Embrace Your Stash

Working with yarn is a sensual experience.  Some people like the softest yarns:  cashmere, alpaca, merino.  They gently stroke the fiber.  Some like the wool that still smells of the sheep.  They’re the ones that pick up the skein and stick their noses in it.  Most drink in the colors with their eyes—color-therapy.  It’s no surprise that crafting with yarn has grown in popularity as a therapeutic activity.  There is no doubt that it increases your endorphins, and if we assume it has the same effect as laughter, then even the anticipation of working with yarn increases your endorphins:  making you happier and less stressed.

Now, to the subject of the private yarn stash.  On a regular basis, customers share with me information about their yarn stash.  Many tell me they have more yarn in their personal stash than I do in the shop.  I believe them.  After all, I have a small shop.  Some keep their stash in plastic totes, some in cedar closets (I wish!), some on shelves behind glass doors like a private library.  All that yarn.  If left on its own too long it will start to entwine with the other yarn and soon you will have a chaotic orgy of yarn.  So it needs to be managed.  Separated into color or weight, re-rolled, bagged, touched, prioritized.

What I want you to do, though, is embrace it.  Yarn is therapy.  Bring it out of the closet, enjoy it.  Find stash-buster projects and plan ahead.  This morning I took out all my naturals, which I am collecting to make a shawl.  Every time I go to a festival or another yarn shop, I buy a natural yarn for this project.  When will I make it?  When the time is right.  How will I know?  I will begin.  In the meantime, just the anticipation makes me happy, and that, as the Master Card ad says, is priceless.

Oh, dear, how darling.

Is is wrong to want grandchildren just so I can knit for them?  The new Interweave Holiday Knits has some irresistible patterns for the little ones; colorwork embellishes the little sweaters, dress, jumper and earflap hat.  I was particularly taken with the dress and stocking patterns to partner with Jan Brett’s children’s books.  In addition, the issue has all the small projects one might want to make before Christmas:  a snowman ornament, several stockings, socks, mittens, and hats.  As expected, Interweave has put together a great Holiday issue.

Fair Isle is en vogue and in Vogue!

Vogue has a new look and deserves a new look if you are one of these knitters who found it too esoteric, filled with patterns both complicated and “vague” (an epithet for Vogue characterizing the sometimes difficult-to-follow patterns found within).  This fall issue debunks any previously-held biases against the magazine.  Full of wonderful articles on the Shetland Isles’ traditions and history, Fair Isle patterns for both large and small projects, and a section dedicated to patterns for men, it makes me wish I could claim Scottish roots.  Alas, I’ll just have to remain a Scotophile and continue knitting fair isle.

Community Felted Rug—The Fabric of Life

It’s who we are. During the Bethlehem Art Walk, Love.Yarn.Shop. was creating a felted community rug in a paddling pool outside the shop.  Many thanks to the folks, young and not-as-young, who popped by to contribute to the rug.  It takes a lot of rolling, pounding, and just plain hard work to convince the fibers of roving to become one…similar to a community.  All the individual strands need to join together to become strong enough to create something bigger, sturdier, more resilient, and ultimately more appealing.  Certainly the rug is a metaphor for the diverse community of Bethlehem and hopefully a symbol for its future—colorful and artistic, but still a little rustic around the edges.

Classic Knits are Chock-a-Block in this Fall’s Interweave

I love fair isle.  No apologies.  So this issue, with its steeked man’s vest (which I plan to make for myself) and article on steeking by Mary Jane Mucklestone, make it a must-buy issue.  (Plus, I have recently stocked Elemental Affects USA Shetland fingering which is perfect for steeking.)  This is the 20th year anniversary edition, so it is loaded with great sweater, sock, and shawl patterns.  For what is basically the cost of one pattern, you are getting a  pattern book chock-a-block full of fantastic patterns.  Seven of the patterns have color work and most of the others have cabling or textured stitches of one kind or another.

CLICK for Babies: Purple Hats

Every year people knit and crochet purple hats to be given to parents of newborns to raise awareness about the period of purple crying and shaken-baby syndrome.  On Sunday, August 21st, we’ll meet at the shop between 1 and 3 to get started on this worthwhile project.  I’ll have free patterns for knitting and crocheting and you’ll get 15% off purple yarns.  Check out the website Click for Babies.

Winner Stephanie Brooks, your Grand Prize is on the way!

I went to Nancy’s Alterations and Yarn Shop in North Conway to do the drawing for the grand prize with Nancy.  Stephanie Brooks was our winner!  The grand prize includes a yarn ball winder, a drop spindle, a pewter shawl pin, project bags, multiple skeins of yarn, a gift certificate to Elegant Ewe, a felting kit, tee-shirts, a book, and much more.  How fun for her to open that package!  Congratulations!

Vintage Crochet–a New Appreciation

When I read the title, “Vintage Crochet,” I must admit my heart dropped just a tad.  I imagined granny squares galore, but this special publication from Interweave changed my appreciation of the craft.  The historical articles that open the magazine cover Irish crochet—in both Ireland as Bebe crochet and in Italy as Punto d’Iranda and Merletto di Orvieto—and an interesting assortment of other articles, including one charting the role of crochet in the Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery.  The patterns featured in this issue find their inspiration from family and film, and most are introduced with a brief background story.  My favorite is a little girl’s Pineapple Dress, recreated by Tammy Hilderand from a reader’s 1946 picture of herself in her “favorite dress–ever.”  The patterns range from shawls and skirts to peplum tops and pillows.  And do you know?  Not a granny square in sight.

Pineapple Dress

From Sea to Shining Sea–Yarn Haulers Get Ready!

Love.Yarn.Shop. is all set for you to begin the Great Northern Yarn Haul this Friday, July 8th.  You can pick up your bag and goodies anytime, especially if you want to visit shops on Friday, but the kick-off for us is officially Friday night at the shop 5-7, with door prizes and sips and nibbles!  Please come join the fun!  If you haven’t signed up to participate, just give me a call at 869-2600 and I’ll set aside a bag for you.

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