Friday, June 27, 2008

Make way for Minnow Merino

The Be Sweet yarns are finally online, but our ravenous shop customers have pretty much decimated our stock in just one short week! I apologize - some of the images online are not showing up. I'm working on fixing that.

We have very low quantities in some colors, but there is a lot more on order and we'll just have to be patient. I can tell that it's going to be hard to keep this in stock, so if you want some, order it and if we don't have it, we'll put you in line for it. We should be getting another shipment of Magic Balls (and some new colors) in about 2 weeks.

Yesterday we got our shipment of Jil Eaton's Minnow Merino - WOW! This is washable superfine merino wool for kids - but don't just think kids - these colors may be bright and kid-like, but that's not going to stop me from using it for myself. We had several customers madly digging into the box as we unloaded it. (This has been a trend with our shipments recently...)

New Jil Eaton patterns are due in next week. Can't wait to start working on this yarn!

I'm finishing up a cute little bag made with one Knobby Ball and a Be Sweet pattern. I'll have a photo tomorrow.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Be Sweet scarf

Last Wednesday was my 14th wedding anniversary. Marc was involved in a big seminar all week, so we took a rain check on a night out, and went on Saturday, instead. We took the girls and went for a lovely meal at The Blue Paddle Bistro in South Hero. It was my second time there, and definitely NOT my last. I've mentioned it to more than 10 people in the past few days, and they've never heard of it.

So, I'm spreading the word. It's one of those great finds that, once you finally eat there, you can't imagine HOW you never knew of it's extistence before. If you are a local - give it a try on your next special night out. And if you're visiting the area, it's a nice place to put on your list of things to do.

Here's a shot of some amazing appetizers - some yummy tuna and some delicious crab cakes.
It was a delicious meal, as always, and the drive to and from South Hero couldn't have been any more gorgeous.

We got a nice family shot on the way back. What a beautiful spot we live in...
And now, may I present my Be Sweet scarf - 1 Magic Ball and 1 Ribbon Ball - knit lengthwise - 120 stitches on a size 11 needle.
LOVE it. What a fun knit - and that's an honest opinion from a non-mohair person. I really liked knitting with the mohair! It looks very boutique-y! These yarns should be online tomorrow, but our locals and quilt show visitors have already snapped up half of the first shipment. We're reordering today!

And magically, it appeared

That's the Be Sweet box we're talking about. It was delayed in MA last week, and I checked our incoming UPS log this morning, and it was no longer showing up in the system! We'd been tracking it all the way across the country, and POOF - it was gone. We were a bit concerned, but we waited until our UPS delivery came, and as I said, it MAGICALLY appeared.

And speaking of magic... these are the Magic Balls. They are incredible! Barb was unloading the box and a customer from Canada bought several Magic Balls, Boucle Mohairs and Ribbon Balls before she could even get them all unloaded! She was down for the big Quilt Show this week, and was excited to see the Be Sweet and Tilli Tomas yarns.

I started and finished my Janine Hat this weekend. SO cute. And really fun to knit. If you're tired of the same old same old hat knit in the round, try this one. It's in Jasper (one of my FAVORITE merinos) and was a really quick knit. I chose a new fun color of Jasper and I quite like it! Not like I can wear it for a while though. What I really need is to knit myself some sort of rain hat.I also finished a really pretty lace scarf - knit with the Tilli Tomas Milan. It's a gorgeous blend of merino, silk and cashmere, and can you believe I knit this out of just ONE skein? That's right. It's 6"x42" and I wouldn't want it any longer. At $16.50, that's a deal (or steal?) The pattern is being printed and will be ready within the week. Then it will be online as well.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Claudia Handpaints

Brand new - what bright and fun colors! Come on in and check them out!
They'll be online next week.

Edited to add - they're online now!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Good news, bad news

Well, I always like to start with the bad news... to get it over with. The Be Sweet shipment ran into a weather delay somewhere along the way, and it won't be in until Monday. Boo hoo. Okay, moving on....

The good news, well, really the GREAT news! Some of you may have seen a little survey that now pops up on our site from time to time. Now don't worry, you don't HAVE to take it. Just click the NO button and it will go away. I just turned it on Wednesday morning at 6am. And within 24 hours I had hundreds of responses. (That's just the beginning of the good news!)

Lots of you spent time writing comments about what you loved about our site. We are so thankful for the feedback - it's so satisfying to know that what we do is appreciated! The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, though there were a few great comments that we are already addressing...

A few of you said you don't like the fact that our pattern booklets (ie: ones that have instructions for multiple sweaters, etc on the inside) did not show detail pictures from the inside of the booklets - they only showed the front cover. Hey, I agree!

If it were EASY to get all of those images we'd do it in a heartbeat, but it's not always that simple. Some companies can get us the images on CD. Others tell us to get them from their websites - but then we have to do a "save-as" on hundreds of images. I don't mind that, but there are only so many hours in the day. And then there are some companies that don't do CDs, and don't have detailed websites. That means we have to SCAN all the images ourselves. So we're right back at the "only so many hours in a day" thing.

But, I'm happy to say, that even though it's way more time consuming to get these images posted on the site, I hear you, and we're doing something about it. Look at what magically happened to many of our Berroco pattern booklets this morning!
Next up, Classic Elite, Tahki, Nashua Handknits, Rowan, Colinette and Manos. I have some CDs coming, and pretty soon we'll have way more info for you on our pattern booklet pages.

So a big thank you to those of you who made the comments. We can't be EVERYTHING to EVERYBODY, but we really do try to be the best that we can be.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Be Sweet Friday

I'm SO excited - our UPS log says that our Be Sweet shipment is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Kalen and I moved some things around in the front of the shop this morning to make some space. We have several yarns coming, but most of them are only coming in a few colors - the rest will be here in a few more weeks.

BUT the Magic Balls - the ones I am MOST psyched for - are coming tomorrow in all but 2 colors that we ordered. YAY! Can't wait to play with it!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby washcloths, in organic cotton

Today we looked out the window to find an intruder in the front yard.
It's not everyday you see a backhoe digging up a big section of your front yard. There is quite a bit of roadwork in the village this summer, which has really NOT affected any traffic, much to my surprise. On our street they're just replacing the water main that's located on the other side of the street. They're trying to find where they can attach the temporary water supply to our house. And guess what? They can't find it. :)

They could run the temporary supply in through a basement window, but then the window would be open for over a week, and the building would be unsecure. Not good! Also, I didn't think my customers would appreciate stepping (or tripping) OVER an annoying water hose each time they came or left, so I told them to keep digging. I feel very UN-stressed about this. Hey, it needs to be done. Sure, it's an inconvenience and it makes a mess, but why waste time worrying about it? So I'm not!

My latest project is a set of organic cotton baby washcloths. What a great idea for a baby gift! I chose three balls of the Rowan Purelife Cotton (which is on sale this week, online... by the way!) and made my first one in half double crochet with a single crochet edging. I really like it! I'm going to knit one next, but I need to come up with a pattern first. I like these because the yarn is so soft, and it's organic cotton dyed with all natural plant dyes. The shades are so soft - they're really lovely. I think three balls will make a nice gift of 3 washcloths, a tiny hat and perhaps even a set of booties. Not bad!

This is the first week of summer for us. The girls are spending the week at a camp at UVM. So far so good. Their favorite part is archery - though Sophie says she still hasn't gotten her arrow on the board. But wow, what a great attitude she had about it. She still loves it, and she just keeps trying harder. I love when you see that kind of personal growth in your children!

Today was SO busy in shipping. We got the Norah Gaughan books in yesterday. We have shipped over 60 of them and we have another 70+ coming in tomorrow and almost all of them are spoken for already. LOTS of international orders. We've sold a lot of the other Berroco pattern books as well. They are just GREAT this season.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"A little late... but with lots of love" -or- "A wedding gift, completed"

Either would be a good title to this post! A customer of ours - and it's been years now, so let's also say "friend!" - Lindsay B. just emailed us the other day, with proof that her never-ending-afghan-knitting-and-putting-together project for her sister and brother-in-law has finally been completed! She used Plymouth Encore and Encore Colorspun, and made millions (ok, I'm exaggerating) of squares. Portable? Yes. An easy knit? Yes. A finishing nightmare? Yes again.

Read her email to us, below. Can you just FEEL how excited she is to be FINITO with this project?

Hello Kyarns Ladies!
I just wanted to let you know that I FINALLY finished my sister's wedding blanket - only a year late, but who's keeping score? Attached are a couple of photos of the blanket in its new home and with its new owners... apparently I'm psychic because I chose the colors and started knitting the squares before my sister and her husband picked out their new living room furniture - and it matches perfectly, as you can see!

Thank you so much for all your help, especially Kalen and Michele, for helping me choose colors, pep talking me when I thought I was done and discovered I had only knit half of the required number of squares, and for
showing me how to sew all 221 squares together. It was definitely a team effort and if Laura and Chris ever get divorced, I get the blanket back - and I'll bring it in to show you in person!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lindsay B
(and Laura and Chris F)

Thanks Lindsay, for letting me share your email. I intentionally cropped this detail shot of the blanket - no offense to Laura and Chris! But look how GORGEOUS those seams are!!! Even on the underside, they are a sight to behold. So it's another success story - GREAT job Lindsay!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A shawl fit for Graduation Day

Several weeks ago, I purchased a new dress for Andrew’s graduation. The graduation is this Sunday. The dress is sleeveless, and you never know what the weather will be like in Vermont in June, so I thought it would be nice to knit a shawl to go with it.

So about two weeks ago, on my day off, I made a special trip to the shop to look for the perfect yarn. And I found it! In the basket on the front table we had one skein of Tilli Tomas Rock Star in the color Novea Melon. It matched perfectly with the dress, and the beads on it were a spectacular color! I figured I'd need one or two more skeins, so I went upstairs to check the back stock.

Bad news. It was the last skein we had. Barb called Tilli Tomas, and got even more bad news. That color had been discontinued! So I had to figure out how to use just one skein, mix in something else that worked... and then what kind of pattern would be suited to two colors, and still work with my dress?

I had lots of help from Barb and Jill and we came up with a solution - I added a skein of Pure & Simple in a complimentary color. As you can see, the finished shawl is gorgeous.
And believe me, it was quick! I was pressed for time, and easily finished this in time for the big event. I’m not one for lace work and I did make a couple of mistakes. But I brought it into work, and Barb helped me get back on track.

And since we've already had several customers asking about it, the pattern is now ready!

Barb also gave me a great tip for lace knitting! Run some dental floss through your row every 10 rows or so. If you drop a stitch, you can easily pull your work back to the dental floss, without worrying about royally messing up!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Berroco Fall yarns have hit the building!

Today we received (almost) our entire order of Berroco fall yarns. We got new colors of Jasper and Peruvia (yum yum!) and Geode, Palace, Pure Merino DK, Peruvia Quick and a few colors of Cuzco. So we have NOT yet gotten the Inca Gold and the rest of the Cuzco, but they'll be here soon.

The patterns for these yarns are SO great this year. Norah Gaughan's Volume 3 just blew me away when I saw it. She did an amazing job on this collection - we've been taking orders for the books and hers (as usual) is the front runner. We have a number of them that were ordered in the past few days and they were ordered from people in England, Australia and New Zealand... and of course the US as well. Norah - your fans are all over the place!

I can't wait to knit with these yarns! I just love the new colors of Jasper (that was a favorite yarn of mine this past winter!) and Geode has to be my favorite new yarn. But it is hard to choose - they are all amazing.

Check them out - they're already online. Pattern booklets too. My swatches will be re-photographed - I had to borrow them from Berroco's website the other day and their swatches aren't as detailed as the ones I post. So by the end of this week I should be able to get that done.

I will edit links here later. Our site is down at the moment... that whole Level 3 Communications thing has been most problematic for us. Hmmmm.

Monday, June 09, 2008


For all you Burlington area knitters, mark this Saturday on your calendar! It's WWKiP (World Wide Knit in Public) Day.
That's right - head on down to City Hall Park at 10am on Saturday. Bring your knitting (crocheting, whatever!) and a blanket if you mind the ground, and join fellow yarn enthusiasts for some public knitting and fun.

There are free bathrooms nearby, and the Farmer's Market is going on - so don't miss it!
All organized by Tara from Burlington. Be sure to meet her and thank her in person on Saturday!

What's coming for fall

We're back. What a whirlwind trip. We left Burlington on Friday morning and landed in a sea of fog, clouds, low ceiling, etc. in La Guardia. All sorts of delays getting into and out of La Guardia. The joys of summer travel, when it's 90 degrees (plus!) outside, and the threat of major thunderstorms can really screw up your trip! We were lucky to only be delayed by about an hour or so, and when we landed in Columbus and stepped outside to grab a cab, it was like being smacked in the face with a really WET, really HEAVY, wool blanket. Heat and humidity like I don't care to experience again. (But hey, now it's in Burlington!)

Going into the show at 8am on Saturday, I was really hoping I'd be WOWed by something. And I wasn't disappointed! We had a private early (pre-show) meeting with Nadine from Be Sweet. I had seen Be Sweet yarns before, but I was thrilled to get the opportunity to sit down with Nadine for an hour, one on one. In addition to having some really wonderful and unique products, her company has a BIG warm fuzzy behind it - and we love the warm fuzzies. Be Sweet brings stylish, environmentally friendly yarns and accessories to socially aware consumers. They support job-creation programs in South Africa that help empower female artisans and villagers by giving them the means to support themselves. Some of the yarns we already stock, like Manos del Uruguay and Frog Tree, have these social missions as well. And when you combine a great product with a great story, you have a great addition to your product offering.

In the past few years, our customers have been asking more questions about yarns. Not only regarding content and gauge, but where is it made? Who makes it? Does the company do anything to give back? Or are they just in it to make money? We have found that people are interested in the story behind the yarn, and that's a good thing. I ordered several of Be Sweet's yarns - and I'm so excited to get them! We will have the Magic Ball (my favorite!), the Ribbon Ball, the Boucle Mohair and the Knobby Ball. Plus some really great patterns and some super fun Ostrich Feather tips - to attach to fringes. I'm sure you can't even BEGIN to imagine it just from reading this, but Nadine's yarns were the most fun and gorgeous (for me!) at the show, and I'm so psyched for when they arrive.

I also bought some other really great things, that will be a wonderful addition to what we already carry. So here's a preview of just a FEW of the things I ordered. They'll be arriving this summer, for fall:
  • Lorna's Wool Needle Felting kits (this will be a class) - so fun for kids and adults. GREAT gift ideas.
  • Awesome new Stitch Diva patterns (these are always top sellers!)
  • Eastport Alpaca - this one is really fun, and comes from nearby Maine, and some beautiful Maine alpacas. And it's US made all the way, and we like that, too!
  • Jil Eaton MinnowMerino - 100% merino, super wash in great colors for kids! Really nice book and patterns too.
  • NAMASTE - Yep, I'm SO excited for this. Two bags - the Newport bag and the Laguna bag, and the SO hip Cali Clutch. I think my personal bag collection (already huge) is about to get bigger.
  • Loop-d-Loop Moss - a really fun blend of extrafine merino and nylon. Technically a sport weight (on the label anyway!) but Teva Durham uses it on larger needles and the result is fantastic.
  • Tahki Donegal Tweed - an old classic, and one that you folks have been asking for, so we're bringing it in!
  • Tahki Montana - a 100% pure new wool in all natural colors. Some great patterns for this yarn!
  • Filatura di Crosa Superior - a heavenly blend of cashmere and silk - amazing sweaters and scarves and more are made with this yarn.

There are more, but I'm going on and on and really have to get some work done!

We came away with some neat pattern ideas too, and we'll start working on those in the next few weeks. I think I'll be doing a lot of knitting in the near future!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

A great baby gift

This spring we decided to change our stock colors of Blue Sky Alpaca Silk. The new colors are SO great, so I was tempted to knit a little sample out of one of them.

I started with the Blue Sky patterns and immediately found the perfect one: The Baby Bonnet & Socks. I picked a fun color and took it along with me on a trip to visit my mom in CT. It was so quick - in fact I just finished up the I-cord ties and now it's done.

The pattern is written in two sizes. It's a great idea for all of those baby showers that seem to come up each summer!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wet weather, wet wool

I'm off today but since the weather is pretty WET, I decided to stay inside this afternoon and finish up a few knitting projects. They are actually finished, but just need to be felted.

Saturday afternoon, as I was leaving work I grabbed some odds and ends from the felting basket, and started the Noni Oven Mitt. I made a size small, and took her advice... in the pattern she suggests tying square knots where the stripes start and end. I usually weave in all the ends, even though it's a long process. We'll see how her method works after it's felted. So this is what the inside of the mitt looked like after I finished knitting it: Then I tied my knots, which neatened it up a little:
Certainly looks cute from the outside, doesn't it?
That oven mitt was so quick that I decided to make another one (size medium) for one of the girls' teachers. I did modify the thumb, as I didn't care for the Noni directions. Remember, knitters... a pattern is only a guideline. Do what you need to do to make it work for YOU.
I also finished the Noni Yummy Lunch bag last week, so this will go into the machine at the same time as the oven mitts. I have a feeling that the lunch bag is going to be huge. The finished size listed on the pattern is more like a felted COOLER than a lunch bag. I mean, who eats THAT MUCH for lunch? So we'll see when it comes out of the wash... it's running right now.

Another thing I have to wash is my awesome Sin City scarf. I chose a simple reversible rib stitch which was easy and quick. I was told that this yarn MUST be knit on size 8 needles, and that you need to wash/dry it so that it felts a bit. Okay, sure. So I'll try that. This is pre-wash:
The girls are just getting off the bus, and now the basement smells like wet wool. Not a great smell when you walk into the house. Maybe it will prompt them to clean the litterbox? It does sort of smell like that... to the untrained nose, that it.

And YAY! I guess I'm allowed to start something new!