Category Archives: Yarn Events

WWKIP-Brooklyn Bound

WWWKIP 

 

WWKIP

As a Manhattanite, I had a number of options for Worldwide Knit In Public day or WWKIP as it’s better known. Many of the choices involved sitting on the lawn of one of the many parks which I did a couple of years ago and got rather bitten. Instead I chose to join the knitters at the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Since the weather was forecast to be overcast and potentially rainy, this KIP option offered a wonderful indoors alternative.

Organized by one of the librarians, WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library on Grand Army Plaza was a wonderful event. It took place on the plaza outside the library. There were tables for charity knitting and learning to knit. There was a raffle for lots of knitting books and yarn. There was also a live band and lots of people who turned out to have fun. Refreshments and the farmers’ market were nearby. 

WWKIP at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

WWKIP at Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza

View from Brooklyn Public Library

View from Brooklyn Public Library

Art decco doors to Brooklyn Public Library

Art decco doors to Brooklyn Public Library

WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

Teaching knitting at WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

Teaching knitting at WWKIP at the Brooklyn Public Library

For those of you who rarely leave Manhattan, the main branch of the library is easily accessible from the Eastern Parkway subway stop (on the number 2 or 3 train) which is one of the most beautiful stops. It’s got wonderful sculpture from the Brooklyn Museum which upstairs and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens are next door. I was advised to use this stop since it means that you don’t need to cross Grand Army Plaza.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

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Webs Tent Sale Means Yarn Adventure

Webs is every knitters’ idea of heaven with a wide variety of yarns and brands including a great selection of related tools like knitting needles and looms. In addition to the quantity discount, they have a warehouse filled with discounted items and cones of fiber. For me, it’s a treasure hunt. Being fortunate to have a fiber-friendly husband, I tend to make an annual pilgrimage as part of a trip further north during the summer.  

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

Webs 2009 Annual Tent Sale

This year, my friend Amanda persuaded me to join her for the  Webs’ Annual Tent Sale. She didn’t have to work very hard to convince me to meet her for a girls weekend of yarn-related road trips and knitting.  Since Amanda got to last year’s sale mid-afternoon by which point the merchandise was well picked over, we left at the crack of dawn to get to the sale early. Webs had taken over a nearby parking lot and there was lots of activity under the tent. There were so many people that we had to wait to get containers to collect the items we wanted.  The people at the tables were at least three people deep debating the virtues of the various fibers and brands. In addition to yarn there were carryalls and needles (which were a bargain at $1 and $2 a pair!). Fortunately, it was cloudy which kept the heat down. 

At one point, I spied a couple of cartons with a big crowd. It turned out to be free fiber! I got some wonderful white cotton with fushia rayon wrapped around it as well as some rust and baby blue ribbon. It was the idea of free that drove me since I stopped knitting with ribbon ages ago. I went through the various tables at least three times before making my decisions. The bags of Noro for $49.95 kept drawing me over. There was an especially wonderful turquoise, green and yellow blend. Amanda persuaded me that I still had a bag of Noro Silver Thaw from two years ago so…No Noro for me! The tent line took about a half hour. Part of the problem was that there were several yarns that were mismarked in the computer system. 

Then we went inside where Amanda was on a mission for some Cascade 220 for a special project as well as some sock yarn for a friend who had to work. Not one to pass up the opportunity to drool over Web’s inventory, I meandered through the warehouse. There were some wonderful treasures but I restrained myself and waited on line. Inside, there were four separate check out lines that snaked through the store! It took another hour to get checked out inside.  

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

4 Check Out Lines Inside Webs - Where's my knitting?

Outside, there were some local purveyors of fiber and animals. It’s like a mini-fiber festival.  

Naturally dyed wool

Naturally dyed wool

 

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

Local fiber merchants at Webs Tent Sale

 

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

Alpacas at Webs Tent Sale

We left with some great yarn buys and our stashes happily enhanced!  As Amanda pointed out we extended our lives by increasing our stash. Between keeping us calmer and augmenting our SABLE, buying yarn is a great life insurance policy.

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

MDSW-Fiber Festival Here We Come!

 The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is held the first weekend in May in West Friendship, Maryland. It claims to be the largest fiber festival in the U.S. 

For me it’s a knitting adventure. I meet a group of other knitters at a deli at 35th Street and Sixth Avenue to board a bus that leaves the city at 7.00 a.m. sharp for the Maryland fairgrounds. This was my fifth pilgrimage to the MDSW. I join friends and others on this bus. This group started as part of BAKG, the Big Apple Knitters Group. Now  it’s a word of mouth event that fills up quickly!

We all board the bus with anticipation of the wonderful yarns and fibers that we will see and buy. There’s excitement in the air. Regardless of age, we’re like small children who have been waiting for Christmas all year. We can’t wait to get to the fairgrounds and drool over the wonderful display of goods.

Despite the clouds and forecasted poor weather, we came prepared. By the time we arrived in Maryland, the rain had already passed through. The outdoor stalls had temporary coverings. The lines for the fairgrounds were short and buses were re-routed to avoid muddy parking.

As a veteran of four previous MDSW fairs, I had a couple of early stops on my itinerary. Living in Manhattan, I have access to a wide variety of yarns. Therefore, I use festivals like MDSW to buy fibers from local producers and rare breeds. 

First on my list was Spinning Flock Farm, a small Maryland farm which has a small offering of Blue Face Leceister, which is a rare breed. I love it for its ability to show stitch definition and the soft material it makes. It’s wool that’s not itchy! Spinning Flock Farm generally uses old fashioned colors. In addition, they have a variety of other types of wool. I always buy enough wool for a sweater.

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Spinning Flock Farm Sign

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Blue Face Leiceister in Blues from Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

Making First Purchase at MDSW at Spinning Flock Farm

I stopped by the Ravelry gathering at the Rabbit Hatch and got my buttons. My husband had made me a tailored one to promote this blog.  The place was packed with Ravelers and their friends. Everyone is wearing knitted garments and are intoxicated with the fiber fumes.

 

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

Ravelry Gathering at MDSW-Distributing buttons

 

Ravelry members in knitted garments

Ravelry members in knitted garments

 

 

 

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief in Swallowtail Lace Shawl at MDSW

 

Since I had visited Tess Yarns in Portland last summer and figured that I would have an opportunity to do so again this summer, I had decided not to stop by their tent. But…the burst of color lured me in. I considered buying some of her lace merino which is a great buy at $10.00 a skein. Instead I opted for two skeins of a blue-green super wash merino. It should be just enough for a long sleeve sweater if there’s not much design.

 

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

Tess Yarns Lace Weight Selection

 

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

Tess Yarns selection by color not fiber!

 

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

Melinda (aka Tess) taking the money at MDSW

 

 

 

On the recommendation of a fellow lace knitter, I made my way to Spirit Trail Fiberworks. It was a small booth in the main barn filled with color. I found a wonderful wine colored merino lace weight. I would have bought 2 skeins but alas it was the only one in that colorway. I am hoping to make a small shoulderette from one of the recent Knitty patterns.

The most unusual find was a blend including dog hair (yes you read that correctly). At $24.00 for 200 yards, I decided it was a bit too exotic to try. It was made by a small mill where a woman comber her dog team and they used the hair.

This year, I was attracted to the Wensleydale Long Wool again. Last year, I came close to purchasing some for its amazing luster. One of my fellow knitters has been making a shawl from some olive colored wool. Since I still worried about the “itchiness factor”, I only bought enough for a shawl as a test. It’s a deep, rich grey. It breaks my rule of only buying fromlocal producers since it’s from Yorkshire, England but I am hoping that it makes a wonderful shawl for the fall.

 

Flying Fibers is a family business

Flying Fibers is a family business

 

In addition to the fiber buying frenzy, there are wonderful exhibits of hand made goods. I use these pieces for future inspiration. 

Of course, there’s the usual fair fare. It’s a combination of lamb dishes mixed with fresh lemonade, ribbon potatoes and ice cream.

 

MDSW ice cream offering

MDSW ice cream offering

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

Ribbon potatoes are a big hit at MDSW

 

Then there are the animals who are really the center of the show (although unlike Rhinebeck, I don’t go out of my way to walk through the barns.)

 

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

Sheep taking a rest from the excitement at MDSW

 

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

Alpacas shorn for the MDSW

 

 

For entertainment, there were several groups of musicians playing folk music. It’s a good place to park the less wool-friendly members of your group.

 

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

Musicians play folk music at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

More musicians attract listeners at MDSW

 

By 4.30p.m., my New York bound knitting friends wander back to the bus. Each ladened with packages and feeling happy. The bus home is an exchange of seeing what types of fibers and colors we have purchased. Everyone has found some wonderful wool to make a stunning piece. Tired from the adventure, many sleep or knit as we motor back to New York City.

Submitted by: Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

Think BIG Knitting Projects-Betty’s Upper Westside Afghan

Creative Inspiration: Afghans Samples at Knitty City 

 

Creative Inspiration: Afghans Samples at Knitty City

Before the pain of The Point’s closing could sink in, I dropped by Knitty City to hear Betty talk about her afghan. One thing that Knitty City does a wonderful job is displaying samples of various knitting projects as well as colorful swatches to entice you to use the fibers.

I arrived just in time to see Betty proudly displaying the beautiful piece which now covers her bed. Being late to the presentation, I didn’t get the full details about the original of the project. 

While Betty had started with a rough idea of the color scheme, she modified it on the fly and added various squares as she wanted to try new things. There are two squares, one with a B for Betty and one with a D for Dick, her husband. The square that caught my attention was the one with the state of New York. Betty got the graph of the state from a playbill! Since Betty doesn’t like intarsia, the color work is embroidered not knit. 

 

Betty explaining afghan squares in detail at Knitty City

Betty explaining afghan squares in detail at Knitty City

Betty's show & tell afghan at Knitty City

Betty's show & tell afghan at Knitty City

To create a sense of unity, Betty framed each square with a mitered garter stitch border. Further, to create a more sturdy blanket and reduce wear and tear on the seams, she did a three needle bind-off so that it created an artistic border ridge on the good side. 

While I find the idea of knitting an afghan daunting and likely to cause me to stop knitting, I think that this approach of creating multiple areas where the knitter can test new formats and/or have a small area to experiment is a great idea. I’ve been keeping my swatches of various sizes and colors in hopes of one day seaming them together.

BTW-There’s a great write up in the current issue of Vogue Knitting about Knitty City.

Farewell to The Point NYC

The Point NYC's Last Day 

 

The Point NYC's Last Day

It’s amazing how fast The Point NYC went from bustling knitting cafe bursting with color to a shell of a store with white painted bricks. Less than a week earlier, The Point NYC was filled with new fibers such as corn and sugar cane and knitting supplies that arrived daily.  Knitters and other fiber enthusiasts occupied every  chair in the cafe and worked fueled by caffeine and fiber fumes.

On Wednesday evening, April 29th, the store was the location of celebration among those who considered it a quiet haven from the daily routine of their lives. It was a place where people came together and developed friendships bound together by their love of fiber.

Despite the bittersweet feelings associated with The Point’s closing, Helane, the owner, made it a celebration with wine and fresh baked cookies. The feeling of love for this unusual institution that had been nestled in New York City’s West Village filled the white space that once held wire baskets of yarn bursting with color.

The Going Out of Business Sale announced on Sunday evening was incredibly effective (based on my knitter’s perspective). Much of the inventory was picked over on Monday.

Eat, Knit and Be Happy: The Point NYC

Eat, Knit and Be Happy: The Point NYC

The Carols & friend celebrating at The Point NYC

The Carols & friend celebrating at The Point NYC

Megan K serves wine, not wool at The Point NYC

Megan K serves wine, not wool at The Point NYC

Knitted Yarns Editor Heidi in Swallowtail Shawl and Alyssa, The Point NYC manager

Knitted Yarns Editor Heidi in Swallowtail Shawl and Alyssa, The Point NYC manager

Knitters celebrating

Knitters celebrating at The Point NYC

 

Doug showing off his latest WIP

Doug showing off his latest WIP at The Point

 

Knitwear Designer & regular at The Point - Connie Chang Chinchio

Knitwear Designer & regular at The Point - Connie Chang Chinchio

 

Knitted Yarns Editor and The Point Staff

Knitted Yarns Editor and The Point Staff

 

Yarnless Walls at The Point NYC

Yarnless Walls at The Point NYC

 

Lone Knitted Sweater hangs on The Point NYC's empty racks

Lone Knitted Sweater hangs on The Point NYC's empty racks

 

Former Point Manager Rebecca

Former Point Manager Rebecca

Wherever we wind up knitting, The Point NYC will always hold a special place in our hearts for my knitting friends and me. Thank you so much for providing this fiber haven for us.

Farewell to The Point NYC for the last time

Farewell to The Point NYC for the last time

While The Point NYC may be gone, our memories, friendships and knitting items are still tangible reminders of the good times we had.

F is also for Fiber Friends!

F is for Fiber Friends. While I am indebted to the animals whose fleeces (yet another “F” word!) become the beautiful fibers that I knit, fiber friends refers to actual people.   What would we do without them? 

One of my UWS Knitting friends!

One of my UWS Knitting friends!

 

Fiber friend hiding beneath cowl in Noro sweater at LYS (The Point NYC)

Fiber friend hiding beneath cowl in Noro sweater at LYS (The Point NYC)

Knitting friend casting on at LYS (The Point NYC)

Knitting friend casting on at LYS (The Point NYC)

 My fiber friends and I connect over our mutual love of yarn and knitting. We’ve met in person at knitting circles, LYS and other knitting meetups. We’re always there for each other in good times and bad times. Whether we know each other via real life or the web, we’re friends. We’re a wonderful, precious part of each others’ lives.

We accept each other regardless of whether we’ve just started knitting or have been knitting for ages. We accept each other whether we use amazing, expensive fibers like cashmere or inexpensive acrylic. 

The ties to our fiber friends are strong when there’s yarn at hand to be purchased or traded or just plain admired. They are there to egg you onto to that next purchase regardless of the size of your stash.

The best part is that they’re always there willing to lend a hand and listen. It doesn’t matter whether your boss was in a bad mood or you had a major misfortune. These relationships are worth more than gold.

For me, my fiber friends have been a treasure!

Submitted by Knitted Yarns Editor-in-Chief

F is for Fiber, Fiber Festivals and Fiber Farms

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

Overflowing basket of yarn at Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia

When it comes to writing about fiber, I could go on and on filling miles of online space as I’m sure many of you could as well. There’s the wonderful stuff that we find at Sheep & Wool Festivals that comes from the people who raise the animals or dye  it using a wonderful palette of colors. Of course, some of this may retain its lamby smell as the Icelandic lace weight my husband influenced me to buy at last fall’s Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival. (Don’t worry–I have it well wrapped in a plastic bag to keep its small contained!) 

At the other end of the spectrum are the pre-packaged balls that colorfully crowd the shelves of our favorite LYS. For me, that includes The Point NYC and Knitty City. I love the fact that The Point clusters the yarns by brand and color so that they burst out of their baskets. By contrast, the yarns in Knitty City are packed into their cubbyholes and spill into baskets on the floor. 

In between are the cones of various yarns and mill ends that I buy at Silk City Fibers. They come in a wide variety of contents and the colors may not always be my first choice but they’re well priced and always become wonderful cherished items. At the core of my stash, there are some large cones of wonderful materials including mill ends of cashmere and cashmere blends (which I plan to make into amazing shawls since some of it is laceweight), some thick Chunky in Sweet Potato orange from which I’ve promised to make my husband a sweater (although he insists that a pair of socks would be much better), 2 pounds of black (yes you read that correctly) lace weight Italian linen which I will either make a shawl and/or mix it with a grey and white linen mix to make my After Dark Nightie #2 and a matching bathrobe from the first Mason Dixon Knits book. 

Alas, there’s too much yarn and not enough time to knit it all!  That said, I believe that it’s important to let the fiber tell you what it wants to be . It’s not that the fibers actually talk (that would be silly!) Rather, I find that it’s necessary to test some swatches and see what type of pattern works best for the yarn. For example, the spring sweater that I’m working on required several swatches to see what stitch would work best. I am lucky that I don’t find the math required to adapt a pattern to be a chore (although I would argue anyone can do this math but that’s for another blog post). Further, I am flexible and find beauty in a wide variety of fibers! 

I am a HUGE fan of fiber festivals. They are wonderful outdoor activities that allow knitters to mingle with other lovers of yarn producing livestock, spinners and dyers. The Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in May and the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (known as the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival) in October are the two that I attend. While they encompass a wide range of activities, I generally spend my precious time there focused on stash enhancement.

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Calmly taking in the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival in Rhinebeck, NY

Fiber producing animals at Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival

 

Lastly, there are fiber farms. While I have only visited one, it was a wonderful experience that happened during the first trip my husband and I took back in the summer of 2005. Based on a brief entry in our guidebook, we drove from Lennox, MA to the middle of the state to Tregellys Farm. The owner was an incredibly friend chap who spent time talking about the farm and its wonderful assortment of animals including the heirloom equivalents of livestock. They also had camels and yaks.

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Massechuetss

Tregellys Fiber Farm in Hawley, MA

Llamas at Tregellys Farm

Llamas at Tregellys Farm (Of course, they may be alpacas?)

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing yaks at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

 

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

Boyfriend (now husband) & Camel at Tregellys Farm

More fiber producing animals at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA

Fiber producing llamas at Tregellys Farm in Hadley MA