Plum Island: Seedling, High Seas

Plum Island is a small barrier island off the coast of Northern Massachusetts, part of Newbury, Newburyport, Rowley and Ipswich. The island is named for the hundreds of beach-plum bushes growing everywhere, and is home mostly to Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. This is where we shot our booklets Seedling and High Seas.

Seedling features six designs in our new yarn, Seedling, the little sister to Sprout, our wildly popular Verde yarn from 2010. Seedling is knit at a much smaller gauge, yielding a pleasantly textured fabric that is much lighter than Sprout. High Seas is a booklet featuring nine accessory designs in seven beautiful yarns: Cotton Bam Boo, Firefly, Pebbles, Premiere, Provence, Silky Alpaca Lace and Summer Set. Parkhurst and Treasure, two shawls in Silky Alpaca Lace, were shot in Monhegan Island, which you can learn a bit about in our blog post earlier this week. If you have trouble loading the flipbook below, click here to open it in a new window

Plum Island Flipbook

Monhegan Island: Cricket, Shoreline, Rocky Coast, and Seaside

Monhegan Island is the backdrop for quite a few of our spring booklets, and who could blame us? Monhegan is a tiny island off the coast of Maine whose yearly population rarely exceeds 65 people. It embodies everything I love about the New England coastline, rugged and sparse, with a beauty made all the rarer by a touch of danger. Monhegan is only accessible by boat, and the waters are choppy and unpredictable. Swimming is not advised, as the undertow is strong and the shores are impossible to land on or swim to. Cars and even bikes are not permitted here, and the roads are largely unpaved.

In a sense, our booklets Cricket, Shoreline, Rocky Coast and Seaside are your passports to this remote coastal village. Browse through the photos in our preview below to get a closer look. To view our preview directly and use the "table of contents" on page 2, click here to open the book in a new window.

Monhegan Island

Central Mass Gardens, Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home is our dedicated booklet of home accessories for Spring 2011. Fifteen designs in eight yarns, all photographed in the stunning Central Mass Gardens in Lunenberg, MA. You'll find designs in Allegoro, Classic Silk, Cricket, Firefly, Pebbles, Provence, Sprout and Summer Sox. All skills levels are represented, and you'll find knit AND crochet patterns!

The Central Mass Gardens greenhouses are lush and expansive, just the place to photograph the bigger pieces featured in this booklet. I love the bed set up between rows of plants and flowers, or the cozy velvety upholstered chair sitting amongst racks of daisies. I kind of want to live there, don't you?

Home Sweet Home, Spring 2011

Happy Earth Day!

In January of 1969, an oil well below the ocean floor off the coast of Santa Barbara ruptured, releasing millions of gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. The slick spread over hundreds of miles and devastated the California coastline. This event is largely credited as the inspiration behind the first Earth Day on April 22nd, 1970.

Historically, textiles have always been a major source of pollution, especially in developing countries. In an effort to be more conscious of our carbon footprint, Classic Elite Yarns introduced the Verde Collection in Spring 2009 with Allegoro, Chesapeake, Solstice, and Sprout followed with Woodland and Katydid in 2010. This spring, Seedling became the newest member of the Verde family.

All the above yarns include organic cotton or have an environmentally friendly component. Allegoro and Katydid are made at a facility that meets the standards for GOTS certification. This means the processes used to produce them, from harvesting to milling to labelling, are fully certified under Global Organic Textile Standards. No harmful substances are used and all manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible, including the use of natural predators instead of harmful pesticides. Furthermore, all materials used to present these yarns, right down to the labels made from recycled paper, are environmentally friendly.

In celebration of this year’s Earth Day and our day-to-day collective efforts to protect our planet, we are pleased to offer a collection of patterns using yarns from our Verde Collection.

Spring Looks, Meadow and Garden Gate

This Spring, we shot our pattern books in a variety of locations across New England. One thing was clear--we wanted our shoots to capture the essence of the season. Our booklets are a breath of fresh air, just what the doctor ordered to fight the winter doldrums.

Because location is key to communicating just the right tone, we are presenting our Spring 2011 Collection by shoot location. First, Maple Hill Gardens in Hollis, NH, the beautiful garden where we shot Meadow, four designs in Firefly, and Garden Gate, four designs in Provence. If the image below doesn't load, click here to view Maple Hill Gardens. Enjoy and stay tuned to the blog for more peeks at our new patterns!

Maple Hill Gardens, Spring 2011

April Liberty Print Colors and Patterns!

April is finally here! With this first official month of Spring comes our new colors of Liberty Print and two new free patterns. These patterns are available with the purchase of Liberty Wool from any of our subscribers, but don't fret if your local shop doesn't have them yet. They'll be available for download at month's end on Patternfish.

First our April colors...Much like the month of their release, our April colors represent cool and warm. First, there is Reflecting Pool, a blend of greens, blues and white, with a splash of lavender thrown in. Next is Campfire, a hot mix of reds, oranges, browns, and blues with an inspired electric purple stripe.

The two projects for the month are quick, gratifying knits.

Easy Baby Sweater
A raglan cardigan for girls and boys with wide ¾ length sleeves that is worked from the top down. The pattern includes sizes for 6–12 months (18–24 months, 36 months) with a finished chest measurement of 18¾ (21½, 23½)".

Liberty Wool by Classic Elite
3 (3, 4) balls 7806 Reflecting Pool

Double Thick Socks
A pair of cozy house socks that show off the Liberty Wool Print color variation with an allover double thick stitch. The result is a washable and cozy pair of socks! Written for 7 (8, 9)" foot and ankle circumference with a 4" cuff (slightly stretched).

Liberty Wool by Classic Elite
3 (3, 4) balls 7807 Campfire

Is your LYS a subscriber? Two new colors of Liberty Print will be released each month until June, and any LYS that subscribes will receive one (or more) bag of each. All our subscriptions get first priority, and will ship before any other orders. That means if your shop is a subscriber, they are guaranteed to be the first to have these colors in stock, and you'll be the first to have them!

Spring Inspiration

Home Sweet Home

Spring is upon us! The days are getting longer and our minds are turning to flip-flops, shorts, and light breezy knits. Our Spring collection is full of looks suited for the beach or the office. But where do these designs come from? Who decides what makes the cut? This week on the blog, our Creative Director Susan Mills talks about the inspiration behind the Spring Collection. Find out what goes into planning a full season of yarns and garments, and see all our Spring looks throughout the month here on the blog. Subscribe and you won't miss a thing!

Nailing together a window frame to show off our valance

I began working on the CEY Spring 2011 collection in February 2010. First, new yarns need to be chosen and new colors ordered to add to existing yarns. Choosing colors is a tricky business. We want to be up to date with current fashion trends but need to keep in mind the look of the overall palette. For Spring 2011, I looked for colors that were dusty and watered down but not quite pastel, and deeper colors with a gray or earthy tone.


Next, I put out a call to designers and get our team of in-house designers swatching. I keep track of current fashion through magazines, trend services, blogs and websites, and online and in-store shopping. Since we work on designs a year ahead of the season, I need to judge which hot trends of the moment are likely to having staying power and still look fresh a year from now. I don’t like to give too much designer direction to our designers – I like them to do what they do best and give us what they see as up-and-coming styles.

When design submissions are received, the real work begins. Choosing which designs to include to balance the collection, picking the right designs for each yarn, striking a balance between garments and accessories, AND choosing colors to fit our color themes and photography locations...all these factors create a huge interlocking puzzle. Chosen designs are usually knit in a different color and often in a different yarn from what the designer swatched. I have a big bulletin board where I hang sketches and snippets of yarn to judge the overall look of a particular pattern booklet. For spring 2011, I looked for designs that could span seasons and work for a wide range of sizes while keeping the overall look bright and sunny for summer.

As the garments are being knit, I begin planning photography. First I plan the locations and models, then schedule models, photographer and hair and make up. Planning wardrobe for the models to wear with their knitted items is time consuming. Wardrobe needs to showcase the knit item without overpowering it. Much time is spent shopping and closet-raiding and trying different outfits on mannequins or willing fit models to judge the overall look.

Beautiful wind-swept Plum Island

Then finally, we are ready for photography. Photo shoots are stressful. So much work has already gone into each sweater and a fabulous garment can go unnoticed if we don’t get a good picture. How the garment and clothing fits the model and the location and light are key. And if we are outdoors, the weather is always a concern.

It was freezing!

When photography is complete we look through the images to find the best for our booklets, ads and website and the very labor intensive process of tech editing the patterns begins. And by the time the booklets are printed and the new yarns begin to ship, we are deep into work on the NEXT season.