Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Table Runner

contributed by Shawn

Our customer Heidi A. has been working hard on some very special projects over the past several months.  She has been in the shop a couple of times to select and choose coordinating colors of Tilli Tomas Voile de la Mer yarn for beaded table runners.  Her pattern comes from a book called 'Handknits for the Home' and she has done an exceptional job with her knitting!   

We finally had the pleasure of seeing one of the finished table runners last week (the colorway is Partly Cloudy) when she came in with a friend to choose colors for another table runner.   
She is gifting these amazing pieces to friends and family.  Wow, I don't know if I could give one up when I was finished!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Regia Garden Effects Sock Yarn has arrived!

Regia Sock yarns have always been popular with our customers. We just took delivery of a new one that we just LOVE:
Regia Garden Effects is now in stock in 5 beautiful shades. These 4 ply prints were designed by North American master colorist Kristin Nicholas. Inspired by her colorful flower gardens and the bucolic scenery of her New England farm, these shades will not only create spectacular socks, but wonderful shawls and scarves.
Left to right: Herb Green, Blue Thyme, Flower Garden Spring (Geranium not pictured, sorry!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Yakkity Yak!

contributed by Shawn

One of our customers Joan stopped in to the shop recently. I hadn't seen her since before the holidays. Joan has a farm and has a yak (named Zak!) who lives there with her llama and cashmere goats.

Because it's been frightfully cold lately in Vermont, I asked how Zak was doing. He's doing fine, and Joan told me that her her holiday photo of Zak made it on the Vermont Yak blog. 
I immediately had to pull up the site and take a look - I love it!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Wedding Swirl Afghan

contributed by Shawn

A long time ago  a couple of my friends announced their wedding date. I decided to make them an afghan as a wedding gift, but didn't want to spoil it for them. I asked them what colors they liked and I decided to make the Swirl Afghan with Berroco Comfort yarn.  
After my color consultation, I quickly knit up the first hexagon for the Swirl Afghan of 2011 using Berroco Comfort yarn. This was one of the patterns I've wanted to try since the book Berroco Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans came out.

Meanwhile back at the knitting design ranch I enlisted logic minded associates to help me with another facet of the project.  The original pattern is written for a hexagonal blanket the size of a baby blanket. I had two issues. 
  • I wanted to make mine larger. 
  • I didn't want any hexagons to share a side with another hexagon of the same color. With 6 sided hexagons and 5 colors in the afghan, it was far beyond me to figure it out. Once I started going larger than the original pattern, I couldn't find a way to arrange the colors so that it would work out.  Because these hexagons are attached as you knit, I needed to figure this one out pretty quickly!
So on a campout this summer, I had some sodoku brained people help me figure this out. It kept them busy for a while!
Original afghan pattern (left) with expanded chart (right)
I admit I got distracted on this afghan and neglected it for a while. But I pulled it out again as fall approached and realized that the wedding was nigh.  (No, I didn't make the deadline.  I had plenty of hexagons left to finish at the end of September.)

But once I got close to the end, I couldn't wait to fit the last pieces together!  When I finished the last piece I decided it needed a border.  I pulled out my crochet hook and added a row of single crochet and then a row of double crochet to finish it all off.
It might be January 2012, but the finished piece is amazing and lovely. And the recipients LOVE it!
Now my other friends have started asking when they will get their afghans. I've told them all that as soon as I get the invitation to their weddings I'll get started.

Monday, January 16, 2012

It's not too late, it's just really early!

contributed by Shawn 

The holidays have come and gone. So why is it that in January each year we sell more Christmas stocking patterns than in the months leading up to the holiday? Seriously, we're filling orders this month for so many stocking patterns... I guess there's nothing like the post holiday feeling to get you thinking about next year?

Since people are obviously still thinking "Christmas stockings" it means I can share my own story from this year...

Just like in years past I decided it would be nice to do a little something for my friends for Saint Nicholas Day.  This holiday is in early December (December 6th) and because I have to get my things finished by then, it means I can relax more before the real holidays start.

This year I knit several stockings using Berroco Vintage and Nancy Lindberg's Christmas Sock pattern. And way back in early November, I started working on little knitted items like hats and fingerless mitts to put inside the socks.  I tried to pick out some snacks that everyone would like so you'll see plenty of clementines, fruit leathers, tiny apples, sesame sticks, and wasabi peas ready to be put inside as well.
I didn't photograph the stockings after they were filled - they always look so awkward and lumpy...but I promise that they were very well received!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Reminder!  The first K-Kash Days are coming up! We hope that those of you who shop in the store have been saving your K-Kash & receipts.

In figuring out the details of the program, we picked the end of January (15th-31st) and the beginning of June (1st-15th) each year for K-Kash Days. As it happens, January 15th falls on a Sunday this year, and since we are never open on Sundays, the first day you can come in to use your K-Kash toward a purchase is going to be on Monday the 16th. And, then you have OVER TWO WEEKS to use them!

I apologize if anyone thought we were going to be open on Sunday the 15th. This was an oversight on our part in the proofing process. (Did you also notice the misspelling of "Kaleidoscope" right on the front of the K-Kash? That slipped by FOUR of us. We're only human.)

A reminder about how the K-Kash works... Bring it in to the shop during our normal business hours on NORMAL days we are open between 1/15-1/31 and we will apply it to up to 50% of your purchase. You can use it on merchandise in the shop, but not on gift cards, winding, classes or shipping fees. It does not work on our website, and you can not place an order and ask us to hold it and apply the K-Kash when you pick it up.

During K-Kash Days we will be accepting K-Kash, but not giving it out. Not in town? Don't worry, you can still use your K-Kash in June during our next K-Kash Days.

Another Sweetie Pie

Since we've brought the Be Sweet Bambino Taffy into the shop, the Sweetie Pie Hat has become a favorite of our customers. It's a great choice for a little shower gift - of course - but we've even got customers making it with no specific recipient in mind... just because it's so darn cute! 

The pattern is free on the label and it takes just one ball.

The pattern is pictured in the colorway Candy Sprinkles:
I knit one up for the shop in Salt Water Taffy:
And Shawn showed me this one last week knit up in Spearmint Gum:
It's hard to pick a favorite!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Hip Hip Hurray for REAL sized models (and for Norah Gaughan Volume 10)

The newest Norah Gaughan booklet (Volume 10) has been in stock for several weeks in both paper and e-Book format. If you haven't taken a look at it yet, now's a good time to check it out in detail!
Before I go through the great sweaters in this booklet, I'd like to point out that Berroco has used a REAL sized model in this booklet. Kudos to them for finally using a size 14 model in the photo shoot! I think she's every bit as beautiful as the smaller model she's shot with, and I'm sure you'll agree.

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and isn't it frustrating to see a sweater pictured on tiny model, and have no idea what it will look like on your own body? This booklet is great because it shows two models: one wearing a size 44" and the other wearing a size 34". They're shown wearing different sweaters in the book, but you get the idea. Thanks Berroco! I hope to see more of this in the future.

Okay, now for the patterns. These sweaters are all shown in gorgeous neutral shades of both warm and cool weather yarns. I don't recall one Berroco book ever showcasing so many different yarns!

The Etesian Shrug (knit in Berroco Lago) is a flowy, long-sleeved shrug with elegant columns of lace that drape gracefully around its neck.
The Santa Ana Sweater (knit in Berroco Seduce) is a stockinette cardigan with alternating bands of lacy mesh and garter stitch, which form slinky scarf-like ties at either side of the neck.
Similar to these two sweaters is the Austru Sweater, a warmer version (knit in Berroco Ultra Alpaca) with gracefully ruched panels of lace that extend beyond the neckline to create a cozy scarf.
One of my favorites! The sophisticated Foehn Sweater (knit in Berroco Linsey) has a gently curved stockinette body and is fastened with a single button.
The Kaver Sweater is an enchanting cropped pullover. It uses a crisp and cool summer yarn (Berroco Captiva) and is worked into textural wedges edged in wide bands of ribbing.
Sculptural leaf motifs encircle the body of Knik, a mesmerizing cropped shrug with close-fitting long sleeves (knit in Berroco Voyage).
My other favorite! The Levanto Tunic is a breezy stockinette tunic with fluttering panels of lace along the sides. It has comfortable three-quarter length sleeves and is knit in Berroco Seduce.
The Taku Sweater (knit in Berroco Blackstone Tweed) looks fun to knit! Richly textured triangles join together to create an intriguing pullover with a deep v-neck and three-quarter length sleeves.
The Vardar Sweater is a short-sleeved cardigan featuring long sweeping curves. It's knit in lace-weight yarn (Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine) and edged with ribbing in a thicker weight (Berroco Ultra Alpaca).
Whew! It's a great book. And I didn't even show you the other three sweaters!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Craft Night Follow Up

Last Wednesday night we stayed after work and made some Joulupukkis (Yule Goats). It was a lot of fun and definitely not something anyone had ever done before. 

I brought back these huge hanks of paper yarn from Finland, and instructions on how to take the hank, open it up, bend, tie and cut in a specific sequence, and end up with a pretty cool Yule Goat. 
Shawn wrangling the paper hank
I had made one in Finland the week before so I would know what I was doing. But even after making it, I still had to refer to the directions a few times!
Polly trying to get the back leg curve just right!
Barb and Michele hard at work on the heads
Forming the face
We had a lot of laughs. Michele's goat looked like an anteater at one point, and she was concerned she was doing it wrong! 
Michele with her anteater
Of course she was just being a perfectionist, and once she reshaped the head and trimmed the paper around the face, it looked great and she felt much better.  
Trimming the feet
The Cleanup... this paper is good in place of Styrofoam peanuts! Maybe you'll find some in your next package...
In the end, each goat has its own personality and size, based on where the ties where placed, how tightly they were tied, and how long/short the paper was cut. 
The finished products from the front...
... and the back!
Michele named hers "Clyde" and sent me a picture of Skitz and Clyde, nuzzling in front of the fire:
A romance in the making?
Next up, figuring out how to make these out of a different weight of paper yarn, and reducing them to the size of a tree ornament. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

It's Joulupukki night!

Tonight is our craft night here at Kyarns. Every member of our staff is hanging out together so I can show them how to make a Joulupukki... or "Yule Goat". Yule Goats are typical Yule decorations in Scandinavia (though Finns don't consider themselves to be a part of Scandinavia - that's a different topic for another day). Read this if you are interested...

Never heard of a Yule Goat? Don't worry. Nobody on my staff had either! I grew up with a mom who loved (and still does!) all things Scandinavian, so we've had Yule Goats in all sizes in our house each winter holiday season. And when I saw them in Finland a shop window, made with a single (but large!) skein of paper yarn, I knew I had to make one for myself.
I struggled a bit through the Finnish instructions (actually, I struggled MORE than a bit, since Finnish is one language that even Google Translate can't handle!) But I went back into the shop and had the woman show me each step. It took her about 3 minutes - and was very helpful, since I am totally a visual person. I went home and in just a couple of hours I had my very own Joulupukki. 
So tonight, it's Yule Goat night here at Kyarns. It's doesn't involve any knitting or crocheting, BUT it does involve one very large skein of paper yarn. We've all picked different colors and there's going to be a lot of squeezing paper skeins, tying, and cutting. Oh, and little sushi eating too. 

We'll have some pictures to share tomorrow. Want to learn how to do this? We're hoping to schedule a class on it this summer!

2 New Projects to Share

Polly's got a great vest that she's been sporting this fall and winter, and we wanted to share it with you. It's knit with the Elsebeth Lavold Cool Wool, which is a machine washable blend of wool and cotton. This yarn is incredibly soft, and shows beautiful stitch detail. 
She made the "Man's Vest" from the Classic Elite Summer Book 1. (Man's Vest? Not sure why they named it that!)

And yesterday, our customer Nobuko came in to the shop to grab just one more skein of Berroco Vintage to finish the beautiful crochet edging around this adorable baby blanket. She's got a baby shower (for her grandchild) coming up and I'm sure this blanket will be a huge hit. It's so cute!
It's from one of the Vogue Knitting Baby Blankets On the Go books (there were 2) that is unfortunately discontinued. We used to sell a lot of these when they were still available, so hopefully if any of you have these books, you'll hang on to them! They've got some really great baby blanket patterns.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Resolutions Anyone?

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a great holiday weekend. We've been talking about our resolutions today, and thought we'd share our craft related ones with you.

Barb: To finish a project before starting another one.

Chrissy: To spend more time with her "other" fiber related hobbies (spinning, learning to weave, etc.)

Michele: Finish at least one of the two sweaters (for herself) that she has yarn for. (She knits a lot for her husband and sons, and not enough for herself!)

Shawn: To finish her Noro Mitered Square Blanket (that she hasn't touched for 6 months)

Jill: To experiment with Finnish paper yarns and find some really neat projects that we can do with them here at the shop.

We also have some non craft related resolutions (in random order!):
  • Continuing to keep each day in perspective
  • Finishing home renovations
  • Running a half marathon
  • Be more adventurous in cooking
  • Paying off a car loan
What are your resolutions?