Friday, September 30, 2005

I stained the floor.

This evening I stained the floor.

I couldn't wait any longer. Too many delays. Too much angst. Enough is enough! So the floor isn't spotless like it was before the construction workers got inside. I didn't care any more! I needed to make progress! I got there at 6 pm... no chance of an HVAC repair person stomping on wet stain. It took me an hour to apply the first coat. Tomorrow morning I will apply a second coat and we shall see what happens. Too tired to write more... tomorrow I will have pictures and more details on How To Stain a Concrete Floor.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Yarn Store Gets Painted a Color

Last Sunday, September 25th, eight hardy souls and myself painted a yarn store.

Here is our story...

Once there was an empty retail Space in downtown San Rafael, CA. It was empty and lonely for several years after it was built. No one wanted to lease the Space and make it happy.

Then came Warren with a dream: to open a fabulous yarn store that everyone would want to visit. Warren met the Space and immediately a friendship was formed. "Space, I'll make you happy! You'll never be lonely - you'll always be filled with happy fiber people!" The Space was excited.

Many people came and went over a period of six weeks - electricians, construction workers, HVAC repairmen... they all worked hard to fix the Space so it could be occupied.

When all the construction people were done (well, mostly done), Warren arrived on a Sunday morning with eight friends, 5 gallons of tinted primer and five gallons of Benjamin Moore paint in the color of 'Clamshell' (note: this is not Beige).

First the Space had to be prepped - all the corners had to be taped. This is what the Space looked like when we arrived on Sunday morning (Warren had taped the night before):

First Meredith and Joy arrived and with Warren began cutting-in and priming the walls.

After a couple of hours it was time to apply the paint. Other friends started arriving, some of whom had NEVER painted a room before. On such person was Kristine:

Kristine did a very good job (as did everyone else).

After the painting was finished, it was decided that one coat as enough. Those who were left sat down to eat some delicious Pizza (the flavor was called 'Peace in the Middle East' - hummus, veggies, and feta cheese). Here are Kristine, Sue, and Angela (left to right) smiling with full tummies. Sue and Angela are confessed yarn junkies - can you see it in their eyes?

After five hours of hard work, the Space was painted. Doesn't it look nice?

Space was very happy, and so was Warren.

The end... for now. G'nite!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blue Sticky Tape

Spent the morning prepping a little for the big painting party on Sunday. Used a lot of blue painter's tape, going up and down the ladder, taping the ceiling where it meets the walls.

Apparently no one worked at all on Friday: the space was exactly as I left it on Thursday. Sprinkler head still drips, two electrical outlets missing. I am honestly amazed at how the construction industry works (or should I say leisurely works). Apparently deadlines are meaningless. Glad I don't work in that industry... I would be constantly firing everyone.

As luck would have it, the contractors left behind a ladder, so I will happily use that for painting tomorrow.

Looks like my painting team will consist of 6 people plus myself - some in the morning only, some in the afternoon, and at least one all day. I will have two teams of people, each assigned one of long walls. One person will cut in while the other(s) follows behind with the roller. The primer is tinted to the color of the paint, so I just *might* be able to get by with one coat primer + 1 coat paint, plus a little touch up here and there. We'll see.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Yes, on Thursday...

After spending the better part of Thursday stressed about delays, I called up the property manager and basically invited myself over to pick up the keys. She said 'sure!'

So I have the keys. The contractors have a few loose ends to tie up: a sprinkler head leaks, the electricians need to finish wiring two electrical outlets in the ceiling, and they need to install the EXIT signs. I'm told someone will also clean up the floor, because it's filthy-dirty from all the construction. I need a clean floor in order to stain & seal. I've been assured all this work will be completed by end-of-day Friday.

It feels pretty incredible to finally be standing in my space, all by myself, with the keys. I can come and go as I please. Yay. Now the hard work begins...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

No, not on Thursday...

My goodness. This has been an extreme lesson in patience. I am not getting the keys on Thursday. The contractors still have work to do. I'm now supposed to get keys on Friday. I hope I hope! I have a painting party planned for Sunday! If anyone wants to join in to help paint this Sunday, September 25th, please email me... use the contact page on my website here.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I get the keys on Thursday...

Thursday September 22 will be a big day... the day I get the keys to the space for the store! This is very exciting.

I'm busy trying to coordinate helping hands for cleaning the floor and painting the walls. If anyone would like to help out and has time this week or during the weekend, please email me. So far Sunday is shaping up to be the big work day.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

"I am now bald..."

I've been spending the last day or so poking and prodding my POS (Point of Sale) system to work correctly. Yesterday I finally rec'd a cable that was missing from the POS bundle I purchased about two months ago (and finally started putting together last week). It's a cable that connects the bar code scanner to the computer. It's a cool little gun-like device that goes 'bleep!' when it reads a bar code. Hooked it up yesterday and it works. No fuss required.

Unfortunately, I could not get the scanner to read all the price labels I've been printing for the past several weeks! I've gotten as far as labeling most of the knitting needles and a tiny bit of the yarn. I spent all evening yesterday trying different settings, reading and re-reading the scanner's manual, tweaking, poking, and prodding, to no avail. The scanner can read bar codes printed on other things (like books and grocery items) but not the bar codes I print. Grr. After much hair-pulling (I am now bald), I determined that this scanner cannot read very small bar codes. I'm using price stickers that are 1" x 1" square. In order to fit, the POS software shrinks the bar code down quite a bit, and this scanner doesn't like it. If, however, I keep my item numbers to no longer than 6 characters, the scanner works just fine. But wouldn't you know, most of my item numbers are in the form of XXX-NNN (ie. SEVEN characters long). Ugh. So now as I print price labels, I must change the item number by removing the hyphen. It's not a lot of work but it's still annoying.

Today I put that all behind me and have been happily printing price stickers and stickering GGH yarn. I've also been TESTING each batch of stickers to make sure the scanner can read them. It's not a huge loss if the scanner cannot read a sticker; the item number can be manually entered into the computer. Manual entry will be necessary for ringing up the batch of knitting needles already stickered; I am NOT restickering those needles!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Nature's Palette Part Two

At tonight's Knit Night, both people bought some Nature's Palette fingering weight yarn for socks. Both Sue and Angela showed up - there would have been more if it weren't for a terrible, terrible rush hour commute due to some sort of fire on the Bay Bridge. Apparently the the fire snarled traffic all over the Bay area. We still had a great time talking about our favorite subjects - yarn, knitting, yarn stores, patterns, etc.

You can read more about Nature's Palette in my previous blog posts here and here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Hand Jive Knits - Nature's Palette

There is a great review of Nature's Palette yarn on This is a fingering-weight yarn dyed using all natural dyes; the process creates amazing shades of color. The yarn is ideal for socks, gloves & shawls, but you can certainly double & triple it up for more substantial projects. Read the thorough review here. I will be stocking this yarn in all colors - in fact the yarn is currently in my living room.

Oh, by the way, for those of you thinking about obtaining yarn during one of the upcoming Knit nights... I am now able to accept credit cards! Yay. One more task done!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

OMG - Opening day is getting near!!!!

On Friday I received word that work is expected to be done on the space by the third week of September. Tentative date for me to take possession is September 19th!

If this holds true, I may very well be able to open by the first week of October!


I meet with the property manager on Wednesday (haven't met her yet) to get further details.

Meanwhile, I am making progress on the webstore. I'm hoping to go live within another week. I'm currently in the process of getting the credit card authorization functionality operational. Concurrent to that is visual tweaking (finalizing a color scheme, etc), finishing the photography, and getting all the product descriptions uploaded.

For the website launch, I plan on offering the following yarns: GGH, Lorna's Laces, Jo Sharp, and Hand Jive Knits (fingering weight naturally dyed sock yarn). Maybe knitting needles. I will gradually add yarn lines as they are photographed. Such a time-consuming process!

Next week will be a busy one. And don't forget, knit knight on Thursday!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Another Great Knit Knight...

Sorry for the tardy post. Last Thursday's knit knight was another success. Adrienne (the newbie), Angela and Sue spent the evening fondling yarn and talkin about knitting stuff. I helped Adrienne pick out some yarn for a hat (pattern snagged from using white and dark green Davos (from GGH) and some Brittany birch needles. She needs to look 'period' when she knits cuz she works at the Renaissance fair. Adrienne also fell in love with GGH's Esprit in a dusty blue color. Esprit is really cool... so soft and loveable. I'm working on something with it _right_now_ for the store. Actually I have several projects I need to photograph and upload here but I'm too tired to do it now.

Angela is working on another fabulous felted bag, this time in the correct size rather than the really large size she brought in last week.

Sue brought in something I find frustrating. A baby hat (work in progress) worked up in Lorna's Laces' Angel (angora/lambswool). She downloaded a free pattern from the Jimmy Beans Wool website for a really cute baby hat that takes one ball of Angel (50 yds). Problem is she ran out of yarn a little more than halfway through. I just so happened to have a skein of the same yarn, so I tried. Same thing - ran out of yarn. What gives? Moral of the story: never trust free patterns!! Or any pattern for that matter. Harumph.

BTW, for those of you reading this who live in the area... _anyone_ is free to join in on the fun every Thursday night from 7-9 pm at my place for knit knight. Email me for details if interested.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Goa Sweater

It's about time I showed some recently finished knitting. Here we have a neck-down seamless raglan pullover made with GGH's Goa (50% cotton/50% microfiber acrylic). This represents my first time knitting a neck-down sweater and my first time knitting with Goa.

I want to design a class that helps scarf knitters transition to something a bit more complicated, namely a sweater. This type of sweater might be a good vehicle because a) there are no seams to sew and b) you try on the sweater as you go, so you know it's going to fit!

My first attempt came out quite well. My only problem was one of boredom. I intended this to be a stockinette stitch sweater; since I was learning a new technique, I didn't want a complicated stitch pattern. By the time I got past the armholes and the body & sleeves were on their separate needles, the sweater became a no-brainer and I got bored with stockinette. That's when I introduced two different stitch patterns: a cable and a slip-stitch rib. This type of sweater is traditionally designed with cables & such on the yoke (ie. upper half) and the lower half in stockinette. Mine is upside down. Oh well, I still like it - and it fits great!

The yarn is wonderful. GGH's Goa has quite a bit of elasticity (not as much as pure wool but much more than pure cotton), is next-to-the-skin soft and knits up quickly (3.5 st/inch). This yarn actually comes in three weights - 3.5 st/inch (Goa), 4.5 st/inch (Samoa), 5.5 st/inch (Bali) - and in a huge range of colors. I initially ordered only Goa because I was unsure of this yarn, having never seen it before. After making an entire sweater with it, I'm sold on the yarn and will be ordering it in all other weights. In addition to adult applications, these yarns work great as baby yarns because - get this - they're machine washable!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Happy Dance. Happy Dance.

This just in! The permit was issued yesterday, and permission was given this morning to 'close the walls' with sheetrock. Jumping with joy! Hopefully things can speed ahead after the long holiday weekend. Have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

"I'll take three of those..."

Tonight was the very first (and very successful) Marin Stitch N Bitch hosted by Marin Fiber Arts - in it's temporary location, my living room. It was fun!

Angela, Nicky, Sue, and Linda arrived (almost at the same time), 7 pm. Upon arrival, Angela stole the show with her fab felted bag - a Nicki Epstein pattern from last year's fall Vogue (if memory serves). It has really cute knitted roses.

Sue I had met a few weeks earlier when she stopped by my home to purchase some skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted in Bittersweet for a scarf. Sue brought her scarf partially completed - beautiful and so soft! I love this yarn: a super-soft 100% wool, hand-dyed, and superwash to boot. The price is actually extremely reasonable when you factor all that in - $17 per 100g/225 yard skein. That's equivalent to a 50g skein for $8.50. Not bad for a hand-dyed superwash supersoft wool if you ask me. I'm seriously considering stocking a range of solid colors as well.

I enjoyed getting to know Nicky and Linda as well... everyone was actually super nice and excited to be here. Linda showed off her really cool curly-q fringe for a scarf and Nicky had a fabulous slubby cotton yarn made by Blue Heron.

I had fun showing off all my yarn, especially the Goddess Yarns, which very few people have seen in person. Up until now most bay area knitters could only see Goddess Yarns on their website. I will be stocking the full range when I open - I have most of the range in my living room as I type. Goddess makes an extensive range of basic, hard-working yarns in a wonderful, sophisticated color palette: merino wool, cotton, wool/cotton, wool/alpaca, 100% baby alpaca, etc.

Lion & Lamb 'Irving Park'

Two people ended up buying this evening: Linda went home with a little bit of Lorna's Laces Lion & Lamb (50% wool/50% silk) in 'Irving park' to make's clapotis, and three skeins of GGH's Savanna went home with Nicki. Savanna is a wonderful & unusual heathery wool & alpaca blend that looks a little odd in the ball but knits up beautifully. Fortunately I had a large swatch demonstrating how the yarn looks with various stitch patterns; this yarn needs to be knitted up to appreciate its beauty. I was VERY happy to sell some of this yarn (for a scarf). I'm anxious to knit myself something with it.

Everyone left by 9pm after much talk about yarn, how we all started knitting (Nicky just learned this past 4th of July!), and most importantly, we critiqued other local yarn shops. I truly want my shop to be a place where knitters _enjoy_ shopping; unfortunately, most local knit shops miss this point entirely. I learned quite a bit about how knitters (other than myself) feel about the existing Marin shops. I will do my best to learn from other's mistakes and by listening close to my clientele.