new releases and a *giveaway!*

As we gear up for TNNA 2016, we’re rolling out the new additions to our collections a little bit at a time, each week as we chug along towards the big weekend of June 11 – 13. This year’s event is in Washington DC, and we are incredibly excited about showing our fresh colorways and bases in a new venue. There will be some surprises at the show, for sure, but we’re making most of our 2016 collection available in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

This week’s new release is a Mini Skein Pack for our Color Morph collection. Allow us to introduce #39 The Walrus & the Carpenter!

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We love this pack, morphing from a rich, butterscotch brown to deep, forest green. We also love YOU, and don’t you think it’s about time we have a giveaway?

Click on this link to enter to win the above colorway in your choice of yarn weight!

Good luck!

Pulling in at Main Street Yarn!

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Today, we’ve landed in Rebersburg, PA, at Main Street Yarn, located at 121 E Main St.

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FF & WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

MSY: Main Street Yarn will be celebrating its 3rd anniversary on April 11. We are partnered with my husband’s shop, Forefathers Books Shop, in a former brick bank building in Rebersburg, PA, which is a very small town in Centre County — definitely a destination stop. Keith and I have kept the integrity of the building from the high pressed tin ceiling and gorgeous bank vault in the book shop area to the crash bar bank door which is the entry from the parking lot to Main Street Yarn. We looked for several years for an appropriate location that would be large enough for both shops and sturdy enough to hold over 30,000 hardback books. We work together in the business, although Keith is there much more than I, because I continue to work fulltime for U.S. Senator Bob Casey in a regional office in Bellefonte, PA. Keith or one of his staff handles yarn shop business when I am not available. Over the years there have been a few texts or quick telephone calls to clarify something. Fortunately, I have very understanding customers.
I learned to knit at age 4 and stopped at age 6! I picked it up again in college in the early ’70s but moved to counted cross stitch for 20 years. During a break in University employment I went to work in a local yarn shop and loved it. I learned so much — including how to knit socks, which are my knitting passion. I haven’t stopped knitting and the rest, as they say, is history.
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Kim and Charlie
FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?
MSY: My portion of the building was renovated with white walls and natural ceiling lighting to show off the colors of the yarn. I try to keep the atmosphere homey from the electric fireplace to coffee and snacks which are always available on Saturdays. I am an avid fan of hand-dyed yarns and I estimate at least 60% of my inventory is hand-dyed fingering weight yarns with a bit of DK and Worsted tossed in for variety. Some of my customers favorite dyers are Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns (mini skein sets are growing in popularity); KnitMona; Unplanned Peacock; Meadowcroft; Nooch Fibers; and Wandering Wool. The latter was the first hand-dyed in the shop and it will always be a staple (along with Wonderland Yarns, of course!)
Getting known is difficult in a rural area, so I started setting up at local/regional fiber shows. I love meeting new people, “selling” my yarns, and building a customer base. Each is a different venue and often different people, but I’ve never had a bad time at a fiber show! My newsletter is  gaining readership as is the Facebook page. If someone wants to sign up for the newsletter go to the website and register. Also, for those who are on the internet but do not have a personal Facebook page, my shop page scrolls in the middle of the website, so you can keep up with the latest.
This year I hope to do 5 shows and the first is tomorrow — For The Love of Fiber in Bellefonte, PA. It is hosted by the Centre County Knitting Guild and is a very nice event. I have some new items for shoppers and lots of mini-skein sets. I will be displaying WIP samples to provide ideas and insight into how to work with a mini-skein set. I recently wrote a post on my blog Sock-Crazy and several shops have shared it.
I will again be doing a Knit in Public event this summer and hope to see growth from last year. We have lots of fun and as always, there are door prizes.
FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs?
MSY: The Penns Valley Area Knitters, a group I formed 10 years ago, meets in the shop two Saturdays a month. It is a very casual group and not a dues collecting organization. We share projects, offer help to each other, and snack. I always make sure there are goodies for everyone. They can range from cookies and punch in warmer weather to dip and crackers along with soup in the winter. I have my first KAL planned but can’t reveal quite yet (however it does involve yarn from your company!) We strongly believe in charity knitting and annually donate at least 100 hats, scarfs, mitts, mittens, lap robes, etc. to the local community outreach center. They are distributed with the Christmas food baskets and are so appreciate. It warms our hearts knowing we are helping others ward off cold temperatures.
FF&WY: What are the most popular patterns/yarn bases/colors among your customers right now?
MSY: The majority of my customers are sock and shawl knitters so fingering weight yarns are a large percentage of my inventory. Superwash merino with a nylon additive and great yardage makes them smile each time they look at a new indie dyer product. Many are also hat and cowl knitters and like more commercial yarns for those projects, although the multi-color worsted weight yarn I recently purchased from Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns is very popular.  I carry a nice selection of commercial yarns from Berroco, Plymouth and Universal yarn companies. These are good, solid basics which everyone needs at some point in their knitting.
I continue to knit shop models which help people with ideas. I have learned that creativity needs a little push sometimes and I am trying to help people with color combination and pattern choices.
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FF&WY: What is your favorite yarn brand (yes, this is a trick question)? 🙂 
MSY: Personally, I’m hooked on your Mini Skein Packs in Cheshire Cat fingering. I also really like yarns from KnitMona and Wandering Wool.
Thank you so much, Kim!
Next stop, as we knit on down the road is: Natural Stitches in Pittsburg, PA.

Aaaaaaand…we’re off!

We start our road trip going north up 91 from Bratt.

The first stop on our cross-country-and-back-again journey is Must Love Yarn in Shelburne, VT!

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Kelly, Angela, and Jennifer met at a knitting group that started five years ago, and generously took the time to share with us their story of how Must Love Yarn in Shelburne, VT came to be. Thanks so much, ladies!

FF&WY: Why/when/how did your shop come to be?

MLY: A few years ago, two local yarn stores in our area went out of business and a number of us from our knitting group began talking about how we really needed a new yarn store in the area.  We talked about it off and on for quite some time, but finally we got very serious about it last year and things really started taking shape, and here we are!

FF&WY: What makes your shop unique?

MLY: Our shop is unique to many stores because we try to carry a lot of local and regional yarns, as well as small indie yarn companies.  We have products from as close as the next town south, Charlotte, as well as Colchester, West Dover, Monkton, Middlesex, St. Albans, Stowe, Brattleboro, Waitsfield and a few others!  We love supporting small, local companies and trying to help them grow their business as we grow ours.  We are in an area frequented by tourists and people traveling to the area for business, and they really enjoy being able to take a piece of Vermont home with them, in the form of yarn, or fiber arts related products.

FF&WY: Do you have regular social meet-ups, like a knit night or KALs?

MLY: The fiber arts community is so important to us, so besides holding classes and workshops we also have two social knit/fiber arts groups that meet weekly.  One group meets Wednesdays 5pm-7pm and the other is Sundays from 1pm-3pm.  There are a number of our customers who attend both groups, and some who can only come one day or the other.  There are knitters, crocheters and spinners of all different abilities who come together to share their stories and skills with one another, and one thing is certain, we always have a great time!

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I love this blurb on their About Us page, as it really sings to the beauty of shared passions bringing people together to create something bigger than themselves. We applaud your entrepreneurial spirit!

“Three women, all with very different lives, careers and stories, brought together by our love of knitting.  We had each thought about the logistics of opening a yarn store, but on our own couldn’t find the time and resources to make it a reality.  After a bit of talking, we realized that three heads were better than one, and that together, we could really make this work.  So after lots of planning we put things into motion and here we are!”

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Thanks again, Must Love Yarn, for being the 1st pin placed on our map! Okay, technically it’s #2, since #1 is our studio location in Brattleboro, VT. For those of you who want to visit Must Love Yarn, the store is located at 2538 Shelburne Rd., Suite 1, Shelburne, VT. You can also give them a buzz 802-448-3780, or even order online via their website, where you can find our Queen of Hearts MCN yarn, as well as our Cheshire Cat fingering Mini Skein Packs!

And thank you, readers, for joining us on this adventure. Happy knitting!

The “Perfect and Best” Road Trip

Greetings, Frabjous Friends!

We’re coming back into this blog space with adventure in our hearts! It’s not possible for us to really get on the road and travel through all 50 states (because, yes, we’ll include HI and AK, too!) to visit every one of our amazing retail partners, but we’ll follow this brilliant map as best we can, to bring you stories, photos, and projects from all over the country.

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Check out this itinerary for the perfect road trip, brought to you by Discovery News and a sophisticated algorithm to determine the best start-anywhere trip, complete with a list of the best landmarks to check out while you’re there.

Of course, we think the best landmarks are yarn shops! So, we’ll take the trip from home, featuring and interviewing our friends in each state as we go, starting right here in Vermont!

Stay tuned for our own detailed itinerary, with the shops we’ll be visiting along the way.

In the meantime, we have a limited edition colorway from now until June 30th, to celebrate the excitement of primary season. Get your needles into some Caucus-race today!

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TNNA Wrap-Up, and…the Winner!

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So, maybe we needed a little recoup time.

Hi there!

Resurfacing, we find that we owe you a giveaway winner, some peeks at newly revealed product, photos from the show, and update on Tutorial Tuesdays!, and, um…probably other things I can’t remember right now.

Firstly, we went to Ohio! A colorful time was had. We reconnected with fabulous longtime customers and we met some lovely new folks, too. We shared an enormous selection of brand new colorways on our Wonderland Yarns bases, adorable new felt, and other forms of fiber joy.

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This is what we looked like either immediately before or after (I can’t even remember) the feeding frenzy that was the Sample It! event, which immediately followed our all-day booth set-up. Holy cow. You guys. That was craaaaaazy.

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We managed a tiny bit of playtime and wandering, found some BIG needles, and someone (*cough cough* Melody *cough*) might have turned me green with envy when she acquired one of these.

The most important thing to tell you is this: we’re filled with gratitude for everyone who came to visit our wonderland at the end of the row. We love you!

It was an exciting, exhausting whirlwind, but we’re glad to be home and back to the dyepots. We’ve got orders to fill!

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We released 11 new colorways in our Mini Skein Packs at the show, btw. I might be picking a favorite here.

Also, alllll the new yarn:

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The neutral need is satisfied! Huzzah!

I’m pretty sure, though, that what you really want to know is who takes the prize from our previous post, so here you go: it’s Jamie!

Jamie asked a question about how to separate your fiber for spinning equal amounts to ply. We’ll definitely be discussing this on Tutorial Tuesdays! If all goes well, we’ll be posting our first video on Tuesday, June 16th! Stay tuned!

Happy Friday!

One More Day!

We’ll keep the guessing game open for our fiber giveaway until tomorrow night (that’s Wednesday, March 18th!).

Oh, and since it’s proving to be difficult, we’ll put everyone’s name in the bucket for at least venturing a guess, with additional entries for correct guesses on the fiber types. Sound good? Now, head on over to comment on the Giveaway Post and we’ll announce a winner on Thursday!

In other news, there has been shawl progress:

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Are you working up a LightWaves shawl, too? Keep up with our intimate little KAL on Ravelry. I’m starting in on my Too Much Pepper waves today, after I peruse videos on the German short row technique.

Which short row technique do you like best?

Stalling Out

So, what do you do when you’re nearly there on a knitting project and you just. lose. steam?

I read this satirical article, and nearly wept with maniacal laughter because all good satire has a kernel of truth that resonates in a universal way, and it is no stretch of the imagination to picture my current nearly-off-the-needles project becoming an unidentifiable monster mess as my mind wanders in the final inches.

It’s not my Enchanted Mesa…that pattern is far too engaging a knit for there to be any danger of wandering off. I had to stop knitting it, though, because the needle cable I need for the next step is currently stuck in another project, as I mentioned in the previous post. I know I could just put the stitches from Other Sweater on a holder, but there’s only a couple inches to go, and I told myself I must finish this long-lingering thing before I could let that cable loose to touch another project. But, it’s stockinette in the round, 250-ish stitches per round in fingering weight. No change in color, just around and around and around and I feel like every row takes three weeks to knit. It has crossed the threshold from meditation into tedium.

This is exactly the reason why knitters tend to have 500 projects on the needles at once, am I right? Maybe you have some advice for me, but my advice to myself is to start something new today; just a little something small to whip through and feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s how I preserve my knitting sanity.

Speaking of new projects, we have some new designs for Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns, and we have such a good time bringing them to life, there’s no strain to make it to the finish line. We’ll have cowls, a scowl, and some exciting new ebooks coming up very soon. Stay tuned!

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Buttons!

Before we get serious, we like to have a little fun while testing the light and getting in the mood:

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Or maybe we just really love mini packs and buttons.

Happy Thursday!

ps: Don’t forget to comment on our knit-along thread in our Ravelry group if you’d like to join us in knitting the LightWaves shawl starting on March 1st!