Friday, December 30, 2011

Oh, the places I've been!

This is an interesting little gadget I just discovered from a member in Ravelry...and it made me realize how much I've traveled! This summer I'll be adding Iceland to it and maybe I can toss in a couple more states or provinces before I embark on that voyage.

It would be wonderful to touch the soil of every continent at some time in my life. If you could visit just one place in the world, what would it be?

visited 34 states (68%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or Like this? try: Vendian

visited 5 states (38.4%)
Create your own visited map of Canada or Like this? try: Auto Poster

visited 18 states (8%)
Create your own visited map of The World or Like this? try: Caerfai Chemical Simulation

Monday, December 19, 2011

Clothes from Outer Space

For some reason I can't explain, I can't stop inventing clothes. Sure, they're totally goofy -- like Toe Cones, Faux Toes, Sleevettes and My L'il Joey -- but I like 'em even if everyone else thinks I'm...well...special.

For those who haven't had the privilege of a private viewing, Toe Cones were to be placed on the toes of your shoes when you (like all of us who worked at The Worst Company in the Whole Wide World Inc., now a division of IBM) weren't permitted to wear open-toe shoes. Executives feared that if the ladies' toes were exposed, the men would be in such a frenzy of passion, they wouldn't be able to concentrate on their work. Stop laughing. I'm not kidding!

For those of us who wanted to achieve the open-toe look without a painful and humiliating visit to the HR department, I created Faux Toes. These were attached to the tops of your shoes and they looked like real toes. Only the office foot fetishist would have known they were fake.

Sleevettes were short sleeves that predated the shrug. They were invented when The Worst Company in the Whole Wide World Inc. told us we couldn't wear sleeveless garments because "shoulders are sexy." (I wish I were making this up!) I wondered out loud, "The new Lexus is sexy but our CEO gets to drive his to the broad daylight with everybody watching!"

The HR department told me to stop gawking and to hurry up and complete the mandatory "Sexual Harassment" online seminar for department managers. They were so surprised when I passed it that they called to say, "Hey, it turns out you actually know the rules. So, why do you break them all the time?"

My L'il Joeys were not designed to counter clothing regulations in Completely Crazy Corporate America, but were crafted to provide us middle-aged ladies with a darned good excuse for having a belly. These were underpants that featured the face of a baby kangaroo peeking out from the waistband. When you wore them you'd say, "I'm not fat. It's my l'il joey!"

Needless to say, these garments did not take off, although they did earn me a session with an HR counselor who looked at me suspiciously and said, "You're weird."

(The "Nude Look Bikini" I crocheted in flesh-tone fabric to which I added some shockingly human features was another abysmal fashion failure.)

This weekend I invented the Hubble Shirt. It required a bit more work than usual. First, I downloaded photos from the Hubble Telescope. Then I had them printed onto fabric. This one has multiple images of a supernova, or gaseous cloud, or something else equally unearthly and delightful. I bought a Vogue pattern and used the fabric to create this t-shirt.

It's a little too loud for me to wear. (I dress pretty conservatively most of the time.) But I kind of like the thought behind it.

What do you think? Is it creative genius? Or creative "just stepped over the line to crazy"? I won't be hurt if you don't like it, but I'll probably think twice before I present you with the brand new Ele-pants I've just designed for men.

20% off all Kollage Yarns now at Yarnmarket. No minimum purchase required!

Jan just released another Yarnmarket sales letter and this time she's told our shoppers that they'll get 20% off all Kollage yarns until January 9th, 2012.

Be sure to read our newsletter, and sign up if you don't already subscribe, because they'll not only inspire you with great knitting and crocheting ideas, they'll also help you save a little money!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Alex is a hopeless romantic...but don't let anybody know.

For thirty years now, Alex and I have loved each other for richer and for poorer, for better and for worse, and in sickness and in health. We moved to a new country together, bungee jumped off the Kawarua Bridge together, and I have no doubt that we'll both meet the end of our lives together. (It will be when he makes a left hand turn on a yellow light.)

For thirty years he's been putting up with my goofy sense of humor while I've ensured that the top drawer of his chest is replenished weekly with clean, neatly folded underpants.

He's been tolerating my love of David Bowie, Rupert Sheldrake and Bernard Haisch while I've cleaned soap scum from the shower stall, polished the bathroom mirrors, and scrubbed the toilet bowl until it sparkles like diamonds.

He's been putting up with my lunacy while I've been howling at the moon and scratching my ears with my hind feet.

When our 30th Anniversary was approaching we both promised one another that neither of us would buy a gift. We were both lying, of course. We simply had to negotiate how big a lie it would be.

We're planning to go away next summer, so we tried to pretend that would be our Anniversary trip. But summer's a long way off and we wanted to do something special. I thought dinner would be great. Alex had other ideas.

Before I knew it, he was plotting to take me somewhere and all he'd tell me is that I'd be leaving on December 8 and returning December 13th. Now, if you know me, you know I can think of all sorts of spectacular things that could happen in a period of five days. Like a really, really quick trip to Paris. A seminar with Eckhard Tolle in Vancouver. Five days at a monastery where they chant the Vespers in Latin.

There's no end of wonderful things I can imagine Alex would be planning. Weekend in Bermuda? Visit to Quebec City to practice our French? Up to Alaska to be enthralled by the Northern Lights?

Unfortunately for Alex, when I'm lacking information, I don't imagine the worst. I imagine stuff so unbelievably fantastic that no one could hope to deliver it.

As the trip drew nearer, I started questioning Alex about where it was we were going. Did I need to pack my 1850 watt 120 volt hairdryer, 120 volt flat iron, straightening serum and Frizz-Ease hairspray? Or did I need my 1850 watt 240 volt hairdryer with the three prong plug for Britain, 240 volt flat iron with three prong plug for Britain, straightening serum, Frizz-Ease hairspray and an umbrella? Or did I need my 1850 watt 240 volt hairdryer with the three prong plug for Europe, 240 volt flat iron with three prong plug for Europe, straightening serum, Frizz-Ease hairspray, umbrella and French-English dictionary?

He refused to say a word.

But as the day drew nearer, he showed up with three carry-on suitcases and said, "We've got to put everything in these.

Everything? My hair styling aids alone would fill up 1/3 of the space! Where on Earth were we going? On a donkey ride up to Macchu Pichcu? Taking a ride on the Space Shuttle? Not only would he not give me a clue, he was getting downright annoyed that I wouldn't stop asking. But he agreed to tell me the night before we left, just in case there were something special I needed to pack -- like rain boots, a blow torch and a Snuggie. It was then he informed me I needed to get up at 3:00 a.m.

Yup. Three in the morning. Three hours after midnight. It's not "up at the crack of dawn." It's up before dawn has even reached Portugal! And then he gave me the news; he told me we were going to Seattle.

Seattle in December.

Cold, gray, wet, windy, gray, more wet, and more bone-chilling, freezing cold, foggy, wet Seattle.

To say I was stunned is an understatement. I simply refused to believe it. There was no way my husband was taking me to Seattle in December to celebrate our 30th Anniversary. Absolutely no way. Seattle is a place you leave in December. I've been there many times on business trips and even the people who live there say they can't stand the constant clouds and rain. Sure it's a gorgeous, modern northwestern city. In the summer, it's a paradise on Earth. But December? Hideous. Hideous with a raincoat and frostbite.

(Now, I hope I haven't given the impression that I'm spoiled rotten and demand exotic and expensive destinations. That's not true. I'd rather have a romantic dinner at The Wine Guy in Pickerington, Ohio than go to someplace cold and wet and gray. And cloudy.)

I decided to set aside the idea of going to (gray, wet, cold) Seattle and gave Alex the gift I'd had made for him. It was a beautifully framed, typewritten letter on a piece of memo stationery from Saffer, Cravit and Freedman Advertising. Alex had typed it the first day we met -- in 1979 in Toronto -- when I'd come for an interview for a job. He offered me the position on the spot and I was so shocked by the offer, I asked that he put it into writing. I'd kept that letter for well over 30 years.

I'm sorry to say that he was as shocked (and disappointed) by the letter as I was with the trip to (gasp!) Seattle. But he thanked me and reminded me we had to get up early in the morning.

We said our goodnights, cool goodnights I might add, and it wasn't until my crying kept him awake that he finally confessed he was taking me to Victoria, BC.

Ahhh...Victoria. Pilots call it the "blue hole" because the sun is almost always shining. For Victoria, BC I could get up at 3:00. Hurray!

We flew out of Columbus, Ohio when most people are still saying goodnight to each other, and landed in Chicago an hour later. After a brief wait, we got on a plane to Seattle. I think I slept. I'm not sure. I was getting really excited about going to someplace nice and sunny.

After we got to SeaTac, we took a bus to a little airport operated by Kenmore Airline. It's a little operation that flies into Victoria, taking off and landing on water. Having never been on a seaplane before, this was something really exciting. And it explained why we could take so little luggage.

From the sea plane I could see sparsely populated, forested islands where very lucky people lived in small cottages, grand mansions and everything in between. I couldn't imagine living so remotely, and wondered if the rainwater were enough to fill their reservoirs. And then I remembered...cold, wet, rainy... Yes, they'd have plenty of water.

When we landed in sunny Victoria, Alex told me it would be a short walk to the hotel, so we grabbed our luggage and started our trek up a hill. Much to my surprise, it WAS a short walk. (Even our kids will attest to the fact that Alex's idea of a short stroll is a Roman Legionnaire's campaign march. That man can walk so far that our sons-in-law have warned one another, "If he asks you take a walk, don't do it!")

It had been a long day, and I was ready to rest. Little did I know that the night had just begun. Alex had made reservations for us to eat at Stages, a great little restaurant that serves the world's best french fries and duck confit. And then we went to see a play, Jitters. It was a Canadian-written production (of course!) and was funny...but after being up for 22 hours straight, I have to admit we were both relieved when it was over.

We were exhausted. I thought the bed in the Chateau Victoria was wonderfully comfortable for the 2.5 seconds I was conscious.

The next morning, after a breakfast that included gluten-free French Toast, Alex announced that I was going for a massage at a local spa. Ahhhh... It was heavenly. I had a steam bath, massage, and reflexology. It's amazing what they can tell you just by touching your feet. I couldn't help but think of all the money I've wasted on CAT scans, MRIs, EEGs, EKGs, and Myelograms when all I needed was a lady who could read my feet.

After the surprise visit to the spa, Alex met me at the hotel. He'd bought flowers for our room and gave me a card that was so sweet it made me cry. What a romantic he is!

Instead of going to lunch, as he'd originally planned, we decided we were still full from breakfast so we went on a tour of the city. Victoria's a great place, capital city of British Columbia, and it has a rich history that's celebrated on plaques throughout the area and in lots of local museums.

Our first stop was the Christ Church Cathedral where we were greeted by the nicest lady who gave us a private tour. She was a member of the congregation who volunteered a few hours a week, and she was only to happy to speak about the history of the building, pointing out particularly interesting features. My favorite was a stone carving of a robin and a nest perched at the top of a column. It turned out that when the cathedral was built, a robin had her nest there and she tormented the workers for fear they'd destroy her nest. They waited patiently for her fledglings to leave before they completed their work on the column, then immortalized the bird with a statue.

Isn't that great? Right there in this massive stone cathedral is a carving of a bird who protected her babies.

The pulpit was also very interesting. It was sponsored by the Hudson Bay Company, who paid for the wood used to make it. An enormous tree was felled and stored for 30 years before the carving began! The artist paid tribute to the company by decorating the altar with intricate carvings that included a beaver and a bear.

We stayed a couple of hours at the cathedral before wandering through the many interesting shops, boutiques and book stores. For dinner, Alex had made reservations at the city's most celebrated Italian restaurant. Fantastico!

The next day, and our last in Victoria, we were up and out of the hotel to see an IMAX movie about the proud and noble beaver. Unfortunately, Alex had accidentally purchased tickets for the previous day and instead of a movie, there was a private event. Oh, well... That gave us time to enjoy the city before a surprise at 4:00 in the afternoon.

TIME TRAVEL BACK TO JUNE 1975. I was engaged to a guy whose cousin was being ordained as a minister, so I went with him and his entire family to see the ordination in Depew, New York. It was the first and only time I met Craig Knight.

Since that time, Craig has left the Lutheran Ministry and ended up working with the Minister of Health in British Columbus. I reconnected with him sort of by accident through e-mail (thinking he was someone else) and when he realized who I was, we struck up a great long distance friendship. He's got a really sick and twisted sense of humor...just like mine! Alex met Craig last summer when he was attending a photography seminar in Victoria, so he'd arranged for Craig, his wife Diane, and us to have dinner together. What a delight!

Craig and Diane gave us a tour of the city and their neighborhood, blissfully close to the ocean, and then we went to their home. Their gardens would have been lovely if it were summer. I could tell by all fruit trees, lavender and rhododendrons that the blossoms would be spectacular. The four of us had dinner at an elegant French restaurant and while I don't recall what I ate, I do know that when I returned home from our 30th Anniversary trip I weighed six pounds more than when I left.

It was a wonderful trip. Alex, who NEVER plans our vacations, had organized everything entirely on his own and had done a fantastic job of it. (This makes me wonder how I ended up as our official Travel Agent. He says it's the same reason I was assigned the role of Official Wirer of Electronic Equipment: He doesn't want to be bothered. What I thought he'd couldn't do, he simply didn't want to do!)

I hope that everyone has a 30th Anniversary as wonderful as mine. I can't imagine how it could have been better.

And now...back to another 30 years of ensuring his drawer is filled with clean underpants, and his toilet is sparkling clean.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire...

I haven't had time to write much this week, what with my whirlwind tour of Seattle and Victoria, BC. Victoria was a big surprise and we had a fantastic time. I'll write about it as soon as I can.

But in the meantime, I thought I'd share with you the words from a Christmas card I bought in Canada:

Chipmunks roasting on an open fire
Frostbite chewing on your nose
Yuletide carolers being thrown on a fire
And folks dressed up like buffaloes.

Everybody knows a turkey slaughtered in the snow
Helps to make the season right.
Tiny tots with their eyes all gouged out
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of guns and bullets on his sleigh
And every mother's child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer really scream when they die.

ANd so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from 1 to 92.
Although it's been said many times, many ways
Merry Christmas,
Merry Christmas,
Merry Christmas,

...well, I won't type the last line.

I hope this makes you laugh as hard as I did when I read it! (The card is by NobleWorks, PO Box 1275, Hoboken, NJ 07030. I'd love to work for those guys.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Alex has finally told me where he's taking me for our 30th Anniversary. Seattle. Not only am I surprised, I'm not even sure I believe him. He presented me with three small suitcases and said, "This is all we can take with us." Since when does Seattle have luggage limitations?

Obviously, there's far more to this than meets the eye.

Fabulous fashions! The Kollage River Run Cowl and Mitts are yours at Yarnmarket!

Our good friends at Kollage are recommending this River Run Cowl and Mitts project for the holiday season, and we thinks it's a real winner. It's a fun pattern created with Sock-a-licious yarn, and we think this set makes a fantastic fashion accessory.

I love Sock-a-licious because it feels wonderful, the colors are spectacular and big skeins of 354 yards means fewer ends to weave in when you're finished. Right now, we have 20 Sock-a-licious colors in stock for $18.25 for 324 yards.

You can find the pattern and yarn at Yarnmarket, or you can buy the complete project with a single click. (If you've got some of the items included in the project, just un-click them!)

We've recently changed our shipping options, so if you spend over $59 you'll get free shipping in the continental U.S.

Save 20% off Berroco yarns...and see Norah Gaughan's video tips exclusively for friends of Yarnmarket!

We're so delighted that our customers are taking advantage of the 20% savings off all our Berroco yarns.

We're also delighted to offer you this FREE video made especially for our customers by the designing genius, Norah Gaughan. She created this to accompany the variety of projects we featured in our Spotlight on Berroco.

I hope you enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

All Berroco yarns now on sale at 20% off! No minimum purchase required.

Every month, I have the great pleasure of writing about another one of our wonderful yarn companies and I'm always so flattered by the responses we get. It seems that our Yarnmarket friends really enjoy learning about the people behind the brands who bring us the fantastic fibers and patterns we all adore.

This month, I'm happy to present you with the Spotlight on Berroco where you'll learn all about the company, its sixth-generation owner, Norah Gaughan, Amanda Keep and the 20% off savings you'll get when you purchase Berroco yarns from now until December 31.

If you don't receive it via email, you can read it online. Be sure to enter our contest because you could win a valuable Berroco prize package!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Whining and complaining...and being an annoyance.

It's been so busy at YarnMartian World Headquarters that I haven't had much time to write the blog. Sure, I've found time to post when I'm shamelessly hawking our yarn. But I haven't had much time to write about important Thanksgiving, Vincent the Squirrel and whatever it is I can say to embarrass Alex.

Our Thanksgiving was very nice and peaceful. I hope yours was, too. Lisa B went home to Pennsylvania for the holiday and returned with her mother who has spent a couple of days here knitting while Lisa works. It's nice to have a Mom at the office to make sure Lisa eats all her veggies before she treats herself to dessert at lunch time. I remember once a few years ago my Mom came with me to work with me when I was at CompuServe. My boss popped his head into my office and said, "I'll be gone next week so you'll be in charge."

I swear to God, my Mom broke into a panic. She looked at him in terror and asked, "Are you sure you want to do that?" This is why NOBODY has a "Take Your Mom to Work Day."

I've think I've got bad news about Vincent the Squirrel. He seems to have disappeared despite the loads of peanuts we were feeding him everyday. We haven't seen him in about a week, so I'm going to pretend that he's found a better place (perhaps once that serves walnuts) because I cannot bear to think that he's...well...I can't even bear to type it.

I've got really, really good news about the Snow Leopard Trust that we support. Yesterday I received a letter from Marissa that Yarnmarket friends and shoppers helped the group win the grand prize in BBC's World Challenge. That means they're getting a $20,000 grant to continue their good works to save the enormous pussycats. Isn't that fantastic? You can read about them here, if you like. Those of you who want to buy the 2012 Snow Leopard Calendar to help contribute to the charity can find it at Yarnmarket. I think it would make a really nice gift. Don't you?

I have to admit I've been spending more time than I should on the Jack the Cat and American Airlines Facebook pages. I was so upset about Jack the Cat being lost at JFK...and then I was elated when he was found...and then I was devastated when he died. Throughout the incident I kept thinking that American Airlines wasn't handling the situation very well. I know that a lot of their employees were doing everything they could to find Jack, and they were very supportive of Karen (Jack's owner). But the executives seemed to think the situation wasn't deserving of their attention.

Boy, I tell you, if I'd been an executive at AA I would have pulled out all the stops to find that cat, ensure no other pussycat or dog is ever lost again, and then I'do whatever I had to do so people would know I'm not a heartless, uncaring, EBITDA-obsessed creep.

Unfortunately, Gerard Arpey, the former CEO of American Airlines, isn't like me.

So, I'm going to confess that I'm not a nice person at all because I leapt up from my computer and yelled "Wooohooo!" when I read that he'd "retired." That's Corp-Speak for, "They tossed his sorry backside out the door." The only part that bugs me about his departure is that his salary in 2009 was $5 million. (Heck, I could bankrupt an airline for 1/10th that amount!) If he made $5 million per year, he's going to get a really good severance package, isn't he? I'll bet he gets at least $10 million to hit the tarmac and never darken their jetway again.

Now, if it's worth about $10 million for a guy like Gerard Arpey to not work at American Airlines, how much do you think it would it be worth to not have me run the company? $20 million? $30 million? $40 million and a lifetime supply of peanuts? I would think so.

Oh, seeing as how I'm confessing to my dark, ugly side...there's something I need to get off my chest. I wrote something mean on American Airline's PR agency's Facebook page. I couldn't help it! A box popped up that said, "Recommend Weber Shandwick." So I did. I wrote, "This is the agency for you if you killed somebody's cat."

I see that they finally took my recommendation down...but it was up for at least a week.

The next time I fly I'm going to be carrying the Jack the Cat bag I bought from CafePress. Proceeds go to help other pussycats and dogs that need homes. Mary Beth, who started the Jack the Cat Facebook page, has done a fantastic job of helping other animals in the wake of Jack's tragic death. If I were Weber Shandwick I'd hire her because she knows how to get people to care, and then act on their feelings. I paid $18 for a canvas sack with a picture of a very sick cat on it. Imagine what Mary Beth could do for a company like American Airlines! She'd have people sending money to buy Gerard a new yacht for his retirement.

Big Announcement!!!

As of next Friday, Alex and I will have been married 30 years. This proves:
a. I don't know how to use a gun;
b. Alex hasn't yet found the right poison;
c. You eventually do build up an immunity to one another's germs;
d. Of the billions upon billions of people on this planet, I'm the only one who wants Alex and he's the only one who wants me;
e. Those people who made bets that our marriage wouldn't last a year have long lost their money;
f. My mother was wrong;
g. His mother was right;
h. Love not only means not having to say you're sorry, it also means not having to say, "I plead not guilty, your honor."

To be honest, we probably have a better marriage than most. This is for two reasons:
1. I don't listen to a word he says.
2. He doesn't pay attention to a thing I do.

Alex is going to surprise me with a trip on our 30th Anniversary. He won't tell me where we're going. So how am I supposed to pack? Do I bring SPF 900 or Chapstick? Walking shoes, running shoes, sandals or mukluks? My 120 volt hairdryer with two prongs or my 240 hairdryer with three prongs? (If it's the 240 with 3 prongs, which prongs are they? The ones for Europe or the ones for Britain?) Do I bring an umbrella and Pantene Anti-Frizz Shampoo, Pantene Smoothing Conditioner, John Frieda's Frizz-Ease Serum, Elnette hairspray and a flat iron or do I bring a toque?

Men don't understand how complicated it is to be a woman...with sensitive skin, tender feet and frizzy hair.

So far he has told me only this: I have to be up at 4:00 a.m. to catch the plane. That's four hours after midnight. To catch a plane. In the cold and dark. Not even knowing where I'm going. With, perhaps, the wrong hair dryer.

Sweet? Yes. Considerate. Maybe. Romantic? I hope not. I never feel sexy when my hair's a frizzy mess.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Save 15% off ALL Artyarns. No minimum purchase required. Free shipping on US orders over $59.

Fans of the absolutely exquisite Artyarns will be thrilled to know we've just put all our Artyans yarns on sale at 15% off from now until midnight December 18th.

These are absolutely sumptuous yarns by Iris Schreier, and we've got a huge inventory of her most gorgeous creations, including:

  • Impressionist Beaded Mohair & Sequins
  • Impressionist Beaded Silk
  • Impressionist Cashmere Sock
  • Beaded Ensemble & Sequins
  • Beaded Mohair & Sequins
  • Beaded Silk & Sequins
  • Beaded Silk & Sequins Light
  • Beaded Silk Pearl & Sequins
  • Cashmere 5
  • Cashmere Sock
  • Ensemble
  • Handpaint Stripes
  • Impressionist Regal Silk
  • Mohair Splash
  • Regal Silk
  • Silk Fur
  • Impressionist Supermerino
  • Silk Mohair
  • Silk Pearl
  • Silk Rhapsody
  • Silk Rhapsody Glitter
  • Impressionist Silk Mohair
  • Silk Rhapsody Glitter Light
  • Silk Ribbon
  • Supermerino
  • Ultrabulky
  • Ultramerino 8

  • Artyarns fibers are perfect for holiday garments and gifts! save 15% off at Yarnmarket with no minimum purchase required and you get FREE SHIPPING on orders over $59 (Continental U.S. only).

    Be sure to visit Yarnmarket soon so you can stock up on these truly magnificent Artyarns fibers and save 15% off your order.

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    We've extended our Noro sale to midnight tonight! And we've also got 20% off Debbie Bliss and Rowan. Happy Cyber Monday!

    To celebrate Cyber Monday, Alex has agreed to extend our Noro Sale. Be sure to order today!

    Yarnmarket has just extended the Noro sale to midnight on Cyber Monday. Save 20% on all Noro yarns. Here's a list of our sale prices:
    Aya - $7.88
    Cash Iroha - $9.48
    Cotton Hill - $7.88
    Chirimen - $7.88
    Furisode - $14.28
    Hana Silk - $19.88
    Hitsuji - $14.28
    Iro - $15.88
    King - $11.08
    Kirameki - $11.88
    Kochoran - $15.88
    Kogarashi - $15.88
    Kureyon - $7.08
    Kureyon Sock - $15.08
    Maiko - $8.68
    Nadeshiko - $19.88
    Nobori - $15.88
    Odori - $19.88
    Retro - $7.88
    Sekku - $11.88
    Shirakaba - $7.88
    Silk Garden Lite - $9.48
    Silk Garden - $9.48
    Silver Thaw - $17.48
    Sumile - $8.68
    Taiyo - $15.08
    Taiyo Sock - $15.08
    Tanabata - $9.48
    Yuzen - $7.88
    Wadaiko - $19.88

    SHIPPING IS FREE on all orders over $59 in the continental U.S.

    Please note that we are running low on some colors but if you place your order now we will honor the sale price and ship the yarn as soon as it arrives at Yarnmarket. You will not be charged until your order ships.

    There has been a bit of a delay in receiving some of the yarns from Noro in Japan ever since the tsunami because not all of the ports are operating. But we're getting the yarns in and we're shipping them to our customers as quickly as we can.

    Happy Cyber Monday!

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    Save 20% off ALL Noro yarns starting midnight tonight!

    We're putting every Noro yarn on sale tonight at midnight so you can save 20% off your favorite yarns. We have a huge inventory of current styles and colors...and no minimum purchase is required.

    We've still got Rowan yarns and Debbie Bliss yarns at 20% off, so it's a great time to replenish your stash and save.


    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Many thanks to our customers, staff and business partners.

    This Thanksgiving we'd like to take a moment to thank all our customers for their support throughout the year. It's truly gratifying to help you enjoy your knitting and crocheting, and to see the wonderful projects you complete. We hope you take advantage of all the informational and inspirational materials we offer so you can enjoy your craft even more!

    It's a real pleasure to get to know so many of our shoppers and it's especially nice to be able to meet them. We're always thrilled to have a visit from Donnely Barber or Jennifer Penny or Laura Luvs2Sing. Margie Karl and her friends from Nationwide often join us for events, LittleWit and members of the Clintonville Gang, Tracy Owlchick and her friends who came to see us all the way from Maryland!

    We think Stef has adopted Jackie Awerman as her "Mom in Florida" and we've always appreciated Jackie's enthusiam for our shop. We wish her well on her upcoming surgery.

    There are so many wonderful knitters and crocheters to whom we owe our livelihood. I wish I could name them all!

    And then there are our friends in the yarn industry...and you know who you are! We thank you so much for helping us create a business that is in the business of making people happy.

    As many of you already know, Yarnmarket is just a small group here in Pickerington, OH. Alex and I are very fortunate to have so many wonderful people helping us with our shop and online sales, and we hope they already know how much we appreciate everything they do. We're very proud of them because they work so hard that people sometimes think we're part of a big conglomerate! They're surprised when they find out it's only us Yarn Martians working as hard as we can to please customers we truly value.

    We hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving with their family. Be thankful for your blessings...and remember that the things we own mean nothing compared to the people we love.

    Yarnmarket will re-open on Friday morning.

    Knit Simple presents a Fabulous Felines project in their December 2011 issue.

    When I told Alex about my idea for yarns in the same colors as cats, he thought I was nuts. And perhaps he was right. But eventually the idea grew on him so he gave in and let me have a little fun. To make the project more inclusive, I collected photos of cats from Yarnmarket shoppers all over the planet. Once I had hundreds of pictures, I selected a bunch to send to the hand-dyeing genius, Iris Schreier of Artyarns.

    Iris chose the most gorgeous 100% chunky merino wool to use for the exclusive Yarnmarket line, and after a few experiments with colors, we launched Fabulous Felines yarn.

    The line didn't just have the colors of the cats' fur, but also eye colors because you know how beautiful (and hypnotizing) a pussycat's eyes can be. Much to my delight, the yarn has become really popular. I guess people appreciate the beautiful colors, and the yarn is so soft and cushy you can't resist squishing it and saying, "Ahhh..."

    You can't imagine how excited I was yesterday when I got a message from the lovely Renee at Soho Publishing to let me know that they'd used Fabulous Felines in the color, Evie's Eyes, to create some accessories for their December 2011 issue of Knit Simple. Boy, was I ever thrilled!

    Renee sent a photo so I could see what they'd done...and don't you love the pattern? If you'd like to get it, and the yarn, you'll find it online as a Yarnmarket project called, "Fabulous Felines Hat & Mittens."

    As I mentioned, this project uses the color, Evie's Eyes. Here's a nice shot of Evie so you can see how well Iris matched them with her dye. We've got 11 shades right now, and we're always looking for more!

    (Photo credit: Knit Simple Winter 2011, photo by Paul Amato)

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    If you love Berroco like I love Berroco...

    You'll want to be sure to sign up for our newsletters right away. Our next Spotlight is going to feature the fantastic people at Berroco yarns.

    We absolutely adore Norah Gaughan and her mathematically inspired designs. (She's a scientist at heart) and we know you're going to enjoy learning about her. You'll see lots of her newest patterns and all those fantastic yarns that go with them.

    I have to tell you that I really enjoy working on the Spotlight newsletters because I get to speak to industry luminaries like Norah and Warren Wheelock (the owner of Berroco) and learn all about how they ended up doing what they love. Can you imagine having a job where you're doing your hobby everyday...for money?!

    Be sure to visit Yarnmarket today to sign up so you'll receive your very own issue of Spotlight as soon as it's available.

    Save 15% off selected yarns from S. Charles, Artyarns, Noro, Kollage, and Muench

    Today with Jan's Just My Type newsletter, we announced some fantastic 15% savings off S. Charles; Artyarns Beaded Ensemble & Sequins, Beaded Silk Pearls & Sequins and Silk Rhapsody Glitter Light; Noro Hana Silk; Kollage Glisten and Muench Touch Me yarns.

    Jan also provides lots of information about holiday fibers and inspires you with patterns she's selected for the season.

    Be sure to read your copy of Just My Type...and save on some fantastic holiday yarns from some of our favorite manufacturers.

    If you aren't already a subscriber, you can click here
    to read it online.

    Doreen didn't want a cat. But she couldn't resist the lure of the purr.

    Doreen Connors of Vogue Knitting passed along to me a shot of the newest member of her household. She had no intention of owning a cat, but you know how it is: the universe conspires to place pussycats into homes where they'll be loved and pampered even if they're not formally invited.

    This little kitty was lost or abandoned and would have been put down if not for Doreen and her husband (whose hearts are two sizes larger than the State Average).

    Fortunately, the family dog also embraced the pussycat so she's now firmly ensconced in her new habitat.

    While we so often see horrible things happening in the world, it's gratifying to be reminded that the kindness of human beings -- and animals -- is immeasurable. I thought it was something to be thankful for as we think about Thanksgiving on Thursday.

    Doreen, you and your husband have done a wonderful thing for that pussycat. Give her some ear skritches and cattypats for me. And give yourselves a big hug from me!

    This really made me laugh.

    My ex-cousin-in-law, Craig, sent me this joke from Victoria, BC. I haven't seen Craig since 1974 but we reconnected through the Internet and he sends me the funniest jokes. When Alex was out in BC this summer, he met Craig and his wife and had a wonderful time with them.(Geez...wouldn't it be nice if all ex-relatives got along this well?) Thanks for the Tuesday morning laugh, Craig!

    A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary.

    Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only
    polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to 'clean up' the bird's vocabulary.

    Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even more rude. John, in desperation,
    threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.

    Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer. The parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said "I believe I
    may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."

    John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.

    As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird spoke-up, very softly, "May I ask what the turkey did?"


    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    See our new Spotlight on Rowan and save 20% off ALL Rowan yarns!

    We've just sent out our Spotlight on Rowan, and if you don't subscribe, be sure to read it online!

    This issue presents fascinating information about the people behind Rowan yarns, and teaches you about their products and patterns. Additionally, we're presenting a special sale with 20% off all Rowan yarns in stock at Yarnmarket. These are the most current and most popular yarns...not just the discontinued ones. And, best of all, no minimum purchase is required!

    Be sure to read this fantastic issue of Spotlight, and then save on the wonderful Rowan yarns you'll find now at

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Farewell to precious cargo.

    Tonight I read the heart-breaking news that Jack the Cat is no longer with us. His injuries and malnutrition were just too much, and despite every effort to save him, and the very best of intentions, his suffering was only being extended. How tragic to think that with so many prayers, so many people caring about him, a world full of love just wasn't enough to save one very sick little pussycat.

    There are so many facets to this story that I hope someone with time and talent will write a book about Jack and his impact on our world. I'm hoping a lot of good eventually comes out of the tragedy and that this horrific incident will change the way that airlines transport pets. I hope that American Airlines will accept full responsibility for what has happened and allow all pets to ride safely in the cabin with their owners. Most of all, I hope that no one ever again has to suffer the way Karen Pascoe, Jack's owner, has suffered in the past couple of months as she worried about her cat.

    I have little doubt that Jack received the best veterinary care in the world and I thank every one of those wonderful people at Blue Pearl who did their best to try to nurse him back to health. Having held onto my own very sick cats while they were being euthanized, I cannot imagine the pain everyone felt as Jack fell gently asleep...forever.

    To those of you who haven't experienced this type of loss, I can only say you should be very thankful you've never had to make the gut-wrenching decision to end the suffering of a creature you have cared for and loved...and who depended upon you for everything. I lost both my cats in the past couple of years and my heart still aches when I think about them. For 14 years they shared my home, and each night for 14 years we all got into bed together with one cat on my left and another on my right snuggling against me for warmth, and purring until they fell asleep. Even now as I think about them I miss them so much that I begin to cry. I loved my cats. And I know that Karen loved Jack. My heart goes out to her tonight. I know the depths of her sadness, and it breaks my heart that anyone has to feel such pain.

    Now, I know there will be those who say, "It's only a cat," or "Why is everyone so upset about an animal when people around the world are dying?" Obviously, you've never owned or cared for a pet. So instead of belittling those who do care about all of God's creatures, why don't you look at it this way: A human has just lost something very precious. That human is now suffering unbearable sadness.

    It shouldn't matter whether that human -- Karen, in this case -- has lost an animal, a child, a limb, a cherished piece of jewelry or a home. That human has a broken heart and even if we don't care about the cat, we should care about the person who truly loved it. It's not what you love that makes something precious. It's simply the fact that you love it.

    I write this with tears in my eyes because I think about the fear and injury the animal suffered. I think of the sleepless nights its owner has endured. I think about the thousands of people who were compelled to follow Jack's story on Facebook...and the millions more who learned about him through the news.

    I think about all the prayers that he'd be found and when he was found, all the prayers that Jack would survive his ordeal. I think about how we had all wanted the happy ending. And, quite frankly, the ending sucks.

    Tonight Karen will cry herself to sleep. So will Mary Beth, the woman who worked so hard to keep us up-to-date on Facebook, and who helped organize Friends of Jack. I'll cry myself to sleep, too. And so will thousands of others.

    But as I lie there weeping I'm going to be very thankful that I was given a heart big enough to embrace lost pussycats, limping squirrels, injured bunnies and all the other creatures who happen to cross my path. I am going to be thankful that needy animals give humans everywhere the opportunity to care for more than ourselves. I am going to be grateful for the reminder that we are merely custodians of this Earth: the creatures we love are truly our planet's precious cargo.

    Rest in peace, Jack. May my cats, Kim and Hannibal, greet you at heaven's gate.

    Thursday, November 3, 2011

    Toni discovered Yarnmarket today!

    This afternoon, Toni took a break from her seminar in Dublin, Ohio to discover the Yarnmarket YarnMartian Headquarters just about 1/2 hour away. After spending hours in our showroom and warehouses, she went away a pretty happy lady.

    She promises to return...with her good friend who taught her how to knit.

    Thanks for visiting with us, Toni! We hope you have a safe trip back to Springfield.

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Confessions of a Closet Introvert

    People who know me think I'm an extrovert. People who REALLY know me, know that I'm not. I'd rather be hiding in a monastery somewhere, in a quiet corner in the dark, than attending a party. Yes..even if David Bowie is there.

    This is something that I like to keep secret for the most part. But a recent contact on Facebook by an old school friend has freaked me out so much that I want to run away to Abbey of Gethsemani right now and stay there until I stop hyperventilating. It's not that I don't like this old classmate. I do. But the last time I met with old friends -- which took more courage than I like to admit -- I realized that they could hardly wait for me to leave so they could start talking about me. Believe me, it was obvious. This thought upset me so much that I broke out into ick all over my body as I hurried away in my car. Even an emergency trip to the Abbey where no one's allowed to talk to me didn't cure it.

    Within a week I'd seen three specialists to treat the symptoms brought on by my secret introversion and sensitivity. One side of my face had broken out into shingles, the other side lumped up with rosacea, and the doctors figured what was happening on my forehead must have been an allergic response. But the truth was that it was a simple, widespread immunological meltdown caused by stress. It's no wonder I surround myself with woodland creatures and monks.

    I know that whenever I get upset about anything, my brain will conspire to kill me. I have subjected it to stress, so it sends a message to my immune system, "Destroy her!" My immune system kicks into action.

    I've been this way all my life. When I was five, I got a fever each morning as soon as I arrived at school. You can imagine how thrilled my Mom was when they called to tell her I was on my way home. Again.

    If someone invites me to a party, I'll be sick either the day before or the day after...depending upon whether or not I attend.

    When people visit us at home, I'm often in bed with a flu the entire time, or at the emergency ward of the hospital. You think I'm kidding, don't you? Ask our good friends, Jerry and Laurie Towner. They're starting to think I don't like them. But I do. I love them! It's just that being with people makes me sick.

    Over the years, I've become so good at it that hardly anyone realizes that I'm only pretending I'm almost normal. Beneath this facade of middle-aged looniness, I'm an overly sensitive, inwardly hysterical, shy person. I'm jealous of guys who get sentenced to life in isolation with no opportunity for parole. And the only people who really believe me and understand what's going on in my head are the HR people at a few corporations where I've worked. They're the ones who administer Meyers-Briggs.

    "I see you're an INFP," they whisper to me as they hand back the results of the test. "I never would have guessed."

    But when the questionnaire asked, "Would you rather receive an award at a company dinner or be curled up in the fetal position under your desk?" my true personality came out.

    And when they inquired, "Who do you think you're most like: Aunt Bee or Emo Phillips?" I responded, "Some mornings it just isn't worth chewing through the leather straps."

    I'm sure there are a lot of other people like me out there. Well, out there and hiding from other people like me. And I think I know who some of them are: that sweet nun at the convent I stayed in in Orvieto. The nice monk at the abbey in Kentucky who gave me a rosary. The wonderful tour guide at the remote monastery in France. They're all people who've found their calling as introverts. And if I were Catholic, I might have found that calling, too.

    So if you invite me to a party or to dinner I hope you're not offended when I don't show up. It's not that I don't like you. I'm sure I do. It's just that my brain will try to kill me if I come.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011

    Introducing...Fingerless Mitts made from handspun yarn from Blue Rose Fibers

    A while back, Alex called me at the office and told me to leave immediately to take care of a problem at home. The problem was a little pussycat who showed up in our yard, threw herself at his feet, and wouldn't leave. It turned out that she wouldn't leave because he kept filling up a bowl with tuna juice...and no cat can resist tuna juice.

    The little pussycat was injured so we took her to a vet and got her all patched up before she was adopted by a wonderful lady who has provided the kitty with the best home possible. I named the kitty, "Mercedes" because she'd been hit by a car.

    Her new owner (and now Mommy) Donnely calls the pussycat, "Ms. Mercy."

    It turns out that Ms. Mercy's Mom spins yarns and creates her own knitting patterns. Well, what better way to repay her for her kindness than to offer her yarns and patterns on

    Today, Donnely showed up at Yarnmarket with her friend, and presented us with kits she'd created for her fingerless mitts. We loved them, so Michele shot a photo and Stef got them online and for sale right away.

    The mittens are created with Cotswold sheep and bamboo yarn that Donnely spins herself. It's soft and lovely in its natural color. The kit includes the yarn, pattern, and even the pretty beads that add a nice touch to the mitts.

    I hope you'll purchase our Ms. Mercy's Beaded Fingerless Mitts Kit. Donnely is a lovely lady who has a heart the size of a Cadillac and we think her design is fantastic. We hope you do, too!

    Monday, October 31, 2011


    We’re delighted to announce that we’ve added several new shipping options to Yarnmarket that make it possible for us to offer free shipping on any order over $59 (in the continental US). These orders will be delivered via 3-8 day FedEx Economy Ground Shipping.

    We are also now offering $5.99 flat rate for 3-8 day delivery on orders under $59.

    We have many new options you’ll want to read about on our site -- each one giving you a choice in cost and length of time it takes to receive your knitting and crochet supplies.


    A lot of knitters order something very simple, like a single skein of yarn, one set of needles, or a pattern booklet. In these cases, we suggest that you consider low-cost United States Postal Service.

    Please call us if that’s what you’d like to do. We’ll package up your order, weigh it and let you know the postage.

    All other options are available easily online. If you want to read about everything we now have available you can see it on our site.

    Oh…for knitters in the military we offer shipping to EVERY APO address.

    Belated Happy Birthday to Maureen Moffat of Buffalo

    I was going to send a note to Dave Thomas so he could read her name this morning on Rocketship 7. But then I remembered that it went off the air about 40 years ago. And Commander Tom's not around anymore, either!

    Happy Birthday from Yarnmarket, Maureen!

    A Hallowe'en Poem from Jackie Awerman

    You may recognize Jackie's name from one of the many articles she's had published over the years. Jackie is a talented knitter and a writer who we're very happy is a loyal Yarnmarket customer. She sent us this poem to celebrate Hallowe'en and I thought I'd share it with you.

    By Jackie Awerman, October 2011

    Out of the blackish haze
    Of a swampy daze
    Cuttin’ through vile green smoke
    This ain’t a joke:
    A frog cries warnings with a mighty croak
    And you see the flash of purple britches
    The orange petticoat
    Then you hear the nuck, nuck of an old, old
    Very old billy goat.

    There’s a whir and a whistle
    A screech and a click
    You’re quite sure that it isn’ couldn’t be
    St. Nick.
    Nope not his kind of deed. Not at mach speed…
    Not whoopin’ and hollerin’ “ I need…I need…”
    So you look up in the trees…you look down by your knees..
    It’s …OMG! Bats almighty!
    She’s out in her nightie…
    The Wonder Witch!

    Yup. Here she comes…Varooming through…
    Incantations blasting…
    And so darn skinny she must’ve been fasting
    …Getting ready…
    Oh so hungry
    For your treats.
    Up to her amazing broomstick feats.
    Oh! Oh! Say it isn't so
    Wonder Witch
    Has the candy 'n yarn itch!

    Oy. Hold on to your treat & knitting bags
    Don’t …please don’t let that greedy hag
    Grab your candy, grope your stash…
    There’s another solution—you can do in a flash!
    I swear...Hallowe'en salvation is almost here!

    Here’s what to do instead:
    Wrap a skein of glorious yarn around your head
    You know…from your special stash under the bed.
    Then cast a spell so all will be well:
    Wonder Witch will lose the itch for your yarn and candy
    It's guaranteed. It's gonna be dandy.

    C’mon. Get to it at full speed. Pick up your favorite knitting needles
    And recite the Knitter's Moon spell with me:
    Cats MEOW.
    Monsters BOW.
    Away Candy ‘n Yarn ITCH
    Take this Gorgeous yarn instead
    From my heart…off my head
    And I’m giving you candy—plenty of that
    Enough to stuff your knitted hat.

    Now, pointing your knitting needles straight at
    The Witch,
    Take a deep breath and finish the rhyme:
    Oopsie, loopsie glittery slime
    Jittery cats sipping wine
    My treats are mine.

    Candy 'n yarn itch...Wonder Witch
    You're outta here...outta here...
    So there.
    Amen! Whew! And hurray!
    Now if I can knit in peace this Hallowe'en Day!

    Smiles and laughter...Yarn Dancing aroudn the bonfire of old dilapidated knitting books and patterns gone awry.

    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    The Miracle of Jack the Cat

    Today, the happiest guy in the world is a man named Gerard J. Arpey. He's the CEO of American Airlines, the airline that lost Jack the Cat. It was their fault, no question about it. An airline employee put Jack's cage on top of some other luggage, it fell off and must have broken open. Jack escaped; his devastated owner had to fly to her new home in California without him; and through very clever use of social media, Jack's plight became known around the world.

    This is where all the miracles begin...and I think this is a great example of humanity at its best.

    Miracle 1
    Someone who loved the cat and its owner, Karen Pascoe, was brilliant enough to set up a Facebook page to tell the world about what happened to Jack. Through the miracle of social media, the problem with Jack became so well known that American Airlines, who'd initially bungled their response, was forced to man up.

    Miracle 2
    American Airlines created a page on Facebook so they could tell their side of the story and assure angry cat-lovers throughout the world that they were not a corporation of cold, heartless, animal-neglecting pigs.

    Miracle 3
    People were touched by the story. AA employees, JFK employees, travelers...anyone who ever loved a pussycat felt tremendous empathy for Karen and for Jack. They imagined how they'd feel if their own pussycat had been lost in an airport...right before a dreadful hurricane.

    Miracle 4

    People actually cared enough to show up. They put posters up around the airport and the local neighborhoods. They came to search the airport. They didn't just sit around and say, "Oh, how sad." People actually showed up to find the cat. As a result of their efforts, several other lost pussycats were recovered and given to animal shelters where -- we can only hope -- they'll be adopted.

    Miracle 5
    We didn't give up hope. People are pretty cynical these days, so it was very heartening to read stories on Jack's Facebook page about other pussycats who'd been found after an extended period. Every day, people were there to let Karen and whomever was behind the search in NY know that they cared and that they weren't going to give up hoping that Jack would be found.

    Miracle 6

    This is the best one. He was found. It sounds like a customs officer found him (I read that he'd fallen through a ceiling tile!) and Jack was taken immediately to a veterinarian's office in Queen's where he's now recovering from his adventure.

    Miracle 7
    This incident, that is now being reported around the world, has raised awareness of the dangers of flying your animal in the cargo bay of an airplane. Perhaps it will lead to a better system for transporting beloved family members who just happen to be covered in fur. I've heard that cats are lost all the time by airlines (like George who was recently lost by Air Canada on a flight in Alberta) and I remember a few years ago a woman in the US had to get the courts to force an airline to stop flying the plane her cat had been lost on so she could go in to look for it.

    The big difference in this incident is that the owner's friend was very determined to use social media to keep AA's attention on the matter and to encourage others to help in the hunt.

    I think it's a miracle that Jack that Cat has been found and that he'll soon be safe home with his brother, Barry, and his owner, Karen.

    I can only think that it was the collective prayers and efforts by everyone who was touched by the story that kept this pussycat safe and alive for two months.

    And I'll be that there's no one in the world happier about the outcome than the CEO of American Airlines who, I'm certain, never learned in business school what you do when you lose somebody's cat.

    Jack the Cat has been found!

    I'm elated to announce that Jack the Cat has been found in the Customs Area of JFK Airport. He's now at a vet and receiving an IV with fluids.

    It's wonderful that this pussycat survived TWO MONTHS after being lost by American Airlines. Thank goodness no one gave up the search and Jack is being returned to his owner.

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    Hurry! Save 41% off Schulana Cortina and Cortina Nuvole

    Tomorrow's Just My Type newsletter is going to be about chunky yarns so we thought we'd drastically reduce one of our favorites.

    Schulana Cortina and Cortina Nuvole are light and lofty yarns of merino wool and nylon. They're regularly $9.95 but we're now selling them for only $5.88.

    Order quickly because at these great prices they aren't going to last very long!

    You'll want to knit Barbara's latest shawl

    Readers of know Barbara Rottman from her wonderful reviews of yarns and patterns and her column, "Purls of Wisdom." Barbara's been knitting a very long time and is one of the most talented knitters I know. She really knocked me out with the gorgeous shawl she created for her son's bride. Shelli is of Indian descent, so Barbara made a magnificent lace shawl in the traditional bright red worn by Indian brides. I'll have to post a photo of it when I get one.

    Today Barbara impressed me with her latest creation: a shawl for Shelli's birthday. It's a pretty piece called Tasha Tudor that was designed by Nancy Bush and can be created using any nice worsted weight yarn. It's available free online.

    Barbara used a Paton's yarn in this version, but she suggests Caledon Hills worsted would be terrific. I think so, too, because Caledon Hills comes in so many gorgeous colors. We have 68 shades to choose from so you're bound to find one you love. I really like the Peacock because it's a shade that is really popular this autumn...and I always like teals and turquoises anyway. (Oh! I see we have more of the Peacock on the way. And the Slate, too. They're very popular this season.)

    Another yarn Barbara suggests is Filatura Di Crosa's Zara Chine. She recently reviewed it in Knitch Magazine thought it was fabulous. It's a fingering weight yarn so Barbara suggests it be combined with a nice sock yarn. A variegated one would give a great effect.

    If you want a really warm and pretty shawl that is youthful in style and not difficult to make, I suggest you follow Barbara's advice and give this one a try.

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Meet Vincent Van Gogh, the Yarnmarket Squirrel

    If you're a regular reader of the blog, you'll know that we're all a little goofy when it comes to animals. I'm the worst. Injured ones find me. (Mercedes the Cat and Scarface the Cat both come to mind immediately.) Well, the other day I pulled up to the shop and I caught a glimpse of a little squirrel darting amongst the shrubs. Something about him just wasn't right so I thought I'd better investigate.

    I can now tell you one thing you may someday find useful: Chasing a squirrel and calling, "Here, squirrel" doesn't work.

    I hung around outside until I saw the little guy run up a tree. The poor little thing was missing an ear, had a little stump of a tail, and was slightly crippled. He sort of hobbled when he ran. It was really sad.

    Not long after I saw this squirrel, Alex was on his way to The Anderson's to buy a big bag of peanuts to shut me up. He knows he won't have a minute's peace until I'm satisfied that the poor little squirrel has lots to eat so he can become healthy enough to survive.

    Since then, Yarnmarket customers who come to our shop have been crunching over a pile of peanuts at our door as Michele, Stef, Lisa and I have been trying to attract the little guy so we can feed him. Yesterday, four perfectly good squirrels came for breakfast. That's nice...but they're not our top priority.

    Today, in the pouring rain, the little crippled squirrel finally showed up.

    I tossed out peanuts and Michele grabbed her camera. She got two pretty good shots of the guy, but complained that she needs to bring her other lens in to the office so she can get a better photo of him. I'll bet by tomorrow we have breath-taking portraits of him worthy of National Geographic. (I have no idea how Stef is going to do his make-up and she does for our other photo shoots.)

    If you're coming to Yarnmarket over the next few days, please forgive the pile of peanut shells at the door to our showroom. And say hi to Vincent, the Yarnmarket squirrel who's missing an ear, because he'll be in a nearby tree to welcome you...before he returns to gather his nuts.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011

    You could win 2 balls of Snow Leopard Camel Hair yarn

    Just vote for the Snow Leopard Trust in the BBC World Challenge by November 11 and then post here to say you've voted, and you could win some of this truly gorgeous Snow Leopard Yarn.

    Please pass this along to your friends so they, too, can vote for this very good cause.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Please help Snow Leopard Trust save these endangered cats! All you need to do is click a button to vote.

    Snow Leopard Trust is a wonderful organization that helps protect the endangered cat by encouraging locals not to hunt the animals. They work to retrain them so they can earn a living by other means, thus enabling the cats to live and breed in the wilds.

    Yarnmarket is very proud to support this group through their yarn sales. We urge you to please help them, too, simply by voting for Snow Leopard Trust in the BBC World Challenge. It's fast. It's simple. And it could help save the life of a beautiful cat.

    Really, it's not much effort to do so much good. Please show BBC that this very worthy cause deserves their support.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011

    Anarchists of the world unite!

    For most of my life I've been looking forward to retirement. And to support my retirement, I've been looking for that one really big idea that'll make me rich enough to hand in my resignation and spend the rest of my life in leisure. Problem is that the cost of retirement has skyrocketed in recent years so the revenue I need to earn from my one big idea has increased exponentially. It's gotten to the point where I fear I may need to come up with TWO ideas.

    Here's the way I'm seeing it:

    Let's say you and your spouse want to retire at...oh...$50,000 per year. In a few years that will be just enough to pay for your taxes (unless you live in CA, NY, or NJ), and your car insurance (unless you live in CA, NY, or NJ), your food and maybe some heat in the winter, but probably not air conditioning in the summer. If you're smart, your retirement home will be a cave so you can save money on heat and air conditioning. (Don't worry...your cave is going to be a comfortable 55 degrees F all year round if you make sure it's at least 4 feet underground.)

    With your $50K per year retirement money, you and your spouse will be able to buy clothes (if, like me, your wardrobe comes from Sam's Club) and maybe every few years you can save enough to go on a little trip. Plan on staying at a friend's house. Someone who'll feed you, if at all possible.

    It won't be a difficult lifestyle to adopt as long as you haven't set your retirement expectations too high -- and you don't expect to do things like travel and explore new hobbies. You really won't have time for these little luxuries because you'll be busy drying peat moss so you can have a fire and making your own soap out of bacon grease...assuming you can steal your neighbor's pig.

    Just think of what a happy, simple life you'll have! No worries about the cost of your cell phone service. No wondering which new movie you'll rent on Pay-Per-View. No fretting about who's saying what about you on Facebook. You'll be contentedly living out your Golden Years without a care in the world.

    Except, maybe, whether the berries you foraged for breakfast were poisonous. But don't think about things like that. Be optimistic that you -- as a baby boomer -- are on the leading edge of another cultural shift.

    That is, of course, if you've saved up enough money to earn you $50,000 per year in retirement.

    By my calculations, with the current interest rate of about 1/2% on savings accounts, you'll need to have saved $10,000,000 for this frugal, but fulfilling, retirement. Ten million dollars. Ten million. Let me repeat that...TEN MILLION DOLLARS!!!

    I've calculated everything I've saved, and I'm afraid I'm a few million dollars short. To be honest, if you round off to the nearest million, I'm about $10 million short. It's not that I've spent my money foolishly. Oh, no! I saved. And saved and saved. I actually paid off my house mortgage! And my car. And everything else I've ever bought. And I put my savings into a 401K. And then something horrible happened and I had to look up the term "over-exhuberance" and people talked about bubbles and I said to myself, "I remember something about the South Sea Bubble in economics class." And then I thought about the Dutch Tulip Bubble and I said, "Boy, I should have paid a lot more attention in economics class." But our professor, John Hughes, was dreamy and who could think about money when he was standing there looking all cute and available to the seven dorky co-eds attending Ryerson's business college?

    Anyway, I've come up with my big idea that'll make me millions of dollars so I can retire to a hole in the ground (but not in CA, NY, or NJ) where I'll eat stolen pigs and make soap out of their fat an then go to mooch off my...I mean...visit my friends every couple of years.

    I'm going to design and sell what every anarchist needs: a balaclava. I mean, just about everyone these days needs their own balaclava. Who wants to be recognized when they're storming the Bastille? Not me! And not any of those folks who are protesting in Athens, Rome, Cairo, New York, or any where else in the world. (I understand that the protesters in Paris have the month of October off.)

    With a balaclava, you can protest anything, anywhere, anytime without fear of being identified by people who may not like that you're ripping things up or burning things down or just hanging around hoping you meet someone nice at the protest march.

    I'm going to decorate my balaclavas so there'll be a little bit of variety and people will really want them. You can order yours to look like a cat face or a Schnauzer face, or a lizard face...or you could get the ever-popular Pig Face and look like someone you're probably protesting against: a CEO, a politician, a lousy choreographer, a cruel make-up artist, a waitress who forgot to re-fill your water glass, a kid who annoyed you by talking in the theater, an ex-spouse, your boss, the greeter at Sam's Club who insisted you turn your card over so he could make sure the photo matched your face, that young girl who sat beside you on a recent US Airways flight and rolled her eyes when she looked at you because she thought you were such a dork and she wanted to sit beside a cute guy she could someday sue for child support.

    So, there you go. I'm now in the business of selling, "Deb's Original Balaclavas." They're energy-efficient, biodegradable, gender non-specific, fit any size head (except maybe Michele Pfeiffer's head) and are non-denominational. Perfect for the modern marching protester!

    If you'd like to obtain your "Deb's Original Balaclava" please send $1 million to me c/o Please indicate whether you want the cat face, dog face or pig face. All orders will be shipped via Federal Express with a hand-written thank you note and the promise of a free bar of pig fat soap as soon as I figure out how to make it.

    Learn about Debbie Bliss...and save 20% off her yarns at Yarnmarket

    Today we sent out our monthly Spotlight, and this issue is all about the fantastic Debbie Bliss. You'll want to read it to learn about Debbie's life and travels, and to see all her new yarns and patterns for the fall season. It's in your mailbox if you already subscribe, but if you don't receive our informative and inspirational monthly newsletters, you can also read it online.

    Right now, Yarnmarket is offering 20% off all of Debbie's yarns WITH NO MINIMUM PURCHASE REQUIRED! You'll want to stock up because you know these are the yarns you always want to have in your stash.

    To help you save even more, Yarnmarket has recently introduced lower priced shipping via FedEx Ground Economy. It's available to our US customers for just $5.99. We've also added several other options for our customers throughout the world so you can choose the price and delivery method that you prefer.

    Be sure to see our Debbie Bliss Spotlight and don't forget to enter our contest. You could win over $200 in Debbie Bliss yarn and a pattern book.

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Yarnmarket presents our first feature video...A Trip to Yarnmarket!

    Okay, so I'm not Steven Spielberg. But this is the first time I've ever tried to make a video by myself and I've learned a lot about editing, voice over and ambient sound. I filmed this when we had visitors to our shop in July and wanted to post it so you can see our showroom and warehouses.

    Enjoy! (Note to Roger Ebert: I know...I know...two thumbs down for cinematography.)

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    What's in a name?

    Alex and I were married about 25 years before he decided I ought to take on his last name. There were two reasons for this: first of all, we worked together and he didn't want people to think I got my job because of him. This made sense. Sometimes he'd go to a company and I'd follow him. Sometimes I'd be the first, and he'd follow me. We liked each other and have always enjoyed working together. Well, for the most part. When he phones me and says, "Come here," and hangs up, I'm not all that thrilled. Despite what he thinks, I am not sitting at my desk, staring off into space and contemplating the meaning of life. I'm not eagerly awaiting a call from him to say, "Come here," so I can obediently race right over to his office to find out whatever it is he wants.

    More often than not, I'm dealing with some horrific time-sensitive issue -- like Amazon has just de-listed us because they think our photos have watermarks on them. They don't, but Amazon keeps thinking they do and they shut us down. More often than not it takes me three days to convince them that they're wrong. They apologize, of course, and turn us back on.

    This has happened four times.

    So, when I'm frantically trying to fix the problem with Amazon and Alex calls and says, "Come here," and hangs up, you can imagine what I'd like him to do with his telephone.

    The second reason I don't use Alex's name is that no one can pronounce it. They look at it, get a quizzical expression on their face, and then begin to stumble.

    "Nik...Niki...Nikif..." Invariably they'll decide the name is too long and that it's actually "Nicky Fortchuk" instead of "Nikifortchuk." I can't tell you how discomforting it is to be wheeled into surgery and the last thing you hear the doctor say as you start to go under is, "We'll take good care of you, Nicky."

    I'm not Nicky! What if he has a "Nicky" patient who's going to have her nose bobbed or tummy tucked or boobs implanted? (Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't worry all that much.)

    Oh! That reminds me of a third reason I don't use my husband's last name. I was once married to a fellow named "Knight" and if I ever turned out to be an ax murderess I figured it was better to disparage the name "Knight" than "Nikifortchuk." Any old "Knight" could deny being related to me. But a "Nikifortchuk"? Fat chance.

    Oh, rats...that makes me think of a fourth reason why I've refused to use my husband's name. His father died while we were in the process of obtaining our US citizenship. When you become a citizen, you get to choose an entirely new name free of charge! Well, who could refuse an offer like that?

    Alex's father had just died and we were all very sad about it. Once the old guy was gone, Alex's mother decided to tell us the truth: His father was Russian, not Ukrainian and his name was really "Nikifor." She said that his father had changed his name during the war because he'd gone MIA from the Russian army. Good story, eh?

    Good enough that we swore to uphold the principles of the US Constitution with our brand new name, "Nikifor." I was transformed into "Deborah Knight-Nikifor" and I set about the task of changing my identity on credit cards, air miles cards, my driver's name it.

    Just as I was finishing this lengthy and cumbersome process, I decided to do a little research. And guess what I found out? "Nikifor" is not a last name. It's a first name. Like "Bob." There was no way his father's name was "Sergei Bob."

    When I thought about it, I felt like an idiot. Nobody, but nobody would escape from the Russian Army with the name "Nikifor" and then change it to "Nikifortchuk" and think, "Whew! Now they'll never find me."

    So I asked Alex's mother, "What's our real name?"

    She wouldn't tell me. I pressed. Surely to heaven she knew what the real name was. To this day, she refuses to tell me.

    "I forget," she says. "I'm old. I forget things."

    I can remember the name of the dog we had when I was four years old. I can remember the name of the guy who lived across the street when I was three. I really cannot believe that anyone, anywhere can actually forget their name. But she's tight lipped and I'm married to a guy whose name I don't even know. Could be "Stalin." Could be "Kruschev." Could be "Rimsky Korsakov." But seeing as how he shows no sign of musical genius, I figure it's more than likely "Stalin."

    I sleep with one eye open...just in case.

    Why am I writing this? Because a few weeks ago our niece, Sasha, gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. They named her "Tatiana Irenya." "Irenya" is the name that Alex's mother uses, but I haven't a clue if it's real.

    Already, this little baby who is only a few weeks old is being referred to as, "Tatiana," "Tatya," "Tasha," and several other variations I cannot remember. Alex's sister, Lucy (Ludmilla) said that she didn't think it was odd because she was called by EIGHT different names as she grew up. EIGHT!!!

    I've decided that this is a strange Russian thing where the instant you're born, you start accumulating aliases. Throughout your life you have so many names that nobody really knows who you are. That way they'll never find you.

    Who? Who knows?! But they're out there and they're looking to find all these Russian people who have eight or ten different first names and last names they can't remember.

    Well, I've tricked those cagey "Stalin-Nikifortchuks" because I got their DNA and I submitted it to National Geographic and FTDNA. There's a big database out there searching to match up my husband and mother-in-law's DNA with some other person on the planet. Someday I know I'll receive notification of a match and I'll finally know what my last name is.

    And do you know what? I have more than a hunch my name isn't going to be "Romanov."