Although I haven’t written much about knitting lately, I haven’t been ignoring my hobby. I visited an old, but new yarn shop, attended a fiber fest, became a little more involved with Ravelry, and kept knitting.
Gruber’s Quilt Shop
My family and I vacationed in northern Minnesota for many years, although we have not done so since 2007. At the time, I was more of a quilter than a knitter – actually, I wasn’t a knitter at all yet. I had heard about Gruber’s Quilt Shop and eventually had a chance to visit. I think I stopped in two or three times during the last few years we vacationed in the state.
Gruber’s is located closer to the middle of the state, in Waite Park, a suburb of St. Cloud, and a three-hour drive from the cottage where we stayed. When we stopped vacationing “up north,” I wondered if I’d ever get back to Gruber’s. About a month ago I had my chance.
Gruber’s was everything I had hoped for, and more. It is still a full service quilt shop with hundreds of bolts of fabric. Some areas are arranged by color and other areas by theme.
The display that grabbed my attention first as I walked in the door was the collection of Quilt Minnesota fabric. Each year, a limited edition fabric line is designed to be sold in conjunction with the all-Minnesota quilt shop hop. Gruber’s is also participating in the Row by Row Experience that involves shops around the country and in several countries around the globe.
The shop has expanded; it’s probably twice as large as I remember. There is an adjacent cafe that serves salads and sandwiches – great for a break while shopping. (There are a couple other shops in the complex, but I did not check them out).
Of course, though, I immediately looked to see if a yarn section had been added. Although a relatively small room, there was, indeed, an area dedicated to my more recent hobby. There was a large selection of Berroco and other American yarns, plus some imports. I purchased some Cin Cin by Trendsetter Yarns and coordinating Hikoo by Scacel for a cowl displayed in the store. A free pattern was included.
I could have shopped longer, but I’ll just have to go back…
My daughter and I attended Stitches Midwest this past Friday. This is the second Stitches fiber fest that I’ve been to – the first was Stitches South in April. Though very similar, each show had their own set of unique vendors. Each show drew the larger vendors – ones that have a national reach – and then added smaller, local vendors. I find both categories attractive. The shows were about the same size overall.
We did not attend classes, but instead spent our time visiting the vendors. We went through the entire room twice – the first time to look and the second time to buy. Oh, how I wish I had an unlimited budget! Now the trick will be to make sure I get some of these projects finished before my next fiber fest…
If you are active on Ravelry, you are probably aware of Ravellenics. The event was originally called Ravolymp…but the name was changed due to copyright infringement. (I don’t even dare type the whole word). The idea is to commit to finishing a project while you enjoy watching the games that are currently being played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The last time I checked, there were over 6000 people in the Ravellenics group. Here is how you can join: Navigate from Ravelry’s home page to the groups tab and then search for Ravellenics. My results showed this year’s group as the second one in the list. Click on the group and “join the group” where you will find all the info you need.
When you choose a project for the games, you need to tag it with Ravellenics 2016 and the game you want to participate in. I have two entries in WIPs (Works in Progress) Wrestling. I decided I could not start another new project until I finished the two that I have been working on for too long. Other events include Scarf Hockey, Sock-Put, Cowl Jump – you get the idea.
Pick your project and add it to your project list. During the games, you will see a drop down box on your project page where you can pick from the suggested Ravellenics tags. If you haven’t added a project to your Ravelry account yet, this is a good time to try it. If you are a knitter or crocheter and haven’t joined Ravelry yet, now is not too late. Just be careful, Ravelry can be addicting.
For the last couple of months, I have continued to knit, although I feel like I am not getting anywhere. I’ve been working on a couple of Christmas presents, so I can’t talk about them or post pictures. I’m on schedule, though, so I can take a break from them and get back to the two WIPs that have been waiting.
One of the projects is a wrap designed by Jared Flood. I saw a sample of this project on display in a yarn shop and just loved it. I purchased the yarn, found the pattern on Ravelry and got started. Since that time, I have explored more patterns by this designer.
On Ravelry, it is easy to learn about designers, to explore their work, and even to become “friends” with them. When I met a couple designers at Stitches Midwest, I immediately searched for them on Ravelry. I could see pictures of their designs, their finished projects, and their comments. If the designer has a blog or website, Ravelry links to the site and the latest blog posts.
I am determined to finish the two WIPs so I can get started on some new projects. There is one in particular from Gruber’s and another from Stitches Midwest, that I am anxious to start…and finish. I have spent too much time lately thinking about future projects and too little time knitting.
Knitters, do you have the same problem? How do you keep your stash from exploding? Do you restrict yourself to a limited number of projects that you are working on at one time? Do you set a strict budget? Do you purchase yarn only when you have a particular project in mind? Add your suggestions in the comment box below.