Lamb in the house!

Last week, I looked up on Saturday morning, as I saw a lamb on a leash strolling past my shop. I dove for my phone and snapped a photo, which I posted to Instagram and Facebook.

The lamb is named July, and was a late-season surprise at Bambi Miller's Parke Creek Farm. She was subsequently taken into the Smith household, where she is clearly well-loved, and is being raised as a bottle lamb.

This week, they stopped into the shop prior to their farmer's market visit, and July took a quick tour of the shop. Was she wondering how all the wool came to be so brightly colored??



Time to think about the Fair! If you're a Kittitas County resident, online and in person entries are accepted from August 1st through August 15, and the late entry period is from August 16-18 for online entries and August 16-24 for in person entries.  Entries after August 22 require approval from Fair Director of the Department. There is no cost to enter during the regular entry period, and the fee for late entry is only $3. 

Here's the secret: there is no penalty if you don't submit your items! So if you think you might like to enter an item in the fair, go ahead and do it! You can always change your mind later.

Home Arts exhibits are received in the Home Arts building between 10am and 7pm on Friday, August 24th. Pick up is on September 3rd (Labor Day), from 6-8pm. 

You can find Fair 101 and the Exhibitor's Guide here. Enter your things--it's fun to see a big range of projects on display, and that only happens if you participate!

(Not a resident of Kittitas County? Here are links to info for the Central Washington State FairChelan County, and The Puyallup. (Grant and Douglas County deadlines have passed.)

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Ann
Fair Entry Info!


Time to think about the Fair! If you're a Kittitas County resident, online and in person entries are accepted from August 1st through August 15, and the late entry period is from August 16-18 for online entries and August 16-24 for in person entries.  Entries after August 22 require approval from Fair Director of the Department. There is no cost to enter during the regular entry period, and the fee for late entry is only $3. 

Here's the secret: there is no penalty if you don't submit your items! So if you think you might like to enter an item in the fair, go ahead and do it! You can always change your mind later.

Home Arts exhibits are received in the Home Arts building between 10am and 7pm on Friday, August 24th. Pick up is on September 3rd (Labor Day), from 6-8pm. 

You can find Fair 101 and the Exhibitor's Guide here. Enter your things--it's fun to see a big range of projects on display, and that only happens if you participate!

(Not a resident of Kittitas County? Here are links to info for the Central Washington State FairChelan County, and The Puyallup. (Grant and Douglas County deadlines have passed.)

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Ann
Places You Can Knit: Seahawks Training Camp

Places You Can Knit: Seahawks Training Camp Edition

On Monday, we had the opportunity to attend a Seahawks training camp practice at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center--only because I remembered a few days before registration opened in June, and managed to connect in the two minute window before tickets sell out. Going through the security line, the man examining my bag said, "Oh! You do what I do while I'm watching--crochet!" Close enough, friend, close enough.

To mark the occasion, I decided to re-knit the popular Hawks Hat pattern in HiKoo Simpliworsted. The original called for Cascade 220 Superwash, and I occasionally heard that the sizing was just a little on the snug side. Using Simpliworsted and sizing up to US8 needles is producing a slightly larger hat, and the green and blue available in Simpliworsted (and its DK version, Simplicity) match my jersey as closely as anything I've found. 

Lots of new faces on the field; time for a new sample. Go Hawks!

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Ann
So many outtakes...

When you're looking at projects on Ravelry, what do you hope to see? Me, I want to see what a thing looks like on a human body.

Also me: I don't love taking selfies. 

What to do about that? Honestly, the answer is probably just to take more pictures. Then you can delete a bunch! (Or hang on to them, so they can later be incorporated into a ridiculous collage, as above.)

Sewing blogger Gillian Whitcombe of Crafting a Rainbow wrote a series of posts called The Better Pictures Project, and she solicited input from other bloggers taking great pictures for their own blogs. Tips range from thoughts about backgrounds and shooting locations, to knowing your camera's capabilities (whether it's a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or your phone), to photo editing options. 

Of course, these ideas don't just apply to taking photos for blogging, or documenting your knitting and crochet projects on Ravelry--many of them are relevant whenever you have a camera in hand. But consider this your friendly reminder that if you want to see people wearing their creations on Ravelry, being a person who wears their creations in photos on Ravelry is a great start!

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Ann
Christmas in July

Sometimes when the temperatures rise...and rise...the only thing for it is to try to stay cool, and think of cooler weather. 

The Slumber Hat is an interesting top-down knit, with just a bit of colorwork at the brim. Sizing is for babes through adults, and I used Plymouth Select DK on the recommended needles.

Fleece Navidad was also worked up in Plymouth Select DK, but as the pattern has a variety of options for both sizes and yarn weight, you could use HiKoo Simplicity, HiKoo Kenzie, Cascade 220, Cascade 220 Superwash, Plymouth Encore, Jaggerspun Mousam Falls, or Studio Donegal Soft Donegal.

(Psst--holiday photos!)

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Ann
Four days* and done.

*And three minutes

Truth? I'd rather have finished by midnight, but...completing a sweater in an extremely compressed timeline is still kind of a kick. If I'd made any number of different decisions, I would have finished with a bit of time to spare, but knitting is one small part of life, even when you make a plan for it to take over the bulk of a few days.

Here's what my four days looked like:

Sunday -- I got up at 5:30 or so, and cast on at about 6:00.  I showered and got ready for work fairly early, as it was the 39th running of The Runner Stumbles, and I like to go watch my husband compete in local races when I can, because I usually can't. I knit before and during the race, then reached a place where I needed to concentrate more than I could there. At 11:00, I left for work. Since Sunday is a Social Stitching day, I was able to get a fair amount of knitting done then. I returned home, and by the time I went to bed, I had knit to the sleeve divide.

Monday -- My knitting day started shortly after 6:00, and with a few yoga breaks and some household chores, continued for most of the day. I listened to some podcasts, and watched episodes of The Great British Sewing Bee (there are episodes on both YouTube and Daily Motion). After knitting about six rows, I returned to the sleeves and knit them first, which I prefer when possible so there is less total fabric to turn around and around. I finished one sleeve, and knit to the ribbed cuff on the second before stopping for the day.

Tuesday -- I worked on the second sleeve before leaving for work, then worked on the body off and on through the day. Fellow Beekeepers Diane and Andrea came by the shop to work on their sweaters for awhile. I picked up a take & bake pizza on the way home, and continued knitting through the evening. I didn't get quite as far as I hoped, but, working...whatcha gonna do?

Wednesday -- On my final KAL day, I decided to tag along to another local race my husband was running in. As long as I didn't have to drive, it was about the same amount of knitting time. I started the day about midway through the body, with the rest of the body length and the neckline and front trim left to complete. I lost some time when I picked up the neckline trim, as I was trying to make the cardigan fully reversible. The first method didn't work well, so I took it out. I finished the final bind off at 12:03, technically three minutes into my fifth day of knitting.

Thursday -- In addition to the twenty or so stitches that were bound off in the wee hours, I blocked the sweater, using a combination of wires and Knit Blockers. Coming off the needles, the sweater was about five inches narrower than the schematic, but because I had swatched, and blocked my swatch, I wasn't concerned. The sweater easily blocked to the finished schematic measurements. 

Friday -- It was a pretty warm day, but I wore my new sweater over the Myosotis Dress I made from a bee print crepe de chine. Myosotis is the latin name for forget-me-nots, which are a very bee-friendly flower. Even without any sort of front closure, the excellent fit through the shoulders kept the cardigan in place all day. And while I'm not usually a three-quarter length sleeves enthusiast, these really kind of worked for me!

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Ann
Open July 3rd, and July 5th...not the 4th, though!

I'll be knitting

Yarn Folk will be open on Tuesday, July 3rd (when I'll mostly be working on my Four Day KAL sweater), but will be closed on July 4th. I've found that most shops in downtown Ellensburg are closed for the holiday, and rather than watching the tumbleweeds blow down Pearl Street, my plan is to stay home, and hopefully finish the Beekeeper!

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Ann
Prep

Prep!

What do you do while you're waiting for a 4(ish) Day KAL to begin? You prepare!

Gauge swatch complete? Check!

Yarn Wound? Check.

Companion Cowl made? Optional, but check. (This was a great way to practice correcting mistakes in this stitch pattern.)

Reversible project bag made? Check! (Bee fabric and orange polka dots to match the Sweet Potato Pie colorway sourced at Purple Door Fabric

Beekeeper Cardigan pattern printed and highlighted? Check! [Note to Beekeeper knitters: if you purchased your pattern prior to June 16th, make sure your pattern has been updated and you are working from the "Beekeeper Cardigan_Marie Greene_finale" file.]

Needles and notions ready? Check!

There's one other thing, but I'll show you that later.

The official KAL dates are July 1-15. Attempt the ambitious timeline, or not--your choice! Be sure to join the Olive Knits Knitters' Lounge Facebook group, as there are some really fabulous prizes available (and for all but one, you don't need to finish by July 15). You do need to set up a Ravelry page for your project, and tag it with the hashtags #4daykal #4daykal2018 #beekeepercardigan #oliveknits. 

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Ann
Buzzing

Well that was exciting! My order of Polwarth Shimmer, from Knitted Wit, arrived on Thursday. Over the next few days, nearly all of it went to Beekeeper Cardigan KAL participants. Everyone who has swatched with it (including me) has commented on how pleasant it is to knit with. If you're a Beekeeper, and want help measuring your swatch or interpreting anything in the pattern, please feel free to reach out--in addition to last year's Four Day KAL for Stillwater, I've knit several other of Marie's designs and am familiar with how she builds a beautiful sweater you'll want to reach for again and again.

If you want to get in on the fun without a commitment to a full sweater, the Beekeeper Cowl was just released this weekend, and features the stitch pattern that the cardigan is based on. The cowl only requires one skein, and is a nice way to sample both the stitch and the gorgeous yarn.

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Ann
So happy to welcome Earl Grey Fiber Co.!

We had fun at Yarn Folk's World Wide Knit in Public Day, and it just so happened that Heather, from Earl Grey Fiber Company, delivered my order of Darjeeling and Chamomile (sparkly!) Sock. Heather and her family are originally from the East Coast, and are relatively new arrivals to our beloved Pacific Northwest. If this gorgeous yarn is any indication, they will fit *right* in!

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Ann
World wide knit in public day

World Wide Knit in Public Day is in its 14th year, so join us this Saturday at Yarn Folk for an afternoon of knitting (and crocheting!) outdoors. (If the weather is challenging, we'll just move the party inside.) 

  • If you have an easily transported camp chair, bring it along.

  • Although there is an awning, the building faces west, so don't forget your sunscreen.

  • There will be snacks!

  • I unearthed some sample skeins floating around that will make fine door prizes. You don't need to be present to win, but you do need to be present to enter!

See you Saturday!

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Ann
A Different Kind of Swatching

Occasionally, I'll bring in a yarn without having knit with it first, but that's usually when the base yarn is a known quantity, or I've stocked other yarns from the manufacturer. Really, I'd rather swatch at least a little. In this case, I had a ring of minis to play with, so my "swatch" for Blue Sky Alpacas Woolstok turned into a very small design project. See below for the finished item.

Woolstok is a worsted fine highland wool, and I am straight up 100% IN LOVE with this. Look for it at Yarn Folk this fall, and look for me, making sweaters out of it. Plural use intended.

(And swatch something! Just for fun!)

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Ann
4 Day KAL returns in July!

Remember the very fun frenzy that was knitting the Stillwater cardigan in four days last summer? Well, enough people, including designer and chief instigator Marie Greene though it was a good idea that it's happening again this year. We're still in "preview mode"--the sweater has been designed, but Marie hasn't knit the sample yet, but if you're intrigued, head over to the Beekeeper Cardigan pattern page on Ravelry for an overview. 

Some key details:

  • The official KAL dates are July 1-15.

  • The design is seamless, top-down, worked flat, and features texture.

  • There is a sliding timeline for the KAL, pursuant to the size you're making. Sizes 32/34/36 get four days; Sizes 38/40/42 get five; Sizes 44/46/48 get six; and Sizes 50/52 get seven or eight. 

  • Days do not have to be consecutive! (Though I can attest to the fact that it's hard not to obsess when they are not!)

  • There is no failure! Worst case scenario is that you knit part of a sweater!

The recommended yarn is Polwarth Shimmer DK from Knitted Wit. I have ordered in eight of the 12 "official" colors chosen for the KAL. I'll post more when the shipping timeline is confirmed. 

I've mentioned Marie's Facebook group, the Olive Knits Knitter's Lounge as a fun and friendly place to find inspiration, and that's where much of the KAL fun will take place. Stay tuned for more info, but I wanted to let you know that we'll have the suggested yarn, and give you time to consider playing along. IT'S FUN.

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Ann
How much is that pattern in the (browser) window?

Knitting Twitter is the best Twitter, full of witty people sharing both banter and thoughtful conversation. Hunter Hammersen's tweet last week caught my eye, and the linked article, which you can find here did not disappoint. Beatrice Perron Dahlen analyzes the steps that culminate in a published knitting pattern, and gently explains why that work is worthy of being paid work. Brilliant hat designer Wooly Wormhead has written about this in the past, and just updated that post here.

What knit and crochet designers do requires them to have specialized skills: the ability to conceptualize a design, to work it out in three-dimensions, to communicate a series of physical motions entirely with words and pictures, often to make it accessible in a variety of sizes, to illustrate it, to market it, and to support the user. Sometimes parts of the process are hired out, but designers are doing the bulk of these tasks themselves, as small business owners. It's really quite amazing.

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Ann
Who taught you?

Who taught you to knit or crochet? For many, it was a mother or grandmother. In my case, it was my great grandmother, Nana, who must have patiently re-taught me several times, as I only ever knit at her house. Even though I didn't begin knitting in earnest until I was 30, and needed written instruction to guide me, my hands did remember what I'd learned by her side/

Do you knit the same way as your teacher, or do you have your own take on managing the yarn? I'm endlessly fascinated by watching relatives who knit differently from each other. There's no wrong way, as long as you are producing stitches that behave as expected--or you know how to adjust for any differences. 

And can you say thank you? Maybe with words and a hug. If that's not possible, pay it forward, and teach someone else! My Nana died before I knew the role knitting would play in my life, so my thanks has to be in the form of encouraging others.

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Ann
Ready for Me-Made-May?

Zoe Edwards of the So, Zo...What Do You Know sewing blog established the Me-Made-May challenge in 2011, after having experimented with it herself in March of 2010.  As she describes it, "Me-Made-May is a challenge designed to encourage people who make their own clothes to develop a better relationship with their handmade wardrobe. You decide the specifics of your own challenge to make it suitable and useful for YOU. For example, a very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May."

I wear something I've made most days as it is, but this May, I'll be thinking specifically about what's missing from my wardrobe that I'd like to incorporate. What's the sweet spot between what I want to wear, and what I want to make? Do I have stuff I need to fix, and could I do the mending in a creative way?

Here is a FAQ about Me-Made-May, with more background, and more inspiration. An optional part of the challenge is people documenting their participation online, so expect to find bountiful inspiration on Instagram and elsewhere, tagged #MMMay18.

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Ann
Wow!

Local Yarn Shop Day was so much fun! It was in the top ten of Yarn Folk's best days to date, and other shops around the country report that they also had terrific days, and good times with their customers. As this was the inaugural LYS Day, none of us really knew what to expect. For me, the day really reinforced what I already knew: Local Yarn Shops have the ability to bring people together--those who are dreaming up yarn blends and infusing them with rich and wonderful colors; designers who see stitch patterns in their minds, do a little math (sometimes a lot of math), translate those ideas into written language, and present us with gorgeous patterns; and customers who wield their needles and hooks to bring these tangible creations to life. So often every part of this process is infused with friendship and laughter--we really are lucky.

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Ann
LYS Day - April 21

The first annual Local Yarn Store Day is a project of The National Needlearts Association's Yarn Group, and we want to highlight what is special about shopping in an independent yarn shop. See the real color, up close. Squish it. See it knit up into something fabulous. Get help, take a class. Hang out with other people who think yarn is as nifty as you do.

What's in store at Yarn Folk?

  • Adventura kits, an LYS Day collaboration between Laura Nelkin and Kelbourne Woolens
  • Color Fade Cowl kits from Mountain Colors
  • Limited edition LYS Love colorway from Frabjous Fibers (plus more colors of Cheshire Cat Fingering)
  • Free pattern codes courtesy of Plymouth Yarns
  • Free shawl pattern from Casapinka when you purchase yarn for the project
  • Book giveaway (one per customer, while supplies last)

I hope to see you on April 21st! Because while Local Yarn Shops are special, the main thing that is special about us is our fantastic customers!

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Ann
Yarn Folk is FIVE!

Thursday, 5-9pm: celebratory mini-cupcakes, plus your purchases earn you the chance to win one of the event-wide gift baskets during the Ellensburg Downtown Association's Spring Girls Night Out!

5pm Thursday through Sunday: small gift with purchase, spin the wheel for discounts of 10-30% on your purchases, in-store raffle, and introductory pricing on Yarn Folk mugs!

And always, heartfelt thanks for being part of Yarn Folk's story!

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Ann
Mark your calendars!

Yarn Folk opened on April 13, 2013, and this year on April 12th we'll start a weekend of celebrating with Girls Night Out, presented twice a year by the Ellensburg Downtown Association. We'll have some cupcakes (because, birthdays), an in-store raffle, and maybe some small presents for *you*--after all, you're the reason Yarn Folk is turning five!

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Ann