Tea Cozy and a Trip to ImagiKnit

Here it is, the finished tea cozy that I made from a smallish skein of Yarn Rescue's handpainted yarn.

I felted it just enough that the stitches would hold together. Then after forming it around the tea pot and letting it dry (never a problem in my neck of the woods--it's a rather dry climate!), I positioned it on the teapot, pinned markings for myself, took it off, and then used my slicer/dicer wheel to cut the general outline (the rows make a perfect demarcation for straightness--a bonus with stitch definition). Then with scissors I completed the cutouts and used embroidery floss to finish the edges just in case. Funny how a needlework badge earned in Girl Scouts in 1972 could leave me with such a clear memory of the stitch needed (not that I did it perfectly, but I knew how to do it!). However, I am going to go over the spout stitches a little more to even them out.

Now I have a qualm: I think I made this out of the wrong color yarn! It's going to get tea stained, right? And at best it can be hand-washed, right? Sigh. But the pattern is basically a keeper (with more yarn, a higher top closing over the lid will be nice), and there's plenty of dark wool in the world!

So on Sunday I got the bug--Habu Textiles, and the Kushu-Kushu scarf. This is what comes of browsing through other people's knitting blogs--the next big obsession. Well, from reading about this amazing Japanese company, and their designers of really different knitted art (clothing that is art--it's truly different, I think--using wool, cotton, linen, pineapple fiber [fique i think it's called], mohair, paper, steel!), I decided that I just have to try my hand(s) at this yarn with stainless steel in it. Sounds like chain mail, no? But I've touched an item made with it, and it isn't stiff at all, though it does hold a shape more firmly than something knitted with regular yarn. Here, take a look at the scarf done in this "fiber":
(Thanks Olgajazzy for this illustration and many more at her flickr site.)

Thus was born my search for a LYS that was 1. open on Monday 2. a purveyor of Habu Textiles 3. reasonably nearby. I live in the vast metropolis known as the San Francisco Bay Area, and nearly all the suburban yarn shops are closed on Mondays. Learn something new every day! The few that were not closed didn't even carry any Habu, let alone the steel silk "yarn." So, being on vacation and all, having the freedom to do anything I wanted, I got directions to ImagiKnit in the City (what we all call San Francisco, and don't ever call it "Frisco"!).

My thinking went like this: Theirs is always one of the hugest and coolest displays at Stitches West. They carry lots of yarns that are not typical, such as Be Sweet. They are in The City as opposed to The Suburbs, so their foot traffic can support a store open 7 days a week. It was truly open, as opposed to the 90% of other LYSes. [I guess at this point I should refer to it as a DYS]. I could use an adventure. So I got direx, hopped in the little car, and cranked up the Sirius Channel 10. Drove 45 minutes and RIGHT TO IT (with great directions off their website) at a time when traffic was reasonably light. Found parking exactly across the street. OK, this was meant to be.

Digression: I walked in and couldn't take it all in. First the scent of clean sheep (at first it was startling and I started to find it stinky, but then a few seconds later, it was just homey and inviting). Then, a room full to the high ceilings it seemed with shelves full of yarns. Someone very kindly pointed out the system--start at the door on your right with fingering weight, go around the room counterclockwise with it ending on chunky to my left by the door. Oh, and just animal fibers and mixed in this room. Then, the next room (there's more? OMG!), same sizing arrangement for plant and synthetic fibers. The feeling was something I can't describe without resorting to cliches involving kids/candystores/pigs/manure/etc. Add to that antique furniture fixtures and knitted items FOR SALE (which isn't done much around these parts). And cool global-market looking accoutrements of various kinds.

Back to the tale. A kind young man asked me if I was looking for something specific, well, yes I was: Habu Textiles. He smiled sadly (I bet he's heard that a few times!) and said, "We are totally sold out, but I think we have a shipment coming in a month." He offered to check and came back verifying that indeed nothing would arrive soon, as it is all being produced in Japan, shipped to the US (slow boat?), and all I could imagine was a lot of Japanese textile worker bees frantically running machinery to keep up with the American hunger for their products. So . . . I was in SF without finding the yarn I sought.

But, knitting trouper that I am, I realized that no yarn shop excursion is without merit, so I perused, and absorbed, and fondled (the yarns, people, the yarns). I was thorough! I found some barn red tweed on sale--two skeins please, for a scarf Bells has advertised on her blog--so handsome. It's from the Yarn Harlot.

The red is not showing up as deep and dark as it truly is--it's not a pinky red at all. Ah well. See how I'm taming my yarn skein in a Kleenex box? I read about it at 3:30 a.m. when I couldn't sleep the other night in the Readers Digest Knitter's Handbook (which I "settled" for since the Vogue compendium was a bit too dear for my wallet). This book is full of great information!

I also got some chunky Stonechat (Manos del Uruguay) because I am just in love with the color combo and it looks perfect for autumn. Question: What is a stonechat??

So ends my tale of the trip to ImagiKnit, a fun day but a bust on the kushu-kushu scarf materials.

Never fear! I found it yesterday (when the LYSes all opened up) at Knitting Arts. They seem to have better connections with the sales rep because they were not out of ANYTHING. I got the silk stainless steel/merino cones in kit form with instructions, and I plan to start it very soon. 8^) I also got yarn and the pattern for a felted scarf that uses beads or wooden balls rubber-banded in spots (mostly on the ends, I think) to create a bumpy texture, sort of like bobble-knit. I'd noticed these scarves at Stitches West and thought the idea was cool, but I was seeing so much at the time that I just put it on the back burner until now. It'll be a three shaded gray tweed scarf, light to medium to dark, with the "bobbles" on the front parts. Sweet! And wouldn't a hat done in a similar bobble be pretty cute?

In other news . . .
Thanks for so many thoughtful responses to yesterday's post, both in your comments and emails. I love not feeling depressed, but it is a fact of my life that sometimes I will. I wish none of us had this propensity, this "industrial action at the serotonin factory," as Ginger-Nut calls it. But failing that, well, let's find out what works and keep at it!

PS If you've got a minute, visit yarnagogo who has been recovering from unpleasant surgery and is one of the most fabulous, funny bloggers I've ever read. She's a great writer, and seems to like company. You will enjoy her posts, and man, can she knit. I'm jealous!