Saturday, January 24, 2004

The Michigan primary is looming and we here at Knitnthink have not yet made our decision. While all of the Democratic hopefuls are vastly superior to the current incumbent, some may be stronger candidates than others. Now I respect my almost-neighbor Michael Moore's argument in favor of General Clark , especially his assertion that the election will be decided by a handful of voters in a handful of states. It's not that the rest of our votes don't count -- it's that a huge majority of voters are not up for grabs. Take me, for example: I would write in my dog's name before I would vote for Bush. About 40 percent of the voters will go with whatever Democrat heads the ticket and about 40 percent will back Bush, no matter what. Each party claims another 5 percent or so likely voters. That leaves roughly 10 percent or less that are truly ambivalent. You might know one of them. If so, consider what makes them undecided. Think about it, real hard. That 10 percent, especially in states that are evenly balanced between parties, will decide the election.

Who can best appeal to these undecided voters? I don't have the answer to that, but I'm getting a hunch lately that it could be John Edwards. The more I see of the guy the more I think: "He's just darn likeable." I think likeability is an important criteria to that 10 percent who are less concerned with policy distinctions than the rest of us. We'll see what the situation is by Feb. 7, when Michigan has its primary, but I'll be watching Sen. Edwards closely until then.

Now on to knitting. I've been very busy this week and I've finished "Midnight Sun" save for a little stitching and darning in ends. I'll try to get a photo up in a day or two. I've also restarted the mosaic ripple afghan, which is my first crochet project in about 20 years. It looks nothing like the afghans my grandmas used to make! The yarn is just gorgeous; I purchased it last spring at Tierra Wools in Los Ojos, New Mexico. I'm also still working on the Lavold pullover. I'm on a long stretch of stockinette stitch, so it is now my designated carry-along project.

And the yarn arrived for Donegal. I've wound most of it, but not swatched yet. I've also collected yarn for a Peruvian sweater/skirt/hat set in an OOP book, Sue Bradley's "Around the World in 80 Sweaters," Mendocino from Alice Starmore's "Pacific Coast Highway," and a cute little kitty-cat fairisle for my daughter from "Norsk Strikkedesign". Oh, plus the Rebozo shawl from Cheryl Oberle's "Folk Shawls." I've also been spinning and finally started washing the beautiful Romney fleece I bought at the Michigan Fiber Festival this summer.

Needless to say, I have enough yarn in my house or in transit to my house or waiting for me to spin it that I could knit for 5 years without making another yarn purchase. Yet tomorrow is the annual sale at my usual yarn shop so guess where I'll be when the doors open?

Which brings me to Lara's question -- what are the best knitting shops in Traverse City? Well, Lara, it really depends on what kind of knitting you like to do. All of them are worthy of your attention. Let's run down the list, shall we?

Lost Art is on Front Street in the downtown business district and its proprietor, Gerhild Uld, is a no-nonsense woman of German birth who has many years of knitting experience and superior knowledge. Gerhild machine-stitched a seam and cut the armholes of my first Dale sweater. She is skilled in most forms of fiber work. She sells Rowan, Cascade, Baabajoe's, Mountain Colors, Reynolds, Adrienne Vittadini and many other popular yarns. Probably due to the shop's prestige location in the touristy strip of downtown, Lost Art has acquired many new customers in recent years who enjoy the trendy, instant-gratification forms of knitting. You will see evidence of this by the fuzzy scarves on display in the store window. That is the yarn shop of the aforementioned sale tomorrow.

Yarn Quest is in a strip shopping center on Garfield Avenue. It also has Rowan yarns, as well as Brown Sheep, Dale (not a huge selection), Philosopher's Wool and many other high-quality yarns. I purchased a Poetry in Stitches kit there recently. It's also the only T.C. shop to stock Brittany needles and has the best selection of buttons. I don't go there as often because it's a longer walk.

While we were away for our year in Colorado, a new yarn shop opened just a block and a half from my house!! It is Baa Baa Black Sheep on 8th Street. I've found this most convenient, far too convenient. The owner stocks Bartlett and Debbie Bliss yarns, as well as the new Elsebeth Lavold silky wool, and others. She also sells some spinning supplies.

Farther afield is Inish Knits in Cedar. As I rarely drive anywhere, I've only been in this shop one time, but I'm thinking another field trip may be in order once the snow melts. Peggy, the owners, stocks Jamieson shetland yarn (very little 2-ply, however) and even has a stash of Starmore campion (sshhhhh....) She also has Jo Sharp yarns and is a Schact spinning wheel dealer. It is a lovely shop with old hardwood floors and a sleeping cat. You could stay for hours.

Also, there's a yarn shop in Glen Arbor or Glen Haven, but I've not been in it as I never get to that area without the hubby and kids in tow.

And, sadly, I could probably operate a yarn shop out of my house, but I remain convinced I will eventually knit it all!!!!!

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