November 01, 2022
Today's miscellaneous wool-gathering:
If I was ranking the characteristics of yarn according to how frequently they come up in the shop, they would be:
Color mostly sorts itself out. People have a wide range of preferences, and my general approach is to offer as wide a range of colors as is practical for a particular yarn. Workhorse basics? We have 30-60 colors in stock at any given time. Indie hand-dyes are usually somewhere between 10-20 colors. Some seasonal yarns are presented in a palette of 8-12 colors.
Washability is a matter of matching up needs with recommended care--just about everything is washable--it's just a question of how. More on this another time.
Softness is a little trickier. For starters, people have different sensitivities, and two yarns might feel completely different to different people. Some of us do fine with nearly any wool, others can only tolerate the softest Merinos. There are folks who find alpaca softest, and others who can't tolerate it. But the thing that had me musing was the fact that even though softness is so sought after, it's not the only characteristic that matters. Think of it this way: if you have an insulated winter jacket, down or polyfill, the shell is usually some kind of nylon. And what matters is that it is densely woven enough that the down or poly doesn't escape, and doesn't get wet! And for the jacket as a whole, its function is to insulate, so even though the shell is usually very smooth, we don't generally judge it as being soft. The same is true for other clothing--a raincoat needs to be made of water-repellent fabric, leotards need to be stretchy, etc.
Some of the wools slightly more rustic wools have wonderful qualities if you think about them a little differently. A sturdier wool, well-knit, can yield a sweater or pair of mittens that will last for decades when cared for thoughtfully. (Longer stapled wools tend to pill less.) And many are incredibly lofty and cozy (even when damp). The same fibers that might prickle a bit are also trapping air in your knit or crochet fabric, increasing its insulating powers.
Don't get me wrong--soft things are lovely, and when you're looking for something luscious to wear around your neck or directly against sensitive skin--we've got you covered. But if you're wanting a cozy layer? It might be interesting to think about what your priorities are, and explore from there!
💡💡💡 Reminder: Next Monday, pick up only while we add some new lights.
Current open hours are Monday - Thursday, 7am-3:30pm, Friday 8:30am - 5pm and Saturdays, 9am-4pm.
In-store shopping: masks are optional (but welcome and appreciated).
Every Saturday, 2-4pm
Join us around the big table for a couple of hours of convivial stitching.
Plaid KAL/CAL October 29-November 4 (join any time)
More info here.
Monday, November 7 We'll be open for curbside pick up only while we have some new lighting installed!
Friday, November 11 We will be open regular Friday hours on Veterans' Day, 8:30am-5pm.
Thursday, November 24 Closed for Thanksgiving.
Time for some monthly goodies from Apple Fiber Studio and Katrinkles!
The November Pretty Pretty Yarn Club colorway from Apple Fiber Studio is Autumn Trail, and it's pictured here with October's color, Fiery Sunset. The theme for this quarter is Fall to Winter, so here we see the transition from the smoky skies they were experiencing in October in Bellingham to the colors of a rainy hike in the woods in November.
From Katrinkles, we have November's Stitch Markers of the Month, highlighting the (not-so-dread) fiber affliction: Castonitis. The sets feature five wooden markers that show newly cast on projects, and the rose gold mirror acrylic marker reads "Cast-on-itis". Join us in raising awareness about this condition that affects so many!
We also added a couple of other exciting items from Katrinkles--adult size *adjustable* sock blockers, and a new mini-tool, a bullet journal template created for fiber crafters. The sock blockers use two-part screws to create an easy slide adjustment for women's size 4 to men's size 13 feet, and I recorded a video demo of it here. The bullet journal tool is made from stencil template material and has 23 mini stencils all related to crafting with yarn, as well as 2" and 5 cm rulers, and guides for making wavy lines.
Pattern support...from the source. When you're looking for idea for an idea for a particular yarn, do you ever look to the yarn manufacturer? A number of our shop favorites--Berroco, Hudson & West, Malabrigo, Madelinetosh, and The Fibre Co. have a strong focus on design, and work with designers to bring you patterns that highlight the best characteristics of their yarns.
Things got a bit out of hand with my own case of castonitis (see above). Currently in progress (and mostly started within the last two weeks) are:
I've been giving each of them a bit of time regularly, so all are growing, though maybe not as rapidly as if I focused on one at a time!
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