Wednesday, January 31, 2007

February Newsletter

Here's a link to our February Newletter:
And here it is live:

February 2007

Website news: we’ve revived the Knitting Circle gallery by letting you post. Visit to see what everyone’s working on.

The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival is coming! The RosieBus will be heading down and back on Saturday, May 5th – details soon!

Aussi Wool Bulky: Nice solids, will wear well, great value. 100% wool, 128 yards, 3.5 to 4 sts/inch on US #9, $8
Baby Alpaca Chunky(Cascade): If you are a Blue Sky Alpaca fan, you’ll love this: bulky, buttery, great colors (we have just a short selection now), and super price. 100% baby alpaca, 108 yards, 3.5 sts/inch on US #10 needles, $12.50
Cashmere 5 (Artyarns): It looks like cobweb weight, but it’s a 5-ply stranded cashmere, so when you hold the plies together, you can make pretty quick work of it. Good value. 100% cashmere, 102 yards, 4.5 sts/inch on US #8 needles, $44
Creative Focus Superwash (Nashua): Another good product from former yarn store owner Linda Pratt’s Nashua. This merino superwash comes in a zillion in wonderful colors with excellent pattern support. 50% merino, 50% wool; 4.5 sts/inch on US #8 needles; 218 yards; $10
Esperanza (Schaefer Yarns): A big hunk of fantastic softness. 70% lambswool, 30% alpaca; 280 yards; 3 to 3.5 sts/inch; $38
Herdwick Fine (Autumn House Farm): If you don’t know this sock yarn, you’ll want to. We have 4 very pretty handpainted colorways, spun and done in Pennsylvania!** 100% superwash merino, 450 yards, $22
Jitterbug (Colinette): Colinette dips some very nice sock yarn into her vat – we just wish that the yardage were more sensible. For a pair of adult socks, think shortish and uncuffed. 100% superwash merino, 294 yards, $20.50
Silk Lace 20/2 (Claudia Hand Paints): 1100 yards of luminous threads of 100% Claudia Handpainted silk. Wow. $40
Silk Rhapsody Glitter (Artyarns): The glitter is lovely and subtle-enough for the flash-averse, and the luster of the silk with the halo of the mohair is delectable. 50% silk, 50% kid mohair; 260 yards; 4.5 sts/inch on US #7 needles; $44
Tofutsies (South West Trading Co.): A new entrant in the alternative fiber content universe – no, it’s not tofu sock yarn from Japan, but a happy mélange of cotton, wool, soy, and chitin (KAI-tin – obtained from recyling crustacean shells). 50% wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin; 468 yards; 8 sts/inch on US #2 needles; $16

And, we have new stock of Black Bunny Fibers sock and laceweight.

** Pennsylvania yarn is another way to get more local in your craft, not just in your fruits and vegetables. On read about an installation in Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art to use locally-sourced materials to make a suit – from underpants to jacket!

Knits from a Painter’s Palette: Modular Masterpieces in Handpainted Yarns (Maie Landra). You might have a few of the color-xeroxed leaflets—you’ll go berserk for a professionally photographed book. Her first! (How is this possible?) Lots about their process, the farm – and terrific patterns. $24.95

Artic Lace: Knitting Projects and Stories Inspired by Alaska’s Native Knitters (Donna Drachunas). If all the gorgeous laceweight in the shop doesn’t make you reach for this book….$26.95

….& Penny Straker Patterns! These classics are written for weights of yarn, rather than brands, so you can choose what’s right for you (or use up some stash). Must make: Child’s Owl cardigan!

Needle Felting tools. Because we’re tight on display space in the Cellar, if you don’t see what you need, just ask! Also, wonderful felted buttons.
SPINNERS: Louet drop spindles have arrived (just $16!), and wrist distaffs from Lacis are en route. (Expect more roving in the Cellar this spring, too.)

FEBRUARY’S PROJECT OF THE MONTH: Seeing (RED) Kit from Design Source
It’s a hat – or scarf – or pillow, in two hanks of red Manos Cotton, along with patterns for the aforementioned items, plus bits of green and red Manos so that you can make the apple hat on the blog. Rosie’s will donate $9 from every kit to the Global Fund for AIDS, and Design Source – who bring us all things Manos – are donating a portion of profits as well. For more on Project (RED). $18

Call 215 977 YARN to reserve a place. For detailed descriptions, what you will learn, and materials you may need to bring, call the shop, or visit the web.

Beginners’ Knitting: 6 weeks, $125, materials included.
This is the class for anyone who has never held a knitting needle or for someone who “kind of learned a long time ago” and would like to have a thorough grounding.
Starts: February 15th (6 Thursdays, 6 to 8 p.m.)

Workshops are Sundays from 1 – 5 pm at Rosie’s. Check the website for materials included/required to bring with you.

2/4: Cables and Arans $40
2/11: Fair Isle Knitting $30
2/18: Basic Socks $45
2/25: Spinning with a drop spindle $40

Time to de-stash the knitting library? Take your saleable condition books to Rosie’s to sell on consignment. Questions? see/email Lisa.

Every Tuesday there’s a new yarn on sale online...Rosie’s Yarn Cellar is open 24 hours online and in 3D seven days a week: M, T, Th, Sat: 10 - 6, Weds: 10 – 8, Fri: 10 – 7, Sun: 12 – 5.

Lisa R. Myers
2017 Locust Street
215 977 YARN

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A New Yarn of the Week

I'm getting better at this, the yarn of the week is only 4 days late as opposed to the usual week or more late.
And the yarn of the week is Alchemy Alpaca Pure!
Regular Price is $14 per skein, sale price is $10.
144 yds/50g.
Can't beat it with a stick.

Friday, January 19, 2007

A New Project of the Month (or so)

I know, I know. The project of the month never lasts just a month, sometimes it's 2, or 6 weeks, or 3 weeks. Who knows? We just like to keep you guessing! (ha!)
But seriously, we have a new project of the month and it is really, really cute! This Apple hat is designed by Andrea and knit in Manos Cotton.
The project of the month is technically a kit called Seeing RED Kit from Design Source--
and it's a fundraiser as well. We will be donating $9 of every purchase to the Global Fund For AIDS. Design Source will also be making donations for each of the kits they sell to us. The kit comes with 2 skeins of red Manos Cotton, the bits of green and brown Manos Cotton you need for the leaves, and a pattern for this hat, a scarf and a pillow. Lots of options (but I don't have pics of the scarf or the pillow). If you like, please consider sending a donation directly to:
United Nations Foundation
Attn: Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB adn Malaria
Dept. 344
Washington, D.C. 20055-0344
or go to to learn more about Project RED.
And I hope there will be a new yarn of the week today too!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Stop Insulting My Grandmother

There must be 500 new knitting books being published this Spring. And 475 of them have the word "young," "cool," "hip," or "easy" in the title.

I don't know about you, but Courtney and I are sick of it. We're sick of people claiming that what they do is "not your grandmother's knitting," as if there was something wrong with our grandmother's knitting.

(Hey, publishers--stop insulting my grandmother. I know that's not what you're trying to do, but I've had it. Eve Plotnick and Dorothy Myers were women of skill, patience, resourcefulness, and creativity. And if you think I'll ever think better of anything you're showing me because you tell me it's unlike what they did or would do, you're way wrong.)

And we're sick of all the books that promise to deliver nothing but easy projects. Guess what? Knitting isn't difficult. In other parts of the world, 4-year-olds do it. Every person reading this--everyone capable of learning to use a computer to read a blog--is smart enough to do any kind of knitting we want.

Do you hear me, publishers? Stop calling us stupid. Every time you tell us that it's all so easy, we hear what you're really saying: "Knitting is so hard. Numbers are so scary. Let us hold your hand." Remember the uproar over the talking Barbie that said "Math is hard"? Same thing.

So here's the new policy at Rosie's: We're not going to order any more books that have "Easy" in the title. We've told our book distributor to take us off the "automatic" program that guarantees that we get every new title that comes down the line. There's too much out there, and too little of it is good. We'll still have books--lots and lots of books--but they're going to be the best of the new (like Knitting Nature) and all the old titles that you may not know if you haven't been knitting for 15 years. (There's a reissue of Sarah Don's The Art of Shetland Lace coming soon. That's a book we'll carry.) We'll choose a few beginner books--some people learn visually, some people prefer verbal explanation, etc.--and keep them, but we won't get all the "Everything you need to know to start knitting!" titles.

I'm not saying everything you knit has to be an epic project. Sometimes you need a quick baby hat for a gift, or you knit the same simple sock pattern again and again because it fits well and you can do it on autopilot. The first mitten you knit probably won't be some 10-color Latvian tour de force. There's nothing wrong with that.

But there is something wrong with letting a new knitter knit one superbulky garter-stitch scarf after another, until she thinks she can't do anything else. We've never done much of that at Rosie's. (All you folks who've taken our Beginners Knitting class: do you have any idea how unusual it is to be knitting a hat in the round, using double-pointed needles, in your first knitting class? Call a friend who learned to knit in Kalamazoo or Los Angeles [Celebrity Scarves, anyone?] and ask her what her second project was.) So you guys are already ahead of the curve.

But now we're going to challenge you to take it a step further. We're going to challenge you, in fact, to challenge yourselves. We're going to give you every opportunity to do something new: to explore a traditional form like Fair Isle in depth, or to try something entirely unfamiliar like crochet.

I'm not saying we know everything there is to know about every single technique. For some stuff, we'll be learning right along with you (needle-felting, anyone?). But there's so much great stuff out there--you've seen it in books, you've seen it on blogs. And there are books about how to do things, and people to call for advice.

And you know what? We're smart people. We can figure it out.

My View (rough and quick)

I'm going to add a little to what Courtney said, and then start drafting another post that'll take a little longer 'cause it's going to be some kind of rant or manifesto or something. But before I forget the details, here's a little about what we've seen:

Well, first, Courtney's right about how crazy the landscape is here. It's also really entertaining to listen to all of the locals complaining about how freezing cold it is right now--high yesterday felt like about 55. The hostess in the restaurant where we had dinner said to Courtney (enviously, I thought), "You look warm." And Courtney very politely refrained from saying, "This is called a 'coat'; this is a 'scarf'; you can buy them without a license! You should try it!"

And, second, Courtney's still asleep somewhere upstairs--yeah, right, she was going to get up at 5:30 a.m. Uh-huh. Sure.

But as for the yarn: I really came here hoping to sort out in my mind all the new crazy fibers--ingeo (the corn derivative), soy, bamboo, ones I haven't heard of yet. I wanted to see how they draped, how well the fabrics hold their shape, whether they seem likely to pill--the works. I haven't had any luck with that. Too many different blends, too much distraction from luscious wools and alpacas. Too many salespeople hovering at the booths waiting to pounce. Once you let them start a conversation, they won't let you go. And often I get the feeling that they don't really know all that much about fiber performance or knitting structure. Sometimes I get the feeling they might answer my questions honestly even if they knew.

It's a dog-eat-dog world here.

BUT. How about a spring Rowan booklet entirely dedicated to Summer Tweed? How about 6 new colors of Shokay yak fiber? How about a few MORE kinds of laceweight yarn? If that doesn't prove that we're total, hopeless yarn sluts, I don't know what will. I mean, all you laceknitters back home--any of you feeling bored with the selection of laceweight we've got now? Anyone thinking, "Gee, I'd really like to make that latest Gonzo Crazy Shawl from Smith Island, but I'm just so sick of Anne/Zephyr/Alpaca Lace"? And those of you who haven't knit anything big and lacy yet, is it because you just haven't been able to find a yarn/color you like?

Yeah, I thought so.

That'll be it for now. Like I said, I've got some bigger things to say, but they're going to take a little more time and consideration.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

TNNA San Diego

So here we are at TNNA in San Diego. I brought my bathing suit thinking that this morning I would get up at 5:30 am and put myself in a cab, go to Ocean Beach and watch the sun come up while in the Pacific Ocean on my birthday.
But it is colder here than it is in Philly. And it's my BIRTHDAY!
Aside from the cold, San Diego is great. We are staying in what is called the Gas Lamp District, which is sort of done to be like the French Quarter or something. Lots of restaurants, lots of bars, lots of people... and there are palm trees and birds of paradise that grow in the medians of busy roads. Begonias are blooming in window boxes all around us. It doesn't seem real somehow. I have never been to Southern Californina and it is really totally different from any landscape I know.
Although I think the cold is distracting us from our mission, which is after all to buy yarn for spring, we seem to be getting a fair amount done. Most of what seems to be moving us is wool and wool like things that we are mostly filing away for NEXT fall/winter except for the few instances where we are buying it anyways because it is just too great.
Things to look forward to?
An Optim roving. WTF is Optim you may ask? It's merino, but it's "stretched." We have no idea how they do this but we do know that a longer staple fiber makes a softer fiber and this is exactly what has happened. For something that is 100% merino, I have never felt anything so soft in my life. Regardless of it's being merino or not. AND the great thing about this particular roving is that I, oh yes I, can customize the colors. And for real. Not, "oh you can pick a red or a blue or a green..." There is a palette of over 250 colors and I can say, "I want one with this electric purple, the shocking mustard and a little of this forest green (not to be confused with the other 4 things you could also call forest green)." So, spinners-- any requests? Get them in now, 'cause there's a time difference we're working with here but I will check the comments in the morning (and we are so totally making this available online). I can also do this with the 100% soy silk roving. The color takes as good as your silk. It's vibrant, it's shiny, it's soft, it's great.
We went to the Interweave meet and greet and it was great. All of the people were there and I got into a great conversation with Veronik Avery about owning an old house and the challenges therein which I think was a highlight of my trip. She is great and one of the yarns that she is responsible for at JCA, Soft Sea Wool, is truly stunning. It's thin, it's basic, it's sturdy, it's soft, the colors are great and she will do great designs for it and we will all want to make the thing. I am about to fall out from the amount of tired I am and numerous times during the day I wished I was also left handed so I could give my left arm a break from holding the stack of crap while taking copious notes. But good dinner was had by all and so to bed.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

This just in....

If the unnaturally warm weather has you thinking of lighter options, why not try a pair of socks in new Tofutsies?

Just two of the many colorways we now have in stock. Tofutsies is a blend of 50% wool, 25% soysilk, 22.5% cotton, and 2.5% chiton (which is a substance made from shrimp and crab shells). Lots of bright colors to check out....

And these hand-made felted buttons

will put the crowning touch on your projects. (I'm thinking of, say, an envelope purse with a one-button closure...) Vibrant colors, and each one is unique!

P.S. It's definitely worth it to stop by and see the Knitting Nature trunk show. Unusual construction, luxurious fibers, beautiful stitch patterns.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Knitting Nature Trunk Show

Live and in person, lots and lots of knitted models from Norah Gaughan's Knitting Nature! Including:

The Basalt Tank,

the Sand Dollar Pullover,

the Spiral Scarf,

and lots of other things that have fascinated people, like the Roundabout Leaf Tank and the Moire Skirt. Plus, as always with trunk shows, some things that are much more appealing in person that might have been overlooked in the book: the Cable Spiral Pullover, for instance, and the Pentagon Aran Pullover.

They're all here through next week, so come take a look!