I'm in love and it feels so good!

Last Saturday I fell in love for the first time. I thought I have been in love before, but I have been greatly mistaken.

All week I have been singing this song. The love that has been fluttering in my heart for the past week has given me the most incredible feelings ever. I can't describe it.

People talk about love at first sight, but I never understood it until recently.

I have been seeing my new love around town for a couple of weeks. Our first encounter was during my trip to the
Yarn Tree in Brooklyn and then I saw them again at Knitty City in the city. After each encounter I always end up I thinking about them. Wondering if we would have the opportunity to be together.

When I saw my love last Saturday at the Wool and Sheep Festival I knew with all of my heart I wanted to be with them, but I was afraid that they were unattainable. I was also afraid that my friends wouldn't approve, but I was very wrong. When I introduced my friends to one who stole my heart. They agreed we should be together. Their approval meant a lot to me so after receiving their OK I ran to find my love.

When I approached my love I got there just in time. There was only one left and the Festival was shutting down for the day. I am sure at this point you are scratching head wondering what the heck am I talking about now.

My love is my
Jumbo Ball Winder made by Strauch Fiber Equipment Company. OMG this is the best thing I have ever purchased for my knitting life!

A couple of weeks ago I purchased the
Knit Picks ball winder and I hated it! I purchased it because it is $20 and it can be used as a hand held winder or as a table winder. It wasn't very sturdy. The handle kept falling out when I would use it as a hand winder. (Maybe it it better when you attach it to a table.) It is small, so it couldn't take a lot of yarn. The balls were sloppy and kept falling apart. The winder is made out of plastic. It is cheaply made. The pro of this winder is that it is a small, so it is easy to travel with it and I could tuck it away in my yarn box.

The Strauch Ball Winder is the total opposite of the Knit Picks ball winder. It is a conversation starter. It is gorgeous. It is hand carved out of wood. (I had the pleasure of meeting Otto Strauch (the creative genus behind the winder) when I purchased my winder.)

At first I was thrown by the $115 price tag, but after to talking to a couple of people and really examining I knew it was worth the price. The reason being is that I could see myself buying 6 of those knit picks winders over the course of a lifetime. I doubt that I will have to buy another ball winder for the rest of life. I may have to purchase the rubber bands that connect the two parts to each other.

Here is my review of the Strauch Fiber Equipment Jumbo Ball Winder:

  • Pro: It can take a lot of yarn and make large balls.
  • Pro: It winding system is very smooth.
  • Pro: The balls that it makes are beautiful and sturdy.
  • Pro: You don't have to bolt it to the table. I place my foot or my cellphone on it to stop it from shaking.
  • Pro: It is made well. Nothing is falling off.
  • Pro: Really easy to use! Pro: Educational intro video on the website that has great how to tips.
  • Pro: It is fast. I can ball a ball of Vanna's Choice yarn in approximately 2 minutes.
  • Con: The only draw back about the winder is that it is large. I am currently living is a small space, so I have to store it in a closet, because it is too large to keep out. I can't wait to get a place and have an area set up where I can keep it out and on display. It may be too heavy for me to take to friend's houses. If I am getting a ride, it is not going to be an issue, but I wouldn't want to carry it on the train.
I would recommend this winder to anyone who is looking for a winder. It is worth every penny and it will last you forever. Plus it will save you a lot of frustration.

Here are some photos of my love and I spending time together this week.

This was my first ball that I made. Very loose.

Here is a ball after a little practice. You can already see the difference.

I am cooking with gas now!

Here is a full view of my love.

I am sure I will post more photos after I use it with my swift.

PS I am not being paid by this company to advertise their product. I just really like it!
Hey , but if they want to pay I will take one of their yarn swifts for free. :)


Confessions of an Addict

My name Petrina and I am an addict.

I recently came to the realization that I am an addict because:
  • I will do anything to get money to get my next fix.
  • I lie about my habit.
  • A good portion of my income is spent on it. (I refuse to figure out how much.)
  • My friends are junkies too.
  • I never leave the house with my drugs. When I do leave the house without something I always regret it.
  • I try to get everyone to do it.
  • I have paraphernalia all over my home.
  • Sometimes I sit up all night doing it, because I just can't stop.
  • I would rather cater to my addition then do certain things that I once enjoyed.

I have been an addict now for a little over six years. It started off harmless. I figured I would try it out with some friends. I thought it would be something we could all do together. None of knew us how that decision would change our all of our lives forever. We would have never guessed how much money and time would be spent catering to our addictions.

For years, I had toyed with idea of trying it. I remember when I first moved to the city I went to the corner of 8th street and Broadway and picked up some stuff. Figured since I didn't spend a lot of money on it I wouldn't be mad if I didn't get the high I was looking for. I remember rushing home to try it. Hoping that my roommates weren't home, so that I do it without them judging me.

I remember sitting on the floor looking at my new found treasure with glee with the hopes of getting high, but of course I couldn't figure it. So I threw away my cheap items and moved on to something else.

Years later, the notion hit me again, so I spoke to some friends to ask them if they ever thought about doing it and to my surprise they were interested. So I asked around to find out where I could score and I started making calls. I live in New York City, so it doesn't take long to get anything. I was able to find a dealer within a few days. I called my friends and told them that I found a place and that the fee was $135 and we needed to pay in cash.

I am not sure how long it took for us to get everything together, but I will not forgot the night I tried it. I remember walking up this dimly light stairway with my friends. There was something odd about the stairway. For a moment I wondered if were in the right place. Then we saw the door of the place were going to. Walk in and paid for our goods and then waited to be served. My friends and I weren't the only ones there. There were other newbies there waiting for their first taste.

As we sat there and waited I wondered. Did I just waste my money on something I may not or may not give me the high I am looking for? I wondered what was I going to do if I really liked it.

A few minutes later a hippy looking woman came out and introduced herself to us. You may think that I am going to tell you that my first experience was amazing and that I never felt a high like this. Nope not all. It was awful. I couldn't figure out what to do with the needle. My friends figured it out quickly and I could see their faces lighting up. I could see that they were getting the high that I wanted. The entire night I struggled. I remember going home that night feeling stupid for spending all of that money and not getting the high I was looking for.

I remember talking to my friends and them telling me how great it was once they got started and that I should try one more time. One night I met Suzy at her office after hours while no one else was there. She wanted to teach me in private.

I remember Suzy, Cheryl and I sitting around in a circle and they set me up and told me how to hold the needle, so that I could it get it just right. I couldn't do it. They kept setting me up and I kept screwing up and then finally everything worked and I got my first taste.

After an hours of practicing how to cast on I finally got it! Then we moved on the knit and purl stitches. By the time the second class came around I was ready for more. Once our 6 sessions of lessons ended I was a full blown addict. Wanting to try different yarns and patterns.

6 years my addiction has changed over time. When I first started it was more about knitting for hours and hours, but now my addiction has changed more into shopping. Buying and buying and buying yarn and other items.

Today, I was trying to figure out if I should work some overtime this week and I quickly answered my question with a yes. I can use that money to buy yarn during my day at Flying Fingers.

I know I am not alone. Feel free to share your addiction stories with me.


New York State Wool & Sheep Festival - Review

It was another gorgeous weekend in New York. Even though we had a major wind storm and it was really chilly it was nice to be outside all day. Especially after I put on my my newly purchased hoodie.

Yesterday (Saturday, October 16th) the girls (Suzy and Cheryl) and I headed up to Rhinebeck, NY for the Annual New York State Wool and Sheep Festival. I never had an interest in attending the festival, but for some reason I got a bug up my ass and I wanted to go this year. OMFG why didn't I listen to people sooner and go there. The festival was awesome. Tons of vendors selling amazing merchandise. Lots of things to see and learn about. Did I mention lots of stuff to buy. I bought a lot of amazing things. (You will find my list of goodies below.)

I really thought that I was going to hate the festival. I thought I was going to be surrounded by nasty smelling animals and that I would either have to pee in dirty porta potties or wait in line for an hour. Once I go there I realized that none of my fears were true.

The animals were there and they were smelly, but they were easily avoidable. The bathroom situation was great. They had real bathrooms! No porta potties! And they were clean! That alone made me a happy campier. When you have a bladder the size of a thimble that is always an issue.

While my friends played with the sheep I waited on the short bathroom line, so I didn't have to smelly the funkiness. I did see two super cute alpacas near the gate as we left and that was more than enough animal interaction for me.

The setup was really interested. Again, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I am sure I would have been wrong. The festival took place on the Duchess Count Fair Ground and all of the vendors are set up in barn house. The setup reminded me of flea markets that I used to go to growing up. There were approximately 10 barns.

Vendors sold everything from, live sheep, fleece, roving, yarn, books, clothing, maple syrup, jewelry, meat, bread and much more.

And me being the good American.New Yorker that I am, I had to do my best to stimulate the economy of upstate New York by purchasing the items below:
  • Strauch Handmade Ball Winder - Check out the website and you tube video. I am truly in love with this thing. I think my next post will be about my love affair with my new winder. Yes, it is pricey, but it is worth every penny. If you need a winder, get this one.
  • Birch wood yarn swift
  • Blue cheese
  • Blair's Mega Death Hot Sauce - This is no joke. My mouth burned for 20 minutes.
  • New York State Honey - for my allergies
  • Dip mix packets - :( The packets are downstairs and I can not remember the name of the company
  • Gourtemtible Candy - It is so yummy that I wish I didn't buy it. I am so afraid that I am going to eat them.
  • A Cute Kid Sweater Pattern - It's one piece so I can't screw it up
  • Summertide Wine
Notice a certain product isn't on the list. Drum roll please. I went a wool festival and didn't buy yarn.

Honestly, I couldn't. I think I would really have to take myself to rehab if I did. Especially since the night before I went to Micheal's and bought two bags of Vanna's Choice yarn to finish Olivia's jumbo blanket, start a blanket for my forthcoming great niece or nephew and make a silly scarf for myself. Plus I have bought a lot of yarn recently and planning to buying more soon.

Let's take a quick look at my (yarn)life for the past couple of weeks/future plans:
  • I went on to the yarn crawl last weekend - I got 12 skeins of random wool yarns
  • I went to the NJ Smiley's sale a couple of weeks ago - I got 24 skeins of merino wool
  • I went to Micheal's the night before heading to Rhinebeck - purchase an ungodly amount of Vanna's Choice
  • I am going to Flying Fingers on November 6th
  • I am going to the NYC Smiley's sale in December.

So I couldn't do it. Plus there were so many other things there to buy. All week long I kept asking myself what did I want, because I knew that if I came back with more yarn I would not be happy and the only thing I could think of was a swift and a ball winder.

I am really happy that I finally go a good ball winder and that I have a swift. Now I don't have to ask Suzy to make balls for me and I don't have to wait in long lines at stores to get my skeins balls and I don't have to hear store managers bitch that I want something balled that is apart of their standard complimentary winding.

I haven't tried the swift yet. I hope it is good too. For those of you who do not know what a swift is click here.

Even though I didn't buy any yarn that didn't stop me from touching it and falling in love. I fell in love with 5 different yarns. I wrote them all in my trusty note pad in phone, so I can always buy them online if I ever use the stuff that I have. It was nice to finally touch the legendary Socks that Rock yarn. It is awesome! Once I figure out the method to two socks at home, I am buying some.

If you have been to the New York State Wool and Sheep Festival, then start making plans to get there for 2011. It is worth leaving the city for a couple of days and surrounding yourself around nature and beautiful things. Start putting your dollars away now, so that you can have a nice chunk of change when you go there. I am normally the girl who takes $60 dollars to every sale and I took a couple of hundred of dollars, because I didn't want to deny myself from the possibility of buying something amazing. Go with a group of friends and make a day or better yet a whole weekend out of it.

Sorry I can't report if the food is good there, because some how we managed not to eat there. Our lunch was tasting all of the cheese and other food items from the vendors. Then topped it off with wine and candy.

On a whole it was a great day and I look forward to going back next year.

I left my camera downstairs so I will post the photos I took in another post.

But here are a couple of shots I took of my new love with my camera phone.


New York City Yarn Crawl - Part Two

Sunday was another amazing day in New York City. We had the same perfect weather as Saturday and I spent another day foundling yarn with Suzy.

Suzy and I couldn't rest until we saw certain stores so we headed to the city for another day of crawling. It is good to have a friend who shares the same addiction. So here are my reviews on the stores we explored on Sunday (and my purchases).

33 E 65th St (bet Mad & Park), 2nd Fl
(212) 288-9276

Located in an apartment building on the Upper East Side. I wondered how many people in the building are knitters/crochets and how much money they spend at the store.

Cute store. Interesting selection of yarns. (They had this camel yarn that I am still thinking about.) All of the yarn are branded with their logo, so it was hard to compare prices to other stores or to go online and research them.

They had a lot of great samples of children sweaters displayed around the store. Unfortunately, they will not the patterns unless you are purchasing the yarn there, which leads to me believe that they do not own the patterns and that I could find the patterns online.

The one thing I didn't like is that the prices were not on any of the yarns, so I had to keep them how much the yarn I saw. I felt like I shouldn't be in there if I have to ask how much everything cost. I don't like not knowing the prices of thing. I am poor and I need to know how much something is before I buy it.

Go check it out. It is worth a look

Items purchased:
None, but I keep thinking about the camel yarn.

181 Bdwy (bet Dey & Cortland), 5th Fl

This is the first time I have been to seaport yarn since they moved. This space is a little better than the old one, but it is still a mess. I seriously think the owner has massive organization issues. Every time I see this show I think it should be showcased on Hoarders, Buried Alive or some news special about people who hoard.

Even though the store is a mess they have great merchandise. I found several items that I have been looking for the last couple of months. I even found an item that I liked several years ago.

The owner is interesting. If you go there be warned that she can be a little moody.

Go, but know what you are looking for and be prepared to do some hunting.

Items Purchased:
None, but there are several things I think I am going back for.

459 Broome St (bet Greene & Mercer Sts)
Phone: (212) 420-8796

I never went to this store, because assumed that it was going to be snotty and over priced. I gotta say that I was really really surprised by how much I liked it. The staff was helpful and answered all of my and the prices weren't bad.

The store was lovely. Bright and nicely laid out. The only issue I had was I wish the aisles were a little wider.

Go check it out.

Items Purchased:
4 Skeins of Eco Duo Cascade Yarn

I can't wait for next year's yarn crawl!

You would think that this would be the end of my shopping tales. Oh no my friends this is just the beginning. Next week, the girls and I are taking a road trip to Rhinebeck, New York to go to the New York State Wool and Sheep Festival and the first weekend in November we are going to take a road trip on the Yarn Bus to check out the Flying Fingers store in Terrytown, NY.


New York City Yarn Crawl - Part One

Saturday was a gorgeous day in New York City for so many reasons. The weather was perfect and I spent the entire day with Suzy (and some of the day with Miguel) touching yarn and exploring local yarn shops.

This weekend is the 2nd Annual New York City Yarn Crawl, so this post will showcase what I purchased and reviews of the stores we went to.

Here are my reviews on the stores we crawled to. (The list is in the order that we went to them.)

2274 Broadway @ 82nd St, 2nd fl

My review:

I would only send my most hated enemy to this store. This store is awful! They have decent merchandise, but the customer service is the PITS. This is the second time I have gone to this store. I didn't like it when I went before and I will make sure never to go there again. The sales people act if they do not want my business. I would love to do a social experiment to see if they are snatchy with everyone who walks in there or just snatchy with certain types of people.

I wanted to buy a pattern for this really cute kid's sweater and the woman couldn't even bother looking to see if she had the pattern. I am not even sure if I told her that I wanted to buy the 24 balls of yarn I would need to make the sweater if she would have even moved. The last time I checked a small sale was better than no sale at all.

Items purchased:
Nothing - never going back
Attempted to buy a sweater pattern

Stay away

Knitty City
208 W 79th St (bet Bdwy & Amst)
212.PURL.TWO (212.787.5896)

My review:
For some reason every time my friends go to Knitty City I am always busy. They would come back raving about the store. I keep saying I gotta check it out, but never made my way up there until this weekend. After going there I see why everyone loves it. It is awesome and I can see myself spending my a good chunk of cash there.

The customer service was great! The store was packed with people participating in the yarn crawl and they had a table full of regulars sitting around the knitting table, but some how they managed to interact with everyone who came in the store. I felted welcomed and started pursuing the walls.

They have a lot of great yarns, but I have to go back and really look at the everything. For some reason I was over stimulated there and it was hard for me to focus on all of the pretties. I am not sure if it was the way that the store was laid out and that it was a little cluttered. (For those of you who don't know me clutter makes me insane and makes my mind melt.) Or was it Every section I went to had such amazing yarn. I didn't know where to look or touch and I was afraid to buy anything because I didn't want to blow my $100 budget there so I stayed close to Suzy and tried to hide my excitement. I think I just keep repeating we have to come back here another time, so that I can really look.

The good thing about staying close to Suzy was that she discovered all of the cool knitting accessories that were for sale.They actually had things that will help me with the BSJ. (Ha ha I'm already thinking about the next BSJ I haven't even finished this one.) So I got a bunch of accessories there. I was happy to spend money there and can't wait to go back with a project in mind.

Items Purchased:
Kitchener Stitch Key Chain
Stitch Markers with Information
Double Pointed Needle Holders (for small needles) - can't find links to show you :(
Double Pointed Needle Holders (for large needles) - can't find links to show you :

Go and go often!! :)

974 Amsterdam Ave. (SW Corner of 108th St.)
NYC 10025

I really liked this store. It was organized well. I was able to focus in this store and didn't feel over stimulated. Each section was organized by the weight of the yarn. They had great merchandise. I wrote down a couple of things that I wanted to go back and check out. Because I was not familiar with a lot of the products I am not sure how the prices compare to other stores. The staff was friendly. I would go back.

Items Purchased:

As a Brooklyn girl I am willing to make the trek from Brooklyn to East Harlem to go to the store. I think it is well organized and they have late hours for us working stiffs.

Before heading to the East Side we grabbed pizza from a place that sales JUMBO slices. The pizza was good, but I wish it was a little crisper. I would go back and try it again. Sorry, but I don't remember the name of the place.

Annie & Co.
1325 Madison Ave (bet 93rd & 94th)


Cute store. A little on the pricey side. The staff was super nice and friendly.
Chatted with several staff members and customers. Jotted down A LOT of names of great yarns. I picked up this skein of yarn and it was $47 dollarsssssssssssssssssssssss. WTF! Who pays for $47 for one skein average size skein of yarn. Not me. I have to admit that the sales table had some great but nothing was calling me. Suzy bought a bag of Rowan yarn that was 50% off the original price.

I would go back there again.

Go there and touch the expensive yarn. It feels so good. You may find something you can afford on the sales table.

Downtown Yarns
45 Avenue A (bet E 3rd & E 4th)

Great store is in the heart of the East Village. When I arrived in front of the store. I realized that I have walked pass it a million times and never paid attention to it.

The store has a lot of character. The front door is a screen door. For a typical for a store that you will find on Avenue A. It looks like it is really small from the other, but it is well organized and there are a lot of goodies to find. I enjoyed looking at all of the samples hanging around the store.
I also had a great time meeting other yarn crawl participants in the store.

The staff was really sweet, funny and super helpful. I asked about some cute children sweaters hanging around the store. As soon as I asked the girl about the sweaters she immediately went to the pattern book and started showing me the patterns (what a novel idea). Of course I had to get the pattern for the little sweater.

The store had a great selection of yarns and their prices were great. So great that I had to buy yarn. I was proud of myself that I didn't buy yarn all day, but I could help myself when I saw good quality wool yarn for $7 dollars a skein.

Items Purchased:
4 Skeins of hunter green cascade yarn
4 skeins of aqua cascade yarn
Pattern for a kid's sweater

Go there! Even though there aren't any other yarn stores around it is still worth the trip to the neighborhood. Great bars and restaurants near the shop. Prices are good. There is something there for everyone.

I would love to hear what you guys think of these stores.

Time to rest. That was just the first day.