Friday, April 29, 2011

In Memory of Mr. Cat 2002-2011

This morning I was saddened to see an email from informing me that Mr. Cat, a stray that one of our shoppers took in, passed away. Jacki wrote to me about him a while back and I think you'll enjoy her story:

Mr. Cat, so he was named because I didn't want to get attached to him, was a street cat. He ran with a gang of eight other cats that had been abandoned in our neighborhood. We have a lot of rental property around our street and when people move they have a tendency to leave the cats behind. We would come home from work and find Mr. Cat sleeping on our front porch, the minute he would see us he would take off. This went on for about a month. One day when we were coming in he just lifted his head up and didn't move. I told him don't leave on our account because we are just stopping to get something and then we'll be gone. He looked at us and then went back to sleep.

I questioned the kids in the neighborhood about Mr. Cat and they all said that he was nobody's cat, but he sure ate good on trash day. So that night when we came home, Mr. Cat was sleeping on the porch, I asked him if he was hungry and would like something to eat. He sat up and looked at me like of course I would. The only thing that I had that was suitable was some left over shrimp from the restaurant that we ate at the night before. I never saw five pieces of shrimp eaten so fast. I sat down on the step while he was eating and when he finished he came over and sat down next to me. I explained to him that I knew he didn't have a home, and with winter coming did he have any plans, maybe a cousin or brother he could bunk in with, because if he didn't it was alright with me if he'd like to stay but he would need the big guy's permission: Big Guy being my husband. We sat for a while and when I got up to go in the house he scooted in between my legs and ran into the house, where he sat down right in front of my husband and just sat there looking at him. My husband asked him what he was doing in the house and he meowed at him. I told my husband he's asking permission to come and live with us. My husband said he had conditions and if they were agreed to then he could stay. Mr. Cat blinked, I guess that was okay.

The first thing we did was take him to our vet to be checked out. This man is no longer our vet because after he checked Mr. Cat out he wanted me to sign papers that he could put the cat down. Mr. Cat was testing positive for Feline Aids and Feline Leukemia. I wanted to know how old Mr. Cat was and he said almost two. My next question was, is the cat sick now? The vet was very evasive and continued to encourage me to have the cat put down. I told him NO, if the cat is not ill I see no reason for it. The vet then yelled at me that I better not bring the cat to his office again, and that I was taking the cat home against his advice. I picked up Mr. Cat and looked at the vet and said, "Just hope and pray that when you get old and sick no one insists on you being put down."

That was five years ago. It's five years of love, laughter and silly antics that I would have never enjoyed if I had listened to a very nasty vet.

I know that Mr. Cat's life might be cut short but until that time he will have the happiest and best life has to offer to him.

Each year thousands of cats develop Feline Leukemia. If you have a pussycat, please be sure to have it immunized so it will live a long and healthy life.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Fund-Raising Event!

With gasoline sky-rocketing up to $4.15 per gallon here in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, Ohio I've decided to have a fund-raising event to help the needy.

Who's the needy, you ask?

I am! I've decided that I want to live like all those beautiful people on reality TV. I want a gazillion dollar house. I want to wear evening gowns in the morning. I want to sip champagne and eat gourmet marshmallows (I don't like caviar) all day. I want to be the sort of person who makes it onto a TV show just for being me. But a really good-looking, rich me. Not the middle-aged, middle-class, mid-West me who lives a life of obscurity and denial.

So, here's the deal.

Send me your money. Not all of it. You can keep some for yourself. But send me whatever you're not using in the next three days. Got a 401K? Clean it out and send it to me. Bonds? Sell 'em. I want 'em. Gold...real gold? I'll take Maple Leaf coins, Krugerrands, whatever you've got.

When I get your money, I promise that I'm going to have a heck of a good time spending it. I'll buy myself a face lift, bum lift, boobs, a tummy tuck and maybe even some hair extensions. I'll wear really nice clothes by Valentino. (That reminds me. The Target T-shirt I bought disintegrated after three washings. Do you think I can take it back?)

I'll have my teeth bleached, my eyes lazered, my toenails polished, my face derma-braded and my freckles permanently removed.

I'll even get eyelash implants!!!

You name it, I'll do it. And, boy, will I ever feel fulfilled and self-actualized.

So hurry while you can. Put all your money into an unmarked brown box and send it to me: Deborah at Yarnmarket, 12936 Stonecreek Drive, Pickerington, OH, 43147.

Be sure to include your return address so I can send you a chatty little postcard from one of the Greek Islands or maybe the Riviera. Well, that's if I'm not too busy with Armando.

Knit a Royal and you could win a High Tea for Two!

One of our most beloved yarn reps sent us a note encouraging us to have our knitters enter her contest.

Cameron Taylor-Brown, who reps for Westminster Fibers, Tahki Stacy Charles, Knit One Crochet Too, Crystal Palace and Colinette is sponsoring the "High Tea for Two" contest.

She was inspired by the book by Fiona Goble.

Cameron said, "Knit Your Own Royal Wedding is a uniquely goofy way to commemorate the upcoming royal nuptials, so I'm sponsoring a wedding drawing for the pure fun of it!"

To enter, all you have to do is knit one or more members of the wedding party with yarns from any of her vendors. You'll be entered in a drawing for HIGH TEA FOR TWO at a local tea shop of your choosing.

If you'd like to enter the contest, send me a note at Yarnmarket along with a photo of the completed figure. Include the name of the yarn you used, too. I'll submit it to Cameron on your behalf. Be sure to enter before June 30, 2011.

You can use any yarn by: Rowan, Gedifra, Nashua, Kertzer, Regia, Tahki, Stacy Charles, Loop-d-Loop, Filatura di Crosa, Knit One Crochet Too, Crystal Palace, Manos del Uruguay,and Colinette.

Happy Knitting!

You'll want to know more about Aslan Trends

It was a typically busy day at Yarnmarket. Alex and Jan were out of the office. The phones were ringing off the hook. When I picked up the receiver, the voice on the other end had a wonderful, South American accent.

"Hello," he said in a voice that makes you want to close up the shop and hop on a plane to Brazil. "My name is Angelo Fernandez. I have studied Yarnmarket and I've decided I would like to do business with you."

Now, if you knew how many calls I get each day offering me a "once in a lifetime opportunity to form a strategic alliance with synergistic benefits," you'd wonder why I didn't immediately hang up.

But something about Angelo was different. I instantly liked the guy. He told me that he was running a company called Aslan Trends, and he asked if I'd seen his advertisements. Sure, I had. They were plastered all over Vogue Knitting. How could anyone miss them? I knew the guy knew marketing.

Angelo told me about his wonderful yarns, his company and their ethics, and how much he wanted to work with us. Normally, I don't even speak to manufacturers because that's what Jan and Alex do. But they weren't there and Angelo had captured my interest. I let him know that I'm not the decision maker in that area, but he said he wanted to put together a box of yarns so I could look at his products, anyway. He assured me I'd be impressed.

Well, a few days later a box arrived in my office. When I opened it up, I have to say, I was really impressed. I examined all the materials that Angelo had thoughtfully put together, and I took the box to Alex and announced, "We've got to do business with this guy!"

Even he was impressed with the quality and softness of the fibers. The Royal Alpaca felt so amazingly wonderful, you would have sworn it was cashmere. Before you know it, Alex was on the phone and we were the proud purveyors of yarns from Aslan Trends.

I'm telling you this now because I want you to keep your eye out for our upcoming Spotlight on Aslan Trends. I've spent the past few days working on it (with lots of help from Michele, Stefanie and Jenny)and I think you're going to enjoy learning about this company and their designs.

The fibers are beautiful and lend themselves to some truly beautiful creations. I'm sure you've seen a lot of them in the knitting magazines and online.

Wouldn't you know that Angelo would have the smarts to hire the brilliantly talented Nicky Epstein to create a North American book of patterns? Her book, Enchanting Collection, is doing extremely well and we've just had the pleasure of working directly with Nicky to create a Yarnmarket exclusive pattern that uses Aslan Trends yarn and Namaste Farms yarns together. We'll have the pattern available for you anytime now, so keep watching.

If you aren't already a subscriber to Spotlight be sure to sign up today. Each month we present a different company and talk about their products, patterns, history and philosophy. We've posted past issue of Spotlights in Knitch Magazine's archives so if there are any you're curious to learn about, you might want to check them out there.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Learn about striping and tweedy yarns in Yarnmarket's newsletter, Just My Type

Today we sent out our monthly bulletin, Just My Type. This month we present interesting information about Striping & Tweedy yarns.

If you don’t already subscribe to Just My Type, be sure to do so! You’ll learn a lot about the yarns you love!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tune into Cat Radio

One of our favorite knitters let us know that Cat Radio is celebrating its 10th Anniversary tomorrow. Gee...I didn't even know there WAS a radio station for cats.

You can read about it on the Animal Planet blog and go to the radio station to hear your favorite music for cats. (What a great idea when you're going to be leaving your pussycats alone for a while.)

I have to say the my own cats, Kim and Hannibal, never did anything important like select the play list for a radio station, but they were the inspiration behind Fabulous Felines yarn.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Isn't this ducky?

We're the proud Momma and Poppa of a pair of mallards. We can't wait for the babies to arrive.

Last night Mr. and Mrs. Duck feasted on corn for dinner.

Learn about our newest yarn additions!

Jan released her Yarnmarket Bulletin this morning. In it you'll find great information about new yarn additions from Gedifra, Sirdar, and Tahki. She also presents some new colors in yarns by Rowan, Knit One, Crochet Too, Prism and Noro.

She praises Gedifra's cotton Violena, Sirdar's new anti-bacterial, non-allergenic bamboo/wool Snuggly Smiley Stripes, and 100% environmentally friendly bamboo, Snuggly White Whispers.

Jan also presents Natural Earth Cotton by Tahki, an extension of their eco-friendly Terra yarn family.

Yarnmarket has become well known for the variety of newsletters we produce -- from the monthly Newsletter that's chock full of yarns and pattern ideas, to the shorter Bulletin that provides a quick update, the highly educational Just My Type that teaches about the different types of yarns, and the popular Spotlight that features a new yarn company each month.

If you aren't currently receiving our bulletins and newsletters, be sure to sign up for them here.

Monday, April 18, 2011

If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?

Ummm...yeah, I guess I would.

You know how it is when you're sitting around the yarn shop talking about the newest Anny Blatt patterns or the latest issue of Vogue Knitting...and the conversation turns to amazingly insane things you've done in your life.

Well, here's mine. I did it about two weeks before I turned 50. Alex did it first and there was no way I was going to let him be more stupid than I am. The noise in the background is mostly spectators and others waiting to leap to certain death.

What amazingly crazy thing have you done...that you later lived to talk about?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Easter is the perfect time for Sirdar!

When Easter comes around I think about how excited I was as a little girl to get my new Easter outfit. I think it was a requirement in the 1960s that every little girl's Easter outfit included little white gloves, white shoes and a hat.

When I think of adorable children's wear, the first name that comes to mind is Sirdar. I'm sure it's the same for a lot of you Grandmas and Moms out there. The folks at Sirdar do a magnificent job on pretty little girl's clothing that is sweet and innocent. (Don't get me started about thongs for pre-teens!)

I like to see babies look like babies and little kids look like little kids. This is why I thought I'd show you two great little outfits you can make in time for Easter.

I selected them from Snuggly Baby Crofter, Book 377 by Sirdar that uses the Baby Crofter yarns that are so pretty. I love the pastel colors, don't you?

The first one I"ve shown is the Snuggly Baby Crofter Ballerina Cardigan The tie front is always nice because it can be comfortably adjusted.

I think this pretty little piece would be terrific for a morning of Easter Egg hunting. It's the Ribbed Yoke Cardi in Snuggly Baby Crofter DK. This wouldn't be too difficult to make in time for Easter or any upcoming spring event.

I know you'll love working with these Sirdar yarns, if you haven't already tried them. We've got lots of colors in stock...though, as you can see, I'm a little partial to blues and mauves.

Be sure to read our upcoming Spotlight on Sirdar for more great ideas from this truly wonderful yarn company.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Alex is so stupid!

You know, you think you know a guy after 30 years of marriage, but there's always some horrible surprise just waiting to destroy your illusions.

There we were having a perfectly pleasant evening last night when Alex blurted it out, "There's no such thing as anti-matter."

"What?" I gasped as I recoiled in horror.

"It's stupid," he responded, as if he'd just gotten back from CERN and was on a short stop-over in Pickerington, OH before heading over to Fermi to tell them his conclusion. "There's no such thing."

Well, I have to tell you that I was absolutely floored. I'd never imagined Alex would say such a horrible, insensitive thing.

I sat there stunned, shaken, and just when I decided I'd let it drop and pretend he'd never spoken of it he had the unmitigated gall to add, "There's no Higgs Boson either!"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Who is John Galt? FREE Atlas Shrug Pattern from Yarnmarket

If you're a fan of the book Atlas Shrugged, you'll want to create this tribute to Dagny Taggart, Hank Rearden and John Galt. With a design inspired by railroad tracks, this unique shrug makes so much more than a style statement.

You can download the Atlas Shrug for free on Yarnmarket then knit it in the Caledon Hills yarn color "Rearden Metal."

The entire project can be found on Yarnmarket so you can buy everything you need in a single click.

We've wanted to offer this pattern for a while now...and our timing couldn't have been better. The long-awaited movie, Atlas Shrugged, opens next week on April 15.

UPDATE: The movie opened in Columbus, OH.

Finally! Mating season is here!

I thought you'd like to see the photo my Mom just took of a very handsome bird in her backyard. Apparently, he was strutting his stuff for a group of three very interested ladies. Isn't he something?

I wish human males could put on a fine, feathery display like this and parade around the yard to get their female's attention. Every time Alex does it, our neighbors call the police.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An important update...well, not really important...but an update nonetheless.

* The Bronx Zoo Snake is back in her pen. I'm kind of sorry to see her captured. I enjoyed reading about her escapades on the mean streets of New York City.

* Charlie Sheen continues to be crazy as a bed bug. Heck, I figure I'm twice as nuts as he is. How come nobody pays me $2.5 million to show up at work each week, screech like a loon, trash the place and get stoned?

* In 1986 we bombed Libya. This past week we started bombing it again. I am beginning to see a pattern here: We bomb Libya every 25 years. I wonder if I'll be around in 2036 to see if my theory is correct?

* My father has had four wives. I'm the luckiest person in the world: I'm the only living woman who is protected by the law from ever becoming his wife.

* I've spent three years and a bunch of money so I can say, "Si vous alliez chante une chanson, je serais chante avec vous" when all I really wanted to learn was how to order a chicken sandwich in French.

* The swallows returned to Capistrano. The buzzards returned to Hinckley, Ohio. Alvin the Chipmunk returned to my Mom's yard in Caledon, Ontario. I'm standing in the mirror, naked, and wondering if I can lose 20 pounds and 20 years by June. Spring has officially arrived.

* This morning, Jan sent out our April newsletter and you'll find lots of fantastic new yarns and patterns in it. I really chuckled when I saw this photo of the baby. I thought, "I wonder what that baby is thinking?"

Then I wondered if babies really think. I mean, we need words to think, don't we? What if we don't have words? How do our thoughts manifest themselves?

This is a discussion I keep raising with our French teacher. There are certain tenses in French that aren't in English. And tenses in English that aren't in French. Now, wouldn't this mean that there are certain concepts each of these groups are incapable of having?

Language has to have a tremendous impact on how we think. The more words we have for a certain thing, the more specific we can be about it -- like the Eskimoes and all their words for snow. (Or, to be PC, Inuit.)

The fewer words, the less definitive we can be. I've always found it interesting that most of the English synonyms for "free" are words that start with "un" or "non." In other words, free is the absence of something else, whether it be regulations, oppression, or restrictions.

Ayn Rand toyed with this idea in her book, Anthem. She wrote of a society in which use of the word "I" wasn't permitted. It's an interesting concept. Reminds me of working for Morris Saffer, the advertising genius who ran a very successful agency in Toronto in the 1970s.

We didn't use the word "I" when presenting ads to our clients. We used the word "we" to support the belief that Morris was the creative genius behind every campaign we developed. It was brilliant...albeit just a tad Machiavellian. We felt honored to be part of the brand identity that was Morris Saffer himself.

Unfortunately, I was young and impressionable at the time so I have spent the rest of my career using the word "we" when what I really mean is "I." People often look at me askance, wondering if I really think I'm plural.

You know, Saffer Advertising is still out there somewhere and I've got a lot on my plate right now. Maybe I ought to send Morris a good chunk of my work so my "we" can really -- finally -- be "us."