amount of clock time to work two at a time as it does to work two, one after the other. The only thing that two-at-a-time cures is the slight differences between one sock and its partner. Time wise, you're getting the super deal of three for the price of three, or as socks go, two for the price of two. Bottom line, you've gotta do two. It's just how it is. So instead of resolving only to make half the project, consider that the one project has two parts, like a sweater has a front and a back, and two sleeves. The bind off edge or grafted toe doesn't always mean "finish line"!

10 November 2010


This month offers several great knitting classes! This coming Saturday, we'll start the Schaefer Criss Cross wrap. If you like the Clapotis, you'll adore the Criss Cross. The pattern is free with the purchase of yarn. The Criss Cross wrap project will be a Knit-Along. The piece was conceived with Schaefer Laurel in mind, but there are certainly other yarns that will work well with the pattern, depending upon the look you're after. Sign up and join us for this exciting Knit Along! The following weekend is all about technique: fixing mistakes and reading patterns. How often have we all painted ourselves into a corner with common knitting errors and oopses? It's a drag when we're knitting late at night, experience a crisis, and then have to wait until the yarn shop opens. Expand your tool kit on November 20th to be able to correct anything your knitting decides to do. And what about those crazy patterns that make no sense at all? There are some great designs around, but the pattern writing often leaves little to be desired (re-read my post about "Chinese Firedrill Patterns"), as folks are having to resort to massive re-writes even to make sense of stitching sequences poorly charted or vaguely explained. So that makes it necessary to sharpen our decoding skills by using what we know in order to interpret what is alluded to on the page. We'll finish up the month with socks on Double Points. You've seen several of us knitting socks using this time-tested, often derided as "old fashioned" method -- which requires no markers at all, since by nature of the needle frame, all the parts of the sock are clearly visible. It's a perfect method to learn the geometry of the sock, and knowledge of it makes other sock-making methods much easier to learn, since the technique is so simple and most like knitting a flat piece of fabric. Using a set of 5 DPN's might look intimidating, but it's really much simpler than having to deal with an unwieldy 40-inch cable, tangled yarns, and confusing needle tips. Once you know how the sock works, then trying to tame the cables and the twosies at a timesies isn't so bad. I offer sock making classes in a sequence: DPN's, 2 circs, then Magic Loop. Take them all, then decide which you like the best! Sign up for classes! We'll see you soon!

09 November 2010

Color me needled

What with all the preparations for the cruise, accumulating the knitting things to pack, including yarns, needles, and notions, I have neglected the famous needle wall. Sad. But no fear! The replenishments are now starting to arrive! Addi turbo actually came in from the Pacific Northwest in less than a week! That's a good sign, since that means the Chiaogoo is pretty soon to follow. Nothing beats a sharp tipped CG needle, especially for lace or when working with "splitty" yarns. Crochet hooks too, folks. Those spectacular CG all-bamboo hooks leave all others in the dust! Accurate, light-weight, strong. Fans of Brittany Birch rejoice! Medium sized needles in long and short lengths are on their way too as well as double points! Those of you who prefer the J-shaped cable needle thing when doing the Twist are in luck. I'm endulging your envie. Look for the J-shaped cable needles on the wall in a few days. When you're not cabling, the things also do well to catch gators. So, you're asking what does the Erte dame have to do with needles? Nothing at all. But I bet her outfit would great with an Onyx shawl stick.

Stick it to 'em!

Add a little bling to your already terrific and fashionable wrap. Three new outstanding bits of niftiness are pinned up and looking good: The onyx shawl stick, the lace stick, and the amazing Evil Eye Talisman shawl stick. Treat yourself to a little gift or gift someone with any of these new and wonderful items.

04 November 2010

Hey Dude, Where's my newsletter?

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. This month's newsletter is the CRUISE EDITION, so that means it contains that spiffy travelogue from our FABULOUS knitting cruise. It's a whopping 6 page newsletter, double the size of our standard 3-pager! With any narrative, I have to write it out, then edit, then edit a couple more times. The final draft of the entire November Light is done, and I will devote much of this afternoon to reading the final draft and making any last minute changes. The next step of course is to update our mailing list and prepare the mailings. But in the end, you are guaranteed a quality newsletter that actually has news and information, and a bit of humor too (we all need that). Fans of the "Indisposed" pic will be happy: I did include a pic for y'all! Stuart is taking a hiatus this month. He's still fussy about being left alone for a week, although he does report that he enjoyed being visited by knitter Scott Meddows while I was on the ship. Classes for November have been planned, and I posted them already here on the blog. Please take note that I'm offering classes in Fixing Mistakes and Pattern Reading! Put the dates on your calendar and come sign up! In the next couple days, you'll be getting your copy of The Vermilion Bay Light: Cruise Edition! As always, if you'd like to receive a copy of the newsletter, send me your email. If you haven't been getting yours, but should be, keep me updated!

26 October 2010

Lana, Lana, Lana Bambu

Luxurious fabric. A spa day on a hank. Lana Bambu.

Wool of Gold

So this is what Rumplestiltskin was spinning? I'm pretty sure it is, based on the name: Wool of Gold, as it's named. Cascade calls it by its Italian name: "Lana D'oro". This worsted weight yarn is a half and half blend of Alpaca and wool, not as heavy as wool, and not as hairy and sheddy as alpaca. Christmas knitting is going on right now! Choose Lana D'oro for that fabulous vest or sweater for that special person in your life! Lana D is terrific for the standard scarfnhat, but it's even better for a sweater.

07 October 2010

Ariosa and Moorland

What do you get when you combine the softest fibers on earth into two yarns? First off, you take cashmere and blend it with merino wool to make Ariosa: a chunky, quick knit yarn that works up into terrific garments for yourself and those on your Christmas list. And how about taking merino, alpaca, and mohair? That combo gets you Moorland. Soft soft softness with a very slight halo. These yarns certainly fall into that category of "why make a scarfnhat with this?" That's like sending a cart load of New York strips through the meat grinder and making taco salad. Go for the gusto! Sweater, Vest, Wrap. Get the most of this fantastic yarn! In the bins now!

05 October 2010

Lana Grossa Update: No New LG anywhere in the States, yet!

Many of you Lana Grossa fans -- especially the sock yarn fans -- will be happy to hear a fall yarn update. I just got off the phone with Dana at Muench (the company which distributes LG in the United States), who has informed me that all the new yarns from LG have been delayed once again on their trip from Europe to America. In short, no one here in the States has the new Lana Grossa yarns and/or colors for fall 2010, yet. Now this: bad news for sock knitters: Azalia stretch and Azalia cotton have been discontinued (requiem aeternam and all that...clack clack, clack). However, a glimmer of hope has just beamed from the West Coast right before the Azalia train runs out: I was able to score a few more balls of it before it's completely gone. So, when it gets here, stock up for your sock drawer, 'cause after this, there ain't gonna be no more! It ships today. Watch the blog and facebook for the announcement of Azalia's final coming. On the flip side, the new transitional colorways of LG are among those still stuck on the dock on the Continent. So as soon as your mourning period ends for the Azalia, your new LG sock fix will be pulling in at Muench to be shipped to VBYC. But what about the new fall LG's? The new colors of Chiara? The new bulky scarf yarns? The pattern books? All still stuck on the dock on the other side of the pond. Now for more bad LG news: Ciao, the mega super fall/winter last minute scarf hit is, yes, discontinued. Sic transit gloria mundi, as they say. All things must pass...no different for our old friend Ciao. So, while we're waiting for the new Lana Grossa, VBYC is extending its sale of selected LG yarns to all LG yarns in stock. That's right. All Lana Grossa yarns currently in stock at VBYC are 50% off -- including the remaining inventory of Ciao. I thank you all for your patience regarding the Lana Grossa fall line. We're not the only one waiting. All our sister and brother yarn communities throughout the States are in the same situation.

29 September 2010

You saw them in Vogue. Pretty Nifty.

From our friends at Boye comes this interesting, simple device that can help demystify the magic of gauge. It's like having the knowledge of the entire Hogwarts School of Wizardry all condensed onto a simple rotary card. Well, maybe not, but close. What's the difference between Sport and DK? What the heck is DK? What crochet hook goes with what yarn? The 3 in 1 Tool will help you establish a general relationship between yarn size and needle/hook size. Now that I've lauded the virtues of this nifty item, I must say this: despite the tool's glorious and magnificent information, the ease to use it, and its magical ability to reveal about 95% of the hidden secrets of gauging knitted and crocheted fabric, the tool is just that: a tool. It has no brain and does not understand that it is possible to knit on lace weight yarn with a size 6 needle. So, in order to get that final 5% of the whole picture, it's necessary to be willing and open to experiment. The tool is a great item and will help make things easier for you, but it's not the Holy Grail of gauge. It's more like Merlin's hat. If you have trouble understanding how gauge works, this thing can help you figure out the basics.

27 September 2010

Sometimes it just makes you scratch your head

They call it a Chinese Fire Drill. Many of us have been in on such nutty capers at some point, usually back in the college days. The CFD falls into the same category as swallowing gold fish or cramming 50 bodies into a VW Beetle. Just to refresh, here's how it's done: the car pulls up to a stop sign or stops at a red light. The occupants (including the driver) pile out of the car, run around the vehicle as fast as possible and return to the seats they had filled before. It's nonsense, really. There's no purpose to it, other than to do it. The other day, we came across an interesting pattern at the shop. Someone had downloaded the thing from the net: a sock pattern. The pattern's owner had read through the instructions and wanted me to see whether it seemed kosher. Here lately, I'm starting to wonder whether pattern writers sit around a huge conference table somewhere, attempting to out-pattern each other. The one with most incomprehensible, vague, and ambiguous knitting instructions at the end of the day wins the challenge. Meanwhile we're left sitting in our knitting chairs reading something a bit less comprehensible than ancient Sumarian, yarn neatly in a ball, needles empty, our cat yawning at our feet waiting for the fiber action to commense. Come on folks, it's a pair of socks. Navel gazing. Seriously? The socks were made on 3 needles, 64 stitches total. Personally, I'd have opted for 4 needles, 16 stitches on each needle. This nifty pattern requested three: 1 with 16, the 2nd with 32 and the third with 16. You can just about imagine what sort of whackomatic angles that stitch distribution might produce. At any rate, the pattern master had the knitter boogying along down the leg to the heel flap enjoying the cramped comfort of an obtuse isosceles triangle. 16, 32, 16 for however many inches. The designer had envisioned the heel flap coming up from 32 stitches. That's fine, right? After all, the knitting was going on in the round (i.e. circle: no ending, no beginning), and there was already a needle with 32 stitches. So, just knit on over to the 32 stitch needle and make a spiffy heel flap, yes? No. Now, here comes the Chinese Fire Drill: the pattern instructed to work the 16 stitches of needle one, then turn, work the 16 stitches back, then work the stitches from the 3rd needle onto the first. Finally, with the free needle, we were commanded carefully to transfer 16 stitches from the original needle with 32 (the second needle) stitches in order to produce -- yes -- two needles with 16 stitches each. You've just experienced what it's like to be in the car behind the one in line at the intersection as its doors swing open, 4 goofs pile out, run a complete circle, then re-board, just in time to pop the clutch and be on their way. It's funny when we come across patterns like this, unless we're a relatively new knitter and are turned off by something that seems so terrifically complicated, but really isn't. Pattern reading often takes a bit of puzzling out if things seem vague. This is my suggestion: envision what it is that the pattern wants you to do. Figure out the knitting landscape. And don't second guess your gut feeling. If you think something might be easier to do another way, try doing it another way. The pattern is not a legal document. We can break those rules if they need to be broken. Just because someone in the car suggests a CFD at Kaliste Saloom and Ambassador, doesn't mean that you really need to do that. Experiment if things gets fuzzy. What's the worst that can happen? After seeing the Fire Drill sock pattern, I offer this great scarf pattern that you'll never finish. It's the ultimate navel gazer scarf. It's harder than anything you'll ever do, and you'll be guaranteed never to reach the end:
CO 25 Row 1: Sl 25 turn. Row 2: Rep Row 1. These two rows complete pattern. Continue in pattern until work measures 60" from cast-on edge. BO in pattern, fringe ends if desired.

22 September 2010

It's only appropriate...

...that these fabulous Japanese inventions we all love receive a few laurels, and in a truly Japanese way too. Officially, they're called "Mini Kacha Kachas", but around here, we just call them "Frogs" because 1) they're green like many frogs 2) the face of the counter looks like a frog face, and most of all 3) "Frog" is easier to say than "Mini Kacha Kacha". I for one can hardly ever remember what they're really called. I always want to say"Mini Titicacas" when ordering them from Eric up in Portland (our friendly and knowledgable ordering guy). We love us some Frog counters. They're practical, they're not gigantic, they don't get in our way dangling from our needle or stuck onto the end of it, the numbers don't change while they're sitting in our knitting bags, and they're green. Little groovy things that keep us on the straight and narrow, as long as we can find them in our stuff. VBYC just received another shipment of Frogs the other day, and I came on the idea that it would be interesting to sit down and compose some Haikus about our favorite fiber work notion: Frog Haikus. Crazy fun. Here are three of them:
Cute, petite green Frog Hanging from his I-chord perch Counts all my mistakes. Frenzied knitter, lost. Knitting bag a mess with yarn. Frog is out to lunch. Amphibian face, Busiest of all my tools, Counts a different sock.
So now that I've confessed my ueber-nerdy affection for weird poetry genres, you may be digging around in your fiber bag looking for something to count rows, stitches, decreases and such, and all you come up with is a post-it pad and a pen. You need a Frog, my dear!

15 September 2010


Jane has emailed supplies information for all classes to be offered aboard Carnival Triumph during the knitting cruise. This is information regarding the classes I am teaching. I will be teaching a lace project as well as a technique class to fix common knitting mistakes. The lace class information included three (3) different yarns. These yarns are three possibilities that I suggest to make the lace project. You may select any of these three yarns for your project. You may select more than one or all three, if you would like to make several scarves using the same pattern. That option is up to you. It is not required that you purchase all three yarns, but of course you will need to select at least one. The Tilli Tomas is 100% silk with prestrung beads. The Rowan felted tweed is a DK weight tweed yarn. The Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace is lace weight yarn in a silk and alpaca blend. Both Tilli and Felted Tweed are DK weight, smaller than worsted, bigger than sock yarn. The Classic Elite is lace weight -- smaller than sock yarn. To help you decide: The silk will make a high-end, dressy and elegant piece. The beads catch the light and cause the silk to shine. The Tweed can be dressy or casual depending on how you wear it. It's tweed and goes anywhere, looks great with just about anything. It's a good everyday yarn, it's a good dressy yarn. Alpaca Lace will give you a true lace look. It's a fine strand, and you'll use smaller needles. The lace weight produces a piece that is light and open. It does just as well for formal ensembles as for a day-to-day look. So, when making your decision, think of this: what are you planning to do with this lace scarf? What would it accent? Where would you wear it? What sorts of accents do you usually wear? Do you dress up frequently? If you attend Mardi Gras balls, formal mixers, society events, formal supper clubs, or just like to make a bold statement, use the Tilli. If you need a good, all around, reliable scarf for cooler weather or just a little burst of color for a casual outfit to meet your friends for lunch at Chili's, use Felted Tweed. If you need a rather understated, elegant accent piece for day to day use, going to church, or even for some formal occasions, something light-weight that doesn't get in the way and has really no other purpose that to make you look fabulous, choose the lace weight. If you plan to give the scarf as a gift, consider these same things regarding the person on your gift list. Decide what sort of yarn and the look you'd like. Then, decide what COLOR or COLOR DIRECTION you would like. What colors do you usually wear? What colors are your other accent pieces? What colors look good on you? Are there particular colors that make you look good, go well with your skin tone, eyes, hair color? These are the colors you should consider. Colors that wash you out, or clash with your skin tone are colors you should avoid. Some people can wear orange well, but others wearing orange will actually look orange. The same goes for pale colors. Folks with blonde hair and fair skin may look like ghosts in some colors like pale yellow. Open your closet and pick the outfit that you feel looks best on you. Consider the colors in that outfit and make your color choice. This color choice and the type of yarn is the information I need to know. Before classes begin, you will be have plenty of time to purchase the supplies you need for your classes. Based on your color preferences, which you will have given me, I will have with me selections in all three yarns in those colors on board the ship . I will also have the needles you will need to use with each yarn. If you haven't done so, it is VITALLY IMPORTANT that you let Jane know NOW which classes you would like to take, so that I can finalize my on-board inventory. The closer we get to the cruise date, the fewer options you will have regarding colors of yarns. Regarding the Fixing Mistakes technique class: you will receive a supplies kit which consists of a portion of yarn and needles. This is what we will use for the class. The yarn weight and color don't matter for this, since it's not a project we're after, but fixing techniques. Bottom line here: don't stress out over all this. Pick your classes, select your color favorites and preferences and let us know.

14 September 2010

Kate The Great!

Named for the famed Russian Tsarina, Catherine the Great is a Schaefer colorway with bold pinks, fuchias and forrest greens. What to do with this fabulous yarn? I suggest creating the fabulous criss cross wrap. First there was the Clapotis, now there this amazingly stunning and beautiful creation.

09 September 2010

Like she said...

All Debbie Bliss Yarns in stock are 50% off while supplies last! Como, Rialto, Pure Silk, Prima.

It begins to tell....'round midnight....

And so begins the Thelonious Monk jazz classic. If you haven't heard Ella Fitzgerald sing it, you haven't had your soul melt, and you haven't experienced a jazzy musical winter. Pour a martini, sit back and take a listen. Smooth like Grey Goose and two olives. Jazz. Autumntime signals nature's winding down for winter sleep. What once was lush, green, starts to thin, fade. Soon, skeletal stalks and bare branches alone remain as nature slumbers. When Ella finishes those languid runs, our musical pulse is suspended until the voice comes to rest, the piano stills, and we're left gazing out into the distance. It's mystic, this gladsome sadness! Stacy Charles champions these aromatic autumn and blustery winter moods in the collection of the same name as the Monk standard: Round Midnight. When I first heard the title of the story, my first thought was New Year's Eve Party: a line of glitzy fabulousness intended for a sparkly, festive bash of sequins, diamonds, glitter, cocktails, counting backwards from 10, Moet 5 Star, slurred regrets, broken resolutions, running masquera, lampshade hats at dawn, and bleary-eyed Mimosas in the Quarter (it's a sin to waste half a bottle of Moet). However when I opened the book, what I saw wasn't this at all. Photographed on a backdrop of leafless trees, fallen and dry foliage, the collection is much more Ella's Midnight, than the other one of clanging cathedral bells on Jackson Square. The song, if you don't know it, is lonely, but not depressed. Love is gone, yet expected to return -- like the leaves in spring. The Charles designs inject color into a drab landscape. They catch your eye and, with their jazzy magic, keep you engaged. The Stacy Charles Round Midnight Collection. "Let our hearts take wings 'round midnight...Till our love is safe and sound. And old Midnight comes around."

07 September 2010

Mystery Lace Tips

Those of you who are working on the "Mystery Lace" piece by Julius Schuerer are more than likely nearing the end of the crocheted central netting and are about to embark upon the first of the knitted tiers. This pattern dates from the late 1940's or early 1950's. It is more than likely that folks who worked this amazing pattern back then knitted it using double points, enough of them to make it all the way around the oval. Don't worry. You don't have to do that. I'm not (yeah, I know. Jason without DPN's. Weird, but true). Use two circulars, one on each side of the oval. Length? Since we're all working the pattern in different yarn weights and using different size needles and hooks, you be the judge regarding the length of circular needle you'll require. I'm using a fingering weight yarn about the size of sock yarn, and I started on 16" needles. I'm seeing that I will probably really need to use 24" needles. Now, the knitting chart. It's accurate, but it doesn't reflect what the finished knitted tier really looks like (if you haven't gotten a picture of the piece yet, ask me for one). Disregard the open blocks in the chart. They don't stand for stitches. They're just open blocks. Hang a marker on the loop at the end of the crocheted oval to begin picking up stitches. Stitches are picked up THROUGH the loop, not from the chain stitches. In this case, you will need to "pick up and knit." Catch the working yarn, bring it up through the loop, transfer the loop to the left needle and knit it. Do this for each stitch you pick up. The key to following this chart is to focus and pay attention. I highly recommend running a life line through your work now and then, since this pattern is so jealous, it's really a bear to tink out, and if you get lost, then, well, you're lost, even if you leave breadcrumbs in your path. The beginning of the round isn't always clear, until you've completed the chart twice, but you'll know you're off, if you're off. As you move through the chart and around the oval, take mental note of the geography of the lace: where are the yo's, how many knits are there between yo's, etc. The long strands between the waves are created by the double yarn overs. When you're knitting in double yarn overs, you will knit the first yo through the front, then the second yo through the back. Otherwise, you will loose the second yo and your stitch count will go south. When you set down your work, leave some sort of specific record exactly where you are, so that you can continue where you left off. This pattern is a challenge, but the reward is really worth it! Keep knitting!

Filatura and Tahki

Hellenophiles rejoice! Xaire, Tahki! Lovers of things Italian join the strain! Salve, Filatura! Two wonderful yarn lines join the Vermilion Bay family this month: Tahki, 100% mercerized cotton spun in Greece, and Filatura di Crosa, one of Italy's leading yarn mills -- awesome patterns from Filatura!

The Newsletter is Out!

You all should have received your copy of the September newsletter sometime last Saturday. If you did not receive yours, or if you would like to receive it, but don't, please let me know. Be sure that you keep me updated with your email address changes. Also, the scheduled classes for the month have been posted here on the blog. There's a little description of each in the newsletter. If you can't make a scheduled time, schedule a time that works better for you. I know that you all will want to start on this fantastically terrific "Sean" scarf from the Rowan Lima collection (pictured to the left). The collection has been so popular, I will be reordering a supply of the books, so sit tight -- more will be forthcoming by the time the class is scheduled.

31 August 2010

With Hat tips to Evelyn Waugh

Fair Isle Revisited. First we saw the fantastic multi-color knits of the Russian Doll in Rowan's astounding Fall Magazine. Now, you can join the Bliss bandwagon for a sporty jaunt through the English countryside and make a journey to re-discover more fantastic color (maybe not in that floral skirt, Sebastian, but, hey, the sweater's fabu!). Next time you're at VBYC, pick up your copy of the fall/winter edition of Debbie Bliss Magazine. You'll find some lovely fashions there, and as expected from Bliss, several wonderful designs for children.

Unless you look great on a white horse....

Sure, sometimes you need a button just to do what buttons do: close things up in order to keep you from sporting the Lady Godiva look in public. Sometimes, you need a button that does a little more. To keep things fastened together, but also to look terrific. Then there are the times you just need something that looks terrific, adds a bit of zip, sparkle, pizzazz. Here's the good news: Vermilion Bay Yarn has buttons that do all these things, and in a good selection of materials too: wood, metal, wire, clay, glass, shell, stone, bone. Also, there are many vintage buttons and button sets in various colors and sizes. If your garment requires buttons, you know where to come.

27 August 2010

Highly Groovy and Extremely Practical

If you haven't yet seen the Namaste Messenger bags, come on in and take a look. I'll be getting one of these for myself for sure. It was either a lime green Laguna or this black Messenger bag. For me, the messenger is just the thing. The heavy duty fabric is just plain cool -- and the thing has loads of pockets and zip compartments. I don't use a laptop, but if I did, it would find a comfortable home right next to the knitting. The closure is magnetic, so no snaps to fuss with. Just slap it closed and it's closed. What's more, the magic closures are hidden inside the bag, so completely invisible. More than just the plain swellness of this new item from Namaste is that it doesn't scream "Welcome to my knitting bag....LOOK, my KNITTING bag! I'm carrying a KNITTING bag". It just says "I'm a Namaste Messenger and I'm as groovy, cool, friendly, and generally personable as the one carrying me. And you'll love me even more when you see that I'm carrying some fabulous sweater pieces, 25 Chiagoo needles, yarn, and a fabulous Rowan pattern book. And when you see my owner knitting, you'll want to knit too, mostly because then you'll get to carry a Messenger Bag just like me." So, ok. Maybe the bag isn't as verbose as that, but folks who see you with one sure will have plenty good to say! Thumbs up on the messenger. If you're not a messenger type of guy or gal, then try out the Hip Holster. Small, pert and a bit sassy. Light-weight too. Wear the Hipster on your belt, strap it around you with the belt (that's included) or use it with the shoulder strap (also included). It's big enough for a small project or portion of a larger project, has closed compartments on the front, and ample storage inside. Both new designs from Namaste are getting rave reviews from everyone who's experienced them. And one last thing: the picture here shows a guy with the Messenger (at least I think it's a guy....unless the circus was in town, and the bearded lady was available to pose with the bag). It's usable and wearable by either guys or gals, men or ladies. If it seems masculine to you, madame, tie a scarf around the strap.

20 August 2010

New Hair Cut, No Beard

At least not a full beard anymore. My hair has of late enjoyed much celebrity. When most of you met me, I had it very short. Buzzed, actually, and I wore a full beard. Then, I was in "Social Security" at Abbey Players, playing a Long Island accountant in the 1980's. No buzz back then. In fact, back then -- and y'all remember -- the hair motto was "the bigger, the better", so I let it grow and grow, and grow, and grow until it became a Mozart coiffure. Beard too. This is when my hair really won great notariety, and even applied for its own zip code. I heard that there was a petition for a court order to lower my ears, and if that failed, I would be visited at midnight by an angry, short-haired posse of conservative hair advocates (known as the "Burger King Hair Police": they want your hair their way) who would shine a light in my eyes, bind my limbs and shave off my offending locks! I had already scheduled a soiree for a dramatic reading of Alexander Pope's mock epic The Rape of the Lock. But alas, sigh. Mandate, Schmandate! My hair is my hair. It's attached to my head, after all. All the hoopla about my heaping tresses suddenly awoke a tiny bit of defiance. I hauled out my vinyl (yes, I am that old to have a vinyl copy of it) recording of "Hair". There's something devilishly fun about watching people quibble about something that's really none of their concern and which, ultimately, they have no control over: sort of like my worrying that ants might invade the picnic basket of the young couple on the other side of the park. It's their basket, their potato salad, their ants, their problem. My head, my hair, my Aussie Super Hold Gel. So, instead of cutting it all off again, I just kept it. Under control, but I kept it. And it gets wavy when it's long. Wavy and curly. But now, enough of wavy and curly. Last week, I went to my friend Blaine and told him to work his magic, take a look at my hair, and fix it the way it needs to be fixed. And he did. And I like it. There's a bit of length, but it's as easy to maintain as a buzz cut. I hate using a comb. And with this, I don't need a comb. In fact, when I had my 1980's hair back for a while, I had to search my bathroom cabinets for a comb, finally locating one in a long-forgotton men's toiletry kit I received probably sometime in the mid 1980's. The following morning, admiring my new easy-care doo, I scorned my full beard, pulled out my Wahl "Peanut" (yes, that's what it's really called) and transformed the scruffy beard into a neat goatee. So there. Like it or not, new hair cut and new goatee.