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October 2006

Pictures of New Stuff

Here are some pictures of new stuff at the store, most of which I talked about day before yesterday:

Sandy
First of all, here's a picture of the little summer cardigan I knit and finished off on Wednesday night, at our knitting circle. Sandy very kindly modeled it for me! I think it looks really cute on her.

Owool
Here's a shot of that luscious O-Wool organic merino wool, in its new home on the shelf. It looks so beautiful and feels so good, I can barely keep my hands off it.

Ecoknitinbox
The Ecoknit organic cotton was still in the box when I snagged this pic, but now it's residing in some bins. I love these natural colors.

Bigbuttons
We got some new buttons from the Dill Button company; we ordered them in Indy. These large buttons are made of resin -- they did have one of them made in wood, but the sales rep pointed out that the wooden ones were more fragile. These buttons are a good size and shape for bags, or for that cardigan that needs just one magnificent button. I put the quarter in to show scale.

Piratebuttons
We got more buttons from Dill, including the pirate buttons (on the right) and a cute little chipmunk button.

Hfballerina
This isn't a new product, but we got 5 more of the Hanne Falkenberg "Ballerina" kits -- here is the Ballerina sample we have on display at the store; Alison knit it for us. Two of the kits we got are already sold, but there are three more still available as of this moment.

Tess
If you come into Unique One you might be greeted by this charming little girl! Her name is Tess and she belongs to Grace, who works at the store. Grace's minor was physics, so Tess is named for Nikola Tesla. :)

In other news, Victoria called me yesterday afternoon to say the new Clover light-up needles have arrived! I'll see them when I go in today.

Also, I was saddened to discover yesterday that Barbara Albright, author of the books Knitter's Stash and Oddball Knitting, as well as many cookbooks, died on Wednesday of a brain tumor; she was only 51. One of her friends said of her, "Her life was brownies and margaritas." Read the whole news story here.


Yes, It IS Art.

There is a very cool Canadian lady named Tracy Martin who makes wonderful knitting-themed metal sculpture. Her sculptures are being shown right now at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit (July 7, 8 & 9). If you live near there, you should go see them!

Or, click here to see her sculptures on her website, where it says

"Tracey's knitting inspired metal sculptures work on two levels. Fisrt, abstractly as a geometric arrangment of spheres and rods. Secondly, symbolic as in relation to the act of knitting, the continuity of yarn stand from project beginning to end and the contemplative nature of knitting and the thoughts and memories it triggers."


Flag Socks

Here's a good July photo:

Flagsock


I meant to post it on the Fourth of July....ooops.

This yarn is dyed to knit up in sections of red and white stripes alternating with sections of blue with white specks for "stars". It's been a big hit at the store!

The yarn is Fortissima Socka Colori Color and the color number is 1776!


Beth's Knitting Update & New Yarn at the Store

I finished the short-sleeved cardigan I knit from Tahki's "Dream" -- I think it is very cute. I still have to weave in the ends and sew on the buttons. Hopefully I will get a photo of it tonight at knitting group -- I knit a size small because it would be faster to knit, and maybe I can con someone into modeling it for me.

Last night I knit a rather extensive gauge swatch with another new yarn we have called "Linova" from GGH/Muench. It is 74% cotton, 26% linen, and comes in beautiful, soft colors. It's a very nice summer yarn to work with. It is 100 meters/ 50 grams, and we're selling it for $6.95 a ball. I am going to make Oat Couture's "Penelope Blouse" in color 022, a bright, greeny yellow which doesn't appear to be listed on the Muench web site. Aside from the fact that this yarn is beautiful and nice to work with, and a reasonable price, I think I know why Victoria ordered it: it is made in Romania. I think she was an exchange student in Romania for a while. Maybe she can verify that in the comments. Victoria?

I also have plans to knit a sock from Durasport, the new Canadian lightweight wool & nylon yarn, and I am looking forward to starting the Fiddlesticks Knitting "Flirty Ruffles" shawl using our new Graceful lace yarn.

This morning I tried out my new Weavette Loom -- I think we'll be selling these at Unique One this fall. It's a lot of fun:
Weavetteloom

WovensquareHere's the sample square I wove this morning, using leftover Step sock yarn. Nora likes it.


More new stuff is arriving at the store every day. We got our shipment of "O-Wool", organic wool yarn from the Vermont Organic Fiber Company. It's beautiful! This 100% organic merino wool is soft and yet has a wonderful springyness to it. It is a pretty good deal for an organic product, too: 198 yards in a 100 gram skein, and we're selling it for $12.50. Compare that to non-organic Donegal Tweed, 189 yards for $11.00. O-Wool is a 3 or 4 ply yarn and it will show texture very well. I think it will be wonderful for aran knits and any textured knits. It comes in 13 gorgeous colors (we got all of them!) -- you can take a look at the colors and read about the wool by clicking here (you have to click on "Yarn" in the left menu to get all the information and see all the colors -- they won't let me link directly to the O-Wool Yarn page, for some reason).

In case you are wondering what makes a wool "organic", here is what it says on the yarn company's website about requirements for raising organic wool:

  • Livestock must be fed 100% organically grown feed (grains) and forage (pastures)

  • Use of synthetic hormones, vaccinations, and genetic engineering is prohibited

  • Use of synthetic pesticides (internal, external, and on pastures) is prohibited

  • Producers must encourage livestock health through good cultural and management practices.

In addition, organic wool processing restricts chemical inputs and requires the separation of organic and non-organic fibers throughout processing stages.

There is a LOT more info about organic wool and what it means to the farmers on the website, and you can read all about it by
clicking here.
(Click on "Organic vs. Conventional Livestock" in the left menu.)

We also just got in another new organic yarn: Ecoknit Organic Cotton! This 100% organic cotton is a DK weight; a 50 gram skein has 100 meters; it costs $5.95. Ecoknit cotton is machine washable and dryable, BUT it will shrink, so you have to allow for shrinkage if you intend to wash your garment in the washer and dryer. It comes in 5 colors -- the cotton actually grows in these colors, they are not dyed:

Picture_2_2

One of the things I love best about this yarn is that one of my favorite designers, Dorothy Siemens, designed 5 patterns specifically for Ecoknits Organic Cotton, and figured in the shrinkage allowance for you, so all you have to do is follow the pattern! Four of the patterns are available now (we have them) and one is coming out in the fall -- a shawl, I think. (Note: since about 7% shrinkage is figured into the patterns, yarn substitutions are not recommended for knitting these patterns). Here are pictures of the designs we have right now:

LeaveslargeFalling Leaves Shawl GinkolargeGinco Leaf Tunic

FiligreelargeFilligree Turtleneck FreshlargeSimply Fresh Tee

I want to knit that Ginko Leaf Tunic. A lot. A lot lot lot. Somebody, please save me from myself ...... ;)



Glowing with Joy

We got more new stuff at the shop! The most exciting (for me, anyway) is the needles and crochet hooks that light up -- the ones from Wisconsin. Misty and I had a great time playing with them when they came in. Here are some pictures:
Needlelite Crochetlite
The needles and hooks are only available in limited size ranges; I got needles in sizes 8, 10 1/2, and 17, 2 pairs each (and Misty already bought one of the size 17's). The crochet hooks I only got a few of, in large sizes; I know I got 2 size K and one size N, and I think I got one more size, but now I can't remember. We're selling both the crochet hooks and the needles for $39.95. If they sell well, I'll order more soon. I know they're expensive, but the cool factor is just HUGE on these babies. They'd make a great gift for a knitter, so I'll have them in stock during the holiday shopping season later this year.

We also got some fabulous alpaca yarn from Camden's own Blueberry Farm, in brown and in black, the alpacas' natural colors. I can't get over how deep and black the black is. No dyed-black could ever be that perfect a black. The brown is also a beautiful brown. The alpacas who contributed this fiber are named Cecilia and Lady Pepperell:

Blueberryalpaca

A big hit at our Wednesday night knitting group was a new lace weight yarn we got that is in variegated colors with looooooong color repeats. The yarn is called "Graceful" and it is lighter than regular lace weight yarn. Closer to cobweb weight, I'd say. It's from Japan and distributed from California. Picture Noro yarn crossed with Lacy Lamb lace yarn, and that's what Graceful is like. Each ball is 2400 yards and it costs $22.99. Here's what we got (actually, some of it sold right out of the shipping box before we even got it out on the floor):

Graceful

I got pictures of the shrug I knit on the Isaac Evans during the knitting cruise earlier this month:

Shrugfront Front

Shrugback Back

It looks better in person. As a matter of fact, it's been a great model for the store and has sold all but a couple of the magazine needed to knit it (Vogue Knitting Spring/Summer 2006). So I am pretty happy with it. Also, as soon as the magazines are all sold and I can't use it as a model anymore, I get to take it and wear it, and I love wearing it! It was so much fun to knit, too; you can use any yarn and any needle you like. You just need to measure across your back from underarm to underarm. You start at the center bottom back, and cast on just 3 stitches. You increase to make a triangle until the width across the bottom of the triangle equals the measurement across your back. Then you put half the stitches on a piece of yarn to hold it. Working on half the stitches, you work straight garter stitch to make a "sleeve". At that point you cast on more stitches at the end of the needle. Then you do a decrease triangle the way you did an increase triangle on the back. Go back and put the stitches from the yarn holder on your needles and knit the other side the same way. Tack the "underarm" together with a couple of stitches, and there you have it: a cute "shawl" that won't keep falling off your shoulders as you move! It would have been better if I had used a variegated yarn like Artyarns' Super Merino 8 or another hand-dyed yarn, because it would really have shown off the intriguing construction of the garment. That Iris Schreier, she's a marvel! I encourage everyone to pick up a copy of that Vogue Knitting issue & read her "Geometry Lessons" article, which is what got me started on this whole thing. Also, she has a great book out called "Modular Knits" that has 24 designs using her multi-directional magic knitting techniques. After my shrug experience, now I want to make all of them!

I also finished the scarf I crocheted from Alchemy Yarns "Silken Straw" yarn:

Silkenstrawscarf
It used less than one skein of the yarn; it was getting really long, so I just finished it off. If I had used the whole skein it would have been far too long.

I used a medium sized crochet hook and just did a simple trellis stitch (the pattern for the scarf will be in our next newsletter, due to be published in mid-July). (Don't worry, there will be a knitting pattern in the newsletter too for non-crocheters). Because the yarn is kind of a mini tape yarn, the resulting fabric felt slightly crunchy -- but it's silk; I wanted it to be silky feeling, like the yarn is in the skein. So I steam ironed it! It came out beautiful, lustrous and silky and nice and flat. It's really pretty. Again, much prettier in person than in the picture. I took a picture of Victoria wearing it, but the photo was all fuzzy. She looked charmin' in it, too!

My blog posts are always too long, but I just wanted to say one thing: we've had so many people in the store this summer who mention they read & enjoy my blog. People from all over the world! It just thrills me to think you all are joining me in my not-quite-daily ramblings and rants about, well, whatever I write about. Thank you for reading!! (And Marianne, I'm glad you liked the "Herding Cats" video!! Love ya.)

Oh, yeah, and one more thing: pick up the current copy of a little newspaper called No Umbrella (I think it is only distributed in Maine, but you can subscribe) and you can read my short story called "The Road Home". It's based on a near-deer experience I had while driving home after our knitting circle late one night. I'll also have another, shorter piece in next month's issue, I think. And possibly more after that, if people email them and say "Great newspaper! I 'specially like the fiction from that great writer, Beth Collins!" heh heh.
Noumbrellajune