knit1 blog

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).

“Going Slow”


two balls of yarn

My mother used to say “whatever is old will become new again” and as usual, Mom was right!  It is with her insight that I have followed the “new” phenomenon referred to as the Slow Movement.  It is the current hot topic in the fashion, food and design industries.

The essence of the slow movement is its focus on process and quality.  In general it is about slowing down, even as consumers.  We are being encouraged to buy more thoughtfully, with awareness of our own needs and with a focus on the product and its origin.  Words used to describe the philosophy include organic, home-grown or American-made, sustainable, and durable.  The most insightful comment I have read was from a Parsons School of Design professor who said it is ” about the consumer becoming aware of the whole process – from design through production through use…”.

The fashion industry seems to be critiquing itself as much as advising the consumer to “go slow”.  The irony is that this same industry has been instrumental in teaching us that to stay current we must possess each season’s new style, new color, and new trend without regard to where, how or with what the product is made (or, frankly, whether we actually need it).

Now the industry wants us to be more thoughtful and deliberative about where and how we spend our dollars. And they promise to do the same when it comes to creating their goods.

We are told this is the “new thing” and I say Bravo to it.  But of course, (thank you Mom) we already know all of this because everyone who knits or crochets has held these exact values dear for centuries.  No one called it a “trend” until now.  But we, more than many, understand the true meaning and importance of going slowly and of considering the process, quality and necessity of everything we create.

You consider the ENTIRE PROCESS of each garment and accessory.  It begins the moment you walk into a yarn shop and consider your next project.  You care about what you make, what you make it with, and you think about the design, the color and the fiber.

And at Knit1 we do the same so that your process is an joyous exploration.  We are happy to take time with you and help you to be sure that you will delight in what you create.  We start before you come in because we learn about our manufacturers and how they source and care for their fibers.  We shop for fibers that allow you to take pride not just in what you knit but pride in what you knit with.  That is the curated experience we offer and it allows you to “go slow”.

So Welcome to being the New Thing.  We shall keep knitting and caring and taking time to consider what we make and how we make it and with what we make it.  And that is extraordinarily happy and good news.

P.S.  News flash to the Fashion Industry…Those of us who work with our hands know about going slow PLUS with everything we create a little bit of love has been added.  So there…


 

Building A Yarn Shop

Chapter 1 – The Decision

shop doorWe are about to move – again. It will be our second move – our 3rd space in only 6 years! Maybe that is a record. It was not an easy decision and one that we did not take lightly. While we do love to shake things up, the prospect of once again dismantling all of the shelving, boxing up and moving all of the yarn, rebuilding and unpacking is daunting. AND that does not take in to consideration that the new space must be ready for us. That means painting and creating storage and planning where things go.

Maybe for some it will be of interest to watch the process unfold. Today – April 1 – I received the key to our new shop and opened the door to what soon will be the new Knit1 Oxford.

A lot of thought and soul-searching when in to the decision to make the move. We love the space we have been in for two years. But things change and though we do not look forward to the challenges of the move, we do look forward to the results. We will be in a new bright place. We will purge those items that have accumulated over two years. We will re-design – always fun. We will re-think – always fun. We will start anew – always energizing. The whole process ignites great creativity.

The new shop will be different in many ways but the traditions we cherish will not change. We will remain a highly curated LYS with a team of women whose talents are second to none. We will have space for you to knit. We will be there to help you start a project and be there to help you along the way. We will continue to look for the finest yarns and offer you new things all the time.

The advantages to the new space: Location – Ease of Parking – Ease of Coming/Going – Classroom Space – Lunch options!

You might ask BUT WHY? We love our space on West Jackson. It is light and large and has the feel of our own little cottage. But when push came to shove we just could not afford it any longer. There is risk in this move because we will be off the beaten track. We have enjoyed being in the flow of 10,000 cars a day. But the fact is that the cost of being on the beaten track was not made up for in increased sales. It takes a lot of skeins to make that rent.

new shop keyBut all of us who live in Knit1 – Ann, Kathy, Lynn, Marty, Sinclair, and I – are in agreement. We need this shop as much as Oxford needs the shop. So when it came to assessing the business realities, closing the doors was not an option.

And so we move to Off the Beaten Track. We will love this new location as we have loved both of our former ones. The truth is that the four walls matter less than what is in those walls and that will not change.

We will be off the beaten track but we will be in the middle of everything that is happening. And there is a nice tradition – the original yarn shop (Hanging By A Thread) was located in this strip mall. I think that is a nice synergy. We are taking the space once occupied by the wonderful Paint and Pen – a nice vibe.

And so we go so that we can keep on going. And so it goes…

 

In My Suitcase – Part 2 – The Perfect Summer Garment

IMG_0472We thought it would be a good idea to offer knit projects that travel well.  Of course, you need not leave home to enjoy them but they are projects that fit nicely into your suitcase.  Summer knitting means knitting with the climate in mind.  If you are away from home or not, you want to create something light and easy.  We introduce you (maybe again) to the perfect summer garment.  Perfect means two things:  it is easy to create and it is fabulous to wear.

We invite you to enjoy the Sandpiper by Imagine Design.  It was a favorite when Jamie (the designer) introduced us to it. The pattern suggests a worsted linen.  Jamie wore hers knit with a lace weight yarn.  Mine, pictured below, was created with Shibui Silk – a worsted yarn no longer available.  Not to worry.  This pattern is remarkably versatile.  You can create it on any size yarn!  Because it is designed top down, you can make it to fit your particular needs – wider, longer, shorter, a more open weave.  We have cottons, linens and blends that would be perfect for your Sandpiper.

We are thinking Shibui’s new Rain (100% mercerized cotton) or Quince Sparrow or Kestral (100% Linen) or, well, you get the idea…so much yarn and so many choices.  Cannot wait to get cast on!

Start your first one soon and be ready to want to knit more – in all kinds of fibers and colors.

sand composite

 

 

 

The Weatherman Says Rain

FullSizeRenderSometimes you want a rainy day.  It gives you the perfect excuse to sit and knit the day away and the sound of rain creates a pause in the world.

The storms in Oxford make this the perfect time to announce the addition of our newest yarn – Rain by Shibui.  This 100% cotton yarn has glorious drape and the colors are as intense (as we expect in anything Shibui).  Because it is mercerized it looks silky and holds it shape better than cotton that is not treated.  The pattern support is luscious.  We are in love.

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