Friday, March 28, 2008

In a knitting rut?

I have to confess, I'm in a bit of a knitting rut. I've been working on my hooked rug non stop for the past week, and for the past two nights I've been too exhausted to do it. There's something about having to put a big frame on your lap that just makes it seem too... I don't know, tiring. So I've gone to bed early and cuddled up with a good book, which is a nice change.

And though we did have some gorgeously sunny days earlier this week, the gray skies are back and even the snow is back this morning. I love snow, but at this time of the year, I am ready for spring. Warmer temperatures would be most appreciated, as I have a half marathon coming up in the end of May and I would much rather be out there training with fewer layers on.

Luckily, some yarn arrived yesterday that really got my juices flowing! We got all new colors of the Twinkle Soft Chunky and I am going to dive in and make the Tidepool sweater from Twinkle's Weekend Knits. It should be a very quick knit - as it's on size 19 needles. It's only going to take 4 skeins, and I'm using Icy Blue and Sea Green. I'm a little worried about those huge needles - as I'm dealing with some hand/wrist pain right now... most likely from all the data entry I've been doing for our upcoming enhanced search feature.

We also got three huge boxes from Blue Sky Alpacas yesterday... Six AMAZING new colors of the Blue Sky Cotton in dyed colors, one awesome new color in the Blue Sky Organic Cotton, and 5 SICK new colors of the Blue Sky Worsted. I think those are my favorite.
I have always loved that yarn, but the colors have always been really neutral and dark. These new colors will WAKE YOU RIGHT UP. And they are certainly a sight for sore eyes, especially on a grey and snowy day like today. I might just have to break into a skein or two...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wedding bells, anyone?

Look what Kalen is making for her soon-to-be-sister-in-law!
This gorgeous lace shrug that's in the latest issue of Vogue Knitting! In the magazine, they did it in 4 skeins of Rockstar, so on our site we're offering it that way, and also unbeaded, in Pure & Simple... still just as elegant, with a little less bling.

We can't wait to see pictures of the real thing Kalen! Hurry, hurry!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Folk Style Trunk Show & Save on Book!

We just got the Folk Style trunk show this morning - there are some really great items so come in and check them out! This trunk show will be here until April 6th or 7th. The book is 15% off while we have the trunk show.

Here are a few things - but you really ought to see them in person...

Monday, March 24, 2008

Yes, I can work from home

It's not easy, but I'm making it work. Laptop, wireless network, correct ergonomics, piece and quiet... well, maybe not the piece and quiet. Recently, I've started to come home early a couple of days each week so I can meet Helen and Sophie when they get off the bus. I used to pick them up at school and take them back to the shop for a few hours. It worked really well, but it's also nice to have them come home and do their homework... and then play with their own things while I finish up what I need to do on the computer.

Do you know that last week we started a big push to add patterns and books to the site? That's right - we added 30 more of our most popular knitting books to the site. And we're starting to add ALL of the patterns we sell as well (we're responding to your feedback!) We already had a lot of them online, but we have such a huge selection of patterns in the shop, and it takes a lot of time to put each pattern online. So I've slacked a bit... and now I'm getting my act together and putting a lot more up for you to see. In the last week we've added many patterns from Ann Norling, Yankee Knitter, Stitch Diva, Knitting at Knoon, Blue Sky Alpacas, Green Mountain Spinnery, Heartstrings Fiber Arts, Iknitiative, Monkeysuits, and more. Right now you may see that the pattern is available for sale, but there are no details regarding yardage and sizing. Don't worry, it's coming. We're taking one step at a time, and that's in the works.

I've also been working really hard on a site redesign, which will be revealed... hopefully soon. I keep testing the Beta site and seeing things that "bug" me, so I keep going back with my list of what they need to change. We're making great improvements to the color swatches - I think you're going to really like them. We're also making a few minor design changes which, once you get used to, I think you'll agree, will make your shopping experience at even better.

After we launch the redesign, we will be working on our advanced search function. We are already crunching the data on our side, and I've been putting myself in your shoes to come up with all the different ways you search for yarns (and other things) on our site. We're also going to fix the existing search on our site, which many of you know, acts a little funky sometimes. We know that if you are searching for something, and can't find it... well, you're not going to stick around to look for it. So we'll make it work.

All of that adds up to a number of great changes that are just around the bend, and a lot of computer work on our end. We'll let you know when it's ready.

Until then, I'm at my desk frantically typing...hanging quietly with my Moo (Maisy)...and my Loo (Lucy)...while the girls play upstairs... But look what I get to work on tonight!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thanks Michele

This is only half of what she brought in for us, and the plate was empty shortly after this picture was taken.

Happy Easter!

New Lexie Barnes Fabrics... and one new bag!

It sure was fun opening the Lexie Barnes box this morning. We love the new fabrics - they're perfect for spring... and didn't that start yesterday? You wouldn't know it with the 15 degree temperatures and whipping wind this morning, but at least we can pretend it's spring by staying indoors and surrounding ourselves with all things bright!

So we got the Lady B in all three new fabrics, as well as the Betty and Kitty needlecases. We also got a bunch of the Jinx bags... This is a brand new design and they're calling it a "hobo" bag. I would call it more of an "over the shoulder messenger bag" but whatever you call it, it's really cute. AND IT'S REVERSIBLE!!! So if you're feeling in less of an in-your-face mood, and want to blend in a bit more, just turn it inside out and you've got a great looking solid bag.

Fabrics (top to bottom): Utopia, Diablo, Pacifica.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Did you miss our weekly special?

I just sent out a bulk email this morning - announcing an unadvertised weekly special on one of our best selling yarns. We'll be running around like crazy filling the orders over the next week.

If you aren't on our email list, we can't notify you of our specials, so sign up here, and you won't miss out next time.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Just in - Soak

Four big boxes of Soak arrived today. For those of you who haven't tried it, now's your chance!
Soak is a biodegradable, phosphate-free, rinse-free detergent that's perfect for hand-knits, raw fibers, spinning, even felting.

It has many flavors: Flora (sweet & flowery); Aquae (brisk & refreshing); Citrus (lemony); Scentless (completely fragrance free for sensitive skin); Sola (clean & earthy); and Scent for Celebration (exciting and captivating.)
Will be online tomorrow.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Offhand Designs Fabrics!

We received a heavy box from Offhand Designs today - full of bags and needle cases made with their great new Spring 2008 fabrics!

We were completely sold out of the Deluxe Needle Clutch and the Circular Needle Clutch, but these are both back in stock now in all 6 awesome new fabrics!

We also received a few Zhivago Weekenders - the largest bag in their line and our BEST selling bag:
and a few Zelda Grandes - our next best selling one:They are gorgeous. Come on in and see!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Milan - now in stock

Yesterday I was in heaven! I got to photograph all of the new Tilli Tomas Milan! There's been such a big buzz about this yarn. A week or so ago, anyone on Tilli Tomas' email list got a little blast announcing this new yarn. We had MANY phone calls and emails asking about it. So here it is, and ooohhh, it is so yummy.
I love all of the colors. I can't even pick one as a favorite. I know they are variegated, and most people would probably just pick one shade to work with. For some reason, they are talking to me in groups. Like Napolean, Little Red Riding Hood and Fawn:
Or Hydrangea and Harvest Sunset:
Or Peonies and Lillies:
Or Drewbilation and Mermaid:
And while meant for socks, I see little baby hats and booties, crocheted beanies, scarves and more.

Website acting wonky? Here's why.

If you notice the site acting a little weird today - like links maybe not showing up where they used to be... or things moving around a little, it's because we are in the process of a little redesign. It's not live yet, but I have started to make a few changes on the live site, and I'm doing a lot of testing on the beta site.

So, apologies! But it's worth it. I think the improvements we are making will make the experience an ever better one.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"Green" ideas for St. Patrick's Day

Today I'm working on our next bulk email, that should go out toward the end of this week. We'll be featuring green yarns... not the color green, but the organic green. If you're not signed up for our weekly newsletter, sign up here. It's the only way you'll know about our unadvertised specials & sales.

We love to re-use shipping boxes when shipping internet orders. If you have a perfectly good box, why not re-use it? Last week I had the pleasure of sorting through over 150 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies that Helen and Sophie had sold. They all come in these great cardboard boxes, and I was able to use all 13 of ours to ship orders last week. The troop leader called me last night and said she has another 13 for me. So consider yourself a part of the Kaleidoscope Yarns re-use program if you are lucky enough to get your order in a GS cookie box.

And while we're talking about "green" things, we've given out almost 300 bag credits so far, since we started doing them just a short while ago. Thanks to all of you who are participating by bringing in your own bags for your purchase.

We have several "green" bag making classes coming up if you want to make your own bag. The first is a crochet shopping bag - which is a beginner's class. Crochet is becoming much more popular and you really only need to know the basics to make this cute bag. Barb is going to whip one up as an example - and we plan to use the Tahki Cotton Classic, since we're going to make it multi-color, and they have such a great range of colors. Of course Saucy would also work nicely for this bag.

Then yesterday she was looking through the Crocheted Pursenalities book and she found the CUTEST little patchwork crocheted/then felted bag! So she took home some Cascade 220 and started it last night. It's SO easy, and adorable. She's off today, but when she comes in tomorrow, we'll look at the calendar and schedule a beginner class for that one, too.

One more noteworthy "green" topic - we recently started carrying Ecologico by Schachenmayr. This is a lovely heavy worsted weight yarn that's 100% untreated virgin wool. It has a unique "homespun" look. The labels on this yarn are recyclable and the yarn comes to us in brown paper bags. So a lot less plastic overall, and that's a good thing.

Each color is a combination of two natural wool shades and it knits up beautifully. It's so unbelievably soft - you can sort of tell just from touching the ball, but it really is lovely to knit, and it blocks beautifully. See?

Monday, March 10, 2008

A few new goodies

Today we got a big shipment from Brown Sheep - we were out of some colors and now they are back in stock. But in the box we also received 2 new colors in worsted and bulky... Orange Creamsicle and Silver Streaks at Night. The new "striated" shades of Lamb's Pride have been doing really well, so they added these two.

We also got in three new shades of Tahki Cotton Classic. Deep Leaf Green, Dark Celery and Deepest Teal. This yarn has been selling really well for us. It is a little more expensive than Saucy, but in my opinion, much softer and nicer to work with. I know there are a lot of Saucy diehards out there, who think it's the best. And you know, it is certainly the least expensive. But give the Cotton Classic a try. The color selection is so great, and it knits up beautifully. (Washes really well too!)
These will be online tomorrow.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sounds like the beginning of a joke?

Once there was an inexperienced hooker, a giant snow-woman and a snowmobiling dog... But really, this was just my weekend!
The hooker part has to do with my crochet hook, which I picked up, after a 2 year hiatus. Barb recently taught a granny square class, and I got inspired... after all, I do love those granny squares. I took four gorgeous shades of the Jo Sharp Alpaca Silk Georgette and a size F hook, and reintroduced myself to hooking. Made myself a cute little beanie. Loved every minute of it, and am now inspired to finish some crochet pillows I started a couple of years ago out of the 200 Crochet Blocks book.
The giant snow-woman is - I guess - the largest snow-woman ever - or so the sign said. It's in Bethel, Maine, and this is what it looks like from a half mile away.
This is close up. See how tiny the person is at the base of this thing? And folks, that's a HUGE crane.Pretty cool! They think it will be there until June or July.
The snowmobiling dog - yep, it's true. Marc's aunt lives in Maine and loves to snowmobile. So does Baille, her Scottie. This is Baille's snowmobiling attire:It's a funny sight, for sure, but it doesn't really surprise me, because this dog also loves to kayak

And the snow in Maine? WOW. Lots of it. Like 4 feet in the backyard. And drifts that are 12 feet (or more) tall. At first we thought these were 2 mailboxes. But it's really just a little joke for drivers by. The top of the sign is at about the 5 foot mark. Really hard to tell in a picture.

The Ellis sweater... don't ya just "Love It"?

We loved Norah Gaughan's new pattern book when it came out back in January.
The sweater on one of the front covers (there are 2 - it's a flip over book, like her first one) is very cool. It's called the "Ellis" and it's knit in Suede. "Shop model!" I thought. But not in Suede. I love Suede, but I hate knitting with it. I can never get gauge, so the three projects I've ever started out of Suede have never made it to FOs. I have even tried crocheting with Suede. No luck there either. So the Ellis sweater is knit out of Suede... big deal, I thought. We'll just substitute. We do it every day for just about every person who walks in the door.

Well, part of Norah's book is all about that. Substitution, that is. She takes 3 garments, and shows them each three ways. Different neck, different ribbing, different sleeve. You get the picture. We liked all elements of the Ellis, except the yarn. So we decided to make it out of Love It, and LOVE IT we do! This yarn is amazingly cozy, easy to knit, and great to wear. (Not to mention, it was $20 less in Love It!)

Last year Love It was new. And the color palette was not the greatest, for adults I mean. It was great for kids, and it should be... it's a perfect yarn for kids. But they came out with some great new shades for spring, and so grown ups, it's now a wonderful choice for you as well.