Gilmore Goulet

March 9th, 2015

 
One of the first people that walked through the door of Darn Knit Anyway back in 2009, before we were even officially open, was Gilmore Goulet.

 

Gilmore Goulet

Gilmore Goulet

 
He walked in with a smile on his face and asked if we needed any light bulbs.  We didn’t even know there was such a thing as a light bulb salesman.  We bought light bulbs from him that day.

 
He walked in with a smile on his face once a month, every month since that day.

 
Some times we needed light bulbs, some times we didn’t.  But every time he came in he was smiling and happy and that made us smile and be happy.

 
We knew he was over 80 years old and had no plans to retire but that’s about all we knew.  We didn’t talk about much in our 6 minutes together each month, just light bulbs and the weather.  We didn’t know he had been married to his high school sweetheart for 61 years.  We didn’t know he had 5 kids and 6 grand kids.  We didn’t know he started his sales career as a Fuller Brush Salesman.  We just knew he made our day better when he came through the door.

 
We don’t know his family, but they were sure a lucky family to have Gil as a husband, father and grand father.  If he was a joy to be around for 6 minutes a month, I can’t imagine the joy he must have brought to his family and friends every day.

 
Do not underestimate the power your attitude has on the lives of others.  Gil knew.

 
Rest in peace.

 

2014 in Review

January 28th, 2015

 

Every year we look back at our top selling items, by quantity, in the shop.

 

This year’s list was so interesting!

 

The top selling item this year was…wait for it…

 

ass look big

 

Yep, gum.  786 packs of gum to be exact.  So funny!  We love watching people read the packs of gum and then look around to see if anyone else is looking so they can share the fun.  “Mary…you HAVE to come over here and read these”.   Lots of belly laughs.

 

We’d love to say our top selling item is really expensive yarn, but nope.  $1.50 packs of funny, irreverent gum.

 

Speaking of yarn, our top selling yarn this year was our shop hop yarn Sweet Georgia Prison Grey.  That yarn was sure a hit.

 
prison grey

 

The 2nd top selling yarn was Berroco Brio, color Whirl.  This Kinetic Cowl is still going strong.

 

kinetic

 

The coolest thing we found out about 2014 was that we had 610 class registrations!  We doubled the number of class registrations from last year.  That is so cool and we are grateful you trust us with your fiber education!

 

Thanks for another fun year.  We look forward to what 2015 brings!

 

Color Infusion

January 27th, 2015

I have put the socks in time out and am working on a new project.  I’m knitting the Color Infusion cowl out of Quince Tern.

 

It is so much fun!

 

color infusion tern

 

If you knit this you’ll need about 300 yards each of 3 colors of fingering weight yarn (at least that’s what the pattern says, I haven’t finished yet).

 

The inside is just about as beautiful as the outside!

 

color infusion inside

 

I’m using Quince Tern in colors Barnacle, Kelp and Wheeler Bay.  We have all 3 colors in stock now and we’re bringing kits to the Madison Knitters Guild Knit In!  Quince Finch would be an awesome choice too.

There are too many choices really!  Stop in and choose for yourself:)

 

color infusion option

 

Look Ma…No Pills

January 27th, 2015

 

We can’t sing the praises of Hikoo Simpliworsted enough.  This yarn is terrific, awesome, amazing.

 

Dark and Stormy was a sweater I knit for our 12 in 12 in 2013.  It was fun to knit!

Anyway, It’s been in our store as a sample ever since.  It’s been on hangers and on mannequins, it’s been tried on by regulars and tourists.  It’s been washed a few times too. Anyway, I’m bringing it up again now because I have been wearing this Dark and Stormy sweater now for weeks, almost every day actually and no pilling!  None!

Dark and Stormy

Dark and Stormy

 

Check out that underarm:)  Not a pill in sight.

 
If you are looking for a yarn for a baby sweater, blanket, afghan, adult sweater, cowl for a teenager, you name it…this is the perfect yarn.

 

It’s not cheap.  $16 for 140 yards of a plump aran weight acrylic blend yarn, but it is so worth it!

 

55% Merino Wool
28% Acrylic
17% Nylon
Machine washable
I’ve thrown it in the dryer (on cool)
No itch factor

 
Check out all the colors here and make something out of it!  You won’t be sorry:)

 

We Made Smoothies

January 15th, 2015

We made kale smoothies in the shop this week.

Ummmmmmm  We’ll stick to making sweaters.

 

January 12 in 12 – 2015

January 15th, 2015

 

Tundra…oh Tundra…

 

We’ve had some fun with our January sweater so far.
 
Lot’s of gauge swatch questions.  There weren’t many people who had a gauge swatch that was right on.  We’ve got knitters that have gone up a couple needle sizes and knitters that have gone down a couple needle sizes.
 
tundra swatches
 
The sweater itself is not a tricky knit.  The star stitch pattern is easy and seems to be fast.  The biggest questions came when the arm hole decreases began.  The instructions are super clear about the decreases in pattern.  Despite all that, most of our knit a long knitters  are well into or finished with the back.  Some are on to the fronts and sleeves even.
 
Carroll’s done with the back.
 
carroll tundra back
 
So is Jennifer.
 
Jennifers tundra
 

We’ve got at least 25 Tundra knitters.  We can’t wait to see them all!
 

Year of the Sock?

January 15th, 2015

I thought it was finally time for me to knit socks.

 

I’ve knit 1 sock in my day, back in 2010.  Yep, just one.
 

I couldn’t bring myself to knit the 2nd one.  I didn’t think socks were my thing.
 

So I decided to work on things that I thought were my thing.  Sweaters.  In fact, that next year I knit a sweater a month.  Well, almost a sweater a month.
 

I decided that I was much happier not knitting socks.   I loved looking at hand knit socks, loved watching people knit socks, loved helping people choose yarn for socks, certainly helped many people knit socks.  But socks were just never on my knit list.
 

For some reason, when the calendar turned to 2015 I decided it was going to be the year of the sock.  I know, I know, that’s a big statement.  The year of the sock is a lot of pressure.  Perhaps I should have kept the sock idea to myself and quietly started knitting.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have posted this to Facebook.
 

image1
 
Well…we had over 30 people send me suggestions.  You inspired me. Decided to knit cuff down, 2 at a time magic loop with a Fish Kiss Lips Heel.  I was pumped.
 

Look what I did!  In just one day!
 

image1(1)
 
Then…
 

I stopped enjoying it.  Like the next day.  I got sick of untangling yarn, the tiny needles bugged my hand, I put on a pair of smartwool socks and decided they felt awesome.  Who needs to knit socks anyway:)
 

I thought maybe I’d cast on for our 12 in 12 March sweater Downeast. Turns out it I like instant gratification.
 

downeast
 

I know that sock knitters think I’m crazy.  I know so many of you have socks going as we speak.  It just may not be my thing.
 

But…I will enjoy talking to you about socks and I will still admire your socks, and I will have fun helping you choose yarn for the perfect pair.
 

You never know, these socks might just turn up before the end of 2015 on my feet.  Stay tuned.
 

12 in 12 Q&A

January 15th, 2015

Wondering what all the 12 in 12 fuss is about?  Here are some answers to commonly asked questions.

 

Q.  What the heck is 12 in 12 anyway?
A.  12 in 12 is our sweater knitting program.  We choose 12 sweaters in January, 1 for each month.  If you want to knit any of the 12 sweaters you can purchase the yarn at 20% off.

 

Q.  Do I have to knit all 12 sweaters?
A.  Nope.  You can knit 1, 3 or all 12!

 

Q.  Can I still purchase yarn for the January Sweater Tundra?
A.  Sure.  You can purchase yarn for any of the 12 sweaters any time you want during the year.

 

Q.  Can I special order yarn and still get the 20% off discount?A.  Nope, we typically don’t apply the 20% off discount, or any discount really, to special orders.

 

Q.  Is this a class I have to register for?
A.  Nope, you can come to our free 12 in 12 knit-a-long sessions on Tuesdays from 10am – noon or 6-8pm.  Or you can come anytime you want and get help!

 

Q.  What’s the deal with the $10 finisher gift card?
A.  If you want to challenge yourself to knit a sweater in a month this applies to you.  Let’s say you love the March sweater and you want to challenge yourself to knit it in a month.  You buy the yarn from us (at 20% off), you cast on March 1st or later and finish the sweater by March 31st.  If you do that, and bring the finished sweater in to show us before March 31st, you’ll get a $10 gift card to spend at the shop.  Now, this is entirely on your honor.  We don’t ask that you cast on in front of us, but we do ask that you are honest about it.  We are just a little yarn shop and you are already getting 20% off the yarn.  So we hope you won’t take advantage of us:)   Oh and finished means finished…sewn together, ends woven in and buttons on:)

 

Q.  Do you have any of the 12 in 12 sweaters finished that I can see?
A.   We are knitting the sweaters along with our customers, so we will have the finished sweaters in the shop AFTER the month is over, but typically not before.

 

So, what are you waiting for?  Get sweater knitting!!

 

Click here to see all the sweaters for 2015.

 

 

Trade History for Progress?

January 5th, 2015

 

If you’ve followed Stillwater news lately, you’ve been treated to a few interesting stories.  In the shadow of all of that you may have missed one that I think is pretty important.

 

Chamber of Commerce

Concept Drawing from the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce

 

This image was floated around social media recently. It’s an old story and I didn’t give it much thought really until a customer came in and told me that this is what Stillwater will look like when the bridge is finished.  She was surprised to learn, after a conversation with me, that this is not a plan that has been approved or even designed by the City of Stillwater.

 

The Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce’s initiative, the Downtown Revitalization Committee, commissioned a group of architects to come up with a plan for downtown.  These very skilled architects donated their time to come up with this concept.  I’ll admit that it does look pretty cool.

 

But just because they have drawn these plans up, doesn’t mean they will come to be.

 

This concept was designed without city planners, historic preservation committee members, or other city staff.  This concept was designed assuming no obstacles.  Obstacles like delivery trucks that cross Chestnut all day long.  Obstacles like the increase in property taxes that businesses, already paying high rents, are going to have to absorb for these changes.  These changes won’t come free to building and business owners.  How about the construction that will have to happen to get this done?  Businesses will have to live with more construction on our front door steps after surviving through years of bridge construction?  I know I seem like a Debbie downer but these are realities that will need to be considered.

 

And, then just because it CAN happen, does that mean it SHOULD?

 

This plan also includes widening sidewalks and putting in sidewalk cafes and trees.  That sound’s great too, but if we do all those things, what do we lose?  Do we lose our history?  We don’t want to look like any other shopping and dining district.  We don’t want to become 50th and France or Woodbury Lakes.  We are historic Stillwater MN for gosh sakes!

 

I think most people who have been around Stillwater long enough, locals, they would say one of the worst things that our city ever did was tear down the old Depot building.  Can you imagine if this building was still around?   It was raised in 1960 to put up a grocery store.  I wasn’t around in 1960 but I’ll bet many people thought it was a good idea.  Had I been around then I might have even thought it was a great idea.  How terrific it must have been to finally have a grocery downtown  (and I think people have fond memories of that grocery store too)  But that store is also gone and a parking lot sits in it’s place.  Progress?

 

Historic Stillwater Depot -

Historic Stillwater Depot

 

People complain that there isn’t a drugstore or hardware store downtown anymore.  They say that downtown is just not like it used to be.  If we do these modern changes to our streets, I fear we’ll be even further away from our history.  We need to be very careful not to trade our history for what could be a fleeting moment that some see as progress.

 

Luckily, our voices can be heard.  I’ll keep you updated on city meetings and hope that if you care, you’ll come to one:)

 

 

Needle Storage…*&%^ing Needle Storage

January 4th, 2015

We’ve had lots of questions about needle storage in the first 3 days of 2015.

 

Everyone seems to be wondering how best to keep track of needles.

 

I am no exception.

 

Here is how I do it:)

 

Needle Mess

Needle Mess

Yep, that’s how I do it alright.  That mess of needles in front of the very smart organizing system is because I rarely put the needles back into their proper place.

 

I have gallon sized Zip Lock baggies that are sorted by size.  Each baggie holds a needle size and all lengths of needles go in that one bag.  And because I ran out of baggies…some baggies house 2 sizes;)

 

Baggies o Needles

Baggies o Needles

Anyone found a great way to sort their needles?  Great bags you love that we should carry?

 

Or maybe we just start carrying Zip Lock Baggies!