Thursday, August 13, 2009

Books, Books, and More Books!

August seems to be a paradoxical time at a yarn store. It can be as hot as Hades outside, but inside there's excitement about the latest fair isle vest worked in an alpaca/wool/angora blend. These are the last things you'd want to think of touching when the air has a 73% humitidy level, but this is why we plan ahead for cooler weather.

It was great when we received our Rowan shipment last week, and now we have even more projects to think of starting now that Classic Elite has delivered a few much anticipated books for the Fall.

If we were to put every picture of every sweater/accessory we thought was amazing, this post could go on for a bit, especially if commentary were to be inserted. Head to Classic Elite's website and click on each issue for previews of each project, and don't forget to come in and pick up a copy of your favorite!


Friday, August 07, 2009

Rowan Alpaca Cotton

I knew we had to have this yarn

as soon as I saw it, which completely baffled Courtney and Kate. When all the Rowan yarns arrived, before it even came out of the box, I think I heard Jenna say "Alpaca and cotton? Isn't that the most ridiculous fiber combination ever?"

Yes, it's 72% alpaca and 28% cotton. Yes, it's fuzzy/shaggy. It does shed while you knit it (ask me how I know). And I still say: it's fantastic. Here's why:

It's light and lofty; it knits at a pretty quick gauge (4 sts per inch, US #8), but it isn't bulky at all. It looks fuzzy like a brushed mohair, but it's much lower pile (so it doesn't add visual bulk to your silhouette), and it doesn't itch (because the fuzz is from alpaca, not mohair). It's nowhere near as warm as 100% alpaca would be (because of the cotton).

To look at it another way, this skein has 148 yds and weighs 50g. Let's compare it to some other yarns that knit at 4 sts per inch: Manos Wool Clasica (and you sure won't catch me dissin' Manos) comes in a 100g skein, but if it were 50g, it would have 69 yds -- less than half. Reynolds' Andean Alpaca Regal would have 55. Even a brushed mohair like Classic Elite's La Gran has only 90. And an all-cotton yarn like Schaefer Laurel would be 88.

Compared to all of those yarns, a ball of Alpaca Cotton will go much farther. This has the potential to make it quite cost-effective, but what I want to point out now is that your finished garment will weigh about half what it would if you made it in any of those other yarns.

What particular applications do I imagine for this yarn? I imagine it for ME. I am (for any of you who haven't seen me recently) significantly overweight. I'm too warm more often than I'm too cold, I don't need any yarn that makes me look any bigger than I am, and my current responsibilities preclude knitting myself a sweater in a small gauge. If this description fits you as well, you might want to consider one of these:

All are sized up to 50" finished bust circumference, by the way -- that's a lot of knitters who won't need to rewrite the patterns.

But don't think this yarn is only for those who wear larger sizes. If you like a warm, cuddly sweater without the itch, check this:

And if you want something a little dramatic for fall-into-winter, try this:

In short, not only do I like the yarn, I think this collection does an unparalleled job of matching the designs to the yarn's inherent qualities.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Guess what UPS just dropped on our doorstep? 6 GIANT boxes of yarn from Rowan. Yum! Pics coming soon, but be sure to drop in and be the first to see all the great new yarns and colors, and the new MAGAZINE!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Under The Radar

Last week, we got a shipment of new yarn! We may have forgotten to blog about it, but I don't doubt that it's been seen, bought, and stashed by a few of our customers already. The yarn is Joseph Galler Heather Prime Alpaca. It comes in the most luscious hank of 665 yards of 100% alpaca. It knits up to 6 sts/inch using a US 5 needle, making it one of the best choices for a lightweight yet warm sweater.

That brings me to some other lightweight & warm yarns we carry. The first one that comes to mind is The Fibre Company's Road To China Light. It pops up in my brain not just because it's one of my favorite yarns to drool over, but also because our gal Courtney has a pattern in the Fall issue of Interweave that calls for that yarn! Check out Freyja!

It also has a matching hat featuring the same colorwork around the crown as the yoke seen above. Stop by and pick up an issue and the wonderful colors of Road To China Light, but don't wait too long...we all know how fast Fall Interweave Knits issues can fly out of the door!