Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Longish-time readers will recall that I got pretty excited about the Deck the Balls ornament pattern in late 2008.deck the ballI got the pattern for Christmas, laid in a supply of plastic balls (on sale, of course!), and started knitting them in January 2009.  My plan was to knit them throughout the year and have enough to give as gifts (coworkers, friends) for Christmas 2009.  Which I did.

For 2010, I pledged to knit a Deck the Ball with leftover sock yarn after each pair of socks I completed.  This plan sort of worked… for a few months.  Then I just got tired of balls and stopped.  But I have a half dozen balls to show for it:IMG_7823What was it with me and greyish socks in early 2010?  deck the balls socks 2010

In other news, did you enter the Ready Set Knit 200th episode contest?  I love this podcast and listen to it every week.  Steve and Kathy Elkins (owners of WEBS, America’s Yarn Store in Northhampton, MA) talk about yarn yarn yarn.  I can’t remember how I found out about it, but I’ve been listening for years.  It was one of the first knitting podcasts I followed, and it’s still going strong.  They had a huge giveaway to celebrate their 200th, and I won a 2011 Interweave Knits calendar!IMG_7832I’ve had the Spin-Off wall calendar before (and it’s gorgeous), but never the Knits one. The inspiration wall-style photos are so inspiring.  Just peek at the colorwork on the January page:IMG_7831 And February goes all cable-y:IMG_7833A beautiful calendar is a gift that keeps on giving all year long. 

If you’re not already a Ready Set Knit listener, here’s why you should start tuning in (or download some back episodes over the holiday break):

  1. Steve talks about new yarns.  This is a great way to keep up with, well, new yarns!  The yarns may or may not be available at your LYS, but at least you know they’re out there.  He covers so many that it’s easy to identify trends.
  2. Steve talks about closeout yarns.  These are discontinued lines, or discontinued colors, and they are all discounted.  Find ‘em on the WEBS website!
  3. Kathy interviews tons of designers, authors, and other fiber-y people.  I really enjoy listening to these segments and getting to know the knitting celebrities a bit better.
  4. There are also Knitalongs.  I haven’t done one of these (yet), but I still enjoy listening to discussions about technique.  I frequently learn something that improves my knitting.
  5. Let’s not forget to mention Valley Yarns, WEBS’ own line.  I’ve knit with a couple of them and they’re great!  On the last podcast, they introduced the latest one: Charlemont.  It is a fingering weight blend of superwash merino, silk, and polyamid.  At $12.99 for a 100 gram hank, Charlemont is a great deal for a pair of luxury socks.  And look at the range of colors.  I can’t wait to try Whipple Blue – dreamy.  Deep Sea is also right up my alley.

Thanks so much, Steve and Kathy, for the calendar AND the podcast!  See you at Sock Summit 2011!

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