LYS Yarn Tastings

One of the best parts of my job is interacting with shop owners. I get to meet many of them at our bi-annual trade show, TNNA, But I also have been fortunate enough to attend several industry small business conferences. I love my time there! I enjoy getting to know many of the attendees and it’s a great chance to brainstorm ideas for their stores, especially ideas for events.

Events are always fun! They can be planned around books signings, designer appearances and trunk shows and yarn tastings. I love hearing about the creative ways that many shop owners expand on our yarn tasting kits.

Our yarn tasting kits include mini skeins of five yarns, a door prize, a knitting/crochet related game to play, as well as information sheets and free pattern suggestions. I love to hear how they build on this kit and make it their own. Often wine and food tastings are incorporated. I heard of one shop having the yarn tasting at a new local soup restaurant where both soups and yarns were sampled. And another where there was a sampling of teas, cookies and yarn!

Many shops now plan retreats at locations away from their stores. Who doesn’t need some time to get away and have a change of scenery?! At these getaways a yarn tasting may be the opening event to the retreat or maybe part of their welcome goodie bag.

Have you ever attended a yarn tasting? I would love to hear about your experience. Do you have an idea for a store event that you would enjoy?

Please let us know in the comments below.

Knitting Note Snapshots

I love my cell phone camera because of its utility when I’m knitting and sewing. Whenever I swatch or start a new project, there are a few quick snapshots I take. 

Most of my knitting note photos are needle and gauge related – just a needle gauge with the chosen needle size and a picture of the labeled ball of yarn that shows its color number. If I’m improvising a pattern, sometimes I’ll add a measuring tape for scale. From my camera these pictures go straight to Evernote where I’ll add a few notes about pattern modifications. If I’m adding the project to Ravely, photos like these are usually the first project images I use.

I take a lot of note photos when sewing also. Photos I’ve taken recently include showing how much fabric I actually need for a pattern, the fabric’s tag that states the fiber, the colors of thread I have, what modifications I’ve made to the fit, and how far in I’ve placed a zipper. 

Mixed in my photo library are snapshots of hand-written grocery lists, to-do lists, bus schedules and brochures; anything that I might want to reference. My camera roll certainly isn’t a pretty place, but it is pretty useful.

Mohawk Wool Love

Are you a monogamous knitter? I am mostly definitely not! I have to say working for a yarn company and being surrounded by gorgeous yarns certainly does not encourage monogamy. However, recently I have been pretty monogamous, not to a project but to a yarn. My current love affair is with Mohawk Wool. It truly was love at first site. I love its springy bounce, soft yet wooly hand, and above all the beautiful stitch definition. I also love that it is grown and spun in the USA.

I like to have projects on my needles with different levels of difficulty to prevent boredom. So, for easy mindless knitting, I’m working on the Dawn pullover.  I am on the body just knitting stockinette in the round. For a little more attentive knitting, I am working on my design called Kimball from our Every Day Knits book. I also recently knit one of the model garments for our December pattern collection – I know; it’s not nice to tease, but I can’t wait until I can share it!

I suspect that my love affair with Mohawk Wool will continue for a long time.

Staying Warm

Things are getting really pretty in the Northeast. Leaves are turning, apples are ripe and pumpkins are everywhere! And it’s beginning to cool down, as in extra blankets at night and sweaters for daytime. All this means it’s time to get those knitting needles and crochet hooks cranking to keep our families and friends warm!

My daughter’s birthday is coming up and I’ve decided that she needs a hat for getting around in her new home in Denver. I’ve knit her Durbin from Every Day Knits. Knit in Mohawk Wool, it’s an attractive, warm and quick hat I know she’ll love. Because she has thick hair, I’ve made adjustments to the pattern; the brim is an inch longer and I’ve picked up more stitches to compensate. The pattern tells you how to do this, so this hat is perfect for all head sizes.

I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate a new, stylish and warm hat for the coming winter, especially if it’s anything like last year! Check out our Web-Letters for plenty of ideas and take a look at the great patterns in all our books.

What’s on your needles?

Help TNNA to make a difference.

Who hasn’t had the unfortunate experience of being touched by cancer? Whether someone you know has been diagnosed, a relative or friend, or perhaps yourself – the mention of “cancer” is a life-altering moment. It brings feelings of sadness immediately followed by the thought: what can I do to help?

For many, the answer may be to bring food, take over carpool duties, run errands and assist with other daily chores. As knitters and crocheters, we also have another reaction: I need to make something for this person.

Hats are often the first project that comes to mind, for the obvious reasons. But the need to make something is deeper than a head covering. It is a way that we can surround them with love, showing our support in the moments we aren’t physically present.

The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) is our industry trade group. They have teamed up with Woman’s Day Magazine to honor National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with two free patterns, one knit and one crocheted. Both were designed by TNNA members and can be downloaded here.  

Sweet Slouch (crochet)
designed by Amy Gunderson
Raspberry Beanie (knit)
designed by Lauren Sanchez

We encourage you to make a cap, using one of these patterns or any other pattern of your choice (browse CEY’s free hat patterns here).

You can give your finished hats to loved ones, donate them to a local charity, or send them to TNNA to distribute to a chemo cap charity (TNNA will be accepting hats until the end of 2014):

The National NeedleArts Association
Attn: Chemo Caps

1100-H Brandywine Blvd
Zanesville OH 43701-7303 

Keep in mind that although October is National Breast Cancer month, there are many other kinds of cancer. This disease does not discriminate. Hats in all shapes, sizes and colors will be appreciated. Make one not for the satisfaction of donating; make one because it will give someone else a smile.

WIP Wednesday…Liberty Wool Cowl

Stripes and Fair Isle. Two trends in knitting that are not going away anytime soon. So Heather, our Sales Director, thought ‘why not put the two together?’

Inspired by a plethora of cowls that she has seen on Ravelry and in stores, Heather decided to cast on for her own tubular cowl using a Liberty Wool Solid and a Liberty Wool Print.

She started with a provisional cast on and knit one-row stripes for about half the length of the cowl (she estimated the length by occasionally draping the WIP – needles and all – around her neck). She then scoured Ravelry for a Fair Isle pattern that she thought would complement the stripes nicely, choosing a graphic motif that is easy to memorize and doesn’t get lost in the print of the Liberty Wool.

Although she started the cowl for herself, her daughter has also laid claim to it. It will be interesting to find out who wins it in the end. Looks like Heather might be casting on for another one not long after she grafts the ends together on this one!

Knit on!

Abide Cardigan and Pullover

In every pattern book we publish, there are several things that I want to make. However, like you, my knitting time is limited. Instead my mental queue of things I am ‘going to make someday’ just grows and grows (along with my WIP pile). But there is always one pattern that really appeals to me. In our newest collection Unwind, that pattern is Abide by Tonia Barry.

I love cables. I always have and always will. There, I said it (now that is on the internet I will never be able to deny it - not that I ever would have). I also seem to be having a mini love affair with shawl collared cardigans lately. I just can’t seem to get enough of them.

Put those two together and you have the Abide Cardigan.

I love everything about this cardigan. I love the cables, the shawl collar, the color the sample is knit in (6006 Wolf)…even the buttons we used for the sample. For me, it’s the perfect cardigan - interesting to make, yet not so simple that it is boring. And easy to wear! This timeless cardigan will fold into anybody’s wardrobe flawlessly. It is simple to dress up or down depending on the occasion.

But maybe cardigans aren’t your thing. That’s ok! Tonia also designed an Abide Pullover.

Using the same cable motifs, she designed a crew neck pullover that is perfect for both men and women.

Both pieces are knit in Vista, part of our MountainTop Collection. All the yarns in this collection are spun from natural, undyed fibers, creating some very gorgeous shades of beiges, grays and browns. For me that is great because my two favorite colors are black and gray. But some of you might be thinking that you would love to see either (or both) of these pieces in something more colorful. May I suggest Color by Kristin? It is the same gauge and, like Vista, it holds cables beautifully. Between the two yarns you have 34 colors to choose from. Honestly – that is probably the hardest decision you will have to make.

There are a few of us who are planning on making this pattern here at CEY, so don’t be too surprised if you see a WIP Wednesday that features an Abide in the near-ish future.

Knit on.


All good things must come to an end. Sadly, this includes our Wadena KAL.

So without further ado, here are the winners (drawn at random):

Grand Prize - Louise from GA
First Prize –  Jane from MA
Second Prize - Vickie from WA

Thanks to everyone who participated! I really hope you are all enjoying your shawls.

Knit on!

WIP Wednesday…Linda’s Wadena

September is over, which sadly means our KAL is also over. But I couldn’t resist one last WIP Wadena.

Today’s WIP is actually an FO and comes from Linda, our Design Coordinator.

Linda decided to use Majestic Tweed in 7254 Lavender, 7271 Ballerina and 7238 Espresso for her Wadena. She mentioned to me that she chose Majestic Tweed not only because she loved the way the samples looked, but also because it is so soft and luxurious it is a real treat to work with. She loves the way the yarn blooms as you knit, and it holds its shape so well that there is little to no blocking needed on a project like the Wadena.

Linda started her Wadena a few weeks after the rest of us, but it didn’t take her long to catch up. It is one of those pieces she could work on a little bit at a time – a few minutes here while waiting for her kids at karate practice, a few minutes there in the dentist office, and a few minutes after lunch. Before long her shawl was done.

Beautiful job Linda!

Knit on!