Winding Roads…

roadI met the first knitter I ever knew at a bus stop in the Seattle neighbourhood of Fremont. She was working on mittens. It was 8:30 am on a crisp but dry October day. I sat there in awe as she worked her needles and spoke about all things and nothing. She had a dreamy little voice and I hung on her every word like a kitten following a key dangled by a length of yarn. She said she was going to take the bus and “just go, you know? I need to just go and see my sister in Poulsbo. And then maybe keep going. Maybe go see my brother in Vancouver. I don’t know. But I will finish these mittens on the way. I’ll need them soon.”

There was something very sad but beautiful about what she talked about. She said she had things she had to do and she had a far way to go. I nodded like I knew even though I didn’t, really. Little did know that I had a far way to go, too. But I had appointments to keep and opportunities to turn. Life was just too full of the things I needed to do to accept the lessons right away. When she boarded the bus, she gave me a a small wave. Her words wrapped around and around in my mind. The bus pulled way and the last glimpse I had of her through the window was of her bowed head. She would be working her needles again. Nothing mattered but getting those mittens done. It would be cold soon— especially where she was going. Looking back, this brings to mind a quote from one of my favourite writers, Jack Kerouac. He wrote; “But no matter, the road is life.” For her the knitting was life at that moment as she embarked on some enigmatic road trip.

Speaking of on the road, Yankee Yarns will be On The Road in September. We are away on a coach trip to Yarndale! on September 23rd. The coach will be picking us up across from the shop at the Redgate Pub at 8 am. Then we will go, W.I.P.s on our sticks to the event in Skipton where we will get a chance to look at all things yarn! This will be my first Yarndale and all I can say is that I am looking forward to it more than Christmas! We will spend the day there browsing and buying to our heart’s content until we catch the bus back to Mansfield at 4 pm. It’s £20 for the bus so if you fancy a road trip, drop into the shop and speak to Our Fearless Leader Sara at the shop and book on to the coach!

To book the admission fee for the event itself, you will need to book online at Tickets cost £8. If you prefer to pay at the door, the price is £10.

20170513_101002So which W.I.P. will I be bringing with me? I believe the best kinds of projects to take on road trips are anything on a circular needle.  I have a top-down jumper that I am working on and the needles I am using are some from the new range of Knit Pro Needles we stock at Yankee Yarns. They are called Royale. They are colour-coded laminated birch wood needles. They start from 3mm (US 3) and go up to the 12mm (US17). They come in Purple Passion, Royale Blue, Aquamarine, Orange Lily, Fuchsia Fan, Grey Onyx, Cherry Blossom, Misty Green, Candy Pink and Burgundy Rose.

I first decided to try these on a whim. I was attracted to the colours like a bee is to flowers.But it is not just the aethestic design with the smooth surfaces and shiny brass tips. They are a perfect balance of form and function. I use the fixed circulars. They have a swivel mechanism that allows the cable to rotate. This helps with smooth, kink-free knitting and absolute flexibility.

Knitting with these needles feel smooth and effortless.The laminated wood holds yarn in place without sticking like bamboo but feel sturdy in my hands. They just feel more solid than my other wooden circulars. They are the best needles I have knit with so far. The cord is light but strong and it is easy to get lost in the minutes as I knit into the hours.

So I am all ready for being on the road.




I Want Candy


I’ve always had a sweet tooth. There was nothing better than when we were kids and running down the street to old candy shop with my friends. Half of the time we spent outside counting up the change we had between us and the other half of the time was spent arguing about what we were going to buy with our money before we even entered the shop. Once we got into the shop, our eyes went wide with wonder as we stood transfixed with an overwhelming colour spectrum of choice.


blog candy pic3
Courtesy Woolly Wanderer

Our Fearless Leader Sara and I grew up in the States and the sweets we went mad for included (but not limited to) Pop Rocks, Candy Cigarettes, salt water taffy, candy corn, Atomic Fireballs, Wax Lips, jawbreakers and candy swirl lollypops. The stuff was just so addictive. It’s a very good thing my mother had such a great dental plan because I still have every tooth I was born with!

I’ve always had a sweet tooth. There was nothing better than when we were kids and running down the street to old candy shop with my friends. Half of the time we spent outside counting up the change we had between us and the other half of the time was spent arguing about what we were going to buy with our money before we even entered the shop. Once we got into the shop, our eyes went wide with wonder as we stood transfixed with an overwhelming colour spectrum of choice.

These days, I have to be careful with my sugar intake. Don’t we all? But that feeling of falling in love with colourful sweetness is still there. Only now, that feeling of wonder has been transferred to the newest yarn in the shop.

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Another Stylecraft sweet selection has made it on to the Yankee Yarns shelves and favourites list! It is Special Candy Swirls.  You can choose from these nine delicious colours: Apple Sours, Very Berry, Fruit Salad, Coconut Ice, Strawberry Taffy, Blueberry Gum, Sugar Plum, Liquorice Whirl. These come in 150g balls with 484yrds/443m in them. The yarn is 100% Acrylic so garments you make are durable and washable. It takes a 4mm needle or hook.

It is a very versitile yarn and knits up well giving you a soft, wearble item.

Yvain modelling the Shawl & Poncho made by Jenny Newman in Stylecraft Special Candy Swirl Apple Sours

We also have a selection patterns for you to look at. Resident Designer Jen whipped up the Special Candy Swirl DK Pattern 9417 Shawl & Poncho just this week! This gorgeous Poncho is done using a Cluster Stitch. In the words of The Mighty Boosh’s Vince, “It’s impossible to be unhappy in a poncho!”

Of course, Resident Designer Jen cannot is rather addicted to the yarn and already has another project on the needles!

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Come on in or contact us for more information. Or just send us a nice message. It’s so nice to hear from you all!

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Unravelling The Mystique

Every now and then we come upon something new that is based on something old. It’s like the feeling you get when you hear a re-make of an old song. The memory is there but just out of touch. Sometimes you feel yourself searching in the catacombs of your mind for that one small glimpse of times long past. All at once, you might find yourself becoming rather nostalgic and playing through long treasured memories. It’s easy to go to those lovely regular memories that forever keep you suspended in a feeling of love. But some memories are bittersweet. Even so, they are hard to let go.

I discovered two absolutely odd but wonderful yarn related treasures recently. I stumbled upon a mystically glorious puzzle platform video game called Unravel. The video game was developed by the Swedish company which lends to it’s sublime forgeign feel. It’s a story about a doll made of yarn that comes to life. The doll’s name is Yarny and the mission is to mend broken bonds. The write up states “the yarn represents the love and connection between people.” Isn’t this just what yarn does? How many times have you gone into a shop, reached out to touch a ball of yarn and instantly transported yourself into a sentimental reverie? Perhaps you think about wearing a crocheted poncho your auntie made for you in the 70s. Or you think to how you knitted your expected baby socks only to remember that baby was now having babies of their own? Or you just think of a place. A long ago time. An afternoon. Giggling and cotton candy.

This brings me to my second yarny find! When I went into the shop last weekend to speak to Resident Designer Jen, I came upon a strange and interesting donut ball of wool that lookedmystiq3 like the ribbon-like laced I used to on my rollerskates when I was nine years old. These were so pretty and flat but if you laced them right, you looked like a floaty little princess with ribbons flying off the tops of your skates at the roller rink. Mine were a strange Pepto Bismol pink with a white gradient. I longed to find some in baby blue. I never did. But that day when I walked into Yankee Yarns, there it was— and wasn’t.

mystiq4The yarn is from Stylecraft and it’s not called Mystique for nothing. It has been dubbed as “an industry first.” Unlike my rollerskate ribbons, this wool is light and airy because it is made from a polyester and viscose blend. Resident Designer Jen is making a light summer cardigan out of it.

Stylecraft Mystique

“It knits up so quickly, ” she said. “I could have finished it in a couple of evenings if other stuff did not keep coming up.”

Mystique comes in 50g balls in six colours it washes well and dries super quick. You only have to knit a few rows to see it’s unusual texture work it’s magic. It can be used for Knitting or Crochet. While it is unlike a regular yarn so not as easy to compare, Mystiquue generally works to a chunky/bulky or 12 ply gauge. You would need 8mm needles or hook. The yarn length is 110m (120yds). It calls for a tension of 12 stitches, 16 rows to 10cm/4″.

This is definitely one for my stash. This yarn eureka moment was a bit like Yarny lassoing an almost forgotten memory for me. Mystique reminds me of something else that I just cannot put my finger on. All I know is I would love to make a spring / summer top and maybe even dust off my rollerskates and have an afternoon on some long pavement by a beach… Lots to think about now!

Woolywood Nights, An Artful Dodger & Fame!

By A.E. Wallace for Yankee Yarns

Sitting in a shop. Summer. The door is wide open. Three ladies talking the stuff of life as needles click-clickity click over  soft ambient music. A breeze swirls through the open door and spreads the coolness of fresh cut grass over the smell of filtered coffee. One of the ladies stops knitting puts down her work and stretches her fingers— rubs her neck— looks around. Idly, she mentions a documentary she saw the night before. It’s about art. It’s about artists. It’s about Yarn Artist!

By A.E. Wallace for Yankee Yarns


Enraptured, they listen to her weave the story out of snippits from the documentary.

The film is called, Yarn! It’s about wool graffiti artists, circus performers and structural designers who use yarn to create visually striking artwork.

All of the ladies stop what they are doing. They want to hear more. See more. One thing lead to another and as quickly as a , a movie night party is in the diary complete with food, a circle of yarn addicts and alcohol. This is like no knitting circle you have ever heard about.

By A.E. Wallace for Yankee Yarns

Yeah. This isn’t that out-dated preconception of granny knitting. This is art coming to life. This is pure rock n roll, baby. And the beauty of it is that people are starting to click that knitting and crochet are no longer done out of necessity. It is done out of love. It frees you while you work. It is the endeavour that builds and shapes you. It is the skill that keeps you sharp and engaged. You are creating. You are building. You are meditaing. You become one in the moment with every stitch. And somehow, it unites you with others. You become bonded with the recipients of your work. You become knitted to others like you.

By A.E. Wallace for Yankee Yarns

Speaking about unity and community, Yankee Yarns is featured in the Shop Local section of Crochet Now Magazine.