Monday, June 7, 2010

Introducing our new favorite yarn....

This past fall Konstantine's cousin Konstantin came with his fiancée Adelina to visit us on a trip they were taking through New England. As it turned out, after visiting us they were driving an hour or so south to the cute town of Northampton--known to knitters because it houses "America's largest yarn store." That's right--it turns out the fiancee was a fellow yarn-lover. (She even brought me knitting-related presents from California!) So of course we talked about yarn and what we were working on (me, a toddler sweater in handspun bulky yarn, her a lace-weight shawl on 0s in an intricate pattern), and I showed her my yarn stash, spinning wheels, etc, etc. Before she left I took her to the cabinet at the bottom of our stairs that houses all the perfect skeins I've collected from frabjous over the years: the Kathmandu with the perfect purple, the Sari Ribbon with my favorite blue, samples of the solids in amazing hues that were never available to get in large enough quantities to sell, the Millefiori that someone spun so fine that it must have taken them all day. In short, these are the skeins that spoke to me, for one reason or another, above thousands and thousands of skeins. Adelina, patiently looked through all the bold, vibrant colors, and wild varied textures and pulled out the skein she liked best: a finely spun yarn with no texture and pale color--the only one of its kind in the case. What! This chosen yarn was one that I got samples of in my search for a new yarn. I had knit with it, and thought long and hard about it--but ultimately decided it didn't thrill me, so I put it aside. Her choosing this yarn over all the others reminded me that these simpler yarns have their place too--and for some projects can be the most desirable of all.

So, I went back on my quest to add a yarn that was a real go-to yarn--a basic but beautiful yarn that could be almost anything you imagine. Something with smooth texture to show off your lace patterns, something with even colors that highlight your stitchwork without distracting from it, something that knits into a light-weight fabric on smaller needles (but not Adelina's 0s!). This yarn also needed to embody all that is frabjous: it needed to be fair-trade, handspun, hand-dyed, and made from responsibly sourced materials. It took months of searching and testing to find this perfect new yarn...and in honor of the knitter who inspired it, presenting Adelina.
50-50 wool/peace silk ~ 50 gram skeins ~ approx. 90 yards ~ 4.5-6 sts=1" on US 5-7 needles

Another sneak peak!

My absolute favorite thing about handspun yarn is the way the colors randomly stripe and shift as you knit--especially with two or more plies. Lately however I've found myself wanting to spin a more solid yarn so it won't distract from the lace pattern I plan to work. Or I want to wet-felt a scarf with a solid background. Or I want to stripe one color after another in long repeats. So as much as I love a multi-colored top--it's time to introduce some solids. But now wait. Solid-solids would be too boring--so these are tone-on-tone colors with highs and lows to keep it interesting. So pretty!

And because you *really* want to make wild stripy yarns without buying pounds and pounds of fiber....we introduce "Three Feet of Sheep." It's 8 oz worth of 11 colors, a three-foot-long bag of our semi-solids, available in Merino and BFL. Shown above un-bagged for ease of photography. :)

The sneak peeks begin....
This year we have more new items than ever before--new felt bags, new yarns, new fibers, and new colorways. Everything will be unveiled in our new catalog--out June 15th-- and can be seen at the TNNA Columbus show June 13-15. (We're in booths 454, 456.) But for now, a sneak peek is in order:

When my friend, Kim, (and your midwest yarn rep) recommended doing a pink sheep notions bag to raise money for breast cancer it was a no-brainer. My own mother lost her battle with breast cancer when I was ten. So, to say that breast cancer has impacted my life would be an understatement. Unfortunately many people can say the same. In honor of breasts and women everywhere we present the pink Mama Sheep.

Both Mama and Baby are available in pink, with $1.00 from each Mama going to charity, and 50₵ from each Baby.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More free patterns as promised....

Here are two more free knitting patterns for colorful neckware. The first is a simple loop scarf--Loop-de-loop Cowl. It can be worn looped once, or twice for a choker style scarf. I love it because its always in the right place--no slipping or sliding.

The second scarf is a super-quick project that combines Sari Ribbon, Recycled Silk, and stash yarns--50-100 yds or so each. Knit it up needles the size of broomsticks. So bust out some of those little leftover balls that aren't good for much. Cast on tonight, wear it tomorrow! "The Broomstick Scarf"
For now, these patterns can be downloaded below, look for them on our website and Ravelry soon.
Broomstick Scarf and Loop-de-loop Scarf

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New patterns for 2010...

Here are two of five new free patterns that I have ready for release. My favorite is the "Eureka! Cowl." A quick and fun little knit that only uses one skein of our self-striping Hand Picked recycled silk yarn, "Stripe." It is knit in the round, with a chevron stitch pattern. The stripes follow the zig-zags for a really happy project. It fits all snuggly-cozy and looks great poking out of your winter coat. Alternately this same pattern could be knit 2-3 inches shorter in length for a head-band style headwarmer.

Next is "Ribs and Ribbons" a simple ribbed scarf that makes a statement with texture and color. The scarf is knit in an easy K2, P2 ribbing and fringed with our colorful Sari Ribbon. This one is knit in "Hand Picked: Sea"--both yarns can be seen here.

I have two more quick-knit scarves that will be ready soon, as well as little bag. Check back for more details.
And...because Konstantine said the photos looked super-imposed....yes, these really were taken out in the yard. Here's the proof. I put Wendy, my ever-ready model, on the kids' sled and dragged her down to the trees for a little photo shoot in the snow. She was a dear and didn't complain even once about the cold!

For now, download these patterns by using these links. Eureka! Cowl and Ribs & Ribbons
Soon you can find these new patterns along with many other free patterns, here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Holiday Hours....

We will be closed beginning Wednesday, December 23rd through 27th. We will return with shortened hours December 28th through January 4th. Afterwards it will be business as usual.
We wish everyone happy holidays and a fabulous new year!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ooh la la!! New Sari Ribbon colors are here!

When we introduced Sari Ribbon in 2005 it quickly became one of our best selling items. We added semi-solid colors in 2007 and the response has been overwhelming!
In order to keep up with demand we're now sourcing several different types of fabric remnants. The result is a silkier, more refined ribbon that drinks up the dye for more brilliant colors. Available in 9 colors, including the multi-colored, 5 colors are matched to shades of Hand Picked Hues recycled silk yarn.
From the top left: Plum, Emerald, Sapphire, Sand, Fuchsia (these 5 preceeding match HPH of the same name), Ruby, Spruce, and Coral (Pink, which coordinates nicely with the "Spiced Chai" of our Hand Picked line).