Thursday, July 27, 2006

Newsletters.... are a great tool for keeping friends up to date with the latest news in one's life. Here's a preview of Woolbearers fall newletter. I was going to post parts of it, but think it is too interesting to tear apart.

Hope you all are enjoying your summer. Woolbearers has been extra busy this summer – creating new yarns and buying lots of new yarns.

We’ve gotten so many new yarns – I don’t know where to begin --- how about alphabetically? In case you haven’t been to the store in a while, we have...

ArtYarns, Silk Rhapsody – a silk/mohair combo. Great for shawls.

Artful Yarns has a new yarn out called Serenade. It’s an angora/cotton mix – feels like cashmere and knits at a worsted weight. We’re getting ...

Classic Elite’s new Wool Bamboo yarn – if you haven’t seen Kathy Zimmerman’s new patterns for it, you must come in. She really outdid herself this year.

Farmhouse Yarns is a fairly new hand-dye company from Connecticut. Carol Martin, the owner, has her own sheep and also buys fleeces locally, has the yarn spun for her and dyes it. Sound familiar? Anyway, we have her “Fat Sheep Yarns” and “Silk Spun Cotton”.

We think it’s really important to support the small farmers and businesses/artisans around us. Hope you feel the same way.

We have lots of fingering weight yarn – good for socks, shawls, anything you want. One of those yarns is from ...

Hand Jive Knits, another small business from California – all naturally hand-dyed and great selection of colors.

Jo Sharp has a new yarn out Alpaca Kid Lustre – kid mohair/alpaca mix. Just gorgeous and great pattern support, as usual. Come in and see ...

Lily Chin’s new alpaca/merino mix in multi colors – of course Lily’s patterns are great as ever and she has promised to make an appearance at Woolbearers sometime in October. We’ll keep you posted. As promised, we have finally received our ....

Mountain Colors shipment, lots of Bearfoot sock yarn and Weaver’s wool.

Nomad Yarns from Mongolia is handspun camel in two different weights – worsted and fingering. The name of the nomad spinner is on each label.

Regia’s new sock yarn is bamboo and we have it. It’s also great for baby garments.

Rowan has some new yarns out – Tapestry, which is an alpaca blend and comes in beautiful muted shades of soft stripes. We are also getting their new wool/silk blend in DK weight and finally getting Kid Silk Haze in lots of new colors. We couldn’t resist...

Skacel’s new yarn called Adagio. It’s a llama and silk blend – so soft! You must come in to see The Fibre Company’s Terra yarn – an alpaca/silk/merino blend. We are also getting in Claudia’s Handpaint sock yarn – looks just like Koigu and it’s better, since it is available to us; Knit One, Crochet Two’s PJ yarn – great for making baby items and their Paintbox yarn, which is wonderful for felting. I’m sure I’ve left something out – so you will just have to come to the store to see it all!

Suzie and I have been dyeing up a storm. We had a very successful venture at TKGA and have lots of new yarns in new colorways that we want to share with you. We’re especially pleased with our own “Delaware Valley Ringspun”. We bought about 600 lbs. of fleece from Charlene Carlisle in Mt. Laurel and had some of it spun in a fairly loose twist by Shadyside Farms in Pennsylvania, and then, of course, we dyed it in lots of beautiful colorways. Other new yarns include “Lanamira” a wool/acrylic/cashmere blend, a merino two-ply and a very soft single ply merino that we got from Uruguay. We also have lots of “Alfresco” dyed in tons of new colors.

We’ve got loads of classes. New classes include Sheep to shawl, triangle loom weaving, wet felted rugs, rug hooking, machine knitting, tapestry crochet, knitting tips and techniques, cables, colorwork, modular knitting, cast-ons -- please check the class list for more info.

Woolbearers will be sponsoring a bus to Stitches on Saturday, November 4th. Space is limited, so reserve early. We will be leaving Mt. Holly at 7:45 am and the return trip will be leaving Baltimore at 5:30 pm. Should be back around 8 pm. Cost is TBA. More details at the store.

Remember – the first Friday of every month, is our knitting meet-up group meeting, starting at 6 pm. The South Jersey Handspinners are now meeting at Woolbearers the first Sunday afternoon of the month at 1 pm.

Myra & Suzie

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Another Noni Bag....this one knitted by Joanna.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Monday, July 17, 2006

The Knit and Crochet Show....
.....was successful for Woolbearers. We met so many lovely knitters from all over the country and from our area. I spoke to two women who are opening knitting shops in the Delaware Valley, no competition to us. It is exciting to think that the art is still growing and thrilling people enough that they would take the risk to start a business in a highly competitive and difficult sector.

Personally, I had no idea running a yarn store would be so much work. It amuses Myra and me when customers tell us they wish they had the kind of job that would allow them to sit and knit all day. I have not had knitting needles in my hands since we went to TNNA. My bag with the Chris Bylsma Crayon Box Jacket is sitting in the shop where I put it when we returned from Indianapolis. Preparing for the show took every spare waking minute that Myra and I had, mostly for dyeing yarn. It paid off however, and I am looking forward to getting into the studio tomorrow to start working on the custom orders we picked up.

It appeared to me that knitters were looking for something different. They liked our vibrant colors, and the yarns I saw in bags from other booths were unusual and colorful. The knitted and crocheted garments we saw were lovely and well made. You could tell the wearers were proud to be have their creation on their body.

I'll have some pictures of the show to post soon.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Rina finished this beautiful piece a few weeks ago. I'll have more to write when we get back from The Knit and Crochet Show in King of Prussia this weekend. We are in booth 107 so come to visit if you haven't already been to see the market. Tons of yarns and fun things for fiberists. More later....

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Noni Bags ....

....are so cute words don't do justice, so here's a picture of the Majolica Bag our Gwen knit. The body is Lopi and the flowers are Woolbearers. This is my favorite Noni bag; I just happen to have a pretty big collection of Majolica pottery and actually had a lot more before I sold some of it to pay for part of my son's second year at NYU. Several blue pitchers I have are lined with pink glaze and have pink and yellow flowers on them! I love Gwen's interpretation.

Follow up on this morning's early post; I accomplished some of the things on the mental list. Dyed half the cashmere blend yarn, didn't skein any sock yarn, but Mary skeined some other yarn for me, found a wet, moldy towel under the back seat which attributed to the stench in my car, and decided to keep the little dog myself if my three Boston Terriers didn't mind and they don't seem to.

We had a fun afternoon with Linda, Joanna, Beth, Cate, Nina, Hinda and Mary in for knitting and spinning. The best part of this is getting to see what the women are doing and to hear their comments about each other's work and also the new yarns in the store.

I need to find out what it is Hinda is knitting and add the pattern name later, but suffice it to say that most of us were really impressed with the difficulty of it. She is leaving for Canada next week to attend her second year's class at the Ontario Handspinners Certificate Program, a six year commitment.

Linda was spinning silk and brought in some white merino she spun laceweight. Just beautiful.

Nina finished the shawl she did as part of the Twisted Woolbearers (Yahoo group) community knitting project with yarn we donated. It's lovely and will keep someone warm this winter.

Beth graced us with her presence, the first outing this new mother took without her little son, Patrick who was safe at home with Dad.

Joanna is putting the finishing touches on her Felted Tapestry Cape from Wrap Style and it is really beautiful.

Cate is knitting socks and told us her bread baking in Williamsburg stories. I can just see her in her Revolutionary War era dress, explaining to onlookers the nuances of baking bread in a brick oven, out of doors.

Rina finished her black Jo Sharp Silk and Cashmere blend Sunrise Circle Sweater; it has to be seen to be appreciated and felt to really appreciate it! If I can get a picture of it from her that doesn't include one of her new appliances, I will upload it! She did an excellent job on the sweater.

Our customers help us make decisions about new yarns to carry and also color choices. So these gatherings are important for more than just their entertainment value.

More later.....

Great Expectations

My mother is a great list maker. She will sit for hours making a list each morning and then complain she will get none of it done. I attribute this to unrealistic expectations. She will list everything that she wants to accomplish in her lifetime in her morning list. I inherited this but go about it in a different, more destructive way. Each morning at about two am, I awake with my list swirling in my head. This morning is no different. My list looks something like this.

1. Dye eight more skeins of each of three new colorways of wool cashmere blend.
2. Find home for rescued pit bull puppy who has monopolized my every thought this week.
3. Skein twenty pounds of sock yarn and dye by next Tuesday.
4. Exercise.
5. Find source of bad smell in car.

There are at least ten more items I could add, but don't want to bore you.

My teeth are finding a closer relationship lately, and to help diminish the pressure before I grind them to the bone, I have been knitting little squares of our new colorways. This relaxing
task seems to be just what I need right now. No pattern to follow, just cast on and knit stockinette. I love to see the pattern the handpainted yarns create. Myra developed two new colorways that are so rich and vibrant with autumnal tones that I want to pick apples and bake apple pies when I looks at them. I can't wait to knit a sample of our new yarn spun for us by Shady Side Farm dyed in one of these new colorways.

We have a yarn called Cotton perles that we are just starting to do more with. It's not the softest yarn we dye, but it has wonderful design qualities, is great for men's and children's garments, won't pill or sag, and takes dye like a sponge.

Handling yarn; skeining it, dyeing it, washing it, knitting it, and of course, buying it, has huge therapeutic properties. When life gets in the way, reaching for my knitting bag or sitting at the loom to throw the shuttle back and forth a few times help to calm the brain and feed the soul. When I see the flood victims on TV or read about some horror in Baghdad, my small anxieties find their proper place. But life is what it is and must be lived, so to the list to put things in their proper perspective.

In the meantime, we continue our preparations for The KNit and Crochet Show in King in of Prussia. I am chomping at the bit for daylight so I can go back to the store and start inventorying the yarn I have dyed so far. The colorful piles of yarn all around the store and studio are just phenomenal. We have really outdone ourselves and I can't wait to see our display. It should be interesting to see what we can pack into a 10 X 10 square.

Also, we finally got our back issues of Vogue Fall 2005 which contains the pattern for the Twisted Float Shrug Myra knitted out of our wool mohair blend, pictured above. This pattern has been the most popular model in the store. Two gals purchased Lorna's Laces for their sweater and the rest bought our handpainted yarn.