“Going Slow”April 8, 2016
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 ShopApril 2, 2016
Chapter 1 – The Decision
We 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.
But 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 GarmentMarch 16, 2016
We 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.
Start your first one soon and be ready to want to knit more – in all kinds of fibers and colors.
The Weatherman Says RainMarch 9, 2016
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.
In my suitcase – Part 1March 1, 2016
Traveling in Sequence!
A friend taught me that there are three important stages to any journey. He called them Pre-nostalgia, The Trip, and Nostalgia. His view was that the trip itself mattered less than the planning and the memories!
Surely, a critical pre-nostalgia question must be which and how many knitting projects to take along. The advantage of car travel is you need not fret – take it all. But when your space is limited and your attention may be elsewhere, you look for projects that travel lightly and require little mental effort. The simpler the better is often the rule.
We hope to help with some travel knitting suggestions.
This first offering is inspired by a book we discovered last Fall that has transformed us. Cecelia Campochiaro provides hundreds of possibilities for the simple and elegant knitting project in Sequence Knitting. We have knit several exquisite accessories inspired by her one row patterns. It is a treat to choose and a delight to create. The knitting is pure meditation. And, hooray!, you do not need to know where you left off. The pattern is the same coming and going! Perfect for the traveling knitter.
Inspired by Campochiaro’s, we have created three patterns that we can easily recommend. Any can be knit with one yarn or in two colors and still be easy to carry. Any can be knit as a scarf or joined at the end for a totally reversible cowl. Any yarns will work. Our projects pictured here feature Quince Owl, Misti Alpaca Tonos Worsted, and Swans Island Worsted. Call us for patterns and yarn advise.
Remember…knitting is like travel, it’s often not the getting there, it’s the journey. We will soon offer other suitcase ideas and have a feature on Ms. Campochiaro’s book that we highly recommend should be on your shelf!
Safe travels and we wish you the best in all stages of your journeys.
A Quince to LoveFebruary 17, 2016
It started with Quince Linen – Sparrow and Kestrel. My rule of thumb is never to repeat projects in the same fiber. There are so many glorious yarns in the world and it is important to knit with everything and never to get stuck. I chose the Lida Shawl in Sparrow. Oops, I had to do Le Petit Sac and then, oops again, I had to create the Dejeuner Bag. Three Sparrow projects in row!!! It was love. The linen is not like other linens – all of which I have adored. This was even more. It has been love ever since.
Months later we became a Quince Flagship Store – to our extreme delight. We brought in Owl, Puffin, and Osprey. Later we added Chickadee. Nearly everyone who has worked with Quince wool has come back for another Quince project. It is that fabulous. This 100% American wool has great texture, wonderful weight and is dyed in heavenly colorways. And it feels incredible. The stitch definition is amazing. I started with the Effie Beret (one skein of Osprey). Despite my concerns about “wooly-ness”, by row four I was a Quince addict. It is just that wonderful.
The Nelse Slippers from the Home Book was my first experience with Puffin. Oh my! The slippers are knit flat – hooray – and make an amazingly warm and cozy garment for your feet. AND they knit up quickly. The yarn is single-ply and soft and squishy. Those who knit the slippers as gifts tend to keep the first pair for themselves and then come back for more. So…again breaking my own rules…I knit the State Street Cowl in Puffin. It took two evenings.
Kathy got the Quince bug about the same time and began her journey with a pattern from Shawls 5, Rikochan – that calls for two Owl colors. Her reaction was as mine. Joyous. She also broke the “move on to another” rule by immediately knitting the Sherwood Mitts in one skein of Owl! Then it was on to the Lily Slipper Flats in Osprey. They are so sweet and quick to create and make the simply finest gifts. BTW – they slip right in to your suitcase. Perfect for the traveler.
Not quite finished with her Owl obsession, Kathy went on to knit the Wending Cowl. By the way, Owl is one of the few blended Quince yarns – 50/50 wool and alpaca – it is both drapey (thank you alpaca) with great structure (love wool)!
Kathy’s first Chickadee project is the Caden Scarf. It looks complex but utilizes only the simplest stitches. Ann just finished a finger-less, fair-isle glove in Chickadee. Now they both are Quince fans.
In October, Sinclair started a Christmas gift for her father using Osprey. She was hooked after the very first swatch. One Aran Fisherman’s sweater later, she is a loyal Osprey convert. The structure of the wool is exquisite and after blocking, it is the softest wool she has ever felt. The stitch definition, too, is unrivaled. She picked up a skein of Owl for a pair of fingerless gloves at Christmas and marveled again at how amazing wool can feel. (You can read Sinclair’s blog on her Quince experience here.)
So if there is a Quince, there is a Quince to love. The challenge is to move on to another yarn. On the other hand, sometimes you wonder why bother? We recommend you come try Quince for yourself. But you might want to hurry – we may knit it all ourselves!
A Love Letter – and apology!February 16, 2016
Dearest Friends – If you are reading this it is likely that you love us like we love you. In the last Shop email I expressed continuing concerns over the closing of yet another local yarn shop. I reminded everyone to shop local and support yarn shops no matter where you travel or where you live. Somewhere – everywhere – there is an LYS waiting to serve you.
The result of the email was a flurry of wonderful love letters from many of you who both feared that Knit1 might close and, when relieved that it was NOT about us, expressed complete support for the message. (more…)
Sweet Things for Little OnesFebruary 10, 2016
Suddenly it is all about the children. Swans Island issued a series of patterns for boys and girls. They are perfect – unique, stylish and uncomplicated. I was inspired and, with Ann’s urging to overcome my “fear” of sweaters, got to work on the Periwinkle – girl’s cardigan. (more…)
Knit1 and the Indie DyerFebruary 6, 2016
The Fiber Festival is a fond memory. It was exhilarating to spend time with indie fiber artists who create yarns that are made with so much love and care. They remind us of the value of their work to our craft. We are pleased to announce that we have added some remarkable yarns created by independent artisans to our yarn collection. The fibers will amaze, the colors will delight and your finished product will truly be one of a kind. (more…)
Knitting without Fear!January 23, 2016
Kathy’s Basic Repairs class just wrapped up and the “students” are feeling very empowered! Gaye declared, “I cannot wait to drop another stitch!” (more…)