I’m learning how to add photographs. I can’t think of a better start than with two shots of Manos del Uruguay’s Wool Clasica, a seriously gorgeous yarn. Enjoy.
Although every good yarnie knows that means it’s the perfect time to stay indoors and stitch, fortunately for us, some will still venture out. Fortunately for them, the shop has yet to be closed for any meteorological shenanigans, although Jill had to open up today by herself because my tires were frozen to my driveway. (A little rock salt did the trick, though, and I was able to join her shortly afterward.) For those hardy souls who laughed at the weatherman’s predictions of an icemageddon, we were able to welcome them with new yarn. Ah, two of my favorite words in the English language: new yarn. Our latest additions are “Road to China Light” and “Organik” from The Fibre Company and much hand dyed wonderfulness from Three Irish Girls, which arrived in a range of sock and fingering weights, worsteds, and bulkies. As Jill can attest, I have whined that Fibre Company yarns needed to be in the shop since before there was a shop. Put one finger on any skein, and you’ll know why. And how did TIG get shelf space at GYI? That can be summed up in one word: color. Color that says, “you need me.” The groundhog has predicted an early spring, but while we wait, whether the weather is fair or foul, come over and enjoy the newest of the new for yourself.
Are you old enough to have noticed liking some things now that you didn’t used to, and vice versa? When I was eight years old I was sure I could have thrived on a diet of chocolate chip cookie dough, cake frosting, and Raisinets (everyone knew – even back then – you had to eat some fruits or vegetables). My most beloved article of clothing was made of – now I have to say it – fake fur. Of all my Crayolas, while the bright reds had the shortest life expectancies, the color that would not go away was yellow. I did not like yellow. Yellow was what they painted the walls when they wanted you to “cheer up.” The school nurse’s office was yellow.
Skip ahead a few decades, and yellow has not only been granted clemency, yellow is a good friend. It does, indeed, now cheer me up, and at this time of year I long for yellow. Unfortunately, yellow is on its annual vacation just now, as is just about every other color other than the ones that come to your mind when I say, “January.”
So being able to wrap the color of daylilies blooming in a July garden through my fingers and start to knit with it is like a vacation in itself. I’m making the sample for my Cabled Cowl class with Peru, a wool/alpaca/acrylic blend by Katia. This color of Peru is called “Mustard.” (Don’t get me started on names of colors.) I’m glad I see daylilies, not mustard, though. Mustard lovers, I am one of you. I just happen to think it’s an unfortunate name for a beautiful color of yarn.
Working with yarn, thread, or fabric is such a simple, happy-making way to live surrounded by color. I’m told my complexion is a “Winter,” and I’m right to wear taupes, browns, greys that are a little blue, and blues that are a little grey. But do I want to knit with only those colors all the time? No, I do not.
Do you want to knit with the same colors all the time? I often hear customers say they don’t “understand” color, but understanding and breaking out in a grin when you see a particular watermelon coral or a bright Caribbean turquoise is different. What colors are you missing?
So. Much. Yarn.
Starting now through January 29, all the yarn in the shop is on sale, 10-40% off. The 10% only applies to 8 yarns throughout the entire store – the newest of the new – so, basically, the entire inventory is at least 20% off. This is a classic pre-inventory sale, when we want to send as many skeins and balls off to new homes as possible. This way we won’t have to include them in our First Annual Counting of the Yarn in a few weeks, and we can clear shelves to make way for more new yarns yet to come. Kits, totes, and project bags are also on 20% sale. Come in soon for the best selection!
“Take it bird by bird.” If I were ever, ever going to get a tattoo, that would be my first choice. It’s advice the author Anne Lamott’s father gave to her 10 year-old brother. The boy couldn’t put off any longer writing a book report on birds that he’d had 3 months to write, and it was due the next day. “Just take it bird by bird.” But then I’d probably worry about whether or not to include the author’s name and copyright, what font would look best, which bird to include in the design… so I suppose I’d have to settle for a tat reading, “Done is better than perfect.” Advice my husband gives me all the time.
I admit it. I’ve been stalling on this blog, waiting for a golden morning when I would sit down in front of my laptop, having mastered WordPress in my sleep, and could insert Jared Flood-worthy photos between paragraphs that would send the Yarn Harlot herself into a swoon. Since there’s as much chance of that happening as my looking up tattoo parlors in the Yellow Pages, may I share the January/February/March Gosh Yarn It! Class Schedule with you?
First up, Knitting 101. This class is offered every Wednesday morning from 11:00 a.m. to noon, every Thursday evening from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. It’s free, and it’s for anyone who wants to become a knitter. Spend an hour with me or Jill, learning how to cast-on and make the knit and purl stitches. If there’s time, we’ll throw in a good bind-off, too. You can attend Knitting 101 as often as you like. On Thursdays, our evening Stitch & Spin (more about that later) starts at 6:00 p.m., and if you stay to keep practicing you’ll have a cheering section.
Ah, Cia. Not the cloak and dagger C.I.A., but the Cia Cardigan, a Louet pattern made with their heavenly KidLin yarn. Our sample in sunset orange has been daily admired and cooed over. Carolyn Kern will lead this class for adventurous beginner/intermediate knitters and brings 40 years of sweater-knitting experience (did she learn to knit as a toddler?) to covering sweater-making basics, from sizing to seaming. She has some great modifications in mind, too, for simplifying construction of the lace and stockinette sections. Pre-class homework is to make a swatch to gauge. The four Saturday sessions will be Jan. 15, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; Feb. 5, 10:00-11:00 a.m.; Feb. 26, 10:00-11:00 a.m.; and Mar. 19, 10:00-11:00 a.m. ($75)
Marcia Farrell is eager to show knitters why they should know how to crochet, too. Crochet 101 will teach the chain stitch and single crochet while demonstrating how knitting and crochet are complementary techniques that produce very different but equally beautiful results. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 15, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ($25).
Fair Isle Bag: An Introduction to Stranded Knitting, with Carolyn Kern, will add color to your knitting and give both your hands a great workout. The class project is Carolyn’s original tote bag design, and she suggests that students practice holding their yarn with their “other” hand before class. Both the Continental and English/American styles will be taught, but fear not, Fair Isle can be done with one hand, too. Two Saturday morning sessions, Jan. 22, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and Jan. 29, 10:00-11:00 a.m. ($60)
Knitting Socks Top Down on Double Pointed Needles (DPNs). I’m teaching this one and am an unrepentant DPN fan. For centuries socks have been made this way, and it’s still the best way to understand “sock anatomy.” While knitting a single miniature practice sock you’ll learn to turn a heel, pick up gusset stitches, and graft a toe closed with the Kitchener stitch. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 22, 1:00-4:00 p.m. ($45)
Crochet 102 is for all new crocheters, eager to start making and wearing their own creations. Marcia Farrell will help you take your skills to the next level, creating a scarf with the shell stitch that shows off the beauty and speed of crochet. She’ll cover reading and following crochet patterns and show how different yarns can produce dramatically different results. One Saturday afternoon, Jan. 29, 1:00-2:30 p.m. ($25)
Knitting Lace for the First Time is an introduction to the delightfully addictive world of lace knitting, with yours truly. You’ll learn basic increase and decrease stitches, chart reading, how to “read” your knitting to catch little mistakes before they grow, and how to add beads to your stitches, an option with the “English Mesh Lace Scarf” pattern. One Saturday afternoon, Feb. 5, 1:00-3:00 p.m. ($30) Note: This class is currently filled, but we’ll be happy to add your name to an alternate list for the February class or as a pre-registration for the next session.
What’s the latest, hottest knitting technique right now? Entrelac, a way to produce a textured, basketweave fabric by picking up stitches and knitting in different directions. Using self-shading Noro yarn, Carolyn Kern will introduce this fascinating method in her Entrelac Scarf class. One Saturday session, Feb. 12, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ($45)
The Swirls Hat is a little bit funky and a lot of fun for knitters who’ve done Fair Isle before. If you’ve already taken Carolyn Kern’s Fair Isle Bag class, you’re ready for this. Start by knitting in the round, add a dash of stranded color work, throw in the braid pattern stitch, top it off with a very cool little tassel, and you’ll have a hat you’ll wear right into spring because you can. Two Wednesday evening sessions, Feb. 16 and Feb. 23, 5:30-7:00 p.m. ($45)
Join me in making a warm wrap-around Cabled Cowl that is knit flat out of a soft bulky weight yarn such as Misti Alpaca Chunky. Along the way you’ll learn the provisional crochet cast-on, how to make really big cables, and how to graft live stitches on your needles with the Kitchener stitch, a skill that comes in very handy One Saturday afternoon session, Feb. 12, 1:30-3:30 p.m. ($30)
You knit. You purl. But are you making the most of these two stitches? The Knit & Purl Sampler Scarf/Afghan will get you exploring several different knit/purl patterns, either by making a scarf or squares for an afghan following an original pattern created by teacher Felicia Ryan. Three Saturday afternoon sessions, Feb. 19, 12:00-1:00 p.m.; Feb. 26, 12:00-1:00 p.m.; and Mar. 5, 12:00-12:30 p.m. ($45)
Once you go toe-up, you may never go back. While knitting a single miniature practice sock in Knitting Socks Toe Up on 2 Circular Needles, we’ll cover a near-perfect variation of Judy Becker’s Magic Cast-On and how to knit socks that can be tried on every step of the way for a perfect fit. One Saturday afternoon session, Mar. 5, 1:00-4:00 p.m. ($45) Note: This class is currently filled, but we’ll be happy to add your name to an alternate list for the March class or as a pre-registration for the next session.
Designed as a skill-builder and technique-oriented, rather than project-oriented, the Lace Sampler Workshop will show you how to tame even those “difficult” lace patterns you’ve been admiring. Felicia Ryan will help you master increases, decreases, chart-reading, and the nupp, an Estonian bobble stitch that people think is difficult – but not for you! One Saturday session, Mar. 12, 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. ($50)
Got Gauge? Without it, your knitting is at best unpredictable, and at worst, unsuccessful, and who wants that? Get your stitch/row gauge and you’ll know exactly what you’re going to end up with before you even begin. Felicia Ryan knows her gauge, and she’s waiting to introduce yours to you! One Saturday morning session, Mar. 26, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. ($30)
So there you have it. More classes are already in the works. They may yet be slipped into this calendar or may pop up for the first time in April/May/June. Some classes will be repeated throughout the year, including Knitting Lace for the First Time, Socks Top Down, and Socks Toe Up. For complete information on all the classes, including skill levels, supplies, and homework (if any), dash off an email to email@example.com. We’ll send you the detailed schedule.
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a treat: come and join a stitching circle at one of our Stitch & Spins, Thursdays, 6:00-8:00 p.m. and Saturdays, 1:00-3:00 p.m. Bring whatever you’d like a couple of hours to work on, surrounded by fellow yarn-lovers, with coffee and tea close at hand and cookies not far away.
Blog writer’s block: so over.
… will be posted very, very soon! In the meantime, if you’d like to receive a copy via email, just send a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the love of yarn. That’s why Gosh Yarn It! was created. It’s why we love coming to the shop each day to open our doors to knitters, crocheters, and spinners who take playing with their yarn and fiber pretty seriously.
Who are “we”? We are Jill, yarn-lover-in-chief, the one who dreamed of opening her own LYS in the Wyoming Valley and made it happen, and Ann, majordomo of the shop and author of this blog.
The shop may be just two months old, but we have over a thousand skeins, hanks, and balls of yarn, hundreds of patterns, and dozens of notions and little luxuries. While we have years of experience to share, we love discovering unique and irresistible yarns and learning new techniques. Most of all, we thrive on meeting people who know the creative potential of sticks and string.
Yes, there will be a lot of shop talk here, but also patterns and pictures and everything we can think of to inspire and encourage you to make what you love.
And, yes, maybe a recipe for brownies now and then if I can’t think of anything else to write.
That said, welcome to The Gosh Yarn It! Blog. Let’s enjoy ourselves!