knit1 blog

Really in my suitcase!

suitcase

I did some writing this summer about what you might take on your travels.  I was filled with my own angst as my own week-long cruise loomed before me.  We were off to ALASKA!  A glacier could get in our way!  The inland passage might ice over! We could be quarantined!  These were worthy concerns.  WHAT IF I RAN OUT OF KNITTING PROJECTS?  Or, what if I took a project and ran in to trouble with no one nearby to help.  I had to have plenty of backup projects.

Solution:  In my suitcase I packed one pair of blue jeans, one pair of slacks, two sweaters (wore the 3rd), three scarves (to make the sweaters look different every day) and FOUR knitting projects.  The suitcase had two inches of clothing and 17 inches of yarn – the perfect balance.  As I walked out the door to the airport I threw one large skein of yarn in my carry on bag…you know, just in case.

I figured one could always wash clothes but we might be thousands of miles from the nearest yarn shop – on a boat!

The very good news is that all of this incredibly strategic planning allowed me the time to knit (and some re-knit) the Endless Wrap designed by Blue Sky Fibers using their new Woolstok and to move forward on the Solaris Shawl with Mad Tosh. Both projects are big, wrap-me-up shawls.  To me, if you are going to knit shawl it should envelope you.

I came home with three projects nearly finished and some clothes to wash.  And, p.s., no one noticed what I wore but everyone looked at my knitting!

we joined the gang!

billie jean cropped

It is a little bit magical to discover something you did not know you were looking for – as it was when we found Wool and the Gang.  In D.C., with hours to kill, we visited a local yarn shop (Looped Yarn Works).  It was love at the entrance and we came upon treasures you soon will see in our Shop.  That is one reason we travel to other LYSs!  P.S.  Of course we did a lot of shopping while there…it is what you do at an LYS…even when you live in an LYS.

tommy topWhat caught our eye is Wool and the Gang’s Billie Jean Yarn.  The shop displayed the Tommy Top – one of the coolest sleeveless tops ever knit!  We were drawn right in and made an appointment to meet with the company at market.

This is a young British company with a passion to keep our craft alive, fresh and fashion forward.  The “Gang” thinks about yarn production from an enlightened vantage point.  They also believe that garments should be made with love, not mass produced.  They believe that “fashion is changing”.

The company commitment to fashion is clear in the patterns developed to support the Billie Jean line.  Each piece carries a WOW punch.  Is offers a completely fresh approach to an otherwise ordinary garment.  Yet each is utterly functional.  This is not your grandmother’s knitwear.  This is not JUST a cardigan, or tee top or sweater.  This is THE one that you have been in search of.  Exactly what you were looking for – even if you did not know you were looking for it.

We invite you to be part of the gang and create great pieces with this remarkable new yarn.  As we speak, Kathy is working on the Crazy Feeling Sweater.  My first Billie Jean project will be the Girlfriend Bag.  It is good to be a part of the Gang!
billie jean group

Topsy Turvy Top-Down Toe-Up August!

churchmouse top down 1 churchmouse toe up 1Your August Project!

Say YES to socks!! They make a small and portable project perfect for hot summer days. Nevermind that you think you do not want hand knit socks. You very well may come to love them and, for sure, you will learn something new and spend time out of the heat with friends.

Kathy has put together a terrific curriculum for our August Saturdays. You choose: The morning class is “top-down” in fingering, DK, sport or worsted weight! The afternoon class is  “toe-up” in fingering, DK or sport weight!

If you are worried about double pointed needles – no problem.  Kathy will show you how to create socks on 2 circs. (AND, we have new addi Flip Stix dpns that may change your double pointed worries!)

We already have a great selection of yarns for any weight sock.  Just in time for these classes, we will receive a new supply ofMadelinetosh Twist Light. AND, we have fingering weight yarn coming from a company NEW to Knit1.  We loved them at market – hint: “She plays!” Watch for them on our social media.

Classes will be held Saturdays, August 6, 13, 20 (and 27 as a make-up session). Mornings will be 10:30 to noon for Top-Down and afternoons will be 1:30 to 3:00 for Toe-Up.

Cost: $45 plus materials. Choose your materials prior to class. Sign up soon (even if you have not yet decided on your yarn and pattern) to hold your space. Class sizes are small to allow for individual attention.Screen Shot 2016-07-16 at 4.29.23 PM

We Built the Shop!

village cropped
It happened. Knit1 Oxford is reborn in our new home (303 Heritage Drive, Oxford) It is our third space in six years. The moves happened for many reasons. Some beyond our control. Some just business necessity. No matter why, we now are exactly where we should be. The shop exterior is charming and “looks like a yarn shop”.  Parking is easy. The stoplight from Jackson Avenue makes for easy and safe getting to and leaving.

Mostly, the space inside makes this place magical. Somehow everything works better. It is intimate (but not crowded) and seems spacious (though it is not). There still is room to sit and knit and consider your next project or take a class.

All of the yarn is visible. And, by way of Lynn’s and Larry’s design genius the shop has an art installation of fiber color that will amaze. It amazes us!

The new shop is launched through the efforts of many family and friends who did not ask whether we needed them. They just were there. We are forever grateful to each and every person who gave their muscle and their time.

It was a remarkable three weeks it has been. Larry came to town and spent three days sketching and re-designing. There were days of packing (no small feat). We left town to attend the industry trade show for three inspiring and exhausting days. We came home and moved all that we had packed. We rebuilt the shop.

We passed tired about days before we were finished and hurt in places we did not know existed. It did not matter. We were driven and excited to make it happen.

We know a couple of things.
(1) We are the luckiest yarn shop. We (I) have friends and family that make everything better. None of this would happen without them. None of this would be fun or gratifying but for them. Larry, Lynn, Nancy, Nancy, Kathy, Kathy, Freddie, Ann, Peggy, Pamela, Robert, Marty, Nancy, Ellen, Debbie, Carolyn and John – together they have built the most beautiful shop;

(2) Knit1 Oxford is exactly where we should be. It took three tries but we made it!

(3) It looks beautiful now and it will change as time goes by;

(4) We will never move again!

And so it goes and we hope we look forward to our future and your time at our table.

 

Building the Shop – the chaos theory

moving boxes extraEvery move goes through many stages. We just came through the first Stage of Chaos. This is how it felt:  -(1) we realize how much was accumulated in only a few years; (2) we experienced extreme ennui during which the thought of packing a box was just too much.  All we saw was stuff everywhere; (3) we packed the first box and entered fully the stage of complete chaos – the storm before the calm.  The shop looks worse; (4) we panic; (5) we transcend.

During that week of chaos we could find nothing, stuff was everywhere, we had to touch every pencil, paper clip, piece of paper and “what is that thingy” and decide if it is to be thrown or moved.

If we have not looked at it in two years, if we did not even remember that it was there, if we could not have found it if we looked for it, it did NOT need to be saved!  P.S. I have vowed that in the new shop I will not do that thing that creates those piles of stuff.  I commit to trying my very best to stop using a shelf just because it is there on which to put the thing I do not know what to do with.  Very philosophical.  It is a goal.

Having said all of that, the shining lights in this process have been Freddy and Peggy.  You may not know them because they are behind the scenes but they are very much a part of the Knit1 family.  They were with us on the last move and and were enthusiastic about joining us again this time.  They began preparing the new space and last week moved the first 3 truck loads of ready-to-go boxes and shelving.  We walked in to the most incredibly beautiful new shop and it was instantly clear that they have taken a pride in our shop that rivals ours.  It has been transformed so that it already looks better and we can see its real potential.

We are going to have the best little yarn shop around and it will be even better than the ones before.  So bring on the chaos!  We are so ready for the move.

Knitting in the Slow Lane

slow road greenThe world is moving way too fast and whole months go by in an instant.  Everyone seeks a calmer more peaceful pace.  The “slow movement” is growing in response to the technological rat race and a world of seemingly constant change.  We are urged to live life more deeply and to enrich every experience.

Knitters naturally embraces the slow movement.  From the beginning of a project – from choice of pattern, fiber and color to the first stitch through the last – it is all a thoughtful, considered and creative experience.  The Knit1 women embrace the slow movement principles.  We also want to support and help you deepen and enrich YOUR knitting journey.

It is why we are constantly reading about and knitting with new yarns and search for companies that have a story.  We choose quality yarns and patterns designed to reward you for taking the time you put in to each project.

Eileen Fisher says it best in her new ad campaign:  “A great meal is only as good as its ingredients.  And a great look is only as good as the materials it is made from…Just as farm-to-table is changing the way we think about our food…farm-to-closet will change the way we think about clothing…. That is why we are striving to find the best ingredients…”

Our “ingredients” begin with those glorious yarns.  The ingredients also depend on patterns that allow the yarns to sing and enrich your creative process.  We soon will introduce you to the THOUGHTFUL ESSENTIALS.  These are specially chosen projects that are simple, yet elegant in design, handsome on any body and will be treasured and worn for years.  Each Essential will be available to you kitted in a Knit1 project bag that will include the pattern and recommended yarns (colors of your choosing).

We want to make your creative life simple, rich, deep and beautiful.  Watch for more as we move to the slow lane together…

 

Building A Yarn Shop – Next Steps


This time is not like before.  We are moving to a new location.  New space brings new challenges and so it is like starting fresh.  Except that this time we are filled with knowledge and experience that we did not have when we started or even when we moved the first time.  And the process is simply exhilarating.

I opened Knit1 Oxford armed with naive optimism and blissful ignorance.  I knew little about yarns and less about yarn shops.  I talked to shop owners, visited shops and did my best research.  I made many mistakes.

The “I” became “We” and together we made it all work.  Now, with our second move in looming before us we could be filled with fear and loathing.  This is chaos that involves a thousand details – have mail forwarded, hire the sign man, turn on the electricity, have the phone installed, paint colors, office setup, floor plan!  Nothing ever gets crossed off the list and things get added every day.

But this time we understand how a shop flows and how you like to be in the space.  We have a better understanding of what works and what does not.  We know who you are.  We know who we are.

And we have each other and Larry (my sister’s husband) who is enthusiastic about erecting another beautiful shop and finds this creative process completely joyous.  Together we provide encouragement, support, laughter and erasers.

The current shop has many windows that give us great light.  And yet, those very same windows presented a real design problem – no unobstructed wall space. This meant that much of our usable space was in the center of the shop which turns out to be not ideal.

But the new space at 303 Heritage Drive has two great walls that run the length of the store and the space is wide, not long and narrow. This affords us endless possibilities.  Architects – like Lynn – and designers – like Larry and Britta – already know this.  I did not.  A smaller space does not mean less room.  AMAZING!  The space will feel big, elegant and welcoming.

We have a floor plan that looks good on paper – iteration #152.  Larry and Lynn are generous in the creative process.  We put down a design.  Larry erased.  I would say “you know, now that I think about it…” and the eraser would emerge.  Or he would say “I have an idea”.  Again, the eraser.  Finally, we have a plan.  And we know that as we fill the new space there will be more changes.  As we start to build no doubt Larry will have new ideas, I will have new thoughts, Lynn will have new perspectives.

We know this for sure – there will be classroom space (the table), there will be a nook for quiet knitting or a private lesson (a smaller table), there will be incredible yarns, many new to the Shop (oh joy!) and yarns hung and yarns in bins, and yarns in cabinets…and surprises yet to be revealed!

When it is all said and done we will have a most glorious yarn shop.  And that feels really wonderful.


 

Yarn Bowl 2016


Box of Hats 5/5

HATS as of 6/28 – 252

Our little hat box is filled!  Our first report was ten hats.  Now we are over two hundred and counting with many promises of more.  We are grateful to everyone who is knitting, crocheting and looming hats and to everyone who is spreading the word.

We have had a spectacular response.  Almost, 8,000 people have seen our Facebook post.  If each knits or crochets one hat, we would more than double our goal, beat the pants off of Bama, and have an astounding pile of hats to donate to keeping children warm this winter  It’s a win all around!  If you wish, we will return the hats to you to donate to an organization of your choice.

 

Those who have donated so far are thrilled to be able to finally put their stash to good use.  This is a win/win/win for everyone.  Also, let us know if you or your group is in need of yarn to create the hats.

We want to make sure you have all the information you need to participate:

  • All hats must be to Knit1 by September 1.  After that, the hats will not count in the contest; they will just be gravy.
  • Mail hats to Knit1 Oxford: 303 Heritage Dr, Oxford, MS 38655.
  • Knit1 can provide patterns and, on a limited basis, yarn.  For project support, call us at 662-238-2829 or email us at knit1oxford@gmail.com
  • All hats will be donated to a More Than A Meal.  This local organization serves families in need and are thrilled that we will have hats for their children. You and/or your group may choose to give to your own organization.  However, we first must have the hats in hand for official counting.  Simply indicate that you want the hats returned (and to which organization you will donate) and we will be sure they get back to you!
  • There will be prizes!  Any person who makes 5 or more hats will receive a coupon for 20% off at Knit1 Oxford.  Every person who makes a hat will be entered into a drawing for door prizes.  We will also have different competition categories.  For details, see our Yarn Bowl page.
  • Last year, Tuscaloosa made over 3,000 hats, so our goal this year is to beat that number!

 

Happily Slowing Down

yarn om

Once upon a time we grew and raised our own food and made our clothing and built our homes. DIY was not a “thing”.  Nobody wondered what it meant to work by hand because it was the way we lived.

That was a long time ago.

Now science tells us that it is to our benefit to slow down and get back to some of the ways life used to be; that working with our hands enhances our well-being; that it is good for us – an antidote to the modern world.

I know this truth from personal experience because knitting changed my life in every good way.  I went from a firm belief in my inability to create anything worthy to creating works of art that, at the very least, make me feel wonderful.  With a pair of kitting needles and wonderful fiber, I found a whole new side of myself that lay dormant just waiting for a pair of knitting needles to unlock it.  I was 62 – an age some might thing was too late to start but for me was just in time.

My experience is one that science confirms is not so much unique to me as it is universal.  Working with our hands makes us happy and allows us to feel productive and valuable.  While once it was a way of life, our current world rarely allows us to slow down, get out of our own heads or feel productive and valuable.

Research shows that creating by hand enhances mental health and makes us happy.  Dr. Kelly Lambert (www.kellylambertlab.com) found that hands-on work satisfies a primal need to make things.  Too much time on technological devices and the fact that we buy almost all of what we need has deprived us of processes that provide pleasure, meaning and pride.  Process is important for happiness because when we make, repair or create things we feel vital and effective. It is about doing something interesting– less about ambition and more about living. When we are deeply absorb in a productive task we lose self-consciousness – decrease stress, relieve anxiety, and modify depression.

Free Hat Patterns

thumbnail of BARLEY-tincanknitsThe Yarn Bowl is on!  The knitters and crocheters of Mississippi will size up against their Alabama counterparts to see who can create the most hats for children in need before September 1.  The options for hat choices are myriad!  They can be any color, any yarn, any pattern, and any size thumbnail of SimpleBabyHatfrom preemie to teen.  There are a few restrictions (the yarn must be soft, no pompoms or tassels), but after that, your only limit is your imagination!  At the end of the contest, all hats collected will be donated to various charities.  Keep in mind that last year, Alabama made 3,000 hats, so we have quite the record to beat!

To help you along, we provided a few wonderful hat patterns.  These are free for your enjoyment and meet the specifications for the contest.  Click the images to download the pattern PDF.  If you need yarn, pattern help, thumbnail of HandspinHatsPattern_WebPDFor even a lesson to learn to knit, don’t hesitate to call us.  We will hold clinics regularly and can provide yarn if you need it.  Please spread the word to anyone you know who has ever so penguin hatmuch as thought about knitting.  Help us beat the Crimson Tide one more time!

P.S. If you have a particular charity you or your group have chosen just let us know and we will return your hats to you.  Otherwise, we will handle donation to local organizations (TBA).

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