The other day I made a comment about credit card transaction fees in front of a customer and the customer was shocked how much we are charged each month in credit card transaction fees. The customer responded that she would try to always use cash or check, especially for small purchases. I thought some of you might be interested in the reality of the love/hate relationship between small businesses and credit/debit cards.
Think of this blog post as a public service announcement. Small businesses love cash and checks. And although we accept credit and debit cards, we prefer cash and checks. Here is the reason why. Every time we swipe a credit card, we are assessed a transaction fee. That can end up being hundreds of dollars each month away from buying new yarn or canvases for your enjoyment. Recently legislation was passed that now allow retailers to pass along the transaction fees to the customer. The Yarn Mart has decided NOT to take this step and legally we can't limit credit card transactions to above a certain dollar amount.
If your budget and life permits you to pay with cash or check, we will happily accept them. And we will continue to happily accept your credit and debit cards but we may ask you if you are "ready" before completely your purchase so we can limit the number of swipes that we have to run.
Swatching to get gauge is an important part of knitting any garment. We often ignore gauge on scarves, shawls and other items that don't have to fit to specific dimensions. Even baby items are started without working a gauge swatch. Most baby items can use a little extra space.
But swatching is an important part of knitting. Believe it or not some people love to swatch just for the sake of swatching. To do it right, you should knit a swatch between 9 inches and 10 inches using the yarn and needles you are going to use in your project. You should also knit what the pattern tells you to knit for your gauge swatch. For instance, stockinette will produce a different gauge than garter stitch and a lace or cable pattern stitch will get a different gauge than stockinette.
Above is a knitted swatch in stockinette with a garter stitch border. This is the "standard" stockinette swatch format because the garter stitch border eliminates rolling. The swatch measures about 9 inches across. It has been soaked and blocked lightly. This is the only way you can get true gauge.
Each pattern is different. Look at the gauge notes on the pattern you are working and it will tell you not only the gauge you are trying to get but also what pattern you are supposed to work the gauge swatch in to achieve the given gauge.
Once your gauge swatch is knitted, soaked, blocked lightly and dry, then you get to measure. Ideally you should measure the number of stitches in both a 1-inch section and a 4-inch section. And measure it 3 times in 3 different places. You want to make sure that your knitting is consistent. You will measure the stitch gauge (left to right) rather than the row gauge (top to down). Most patterns today give you gauge for 4 inches of knitted fabric.
Although I love knitting, I think I might love knitting books more. I'm a book person in general but my knitting book collection is growing at an amazing rate. And even though I own a Nook, I tend to purchase knitting book in book form rather than as e-books. Here are a few of my new favorites.
Churchmouse Yarns and Teas is a fabulous little yarn shop in the Seattle, Washington area. They also publish there classic patterns for other yarn shops to sell. Here are a few of my favorites.
When I started working here, I wore scarfs for warmth in the winter time. Once I started working here, I wondered why we had so many scarves, cowls, shawls, and all manner of neckwear. Now I understand. Cowls and shawls are some of my favorite items to knit. There are a million different patterns to chose from and they are some of the most portable projects. The difficulty level is from easy/no thinking to extremely difficult. Here are some of my favorites.
Are you sick and tried of knitting scarves? I know how you feel. Scarves are wonderful projects, especially for beginning knitters but at some point to need to move on and try something different. Hats and baby items are a great next step project. You can learn to knit in the round, change colors, do lacework or fair isle. The possibilities are endless.
I knitted this Fair Isle hat for my son when he was a baby. I didn't check gauge and it ended up a hat for a child but I was so proud of my work that I didn't want him to wear it anyway. It is knitted out of Cotton Classic and not only can you hone your Fair Isle technique but you do a cool two color cast on and interesting braided ribbing.
Another one of my favorite project of all time is Shibui's Vintage Baby Cardigan pattern. Again I knitted this for my son (and I did let him wear this one). But I've also knitted this pattern as baby gifts. Easy, quick and fairly inexpensive, this cardigan will get you a lot of ohhhs and ahhhs at your next baby shower.
Well now that the 31st is passed and the tax stuff is done, I can get around to the fun things in life. I always have a lot of projects going at once. It's just the type of knitter I am. I have 18 WIPs (works in progress) right now in my Ravelry notebook. Many of these projects are on the verge of being completed. Some just need a kitchner graft on the underarm while others need just a few days of good solid knitting to be called FINISHED! Others are in a holding pattern for reasons ranging from "I need to find where I put the other ball of yarn/needle/stitch markers/pattern" to "I've learned what I wanted to learn from this pattern - moving on!" We all have reasons for our UFOs (unfinished objects). Time, boredom, something shiny....
Lots of folks on Ravelry and in knitting cyberspace talk about February for Finishing. 28 days - the shortest month of year - and the perfect opportunity to change yourself to do something.
Join me cause February Is For Finishing! Starting on the 1st, I will try and finish as many WIPs as possible during the 28 days. This is not a contest - just a little motivation! But when you finish a project, post a photograph of it on our Facebook page and we will enter you into a drawing for a cool Yarn Mart prize.
Yes, I love 13 mesh canvas! I know this may seem like an odd statement but I hear a lot from customers and co-workers about the wonders of 18 mesh needlepoint canvas. In the world of canvas (for the non-needlepointer out there), 13 mesh means 13 holes per inch and 18 mesh means 18 holes per inch so 18 mesh is smaller than 13 mesh canvas. Anything 18 mesh or smaller is considered petit point. That's the very fine needlepoint that requires good light and good sight. Petit point is beautiful. The stitches "disappear" and you can't really see them so the design or artwork of the painted canvas shines. I agree that 18 mesh is wonderful but 13 mesh is so fast and I like to see the stitches. I like the hand craft to shine as much as the art of the canvas. So there - I've
With the new year, I'm starting a new series of blog post about technology. If you knit (or crochet) and are not taking advantage for all the wonderful tech offerings, then you are missing out.
Ravelry.com is a wonderful, addictive, and helpful community for knitters and crocheters. Need a place to store information about your projects? Need a place to record your stash? Wanna find other knitters in your area? Wanna find other knitters who are as obsessed with Doctor Who, Jane Austen, Rowan Yarns, or fill in the blank of your favorite obsession? You can find all this and more on Ravelry.com.
At the shop, Ravelry.com is the single most valuable tool at our disposal. We can look up a pattern for a customer (and often sell it to them); we can search for a discontinued yarn and find out its yardage to help a customer pick out a "new" yarn; and we can stay on trend by searching the "Hot Right Now" section of the patterns page.
So if you are not familiar with Ravelry.com, check it out. Welcome to your newest obsession!