Get Your Crafting Freak On

Being Yankee Yarn’s Resident Writer, I love going to the shop every Friday to get my next topic from Our Fearless Leader Sara for the blog. We usually sit, catch up, talk about all the “cray haps” and brainstorm business ideas with a “spontaneous” cup of coffee (and sometimes a vegan treat.)

Booyah, baby! Corporate as you like!

Last Friday was a little different. When I walked in, there was already a full-blown meeting taking place. I got to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall during a visit with The Yarn Sales Santa! Our Fearless Leader Sara and Resident Designer Jen were all abuzz and grooving on the exciting new patterns and yarns that will be coming into our second site in Sutton-In-Ashfield,  Unique & Beautiful.

Unique & Beautiful is a new venture in Sutton-in-Ashfield offering handmade crafts from over 25 local artists. Yankee Yarns sells a very small range of end-of-line and discounted wool at that site. But now, we will exclusively be selling our new line of King Cole yarn there!
“We are getting lots,” said Our Fearless Leader Sara. “We are getting ‘sick’ wool!” There will be 4 ply, baby wool, Aran and a very exciting yarn — Tinsel Chunky!

 

“We are getting every single pattern available for it!” she said. This really is fantastic news. Over a year ago, I became enamoured with this yarn and made a dozen owls and hedgehogs as presents for just about everyone I knew. 

Our Fearless Leader Sara will be knitting the dragon pattern when the yarn comes in. When she finishes it, she will exhibit it at Unique & Beautiful. I cannot wait to see it! Better yet… I cannot wait to knit it. It’s time I get to crafting again!

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Resident Designer Jen, Mansfield Market May 2016

Speaking of crafting, Yankee Yarns is at the Love Your Local Market event today, May 26th, from 11 am to 2 pm along with other arts and craft presenters. The market will be a cornucopia of homemade products, crafts, gifts and food.

We will be offering free crochet sessions and teaching folks how to make a poppy. We are encouraging everyone to be a part of the Mansfield Poppy Parade because raising money for the British Legion is something near and dear to our hearts! If you are in the area, pop in and meet us! If you are not local, you can still take part by knitting the Poppy Pattern found on the Mansfield District Council website and sending them to us.

Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

 

 

 

Let Them Knit Cake!!!

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There is not much I take seriously. What I do take seriously is cake. These days the cake has taken our shop by storm in the form of Caron Cakes.

The colours are so rich, you just want to eat them up. The best bit is there are no calories in this kind of cake.

Let me shoot you some stats on this multipurpose yarn:

  • Can be used for knitting, crocheting
  • Multi-Project Versatile that grows quite fast!
  • Variegated (five vibrant colours in each ball)
  • Weight: Medium Worsted ( like 10 ply, Aran)
  • Contents: 80% Acrylic, 20% Wool
  • Skein Weight: 7.1 oz./ 200g
  • Yardage: 383 yds. / 350 m
  • Knitting Gauge: 18 sts – 24 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Crochet Gauge: 13 sc – 14 rows = 4″ (10 cm)
  • Suggested Knitting Needle: 5 mm, US – 8
  • Suggested Crochet Hook: 5 mm, US – H/8

You can find lots of ideas and patterns to crochet or knit on Ravelry. Alternatively, you can just come into the shop and our Resident Designer, Jenny, will be happy to help you out.

Before I heard of this yarn, I had no idea that the term “cake” was in reference to the yarn ball type. Every day is, indeed, a school day! I found out on Interweave that yarn comes wound up in one of  11 + 1 ways! I had to look them up but here is a list with my take on each one.

YARN BALL TYPES 1

Hank– Sounds like a cowboy with a lasso. It’s basically just yarn wrapped around and tied. This is the best way to use it when you are using hand looms.

Folded Hank- a neater version of the cowboy. This cowboy is going courtin’. But when you need to use it, you will need a partner who will hold it for you looped on their arms while you gossip and wind it into a ball.

Twisted Hank or Skein the cowboy with his knickers in a twist because he needs the bathroom and has crossed his legs… Skein is the generic term we all seem to call any ball of yarn. But I especially like it when it is twistd up like this. The wizards who hand-dye sell their works in this manner. It really captures the colours and how they blend and work into

Pull Skein- Basically, these are ready to use as you pull the yarn from the centre and just knit. But they do get a little sloppy towards the end so you end up winding it into a ball.

Bullet Skien- quite possibly the most common way we see our yarn for sale. Incidentally, this is the best way to stash them in a pillow cushion so your husband has no idea how much yarn you actually stash…. shhh

 

 

YARN BALL TYPES 2

Ball-  In the words of William Butler Yeats from his poem The Second Coming, “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.” So you wind this sucker up tight, plop it in a lovely in a yarn bowl in a decorative part of your living room near your Yarniverse!

Donut Ball- I just got a mental image of two cops in their patrol car parked behind a billboard knitting away with fluffy cashmere doughnut balls in a box between them. Oh, the joy!

Hard Core Ball- So this type of yarn ball has nothing to do with Basketball’s Goon Squad like Chicago Bulls Dennis Rodman or Philly 76ers Charles Barkley. It has to do with skinny yarn like the kind used for making nets and wound up tight. Booyeah.

Cone- this is often associated with cheap granny yarn that you find up in the loft. You get lots and lots of yardage on this bad boy. It’s not old-fashioned anymore, however. Sugar ‘n’ Cream has lots of its cotton yarn in fresh new colours on cones with names like Ahoy or Faded Denim.

Cake- Ah ha!!! Remember those Hanks? Well, you get cakes from them when you wind them up. Click to see a video HERE!

 

These are the 11 types of balls. According to Interweave, there is one more that lurks at the bottom of your stash called the ***Hankenstien***

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Hooked on Colour

With the recent grey, blustery weather and the general in-between-y kind of mood of this time of year, who doesn’t need a bit of colour? Better still, a bit of colour and company. Oooo! Even better than that, colour, company,  tea and… (dare I say it) cake!?

Well, last weekend Yankee Yarns took a road trip to Stitches in Birmingham. CHSI Stitches is the geek con for anyone who is lucky enough to have a yarn store. There, you are privy to all the workshops, all the demonstrations and all the new stuff. In fact, it is Europe’s largest trade show for all of the creative craft industries— That is the art, craft, needlecraft and hobby sector.

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Over 300 suppliers from all over the world converge to display their new and innovative products. If you think you get tempted to buy another skein of wool to hide in your stash everytime you walk into a wool shop, think what it was like for our Fearless Leader, Sara?

The pull was just too great for us and inspiration hit big style.Yankee Yarns is getting new stock to add to our already vibrant shelves.To say that we have had our Cake and eating it too is an understatement.

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We are excited to announce Yankee Yarns will now be the local cake house. Caron Cakes are 200g Aran goodness. To put it simply, thay are GORGEOUS diversity of colors that are 80% acrylic and 20% wool.

“I LOVE them!” said Sara. “I wanted to get one (at Stitches) but you can’t buy anything there.” So instead, Sara decided she just needed to stock it.This yarn is the perfect multipurpose yarn that is soft and versitile. It can be used for garments, accessories and home décor projects in knitting or crochet. Each vivid, variegated ball features five bright colors. Lush! And check out the names of each one. You just want to eat them up.

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Also on Sara’s list is Caron Simply Soft. It is 100% acrylic so it is both machine washable and will tumble dry on a low heat!

The proverbial icing on the cake comes in the form of some new and innovative needles. HiyaHiya Needles are completely interchangeable needles. Sara was bubbling with excitment. “Straight and circular. One set makes everything. Every length!”

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In addition to the new stock, Yankee Yarns is happy to announce we are now in Crochet Now Magazine for the next five months in the Shop Local section. If you come in and buy a magazine and spend £15 or more, you get a coupon to fill in and Crochet Now will send you 3 free gifts!

Speaking of crochet, we have a lovely little pattern for you. African Flowers! Head over to Ravelry for the free pattern, including full colour tutorial. You can make them and put them out on their own to use as coasters or you can attach them and make a blanket out of them. Really, your creativity is the limit. They make lovely house-warming gifts. Heaven knows we have enough stash yarn to work through and this will help with your Stash Bust Challenge for the year.

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So let’s get hookin’! And remember to send us pictures of your creations so we can get them on our Rogue’s Gallery. We just love to see what you are working on!

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Cast On, Knit Up, Drop Out: Understanding Knitting Patterns

HEY!

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD!

KNIT UP!

KNIT UP!

In doing some research on Timothy Leary, I came across some rather groovy experimental videos. He said that the natural state of the brain was chaos. It is when we are overloaded by information and stimuli that we are able to be reprogramed. Basically, out of chaos comes a kind of order.

Lights and colours kept flashing before me and my mind suddenly snapped to that pattern I had been agonising over. The feeling of gaining some kind of clarity comes at the darnedest times. I stopped doing the work I was doing and went to my knitting basket, pulled out the pattern and just took the time to read it. Now at this point, many of you might be saying to your self, “No duh! Who doesn’t read the pattern before you start?” The answer, my friend, is LOTS OF PEOPLE. But it’s not about just reading the pattern. It’s about becoming one with it.

At the last knitting circle I attended at Bugman’s Bar with the Knitting Kninjas, I mentioned how I was still studying the pattern I was currently working on. One of the ladies was nonplussed. “You study it? I just start it!” she said. One of the beginners looked at my pattern and mearly shook her head. “I’ll never get there,” she sighed.

Knitting patterns can be very confusing. The abbreviations and symbols can look as if it is some ancient language. Throw in some runes and you have something you would see on an alien’s information display in its helmet. (he he) But seriously, it looks daunting. Once you become familar with the chaos, the order appears. You just need to chunck it down. Take it line by line and take your time.

The first thing to do is become familiar with the knitting abbreviations. I bought a book when I first learned to knit. I carried it around with me in my knitting bag. 20170127_100027.jpg

I first got used to the basic ones which are:

K or k = knit stitch
P or p = purl stitch

CO= cast on

BO= Bind off

Inc= increase

Dec= decrease

Rep= repeat

sl= slip stitch or slip a number of stitches

YO= yarn over as in taking the yarn over the needle

Tog= together as in knit two stitches together

Work Even= continue to what you have been doing without increasing or decreasing

Maintain Pattern= this means continue to do what you have been doing whilst dcreasing or increasing on the rows given.

Another helpful bit of advice was to print out a list of abbreiviations, laminate them and keep them in your knitting bag. I found a list on the Craft Yarn Council’s Yarn standards page.

It is a feeling of absolute joy when I all of a sudden “Get” the pattern. The soundtrack in my mind suddenly snaps into Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” and the cinematography becomes all golden. A very nice lady and self proclaimed Old Hippie told me once, “You just can’t rush things, sugar. Take your time. Breathe in…out and it all becomes clear.” (Thanks Mom)

You can find detailed help on how to understand knitting patterns on Wikihow.

We call this process “turning on.” And secondly, we seek to express the revelation, the glory, and the confusion and the paradox which comes to us from turning on in acts of glorification, of communication, of expressing the wonder and the meaning. It’s this process of acting it out that is called “tuning in.” But in order to turn on and tune in, you must of course “drop out.” — Timothy Leary

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She Comes In Colours

It is the first week of 2017. The festive frenzy of December is all over except for the shouting and the tell-tale signs of overindulgence around the waistline. The cold and frosty weather makes me want to cuddle in with a cup of coffee, my knitting and enjoy these last few days of comfort before I hit the office grind. However, I am mindful that perhaps I need to move around a bit.17-01-05-19-57-43-970_deco.jpg Luckily, the weather has been rather dry so everyday this week I have bundled up and ventured out for a walk in the dead of winter.

Who said dead? The colours have been absolutely inspiring! The beauty of drawing inspiration for the next project is out there! I admit, the idea of studying the Colour Wheel  and creating mood boards can feel a bit overwhelming and time consuming. I already have an all consuming hobby. Creating mood boards just seems like it would take me away from all my proposed knitting and crochet projects!

Our fearless leader, Sara at Yankee Yarns, let me in on a great little secret. All the hard work has already been done for us on Pintrest. You just need to do a search, print it off and dance right on over to the shop and pick out the yarn. Or you can do what I do. I store a bunch of pallets on my phone. Check out Sara’s collection on the Yankee Yarns board. You can see the ones the I have picked for my board. I am basically planning cushions and throws for each room in my house!


A simple search for colour schemes or pallets brings up a plethora of ideas. Sara puts together project kits for her customers regularly. wp-1483645572625.jpgThe last one offered at Yankee Yarns included a pattern for a Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Cozy Nights Ripple Afghan, the six balls of yarn and a crochet hook. Since I am more of a knitter than a “hooker”, it was great to be able to go into Yankee Yarns and get a bit of schooling in crochet. The classes are 1.5 hour blocks on Mondays 12-2:30, 7:30pm-9pm Wednesdays 10-2:30, Thursdays 10-2:30, Fridays 10-2:30, and Saturdays 11-2. Just give Sara a ring.

 

At this rate, I am actually praying for a big snow day so I can get going on my next project. Aren’t we all???dr-who-knitting-meme

Manchester Terrier Hat: aka The Mabel Hat

 

There is always something inspiring about getting together with friends to knit. I always learn something new. Sometimes what I learn is a new skill or a different technique on how to perfect a stitch. Other times I learn about people and what makes them tick. It is these little glimpses into other people that make me truly grow in my craft.

One Friday afternoon, I sat at the shop with Janet who was working on the tiniest little hat.

“Is that for a doll?” I asked.

“No, it’s for a charity,” said Janet. She went on to tell me about Gracie, her Manchester terrier who was the smallest in her litter with the biggest personality. Janet lost Gracie at 14 months to congenital renal failure that is common in the Manchester Terrier dog. Janet went on to tell me the story of the breeders, Phil and Estella. Estella gave Janet Pixie. Pixie’s pup, Mabel is on the calendar dog for January resplendent in her little hat.It is these hats Janet has almost continuously on her needles.

In the last two years, Janet has knitted up anywhere from 150 to 200 little wool hats. These are sold at the dog shows and on the Rattustrap Manchester Terriers website and all the money has gone to charity. These have been bought by loving dog owners all over the world from Finland to Florida!

These hats can be adapted to fit larger dogs and other critters around your house. Even cats (if they let you. You know what they are like!) Our fearless leader, Sara, made some for her kids and for herself. Janet wrote me out the pattern and I have a Mabel Hat on my sticks right now. Yankee Yarns’s resident designer has written it up on in our Ravelry. Get this pattern for free here!

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Sara in her Mabel Hat