. The unsung heroes


The unsung heroes

When we opened our doors, we had a lot of yarn.  We also have a lot of square footage to fill and we have been working all summer long to fill in the blanks.  Now summer yarns are on sale to make room for the fall yarns that are coming in, but we hit a saturation point in our shelves.  The trouble was, we had ordered a corner shelf unit…and it hadn’t come yet.  Well, that trouble is now over.  We got the new shelves in Tuesday night and started filling them yesterday.

This is Vaughn…

And this is Terry…

They built and installed all of our beautiful shelving and accomplished all our interior work.

Look at this…

And this…

And this…


The workmanship is beautiful and sturdy enough that my sons sons will inherit these shelves.  They may need a new coat of paint once in a while, but they will be around far longer than DIY store units.  But the best thing about them is that when we look at them, all we see is yarn.

These are the unsung heros of our store.  A salute, please, for Vaughn and Terry and the shelves they brought to us.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have more yarn coming in that needs a home, and now I have a home to offer.


Another good reason to knit.

Lucy came into the shop today to ask if we would hang a poster for her and maybe promote the charity she’s working for.  It’s called Click for Babies and they are hoping to educate folks about what they call “the period of purple crying.”

All infants go through a period of crying, usually starting at 2 weeks of age, peaking at around two months and gradually decreasing in the thrid month.  For some it is mild and easy enough to live with.  For some it can be a lot more intense.  It’s not colic.  They are not bored, or tired or manipulative.  They just cry.  Sometimes a lot.  And there’s nothing you can do.  No amount of holding or putting down, no amount of feeding or burping or diaper changing, no amount of riding in the car or swaddling or tenderness at all can soothe these little ones.

They eventually grow out of it all on their own.  But it can be an unholy frustration for the ones who care for them.  Sometimes parents or other care givers don’t tolerate it well.  Sometimes parents or other care givers take it personally or snap.  And when that happens, it can be life altering for both baby and loved one.

In order to raise awareness and educate folks about this phase in hopes of preventing shaken baby syndrome and other forms of infant abuse, CLICK for Babies is asking folks to donate purple infant hats to be distributed to a local hospitals for their newborns along with education for their parents and care givers about this period of purple crying.  We want to help, too.  So…

For the month of September, you buy any skein of purple Cascade 220 Superwash Worsted, Cascade Pacific, or Cascade Pacific Chunky, take it home and knit a hat for a newborn.  Bring the hat back to us for CLICK for Babies, and we’ll replace the purple yarn at no cost.  Knit that into more hats, bring the hats back to us and we’ll replace the yarn again.  If you make the first purchase of purple Cascade yarn, we’ll keep replacing it as long as you keep bringing hats in until October 1, 2012 when we will send all the hats to CLICK for Babies for distribution.

Wee ones need time and patience.  Parents need time and patience.  A purple hat might help everyone sleep better at night.  Who’s in?




…from me to you, with love.

I got in this morning at a little bit before 8am.  Early.  I know.  And I had the best intentions of blogging and catching up on email before the general staff meeting at 9am.  Yeah.  Right.  I never made it to my computer until late this afternoon and I have been trying to figure out how to upload an mp3 file to Facebook.  Anyone with any insight into that could give me a hint…there might be some yarn in it for you.

It has been raining off and on most of the day, but the sun has come out now, and things are drying up.  I went for a wee walk in the alley to clear my head so I could have another go at the computer and I found this.

It’s a kiss.  From me to all the spectacular folks who work for me.  To Allison who worries too much and knows more than I do, to Jennifer so far away, to Justine who loves the structure of it all, to Martha who moves yarn like you can’t even believe with quiet grace, the Kaila who sparks her dimples and blossoms every day, to Corwin who charms and comforts and joyfully runs up the learning curve, and to Liz who is still finding her feet but keeps showing her patience.  And mostly to Kristin, for everything.  I couldn’t do it without you guys and I know it…and I’m grateful.  Smoooooootch.




Mim’s magic drawer

I have put Color Affection in the bottom of my project bin until either the colors blend in a truly affectionate way, or I get re-inspired.  Meanwhile, I ran across this beautiful thing in my stash and fell in love all over again.

I’m not even sure what it is or where I go it.  It might be AWOL from the Rockin’ Sock Club of 2009, or maybe I picked it up at Heavenly Socks.  If anyone recognizes it, let me know.  I’d love to carry it in the store.

When I dug into the bottom of the yarn drawer in my desk…  What’s that you say?  Yes, of course I have a yarn drawer in my desk.  What else would I do with that deep drawer on the bottom right?  No, I have a file cabinet for files.  Obviously.

This drawer is where I keep the samples that especially intrigue me, or some special personal yarns that I think I might work with soon.

So…when I dug into the bottom of my yarn drawer, I found this stray ball I’d forgotten about and the colors were perfect for my mood.

So rich, so complex, so evocative of fall.  All I was hoping for Color Affection in a single yummy ball.  So I cast on 44 stitches and started working a simple Brioche Stitch scarf.  Pretty mindless knitting, but the color fascinates me.  It’s always amazing to me how this…

Can turn into this…

It flows and moves and changes and turns into something that reminds me of impressionist watercolors.  And   because of the slip stitches in the Brioche, it’s doing this interesting pooling thing that looks like this on one side…

And like this on the other…

Pretty.  So I’m happily ensconced in the magic of color and looking forward to having this gorgeous thing done in time for cooler weather.  See what happens when I open my magic drawer?


Summer yarns

I want you to meet some friends of mine.  These are the summer yarns.  Light, soft, rich, and in beautiful colors, these are the best companions for the hot days of summer.  They offer cool breathability and lovely drape.  And their pattern sidekicks were born to keep you comfortable in the warmer months.

This is Sanibel.

She is a soft cotton ribbon, dyed in subtle tonal colors with random bits of satin.

She knits up beautifully…

…and is a dream to crochet.

She also comes with a free pattern for Martha’s Toddler Hat.  (Though I think the hat is just as sweet on adults.)

This is Origami.

And her more popular sister Captiva.

Both of these beauties have a very narrow ribbon structure, a slinky, silky hand and are knit on a larger needle than you would think.  Captiva is a blend of cotton and acrylic, while Origami sports some linen in her makeup.  The patterns are pretty and knit up quickly.

Captiva comes in straight colors with a subtle metallic sheen.  Origami is multi-colored but not self striping.  She gives a bright tweedy look just right for pairing with everything in your closet.


This is Cotton Bamboo.  She’s not at all “cottony.”

She’s tightly spun which gives her a bounce and stitch definition more like sport weight sock yarns.  The bamboo in her gives her rich color saturation and a sweet soft hand.

This is Seedling.

And this is her bigger cousin, Sprout.

Both are classic cottons with a ripple like texture.  Seedling, with her pretty variegations and fun summer colors is a sport gauge, and Sprout, with her more muted solid tones is closer to a worsted gauge.  They are both perfect for babies and kids.

This is Katydid.

She’s 100% organic cotton, but her flat ribbon structure is intriguing.  She has a bit of a shine to her and her stitch definition is not what you’d expect from either a cotton or a ribbon yarn.

She’s a colorful beauty sure to please.

This is Firefly.

Part Viscose, part Linen and all feminine.  She has a wonderful hand, a soft summer drape and a glamour all her own.

This is Ripple.

She is an all cotton think-‘n-thin ribbon.  Like most of the summer yarns, she has a silky hand and she knits up into a beautifully textured fabric.

Perfect for a light summer scarf or shawl.

And this Tempo

And her sister Tiffany.

Tempo is a multicolor thick-‘n-thin cotton with a confetti-like tweedy look, while Tiffany is more tonal in color with a strand of gold or silver metallic thread.  The Taormina Circle Vest has been one of our more popular patterns this season and can be made with either of these beauties.


While we have loved all of our summer friends, we have fall and winter yarns arriving and it’s getting full in here.  These and other summer yarns are 25%, now through Labor Day.  There’s still time for a last summer fling.



A trip to the frog pond

As a knitter, I have learned so many ways to cheat and fudge and generally get away with making mistakes that don’t really show, that I am reluctant to take out work I have put in to a piece.  And part of being a life-long, experienced, technically superior knitter is knowing when I can get away with it.  Today I can’t.

It’s not a question of technical savvy or even simple counting.  Today it is a matter of color.  Specifically, the colors of my Color Affection shawl.  They are…well..not very affectionate with one another.  Instead of blending like a swirl of leaves on a mellow autumn afternoon in New England, it looks like the flounce of some traditional Mexican dance costume with over tones of the weird kind of candy corn that has the brown bits…you know, the kind the kids won’t eat because they are just wrong.

The orange is too bold.  The brown is too dark.  The red, rather than marrying them together in harmonious continuity just fades to bland.  Yup.  It’s just wrong.  Oh, the colors themselves are lovely.  Together, though, they are just heinous.

And there is no cheat in the world that can fix it.  I can’t knit two together or make one to make the count come out right.  I can’t pull back just the affected stitches and retwist a cable.  There is no safety line to a row I know is right.  It’s just wrong from the inception.  Bad color choice that I thought I was going to love.

It’s at times like these when every one needs a yarn buddy.  Someone to sit beside us on the couch and talk of inconsequential things and make another cup of tea.  Someone to rewind the balls and complain a little about their own tribulations with their current project.  Some one to just keep us company while we rip it, rip it, rip it.  There’s no help for it.  It has to be some.  And a little passive sympathy is soothing to this knitters soul.  Good thing I have Kristin.


The times, they are a changin’…

Every year at about this time, there comes a day when you can see that the light has changed.  In the height of late June and early July there is a bright, clear barely yellowish light that can make me squint.  It brightens the hues of water and trees and flowers to the clear blues and greens and reds of summer.  It is the light we swim and barbecue in.  It is the light we pick peas and beans in.  It is the light that transitions to those indescribably clear sunsets that linger past 8:00 while we swat mosquitos and gulp cold drinks with ice clinking in moisture beaded glasses.  When I was a little girl, I spent long day at the beach with cousins.  We swam in the painfully cold ocean until we went blue and numb.  Then we climbed onto the granite ledges and lay down in the sun.  I have such a visceral memory of sun scorched stone radiating heat that penetrated through my chilled muscles straight into my bones.  Then when we were warmed through and began to sweat from the heat, we plunged back into the shockingly cold water whooping and shrieking and splashing each other.  There is no sepia quality to those memories.  They are bathed in bright, barely yellowish light, limpid and exhilarating.

Then comes the moment when it all changes.  The yellow light deepens and becomes more golden.  The second week in August, the 12th or so, brings a golden quality that softens and deepens the color of water and trees and vegetables at the farm stands to the richer fuller blues and greens and yellows and oranges tipping toward fall.  This mellower light ushers in the season of ripe corn and tomatoes you can pick and eat right in the garden while they are still a bit dusty and let the juice run down your chin.  It brings the season of school clothes shopping, of putting a light blanket back on the bed, of evening stars on the western horizon.  It fills me with a sudden urge to get in all the “lasts” of summer:the last swim, the last picnic, the last tenting in the yard adventure, the last, the last, the last.

Like some ancestral memory, my inner cave woman recognizes this sepia light as a sign that winter is coming.  It is time to dry, freeze, can or otherwise preserve the harvest.  It is time to lay by firewood.  It is time to haul the duvet out of the linen closet and start it airing on the clothes line.  Soon the frost will come and kill the basil.  Soon we’ll be taking the yard furniture back to the basement or barn.  Soon we will be lighting smudges in the wood stove to drive away the morning chill.  Soon, soon, soon.

And I have a fierce urge to start knitting socks, hats, mittens, sweaters, shawls, anything that will keep me and those I love warm.  I knit until my hands cramp and my neck aches.  I stay up later at night and get up earlier in the morning to finish just one more thumb increase or toe decrease, just one more stripe, just one more repeat, just one more row.  I start dreaming about heavy cables and fluffy, halo-ey brushed alpaca.

Last week it was raining and the light was mostly gray.  But yesterday I saw it.  That mellow golden sepia toned light is here.  It is time to start that honeycomb sweater for myself, and the shawl and the felted slippers and the fingerless mitts…oh, and all the Christmas presents.  It’s time.  Winter is coming.