knit1 blog

Report from Columbus…

notes from columbus

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…

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.

deschain duoThe 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.

pinafore

 

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!”

diagonal ponch duo

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!

The love of linen…

quince sparrow

I have an affinity for linen that started at the very beginning of my knitting life.  I saw a pattern for a hand towel that captured my imagination.  It was to be knit with linen yarn.  What did I know?

During the project I designed a finger bandage as the linen was building a nice but slightly painful callous.  I remained undeterred because the towel was so beautiful and the yarn just felt like magic.  The bandage worked and my finger healed and the face towel is fabulous.  With each washing it becomes more fabulous.

Linen is, indeed, amazing.  It is said that when they discovered King Tut’s tomb the only thing intact was the linen shroud.  It is that durable and strong a fiber.  And, yet, it is amazingly soft.  Like wine and women, it gets better with age.  And linen drapes so beautifully.

Luckily for me, the knitting world brings us fabulous linens.  Quince created Kestral (aran) and Sparrow (fingering), Italian linens offered in soft cool colors.  Shibui just introduced Reed – a fingering weight linen that is uncharacteristically soft.  Shibui Twig contains mostly linen with just the right touch of silk and wool that is equally dreamy.  We have amazing pattern support for each of these yarns so that you may knit the perfect garment for yourself.

Now is exactly the right time to learn about the joys of linen.  We are happy to help you on that journey.

quince summershibui summer

 

Earth Day

Every time you pick up knitting needles or a crochet hook you are celebrating Earth Day.  There is nothing more natural (is it “earthy”?) than to make something with your hands.  On this Earth Day when we celebrate all that is natural and organic, we want to introduce (or remind) you of the natural fibers available at Knit1.

We celebrate those yarns this April 22.  There is Blue Sky Fibers Woolstok that is breed specific and the Organic Cotton – the name says it.  There is Rosy Green Cheeky Merino that is certified organic from the sheep to the food they eat and the dyes used to create the beautiful color.  There is Quince Linen in two weights, both organic. And our old favorite –  Swans Island all American wools that are the softest wool you will ever touch.

The list goes on.  Come in and celebrate our Earth, our art and our fibers.  It is an especially good day to create.

the fairest of isles…if i do say so myself!

scatness kate back

The Scatness Tam, designed by Kate Davies, was my second Fair Isle project.  It was a new challenge because it required stranding.  But I had been looking for a Fair Isle hat pattern that was not a simple watchman’s cap.  I fell in love with this design.  I was anxious along the way and moved through the project very deliberately.

scatness cropped

Despite its complex pattern and multiple colors, this is a project for a new Fair Isle knitter.  It is beautifully designed with a pattern that carries a huge artistic punch.  It is looks fabulous and fits beautifully.

If you are a little nervous, take Kathy’s class on April 1 to get started, continue on April 8 and enjoy stranding.  The whole Fair Isle world will open up to you!  Class details are posted on our class page.

When finished, I feared that the hat was too small and I blamed my newly-acquired stranding technique.  Then I blocked the hat by stretching it over a 10″ plate perched atop a mason jar.  The plate forces the hat into the tam/beret form.  And, OMG!!!!, the hat blocked to perfection – if I do say so myself – and I am over the moon…and shamelessly proud.

P.S. I wondered about “Scatness”.  Kate Davies’ designs often pay homage to the Shetlands.  Scatness is on the Mainland of the Shetlands and can trace human activity back 2000 years!  It has medieval, Viking and Iron Age remains.  Look it up.  It amazes.

And fun fact #2: The term Fair Isle comes from the tiny island, Fair Isle, that is a part of the Shetlands.  It refers to the knitting technique in which multiple colors are used to create beautiful designs.  However, never more than two colors are used at one time.  The projects are knit in the round using only the knit stitch.  For more insight into J&S, see our earlier blog.

There seems to be a lot going happening on those remote little Shetlands – and, wow, are we happy we found them!

 

 

Color Love with Jamieson & Smith


Sometimes there is poetry in a fiber – as there is in J&S.  It has a little of all of the characteristics a fiber enthusiast might wish for.  It is wool with a natural and textured touch. It comes in small doses so that one can play with color without guilt.  It is fingering weight, opening up a world of possibility from shawls to hats and sweaters.  It comes with a story.

I discovered Jamieson & Smith (Shetland Woolbrokers Ltd) at a Chicago yarn shop. It was love at first sight and touch.  With a little research I learned more about this wonderful company. Its unique yarns are well known and adored by knitters who have a passion for colorwork and a favorite for fair isle knitters and weavers.

Jamieson & Smith (or J&S) was born in the 1930s and continues the traditions that were originally established. For example, they still purchase 80% of the Shetland wool from local crofters. The preparation is done in the shed adjoining their shop in the old North Road, Lerwick.

Even through email we could here the lilt in the story told by Kharis, our J&S contact.

“Crofters once sent their fleece to the mainland, usually Brora’s (no longer in operation but my Mam remembers the wool from their croft going there when she was peerie) to be “treated” before being returned to the islands. J&S continues this tradition with Haworth’s Scouring (using environmentally-friendly and efficient processes), with companies based in West Yorkshire, renowned for their textile heritage.”

3 sheep logoAll J&S products carry the 3 Sheep Logo guaranteeing that the wool is 100% Real Shetland Wool from pure bred Shetland Sheep born and raised on the islands. The rather harsh environment brings out the unique qualities of the Shetland breed of sheep. Wool of this breed of sheep raised in more gentle environments will not have the same strength and softness as sheep raised in Shetland.

We invite you to meet the J&S Jumper 2-ply yarn, fingering weight in the 40 colors that we have displayed on our art installation.  Knit fair-isle or just play with color.  We hope you will come to love all things Shetland!

 

Why Woolstok?!?

woolstok colorsBlue Sky Fibers refers to Woolstok as “The Wonder Yarn”.  This is not hyperbole.  The yarn has been a favorite since it was introduced last Fall.  We were first drawn to Woolstok because of the glorious patterns in the 2016 Blue Sky Look Book, like the 21-Color Slouch,  Endless Wrap and Trimont Snood – but we have stayed because of the fiber.

woolstok trioThe worsted weight yarn is 100% pure wool.  It is breed specific from the fleece of select Peruvian Highland sheep and processed in a state-of-the-art mill.  It is strong and sturdy, as you would expect with wool. Yet it is surprisingly soft to the touch and has a remarkably light loft.  The stitch definition is dramatic, the yarn is easy to work with and the colors are rich and deep.

BSF Scandia Throw

Everyone should take a journey through Woolstok.  In looking for my next big project the Scandia Throw caught my attention.  Everyone needs at least one great throw.  It is necessary when the house has a chill in the Fall and Winter or there is too much air conditioning in the Spring and Summer.  A wool throw keeps you cozy – and this one is perfection.

As with all things Blue Sky Fibers, the Woolstok is offered with great thought to the knitter and the patterns are designed to make life fun and easy.  The neutral colors (cream, brown, light grey, medium grey and dark grey) are offered in large skeins – 3X the yardage of the regular 123 yard single skein.

What this means for the Throw is (hooray) with the neutral colors you need only one single skein for the borders, 3 triples for the body, and one single for the tassels!  So few ends to weave in (this makes me very happy).

We offer in our online store the neutrals with some color options (as the one in the picture).  But, of course, the world is your oyster and you may play with color to your hearts content.  Any way you choose, trust me, this will be the throw everyone will envy!  It is a classic.

The pattern is easy and the wool is of the highest quality – one of the most consciously crafted wools on the market.  Join us on a journey with Woolstok and see why we are fans.  We promise you will be too!

 

 

kathy – in wool heaven!

map kathy blog

I am traveling the world without ever leaving my couch. My journey is from Cork, Ireland to the Hebrides Islands and Isle of Man with a side trip to Patagonia. I am using our two newest yarns which are among the softest, most luxurious wool I have ever felt. They are beautiful and there is so much to tell:

Hedgehog Fibres – The unique name comes from the translation of the dyer’s Slovakian name, Beata Jezek – no hedgehogs harmed.

Beata’s colors are spectacular, and range from “dark, rich and earthy to crazy, fluorescent and vibrant “ (her words) depending on her mood! And her mood makes me happy!

Beata now lives in Cork, Ireland, and we are proud to carry her vibrant, hand-dyed yarns.

The yarns are rich in color and oh so soft! I am knitting her Outline Shawl using 5 colors – it is a joy! Easy and never boring, with frequent color changes. The hardest part is choosing your colors!

Rosy Green Heb Merino and Manx Merino from the islands: Fowlescombe Farm in Devon, England, processes wool from the endangered sheep species Manx and Heb (see Patsy’s blog post). The wool is refined with the softest organic merino from Patagonia.

I was somewhat skeptical about how the wool would feel when knit. WOW! The hand of the knit fabric is wonderfully soft! I chose Quicksilver, a Melanie Berg pattern (my third – we like her!) and it is a delight to see the beautiful colors come to life.

For those who can’t visit us in the shop and experience these incredible yarns in person, we’ve created a Quicksilver Shawl Kit in four colorways and a Rheinlust Shawl Kit (another fabulous pattern from Melanie Berg), all available online.  We also have new colors from Hedgehog on their way and will be offering the Outline Shawl as a kit in the coming weeks.  We’ll keep you posted!

kathy group

a rare breed indeed!


breed-sheep-group

If those faces do not excite you…well, that would be sad!  With great joy and enthusiasm, we welcome to Knit1 the wool of the Hebridean and Manx Loaghtan sheep.  These two glorious animals have been on the endangered species list and their survival depends on the production and sale of the wool they produce.  That is just one reason for you to use this amazing fingering weight fiber.

Rosy Green Wool supplies us – just one time a year – with a limited selection from each breed.  Their wool is mixed with the softest Patagonian Merino wool (also a rare fiber) to produce a yarn that Kathy exclaims is as soft as any she has used.

I want to tell you everything about these glorious animals but Rosy Green already has described it well and there is no reason for me to edit.  If you are interested in reading about endangered species and how they are being saved please use these links.    manx merino fine      heb merino fine

The yarns are in the Shop in 14 colors – all that are offered.  They sell out almost immediately.  As I write this, three colors already are unavailable except in the few local yarns shops that may still have them – like Knit1. We can get no more until next year and not in the same colorways.

All of this is to say that what you knit with this great yarn will be beautiful and will come with a rich and extraordinary story.

Celebrate this rare opportunity and rare breeds with us!

manx-color-group

heb-color-group

 

Did I say “never socks”?

tube-socks-cropped

 

Are there two kinds of knitters – sock knitters and never-sock knitters?  Maybe life is not that simple but it does seem that those who knit socks love creating them and then there are those others.  I am “the other” – the never sock kind.

That is, I WAS a never sock kind.  Tina introduced me to the TUBE SOCK.  I am now knitting my second fabulous pair.  The sock has no heel or toe.  It is just one long (or short if you prefer) tube.  It required me to learn a new cast on – WOWIE!  And I learned to knit using two circular needles.  WHY did I not know of this before?!?img_1302

 

Trust me.  This two circs thing is the best new thing (I mean new to me) ever.  I love it so much that I now am one of those knitters who will always have a sock in my purse so that I am never without something to knit.

Kathy is going to show you the magic of the tubular cast on and the wonder of knitting with two circular needles on Saturday, December 17 from 10:30-Noon OR Thursday, December 22 from 10:30-Noon. ($20 per class) Join us and soon there will be only one kind of knitter – the ones who love socks!

Click here for Knit1 Classes.

 

Knit1 Oxford   |   303 Heritage Drive, Oxford, MS 38655   |   (662) 238-2829 website by oakes copy and creative services