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Crazy for Ewe

6 Things to know about cotton yarn

6 Things to know about cotton yarn

Here comes Spring, and with it the plant-based fibers so many of us love to hate.  Yesterday in the shop, Bonnie, a ten-year old new knitter, was practicing her knitting.  Her stitches were perfect, but she was struggling against her yarn. It was dishcloth cotton, which is no treat to use.  She was valiant, and persevered, but you could tell it wasn't much fun.  My goal, of course, is to create a hoard of dedicated new knitters -- I couldn't possibly sit by and watch this lovely child get frustrated and lose interest in knitting simply because she was fighting with her materials.  So I swapped her dishcloth cotton out for a soft, more loosely spun cotton.  After a couple of rows, she looked up and proclaimed it to be much easier now

That's because there's cotton, and then there's cotton.  I wrote a post about cotton several years ago which helps explain what I mean. 

Cotton yarn is different from wool, that's for sure, and cotton sometimes more

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March Manos Madness

March Manos Madness

The shop is brimming with exactly what you want to knit and need to wear right now - lots of fresh spring produce!  I'm especially excited that we've finally received our big order from Manos del Uruguay in all the fibers and colors you crave.  We still have the trunk show, and I'm going to do a Facebook Live event as we open each box and see all the new lovelies!  It's all my effort to lure you to the more

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Quechua

Quechua

Our featured yarn this week is Berroco Quechua, a beautiful sport weight blend of merino, baby alpaca, and yak.  It's a lightweight fabric with a soft 2-ply construction that shows off your stitches without being heavy.  It would make a great Featherweight Cardigan, or a stunning shawl, such as Lockett. 

Designed especially for two colors of Quechua, Lockett features a fun shell more

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Aalta Yarns Trunk Show

Aalta Yarns Trunk Show

I'm super excited about the Aalta Yarn Trunk Show this Saturday!  Christine Forester, owner of Aalta Yarns will be here to talk about the company and share with you her vision and some of her fabulous products.  You already know Aalta Truth, the delicious blend of merino and baby alpaca.  She's launching a line of Truth Hand-dyes that are just beautiful.  She'll have some on hand that will be more

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Five reasons to love linen

Five reasons to love linen
Reed is the smooth, suave linen fiber that's totally changed my mind about knitting with linen.  When Shibui introduced this yarn, I kept touching it and thinking; Wow, this is linen?  Really?  It's so smooth - so soft -- so silky.  How can this be?  The answer is in the construction.  Rather than being a traditional plied yarn, Reed is a fine chainette that creates suppleness and loft in a fiber that lacks both.  This fingering weight yarn that takes advantage of linen's crispness but tempers it into a lovely smooth fiber that has totally seduced me.  Reed, you are my kind of fiber... Continue reading

Happy yarn -- Happy Cowl

Happy yarn -- Happy Cowl

I'm excited to get started on my Happy Cowl today.  It's a fun project with a rhythmic stitch pattern that's easy to memorize.  Designed for Ewe Ewe Yarns Wooly Worsted, it's worked on a size 10 needle. 

Jenny and I were talking about this yarn yesterday, and how much we like it.  The name is deceptive, because it doesn't feel "wooly" at all.  A soft merino fiber, it has a worsted spin and a smooth hand that's a pleasure to use. It's not the glamour girl yarn that you see on the shelf and simply have to have because it's so jaw-droppingly gorgeous.  It's more the girl-next-door BFF kind of yarn that's always happy and tons of fun to be with.  You never get tired of Wooly Worsted's clear colors and round bouncy construction that really shows off your stitches.  Like all best friends, Wooly Worsted is low-maintenance - happy to go for a spin through the washer and a tumble in the dryer.  Perfect for kids and babies, guys, and anything you want for everyday wear. 

Come get to know Wooly Worsted - you might just meet a new best friend today!

Sunday, February 19the from 1-4 p.m. Bring or buy, US Size 10 circular needles - 24" or 32".  See you then!

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Sweet and spicy, soft and crisp

Sweet and spicy, soft and crisp

My son brought home a bag of Utz Red Hot potato chips the other day.  They were amazing.  Spicy, yes, but not so spicy that I couldn't have eaten the whole bag.  I wondered what it was about them that was so addictive.  Most spicy things you can only eat a little bit, but this was another story.  Looking at the ingredients I saw that after potatoes, the next ingredient was "dextrose" a form of sugar.  Plain old sugar was on the list soon after - even before the spices. 

It makes sense, really, the sugar and spice have a way of balancing each other so that the effect is neither sweet nor too spicy. 

Lots of our other favorite foods use a similar balancing of flavors for a combination that's better than either one alone.  Maple ham, Chocolate covered pretzels,  Gin and tonic, Pad thai, and salted caramel ice cream are just a few.  I'm sure you can think of lots more!  Hungry yet?

Fibers for handknitting are created in much the same way.  Wool and silk are lovely together, as are wool and alpaca, alpaca and linen, cotton and wool, silk and alpaca.  Their inherently different characteristics strengthen and balance one another for a fiber that's greater than the sum of its parts.  Fiber manufacturers, and hand spinners have fun creating new blends, I'm sure.  As hand knitters we can play with fibers and textures too.  Carrying two strands of a yarn gives you a heavier fiber, obviously, but you can also play with two altogether different fibers.  Many of you have carried a laceweight mohair with wool to give your fabric a soft halo.  That's just the tip of the iceberg. 

Shibui is all about the mixing.  If you look at some of their fibers, you'll think, wow, those are some skinny yarns, but then you realize that they're meant to be carried together with other fibers in the same colorway.  It's a great concept, and it works because Shibui offers you all of its yarns in all of its colors so you have endless possibilities to mix and play. 

It's exciting to see how different the fabric made of Linen and Cima looks from the fabric made with Maai and Cima.  Or Cima and Silk Cloud.  There are no wrong choices - it's just a matter of what you like.  Shibui's chic patterns are designed to highlight different fiber combinations get you started thinking about working their fibers together, but it's only the beginning.  You can create a fabric you like and design your own wrap or sweater.  You can make your own fabric and put it into a Custom Fit sweater design that uses your gauge and your measurements.  The sky is the limit, but it starts by playing with the yarns. 

We have a few spaces left in our Shibui Mix Party event next Tuesday, August 30 from.  Carol Cama, our Shibui rep, will be on hand to guide you through the process.  It's going to be a fun evening! Come by the shop and get registered, or click here to sign up

I look forward to seeing you at the Mix party, or just in the shop and around the table.  You are always welcome here. 

Back to 23 August 2016 Newsletter

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Meeting Stacy Charles

Meeting Stacy Charles

Stacy Charles and the Crazy for Ewe Retreat 2016

This weekend Crazy for Ewe retreaters had the opportunity to visit the Tahki Stacy Charles facility and meet Stacy and some of his team.  I first met Stacy several years ago at TNNA.  I was just one of the many LYS owners he saw during those events, but as crazy busy as his booth was, he always took the time to chat with me and seemed genuinely interested in me and my shop.  He is an honestly nice person, and at our visit with him Saturday, he was warm and approachable and fully engaged with our group.  It's easy to see why I like him so much. What really struck me this weekend though, is that Stacy is a small business owner, just like me.  His full time staff is just 6 people.  And while he manages many times the dollars that I do, our concerns are the same:  Will my customers like this product?  What patterns are going to make the  most of this fiber? Is this a reasonable price for this product?  

In other words, we're both always asking ourselves, "Should I bring in this yarn, and if so, how should I market it?"  Stacy and I are on the same team.  We both want to bring beautiful, quality yarns to our customers, and we want to give current, on-trend answers to the question, "What should I make with this yarn?"  I love that.  It's wonderful partnering with another small business owner who shares my goals.   

Also, we have the same vision on where hand-knitting fits in the world.  Stacy made a comment that underscored what I've been saying for years. -- hand-knitting is part of the fashion industry.  It makes me crazy to be lumped in the arts and crafts store category.  Crazy for Ewe is not Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  Today's knitter is making things she (or he) wants to wear - things that follow what we see in magazines -- current looks that make a fashion statement and reflect their personal style. One of the standout projects from Saturday was this poncho. 

Long Beach Poncho Top Tahki Stacy Charles Crazy for Ewe

It's from the Tahki line, which Stacy said is all about American style and echoes American designers like Eileen Fisher.  He mentioned that the yarn used in that project is exactly the same yarn that Eileen Fisher used for a similar garment in her ready-to-wear line.  Same yarn, from the same mill.  Same.  Generally, I don't think of knitting as a way to save money, but for Eileen Fisher, Ralph Lauren, and other premier designer lines, it totally is. 

Colors and textures play a big role across the Tahki Stacy Charles lines.  One of the hallmarks of his yarns is a coordinated palette of beautiful high-end Italian novelty yarns.  These sparkly or textural fibers are what take your project to wow. After the presentation, one of the attendees said, "Stacy's yarns make me remember why I love to knit."  Playing with colors and textures is fun, and these fibers make it easy to create something beautiful and unique where fashion meets original art.

I could go on and on about the our day with Stacy, his warm and genuine welcome, his terrific team, and his beautiful yarns, but we'd both rather have you come enjoy his beautiful fibers.  So do.  Stop in and get started on a fashion piece that's uniquely you. Continue reading

Giotto Top

Giotto Top

We all fell in love with Solare, last winter, a new yarn from the Tahki Stacy Charles line.  Solare is a cotton blend with a great nubby texture.  It knits up into a beautiful fabric so even a simple knit looks terrific. 

In fact, it looks best in simple shapes, like this top worked in two colors of Solare.

The design is called Giotto, and it showcases the current color blocking trend in a simple flattering silhouette lets the yarn take center stage.  I was thinking I should knit one up when our shop sample arrived this week.  I couldn't help trying it on.  The pattern photo styling is great - a little bit dressy with a nice skirt or slacks - but this top is also something you can dress down and wear with jeans.  I'm not a big fan of selfies,  but I really want to show you how cute it looks with jeans too.

I was thinking you could wear it as a layering piece, either over a white cotton blouse, or under a jacket.  It's a quick knit and takes just 8 skeins of Solare.  Choose either light and dark blue or classic black and white.  We have it available as a kit on line, or you can stop by the shop to see the top in person get started on yours right away. But don't wait, because this yarn will not last long! 

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Mykonos

Mykonos

The Mykonos Trunk show is here through this weekend.  If you have not had a chance to see it, please do.  The pictures really don't do justice to the garments or the fabric this yarn creates.
 
An unusual wrapped construction gives Mykonos an interesting texture -- it's a little bit stiff which means that the stitches maintain their shape and create a fabric that's open and airy. This open fabric is perfect for summer wear because it lets air flow through it so you stay cool even on the warmest of days.  

That same texture means that Mykonos fabric doesn't roll, so you can work Odele, a simple v-neck tee shirt in stockinette for that clean, Eileen Fisher look.

Mykonos' attractive, subtle sheen looks great in all the colors - There's a large palette of neutrals - black, white, beige, two grays, as well as rich jewel tones that look just right as the sunlight intensifies with the onset of summer.  

This wrap has been a standout favorite - worked in an easy openwork stitch, it's just the thing to make sure you always look pulled together.  

Come see the Mykonos garments before I have to send them off.  You'll be glad you did!

 

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