Time to pick favorites!

Mason Dixon Knitting’s annual nod to the NCAA-style basketball tournament is back, and it’s time to cast your votes for the best knitting patterns of 2018!


There are four categories: pullovers, cardigans, neck and shoulders, and head and hands. Beginning March 21st, you get to pick your eight favorites from each category. Round Two will ask you to narrow your choices to your favorite four in each category, and so on, until the Championship Round pits the winners of each category against each other from April 5-7. The bracket, along with Ann Shayne and Kaye Gardiner's notes on why each pattern was included in the bracket are here, but I like bigger thumbnail images, so I assembled a Ravelry bundle. Of the sixty-four patterns, the “previously seen at Yarn Folk” designs are The Shift and Ephemeris, but so many of these great patterns were already in my favorites before I added them to the March Mayhem 2019 bundle. Still there were lots of new favorites to explore! Pick a fave, and let’s find some yarn to get your needles flying!

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Ann
Send help!

I wasn’t looking for a new project! Now I need to be talked into—or out of—making Arcana. The pros? Well, it’s gorgeous, and combines easy brioche lace with garter stitch mosaic, and the opportunity to play around with three different colors. The cons? It’s a rectangle, and I have a complicated relationship with rectangles.

I haven’t decided for sure whether I am going to cast on, but obviously I’m having fun playing with possible color combos!

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Ann
Send pics for WIP Wednesday!

It’s always fun to see WIP Wednesday pop up online, so I have a proposition for you. Send me pix of your Yarn Folk projects in progress, and I will share them on the Yarn Folk Instagram and Facebook feeds on Wednesdays.

And if you need help with photography, pop in and I’ll assist with snapping a few shots. Let’s see what you’ve been working on!

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Ann
Throwback…Tuesday?

One of the #28DaysofYourLYS prompts last week was “Throwback Thursday.,” and another was “Another View.” It was pretty shocking to me to remember the inventory I started with—the day I opened, I hadn’t even installed any grid wall to be able to hang skeins of yarn on. (In my defense, I did get cajoled into opening two or three weeks before I planned to.) Comparing pics before there were pictures, before there was yarn, when there was *some* yarn, and now, it reminds me how, through it all, it’s the knitters and crocheters who make the shop what it is. So thank you!

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Ann
snowpocalypse

As of Saturday, things weren’t that bad in town. However, a person couldn’t get to Ellensburg from Yakima, or Wenatchee, or Spokane, and the roads headed in from the west weren’t great. Since nobody was going anywhere fast, I expect your needles and hooks were blazing ;) If you ran out of yarn, come see me—I’ll hook you up!

For myself, both my projects are in the home stretch, so long as you define “home stretch” as meaning knitting two full length sleeves in stockinette (12” circulars, or Flexi Flips? hmmmmm), and knitting the final two sections of an ever-increasing triangular shawl. I do find myself ready for something with a bit of piquancy to punctuate the long sessions of auto-pilot knitting on the horizon. Definitely casting about for something new to CAST ON!

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Ann
Treasure hunt this weekend!

Returning from a trip is always a bit dizzying. For me, even a short disruption to my regular routines is enough to make me feel wobbly. Today, I “discovered” a cup of coffee in the carafe at nearly eleven a.m.—despite the fact that Mark makes extra for me every morning.

The National Needlearts Association tradeshow was invigorating and thoroughly enjoyable. In addition to checking out the vendors’ wares, I got to see people I see infrequently, met a few online friends, and attended several classes. Business education was added to the event for the first time in 2015, when I attended the show in Phoenix, and the opportunity to learn alongside other shop owners is one of my favorite things.

Heartfelt thanks to Liz for looking after the shop while I was away. Despite the fact that my point of sale system locked up less than an hour after the adventure began, she took care of every little thing for the duration. I stopped to pick up my computer and some paperwork on my way home from Portland, and everything was in tip-top shape. I couldn’t be more grateful for her competent help!

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Ann
Off to Market

From Thursday, January 31st, through Sunday, February 3rd, I will be attending The National Needlearts Association Winter Market in Portland, something I’ve only done once before, and that was in 2015! Last time, I prevailed upon Mr. Yarn Folk to cover the shop during my absence, but as both he and Mr. Yarn Folk, Jr. are unavailable, please welcome Liz Haviland, who will be in the shop for the duration. If you’ve been to social knitting times or taken classes, there’s a good chance you’ve already met her.

Liz is an experienced knitter (though she will downplay this), and we’ve spent some time during the last couple of weeks familiarizing her with all the little procedures that make this thing “go.” I’m confident she’ll do just fine, but we both appreciate your patience if things take just a beat longer.

Just a logistical note, I will have the shop phone with me, and will take calls as I can, but may need to message Liz to return calls if there are questions I can’t answer remotely. I will also be checking in regularly.

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Ann
Make Nine

No two weeks in a small business look the same. This week, I was focused on making structural preparations to hire someone to care for the shop during a few short absences this year. (The first comes at the end of this month, when I’ll be attending The National Needlework Association Winter Market in Portland. More on this soon.)

And in most weeks, I think to myself that I should be more engaged with social media. It’s a complicated landscape, affected by powerful commercial and political forces that leave me feeling uneasy much of the time, AND, as a card-carrying introvert, it can feel exhausting. But it’s also a place where communities engage, and where real conversation happens.

In the last week, Instagram, in particular, has been a forum for conversations about how black, indigenous, and people of color feel marginalized in the fiber world. As a shop owner, this Instagram highlight from Sukrita, a spinning teacher in Sydney, broke my heart. My sadness, though, is not important. Finding a way forward is important.

I had begun to write about something else entirely for this week’s newsletter. It didn’t feel right. I am going to link to some of the voices in this conversation, instead. I hope you’ll join me in listening to what they have to say.

(Often, you’ll find extended thoughts pinned as highlights, below the Instagram profile information, and above the dynamic feed. On a mobile device, you can tap and hold on a screen if it is advancing too quickly to read.)

(And: this conversation is happening primarily on Instagram, but if that is a platform you don’t interact with, this blog post from Atia, and this one from Heather Zoppetti speak to some of the same issues.)

Grace Anna Farrow is @astitchtowear

Sukrita is @sukrita

Korina is @thecolormustard

Tina Tse is @tina.say.knits

Ocean Rose is @ocean_bythesea

Jeanette Sloan is @jeanettesloan

Lorna Hamilton-Brown is @lhamiltonbrown

Heidi Wang is @booksandcables

Atia is @thebrightblooms

(For context: the blog post that catalyzed these conversations can be found here, along with the author’s apology and acknowledgement of how her words hurt other people.)

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Ann
Pause to reflect

No two weeks in a small business look the same. This week, I was focused on making structural preparations to hire someone to care for the shop during a few short absences this year. (The first comes at the end of this month, when I’ll be attending The National Needlework Association Winter Market in Portland. More on this soon.)

And in most weeks, I think to myself that I should be more engaged with social media. It’s a complicated landscape, affected by powerful commercial and political forces that leave me feeling uneasy much of the time, AND, as a card-carrying introvert, it can feel exhausting. But it’s also a place where communities engage, and where real conversation happens.

In the last week, Instagram, in particular, has been a forum for conversations about how black, indigenous, and people of color feel marginalized in the fiber world. As a shop owner, this Instagram highlight from Sukrita, a spinning teacher in Sydney, broke my heart. My sadness, though, is not important. Finding a way forward is important.

I had begun to write about something else entirely for this week’s newsletter. It didn’t feel right. I am going to link to some of the voices in this conversation, instead. I hope you’ll join me in listening to what they have to say.

(Often, you’ll find extended thoughts pinned as highlights, below the Instagram profile information, and above the dynamic feed. On a mobile device, you can tap and hold on a screen if it is advancing too quickly to read.)

(And: this conversation is happening primarily on Instagram, but if that is a platform you don’t interact with, this blog post from Atia, and this one from Heather Zoppetti speak to some of the same issues.)

Grace Anna Farrow is @astitchtowear

Sukrita is @sukrita

Korina is @thecolormustard

Tina Tse is @tina.say.knits

Ocean Rose is @ocean_bythesea

Jeanette Sloan is @jeanettesloan

Lorna Hamilton-Brown is @lhamiltonbrown

Heidi Wang is @booksandcables

Atia is @thebrightblooms

(For context: the blog post that catalyzed these conversations can be found here, along with the author’s apology and acknowledgement of how her words hurt other people.)

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Ann
Swatch, swatch, and swatch some more

One suggestion for our Winter Sweater KAL (see below) is Marie Greene’s January Gansey. This design is knit from the bottom up, combining stockinette stitch with cables, and is appropriate for women or men sized 32”-52”. Just one of the traditional details is the underarm gusset, seen above, which allows for ease and just plain looks great.

The pattern, available through Ravelry (including as an in-store download), will include a series of workshop features—weekly emails with tips, tricks, and tutorials, plus access to a private Facebook group Marie has created specifically for this knitalong.

The pattern also accommodates three different gauges, achievable with sport or DK weight yarn. I’m tentatively planning to use HiKoo Kenzie, but think that Elemental Affects Cormo Sport could be another good option. With a couple of time-sensitive projects nearly or newly complete, I’m looking forward to some swatching (we’re looking for a dense fabric here), and will report back.


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Ann
2018 in the rear view mirror

One suggestion for our Winter Sweater KAL (see below) is Marie Greene’s January Gansey. This design is knit from the bottom up, combining stockinette stitch with cables, and is appropriate for women or men sized 32”-52”. Just one of the traditional details is the underarm gusset, seen above, which allows for ease and just plain looks great.

The pattern, available through Ravelry (including as an in-store download), will include a series of workshop features—weekly emails with tips, tricks, and tutorials, plus access to a private Facebook group Marie has created specifically for this knitalong.

The pattern also accommodates three different gauges, achievable with sport or DK weight yarn. I’m tentatively planning to use HiKoo Kenzie, but think that Elemental Affects Cormo Sport could be another good option. With a couple of time-sensitive projects nearly or newly complete, I’m looking forward to some swatching (we’re looking for a dense fabric here), and will report back.


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Ann
Happy Boxing Day!

One suggestion for our Winter Sweater KAL (see below) is Marie Greene’s January Gansey. This design is knit from the bottom up, combining stockinette stitch with cables, and is appropriate for women or men sized 32”-52”. Just one of the traditional details is the underarm gusset, seen above, which allows for ease and just plain looks great.

The pattern, available through Ravelry (including as an in-store download), will include a series of workshop features—weekly emails with tips, tricks, and tutorials, plus access to a private Facebook group Marie has created specifically for this knitalong.

The pattern also accommodates three different gauges, achievable with sport or DK weight yarn. I’m tentatively planning to use HiKoo Kenzie, but think that Elemental Affects Cormo Sport could be another good option. With a couple of time-sensitive projects nearly or newly complete, I’m looking forward to some swatching (we’re looking for a dense fabric here), and will report back.


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Ann
Wrap it up

Whether you’re giving knit or crochet items, or other gifts, here are a couple of options for reusable and useful “wrapping.” (Baggu Bags are also a terrific stocking stuffer for anyone, crafty or not.)

I also started a Pinterest board for gift wrapping ideas, many of which involve yarn, pom poms, or tassels!)

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Ann
Have a cuppa

There are specific kits (and we have some—for the Alaska Hat, the Silk 3 Ways scarf, the Incan Spice Fairisle Hat, the Adventura Shawl, and the 21 Color Slouch Hat), but you can also make your own “kit of possibility”—a skein of luscious yak/merino/silk fingering weight yarn paired with a pretty shawl stick; a variety of useful notions (stitch markers, cable needles, fix it tool, needle gauge, point protectors, tapestry needles, and a project bag); a skein of stripey sock yarn, a set of dpns, tiny stitch markers, and a Needle Nook; a skein of hand-dyed worsted, size 8 16” circular needles and double points, and a faux fur pom. Pop them in a Yarn Folk mug for a fun presentation—this time of year the thick ceramic keeps your beverage and your hands warmer, longer—all the better during prime stitching weather!

As always, every $10 you spend earns you a chance to win one of two event-wide gift baskets, with prizes from all participating downtown merchants.

This is always a fun event—hope to see you here!

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Ann
Girls night out this Thursday, December 6!

Join us at Yarn Folk for refreshments (including fresh fudge from Mac-A-Bee’s), an in-store raffle, $5 boost on $25 gift certificates (redeemable on a future visit), and while quantities last, get a free printed pattern for the Arteixo Cowl when you purchase a skein of Malabrigo Rasta.

As always, every $10 you spend earns you a chance to win one of two event-wide gift baskets, with prizes from all participating downtown merchants.

This is always a fun event—hope to see you here!

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Ann
Indie Gift-A-Long through November 29!

We’re in the midst of the annual Indie Gift-A-Long! Until November 29th, participating indie designers are discounting select patterns by 25% with the promo code giftalong2018. You’ll need to join the Indie Design Gift-A-Long group on Ravelry, then you can find the list of participating designers here.

Additionally, there are knitalong and crochetalong opportunities that continue until December 31st. Rules for participation can be found in the relevant discussion threads in the group, but there are often prizes!

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Ann
Happy Thanksgiving! And see you on Plaid Friday!

A few scheduling changes next week—normal hours Tuesday, Saturday, and Sunday, but Yarn Folk will close a couple of hours early on Wednesday, will be closed on Thanksgiving, and will open an hour early on Plaid Friday.

Don’t forget that Thursday, December 6, is Holiday Girls Night Out—join downtown merchants for treats, specials, raffles, and more. Once again, the Ellensburg Downtown Association is sponsoring free bus transportation from Yakima. Call the EDA at (509) 962-6246 to reserve your place on the bus.

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Ann
Save the date(s)!

More details will follow, but here are a few of the events you can look forward to at Yarn Folk during the rest of the year:

We’ll be closed on Thanksgiving Day, November 22nd, but will be back for Plaid Friday and Moments to Remember on Friday, November 23rd. Downtown Ellensburg welcomes you with special offers to reward you for shopping local, and shopping small!

On Small Business Saturday, November 24th, we will again be participating in Plymouth Yarn’s Local Yarn Shop promotion, which has been simplified this year—spend $50, and get $10 off your purchase. (Offer is limited to first 20 participating customers.)

Thursday, December 6, is Holiday Girls Night Out—join downtown merchants for treats, specials, raffles, and more. Once again, the Ellensburg Downtown Association is sponsoring free bus transportation from Yakima. Call the EDA at (509) 962-6246 to reserve your place on the bus.

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Ann
10,000 New Knitters

On Saturday, November 10, Yarn Folk will join with Skacel Knitting and other local yarn shops in encouraging the efforts of 10,000 New Knitters!

What we are providing: a limited number of kits containing a 50g ball of Sueno Worsted, a pair of size 8 knitting needles, and a pattern for simple handwarmers at no charge.

What we are asking: that anyone who takes one of these kits teaches a newbie, on Saturday, November 10th, if at all possible. And please post photos online with the hashtags #10000NewKnitters and #yarnfolk. If you are a newbie yourself, you can still pick up a kit—there is video support at 10000NewKnitters.com.

At Yarn Folk, we’ll have ten kits available on a first-come, first-served basis, limit one per customer. Saturday hours are 10am-5pm. Join us in sharing your love of knitting with someone who wants to learn. And if the official day doesn’t work for you, remember that beginning knitting is offered on a drop-in basis at Yarn Folk every Tuesday, 5-7pm—$10 per session, plus materials!

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Ann