Tea & Company

craft tea

Overheard at a tea house:

Lady One: “Hey! Sorry I am late traffic.”

Lady Two: “That’s ok. I brought my knitting and I got a cuppa.”

Lady One: “Oh my days! What are you knitting now? Tea towels?”

Lady Two: “No, no, this one is for charity. It’s for preemie babies!”

Lady One:“Are you sure it’s just not another excuse to knit???”

Me over on the next table: The penny drops.

I am one of those kinds of knitters who will accept any opportunity to knit. Why not use my talents to give back to the community? Why not hone my skills with each project?

All kidding aside, there are so many benefits to donating your knitting and crochet work to charity. In addition to helping others in need, it also gives knitters and crocheters the chance to get more involved in the community by discovering new volunteer opportunities. In addition, there is the opportunity to learn a new skill, increase your skill base or teach others the skill. There are patterns that challenge all skill levels. Mastering the skill gives me such a feeling of satisfaction. However, knowing that I am making something precious for others makes the experience richer.  It brings me an amazing feeling of self-worth, helps me relax and practice mindfulness and gives me joy. What’s not to love?

Here are some guidelines to knitting or crocheting for charity:

  • Follow the pattern. The pattern is there for a reason. They have been tried and tested.
  • Make sure the garments are big enough (unless you are knitting for premature babies.
  • Don’t use a free pattern to sell your stuff. These are intended for charity
  • Ask your local yarn store for help either with the pattern, finding a suitable/affordable yarn or with the pattern instructions. Yankee Yarns is the nerve centre of all things yarn. Any of the Knitteristas that come into the shop to knit can help out.
  • There are many charities out there that rely on the generosity of knitters to help them raise funds and awareness of issues. Check the details of the charity and make sure it is a reputable one. You can click on the UK Handknitting website to help you with this.

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The vintage poem appeared in an Australian newspaper in 1918 for the war effort. And if you think about it, there were knitters from the US, Canada and the UK all clicking away to ensure “our boys” had warm things to wear on the front. It looks like we are still doing this only now it is in remembrance of all who fought and fell in the wars. We have had a load of knitted and crocheted poppies come through the door. It is impressive and heart-warming to see all these ladies come through the door to drop off their donations at Yankee Yarns. There are Plenty of Poppies!!!   Wouldn’t it be great if we could see 150,000 Poppies??? We are working on it!!!

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Read the post from the Mansfield District Council Facebook page below:

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Ready, Steady… KNIT!!!!

“I just want to finish work today so I can go home and speed-knit!” said Sam Wibberley as she came out of the staff kitchen with her first cup of tea of the morning. She is expecting the arrival of her cousin this weekend with her brand new baby in tow. Well, newish baby.

Sam started knitting a floppy teddy bear for the new-born four months ago. For one reason or another, meeting the new arrival had been postponed and for the last week she has been “speed-knitting”. I loved hearing how Sam was already looking forward to going home to get more progress on the floppy teddy bear (95% complete at this point) and it was only 8am on a Thursday morning.

This is a common phenomenon. Even I have two projects on the go right now for people who just had new arrivals. One became a new dad of a three-year-old boy. He and his wife adopted the wee man and I excavated my pattern book from the many pattern tomes in my Yarniverse and decided on a lovely cable jumper for him to wear through the winter. So far I have the back done and am now moving on to the front so still, only 25% done and it is middle October… tick tock.

road knittingThen I have another more immediate speed-knit I felt compelled to do for another work for someone who just became a new dad. This was a surprise birth that not even HE knew about! One day, He and his girlfriend were just a couple, and then BOOM! Parenthood. To quote his manager when he called in to let her know he could not come into work that day because he was at the hospital with his girlfriend in labour, “WTF?” Anyway, he and his girlfriend wheeled the wee lassie in to show her off in their quickly bought pram. All I could think (after I got all broody and dreamy about what a pretty baby girl she was) was, “She needs a bonnet!!!!!” So here I am flicking yarn like a maniac whenever I have my hands free as I listen to Grime or heavy metal music.

lullabyeIt’s all about the babies, isn’t it? So is it any wonder, Yankee Yarns is promoting knitting hospital hats for King’s Mill ICU babies. The hospital has adopted a new safety initiative to help keep the babies warm in the first crucial hours after birth. A traffic light system of red, yellow and green hats on these babies will help staff and parents understand the changing temperature of the babies, ensuring they are kept at the right temperature and being aware of any signs of developing an infection.

Our Fearless Leader Sara wrote a pattern to go with the Stylecraft Lullaby DK yarn we have at Yankee Yarns so you can knit up these little hats for the babies.

“Yes ma’am,” said Sara when I asked her if this was her own design. “I made the whole thing up. Like my lavish lifestyle!” LOL.

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Stylecraft Lullaby DK knitting yarn is the perfect yarn for babies, especially the brand new ones because it’s super soft! This truly is a speed-knit because it takes a 4mm needle to knit up these gorgeous little hats, and the colours are absolutely beautiful. The yarn is functional, too. It’s a blend of acrylic and nylon so it can be machine washed and tumble dried on a low setting. It feels lovely when you knit it up, too.

Have a look at our FREE pattern in aran .   There is one in double knitting, too! Come and get your yarn! Have a coffee with us! Alternatively, you can knit up the traffic light hats and send them to us at 185 Westfield Lane, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG19 6EH UK. We will make sure they get to Kingsmill Hospital!

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Curiouser & Curiouser

 

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The quote from Alice in Wonderland’s Cheshire Cat, “We are all mad here”, applies to every single knitter and crocheter I know. I realised this when I was in the shop one afternoon and we were all going about our conversations as we worked our projects. Designer Jen made some cups of coffee and placed them in front of us. She was talking about a pattern she was tweaking as she poured some milk in her coffee (and maybe sugar, I really wasn’t noticing) when all of a sudden, she took her knitting needle and stirred her coffee…

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She stirred her coffee…

She stirred her coffee with her knitting needle…

No one said anything. We just continued on and carried on with our delightful afternoon.

The thing is, I was not so surprised at the fact that she actually stirred her coffee with the needle as I was that I used needles and hooks for unconventional uses as well. I thought I was just the mad one. It turns out, EVERYONE IS MAD!

“A tool is a tool. You can find innumerable uses for any tool,” said a man who was using a butter knife as an impromptu flat head screwdriver.

“The way humans make and use tools is perhaps what sets our species apart more than anything else,” said Charles Q Choi in his contribution to Live Science website about human evolution.

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As a full-blown knitting and crochet hobbyist, I tend to buy and collect beautiful tools for my craft. However, I started with very inexpensive and basic needles and hooks when I first started on my journey. The first 4mm needles I owned were hand-me-downs, bent and felt so cold and slippery. I bought some lovely Knit Pro Symfonie wood needles and those old needles became a letter opener, to name only one of the many uses.

I became intrigued. The awareness that other people use their needles and hooks for other purposes is so odd, I began to compile a list. Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Letter opener (as mentioned before)
  2. Coffee/tea stirrer (as mentioned before)
  3. Fire poker
  4. Back Scratcher
  5. Crochet hook for getting the hair our out the drain after a shower
  6. Hairpin (straight needles and Dpns are great for this!)
  7. Plant pot trellis/stake
  8. Outdoor trellis (takes a few but great for training vines)
  9. Cake tester when baking
  10. Cat and dog scratcher
  11. Pom Pom maker
  12. BBQ skewer
  13. Spool Pin
  14. Dpns used in tabletop wargaming (true fact)
  15. Jewellery! Makes a great bracelet!
  16. Chopsticks
  17. Rubbish spear for picking up stuff after BBQs in the garden
  18. A ruler to draw straight lines
  19. Hook to check if spaghetti is done
  20. Hammer them into the shed to hang stuff from them (metal needles, obs…)
  21. Grabber of things high up on a ledge or under the sofa, fridge, bookcase, crack in the pavement…
  22. “Furgle” things off a high shelf (their word. Not mine.)
  23. Eating utensil when out camping and lost the camping flatware
  24. Flip on switches (try not to use steel needles or hooks. Electrocution is not fun for most people and can result in your terminus…)
  25. 15 mm needles make good vampire stakes (this might have been said in jest but this person gave me a reason to believe this might just be true… but I digress…)
  26. Reaching deep and narrow vessels
  27. Outdoor wind chime
  28. Music baton (a music teacher told me this one)
  29. Presentation pointer (a project manager told me this one)
  30. Weed tweaker-upper (needles and hooks!)
  31. Spider Tamer (making it go outside… no spiders were hurt in the demonstration of this example)
  32. Scraper
  33. Impromptu Pick Up Sticks game for when the nieces come over and you have no toys for them to play with…
  34. Herb Garden/ Allotment Plant Label Holder

Leave your particular uses for needles and hooks in the comments below! Remember, we are all mad here!

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Courtesy Pinterest https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/466084659/were-all-mad-here-alice-in-wonderland

 

 

Yarn & Yarnability

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a knitter or crocheter in possession of a good stash, must be in want of a WIP.

On the coach to Yarndale last Saturday, it became apparent that I belong to a collective of crafters who share the same secret. Amidst the plethora of our individual stashes, we each harbour a ridiculous amount of projects known as Works in Progress (WIP)

I need to back up a bit. In preparing to go to my first ever Yarndale, I went through my Yarniverse with the aim to inventory everything I had in order to plan a maximised spending strategy. Yarndale is the quintessential Yarn Con of the knitting, spinning and crocheting population. Not only can you find all manner of wool there, but there are other crafty things there to tempt you.

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Because I wanted more knitting needles and more skeins of hand-dyed, I needed to assess what I already had, what I wanted to make and what I would need to get so that I could go to Yarndale with a realistic budget. Simple!

No. Not so simple. By looking through all the bags and Yarniverse, I realised most of my needles were missing because there were already had stitches on them from WIPs in different stages of completion. There was the ornaments of Christmas past, a birthday present-gone-wrong, a summer vest from when I was a different size, a sock of nefarious origin, a poppy, a Clanger, and three shawls (two on needles, one on stitch holder). There was also one thing in there that I don’t even remember starting or what the devil it was supposed to be. It was on metal needles so I wager this is a leftover from my days as a complete novice!

What makes this really unsettling is that I had always been an organised person with drive and commitment to get a job done. But anything that I have ever been in my career life or even my social life has gone up in smoke when it comes to my craft! However, on the bus ride to Yarndale, I learned I am not alone.

Angela Burrows, one of Yankee Yarns favourite regulars, confided how she set on to finish projects during the run-up to Yarndale. She spent a fortnight “WIP-busting”. This, she confessed, was her Stash Acquisition Justification Mission which we will now put into the acronym, S.A.J.M.

“I have loads of finishes already this year,” she said. “…2 shawls, a teddy, Ez’s Dino onesie. I still have a shawl to turn into a FFO from a FO,  3 blankets, 2 Hygge CALs and pair of socks on the go…but who’s counting.”

What’s an FFO? It’s a Fully Finished Object. Angela is a trailblazer. Angela went on to say she “FFOed” Sophie’s Universe pattern she had been working on in the days leading up to Yarndale.  Of course, there are still WIPs that had been left behind. She found three baby blankets she started and 10 poppies.

Diabolical!

“We have an illness,” she said. I’m certain, but it makes me happy.” She would not really comment on the embroidery WIPs only to say there is enough for 10 lifetimes.

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But this is not uncommon. I went around Yarndale and noted some of the comments made by miscellaneous ladies AND gentlemen:

“That’s yarn is gorgeous! What will you make with it?” The answer, “I don’t know. But I needed it in my life.

“I think I am going to have to hire a cleaner. I’ll never clean the house now.”

“I’m sure eight of these will do. But I had better buy 10 just in case.”

“These will live in the boot of my car until I can figure out where I will put it. If he finds out, he’ll kill me.

“I don’t know when I will get to these patterns. It’s just nice to know they are there.”

“This skein looks a little like that skein but its ok. I will figure out what I am doing with each of them.”

“It’s so pretty. I love the colours. I almost don’t want to crochet it. I just want to sit and look at the skin whenever I feel a little sad.”

Using the Lean Six Sigma Project Opportunity of reducing manufacturing work in progress, I took five techniques and applied them to crafting WIPs. My understanding of reducing WIPs is that it would lead to a higher sense of achievement, peace of mind and freedom from clutter. So, here we have to focus on the raw materials as well as finished projects.

  1. Forecasting and WIP Levels– Here we make sure we keep an inventory of our materials from tools, wools and spools. This way we can make appropriate judgments according to demand. Keeping a list of things we want to make vs what we need to make and noting the time it might take to accomplish the project would help in the decision-making process. “Accurate forecasting promotes awareness, which leads to sound planning” according to Forrest W Breyfogle III in his paper on Shifting the Paradigm.
  2. Sharing Capacity– Sometimes we just bite off more than we can chew. This is just the fact. Whether it is due to our own ambition or just because we love our hobby so much. This is when we experience a “bottleneck” of projects. During this time, wouldn’t it be great if we can just hand something over to someone in our knitting group to help out? Whether it is making something up, lending a hand to a fellow knitter by doing a bulk knitting session of boring garter stitch or crocheting a few granny squares to add for someone so they can add them to their blanket. The idea is lovely and makes sense.
  3. Machines– A knitting machine could be used for those needful projects like a school jumper or the centre part of a big blanket. Anything you can set up and whip up. This will give you time to lavish on the quick-win projects like dish towel presents or crochet hats etc.
  4. Just in Time (JIT) – This is adhering to a schedule to make the projects you want in the desired quantities, just when they need them. You know Christmas is in December. How many ornaments have you decided to make? What about the Christmas Santa hat to wear at your son’s Christmas play? Easter egg chicks don’t come before Christmas projects. Basically, if we have a good schedule and track our progress, we can determine what the right number of projects is for us, as individuals, to have on the go. For some it is five; for someone else, that number might be much higher or much lower.
  5. Time-Saving Is this the right project for you??? This is a controversial point. If the WIP you are working on is not met with absolute love or even love/hate emotion, perhaps you should frog it and invest the time in the projects you actually do love. It’s not giving up. It is about knowing when to say when.

I’m interested in what number of WIPs is right for each individual. Drop us a line with your ideas, comments or rants! We’d love to hear from you!

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Bell, Book, Needles and Hook

It’s the New Moon and time for all good things to start! The air has a chill to it and the seasons are changing colourfully from the nostalgic glow of long summer days. The wind combs through trees. Some of those trees have already started to turn into the rustic reds and bronze of autumn. It is the end of September and garden fires everywhere are lit as if purifying the end of the month to make way for October.

When it gets cooler, the knitters and hookers come out of their Summer Slumber, unless you are one of the die-hard Yarnistas that knit for all seasons. My friend’s Mum once advised me to “Knit your winter things in the summer and your summer things in the winter.” She is a fantastic planner and always made sure she plotted her projects on the calendar according to season and event. All Halloween crafting should be well underway in September, she would always say. There are so many beautiful and fun things to create for Halloween and Dia De Los Muertos

Speaking of Halloween, Our Resident Designer Jen is a volunteer editor on Ravelry and they needed a picture of a crocheted pattern that had been made into a knitting pattern. It’s a pumpkin top for Barbie!

“Great for design adaptation, but not the pattern that people were expecting!” She said.

We have another yarn for you. This one is called Tweedy by Stylecraft. It comes in Moss, Bracken, Heather and Thistle. All Autumnal feeling yarn!

The recommended needles for this yarn are 4mm and we have a lovely pattern to show you at the next Workshop which is called, The Dewdrop Cowl Workshop. It’s on a Saturday in October. We will be publishing the date soon! Check out our Yankee Yarns Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

 

17-09-13-13-04-55-490_decoIt was one of those rainy days where I sat at my desk having five minutes with a coffee before the next big meeting. A part of me went into a slight melancholy as I mentally began to tick all the things I still had to do in the day. I noticed I was headed into a dark little place in my head. In order to change the direction my head was going in, I picked up two pencils from the pen pot on my desk, took out a bit of yarn I had stashed in my handbag and casted on a few little stitches. I knitted about 10 rows of a tiny little scarf, just for fun. That one little action must have released endorphins or something because I was able to finish my coffee, pick up my notes and head into the meeting with a much clearer head. This little exercise was an act of Mindfulness and something that I have been quite passionate about for a long time. Too many times we forget to stop, look around and see what we actually have in our lives. This kind of pattern leads to blue days. I’ve heard people lament about how they are in some kind of way because they “don’t have much” in their lives at that moment. However, I notice how often they forget to take stock in what wonderful gifts they possess in that current moment.

I have noticed how often people forget to take stock in what wonderful gifts they possess. So many of these gifts are everyday, basic needs we take for granted. It is easy to forget how privileged we are when we are able to take basic needs like sleep, nourishment and safety for granted. I have come to understand how gratitude for all the gifts, both large and small, is what keeps us from the melancholy.

20170825_122628-ANIMATION-1We were talking about this in the shop the other day. We get into all manner of conversations there. Our eclectic natures encourage topics from the esoteric to downright bawdy. There are so many times I wish we could have been recording our discussions. We went from arguing a theological point then somehow segued into whether I could be paid in wool rather than cash and something about a sheep…

It was decided that I could be paid in wool and I chose a skein. Our Fearless Leaser Sara all of a sudden got a twinkle in her eye and asked me if I wanted her to wind it up for me.

“I got a machine!” she said. I remember how her daughter stood by, squealing in absolute glee as she watched her Mum set the winding machine up. I felt the wonder of it all as I watched my yarn spin round and round on a clever little machine. I remember the gratitude of looking at the neat little cake of yarn Our Fearless Leader Sara presented to me. This is the kind of thing that will forever remain as a snapshot of joy is in the scrapbook of my mind.

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That little episode inspired me to document the memory and commit it to something that would stand the test of time. This could be something tangible. This would be something I could take into my hands and look over when and if those blue days ever threaten my inner peace again, There are so many ways to keep these treasures. It seems everyone has a blog, iPhone, online Ravelry account etc… but I decided to make an old-fashioned scrapbook.

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The scrapbook will also serve as a kind of project log for me to look back on. It can be a place for little bits of yarn, description, maker, patterns, thoughts and what inspired me to make the things I do. I decided to have a bit of structure to it.

Stash – A documentation of the yarn. I could keep a list of things left over in case I need to buy more to make something else without buying too much. That way I have more money to buy other yarn!

Tools – Again, this way I don’t spend money buying multiple of the same needles, hooks or patterns.

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Current Projects – Who doesn’t work on multiple projects? It’s just something that happens when we are so lucky to have the skill and desire. But sometimes we do bite off more than we can chew and we kind of lose the plot when we pick up a project we have not touched in ages. A journal documenting certain nuances of projects would be really helpful.

Goal Projects – I love to plan. This section would be where I can list the things I need for the next big project, keep track of all supplies I need and have and jot down any notes  to help me achieve it. It could be a tracker complete with test square or a sample of the yarn.

Events – Lists and pictures of yarn events, yarn bombs, charity knitting, crochet/knit-alongs, workshops and speciality visits like the trips to see Valaise Blacknose sheep flock in Dumfrieshire, Scotland or Hooligan Yarns in Bilthsthorpe

Skills & Techniques – This is the section where I will list stuff I need to learn like pattern making, entrelac knitting and spinning!

Frequently Used Measurements – This is where I would record how many stitches I usually cast on to make that favourite baby blanket, the top-down jumper or the dice bag I always make for people I love. It may need a pocket for the sock templates.

Inspiration– This is a great place to paste colour swatches of colour combinations that you might find at the DIY store in the paint section. The last time I went to decide on a colour for my living room, I planned on using the colours on the swatch for an afghan that would look perfect draped over the comfy couch. I also made some throw pillow covers.

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Of course, what is a scrapbook without pictures. There will be lots of these with random quotes, mottos, lyrics and poetry. It would be a wild and rambling place for my mind to wander and collect those little bits of life that I am so grateful to have!

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Mellow Yellow

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We never need a reason to yarn bomb a thing so it was no great surprise to walk into the shop last Friday to see the Yarnistas of Yankee Yarns wielding their crochet hooks. The color yellow was everywhere.

“It’s for the Tour of Britain,” said Our Fearless Leader Sara. The bike would be one of many yellow bikes on the trail for the Ovo Energy Tour of Britain which is a multi-stage cycling traversing the roads of Britain. There are 10 stages with Mansfield being the start point of Stage 5 on 6th September.

Cyclists have been competing for the best time since the first British stage just after WWII. So it was a thrill to be amongst those who rallied to support the event by adorning the race route with yellow bunting, flowers, painted bikes and our yarn-bombed push bike.

 

 

Starting in Mansfield, the route took cyclist on a 6 km odyssey around the town centre before starting the sprints and hill climbs out towards Sutton in Ashfield. The eight-day event was televised on ITV and attracted an estimated 1.6 million spectators. The people of Mansfield and surrounding areas turned out in form to cheer the cyclist on waving banners and shirts.

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Being a part of the community spirit is a big deal to Yankee Yarns. We like to support others. It makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. But decorating the bike for the event went a bit deeper than that. Designer Jen explained it best when she remarked at how important it was that so many people contributed a small piece to the finished yarn bomb. She added how each chain, each inch, each link reflected each individual person. Because of this, the finished piece was better than we ever imagined it would be.

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“For example,” said Designer Jen, “Angela made a little bow which in itself would have looked quite small and insignificant (albeit beautiful). However, this was one of the final pieces to go on, atop the handle bars, and totally finished off the bike!”

Designer Jen went on to say how the collective creativity, common cause and community spirit mirrored the community effort of the crowd who came out to support the cyclists along the Mansfield to Newark route.17-09-07-16-32-20-436_deco

Thirty-six hours in total went into yarn bombing the bike. This time includes the time making the pieces and putting them together. Knitting and crochet are a bit like a race. There are times we find ourselves feverishly working against the time clock— trying to get just one more row in before (insert your road block here.) There are quick wins like baby booties, small toys and dishcloths. These are like sprints— quick and exhilarating. Then you have those leg races that keep you going for hours taking turn after turn. These are like making jumpers or ornate garments. Finally, there are the contests of endurance. These bring you the adulation of the crowds when you roll out a patchwork quilt or multicoloured blanket.

Trials and tribulation aside, being able to be a part of something bigger than ourselves— either as a participant or a spectator— and come together to appreciate the talent of others, it is a celebration of life.

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Hiya!

A beautiful thing was said in the shop the other day. It was one of those quintessential “Narrrrr how lovely” moments. Our Resident Experimenter Nori was working on her newest project using a seriously sumptuous yarn.

“That is gorgeous!” I said. “Where did you get it?”

hiyahiya2Quietly– reverently— she said she got it from one of our favorite customers. She had it in her stash for ages and gave it to Resident Experimenter Nori, most likely to make room for some of the newer yarns. Then she smiled angelically and said, “Janet always makes things for other people. So I am making something for her out of her own yarn.”

We all sat there beatifically looking on; as you do when you think of what a beautiful world we live in.

hiyahiya3It is the labor of love that binds us to a strange kind of joy. When you find something you enjoy, anything to do with it makes any endeavor feel as if it is what you were meant to do. When you love something so much, you will work tirelessly to create something that not only you will enjoy, but will be enjoyed by countless others.

The Shanghai designer, Qianer Huang loved knitting and designing beautiful creation so much, she wanted to design special tools to work her craft. With the help of her brother and father, who are both engineers, she worked to design the distinctive knitting system called HiyaHiya. hiyahiya1

HiyaHiya is a China based company founded in 2002. It developed into an international brand and built a solid reputation for pioneering design. Knitters all over the world have become enthralled with the needles.  At first, the needles were only available in the United States but now they are gaining in popularity here in the UK!

Yankee Yarns joined the “knitting revolution” starting with stocking the DPNs during the recent sock clinic but we now have a range of HiyaHiya needles in the shop.

hiyahiya5I was able to work with the small cable needle. These are perfect for small circumference knitting. I felt the same way with the DPNs when knitting the toe-up socks. I tried using some other DPNs as a comparison and quickly decided that I am now rather spoiled. HiyaHiyas just felt better in my hands and did the yarn did not slip all over the place. This really helped with my “Knitting Mindfulness.”

 

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What I think I look like when I am in my Knitting Mindfulness trance…

 

Yes, they make you feel a bit like some kind of knitting hero with a knit-purl superpower. Speaking of knitting superpowers, I found a lovely new stitch for you to experiment with when you get your new HiyaHiya needles. It’s called the Chinese Wave. Have a go!

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DISCLAIMER: We know anime is Japanese. But we are geeks. We wanted an excuse to post these cool anime memes. Just play along. It’s more fun this way.

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 http://yarndale.co.uk/buy-tickets-2017/ 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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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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