Wednesday, May 28, 2014

fiber take the wheel

I have been totally absorbed in work, summertime, binge-watching Fringe and spinning! Here's what's been flying on (and back off) my wheel:

Hello Yarn, of course -- the first is called 'Edible' and was dyed on Falklands, the second is 'Insect Wings' and was on BFL. I have a combo spin on the wheel at the moment that will be a bouncy, bulky two-ply. I think I've got my spinning mojo back. It must be the sunshine.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Have you heard of O-Wool?

This little company, based out of Philadelphia, is bringing production of beautiful, organic yarns back to the US. They have a beautiful selection of yarns and colors -- and amazing prices. Some time back, I wanted to feature them in a Yarnbox after seeing their beautiful branding and advertisement all over Ravelry, but they don't really wholesale their yarns and had to pass. Even so, I have remained interested in this brand and finally took the plunge, ordering three of their yarns and all of their color cards.

The yarns I decided to try first were: 

This yarn is 100% organic merino, and comes in 50 g skeins for $7.25 a hank. This makes them half of the standard sized hank, and the singles don't have much yardage on them (only 99 yards), but I personally find this very convenient. So many projects call for color changes in worsted-weight yarns, and it's not like you need a 200 yard skein to make a pair of baby booties and a hat, really! I chose the color Dogwood. It will be perfect for my friend Stephanie, who just announced she's having a girl. 

This is the yarn that originally caught my eye. I love how tweedy this organic cotton & wool blend takes dyes -- and Jocelyn Tunney, the company's owner, has chosen some beautiful tones for this one. I picked a hank in Turquoise, a stunning blue. (I did read online that the blues in this yarn tend to bleed a bit, so before beginning to knit, I'll pop it in a bath with some Soak.) Again, this is a 50 g skein with about 130 yards on it of dk weight yarn. This one will probably become a baby gift for Amy Small from Knit Collage. She looked about ready to pop at TNNA -- her husband was helping out at the booth and they are the most adorable couple ever. 

Built on the same idea as Balance, this 50/50 organic merino and organic cotton is perhaps even more scrumptious than it's lighter-weight relative. I think this might be my favorite of all the skeins! I chose Sulfur, an acidic green that just seems to glow. I'm going to stick with my baby-knit plans and turn this into an adorable hat for my friend Kayla. She hasn't announced the gender but I'm pretty sure this green will look fantastic on any little one! This yarn retails for $11.25 and is a full 100 g skein. Perfect, since bulkier wools don't give you much yardage otherwise (these hanks have 106 yards.) 

I bought ALL the color cards, so you can be sure you'll see more of these yarns before too long. Next on my list to try is O-Wash Sport, which comes in a most lovely array of colors, and O-Wool's Classic 2-Ply, which seems pretty perfect for colorwork. Of course, I probably won't be able to resist trying a few more colors of Bulky....

Monday, May 12, 2014

maai oh maai

One of the things that I love most about working within the yarn industry is how many things you get to see early. Depending on what company you work for, you'll even get a few advance samples or get to help name colors, yarn, or both. At Shibui, they are really awesome about letting staff members submit names for new product.

This year, they introduced a new yarn at the summer TNNA show. A yarn that I got to name! The name, Maai, is a play on the Japanese concept of ma, or the interval between opponents. The structure of Maai is a chainette, so there are physical intervals within the structure of the yarn that both pull away from and against each other, creating a yarn that is really unique. I never would have dreamt that the yarn I got to name would be so luxurious!

Here's a sneak peek in one of their new colorways, Fog (named by another staff member, Leah) -- of course, one of these hanks is already on the needles becoming a gorgeous scarf. I'll have to show that one off soon.

Friday, May 9, 2014

up down, all around

While at TNNA I got to swing by the Blue Sky Alpaca's booth and pick up something they had for me there -- a copy of Wendy Bernard's newest book, Up Down and All Around! I actually won a copy of it by entering their retailer contest and even got to have it signed by the talented author herself. In case you don't know who Wendy is, she's the author of the very clever and entertaining knitting blog, Knit & Tonic. It was one of the first knitting-related blogs I read and it really rejuvenated my interest in the craft during college. It was such an honor to meet her (although I think she was probably SO tired!)

Anyway, the book is a really new approach to your more traditional stitch dictionary. Each stitch pattern is presented in a full-color swatch, and then accompanied by instructions (and sometimes charts) on how to use that pattern for bottom up, top down, flat and circular knitting. So you can adapt any stitch pattern to whatever you're using it for, in whatever format you like. How awesome is that?!

It really is such a pretty book. I can't wait to come up with some designs using the stitch patterns! How exciting!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

bits and bobs

I've finally returned from the hectic two week hiatus I had! What was I doing? Well, first we had the 3rd Annual Mid-Iowa Shop Hop, so I was helping hopping knitters from all over the state (and neighboring states) find delicious yarns to take home, patterns to make, and projects to start. It was a lot of fun!

Then, we had a two day break before heading off to the summer TNNA (The National Needlework Association) show in Indianapolis, Indiana. I always love TNNA because I get to see all these amazing people I never see in real life -- including Kristen Kapur, who I have worked with multiple times and had never met in person, all the amazingly talented women I work with year-round at Shibui Knits, Bristol Ivy & Julie Hoover from Brooklyn Tweed (I almost died when Bristol said she follows me on Pinterest!) Of course, I also got to connect with my boss, Michael, for Yarnbox and we picked out a bunch of stuff for the club's shipments in the next year or so.

I'm not sure what most people think happens at shows, but we get lots of samples. Little bitty skeins of lots of different yarns. So I end up with all these little bits and bobs for swatching and trying out new stitch patterns. I kind of like the look when I overturn my bag at the end of a show and get to see all these tiny fluffs of yarn, rolled into balls or still twisted in mini-hanks. So many of the booths get creative with their samples, too -- Blue Sky Alpacas actually made ultra-tiny mini-balls with labels and all! So cute!