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:

Salsa

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

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.

Options:
cilantro
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!)
peaches/mango
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!
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