google-site-verification=_mvs73noi97_kSWBlJ0PsGWNtoJpQQjO16Hpc71ptRw Newsletter – "musings" – Crazy for Ewe
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Summer sun -- summer colors

We all know what summer colors are - they're bright, and juicy -- like the fruits of the season.  We've been stocking the shelves with summer yarns since February.  I love brilliant colors, but I have to admit,  at first all those summer colors seemed a little intense.  In early spring, the sun is low in the sky, and the light it shines is soft and gentle.  That's why spring colors are soft pastels.  Mother Nature knows this and paints the world with the pale muted palette of Lenten Roses. 

Come summer, though, the sun is a completely different animal.  Even now in early May, the sun is hot and bright, shining with nearly full intensity as we approach the summer solstice in just 6 weeks.  Those delicate spring shades seem a little drab against the summer sun.  Areas near the equator - Central and South America, Africa, and South Asia - where the sun shines at straight down all year long, are famous for bright red, orange, and yellows.  Softer tones would be completely washed out.  In very northern areas like Great Britain the sun's rays hit the earth at a greater angle, making the light much less intense, even in summer time.  The colors of those areas, affectionately referred to in the shop as "Rowan colors," are muted and soft. 

Here in the Mid-Atlantic region, our summer sun is even more intense than in the equatorial regions.  We need those bright colors to stand up to the light.  We crave those hot colors that symbolize sun and sand and surf.  Even if we spend our days inside at home or in the office, sunny colors are happy.  They're summer in a skein, and just knitting with them will make you as happy as a day at the beach.

Come see the brilliant colors of Tandem, Hempathy, Zooey, Modern Cotton, and Tandem.  Knit them up now to wear all summer!

 

 

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Live Grateful

It's First Friday this week. The Town of Leonardtown's First Friday theme is "A Grateful Harvest -- Share the Bounty" The merchants are collecting non-perishable food items for local food banks in the area. The event will kick off First Friday, but we'll accept donations all month. When you donate, you'll receive a ticket for chance to win a gift basket put together by generous Leonardtown Business Association members. And yes, there's yarn in there - in fact, we've donated a kit for our First Friday project, the Box Stitch Cowl!

 

The Grateful Harvest theme got me thinking about gratefulness and the bounty of our lives. At the grocery store newsstand I saw that Oprah's theme this month is "The power of gratitude" She says that the first thing in her mind each morning is "Thank you" because she believes that "If you focus on what you have, you will begin to see that you have more. And if you focus on what you don't have, you will always live in a space of lack." I think that's very true.

Our knitting always presents us with opportunities to be grateful. Just having the ability to knit is a gift - to do something so constructive and relaxing - to be creative and engaged. Every time you pick up your knitting, take a breath and thank your mother/grandmother/sister/friend who taught you to knit. Silently thank the sheep who grew beautiful fleece, the people who spun it into yarn, and the artisans who dyed it for you.

Even when things go badly, there's an opportunity to be grateful. As we all know, no matter how rotten things are, they most certainly have been worse! Mistakes in knitting are teachable moments. Reworking six inches is more knitting fun from the same yarn investment - be grateful that you have the ability to fix your mistake - or access to someone else who does. Maybe it sounds a little Pollyanna-ish, maybe it sounds like "spin", but really, it's just about perspective. Focusing on the positive allows you to be grateful, and grateful people are happier people. Try it this month and see if you don't feel happier.

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Play to your Strengths

One of the most valuable things I ever learned came from a workshop on group dynamics. This was an intensive class lasting many weekends over a two-year period. We looked at personality types and behaviors - and how different people handle conflict stress, how they show love, etc. But here is one thing that really stuck with me. "The thing you like most about someone, taken to its extreme, is the thing that drives you insane about that person." Think about that for a moment. Consider your spouse or your best friend - someone you've chosen to have in your life. What is it that drew you to this person? When you argue or become frustrated with that person, what is it typically about? Funny how that works, isn't it! In successful relationships, the partners understand each other's personalities and play to their strengths.

The same is true for yarn. Yarns have strong intrinsic tendencies - personalities, if you will. It's essential that you understand a fiber's personality when choosing a project - especially if the yarn has a strong personality. You need to know its strengths so you can choose a pattern that highlights what that yarn does best - making the yarn's personality an asset rather than a fault.

One yarn with a very strong personality is the gorgeous, silky, sparkly hand-dyed hank of wonderfulness, Rayon Metallic from Blue Heron. This yarn works up into a glorious drapey fabric that is deliciously silky and smooth - like a glimmering liquid against your skin. That drape and silkiness are this yarn's strengths. Its appeal is irresistible, and once you touch it, you're gone. Your only thought is, "Ohmygod, I LOVE this - what can I make with it?" This is where you need to be careful.

Trying to knit Rayon Metallic into a crisp, structured jacket would make you insane. No matter how you tried, you would never be able to create a structured fabric. You would forever be fighting with gauge, trying increasingly smaller needles and a variety of stitch patterns to force it into stability, and neither of you would be happy. But knit it into a silky shawl or wrap that calls for fluidity and drape, and you have a match made in heaven. Play to the yarn's strengths, and it will reward you with a fabric that looks amazing, feels absolutely luscious against your skin, and is a delight to knit and to wear.

So, get to know your yarn's strengths - swatch, ask your friendly yarn store staff, and look at projects worked up in the yarn. Careful selection of the right pattern for a beautiful yarn makes the knitting a joy and gives you a finished product that showcases both your workmanship and your fibers.

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