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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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What I learned redesigning
  1. It's okay to ask for help. Seriously, my tendency to want to do everything myself would not have served me well here. 
  2. Working with someone you genuinely enjoy eliminates almost all of the pain. Sara LeHoullier of Busybee did all of the heavy lifting, and never made me feel like a bother when I asked if we could try something another way. She makes all the magic parts of the internet that I do not understand (and don't really want to) play together nicely.
  3. Tools for managing multiple priorities are so important. I combine the principles of Personal Kanban with a bullet journal so that weeks like last week--where I upgraded both major pieces of my accounting software,  received multiple orders, taught a couple of classes, and, oh yes, worked with Sara to move this project toward the finish line--don't leave me in a puddle. 
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Knitting at the Paramount

Thanks to my son, who helped make it possible for me to get away on Sunday to see Hamilton. I laughed, I cried, I knit a little bit before the show...

(Julius Taylor III was Hamilton for the Sunday evening performance.)

(The prompt for Day 5 was STRIPES!)

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Sara LeHoullier