Category Archives: Yarn

New Yarn!!

We are beginning to receive the orders for new yarn that we placed at the convention last month!

sheep and a mug

Appalachian Organic Cotton has new natural beiges that just came in. They are great.

Appalachian Baby washclothes

Shibui Reed has arrived. Their new linen is so soft and wonderful.  

Burnished orange shibui linen

Rain has also arrived in some new colors.  

pink rain yarn

We are about to get in Big Bad Wool. All of it. You are going to love this yarn.  Along with all of these, Madeline Tosh, Loopy Mango, more Shibui, Freia, and a brand new yarn from Blue Sky Alpacas are also coming, plus tons more! We will keep you posted as they arrive. This Fall is going to rock!

Stop by and see us. Think about a new project you want to make, and we will help you put something awesome together.  You have the creativity, we certainly have the material! If you’re in a creative slump, we have lots of ideas and we’re here to help you through your project.

See you soon!

Diane and Christin

Tip of the day: Get yourself an audiobook, sit by the pool, and knit. Enjoy the summer while it lasts!

New Year’s Resolution

A brand new year is upon us!  A blank slate.  A fresh start.  How great is that?  We start the celebration with a toast.  We wish all good things for everyone.  It’s all good.  Then, we yank out that timely tradition and set ourselves up for the next 365 days.  What are we talking about?  Why, none other than the New Year’s Resolution.

From an early age, we have learned that by proclaiming our many flaws and weaknesses at the beginning of every year and resolving to change them, we are on the road to becoming new, improved versions of ourselves.  We at Knitting to Know Ewe ask, is this really the best idea?  Maybe this tradition requires some rethinking. Resolutions are great and all, but not when it compromises a fundamental character trait.

Here is a case in point:

What if your New Year’s Resolution is to be more thrifty this year?  You could certainly stand to tighten the old belt, right?  No problem. You can do this.  Piece of cake.  Now there you are a week later, walking in the mall past one of your favorite shoe stores. You say to yourself, “Self, there is no harm in looking in the window.” Besides, you certainly aren’t going into the store. Just looking. Hold up –

What is that you see there in the window?  Jimmy Choo heels 20% off!  What??? They are really great, but…nope; not gonna bite. Your resolution is firm. It is solid. And you will be much happier sticking to it…but you’d be pretty happy in those shoes, too.  In fact, you know you would do a happy dance if you had those shoes (and you’d look fabulous doing a happy dance in those shoes). But no. You are strong.

You turn to walk away, but what is this, now?  Who is this lady and why is she looking at those beautiful shoes? Yep, she definitely is looking at those shoes.  You peek over and, yes, it looks like she could very well be the same size as you.  What if there is only one pair left? What if this is your last chance to ever buy a pair of perfect Jimmy Choo shoes? Is she going to take them? Hmmm…this woman looking at the shoes reminds you of someone.  Oh yeah, your second cousin, Theresa.  You never liked her.  And she never liked animals.  There is something wrong with a person who doesn’t like animals.  Yep, there was definitely something wrong with Theresa.  Bet the shoe lady doesn’t like animals either.

Why would you let her take the last pair of Jimmy Choo heels and be happy?  She doesn’t deserve them.  She must be a hater.  Plus, you would look so much better than she would in those shoes. She doesn’t have the right vibe to wear those shoes, and you don’t like her personal ethics. She doesn’t like animals. Those shoes really are not right for her.  Why, you would be doing her a favor by taking them.  Better go in and grab them.  You’re welcome, you soulless Theresa wannabe.

Jimmy Choo shoes

Of course, in a situation like the above, you can’t even feel good about your awesome purchase, because you now feel like you have let yourself and the world down.  It’s sad, really.  But, you wouldn’t have felt bad at all had you not made the resolution in the first place.  So if you still want to keep this tradition going, we have a few suggestions.  The rule of thumb is to set manageable resolutions.  Want to be healthier? Don’t resolve to lose 50lbs, just resolve to drink more water! Or you could resolve to floss everyday, or water your plants more regularly.  See where we are going with this?  This way, you have an opportunity to feel successful and improved.  Don’t set the bar so high that you feel bad about yourself, and a pervasive sadness takes over, and you are hurled into the Great Abyss of Failure. Not a very happy new year in store like that, is there?

New Year Dog Of Sadness

New Year Dog Of Sadness

(You know who never sets himself up for a New Year’s Resolution failure?  That awesome guy, Thor.  Of course, he doesn’t have any issues to resolve.  He is that awesome.)

Thor smirking

Awesome Thor with no issues to resolve

Another reason to be happy you don’t do the spending resolution is because we are having a Big Habu Sale Event!  That’s right.  From now to January 20th, Everything Habu is 30% off! Come in and load up on all the Habu you have always wanted.  It’s beautiful stuff.  (Don’t let that Theresa impersonator beat you out).

Our store will be closed from Friday, January 20th, and reopening on Wednesday, February lst. 

(We will be at the TNNA Convention, buying more ridiculously great stuff.)

We also should mention that we just got a truck load of Madeline Tosh in DK, Lite, ASAP, Silk, and Pashmina.  Lookey here:  

Tosh yarn

This isn’t even all of it. We had to use an additional wall. We’re talking a lot of Tosh here.

So, to summarize: don’t make any big declarations this year, unless they are to seek out ways to be happy and appreciative of the superb individual that you already are.

And resolve to see us soon!

Happy New Year!

Diane and Christin

lemur

What? Theresa doesn’t like me?

An Honest Thanksgiving?

One of the major themes in the recent presidential election was honesty. In light of the emphasis placed on this issue, we got to thinking. Honesty should not only be a political theme. It should ingrain itself into one’s personal life as well. There is nothing wrong with living an honest, wholesome lifestyle. And what better time to start this new honesty thing, but on Thanksgiving Day? Let it be an opportunity for one to cleanse oneself of the lies and deception we have readily shared with our friends and relatives. What do we mean by this? We think you know. It’s the little things we have omitted in an effort to maintain harmony and peace with our loved ones. But, for one day out of the year, let’s try this honesty thing. Let’s come clean, and tell people what is honest and true. Here are some suggestions:

Tell your Aunt Sally that, yes, you have heard the story about Mickey Rooney winking at her. Take time to tell your cousin Bertha that her baby closely resemble Gerald Ford (it’s a girl). How about your Uncle Stanley? It’s time he faces the truth: anyone with two eyes can see that he is wearing a hair piece. Instead of smiling through Aunt Irene’s “famous” pumpkin pie, tell her she should make something different. Or perhaps stay out of the kitchen altogether. And don’t forget about Uncle Hank. You can finally give him a piece of your mind about hogging the candied yams.

Well, maybe honesty isn’t always the best policy. Sure, you could tell all of your relatives what you really think of them this Thanksgiving and break all of their little hearts with your truthiness (Stephen Colbert invented this word.) But, what’s the point? Let’s face it. The truth can be tough to hear. And you don’t want to slaughter people in the name of honesty. You are one of the sweetest people on the planet. You’re like the good witch, Glinda.

Glinda the Good Witch

Let Aunt Sally tell her Mickey Rooney Story. Your only real job here is to act surprised again. She is 93. Pour yourself a scotch and gasp when she gets to the winking part.

Tell your cousin Bertha that you see her granddaughter in the political arena in the future. (After all, it doesn’t hurt to already resemble a past president.) Maybe she will be our first woman in the oval office.

Politely ask Uncle Hank to pass the candied yams. You’ve been dealing with Thanksgiving politics for years. You know how to handle a food hog.

As for Uncle Stanley, there is only one thing to do for him. Knit him a great hat. Who knows? Maybe he will become a hat guy. No need for a toupee under a hat, right?

And speaking of knitting, we have the perfect hat for your Uncle Stanley. Loopy Mango has come out with a great hat kit. The merino is super soft, and the hat only takes a few hours to make (around three). Great for Uncle Stanley and it looks good on women too. Here it is below: This kit comes with the needles, the pattern and the yarn (and this cool box). The kit is priced at $39.00.

Woman in a gray, knit cap

You are welcome, Uncle Stanley.

We are also getting an unspeakable amount of Madeline Tosh arriving next week. Just in time for the holidays. Could anything be better?

But for now, our store is adjusting it’s hours for the holiday. Tuesday, November 22nd, we will close at 4:00pm. We will be open all day on the 23rd, but closed Thanksgiving Day to celebrate with our families. We will return to normal hours on November 25th. Yay!

Have a great Thanksgiving. Smile and hug everyone a lot. There is nothing wrong with being a Glinda. And, remember: on this one particular day, alcohol is your friend. And that’s the truth.

Pumpkin pie

Sigh.

See you soon!
Diane and Christin

Three Little Words: Back to School

Indeed. Back to school. It’s quite a “hi tech” activity these days. One simply goes online, prints out the new list of school supplies, and heads to Target. Or, they can be assisted by their new best friend in the whole world: Amazon. Just check off those items on the list, and they show up at your door all set and ready to go to school this year.

But, we decided to really go back to school. All the way back to when their were no “fancy gadgets.” Back to when the closest thing to Facebook was a photo album. A playlist was who you were meeting after school on your soft ball team. A tablet was a pill you took when you were sick. Yep. These kids today have it too soft. They didn’t play on monkey bars that were metal pipes set in concrete. They didn’t slide down a rusty slide that burnt your butt and dumped you on (of course) concrete. They didn’t wish for a short monogrammed last name like Stone or Smith, so that it didn’t disappear into each of your armpits of your gym suit. And ever really look at your pictures when you were at school? Oh yeah, that’s what your hair looked like before blow dryers.

But, there were some perks. Like actual food in the cafeteria. And let’s not forget, back in the day, you were encouraged to eat all of the food groups. Skinny was a bad thing. Marilyn Monroe was curvy. And when you got home from school, you watched Band Stand. You learned the latest dance. You twisted, and you played 45’s on a hifi. You actually learned math, and practiced good penmanship. There was no texting. No Twitter. No Instagram. There was Ed Sullivan, Gun Smoke, and Bonanza. (And later the real Star Trek).

Nothing beat new school supplies either. The list was short. New pencils (in their new pencil case), an eraser, a ruler, a scissors, some paste, a loose leaf notebook, and those cool black and white composition books (that are retro now). You had actual school books. You went to the library. You had a set of encyclopedias that contained all the knowledge of the world. You did reports and dioramas. You actually copied and pasted by hand. Downloading was stuffing feathers into a pillow.

(You know who went to school back then? That awesome guy Thor. He probably was the star quarterback in his school.)

We learned how to cook, sew, and looky what we have here…we learned how to knit!

And, speaking of knitting, we should mention what is coming into our store this month.

Our newest order of Anzula Cricket is arriving this week. It is gorgeous yarn of merino and cashmere in beautiful colors. New Loopy Mango cotton, that makes a fantastic baby blanket or throw. Really fast and easy.

We are featuring this month Toft CrochetedAnimals. Here are just two of them. There are dinosaurs, a pink flamingo, a sloth, a bat, and lots of others. If you crochet, these are really fun!

They are on our website to order at: http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/toft-amigurumi-kits/

And, boy, are we weaving! Our weaving teacher, Sara Armstrong, created a shawl version of the Unicorn Tail Scarf with Madeline Tosh Merino Light and Shibui Silk Cloud.

unnamed (6)You can make a scarf just like this using a Cricket Loom. We sell these wonderful looms on our website at: http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/weaving-and-spinning/ and in our store.

Get started weaving with a class with Sara by calling our store at 215.598.9276 or writing to us on our website. We will get right back to you to set up your class. Weaving with Sara is awesome. It’s a great new thing to do this Fall.

We are getting new things in all the time. Check out our new shawl pins by Jul. Here are just some of the beautiful pins to use with the new shawl you can make this fall.

You can order any and all of them on our website at:
http://www.knittingtoknowewe.com/accessories/shawl-pins/

So, as you stroll through the Back To School aisles in your local Target store, watching everyone check off their list of school supplies, smile. You know what a warrior you were when you were getting your school supplies. You survived with only three channels on the TV. You had a transistor radio and a princess phone. You knew what real milkshakes tasted like. You ate hot food on a tray at the school cafeteria. You wrote letters and put stamps on the envelope. And you went to the movies to see Star Wars for the first time. And almost everything you owned is now for sale again at Urban Outfitters. Yes, you were a warrior all right. And you were cool.

On the Aesthetics of Luxury Yarn

luxury yarn

Jade Sapphire 8-ply Mongolian Cashmere

I wanted to keep this simple. I have written many times about using luxury yarn in projects in a number of my blogs posts. But this time, I wanted to talk simply about the aesthetic experience.

Yarn itself is a wondrous thing. It comes always from a source of life. Whether it be animal or plant or both, it once was part of a living thing. Sheared, cut and spun, it is transformed into another form of itself. A form that is pliable enough to manipulate into so many different forms that are unique, useful and wonderful. From garments or blankets to soothe and keep you warm, to rugs, bags, and even wall hangings.

When I hold a skein of Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere in my hand, the beauty of it is unmistakable. It is so soft and vibrant. I always think about the animal in Mongolia that was sheared, and what his world looks like. Has he been pampered and fed only the best of food to create his beautiful coat? How far has that coat traveled (and to where?) to be cleaned and spun into a wondrous skein of yarn? What did it look like and feel like before color was added to it?

I am currently making a scarf from Jade Sapphire, and I have enjoyed the project from the minute I casted on my first stitch. Although I use and enjoy circular needles (Addi Turbos being my favorite), there is nothing more satisfying to me than using a pair of gorgeous Lantern Moon Needles to work with wonderful yarn. In my opinion, they were meant for each other. The needle, being handmade out of palm wood, rosewood or ebony (my favorite) feels as luxurious as the yarn with which I am working. They remind me of a violin. The wood polished and smooth, and just slippery enough. Together with my cashmere, they complete the experience.

Continue Reading On the Aesthetics of Luxury Yarn

Ouch! Summer Fiber Gauges

Knitting Yarn: Habu Textiles Bamboo Lace

Just in: Habu Textiles 100% bamboo lace weight for all your summery project needs!

After so many years at the store, I sort of cringe when the summer projects start. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of the them. There is nothing like linen, organic cotton, and bamboo to make a project feel fresh and light. Nothing drapes like these natural fibers either. The tough part is sometimes getting the correct gauge for the project. As a scarfaholic, of course, this issue does not come into play as much. If the gauge is a little off one way or the other, it is easy to adjust by adding or subtracting stitches to make the desired width and length. The same applies to blankets or afghans. But, when making a garment, it can get tricky. Sometimes, you can try to get gauge changing the needle size up or down. Nothing changes the gauge. On some fortunate occasions, a drastic change in needle size can do the trick. But most of the time the gauge doesn’t seem to want to move in either direction. There have been countless occasions, where a knitter will sit in our store, changing needles, and getting the exact same stitch count. If we are lucky, we can make an adjustment in the size of the garment to accommodate the gauge. But, a lot of times, we just can’t make it work.

I believe the reason for this is due to the nature of the fibers themselves. Cotton, bamboo, and some linens do not have a great deal of structure. They are more open and softer. In other words, they are what they are. Unlike merino or alpaca for example, they do not possess the springy ability to accommodate a larger or smaller needle. This is an issue with a finished garment as well. A knitter should take into account how the garment will drape when using something like bamboo or cotton. It can grow as you wear it or if left on a hanger.

Having said all of the above, there are some wonderful projects that can be made from these summer fibers. I am partial to the Habu yarn line, because the Cotton Gima, Linen, Linen Paper, and Nerimaki Cotton Slub, are easier with which to obtain a gauge. They are slightly more structured, and we have had great success with all of them. Also, there is the added benefit in this line of working with two or more of these fibers run together. I would like to add that the best combination of a great deal of Habu fibers is to run them with stainless steel or copper. This automatically can allow a knitter to obtain the needed gauge for a project. The yarn is immediately fortified with enough structure and definition that any desired gauge is readily achieved. Habu Stainless Steel or Copper can be added to basically any fiber from Madeline Tosh to Appalachian Cotton to give it the proper structure so that a gauge can be gotten. It also allows you to manipulate the size of the finished garment both lengthwise and width-wise.

As with any project, but especially one where the gauge is so tricky, I recommend that you check that gauge throughout the project. A lot of knitters do not realize that their knitting can vary as they knit the project. We all knit differently at different times. We can knit tighter or looser, depending on our frame of mind. It frequently happens where a knitter starts out with the proper gauge and ends up looser or tighter later in the project. Obviously, this can dramatically change the finished project. We hate to see a garment that is too tight or too loose after the project is finished. It is a really good idea to take a moment every few inches and check your gauge. It is a lot easier to make a correction at that point. It might make the difference as to being able to wear the garment and being happy, or having to rip it out or give it away. So sad.

Okay, I have tried to present a realistic view of working with summer fibers. I will say again that I love them. But, I will also say this: If everything under the moon is tried and fails, my advice to all knitters is TO PICK ANOTHER PROJECT OR PICK A DIFFERENT YARN. Unless you are more than okay with the idea that, if the garment does not end up fitting you, you have someone else to give it to, don’t continue. This is an obstacle that cannot be overcome. We would rather you not buy the project than be unhappy with the result.

In the meantime, I hope that you try your hand at something light and airy for the season. And, whatever you choose to make, I hope you have great success and enjoyment from it!

Knitting to Know Ewe Pattern Featured by Shibui Knits

Strata Shibui Knits

Diane Greenfield shares her Strata scarf with Shibui Knits at TNNA.

Shibui Knits is now featuring a scarf designed by Diane Greenfield, owner of Knitting to Know Ewe. Shibui has chosen the Strata scarf to highlight their yarns. Knitters across the country are now working on the Strata scarf!

The Strata is a “knitted piece about process.” This scarf uses a combination of Shibui Silk Cloud, Cima, and Pebble yarns and is a great pattern for knitters looking to combine different textures and colors. Yarns are held double or triple throughout the progression of this gently textured scarf—a background of twisted stockinette makes this knit meticulous, but not difficult. The final result is a lightweight scarf that celebrates color. When finished, the scarf is 92 inches long and 14.5 inches wide.

Shibui is offering the pattern for free with the purchase of yarn. Get started on your own Strata scarf today! Stop in to Knitting to Know Ewe to pick up some Shibui yarn and the Strata pattern.

Scarfoholic: A Scarf Isn’t Just For Keeping Warm

Habu Textiles, created by Takako Ueki, is one of our favorite lines of fibers in our store. I, personally, have made several scarves and garments with Habu, and love them all. They are not only unique, but very wearable items. I always say that the things I have made and seen made from Habu yarn are the things I would buy at a store if I saw them hanging there.

Since this is a Scarfoholic blog, I will speak to the various choices a knitter has to make spectacular scarves out of Habu Textiles. Since we carry just about everything in the Habu yarn line at our store and on our website, we are always thrilled with the limitless possibilities we have to make amazing projects. They are truly works of art, and I am always impressed with what our knitters come up with in terms of color combinations and their own ideas for scarves.

Habu Scarf

Habu Kusha Kusha scarf made with Habu Stainless Steel and Merino.

I had to write about one of my favorite scarves, not only in our store, but in the whole knitting community. It is the Habu Kusha Kusha Scarf pattern made with Habu Stainless Steel and Merino. In this blog I will share not only the pattern information with you, but show you several examples of this scarf.

As you can see, this scarf is unusual. I think it looks more like jewelry than a scarf. Whenever I wear it, heads turn. I am frequently asked where I got the scarf, and when I tell someone that I made it, they want to make one for themselves. One of the features of this scarf that cannot be shown in a picture is that it can be manipulated into different shapes because of the Stainless Steel. This is one of the things that makes this scarf so special.

The scarf is typically made with two cones of Habu Stainless Steel, and one cone of Habu Fine Merino. Some knitters have chosen to make the scarf longer and/or wider. The combinations of Stainless Steel colors and Merino colors are endless. The Stainless Steel comes in three different fiber combinations; linen, wool, or silk. We carry all three choices. Stainless Steel is a wonderful fiber to use. The Wool Stainless gives more of a matte finish. The Silk Stainless is the softest. The Linen Stainless is the shiniest. As for the Fine Merino, it is absolutely lovely. I will include in this blog a project that was done using only the Fine Merino, so that you can see what it looks like on its own.

Continue Reading Scarfoholic: A Scarf Isn’t Just For Keeping Warm

Another Scarfoholic Favorite: The Ostrich Scarf

This is an oldie but goodie at our store. I wanted to make a scarf using a stitch that looked complicated, but was easy. I came up with this one. It is basically a stockinette stitch with one row that changes it all.

Here is the stitch pattern:

  • Cast on desired amount of stitches to make your scarf
  • Knit in stockinette stitch for as many rows as desired. End with a right side row.
  • Next row: *Purl 2tog, yarn over, repeat from * to end.
  • Repeat above to desired length.
  • Bind off on a stockinette row.

Continue Reading Another Scarfoholic Favorite: The Ostrich Scarf