Archive for February, 2012

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FAQ: Credit or Debit?

February 29, 2012

If you’ve been to the shop in the past few weeks, you may have noticed a new gadget on our counter–a pin pad to accept debit cards like the one above. This means that you’ll likely hear a new question at the check-0ut counter: “credit or debit?”

The fact of the matter is, running any type of card costs us some money. We’ve decided to change our system so that we can process your bank cards as debit cards if you so desire. This will save us a little money in fees, resulting in more money to spend on stocking new yarns!

What does this mean for you? If you choose (and you certainly do have a choice) to have us run your card as “debit,” you’ll have to enter your pin on the pad instead of signing for credit. The fees aren’t transferred to you, and the system is secure, so you have nothing to worry about.

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On Our Needles: Jennifer’s Scrap Blanket

February 27, 2012

I’ve been doing a lot of knitting this winter, but I’ve really gone wild making crocheted blankets – I just finished the fourth one! Three were gifts for friends, and one was for our house. Three were “scrap blankets,” where I used up odds and ends from other projects (I save every little morsel of yarn, because you never know when you’re going to need a dab of a certain color!). Those scrap blankets are my absolute favorite to make since I just love pulling out all the skeins and little leftover balls and arranging them. I often purchase an extra skein (or two or three) to fill out my color palette or just to add yardage, and then I really get busy making stripes. I don’t know about you, but I can get totally absorbed, just wanting to add one more color to see what it looks like with all the others… and before you know it, I’ve been at it for hours, and the blankets grow very quickly!

I don’t think there are any rules for scrap blankets – you get to do what pleases YOU. My personal approach is to gather everything up, decide on a color palette, subtract any that don’t really seem to go, add in more colors as I wish, and try to keep them all about the same weight (I’m a worsted weight woman!) – I’ll add in a thin strand if I need to bulk another yarn up to be about a worsted weight (i.e. two strands of fingering weight equals about a worsted) – and then just GO! If I run out of a color mid-stripe, I’ll just pick another color that is close (or very different – your choice), and keep going to the end of the row. I use mostly wools, so I spit splice so I don’t have ends to weave in. I start by chaining as wide as I want – sometimes I make them really big – if it’s a gift for a couple, I often make it extra wide so they can sit next to each other and both be covered. I usually make rectangles and try to make it long enough that, while napping, the person can be covered from toes to chin. I like to do a wide border all around to finish it off – sort of like a picture frame.

Mushishi Blanket
I just mailed the blanket in this photo to our friend Peggy – her blanket was not a “scrap blanket” but all of one kind – I used the self-striping yarn “Mushishi” from Plymouth. It was a very special thank you gift (Peggy made a gorgeous quilt for us), and it turned out to be just beautiful (I think). Here’s how I did it: I bought four skeins of Mushisi (491 yards each, total of 1964 yards), plus one skein of Lamb’s Pride worsted in black for an edging. Any other worsted weight yarn could be substituted. I chained 125 with a size H hook, and used half-double crochet stitch for the entire blanket (my favorite stitch). I just went back and forth, and used three skeins for the body of the blanket. I used the fourth skein to go all around the blanket to make a nice border. Then I added two rows of the black Lamb’s Pride to finish it off. The blanket turned out to be about 45” x 56”, a nice size. So soft and warm. I don’t get bored with half-double for the whole blanket, because usually I am changing colors a lot, and I like the flow of that stitch – I can do it while I watch TV. Maybe you’d like to make a scrap blanket, too!

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Featured Sock Yarns:

February 24, 2012

sock yarns
It may be a warm winter, but many of us here at the shop are still wearing and knitting socks. We’ve recently added some new sock yarns to our selection to keep your toes toasty.

Clockwise from upper left: 

We’re so happy to have Knit Me Now yarns, which are dyed in Esko, back in stock after a hiatus. The pictured skeins are Steel Sock, a blend of 75% Blue Faced Leicester and 25% nylon with a generous 464 yards per skein.

Regia’s Nautica Color is a fairly economical DK weight yarn. It has 410 yards per skein and is 75% superwash wool and 25% polyamide. We love the subtle blend in these colorways–check it out in the sample sock hanging by this yarn in the shop.

Pagewood Farm has a great description of their Yukon yarn:

Our Yukon sock yarn is a perfect example of a winning combination. The merino superwash gives it washability. The nylon gives it wearability. And the bamboo makes it soft and lofty and gives it that “sheen.” And our 450-yard skeins give you plenty of yarn for a full pair of socks. Colorways in the Yukon tend to be soft and almost muted but with that bamboo “sheen.”

Check out some of the great projects made out of Yukon on ravelry.

We’ve always loved Fortissima Cotton Stretch, and we’re thrilled to have it in solid colors. This blend of 41% superwash wool, 39% cotton, 13% nylon, and 7% polyester makes for a great sock, and over 500 yards in a ball is more than enough for a pair.

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FAQ: Winding Hanks of Yarn into Cakes

February 22, 2012

Have you ever brought home a beautiful skein of yarn only to find that you can’t knit from it?

If your skein unwound into a long loop, it was sold in the form of a hank, and it needs to be wound into a ball in order to work from it easily. You can do this yourself, but many people find that they end up with a tangly mess of a hank.

Lucky for you, we offer ball winding as a free service here at the shop. As long as it’s not too busy around here, we’re happy to wind yarn that you’ve purchased from us into balls for you. You can either wait the five minutes or so it takes to wind your hank into a cake, or you can come back later to pick up your yarn.

If you’ve never seen the process of ball winding before, check out this video–it’s pretty neat!

The end result is a center-pull cake of yarn. You can pull you working yarn from the inside of the cake (best for stickier yarns like wools) or the outside (best for slippery yarns like cottons).

We also carry both swifts and ball winders if you would like your very own set-up at home. They make great gifts!

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On Our Needles: Jo’Elle’s 4-Way Mobius Cowl

February 20, 2012

4 way mobius

I am currently working on another version of my latest crochet pattern, the 4-way mobius cowl. I am using Plymouth Mushishi yarn. There is one of these cowls in the store for a sample, and you can find me wrapped up in it as I come in the door most days.

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Allison Barta Trunk Show

February 17, 2012

Allison Barta

We’re currently featuring a trunk show of work by regional designer Allison Barta. Come see the American Birkebeiner Sweater before the race!

Her patterns are available here at the shop, and the show will be up through the weekend.

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March Classes

February 15, 2012

We have a great selection of classes to keep you crafting this March! Be sure to call the shop at 218-724-6432 to save your spot if you’re interested.

Knitting 101
Fridays, March 2, 9, and 16
5:30 — 7:30 pm
knitting 101 hat
Learn the basics of knitting making a Cozy Hat. This is the basic knitting class where you will learn how to cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease and sew a seam. Join the fun!

Materials: pattern provided by instructor, 14” size US 8 needles, 3 oz. of worsted weight yarn, tapestry needle.
Cost: $30 + materials
Instructor: Kathy Thomas

Hat and “Fobius” Cowl Set
Mondays, March 5, 12, and 19
2:00 — 4:30 pm

This crochet hat and cowl set are a quick and easy way to stay warm and fashionable this winter. They are done in an extended crochet stitch which is easy to learn and works up really fast. You will want to make one for everyone you know. A mobius design means there is no beginning or ending, this cowl is called a “fobius” because it is not a true (faux) mobius design. It is crocheted back and forth as a flat piece and seamed with a twist to it.

Materials: 300 yards DK weight yarn, size H 8/5.00 mm
crochet hook, safety pin style markers, tapestry needle.
Cost: $30 + materials

Needle Felting
Monday, March 5
5:00 — 8:00 pm
class photos 12-18-09 004
Needle felting is a quick and easy way to add embellishment to plain felted knitting. From simple lines to shapes and more complex designs, needle felting is a great way to add a little more interest to plain felting. In this class we will explore many different techniques for felting in to different mediums. We will work with fleece, denim fabric, wool felt, just to name a few.
What needle felting does is fuse another layer of fiber (be it wool roving, wool yarn, or another piece of felt) onto the base fiber or felted fabric. The same technique can be used to make felted shapes, but for our purposes working the fiber into a base fabric is the most common use. The instructor will provide some roving to use for class but you will need some for the design you choose to do (also available at Yarn Harbor).

Materials: A needle felting brush or a piece of 2 inch thick foam (I prefer the foam), which allows the needles to go through the fiber and beyond without damaging the needles or the surface below. A needle felting tool, either a few single needles or a multi-tool, which has four needles inside a plastic sleeve. We will practice using both. Wool roving in various colors. Optional: a pair of jeans or item of clothing you would like to embellish.
Needle felting kits are available at Yarn Harbor.
Cost: $25 + materials

Easy Lace Scarf
Thursday, March 8
5:30 — 8:00 pm

Lisa Knits has designed a lace scarf that can be knit in three yarn weights (fingering, sport/DK, worsted). It has a four row pattern. Skills needed are knitting and purling.

Materials: Lisa Knits “Easy Lace Scarf” pattern, yarn, and needles recommended for yarn chosen.
Cost: $20 + materials
Instructor: Jean Walters

Space in this class is limited!

Basic Socks
Mondays, March 12, 19, and 26
6:00 — 8:00 pm
Basic Sock
Socks are the perfect “go anywhere” project—quick, easy and portable. In this class, you will learn how to knit a basic worsted weight sock on double point needles. Students in this class should be familiar with knitting, purling, and decreasing (Knitting 101).

Materials: Knitting Pure & Simple Beginner Socks pattern #9728, 230 yards worsted weight yarn (superwash is recommended), US size 6 dpns or size needed to obtain gauge, locking stitch markers, tapestry needle.
Cost: $30 + materials
Instructor: Cheryl Read

Crochet Toe Up Socks
Mondays, March 12, 19, and 26
5:30 — 8:00 pm

This is the basic sock starting at the toe and working up to the cuff. It will teach you all of the sections of a sock with a heel. Once you take this class and learn the basics you can design your own socks to fit any size needed. This class is spread over three weeks with some homework in between. You should be able to finish an entire pair of socks by the end of class. Once you take this you will be hooked on crochet socks!

Materials: Size US E/3.5 mm hook, minimum 450 yards light weight sock weight yarn, 3 markers (1 must be unique), tapestry needle, Leisure Arts book, “I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks” by Karen Ratto-Whooley.
Cost: $30 + materials

Mukluks for Everyone!
Tuesdays, March 13, 20, and 27
5:30 — 7:30 pm

It is wonderful when someone comes up with a great new slipper pattern. Pure & Simple has published the pattern that I had been thinking about developing, and they have done a wonderful job with it! It is sized for either children or adults, made from bulky yarn, and is quick, attractive, and fun! Join us while we play with this new pattern, and achieve warm toes in the process. You can make any size that appeals to you, or start small and move up the shoe sizes. Experience: Be comfortable with your basic knitting and be able to read a pattern.

Materials: P&S #113 Children’s Mukluks, or #116 Adult Mukluks, bulky weight yarn (amount varies with shoe size, please check pattern), double point and straight needles size 7, tapestry needle.
Cost: $30 + materials
Instructor: Katie Viren

Not-So-Basic Mittens
Saturdays, March 17, 24 and 31
9:00 am — 11:00 am

Not So Basic Mittens

These mittens are a great way to learn and practice various techniques such as provisional crochet cast-on and some basic shaping stitches. They have a unique construction in the thumb area which creates a comfortable fit. You could also choose to knit fingerless mitts, cabled mittens, or stranded mittens. Skills required: knitting in the round with double pointed needles, crochet chain stitch.

Materials: Kathryn’s Not-So-Basic Mittens pattern, and bring the following to class (the bold items are essential): yarn called for in the pattern, double pointed needles called for in the pattern, small amount of waste yarn in similar weight/contrasting color, similar size crochet hook, darning needle.
Cost: $30 + materials
Instructor: Kathryn McConaghie

Crochet 102: Intro to Crochet Hat
Monday, March 19 and 26
11:00 am— 1:30 pm

crochet hat
Learn the basics of crochet in the round with this class and make a hat. It’s a great way to learn to make single crochet in the round stitches. Once you learn this simple hat you can make many variations to suit your needs. This hat would make a great gift.

Materials: Size H crochet hook, minimum of 100 yards of medium worsted weight yarn, safety pin style stitch markers. If you know you are a tight knitter or crocheter, maybe try a J hook, it is a little bit larger. Pattern available at Yarn Harbor.
Cost: $20 + materials
Instructor: Jo’Elle Galo

Knitting 102: Ely Stocking Cap
Thursdays, March 22, 29, and April 5
5:30 — 7:30 pm
ely stocking cap
If you’ve completed Yarn Harbor’s Knit 101 class or have basic cast on, knit and purl techniques under your belt, then take your skills one step further. Explore the world of circular needles (you’ll love ‘em) and double points by knitting the Ely Hat. Come join us and expand your knitting world!
Prerequisites: ability to cast on, knit and purl (Knit 101).
Materials: Ely Hat pattern; 16″ circular needles size US 6; double point needles size US 6; worsted weight yarn; and tapestry needle.
Cost: $30 + materials
Instructor: Katie Viren

Simple Crochet Shell Scarf
Monday, March 7
2:00 — 4:30 pm
shell scarf
Learn how to crochet a quick scarf with a beautiful lace-looking design. This scarf looks very intricate and will make others think you spent lots of time crocheting, but in reality it is a simple pattern to learn and repeat. It would make a great gift for someone. This pattern can be done in a heavy weight yarn for winter wear or it can also be done in a lightweight yarn for a more delicate look.

Materials: Size J crochet hook for a tight, heavy scarf, Size N crochet hook for a loose, lacy scarf, approximately 150 or more yards of yarn of your choice. Your yarn choice will determine what type of scarf you want to produce.
Cost: $15 + materials
Instructor: Jo’Elle Galo

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