Knit City 2017

Where can you go, where you run into The Grocery Girls around every corner, see The Yarn Harlot going out for a run, or see Stephen West crossing the street? Where could you go to have breakfast with Andrea Rangel?  Where would you have the opportunity to talk with Shannon Cook or Jane Richmond, or take a class from Felicia Lo, or have the opportunity to meet and talk with Julie Asselin?  Well, you have to go to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and attend Knit City.

I had heard of this event before, but I had never attended.  This year, a good friend of mine sent me a text as suggested we go.  She booked the hotel, and it’s a good thing, because it quickly sold out.

The vendor lineup for the marketplace was beyond imaginable.  The class list was impressive, the hotel was so close with the event not even a block away, and a Starbucks a block away in the other direction.  Complimentary breakfast in the hotel with a bar right next door.  The event even invited food trucks parked right out from with a great selection of food for our convenience.

As we stood outside in line to get into the market place on Saturday morning, bright and early, everywhere you look, are knitters wearing their hand knitted wears.  Everybody in a great moods and happy to meet you.  My friend and I are from the Kitsap Peninsula, located in western Washington, but we met people from Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, tons on Canadians, and there was even a lady from Iceland.  Those are just some that I met.  It was a well attended event.

Whenever you walked into the hotel, there were knitters knitting in a sitting room off the lobby.  There were knitters in the elevator, and in the bar next door.  We totally took over the place.  I didn’t take a class, but my friend did.  I’m so busy working, running America’s Knitting and babysitting my grandson, that I just wanted time to hang out and knit, and shop.  That is exactly what I did.  I knit a fingerless mitt while I was there, and I bought yarn that I don’t have access to in my neck of the woods.

 

I’m so glad that my friend suggest we go.  We had a blast hanging out, laughing, knitting, going to happy hour, eating out, knitting in our room at night while watching podcasts, going out for coffee, and shopping for yarn and taking pictures.  I really needed a vacation.  Thanks Vancouver, it was SO fun…I hope to be back next year~

**  please click on any photo to see it larger form **

Hurricane Harvey – Labor Day Weekend – Back To School

There’s so much going on! As I watch the aftermath of Harvey, and see hospitals evacuating because they don’t have any potable water, and wells breaking down, and families being held up in make shift shelters in convention centers.  My head swirls with the good fortune at every turn; the grocery chain HEB sending convoys of trucks with food to serve everyone, Anheuser-Busch pausing their beer production to send bottled water to Harvey victims, and neighbors helping neighbors to evacuate even the pets.

The same holds true within our own knitting community.  There are three yarn shops in Houston, with two more within a 24-mile radiance, not to mention the yarn shops affected in Louisiana!  I’ve seen a couple of fine offers coming from the knitting community to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Here is a letter from Lauren & Trey of Lolo Did It I’m sorry this offer ran out….I’ve been experiencing computer and internet issues and couldn’t get this out any sooner – I AM SO SORRY!  Please follow Lolo Did It on Instagram, to get to know her lovely products.

Huge Thank You To Everyone

I realized this evening that I have quite a few people who do not follow me on social media, so I wanted to make sure to tell you everything that’s been going on over here.

Sunday night Trey and I decided we wanted to do something that had more of an impact on the relief effort than we could do all by ourselves. So we are dyeing a surprise colorway and all proceeds are going to the American Red Cross for the Hurricane Harvey relief effort in Texas and Louisiana. We have had an amazing response from our beautiful fiber arts community and I’m so proud and thankful to be a part of it!

Click “Shop Specials” for the Hurricane Harvey colorway, there is a link in the listing if you would like to donate directly to the Red Cross instead of purchasing a colorway. There are tons of local charities and relief projects to donate to directly as well. The sale of this colorway will end on Thursday 8/31 at 10pm PST. I have left the quantities unlimited except for 2 yarn bases, which I have completely run out of and can’t get re-supplied in time. Everything will be shipped by 9/18 – wish us luck dyeing it all for you next week! We are so ready and excited to take on the challenge for a good cause!

There are other amazing makers in this community who are also giving their time, donating proceeds, and making items for those in needs. Every little bit counts! Money isn’t everything, as always: a smile, a word, a gesture, a post, or a small gift will help someone whose life has been torn apart by this tragedy. I have had people tell me they will be knitting Roxie the Hippo and other stuffed toys for kids, which is just crazy generous! So don’t think you can’t make an impact if you can’t give money, make a donation, or make a purchase. All of our hands can make a difference!

Thank you all again!

Love, Lauren and Trey

Also, another offer in from WEBSOur hearts are with all those affected by Hurricane Harvey. Through 9/4/17, WEBS will donate 5% of sales to the American Red Cross for Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief (up to $20,000). 

This is from their facebook page, and there is also a note on their website.  Speaking of facebook, they are also matching funds donated through their site to the Red Cross I believe.

Please consider helping out, and don’t worry, helping will be going on for quite some time.  The problem in Texas will take a long time to recover from.

While, we have our own problems, like computer and internet issues, and things coming up in our lives, with kids going back to school, and as we enjoy the long holiday weekend of Labor Day, please remember our friends in Texas & Louisiana. They will be needing lots of help to get back onto their feet for quite some time to come.  Texas, and Louisiana, you are in our hearts!

2017 Seattle Mariner Stitch ‘n Pitch

Every year, I attend the Stitch ‘n Pitch event with the Seattle Mariners.  I love to go, and always feel like it’s the perfect summer evening.  It’s always on a Thursday night, so of course I have to work the next day.  It totally cramps my style, as I have to leave early to go and catch a ferry home.

Every year, it’s a little different, in who we play, and who I go with.  This year, we played the New York Yankees, and I went with my daughter in law, her best friend, and a good knitting friend of mine.  We had the pleasure of meeting another knitter, blogger, that I met on Instagram, Evin O’Keefe of Evin OK!

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is amazing in that’s it’s never too hot and sticky, but always blue skies.  Our Stitch ‘n Pitch event is amazing with all the yarn vendors.  It’s hosted and organized by Pacific Fabrics.  The doors open a couple of hours early so you can shop, and eat and have a great time.

So, all of us had to work that day, except Evin, being on vacation.  Yep, that’s how we were able to meet up.  She was visiting our fair city, and contacted me.  ANYWAY, we took off early, and all met up in front of the stadium.  Jana, my knitting friend works in Seattle…actually, not far from the stadium, Dionne, works in Kirkland for Microsoft, my daughter in law Kim & I had to catch the ferry.

We all met up at 5, when the doors open and enjoyed happy hour down in the Pen where the pitchers warm up.  Safeco Field has really turned into a foodie stadium and we all chose different things for eats!  We looked at all the yarn, found our seats and had fun knitting, talking and watching some baseball as the sun went down.

All of a sudden, it’s time to evaluate the ferry system and make a judgement call as to when to leave, and get back to the ferry for our journey home.  The Yankees beat the Mariners, but we still had a great evening.  Until next time Seattle, and it was a pleasure to meet you Evin~

*you can always click on any picture to see it’s larger form

World Wide Knit In Public Day

World Wide Knit In Public Day is a notion that is already, mostly a common practice for knitters, I believe.  Never the less, it’s fun to have a day during the calendar year that knitters can plan to spend, doing what they love.  For me, I guess, the most astonishing aspect of this special day, is that it’s a world wide concept.  That is significant!

I think the development of Ravelry has really brought the world together…the stitching world.  With all the groups, designers, focus on yarns, and patterns, and a way to organize your projects, and even your stash, you search for a project made with a certain yarn and find that the person that knit that project lives in Canada, or New Zealand, or Ireland, Japan or Norway.  It’s an amazing world wide thing!

Back to the concept of knitting in public, it is in some regards what knitting is all about.  It’s a great creative outlet for sure, but it’s a way to keep hands busy.  If you hate to just sit on the ferry boat on your way to work, or the bus or train.  If you hate to just sit there waiting for the doctors appointment (my all time high was 2 hours, and that was pre-knitting).  In those instances, we are knitting in public.  I have to admit though, when I am knitting in public, I could look around and not see a single person knitting, or crocheting.  It has made me wonder, with 7 million members on Ravelry (that is a world wide figure, and not every knitter is even on Ravelry), and 1,044 yarn shops in the USA alone, why don’t you see more people knitting in public?

I don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that World Wide Knit In Public Day is every year in June.  Even though it’s a busy time of year with kids getting out of school and graduations and Fathers Day around the corner.  I always go to the event that the Churchmouse Yarns & Teas holds.  Cold or warm (yes, sometimes it’s cold in June in the Pacific Northwest), we have a great time.  They serve us tea and cookies, we shop, visit, knit and the passers by look on and notice what we are all doing, and some even stop to say hello and look at our work.  I think it does help the craft.  It’s like a small planted seed into the minds of others.

If you know of a World Wide Knit In Public Event or get invited to one, you should strongly consider going.  It’s fun and part of the wonderful community of stitching.  These are pictures from this years event held on Bainbridge Island, at Churchmouse Yarns & Teas!  If you have any pictures you took, email them to me and I will add them to this post.  Calling Alaska, California, Texas, New York, Idaho, Vermont and all the states – we’d love to add your photos.  You can click on any of these photos to see their larger form~

Yarn Crawl Season

Where I live (which is in the Pacific NW) there are 3 major yarn crawls; one down in Portland called the Rose City Yarn Crawl, the LYS Tour on the Seattle side of the Puget Sound, and the PNW Yarn Crawl in the south sound (which happens twice a year).  The Rose City Yarn Crawl happens in early March every year, the LYS Tour is mid May and the PNW Yarn Crawl happens in early May and again in October before the holidays begin.

It’s so much fun crawling from shop to shop.  Each shop comes up with a pattern, that they are offering up for free.  You get your passport stamped and they offer the yarn for that project at a discount.  They have daily prize winners and a gift for finishers, plus one grand prize winner.  It’s a great way to get inspired if you are in a knitting funk.  The yarn crawl is also a fun day out with friends, doing what we all love, ‘going to the yarn shop’.

I first heard of this concept years ago from a quilter friend of mine.  I’m so glad that the yarn shops are now on board.  It’s a fun outing to look forward too.  We can get so mired in our daily routines of life… work, the kids, homework, meals, errands… that’s its fun to plan a fun day out or a weekend away possibly.

This year, my friend Jana and I charted our route and hit the road – she drove.  We did the PNW Yarn Crawl, made it to all the shops in one day, and even stopped for coffee and lunch.  I think I bought something at every store, but you don’t EVEN need to do that.  It’s so fun to see what each shop comes up with for a pattern.  We took some pictures, and posted on social media – it was a blast.  We even ran into a few friends at one of the shops.

If you are wondering, if your area has a yarn crawl, get to know the folks at your local yarn shop.  Use our shop finder to find a yarn close near you.  If you knit solely on-line, you are really missing out on a wonderful and fun community, just waiting for you to join in.  Your best friend is waiting!! *You can click on any of these photo to see a larger version~


Brioche Knitting 101

HUGE in the knitting world now…Brioche!  Not to be confused with the bread!  Brioche knitting is not new, but it certainly has had a great resurgence.  I believe in large part, it’s popularity could be due to designs by Stephen West, and his way with color.

Now, yarn shops are jumping in with classes to support this popularity.  I have even seen some retreats surrounding this technique accompanied with some notable knitterati teaching.  These retreats go for big money.

To be honest, when I first saw Brioche knitting, it sort of scared me.  I thought, no thank you, I’ll just sit here and finish what I’m working on.  But, as more patterns were introduced, my interest peaked.  I wasn’t in a position to spend big money on a retreat weekend for this, but Pinchknitter yarns advertised a class on Facebook for $30, and I said “SOLD”!

I thought it would be a fun team activity, so I signed myself, Diana and Carmel up to take the class.  It’s winter here in the pacific northwest, and that translates into gray skies, chilly temps and rain.  Carmel drove — we got there early and all had lunch together.  We arrived for our class, and met our instructor Sarah.

The class wasn’t project based, it was swatch based.  Now, I know why.  There was a lot to unpack for this new technique.  There were four of us in the class which I think was perfect.  Anything larger may have required a second teacher.  We got handouts and great instruction, and I believe we all ripped out and started again.  Carmel was the advanced student, as she was able to proceed to increases and decreases.  I learned a lot and am just working my rows for practice.  It may turn into a scarf, I just don’t know for sure.

After class, I took some pictures of the store, because, you know me.  I’m all about the yarn shop and I am sure you want to see the store.  Pinchknitter yarns is located in Stanwood, Washington and owner Sirkku Bingham is a lover of baseball, hence the name Pinchknitter.  The store used to be a clock store/repair business and there are clocks around the store including a cuckoo clock that sounds off on the hour.  There is also a nearby train track with trains bustling through town not far away.  It’s like a step back in time.  And these days, a slow down is lovely and soothing, right along with our yarn and knitting….brioche knitting!  …you may click on any photo to see it’s larger version…

Pinchknitter owner Sirkku Bingham with America’s Knitting owner Mary Neill

Happy New Year 2017

Happy New Year to everyone!   New years is a time of reflection and new beginnings.  We moved into a new house back in August.  We actually down sized into a smaller home.  With small square footage comes less storage.  This is where one realizes that there is a problem with lots of yarn, and lots and lots of projects, and project bags.  Projects in various stages of doneness.

I have mitts, socks, socks, and lots of socks, scarves, stoles, shawls and cowls.  I have hats, berets, boot toppers, shrugs, tank tops, ponchos, sweaters, and a Christmas stocking.  I have baby blankets, baby hats, and baby sweaters.  Some of my projects are in the beginning stages, some are a third of the way done, some are half done, some have beads, and some are fair isle.

When a project is near completion, I finish it.  It builds momentum, it’s fun, and I finish.  Most all of my projects are knit with nice yarns, and I love them all.  When I moved, I did get rid of a few and I also gave away a little bit of my stash.  The stash is a whole other story.  I have a representation of all the weights and all the colors, but I don’t have huge quantities of anything.  So, if I want to knit a sweater or an afghan, I’d have to go purchase yarn.  I don’t have a lot of sport weight and I don’t have much chunky weight or bulky.  But, I have mohair, alpaca, new wool, merino, silk, cotton, wool/alpaca blends, wool/cotton blends, some metallics, and even a bit of cashmere.

My husband and I had the retirement talk over the weekend, so the situation needs to reduce further.  All the time, the designers are coming up with fun sweaters that are hard to pass up, baby items that are beyond cute…the yarn companies are coming up with yummy colors, tweeds, heathers, halos and marls.  I’m going to have to down size some more.  I’ve just let it get out of control.  I want to knit everything, and I don’t want to miss out on anything.  Yes, I know some knitters that don’t have to purchase yarn, that don’t really care what everyone is knitting, that aren’t on Instagram; that just finish what they’ve started — but that’s not me.  I love yarn, I love knitting, and I love yarn shops.

 

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SONY DSC

I must work hard this year of 2017 to wrap up some projects, finish what has been started.  I will start each month with projects planned.  I will try to finish a few things, and if I’m successful and feel the need to purchase yarn, or cast on a project I will let myself, but only one, if two have been finished.  If I’m not really feeling it I will continue to finish projects and just keep going.

I’m planning to blog it through, and I hope it will inspire knitters to carry on with their projects.  I also want to mention, that if you want to spotlight your yarn shop, if you are a knitter, or a yarn shop owner, let’s do it.  Just email me over some digital pictures and a few lines and we’ll talk about your shop, and your town.

The yarn shop ally in the Pacific Northwest~

Yarn Crawl…do you crawl?

They are pretty much nation wide now!  I love the concept of an organized event, created towards a fun outing for all the enjoy!  Knitters plan and plot out their course, and sometimes even take a husband, a non-knitting friend, or pups for company.  Most do I think, crawl in groups…but there are even some loners out to crawl.  It could take a day or a weekend, for all this fun to take place.  I say knitters, but these shops also create a free crochet pattern for crawlers as well.

The premise is that the shops come together with meetings all year long to come up with a theme, a set of rules, free patterns, and some prizes to make it super fun!  We have a couple of these crawls in my region of western Washington state.  I’ve done the crawl over in Seattle one time.  The crawl in the south sound I do every year….so far.  The crawl in Seattle is too big for me.  If someone wanted to drag me, I could be persuaded, but that hasn’t happened yet.

Sometimes, life’s circumstances veer knitters off course.  Knitters almost always come back, and this is always a great outing.  Visit all the shops, check it out, see what’s happening.  The first thing you do is print out your passport. There will always be something in one of the shops that really speaks to you.  Each shop has a project and free pattern.  They typically have a yarn that goes with the project that they are offering at a discount, and then decorations and other items that coincide with their theme.  Each shop has snacks to offer the crawler.  Then, there are daily prizes and something for the finishers.

Because it takes all day, or in some cases all weekend, you have to have coffee out or lunch.  It’s Fun!  I think knitters know how to have fun….from KAL’s, to joining yarn clubs, to going to events, to going on yarn crawls.  Personally, I love all things that include and support the yarn shops, that’s my favorite.  This weekend is KnitFit in Ballard, Washington.  I’m not taking any classes, but I will be going to just check it out and go to the market.  Out of 28 vendors, only 1 is a yarn shop.  So, does a sale from an indy business take away from the business of a LYS?

 

Glamping With The Plucky Knitter

Being a gal from the Pacific Northwest, I love the play on words the Plucky Knitter used on her ‘Glamping’ retreat held this last weekend, in my neck of the woods (hee)!  We consider ourselves outdoorsy people here in the Northwest.  This retreat weekend was held in a truly unique venue, that speaks to a northwest style with lots of wood and big timbers; Island Wood located on beautiful Bainbridge Island, Washington.  I can totally see how the play on words comes in with ‘glamping’ as the campers had their own cabins and meals served catered style in a community mess hall.  This event included classes, shopping, friendship bracelets, fine dining and s’mores of course.

The Plucky Knitter aka Sarah Dimond and her lovely yarns, fall into the ‘exclusive’ category, in that they are extremely popular and sought after.  She works with luxury fibers, and of course her colors are custom.  You will find merino, cashmere, cotton, linen, silk, camel, alpaca and even yak fiber in her line of fine yarns.  As soon as she dyes up batches and gets them ‘on-line’ they are sold out.

Yep, I said on-line.  But, America’s Knitting is all about the yarn shop!!  Yes, that’s true — but I didn’t want anyone thinking that I am out of the loop.  I try to know what’s going on all around the knitting industry.  Especially, when things happen in my back yard, I must go and investigate.

For the most part, I, (and I hope all of you) purchase yarn and notions from your local yarn shop.  Whenever I travel, I take my knitting (that goes without saying), and I always look up and see where the local yarn shops are (on America’s Knitting of course).  I look at what I have going, and try and squeeze in a trip to a LYS.  BUT, sometimes…someone gives you yarn from their stash, or gifts it to you.  Sometimes you are buying craft yarn because the recipient isn’t going to take care of it or you are on an extreme budget, but must cast on.  I’ve even heard stories of yarn on sale in the catalogs that was the perfect color purchased in the middle of the night.  You see where I’m going with this — we are addicts.

There’s so much out there from booths at venues such as Rhinebeck, the Stitches events, the Vogue Knitting LIVE events, the catalogs, the on-lines….and then there’s our trusty LYS that is always there for us.  They are open often times, 7 days a week, all day.  They furiously and tirelessly knitting up shop samples, and plan schedules of classes and in-store events, from holiday open houses, to fashion shows, trunk shows, book signings, sales and the list goes on.  These shops pay local county taxes, state taxes and federal taxes, and they are there for us, and provide most of all, technique and community.

The Plucky Knitter works very hard too; her online presence is always up to date, she has a successful Ravelry group, gorgeous photography, fun and current pattern support, and playful swag that’s always good for a smile.  The Plucky Knitter is a family owned business out of Michigan; and Sarah and her sister Hayley are the face of the brand.  There is NOTHING not to like there, I love their yarn….just wish it was a little more available in your LYS.  But, one could say made in USA, except I’m not sure of the sourcing of their yarn.

Plucky Knitter does occasionally have trunk shows at yarn shops — they were seen at Knit On Pearl Yarn Shop in Jackson Wyoming, and Wool & Honey yarn shop in Cedar, Michigan, and their custom dyed excusive yarn colorways for Churchmouse Yarns & Teas on Bainbridge Island, Washington.  So, if Plucky yarn is on your radar, follow Sarah on any number of social media venues, and maybe she’ll land at a yarn shop near you!  The Plucky Knitter also participates in Stitches South and has their own Shindig annual event~

 

12th Annual Mariners Stitch ‘n Pitch

I’ve attended all but two —

I missed the very first one, I was so bummed.  I don’t think they had their marketing clearly in place, I honestly didn’t even know about it.  I vowed, that I would go the next year.  And go I did!  It was on my birthday that year, and all my friends went, and we had a blast.  My friends even had a birthday wish to me put up on the jumbo Tron!   I’ve been attending every year since, with the exception of one year.

This year, I went with my daughter in law Kim (who’s pregnant with my first grandchild), and my dear friend Ann!  We met up at Starbucks! Tradition is a funny thing — there is no way we could head out, without our iced green tea lemonade!!  Then, off we went for the ferry boat, to sail us over to the big city of Seattle!  Before getting out the car, Ann gives me a gift for the baby due in December.  A lovely Tin Can Knits Bounce baby blanket that she knit for me, to cuddle my first grandchild.  Ann is a grandmother 4 times over, so she picked these colors and knit this for me.  This blanket is a new pattern that I have loved….but I have two other blankets on needles that need to get finished.  What a surprise, I didn’t even ever see her working on this — thank you Ann, I love it!!

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At the terminal, we met up with our other knitting friends, and another Stitch ‘n Pitch was underway.   After getting off the boat, we headed over to Elysian for some pre-game eats and drinks.  Knitters know how to have a good time, and that’s just what we did!  By this time the weather had really cleared up.  Upon leaving my house, I almost brought a coat it looked so threatening.  So we went from this, to this —

Ann had lost her ticket; it was nowhere to be found – we all took turns rummaging through her purse NOTHING!  After leaving Elysian, we went to the ticket box to get her another ticket.  We knew the seat ticket she had purchase…they have a way to check to see if the ticket had come through.  It hadn’t, so they printed us another ticket and in we went.  I had no idea that was even possible – can I say, I was super impressed WAY TO GO SEATTLE MARINERS!

By the time we got up to the 300 deck where are the vendors are, it was HOT…so glad I didn’t pack a coat; the wallet, knitting, camera, phone, business cards and lipstick in my ginormous bag where heavy enough.  I was all ‘a dew’ that’s another term for sweating.  I knew that Apple Yarns, out of Bellingham, would have their new fingering weight line with them, and that is what I was waiting for.  I got my skein — it was really hard to choose, but I love my skein.  It’s called Chuckanut Dr.

Every year the event has a free gift for the knitters of Stitch ‘n Pitch.  We have gotten bags, t-shirts, scissors….this year was no exception, a new bag.  Totally different than the other one I have.  One year we even got a Seattle Mariners Stitch ‘n Pitch needle case that folds up for easy storage.

Another Stitch ‘n Pitch is in the books.  I always say, it’s the perfect evening — summer, friends, baseball, knitting, the stadium, and good eats and drink!  The Mariners lost against the Chicago White Sox, but football season is knockin’ on the door #GoHawks~

 You can click on any of these photos to see the larger version of it!