obyc15: part two

the second (and maybe final?) leg of my orange blossom yarn crawl is complete! it would be cool to hit all the shops, but central florida tends to spread its pockets of civilization out, making a seven-store tour into one hell of a road trip.
speaking of trips, on monday the bf and i set out for orlando in search of the black sheep. it seemed like a simple thing: orlando is a difficult target to miss. what we failed to realize was the extent of the city sprawl and just how much congestion would pack the streets. after witnessing some creative vehicular operation and pedestrian street navigation, we arrived at our destination with an exhalation of relief.
unlike four purls, the black sheep specializes in cross stitch and embroidery supplies with yarn on the side, so most of the interior is lined with floss, canvas, beads, sequins, tools, and enthusiastic stitchers. luckily, i was prepared for this and made a beeline for the rear rooms.
the back left corner of the shop holds nearly all its yarn, including zen, baah!, frolicking feet, plymouth, noro, rowan, and others. i was particularly drawn to some vivid ella rae merino lace in purple, but ultimately decided to pick up something with a more immediate application.
two balls of louisa harding's wool/bamboo fleuris in box, a medium dark green that will become dad's christmas socks. the yardage is slightly less than what I've worked with on previous gift socks, but fleuris is also classified as bulky weight, so hopefully some gauge adjustment will result in socks that fit.
the yarn area's anteroom (no photo; it was a high-traffic hall) held a bit more yarn and tools, including an impressive wall of wooden and bamboo needles, yarn pop project bags, needle cases, pattern books, crochet hooks, and more. i was briefly tempted by the clear vinyl project bags bearing a sheep (something about clear bags makes me squee), then remembered i have loads of lovely ones already and checked out before impulsiveness truly took hold.
while i enjoyed four purls more, the black sheep is a nicely curated shop. the yarn area may be small, but it is very well lit, filled with a nice variety of brands, and offers basic notions that are sometimes hard to find in larger shops (i assume they get lost in all the colors and textures). and since yarn people tend to be multi-craftual, i'm sure the knitter/crocheter/stitcher types out there would be in heaven.
the obyc continues through this saturday, a fact i maaaaay be take advantage of come this weekend. after all, what better time to check out the yarn shops within a 50-mile radius than when there are special events happening and prize basket drawings to enter?

obyc15: part one

the first leg of my inaugural orange blossom yarn crawl is complete, and holy crap did i need that. though it doesn't seem possible, i hadn't been to a yarn store in two years. TWO YEARS, you guys. sure, i've bought yarn online and received yarn club packages, but we all know it's not the same. every yarnie should hit a store periodically, if only to breathe deeply the yarn fumes.

sunday morning the bf and i visited winter haven to check out four purls. of all the shops participating in this year's crawl, purls presented itself as the most full-service destination, offering loads of yarn and notions, a fair few classes, popular weekly knit nights, and the only yarn truck i've ever heard of in florida.

after dodging the hardcore cyclists racing through a cordoned-off downtown, purls was a sanctuary of wall-to-wall skeins in a rainbow of colors and fibers. there was a decent variety of brands in most weights—multiple lines from cascade, berroco, malabrigo, shibui, manos del uruguay, and baah!—and special selections from zen, done roving, frolicking feet, noro, universal, blue heron and more.
in other words, a cubic butt-load of yarn.
they also carried a good variety of florida-friendly fibers, which was awesome (you'd be surprised how often florida shops stock loads of wool and alpaca and only a smattering of summery yarns): cottons, linens, silks, and wool blends. i know i was excited, as it'll be hot as qiviut balls from april through november.

as a knitter of shawls and socks, i would have liked to see a bit more sock and lace-weight, but i had zero problems finding skeins to come away with:

four skeins of berroco's new recycled cotton/denim yarn, indigo, in cut-offs. this yarn just screams summer to me and is appropriately earmarked to become a warm weather sandshore cardigan. i've been fairly tempted to start swatching since bringing these home, but have to keep reminding myself that larger sized needles must be purchased before i can give it a try.

two skeins of malabrigo sock in chocolate amargo. for as popular as malabrigo is, i've only ever knit with it once: a skein of rios became the bf's well-loved teal with envy cowl. it was undeniably lovely to work with, but pilled so readily that i'd never bothered trying any other lines. that is, until my quest for 850 yards of light fingering-weight in a pretty (and not overwhelmingly variegated) brown to knit the earth shawl mkal left me at a loss. don't know how often you've sought a similar colorway, but it is not easy. luckily, malabrigo had me covered. now i wait to see if my choice plays nice with the cables and texture.

one hank of a new-to-me hand-dyed, sprout from the fiber seed in loch ness. this was actually the bf's pick, destined to become a new pair of christmas socks. apparently the yarn is organically dyed in nearby tampa, which is really cool to know, and has a great smoosh factor. the yardage is slightly more generous than usual at 480 yards, which should be more than enough to cover the bf's size 10.5s. i hope.

a good haul and a good shopping experience. there were a few other yarn crawlers who visited the shop while we were there, and a handful of regulars made good use of the large seating area to enjoy some sunday knitting. the staff was attentive and friendly without hovering, walked around with knitting in hand, and knew their "hot right now" stuff. if you're ever in the area, i recommend checking it out!
and there's one more shop i've got to check out before my micro-crawl ends. yarn ho!

this week i... (focus...focus... edition)

© marvel

>> was put through the emotional wringer via agent carter's (season?) finale. after the dooley feels of the penultimate episode, i feared the worst for any character who was even remotely endangered—pretty much forty minutes of anxiety over souza's and jarvis's continued fictional existence. good lord.

© knit picks

>> gandered lustily at knit picks' new kettle dyed hawthorne. the original variegated color ways were beautiful in the skien, but struck me as...muddled...knit up. happily, the kettle dyed is all tonal, making it pretty and wearable without mixing too many colors together.

© claire ellen

>> espied a golden sock of the house of the rohirrim, and a testament to the ingenuity of [hu]Men it is, too. and much like the golden roof of that hall, you can likely see these bitches from considerable distances. another sweet geek sock from claire ellen!

another week and month pass in a blur, leaving me with vague impressions of color, texture, and the cracklings of magic. seriously, next week is march? as eager as i am to have the sun and warmth return (aaaaany day now, pls), i'm pretty sure at this rate two weeks will pass and it'll be june. not ready.

one thing i'm totally am ready for is the yarn crawl, which kicked off today. my first excursion is scheduled for tomorrow, and i look forward to reporting back with the sights and squishes, hopefully with at least one or two more stash-jewels to share in the days that follow.

cooked rocks

observant readers might have noticed that yesterday's cyan wool was only *part of* my third and final speshul snowflake club package. *shifty eyes*

january's colorway choices were the tempting combo of teal and gray that caused me such indecision that i knew both needed to be mine. so, gear up in your leather armor, grab a stack of pork chops, and follow me into the mines so i can show off this gem i just excavated:

another generous skein of bamboo/wool lace in the stone colorway, a hugely wearable color that goes with nearly everything in my wardrobe.

and since it's so wearable, i haven't ruled out the possibility of trying to squeak a featherweight cardigan out of this one. the one i have used 924 yards and i've got 875 yards to work with, but perhaps i could incorporate some cyan wool in some clever striping scheme. i'll have a think on it. and if that won't work, there's always another wear-with-everything shawl.

i'm getting out of this hole now, though, lest a creeper comes along and blows a hole in my stash. jerks.

four string + lapis + cactus green

yarn people, it's time to throw down your pick axes, stop punching trees, and gather 'round the crafting bench whilst i reveal an awesome thing that recently appeared in my inventory:

this, my friends, is part of the third and final package from the speshul snowflake yarn club i've been part of since september, 875 sumptuous yards of panda lace in the cyan wool colorway.

it's geeky-as-shit minecraft yarn, and i love it! not only is the color great (and accurate! just compare it to that icon), the generous yardage means that it could become something quite substantial. it's not quite enough for a featherweight cardigan, as was my first instinct, but perhaps an elaborate shawl? i'll be looking through for something suitable to craft with such nerdgasmic stash.

but until i do, i'll be on high alert for skeletons who wander too close and can't resist rubbing their bony faces on my smooshy prize. honestly, no manners at all. maybe i should enchant my bow...