Friday, August 30, 2013

Jane Addams, Labor Day . . . and Knitting!

Is knitting a part of Labor Day?  It is, in a round-about way . . . .

Jane Addams
Jane Addams was one of the most influential women of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  She grew up in Cedarville, Illinois (about an hour from our shop in Galena!), and made her mark as the founder of Hull-House in Chicago.  The Hull-House residents saw to the physical needs of their neighbors (food, clothing and shelter), but they also saw to their humanistic needs - music workshops, art galleries, libraries, theatrical productions, child care for working mothers, and playgrounds for children. 

Jane Addams' Hull-House years (1889 - 1935) were a time of booming industry in Chicago - and a very difficult time to be a factory worker.  Her Labor Museum at Hull-House was a tribute to the skills of workers.  She was also an early supporter of safe working environments and ending child labor, the ideals that prompted Congress to make Labor Day a federal holiday in 1894.

And through it all, Jane Addams was a knitter!   Many of her hand-knit items were given away to friends, and some of her knitted work is on display at the Cedarville Area Historical Society Museum.

Knitting Traditions Magazine
We don't have any record of what patterns Miss Addams used to knit.  It is likely that the pattens in Vintage Baby Knits, a collection of over 40 heirloom patterns from the 1920s to the 1950s, would have been familiar to her.  Or perhaps she would be charmed by the sweaters in Little Vintage KnitsI'm sure she saw plenty of shawls from around the world gracing the shoulders of her immigrant neighbors, like the 25 patterns in Folk Shawls, and perhaps she knit socks for her neighbors like the 24 patterns in Knitting Vintage Socks.  There is no doubt that she would recognize many of the patterns in the Knitting Traditions magazine.  The magazine is a favorite of mine - a terrific collection of knitting patterns with inspiring and informative companion stories that frame the projects in cultural and historical context.  

Nature Spun in Sienna
What yarn would Jane Addams have used?  She would have used natural fibers (no acrylic).  Perhaps she used the bright colors of Brown Sheep's Nature Spun 100% wool yarn and Mountain Colors Yarn's 4/8 Wool 100% wool yarn, or the subdued natural palette of Suzy the Shepherdess' 100% wool yarn.  She may have used linen similar to Claudia's Linen or  Claudia's Linen Lace 100% linen yarn, or a 100% cotton yarn like Claudia's Cotton Ball, Tahki Yarn's Cotton Classic or Tahki Yarn's Cotton Classic Lite.

So in honor of Jane Addams, knit your way through the Labor Day weekend!

Happy Labor Day . . . . and Happy Knitting!      Amy

Monday, August 26, 2013

Holiday Knitting ... Inspiration and time to get started!

It may seem early for holiday wishes, but it's not too early to start holiday knitting and crochet projects ... and why not knit a special project for your favorite someone?  You've got plenty of time to finish a sweater, a shawl, or a project that might take a little longer ... browse our Holiday Central page for some inspiration!  Here are some of my favorites:
Classic Elite's Billy Cardigan
    Santa Scout
  • Your special four-legged friends will enjoy a creation from Dandy Dog Sweaters knit with Ella Rae's Classic Superwash, a washable wool.  (Our kitten Scout is humiliated by the thought, but the small dog size fits a cat quite nicely and I used it to knit Scout's famous red sweater). 
Too much work?  Knit fast with our suggestions for Quick Knits for Her, Quick Knits for Him, Quick Knits for Kids & Babies and Quick Knits for the Home.

Happy Holidays . . . .  And Happy Knitting!   Amy

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Newest MCY Exclusive Color is Fun, Flavorful and 20% Off!

Mmmm . . . Spumoni
I scream, you scream, we all scream for . . . . yarn!  But not just any old vanilla yarn, Mountain Colors Yarn's new FiberWild! exclusive color Spumoni!  Bonus:  The Spumoni color is 20% off and Free patterns!

Spumoni is a cut above ordinary ice cream - and so is the new Spumoni yarn!  An Italian specialty, spumoni is traditionally mixed with whipped cream, fruit and nuts which creates a dessert that is lighter and sweeter than ordinary ice cream.  The traditional flavors are cherry, pistachio and either chocolate or vanilla, frozen in layers to create stripes representing the red, green and white of the Italian flag. 

Bearfoot in Spumoni
Our ice cream-loving friends at Mountain Colors Yarn put down their spoons and helped us create a color inspired by the colorful Italian treat.  Spumoni combines green, pink and tan to represent the pistachio, cherry and chocolate spumoni, plus yellow for the cone and red for those yummy sweet bits of cherry!

Spumoni is available in Mountain Colors yarn ... Crazyfoot, a superfine superwash wool and nylon blend that is perfect for socks, children's garments or any other lace or fine gauge project, or Bearfoot, a supple and strong light yarn of superwash wool, mohair and nylon that is phenomenal for warm socks, shawls and fine gauge sweaters.

Single Scoop Sock Pattern
Not fun Enough???  How about two patterns to compliment the new color?  The Single Scoop Sock pattern in Crazyfoot is a toe-up sock with cabled O's, simple cables, and a little lace finished with a picot edge.  Wrap yourself in fun with the Tutti Frutti Shawlette, a lovely crescent shaped shawlette in Bearfoot featuring small circular motifs and a wonderful scalloped edge! Chase off the chill on a cool summer night by wearing it as a wrap or brighten up your winter wardrobe by wearing it as a scarf.   

Tutti Frutti Shawlette
Because FREE is always fun, we're giving away the Single Scoop Sock pattern with the purchase of any amount of Crazyfoot, and the Tutti Frutti Shawlette with the purchase of any amount of BearfootYummy!

But please do NOT lick the yarn!  We do, however, recommend you knit with a bowl of ice cream beside you. ... Happy Knitting . . . . . Amy

Friday, August 9, 2013

addi Turbo Rockets are Here! (Because size DOES matter)

So what's an addi Turbo Rocket?  Imagine taking a classic addi Turbo fixed circular needle and adding extra pointy tips (like the addi Turbo Lace tips) ... the result is fast knittin', and we mean rocket-fast!

The Turbo Sock Rockets came out in February, and have been very popular.  The Sock Rocket needle sizes are US 0 (2mm), 2.25mm, US 1 (2.5mm), 2.75mm and US 2 (3mm).  Then knitters started asking for the Turbo Sock Rockets in larger needle sizes.  Skacel listened!

The new addi Turbo Rockets come in twelve larger sizes from US 3 (3.25 mm) through US 13 (9.0 mm).  The new Turbo Rockets will be shipping next week!

Both the Turbo Sock Rockets and the Turbo Rockets are available in three cable sizes.  The 24" cable will work wonderfully in pairs, and the 32" and 40" cables are perfect for the Magic Loop method (watch Michelle Hunter's video lesson on the Magic Loop if you haven't tried it yet).
Can't have too many socks!

Are the names a bit confusing?  Just remember that the smaller sizes have the word "sock" in the name (addi Turbo Sock Rockets) and the larger sizes don't say "sock" (addi Turbo Rockets) ... 'cause size does matter!

Happy Knitting . . . . Amy

Friday, August 2, 2013

All Dream in Color Yarns are 20% Off!

Do you dream in color?  Most people say that they do, but your life can be more colorful than your dreams with Dream in Color yarn!  Speaking of color, do you like the color green?  You can save yourself some green because all Dream in Color yarns are 20% off!

Not surprisingly, Dream in Color was started by two women who love color.  They became involved with a school that encouraged creativity and hands-on learning using lots of color.  But why should the kids have all the fun?  Why not spark the same creativity in grown-ups?  They opened a yarn shop, and instead of organizing the store by weight or brand they arranged the store by color.  Crazy, but it worked!  They started dying and experimenting with color in the back room, and two years later their own hand-dyed colors were so popular they closed the yarn shop to devote themselves to dying their Dream in Color yarn full time.

We carry ten different types of Dream in Color yarn.  Some of my favorites:
  • The popular Smooshy superfine superwash merino yarn is super soft and, well, smooshy. (Need a project?  The seamless Airy hat is a free Ravelry download!)
  •  Sometimes you want to get wild, sometimes you want Calm yarn.  The well balanced, single ply 100% wool Calm in deep, full colors is grown, spun and hand-dyed in the good ole USA.
  • Everlasting Sock Yarn in Victoria
    Perfectly Posh Single Ply and Perfectly Posh Sport are a blend of cashmere, soft baby fine mohair,  shiny silk and merino wool for a super soft yarn.  
  • The Everlasting Sock yarn is 100% superwash merino wool with eight plies spun together in a smooth twist, which makes it a very durable and hard wearing yarn.  Don't you hate holes in the toes of your socks?! 
  • The Everlasting DK yarn has an impressive twelve plies of finely spun superwash merino wool that creates an exquisite yarn that is soft and durable.  Knit something for your kids that is ready for some serious play time! 
  •  Wisp is a delicate wisp of  silk and merino in a lace weight that has a slight sheen with a little drape.  Awesome!
  •  The shimmering Starry is a superwash merino wool with just a touch of silver Lurex filament.  You'll be a twinkle toes with the Simply Twisted free Ravelry download sock pattern!
Perfectly Posh Sport Weight in Shy
But which color will you choose?  That's the most difficult part!  We have each yarn's most popular colors in stock, but we can also special order any Dream in Color yarn in over 70 different colors!  Super Cool:  The 20% off sale includes all in-stock colors and special order colors!

So do you really dream in color?  For an in-depth study you can read Do We Dream in Color? Cultural Variations and Skepticism by Eric Schwitzgebel of the University of California at Riverside as published by the American Psychological Association in 2006, or you could just knit!

Happy Knitting . . .  Amy