Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Cost of High End Knitting

I am sure most knitters would be appalled that I am going to have a little jab at what some yarns cost. I understand there are people out there in the knitting world that raise their own sheep, spin their own wool and dye it as well. God bless as I would be a horrible spinner, I think.
My pocket book allows me the low end of the yarn scale and they have all done the job, though there are a few I would never buy again. One of my absolutely favorite soft affordable yarn is Homespun by Lion Brand. I have made countless scarves and neckwarmers with that yarn and people have loved them. Other favorite yarns are alpacas and cashmere and yes, you can tell a difference between acrylic and alpaca. I would love to own alpacas but that is a whole other odd obsession we should not get into.
My big issue is when I find a project I adore, I hate having to find a more affordable yarn to replace the $36 skein (YOWZA!!).  Look at this Pixie Dust Yarn by Knit Collage. It is just GORGEOUS!!!

And this is the blanket you can knit with said yarn.

I would love to knit that beauty, curl up and just chill with some tea and scones and a movie or a book. But then I saw I needed 12 skeins. At $36.60 a skein, you need 12 to make the blanket. That makes the cost $439. I nearly fell off my office chair. (Actually, I think I cursed out loud. Let us hope my son is not destined to have his mother's potty mouth.)They do suggest a more "affordable" yarn, Magnum by Cascade, but again, at $22.60, $271 is still A LOT for a blanket. 
Now, I know someone will argue that you want good quality and you need to pay for it. Right on. But I have never in my life paid over $200 for a blanket and I am not going to start now. The same with sweaters. I have seen countless sweaters I want to knit, but the "suggested" yarn ended up adding to over $200. Uh, no, I am knitting so I don't have to spend a lot. When I look at beautiful high end knitting work I admire it, but it is also irritating that a knitting project should be out of my reach financially. It is weird to think "hey, great blanket, but can't afford the materials." Sort of a drag. I get that the specialty yarns that someone is creating is one of a kind and so they should charge more than they average retail store. That does not mean I will not get miffed that I can't buy the product to make something ordinary like a scarf look extraordinary. Here is a great example of handspun specialty yarn at The Yarn Wench. God I would love to make a shawl or something with that yarn. Lament, lament, lament...
 I want to know who are these knitters that can afford these pricey jewels because I have yet to meet anyone who knits that buys this type of yarn or has it in their stash. For me, my wool yarns are the highlight of my stash. I love them so that there are times I just look at them and imagine what they will be. Yes, this is the mind of a knitter. Embrace us because it will never change.
Maybe if I come into money one day I will treat myself to high end yarn and make something like this blanket, but in the meantime I will be satisfied with my array of wool yarns, alpaca yarns and even my acrylics, which I bought with a 40% off coupon. :)


Monday, October 22, 2012

Colorful Countertops

I am battling a cold. There is no fun in that when one is responsible for a very active, almost ten month old child who gets cheap thrills from licking radiator valves. I have no explanation to this and thank the Baby Jesus the radiators are not on due to the nice weather.

I have also had the fortune of finding ways to write, even when little man is up and moving about because he self entertains himself very well. This is after training mommy to remove all pet food bowls, especially the water filed ones, and to follow him from room to room with computer in hand. Our go pod and pack n play are wonderful tools and come in handy when I need to go to the bathroom or just need to sit for a minute.

Anyway, in regards to the title of this post. I think it was on,(Yes ANOTHER kitchen design site. I have a problem, I know it, I admit it and quite frankly, am not ashamed), where I came across a post about "Bold Colored Countertops". While I am not sure I would do this in my kitchen, I do think they would work great in a guest bathroom or a laundry room. For me, I would do the turquoise or green with white cabinets in the laundry room I do not have, but will one day.

Oh yes, yes I will.

Pretty isn't it?

While most people prefer the granite and all white themes, I think if you can add a shot of color somewhere,why not the laundry room? It is the one place you need a little boost of happiness and cheer right? Even the idea of doing it in a powder room or small guest bath appeals to me because it is a way to add some fun to a neutral palette without being overwhelming and expensive if you want to change it like you would if it was done in a kitchen. Of course, if you are Miss/Mister Moneypants they knock yourself out and do the kitchen, but for most folks, I think a small space would suit best.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Post From Another Blog

Rhonda at Down To Earth wrote a post that resounded with me and many others. She touched on how violent society seems to be today and I think a lot of us would agree that apathy has become more commonplace than empathy. I know I sometimes wonder how we have become so detached, so unfeeling and so desiring 15 minutes of fame without caring about the consequences of getting there. That of course is reality tv's fault, but still, we all have our own minds and it seems like a lot of folks no longer use their brains to think of anything but fame, fortune and power. I get scared because I am now a parent. I have been scared because I have watched the world, like many others, become more hostile, volatile and down right ugly at time over the simplest issues, not just the grandest ones. We must be the change we want in the world or we will not have anyone else to blame, but ourselves.


"Civility, respect and responsibility need to be a big part of what we teach our children, and more importantly, what we model for them. Grace seems to have disappeared from our lives and we need her to return."


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Shawl Collar Cowl

While I do love scarves, neck warmers and cowls are more my thing.

This Shawl Collar Cowl from The Purl Bee, which is the website of the lovely little Purl Soho and yes, I have been, is just exquisite. Of course, I will be making a less glamorous version because, quite frankly, I do not have $75 to spend on yarn to make a cowl right now. Maybe ever.

Just admire the beautiful ribbed exterior and how it is complimented by the stockinette interior. I am absolutely gaga over this.

So yes, the Shawl Collar Cowl is now on my "must be knit" list.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Vintage Clothing

I know I have posted about vintage clothes before, but you can never show fun and fabulous stuff too much!

I love this 1960's wool sheath and the raspberry color is just gorgeous! Bombshells and Babes

Couture Allure Vintage Fashion has some incredibly beautiful stuff. This dress is from the 50's

I do love me some good reproductions too. This halter dress at Jitterbuggin is awesome.

I am not a fan of fur at all, but I do love the style of this coat. I am sure I could find one without a mink collar.  Art Deco Dame

Here are links to a few other vintage blogs.

Esme and the Laneway
Twila Jean
Little Rascal


Monday, October 8, 2012

Mini Fairy Garden

This miniature table top garden on The Inspired Room is a very pretty idea for a porch or even patio area.

The whole blog is filled with terrific DIY projects so definitely take a gander!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fundraising Part Deux and a Cool Idea

Chatting with a friend of mine, we discussed the barrage of fundraising going on in our area for the last month. He had just gotten hit up again at the local Shop Rite. These kids get no break. Every weekend, from Boy Scouts to Cheerleaders to Soccer players. It is full on bedlam here. I mentioned my prior post and he  empathized with my annoyance, but he also wondered if I came across as not liking donating at all and that is just not true. We have friends with kids and we are more than happy to buy what ever they sell. The only thing I do not buy are magazines since my hubby brings them home for free. What I really dislike are different groups of strangers asking me to buy the same thing every other week. Hello Boy Scouts, the $18-20 tin of popcorn is tasty but way too expensive for a lot of folks right now, so please, can you do something else?
It is one thing to have a fundraiser for a sick child or first aid squad, it is another for a local sports team to be hitting me up when I am food shopping. Again, this is just my opinion. I also wonder if schools realize it is a lot of pressure on the kids and their parents to all sell at the same time? What about the shy parent or child? It sucks to do sales when it is not in your nature to ask for money. Of course, this whole thing got me thinking further about fundraising and I wondered what other people do and came across an AWESOME idea from Canada.


Having a nephew that is special needs, I think this is a fantastic way to fund raise since it is not the same old thing AND it gets kids involved with helping other kids. Brava to the Holland Bloorview Foundation for this and I hope others see it and try to incorporate it into their fundraising plans. Maybe there is something similar in the states, just have not seen it, but I will have to do a search.

As for me asking my friends one day to purchase stuff, I feel weird about it. I know some people are in different financial situations and that really makes me hesitate. They all have their own kids to worry about and buy stuff for so I am not sure I could bring myself to ask them to buy something from my kid too. Not that it is rude if someone asks me, but by the time our kid goes to school, most of their kids will be in high school or out so they will not have to deal with this craziness anymore.
I guess that means I might be that check writing parent. :)


Car Blanket Pattern

Michael's has this cool pattern for a nice lap blanket and I may need to file it away for someday.



Saturday, October 6, 2012

Home Economics

I recently watched 1950 video from Iowa State College about Home Economics and I dare to say, if there was ever a need to bring something back from the "olden" days, this would be it.
The documentary shows 4 young women and their journey through college as they major in Home Economics and how it will apply to their careers and home life. An example would be how chemistry is used not just to do science experiments, but also for cooking. Quite honestly, I think it would be prudent to have high school students take Home Economics courses to graduate. You learn budgeting, clothing design, home decoration, quality of food and furniture, cooking and much, much more. More then I even thought was possible. There was something wonderful about seeing how these women chose specific careers, but were able to carry their knowledge into the home once they are married.
So to the overburdened public school system, I feel for you, but I think it is time to bring back Home Economics, along with Civics. These are beneficial areas of knowledge that can go a long, long way.

There is also a video called Why Study Home Economics? which breaks it down beautifully as well.


Friday, October 5, 2012

School/Sports/Scouts Fundraising

I hate it.

My kid is not even in school yet and when I pull up to a Shop Rite or Dunkin' Donuts and see the table displays, I dread getting out of my car. No, I do not want to buy over priced junk and that includes the God-awful Girl Scout cookies, magazines and $20 tins of popcorn. Seriously??? Twenty bucks for popcorn?When you ask me to fund a travelling a soccer team I say no thanks. You chose to put your kid in the league, you pay for it. Sounds mean, but too bad. I am all for kids doing extracurricular activities and I get the schools need "help", but please do not harass the general public. Can't parents write a check and call it a day? I would think a lot of them would prefer that route. Why don't school understand that some folks are ill-equipped to go around the neighborhood asking for money? Or even better, they just don't want to. If my child participated in a sport or scouts or whatever, I am happy to just write a check. I have no desire to harass my friends, family and any co-workers to buy things they do not need and as someone pointed out, give cash to a company that makes the crap these kids sell. Maybe some schools should host a craft fair of sorts where people buy tables and that money goes right to the school or sport and then the artisans get to keep whatever they make. Would be a lot more interesting then what happened to me once. I agreed to buy a pie my nephew was selling for ten dollars. When it arrived it was the size of a ramekin. Can you say "rip off"? Just how much money did his school get for that? a buck? That is not right, they need the cash and so I think that is unfair to the kids to try and raise cash and then not get much for it. If ALL proceeds go to the school, well then, yeah, here is my money and let's rock.

Beehive and Birdsnest has a post on this matter and she pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole fundraising gig.