My Ideal Shopping Splurge

30. Shopping: Write about your shopping wishlist and how you like to spend money.

https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

I am a terrible shopper. At least, when it comes to clothes.

I lose patience quickly, and get grumpy and tired. I am not motivated whatsoever by clothes or shoe shopping. When I need new clothes, I make a marathon shopping trip. It’s so much of a marathon that I’ve learned to notify my credit card company in advance, otherwise they freak out.

But there is one thing I like to shop for. One thing that I don’t get tired of, and I could shop for it until my budget was spent.

Have you guessed it yet?

No?

C’mon! What else could it be?

YARN!

That, and knitting patterns.

It wasn’t always this way. I used to only buy yarn for a specific pattern. I would decide what I wanted to knit and either buy the recommended yarn or a cheaper alternative.

This was especially true when I crocheted exclusively and thought that the only yarn available was the acrylic stuff you can get at Walmart.

The Wonders of Wool

But then I discovered the wonders of wool. Once you start knitting with wool, you cannot go back.

The amazing properties of wool are many, and if you are a person who is trying to make eco-conscious fashion choices, I highly recommend you look into wool products (biodegradable and flame retardant? What’s what you say??).

You can even buy wool bedding! (I’m saving my pennies.)

But I digress.

The Yarns I Crave

I’m not going to lie, mostly I buy affordably-priced yarn from Knit Picks. What can I say, their selection is great, the colors are always consistent and vibrant, and their prices are unbeatable.

But sometimes, I like to splurge… Here are some of the yarns currently on my wish list:

The Neighborhood Fibre Co is a Baltimore-based indie dye company founded and run by Kalida Collins. They are currently running their Pride month special, and I am drooling over their rainbow dyed mini skeins.

Ever since living in Montreal, I have swooned over Julie Asselin’s range of yarns. I have knitted things with her yarns, and the color and quality never disappoint.

Tanis Fiber Arts, by Tanis Lavallee is also a Montreal-based dyer and knitwear designer. I have never used any of her yarns, but I have them on my wish list. One of her patterns is in my to-knit pile and I cannot wait to get cracking on it!

What I Love about Yarn

The thing I love most about shopping for yarn and is…

The Possibilities

The endless possibilities contained in one skein of yarn. You can make anything! A hat! An elegant sweater! Even an adorable plush toy!

I have to remind myself that I cannot knit all that quickly. My shoulder protests and life intervenes.

But that doesn’t stop me from making purchases I shouldn’t upon occasion. Someone should really hide my credit card when my browsing history shows up a lot of yarn stores.

(Who am I kidding? Hiding my credit card wouldn’t help! I know all the information by heart!)

Petite_Lisette_dress_front

Avery’s Petite Lisette Dress

Since I’m so bored with social media, it’s time I shared a knitting update with you all!

This delightful little pattern caught my eye on Instagram (yes, my feed is populated by my relatives, their babies, and yarn): Petite Lisette, by Lili Comme Tout.

It’s billed as a dress, but the finished product is much more like a tunic than a dress:

Petite_Lisette_dress_front
Petite Lisette dress, the front

Main Body

The dress is worked bottom-up in the round, first on 4mm needles, then on 3.5mm. I found the broken ribbing at the hem a little strange-looking at first, but now it’s grown on me. I did add a couple of centimeters in length, but it still seems too short to be a dress.

Next came the box pleats: The pattern includes some very helpful instructions, and I didn’t find it necessary to make my usual how-to search on YouTube. You might need to, though, if you’re more of a visual learner.

They are a bit finicky, and I found myself not breathing for several seconds at a time while I was working them. The fear of dropping any stitches had me holding my breath and sticking out my tongue in concentration.

Petite_lisette_dress_back
Petite Lisette dress from the back

Bodice & Neckline

To work the bodice, you knit up to a certain point, then put some stitches on hold while you work up either side of the neckline. This is done both at the back and the front.

It’s hard to measure well when all your jersey knit is curling, and I think I might have made it a bit lop-sided. It probably doesn’t help that I was knitting in moving vehicles, airplanes, and other such uncomfortable places that make laying a piece out and measuring it difficult.

The cast-off around the neckline is an i-cord bind off (link to an instructional video). It’s a pretty bind off, but it’s slow, and the pattern calls for making an extra length at either end for tying. I think if I make this dress again, I will skip the extra lengths, do an i-cord bind off and then fashion a little button loop and sew on a button for the closure.

Sleeves

Picking up and knitting for the sleeves is always tricky, and I get this horrible gap between my main work and the picked-up stitches. I have no idea how to avoid this, so if anyone has any tips, I’d appreciate it!

My solution has been to sew them closer once I’ve finished the sleeves. Not ideal, but it works.

You can choose to make the dress with short, capped sleeves, or with longer sleeves. I did a three-quarter length. There is a box pleat at the end of each sleeve, which is a bit tricky, but looks very cute once it’s done.

The i-cord bind off on the sleeves posed another problem: How to graft the end of the bind off to the beginning so that it looks nice. I had some help doing the first sleeve, and that one ended up looking pretty nice.

But for the second sleeve, I was just winging it. Since I didn’t have internet access at the time, I couldn’t fall back to a YouTube video search. I have since found this video on grafting the i-cord bind off, which I hope others will find helpful.

Yarn & Notions

The yarn I used is Sweet Georgia “Tough Love” sock yarn in orchid. It’s a great fingering weight yarn, and it’s nice and soft for a little baby to wear. It’s also machine washable, a definite plus.

I used my Addi Click circular needles for the body, and some knitpick double-pointed needles for the sleeves and box pleats. I’m a huge fan of my Addi Click needles (I have them in metal).

And that is all she wrote! It is currently with little Avery, ready for her to grow into it this winter.

I’m Morphing into a Knitting Fiend

Since I learned to knit earlier in the summer and made my first knitting project ever, I have morphed into something of a knitting fiend.

The Slow Road to Addiction

Knitted pot covers
I improvised these fun little fellows to hide a couple of ugly pots

Thanks to the lovely and talented ladies at the Stitch n’ Bitch in Montreal, I have converted to a bit of a yarn snob.

This is a problem, friends. “Why,” you ask? Because yarn is EXPENSIVE! Well, I should qualify that statement: *good* yarn is expensive. Now, I crave the softest yarns in the richest colors.

I am ruined.

Whenever I have an idle moment, I pull out my latest project and knit a few stitches. It’s hard to sit and not have my hands busy with a knitting project.

It has, quite frankly, become an addiction. But where on earth did this come from? As I wrote in an early blog post, crocheting has been a way to express love for the people closest to me.

But since learning to knit, it has also been a process of discovery. A whole new world of hand crafts has opened up and I just want to make more and more and mooooore!

Building Momentum

With each project, my ambition grows, and before you know it I’ll be knitting cabled sweaters that your grandmother never dreamed of making!

My poor Chico will be so decked out in knits, he’ll break into a sweat outside in the dead of the Montreal winter.

(I feel especially bad for my Chico, because he’s such a sweetheart that he simply won’t have the heart to refuse to wear all the ugly things I’m going to knit him.)

Work in progress
Beginning yet another project. Any guesses?

On a Practical Note (for anyone who’s interested)

My favorite yarn store in Montreal is Espace Tricot, over on Monkland Avenue. Recently, though, La Maison Tricotée opened on Gildford (much closer to home) and it is both a yarn shop and a tearoom.

I may as well kiss half my salary good-bye already. The only problem with la Maison is that they only stock natural fiber, made-in-Canada yarns.

What does that mean? You guessed it: $$$$$$$.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Who knows when this phase will end. But I’ve decided to enjoy it while it lasts. This fiber arts kick has brought me together with some awesome ladies who have helped to make Montreal feel more and more like home. So I think I’ll stick with it for a while.

If you’re related to me, expect something knit for Christmas. (Or perhaps your birthday, since I can’t possibly knit something for all of you by then. Good Lord, you’re demanding.)

And if we’re not related? Well:

Grumpy Knits