A Time to Crochet

As far as handcrafting goes, turning yarns into heirlooms with a crochet hook is just as one-of-a-kind as creating with knitting needles. And this year, the fashion industry has embraced crochet for its versatility and style.

We thought this was the perfect time for a new Viewpoints book. Having culled together beautiful crochet designs from modern and skilled designers, we present you with A Time to Crochet, eight fresh and modern crochet patterns from seven different designers.

Kristen TenDyke combines Crestone and her eye for unusual construction to create Savona, a completely seam free cardigan. Dolman sleeves and the vertical textural strips of the button band are the added touches that make this cardigan stand out in the crowd.

Susan Mills uses crochet stitches to build Livorno with raglan sleeves and a striking striped yoke. The donegal tweed of Telluride adds extra textural dimension to this classically shaped pullover.

Robyn Chachula uses lacy crochet motifs to design Alessandria. The large ribbed collar and open sides flatters all sizes. The softness of Fresco allows this piece to drape beautifully about your body.

Charles Voth makes Cerro's blend of soft pima cotton and alpaca really shine in his design Bergamo. He uses reversible motifs to form the stunning neckline and the airy lace stitches of the body are also reversible.

Lillian May's crochet accessories are right on trend. Combining Mohawk Wool and Telluride, she uses beautiful flower shaped motifs to form Ferrara. On the other hand, or on both hands in this case, 8 granny squares made of Alpaca Sox are seamed together to form the two fingerless mitts of Novara.

Kathy North designed Biella with overlapping fronts in our bright self-striping colors of Camelot. Openwork edging is a lovely added detail that really completes the look.

Jill Wright's Ravenna embodies the joyful lightness that can be achieved with crochet. Worked up in our much loved Mohawk Wool. The flow of this poncho moves when you do, keeping things simple and elegant at the very same time.

With crochet firmly established as one of the top five trends of the year, this is a great time to give it a try! There are so many viewpoints represented on the art of crochet here, you're sure to find something that pulls you to pick up a hook and begin.

Our Mothers' Influence

When we knit and crochet, we not only feel connected to the fiber at our fingertips, we also are reminded of those who honed their skills at handcrafts before us. With Mother's Day just days away, we at CEY were talking about what influences our relatives have had on our love of creating things with our own hands.

Sales Director, Heather says,
"I learned from both my mother and step-mother. Both of their mothers were also knitters. My mother’s mother used to knit in the ski lodge while my grandfather skied. This same grandfather used to work in the weaving mills in Uxbridge. He designed the fabric used as seat covers in Ford automobiles. He also was recognized for making the covers for the cameras in the planes during WW II. Working with fiber seems to be in the blood!"

Model Lindsay and her son.
Designer, Tonia says, 
"Ever since I can remember my mother and aunts gathered together to knit. I grew up with family knit nights. When I was little I tried my hand at it but somehow never succeeded at making anything more than some very interesting Barbie clothes. Honestly, in my teens I was "too cool” to appreciate what they were doing, but after I got out of college, I really came to appreciate their knitting so much, so my cousins and I joined them. Sadly, we don’t gather as much as we used to with the larger group. However, my mother, sister, daughter (age 23), and niece (age 9) do often get together and knit. My mother and I sometimes tag team projects since we seem to get the same gauge on different size needles. One of my most treasured possessions is a blanket that she did sections of and I did others.We passed back and forth until we finished it."

Betsy and her granddaughter.
Head of CEY, Betsy says,
"I learned to knit in the Girl Scouts; I had wanted to learn badly because my mother knit and my grandmother crocheted. The first real thing I knit was a long scarf with some kind of pattern stitch knit in an acrylic yarn, probably the only kind available in our neck of the woods. I was also learning to ski about the same time, and I proudly wore my scarf for a ski lesson. It got wrapped around the rope on the rope-tow and was completely ruined! Lesson learned – hand knits are to be carefully loved!"

So we say 'thank you' to all who came before us and paved the way for the knitting and crocheting that we love so much. Who influenced your desire to create things by hand?

The MountainTop Collection

In celebration of Earth Day, we'd like to tell you about our MountainTop Collection of naturally undyed yarns. Did you know that each of the yarns in this collection is made using a range of naturally occurring colors from alpaca and sheep blended with other undyed fibers? Read about each of these lovely qualities, then leave a comment on which you would like to sample - and why - for a chance to win a skein of your choice!

The MountainTop Collection currently includes seven yarns across a variety of weights, each with its own unique characteristics.

The thinnest yarn in the collection is Vail, pure luxury in a light fingering weight of 70% baby alpaca and 30%. The bamboo gives the yarn a most delicate luster and drape, while the alpaca contributes an ethereal softness.

Mohawk Wool is grown and spun in the USA. The natural colors of lustrous merino and lofty Romney wool combine with a bit of nylon in this sport weight 3-ply yarn. With a generous 375 yards in each hank, the yarn makes beautiful fabric for shawls, accessories and garments. The bit of nylon adds the strength necessary for cozy, durable socks, if that's to your liking.

Canyon combines Pima cotton with just a hint of undyed alpaca. The alpaca brings loft to the cotton, creating a smooth and silky yarn in a perfect weight for summer.

Crestone is a worsted weight 100% wool for the those that like working with a true woolly wool. It  makes a beautiful, durable fabric, perfect for long wearing garments and accessories. The marled colors add a bit of extra interest!

Vista is interchangeable with Crestone being spun at the same weight and twist, but by combining it with 50% superfine alpaca, we've added an extra bit of softness and silkyness.

Chalet is a chainette yarn - the construction simultaneously provides strength and lightness. Add a luxury fiber blend of baby alpaca and bamboo to that inherent lightness and you have Chalet, a decadently soft yarn with a lovely drape in a chunky weight yarn.

A chunky weight of alpaca and wool merge in a plump, squishy 100 gram hank of fiber scrumptiousness in Blackthorn - truly a joy to knit with!

(Psst - Keep a lookout this fall for a new addition to this earth-friendly collection.)

Remember, leave a comment (by midnight EDT Sunday April 24, 2016) letting us know which of these lovely yarns you would like to win and why. Please include a Ravelry name or contact email. Good luck!

New Choices Keep Springing Up

Slowly but surely, the weather is warming. Our new spring yarns have arrived at LYS and the shelves are stocked with our tried and true favorites, and the spring issues of knitting magazines are appearing on shelves everywhere.

Let's take a look at the new patterns that designers have come up with for this new season.

If you've seen the latest issue of Love Of Knitting, you've seen Melissa Leapman's Chloe Cardigan. It's on the cover spotlighting this Bay Blue colorway. The cheerful shades of Cerro make me think of spring and this is a great transitional piece you can have ready to wear as the weather warms.

Photographer: Lisa Vandenoever. Courtesy of LOK.
The Natalia Sweater, by Leah Coccari-Swift, is such a great use of Liberty Wool. With one solid and a second variegated colorway, this self-striping yarn makes the multi-hued colorwork a breeze. Knitscene really captured the the ease of transitioning from cooler to warmer weather in their spring issue.

Photo: Good Folk Photography. Courtesy of Knitscene.
We hear time and again, how much you love Mohawk Wool, so we were pleased to see Amanda Scheuzger's latest topper in the new Spring Issue of the returning knit.wear. The clean lines and simple texture really make the stitch definition of Mohawk shine through.

Photography: Harper Point Photography. Photo courtesy of Interweave Knits.
Marty Miller uses Liberty Wool in her remake of the 'Rufflier Scarf' in the Spring Issue of Interweave Crochet.This airy scarf allows the yarn to show its colors in interesting and varied ways.

Photo: Harper Point Photography. Courtesy of Interweave Crochet.
Lastly, Vogue Knitting has what may be the perfect sweater to bring on vacation. Deborah Newton's #17 Deep V-Neck Duster can be worn over a flowery dress to a nice dinner, or with shorts and flip-flops for a quiet stroll. Soft Linen's versatility adds to this piece's ability to be a good fit for both casual and dressy attire.

Photo courtesy of Soho Publishing.

The magazines offer up so many beautiful choices from different designers each season. The only hard part is trying to decide which pattern to cast on...

What season IS it?

At this time of year in the yarn business, we have to think twice about what our focus is. It seems no matter how long we have been creating yarns and their corresponding designs, we still get a bit befuddled this time of year. That’s because our new “spring” yarns and patterns are out and available to you at your LYS (go check them out!). And while we are still talking about spring, we are in the throes of getting the sales force ready to show the new fall line to your local yarn store. 

One of the most important jobs is making little hanks of yarn (“mini-skeins). To make these, we use an antique reeler, one that has been with the company longer than nearly all of its employees. We make thousands of mini skeins which are then used by your LYS when they make their decisions; we also take them to trade shows and use them at CEY Yarn Tastings hosted by shops and guilds all over the country. 

The sales reps also show the shops every color of each and every yarn – that’s a lot of colors! The yarns are cut into strands that are looped onto skewers. Once all the yarns are looped on, the skewer gets glued to a large printed “board” and trimmed. Since the “presentation boards” show all the current colors in a particular quality of yarn, it makes it easy (or not so easy!) for shop owners to choose the best palette of colors to stock their shelves. 

We are also madly finishing up photoshoots, stroking knitting lots of sample swatches of each new yarn, selecting and cropping photography, and fondling labeling samples. All for fall which is still many months away. 

So you can understand why we can’t seem to figure out what season we are actually in – is it spring? or is it fall? I guess “it depends.”

Even More Options!

Sometimes you find a pattern you just love, but not always the color choices that go along with it. So you ponder if you should go with the yarn it calls for and settle for a color that might not totally speak to you, or prepare yourself to make some tweaks if you choose to make a substitution.

We are in love with Fortuna, the newest addition to our spring collection of yarns. And while we always have new patterns to support a new yarn, there are only so many our design team can produce.

Farrah and Freda from our latest book Fortuna

  The good news is that new Fortuna and a seasonal favorite, Bella Lino, are interchangeable!  

Semi-solid shades of Fortuna and the variegated tones of Bella Lino

 Dyed on the same yarn base, Fortuna is available in 10 rich tone-on-tone colors while Bella Lino has 13 striping colorways in just the right balance of bright and muted color combinations for summer.

Fifi in Bella Lino and Fortuna
That means there are a lot of summer-ready designs to choose from for both of these yarns.  

Frankie in two shades of Fortuna
Frankie is a cute ruffled tank top that would also be beautiful in any of the Bella Lino colors. Or consider adding an extra bit of color and interest by combining the two in Francine? You could make the border accents with both Fortuna and  Bella Lino or choose Bella Lino as the main color and combine the softer tones of Fortuna as the accents.
The colorblocked ease of Francine in Fortuna
Two other Bella Lino favorites are Wavelength and Stand by Me. These pieces would be equally beautiful in Fortuna.
Both Wavelength and Stand By Me in Bella Lino
You get the idea – the two yarns can be swapped, combined, mixed matched – there are all sorts of possibilities! We can’t wait to see what you make!

We can't wait for spring!

Can you tell? We can’t wait for spring to arrive. So we decided to release two patterns early! Both are from the upcoming book Highland Summer and are now available on Ravelry.

Una is an elegant, all occasion cardigan to welcome the warmer weather. It’s made in Sandpiper, where 8 plies of multi-dyed strands are twisted together to create colorways with depth and interest. This is the perfect project to start now to be ready for the warmer weather ahead.

Bonnie is a fun-to-knit pattern worked in Silky Alpaca Lace, with an easy to remember stitch pattern. What a stunning piece to wear! And notice the fringe? A win-win! Fringe is totally on trend and makes for no ends to weave in.

Just for fun, and because we love spring, leave us a comment, telling us which of these patterns you'd like to knit, and we'll choose a winner. Be sure to leave your Ravelry username or another way for us to contact you. We'll send the winner (selected randomly) a link valid for any one free CEY pattern! The deadline to enter is Sunday, March 13th, at 2:00am eastern time – which is exactly when we change the clocks to Daylight Savings Time on the east coast – a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

So while it's still too early to really go outside and dig in the dirt, know that spring is on the way and cast on one of these beautiful pieces!