Friday, June 24, 2011

“The Community”

Last year about this time, a friend confided to me her first thought on hearing that Linda and I were opening a yarn shop.  Note that she waited until we were busy with customers and new ideas before admitting thinking “who opens a yarn shop in Alabama, in the middle of a recession, in the summer, are they crazy?”  Note that my friend is from Wisconsin and her mother is a wonderful knitter.  And also note she is one of our biggest fans.  Realize there have been days when Linda and I have asked ourselves the same question.  We are delighted at how much we have enjoyed our first year here are “Yarns”.  It seems yarn shops are more than just retail outlets.  “They are more than the yarns that line the shelves, they are the people that bring life to the place.”  For the Love of Knitting.  They are a community.  I read once that the yarn shop is a place of respite, where knitters can turn with confidence when they run into snags along the way.  Sometimes yarn snags, and other times life snags.  We are amazed at how many of life little problems are solved at the Thursday Night Knit Along.  We once laughed that our classes should be free, and that therapy and entertainment should cost extra. 
The yarn shop is the knitter’s candy store.  We always visit LYS when traveling the country.  Linda was recently in the French Quarters and didn’t miss the chance to visit the Quarter Stitch yarn shop.  It is a wonderful way to meet new people in the “community,” and get fresh ideas for new projects.  I found a yarn shop in Sacramento named Rumpelstiltskin’s.   I’ll stop by when I head out to California in July to see my grandson Derek and his parents.  We can all visit yarn shops all over the world using the net.  How about stopping by a LYS on your next summer vacation, then come by and tell us all about what you discovered and who you met in the “community.” 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dyeing Days

There are few things I enjoy more than dyeing yarn. There is a real satisfaction that comes with creating something so beautiful. Linda and I dyed today. I mix the dyes (Linda tells me I am the chemist, but I believe this is just to make me feel needed and important) and "The Artist Linda" pours on the dyes. I believe she could never dye yarn without me.....well I like to believe that anyway. When the dyes soak into the yarn, the colors blend into new colors, like a rainbow, and we are delighted. But as we go through the process of setting the dye and rinsing the yarn, we have become quite a team. Like Lucy and Ethel, we rinse, wring, laugh, sing, stomp, layout the damp yarn and wait for it to dry. As the yarn dries the colors become brighter and richer. The next morning our first stop is to the dyeing room to see how our new yarns have dried. As we twist the color ways together names begin to form, Sunset, Dandelion, Hazel, Mango Smoothie, Stained Glass, Mermaid Tail, Sunflower Field. At that moment we believe we are truly artist, creative and free. So stop by during the next few weeks and drink in some color. You can even take home a little art for your collection.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Spinning, Dyeing and Knitting

The benefit of knitting with handspun yarn has been variously described as the difference between eating tomatoes out of the garden and those available at the supermarket; the difference between reading every word of a classic and skimming Cliff Notes; the difference between a live orchestra and a recording . . . you know what I mean.  Much to my delight, we don't have to just "read the Cliff Notes, we have our very own source of handspun yarn.  Linda has been spinning and creating the most amazing yarns.  You can see the all online at and in the store. 

To spin or not to spin?  I have been asking myself that questions almost daily.  I see the beautiful chunky, funky yarns that Linda is spinning and I say to myself, I want to do this.  How hard can it be?  Well let me tell you, it may look like riding a bike, but this stuff takes co-ordination.  My dad once made the observation that I couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time (he was just teasing of course) and after trying it for a few minutes I was inclined to believe that my dad was correct. 

We dyed sock yarn today and it is bright, colorful and fun.  I finished my socks and they are being blocked now.  I am tempted to start on a new pair using some of the skeins we just dyed.  Wonder if they are dry yet?  Who wants socks for Christmas?  not that I am volunteering to knit them, but I am sure we can teach you to knit some of your own.  Some of the yarn in today's batch is great for guys with names like Camo and Gun Barrel.  So if you can't spin at least you can knit with some fantastic hand dyed sock yarn.  

We had a entertaining night at the Knit Along.  Thanks to everyone to dropped in.  We would love to have more next week. 

Knit in Public Day is Saturday.  Diane and Susan will be knitting "In Public" at the Jacksonville Public Library from 9-1.  Stop by and knit "In Public" with us. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spinning "Wonderland"

Today, I Googled spinning yarn.  It said and I quote:
"Learning to spin on a spinning wheel is tricky! How can your body do so many different things at the same time?"  I asked Linda to teach me the other day, thinking, this doesn't look to tough.  I should be able to master it in a couple of hours.  I even promised to give up my new Chico necklace and earrings if she would just show me how. is much harder than it looks.  But I am not giving up, just practicing. 
One hand pinches, one hand pulls, and your feet pump the treadle. What a lot to think about at once. However, if you learn each step in the spinning process before you put them together, spinning will be easier. And with a little practice, it becomes second nature
, that is what they say anyway. 
Now, Linda on the other hand has been spinning like crazy.  Don't miss the "Wonderland Collection" on our website,  The yarns are full of texture and color.  It has inspired me to knit and spin.  I know you'll love them too. 
BTW, my socks are coming along great.  I hope to finish them this weekend.  Next, I will tell you they were easy.  Well, I gotta say, they were a whole lot simpler than I had imagined.  Join us in July and learn to knit socks too!  Later Gator, Knit on!