Funky & Fabulous – The JanesvilleAugust 22, 2017
The Janesville Jacket had me at “hello”. Right away I knew it is a “must have” for nearly everyone. The unstructured kimono-style shaping knit in seed stitch makes this little jacket an instant classic and the “go to” garment to throw over a simple tee or great blouse.
Created for Blue Sky Fibers out of our favorite Woolstok – worsted weight breed-specific wool – the easy pattern is designed for even the newest knitter. Of course, as most things Blue Sky, the pattern is written to be adjusted to suit your needs. Make it longer or larger as you choose.
Choose from among 20 colors (6 of the main, 3 of the contrast). Go light on dark or dark on light – on even one color. Go neutral or colorful. Or make many!
Try mine on so that you can see how to make it yours. P.S. I was able to knit it without asking for help!!!!
Enough said except you really, really will love making it and, even more, wearing it.
Rhinos CallingAugust 15, 2017
Ann claims to like animals more than people. Animals are almost always okay. People…not so much. In her animal watching she recently learned that Rhinos and their protectors need blankets!!! We want to help her help them.
Africa once had over a million black and white rhinos but aggressive hunting and poaching has left the species at grave risk. It is made more dire by increased demand for rhino horn, a prized ingredient in traditional Asian medicines.
Most of the continent’s remaining rhinos are found in just four countries – South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya. They are very vulnerable to attack and few of them survive outside of protected areas and sanctuaries.
Care for the World is the largest rhino sanctuary and orphanage in the world. Its mission is to save black and white rhinos from extinction. The staff engage in rescue, rehabilitation and release for animals left orphaned by poaching.
The organization is located in the heart of South Africa. It employs a dedicated staff that tends to the animals around the clock and tries to reassure them that they are safe. Baby rhinos can still tug at your heart when they mourn and cry over the loss of their mothers.
The sanctuary workers report that the babies are comforted when wrapped in blankets. On arrival, the calves are placed in a warm shelter. At first, the babies, confused and terrified, charge into walls and react to any noise or movement. But they react very well to the constant attention and cuddling of their human protectors. It is affirming to see a six-month old, 800-pound rhino comforted by a warm blanket and a human hand! Many of the protectors stay with the rhinos in distress around the clock.
South African authorities have relocated rhinos — particularly highly endangered black rhinos — from vulnerable areas to secret locations. But the attacks keep rising, with an average of three rhinos a day killed. The World Wildlife Association fears that extinction, at least in the wild, is not far away. Maybe just the ones that are heavily guarded in small camps will survive, but not free-range rhinos. They will be extinct in the wild.
Our hope is to do our small part in supporting those who are doing all they can to save these large and wonderful creatures. And in helping our good friend Ann feel better about humans!
Kathy – what I did this summer (so far)July 21, 2017
Knit, of course!
Brioche with Rios – a fabulous pattern in Malabrigo Book 10 (Greenway Cowl) called to me and it is beautiful!
Arroyo in lace & mosaic – I am trying a new technique – we’ll see how it goes.
Jamieson and Smith – my “waiting time”, go-to project for the Parcheesi throw, a riot of color!
A Stephen West Shawl, Askews Me – brioche again – is on my needles.
And Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok in Antonia Shankland’s Maine Woven Throw pattern.
Last but not least – Bootie Call! The Sunday Morning Booties are a hoot!
What have I learned this summer (so far)? I need more project bags! Join me as we kick-off fun, new projects in the upcoming weeks.
A Fine Danish…
I have seen Isager yarns in two local yarn shops and admired its subtle beauty. Then Kathy and I rounded a corner at the trade show this summer and OMG!!! An entire booth filled with Isager yarns. We could not resist.
Simply put, this is Danish wool finely spun. The wool will never pill. It will get softer with age. The colors are muted and elegant. And, as if that were not enough, their designers have created garments and accessories that are modern yet classic.
For now we offer the Tokyo and Volt Shawl Kits. The Tokyo comes in 3 color choices – light, medium and dark. The Volt is offered in one colorway with a choice of either a chartreuse (as pictured) or red accent. You can not go wrong with any…and you may want all.
I also fell in love with Intertidal – a sweater made with Spinni. I am going to get it on my needles in the next few weeks. I will let you know how it goes.
I am happy to welcome Isager and hope you will be happy too!
American Scenic – From Farm to YarnJuly 11, 2017
This Summer, Blue Sky Fibers launches a limited-edition yarn that we know will be fabulous because they say so. They have never been wrong!
This is the first time that Blue Sky has collaborated with an independent designer. The result is American Scenic – an All-American heavy worsted weight alpaca/merino/silk blend.
Blue Sky was founded by Linda Niemeyer with her small “herd” of alpacas who lived (literally) in her Minnesota back yard. Twenty years later the Company is known worldwide for its consciously-crafted collection of high-quality natural fibers and patterns. The website quips, “One can only imagine how things might have turned out had Linda obsessed over giraffes…”
Linda met Tabbethia Haubold of the Long Island Livestock Co. They connected over their shared passion – a love of animals. From their simple and easy first conversation grew a commitment to work together to make beautiful, sustainable yarn in great colors.
We are pleased to welcome their extraoridinary American Scenic. This lovely yarn comes in four colors with two complimentary patterns. FAIR WARNING! – this is a limited edition release. We bought all we were allowed to buy when we were warned “when it is gone, it is gone”!
Come meet the newest addition to Blue Sky Fibers…
Perfect Vacation Knitting!June 28, 2017
Don’t be sad…be ready!
It is true that we will be closed. But we shortened our summer vacation when we heard so many sad sighs. We will close only from Sunday, July 2 – Tuesday, July 11. We will re-open on Wednesday, July 12.
But that is still 10 whole days with no local yarn shop. No need to panic. We found the perfect summer vacation knitting project. The Octave Striped Wrap from Shibui Knits calls for the divine 100% linen Reed. The entire project is done in the stockinette stitch and offered in two sizes. The shawl requires 7 skeins, the scarf sizes requires only 6. ($19 per skein)
Stop by the Shop before we close on Saturday. Make sure you are not too sad for those 10 days.
Welcome MalabrigoJune 23, 2017
“We produce yarn because we are passionate about it. We believe in the pleasure of knitting with good-quality, carefully designed, subtly painted yarns and in the joy of wearing whatever is made out of them.”
Malabrigo’s products are “inspired by nature, landscapes, places, art, and everyday life.” In 2005, two brothers-in-law started dyeing wool in their Uruguayan kitchen and knew they were on to something. Since then they ensure that their company is environmentally safe as possible. Most of their yarns are 100% Uruguayan Merino wool from free-range sheep, including Merino and Corriedale which the company themselves maintain.
We start our Malabrigo journey with Arroyo and Rios, both of which are superwash merino. (Arroyo is dk/sport weight; Rios is worsted.) If you love the cowl below join Kathy on Saturday, July 29 to create it yourself. This class is great for the one who has never done fair isle or to brush up on your fair isle skills. Click here for class info!
the pleasure of her companyJune 17, 2017
It was a quiet morning in the Shop and Kathy and I needed a break from “the business”. I picked up my Station Wagon Blanket which is the simplest yet most glorious all-knit-stitch project ever! I finished all of the knitting and seaming (which, p.s., was remarkably fun). It was time to learn to attach an i-cord trim.
I sat at Kathy’s right hand and watched as she researched options and tested the possibilities. I was amazed and awed.
Finally, she was ready to show me how. I listened carefully and tried to see what she was doing and stayed close to her side. It was my turn and in about 30 minutes it started to come together. I was attaching an i-cord! It gave me ridiculous amounts of joy. How can something seemingly this simple bring such happiness. My incredible throw is about to become a masterpiece!
Many yarn shops will sell you beautiful yarn. Not many have the gift of someone who can teach you how to use that yarn to make something divine.
Many say that my knitting skills have grown remarkably in the past few. Trust me – that would not be the case if were not for the amazing women who are part of this Shop and have patience to guide me through the magic.
This is just one of many times that Kathy has given of her time. She makes it seem that she enjoys imparting her skills and even learning something new herself.
If you do not take classes at the Shop, even if you think you have nothing to learn (that will NEVER happen to me), you may miss the chance to enjoy what you love to do to its fullest and to amaze yourself at what you are capable of. Many new classes will go on our schedule this week. We are inspired by what we saw at our annual trade show. Do not let this chance go by.
Let the artist in you emerge. Let yourself be happy!
Report from Columbus…June 15, 2017
This year the annual industry trade show was filled with the unexpected. Each day ended with our legs sore and our hearts happy.
During the long drive to Columbus, Kathy and I developed a goal, a budget and a promise to remain focused. It is good to have plans. We were committed to stick with the program and we really, really tried! But, in fact, we ended the weekend understanding that goals are merely aspirational, budgets are theoretical and focus is just a word.
The trade show is not a necessary event. We go to be refreshed and re-inspired. It is wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones. Though some companies and shop owners do not attend, those of us who do are richly rewarded. It is exciting to be in the presence of hundreds of kindred spirits.
The main purpose of the trip is to shop for YOU – to find fresh ideas to ignite your creativity and make you happy, all over again, to be knitting.
This year was especially productive. You will soon see amazing new yarns, new patterns and new treasures. We also will show you new ways to use yarns you already love.
We left Columbus enthused, energized (a little exhausted) and with our back seat filled with new found goodies. Every moment of the long drive home was used to make plans for a year we believe will be our best ever. With each mile our “to do” list grew longer.
We are happy to be home and ready to get started on this next and best chapter of our knitting journey.
My kind of gardening…June 7, 2017
I never stop knitting but climate influences what is on my needles. When the temperature rises I head to the “garden” for the plants – cotton and linen. These remarkable fibers are durable, washable and light weight. With the right inspiration and pattern support, they are perfect to create knitwear that is fun and fabulous.
As I write, Kathy, Ann, Lynn and I are using linen or linen-blend yarns and loving every minute. If you have not already come to love the plants, join us on this fashionable and easy knitting journey.
The Deschain – as written and re-imagined: I was drawn to this amazing pattern using Quince Kestral yarn – 100% aran weight linen. The drop stitch turns a simple pattern in to a complex-looking design element. The pattern is wonderfully flexible. It can be knit to be perfect for you – as long or short as you like, with or without sleeves. I created a simple sleeveless vest. This perfect Summer knitting results in a garment perfect for several seasons.
Like all things linen, woven or knit, Kestrel only gets better as you wash and wear it.
A perennial favorite and a quick knit is the Pinafore designed by Jil Eaton to use her own Cottontail yarn (100% worsted weight cotton). The colors are happy, the pattern is simple and it creates the perfect breezy dress. The pattern is designed from size 6 months through 4 years. I needed one extra skein than the pattern called for…just fair warning. It is a true winner!
Kathy is knitting the Churchmouse Diagonal Lace Poncho pattern with Shibui Rain – 100% cotton. In her words: “The yarn is a mercerized cotton with beautiful sheen. The chain construction flows through my hands like a dream. The pattern is an easy eyelet lace rectangle which will be seamed at the shoulders. A perfect lightweight project on my needles!”
Come to the Shop. We can stay OUT of the heat together with cool yarns. If you cannot be here live, please call, 662.238.2829. We are happy to help you play in our garden!