Monday, March 24, 2008

Just in from UPS

New yarn arrived on Friday from Lorna's Laces, it's the new Green Line DK.  An organic yarn that is also naturally dyed, for now.  

Natural dyes are a great thing.  They are just that, natural, not chemical.  I have to applaud Lorna's Laces for doing the right thing, though.  They are discovering that the resources they are using to dye the yarn naturally is more detrimental to the earth than just using traditional dyes.  They are having to use a mordant, which all natural dyes need to make the dye colorfast.  A mordant can be different things and changes the color outcome of your dye.  Iron, urea, chromium and copper are an example of a few.  Some mordants have the problem of being toxic in and of themselves.  Because they were using a mordant there was an extra step in the dye process which used twice as much water as their traditional method of dyeing.  And the natural dyes required extra rinses to remove all the dye, using more water still.   So, this batch of the Green Line DK we have is naturally dyed, but in the future it won't be.  The wool is still organic, that won't change.  And isn't it technically MORE green without the natural dyes?  I applaud Lorna's Laces for being honest about their use of resources and deciding that they were really going to go green, and not just a facade of being green.  It would be great if more companies, across the consumer board, would do this.  Selling green and buying green isn't always greener.  

On another green note, Wendy finished knitting her Tangled Yoke Cardigan in Felted Tweed (color 154 Pickle) on Saturday.  We had a great time picking buttons and fudging the pick up count on the button bands.  

Looks great!

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Yarn From the Fibre Company, Canopy

Canopy Sport is new this season from The Fibre Company.  50% baby alpaca, 30% merino wool and 20% bamboo. 

Don't let the name fool you, this isn't a true sport weight yarn, it's knitting at about 7-9 sts/1" as is evident in Jen's traveling stitch sock, detail below.  Try it out for your own socks, bamboo will give it strength while the alpaca gives it warmth and buttery softness.  Bear in mind these won't be every day wear kind of socks, the alpaca is to tender for that.  But on a chilly night or while cuddling up with your favorite reality tv show, these will really do the trick.  

And at 200 yds per 50 gms it is a totally reasonable yarn for a lace shawl.  Spring is HERE and it's almost time for my favorite fashion moment, the tank top and lace shawl.  Once blocked I think this yarn will have a lovely halo which will give it some added warmth, without getting heavy.  The bamboo gives it a deep sheen that gives the color a subtle varigation that increases the color's depth.  It's hard to convey online but if you've seen how the Road to China sometimes takes dye then you know what I mean.  

Monday, March 17, 2008


So we've got the pattern of the month up and running, and soon all of our Rosie Knits patterns will be available to download from our website! There's nothing like immediate pattern gratification. And although The Baby Jacket With Moss Stitch Edges will still be The Baby Jacket With Moss Stitch Edges, we'll be abbreviating it wherever necessary with Emily's suggestion of BJWMSE. So much more consise, and Kate will always be able to find the file on the computer in the office. Thanks for playing the name game with me!

Check it out!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Shibori Knitted Felt

Shibori is a resist dye technique from Asia. It is usually indigo dyed fabric and the resist (like tie-dye) is created by first folding or pleating (for more geometric designs), stitching items into the fabric (like little seeds for a dotted effect) or scrunching or wrapping the fabric before submerging the fabric into your dyebath. It creates beautiful designs that are one of a kind and naturally elegant.

So when Shibori Knitted Felt by Alison Crowther-Smith arrived on the UPS truck the other day I was suprised and curious. It's not Shibori like above, which is indigo dyed, but the knitted fabric is manipulated to create textural pattern, instead of dyed pattern. There are some really lovely artistic pieces in this book like

this beaded and felted scarf. Felting with yarns that shrink and yarns that don't in the same piece is a technique that she is using, almost like a knitted seersucker. Also, tying beads into the fabric before felting creates new textures. There is an example from a knitter in New Zealand here, to give you the idea. If you are a knitter who loves to felt, or who is looking for some new techniques to add to your repetoire this is the book for you. It's got great patterns and ideas for taking your felting to a whole new place! Check out a preview of the book below and then stop into Rosie's to take a closer look.

Whip Your Knits Into Shape!

On April 11th Joan Michael McGowan, author of Knitting Lingerie Style and owner of White Lies Designs, will be teaching at Rosie's.  Check out the details here.  Joan is a maven of shaping and we couldn't be hosting her at a better time. Here's why:
Remember the scarf craze? I do. I remember talks with Lisa over coffee in the morning before the shop opened that went something like this (but those of you who know us know that I am leaving a lot out):
"What happens when the scarf craze is over?"
"Well, we'll lose some customers but I bet the ones who stay will become really excellent knitters."
This was around the same time that Wendy and Christina were in a beginner's class and
Lisa predictions have held true. The knitters we have kept as customers are some of the best knitters in the area. Creative and technically proficient and not afraid to take on a challenge. Last summer was definitely the Summer of Lace, and the winter has been focused a lot on colorwork. I've been thinking a lot lately about what comes next and I've figured it out. It's what I always wanted...we've become sweater knitters again.
I remember when I first started working in knitting shops in 1997. Everyone made sweaters. Customers would come in and say, "I need 11 skeins of Galway for this sweater [pointing in big hardcover Starmore book]." And all I did was pull colors and get yarn from the backstock. They were the days of Kristin Nicholas intarsia sweaters and Alice Starmore's cables. It was great. I cast on a lot of sweaters in those days, admittedly many of which are still on needles in tupperware. I should have seen it when we sold our weight in Felted Tweed this fall for the Tangled Yoke Cardigan. I should've known when the books we were ordering stopped being titled things like "Learn to knit! Ohmigod!" or "Super Funky Kooky Knitting" and became "Selbuvotter" and "Knitting Lingerie Style" or "Fitted Knits". These were real knitting books that didn't assume you were an idiot. They had complicated patterns and were confident you could follow the patterns or intuit what was being done and making your own alterations. Wonderful. And now we are going to take you all one step further. Lisa has wanted to do a class with Joan Michael McGowan for YEARS! She got in touch with her 3 or 4 years ago and asked her about coming to Philly to teach a group of knitters who could really keep up with her. Being on the west coast, Joan doesn't make it out our way often so the plans to have her come out kept being put on hold. A couple months ago she got in touch and said she would be out our way on business and would love to come and do a workshop. We were totally psyched. Those of you familiar with Joan's work know she is a shaping genius. She comes from a fashion design background and has devised great methods for applying design room fitting techniques to knitting. This class is going to be great for all of us who have been knitting sweaters and wishing we could modify them for our bodies. She says she is "...dedicated to the concept that large is just as lovely as little, and there are many styles that show off your shape..." no matter if that shape is flat-chested or ample. For instance, I know that I am very short waisted and when I do a pattern with waist shaping I always have to do lots of math to adjust the shaping so that it's actually happening at my waist, and not around my hips. Some of us are constantly adjusting shoulder shaping or wondering if we need to add some short rows at the bottom edge of the back of a sweater for fitting, um...the, ahem, derriere. Maybe patterns you love never seem to be sized for you on either end of the size chart, or one part of you is a medium and another part of you is an extra large. Whatever your body type, you should be able to enjoy knitting yourself sweaters that fit and look great. Joan Michael-McGowan is going to help us do this. Get out your tape measure ladies and gents, we're going to whip our knits into shape!