Archive for the ‘Catalog’ Category

Shakin’ Things Up A Bit

Sunday, February 8th, 2009
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Our new spring catalog has begun arriving to all of you.  This is always an exciting time for us back at the shop – wondering what you’re going to like, not like, etc.  We are always particularly anxious about the new Valley Yarns designs that we debut.  These are our babies and we love them and always hope that you do too. 

Our local customers have the advantage of seeing the garments in person.  No matter how great a job we do with our photography, seeing the design in person is simply the best.  So I thought we should try something new – try to give those of you who shop on-line with us a better feel for the garments.  I’ve taped a short video describing two of our new spring designs, the inspiration behind it, the construction, etc.  For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I’ve been fooling around with video off and on for a few months now.  I’ve still got a lot to learn about shooting video, etc. so bear with me.  This first one isn’t bad, but there are already things I know I want to do differently next time.

First up, I discuss the Trumpet Flower Cardigan knit in Valley Yarns Goshen, then it’s onto the Closed Bud Lace Coat in Valley Yarns Sheffield.


What do you think?  Like the idea?  Want to see more of these?  What else would you like us to do via video?


First Week Last Week

Monday, January 12th, 2009
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Well, it appears that 2009 is going to be similar to 2008 in at least one way.  Speed of Time.  Despite my determination to slow the pace down a bit, 2009 just doesn’t appear to want to cooperate.  Rather than fight a losing battle all year long, I’ve decided to make peace with 2009 and it’s Speed Racer tendencies.  I will gladly zip along the days and weeks with you, on one condition.  I  have the right to shift us into first gear every now and again.  I might even slam the breaks on once or twice.   I’m hopeful that 2009 will be agreeable to my requests.  Wouldn’t want to get into a tussle with an entire year.  Only time will tell.

Last week was a crazy week (I know, you are all surprised beyond belief).  We got the kids back to school (Hurray!) only to have a snow day on Wednesday (Boo!).  Worst part of that was not only was Wednesday a snow day, it was the day of our Kate Jacobs event.

We’re hearty here in New England and Kate, well, consummate professional and trooper are terms that come to mind.  Despite our lower than expected turn out, she was gracious and engaging.  I always get a wee bit nervous at these events.  We plan, we advertise, we spiffy up the place and then all we can do is hope.  Yes, we take pre-registrations so we always have an idea of the numbers, but in reality, until folks are in the door and sitting down, nothing is definite.

We have some signed books still available and another 20 or so with signed bookplates.  If you are interested, please stop in and pick up a copy.  Or if you are ordering on-line, specify you want a signed copy.  When they’re gone, they’re gone.

Next day was our catalog shoot.  The shoots take a ton of prep and organization to make sure we are using our time efficiently. 

I think we got some great shots and I’m so excited about the new designs we have coming.  Our team did a great job.

I cannot wait to get the catalog printed and in the mail to all of you.  I am particularly interested in your response to the cover.  I will say this publicly, it was 100% my choice and Steve and the other folks who’s opinions matter to me were not very supportive.  Personally, I love it.   I hope you do too.

So, it’s going to be a crazy week (again, shocker of all shockers).  We have new spring yarns rolling in, Steve has been buying closeouts like a drunken sailor and we’re off to TNNA, the industry buying show.  I’m hoping to capture some cool videos at the show and maybe give you a few sneak peeks along the way.

Oh, and for those who are interested, here’s Jonathan at his first full-ice scrimmage:

Stay tuned! 


P.S.  So how is 2009 treating you so far?

Wrap Ups and Ramp Ups

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008
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Sorry for not posting sooner. The weekend was crazy with Twist and I took off yesterday for a business trip.

Twist was an absolute blast! Thanks to everyone who came out – especially those of you who made the trek in the remnants of Hanna. It was such a great community event – Lexie & Cory you guys rock!

Here’s our own LA demoing the Rigid Heddle Loom on Friday evening.

I manned the show on Saturday and the interest in the loom was incredible.
Here’s Christa & Tina from WEBS! Christa was selling her beautiful handknits while Tina makes amazing necklaces.

For those of you who missed the event, rumor has it that a Twist 2.0 may be in the works, so be sure to stay tuned!
Now, as much as I hate to say goodbye to summer, there’s no question that fall is just around the corner. Our new fall catalog is arriving in homes and I have to say a great big “Thank you” to everyone who has taken time to email or post a comment or blog about it. We are really proud of this issue as it incorporates many new ideas I’ve been working on. If yours hasn’t arrived yet, don’t despair! The catalogs are at the mercy of the USPS so please have patience. If you aren’t currently on our mailing list and want to receive a copy, simply email with the request and be sure to include your name and mailing address.
For those of you who have already dog-eared several pages, what projects are you planning to make? Time to get fall knitting in full swing!

Got Yarn?

Friday, July 25th, 2008
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Um, yeah, we’ve got yarn, a lot of yarn. So much yarn has come in this week, I gave up trying to take photos and document it all. It’s truly mind boggling!
We received in all of Classic Elite fall yarns, all of Tahki/Stacy Charles and Rowan! Seriously, the staff is on such overload at this point, everyone is sort of just wandering around babbling with dazed looks on their faces. It’s been a lot to process both physically and mentally. I will touch on a few highlights, but please understand, this is merely the tip of the yarn mountain.
Kaffe Fassett introduces a new chunky weight yarn called Colourscape. It is so beautiful. I will take a picture of it on the store shelves (forgot today – remember the babbling and dazed looks, I’m there too). It knits at 3.5 sts = 1″ on 10.5 needles and has 175 yards for $23.95.
Classic Elite Ariosa is a roving style yarn that is 90% extrafine merino/10% cashmere. It feels awesome! It also knits at 3.5 sts = 1″ on 10.5 needles and has 87 yards for $11.99. Classic Elite has also introduced another collection of gorgeous designs to support all of their new yarns.
Plymouth has a new yarn in their Bristol Gallery Collection called Ashton. Ashton is 50% baby alpaca/40% fine merino/10% silk. This DK weight yarn has 122 yards and is just scrumptious. This is one that would make some great scarves for holiday gifts!
From Filatura Di Crosa, we’ve added a yarn called Ricciolo. This yarn is a blend of 51% mohair/49% acrylic. It’s a light, lofty multi-colored boucle. It’s fun, its fancy and Steve and I felt strongly that we needed to mix things up a bit. Ricciolo knits at 3 sts =1″ on a 10.5 needles. Each ball has 66 yards and because of it’s Italian heritage, retails at $12.95/ball. This yarn will make great trim, hats, scarves, etc.
Okay, that’s it for yarns for now. Be sure to go through our list of New Yarns to see everything (and I know there will be more up this weekend!)
Earlier in the week, Mary and I headed off to Mt. Skinner State Park for our fall photoshoot. It was hot and muggy and sticky and icky – not the best of days for wearing sweaters, carrying sweaters, styling sweaters and looks, etc. What I can say is that every sweaty moment was SO worth it. Here are a few outtakes:

Pretty awesome view. We live in such a beautiful place!

This shoot was not for the faint of heart. From the drive up the mountain, to the “don’t let the model fall over the edge” moments, we worked really hard to capture some amazing shots.

Our model Amy was such a trooper! Nothing phased her and despite the heat, humidity and rough terrain, she was upbeat, pleasant and cooperative throughout the entire shoot. We made sure every shot was ready to go before wrapping her in wool, alpaca, silk. . . . . .
Towards the end, Mary spied this bird. We were all immediately taken with it’s intense blue color:

My picture doesn’t do it justice, but trust me when I say it was incredible. We didn’t know what it was. It was small-ish like a bluebird, but way too insanely blue to be one. Back at the ranch, we were told it’s an Indigo Bunting. I am not a huge bird person but let me tell you, Indigo Buntings are welcome at my house anytime!
Last weekend, we escaped for a couple of days to visit friends on Cape Cod. There were fried clams, steamed clams, lots of fun and laughter and of course the beach! Here’s Jackson at Nauset Beach at the National Seashore:

The waves were pretty strong that day and all of the kids ended up pretty scraped up and a bit battered, but with some great summer memories.

Here’s the crew in all their glory:

Summertime, good friends and the beach. It just doesn’t get any better than that!


P.S. I have no idea why Blogger has decided to change my font and not give me the option to change it back to my standard. Another reason I will be breaking up with Blogger in the near future. Grrr. . . . .

Let’s Test This Baby Out

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008
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Alrighty now! I have my new camera and I have to say – I love it! It’s small and lightweight and sleek and oh so pretty! It’s not as fancy as my last camera, but it did so much more than I needed it to do.

Let’s toss up a test picture and see what we think:

Now that’s a mighty fine looking picture, if I do say so myself. Look at the Blue Sky Alpaca – the cotton is in the foreground and the alpaca/silk is towards the back. Colors look good!

I was running out, so I only had a few moments to snap a couple of shots.

It was my turn for the baseball camp carpool – 4 sweaty, filthy boys, exhausted, boys. All four talked the entire way home – all at the same time. To have that energy after 6 1/2 hours of baseball camp in the 90 degree/high humidity weather. . . . . . .

Let’s test another shot:

Ah, the Artyarns display looks JUST like that! Woohoo!

Okay, one last test shot:

This is the display at the front of the store. It is currently featuring several of our new Valley Yarns designs from our latest catalog. The color on the felted bags is a bit muddy, but dark colors are always tough without really good lighting. The store lighting is great, but it’s certainly not meant for photography.


Valley Yarns Catalog

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008
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Have you received yours yet? Our June 2008 catalogs mailed about 10 days ago, so if yours hasn’t arrived yet, keep checking your mail! For those of you who have received the catalog, I think you like it! Customer Service and Shipping have been crazy and I hear many customers are coming into the store, catalog in-hand and already dog-earred and notated for project selection!

Here’s the cover:

What I love about our June catalog, is that it features just our Valley Yarns line. They are always included in our other catalogs, when we also highlight the best from all of our favorite yarn distributors. I just love having this one issue where we can really showcase our yarns and our fabulous designs!

The early favorites seem to be the Firmaments Lace Shawl, knit in 2/14 Alpaca/Silk, the Diagonal Mesh Shawl, knit in Goshen and the Quilted Diamond Vest knit in Berkshire. I’m pretty tickled about the Diamond Vest. It has been a general design concept that I’ve had in my head for sometime. Linda, our Customer Service Manager finally got tired enough of listening blab on about wanting a chunky, outdoorsy vest and finally figured it out!

One of my personal favorites is the Staghorn Cable Tunic which is knit in Northampton. This garment will be featured on the podcast as our next knitalong. I have it with me on this trip and although I’ve hit a bit of a roadblock, I am still loving the pattern and cannot wait to wear it!

There are plenty of adorable designs for summer knitting such as the Striped Pullover designed by Mary Beth Temple and knit in Southwick and also in Southwick, the stunning cover sweater – the Ladder and Vine Cardi.

There are also two adorable baby items knit in Longmeadow – the Eyelet and Garter Baby Blanket and the Sweet Sabina Cardigan.

What’s your favorite?

If you haven’t yet received the Valley Yarns Catalog, be patient. If you are not on our mailing list and would like to receive a catalog, just email all of your pertinent mailing info and we’ll be happy to send one out to you!


Catching Up – Yet Again

Sunday, May 25th, 2008
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I know – when am I not catching up on posts? I really need someone to figure out how to add a 25th hour to the day, at a minimum. Or maybe I need to slow down? What makes me feel better is that in reading other blogs and talking to friends and such, I am not alone. I think we’re all running harder, in more varying directions than ever before.

Take the fact that it’s Memorial Day Weekend. I swear, we were just in Orlando in Florida. That was 2 months ago, but it feels like last week. The boys are done with school in just a couple of weeks – they will officially become 2nd and 4th graders. We won’t even broach how that has happend. Especially given I had the chance over the past few days to hang with a couple of moms with new bambinos (more on that later).

So, I still owe you more info on the SWTC yarns. I’ve got my notes, but honestly, I don’t feel like chatting about yarn right now (sorry Joe & Jonelle). I promise I will give you the low down on their great new products soon. There are lots of other bits and pieces I’d like to get taken care of in this post.

1. The day before the tent sale was our shoot for the Valley Yarns Catalog. I love doing the shoots and the VY one is always a favorite. What fun to showcase our yarns and designs! It’s always a busy day and organization is key:

Thanks to Mary and Penny for keeping us on track!

For this shoot, I decided we would work with two models. I always struggle with the look and variety of the shots. We were privileged to have the lovely Cirilia once again agreeing to model for us. Our own KT, who also models, was both willing and available for the shoot as well. One of the concerns I always have in terms of “look” is the age factor. We tend to strive for that “ageless” look. I was a bit nervous that Cirilia and KT’s youthful beauty might not be quite right for us, but I am just thrilled with how the shots came out! I can’t wait to share the final catalog with all of you. Until it’s ready, here are a few behind the scenes shots:

2. After the tent sale, I headed to Orlando for a conference. It was a learning opportunity for me, but I was also a speaker on a panel. Talk about a reality check! This was not a yarn conference – so I wasn’t exactly with my people. Needless to say, there was a lot to take in and more than a few nerves prior to the presentation. Fortunately all went well and there was even a knitter in the audience!

3. Came home from the conference, got life a bit under control (how do two small boys and one dad produce SO MUCH LAUNDRY in just a couple of days?). Then it was off to visit our friends Iris and Elliot at Artyarns. We had never been to their studio/offices before so this was a real treat. I only took a few shots, as I didn’t want to share too much of their operation. Look at this luscious yarn:

4. Got into the store on Friday morning to find an email from Brooklyn Tweed! Yes – THAT Brooklyn Tweed! He was going to making a visit to the store with Jess from Ravelry and Adrianne from Hello Yarn “tomorrow” which I read as Saturday. It was only a couple of hours later when I found them in the store:

Tomorrow really meant “today” since Jared sent the email on Thursday evening. It was great fun to meet him, especially after having interviewed him on the podcast.

5. After reading Brooklyn’s email and getting myself all excited I could barely stand it when I got an email titled “Coming to WEBS” – from none other than January One herself!! I’ve been a HUGE fan of her blog for quite awhile and although I’ve had the opportunity to speak with her I’d never met her. So yesterday after J2’s little league game, I zipped down to the store to spend some time with her and her beautiful Meli:

The pictures she posts of her on her blog are spectacular, but this is one of the most gorgeous babies I have ever seen and as good as the pictures are, there’s nothing like seeing her in person. Seriously. I told Cara that she needs to hook Meli up wth Lexie Barnes’ son “C”, who is too cute for his own good as well.

Along the way of this past week, I got my first serious dose of him when Lexie came into visit and not only is he cute, he’s charming. It’s great fun to enjoy all of these babies and not have all of the work associated with them. As overwhelming as it is at times that J1 and J2 are getting so big, I love every milestone they achieve, I love their independence and I love that they can’t call it a day until I’ve tucked them in and done “acts” with the stuffed animal of choice for the night’s cuddle.


6. To top of the blog-tastic week that was at WEBS, Steve and I interviewed Carol from for this week’s show! She is also a fave blogger of mine and is the co-author of a faboo new book, Knit So Fine. Check out the podcast and more importantly the book! Carol will be coming to WEBS in June for a book signing. Date to be announced so stayed tuned!
So now it’s Memorial Day weekend. We completely missed Mass Sheep and Wool, which is causing me some guilt. I love going and feel we need to support the event as much as possible since many of the folks involved support us. Unfortunately, we can’t be everywhere and a big breakfast at home with the family took priority this year.

Enjoy the unofficial start of summer – it’s my favorite time of year :)


That’s My Story and I’m Stickin’ To It

Saturday, January 26th, 2008
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Well, I guess we can check January off the list!
It appears that 2008 has no intention of moving any slower than 2007 did. At least we’re one month closer to warmer weather. Has anyone noticed that the days are getting noticeably longer? Five o’clock around here isn’t even dark anymore. Gives us summer people hope, despite what the thermometer says.
TNNA was a whirlwind all to itself. I went out a day early for industry meetings, which was nice. I love my work, I love my family and I treasure my alone time. Steve caught up with me the next day and we had the luxury of a dinner alone – no committments, no sitters to worry about. We were both exhausted with the time change, but we did get to enjoy a lovely meal together. Who cares that it was only 5pm “local” time – we were fashionably appropriate according to our internal clocks :)
After another day of industry stuff, TNNA finally kicked off with the fashion show. We had a dinner engagement that night so we were only able to stay for part of the festivities, but the garments we saw were breathtaking. I am looking forward to receiving the DVD and viewing it at home where there is much less distraction.
The next morning we attend the Tahki Stacy Charles breakfast. They host this event at each market for their customers. TSC previews all of their new yarns and designs and invites both Vogue Knitting and Interweave Knits & Crochet to present their editorial of TSC products. I love this event, even though we’ve already made our purchases. It’s a good chance to review things again and see if we’ve missed anything.

Then, it was off to market! We had an extremely full appointment schedule for most of the show. We are usually focused on filling in any holes we may have, looking for smaller, independent companies or new companies and of course accessories. In all honesty, there was not a lot new or super exciting.
Friday night we attended a reception hosted by Potter Craft. Many of their authors were there along with retailers, magazine folks, etc. Here’s a shot of a pretty impressive gathering of who’s who:

Saturday featured THE highlight of the show:

In addition to signing books, Melissa did a reasonable job of spending money for us. First, she helped us pick colors of Louet Gems, which is a gorgeous yarn and featured heavily in her book. Then, at various times throughout the show, we’d walk into a vendor booth and they’d say “Oh, you’re from WEBS! People have been stopping in saying if you added XYZ product they’d love to buy it from you”. Now this is weird because the show is full of OTHER shops – nobody who would be buying anything from us. This happened a couple of times and we were a bit perplexed. Then, we were nearly tackled in the aisle by the owner of Conjoined Creations with a similar testimonial. That’s when we finally figured it out.
This is a shot of Long Beach from across the bay looking back at the city:

Thanks to Mother Nature for that last day of 75 degrees and sunny. The hour or so I got to enjoy sitting outside in the warmth of the sunshine was spectacular.
While we were gone, the renovations continued. Our office was packed, our furniture moved out and gutted. We’re still in chaos, but things are coming along. We’re living in the old shipping area, wrapped on two sides by plastic and functioning out of boxes. It will be worth the wait – saw the first coat of paint on the walls yesterday!
One of the major projects waiting for me when I was back was our next catalog shoot. The Spring Knitting catalog will be out shortly, as will our next weaving catalog. Spring knitting will feature lots of great new yarns and designs, including a few of our own. Here’s a couple of behind the scenes shots:

We’ve had lots of new yarns and books arriving almost daily. I’ve got a lot of updating still ahead!

Some Bunny to Love

Saturday, July 21st, 2007
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What a week! I’m not sure if the planets were misaligned or if it was the humid, gooey weather and daily rainstorms, but nothing seemed to go right this week. I am so happy it is Saturday, the weather is perfect and the opportunity to start fresh again on Monday lies ahead.

There were a few highlights:
Lisa (gosh, I hope I got that right and my apologies if I didn’t) and her gorgeous Bohus:

The level of detail is incredible and my shot does not do it justice (the color is definitely off – ugh). The yarn is so skinny and the needles so tiny! But it is oh, so, luscious! Can’t wait to see it when she’s done. She promised to bring it in to show us.
There was the shoot for our weaving catalog that will mail this fall. It was only for one picture – the inside front cover which will feature Barbara and my son (and weaver) Jonathan.

The actual shot we chose is, well, you’ll see. . . . . . .

Then there was new yarn. First, from Reynolds, their new kids’ collection:

There are four yarns in the collection and the palette is not your typical kids’ collection. Think “Gap” meets “yarn”.

The pattern book arrived as well and it’s oozing with cuteness and each pattern can be made using one of two different yarns.
(Note: I will add the links to these products on Monday once they are on-line. The product arrived late on Friday).
We also received the lab dips for one of our new fall yarns, Williamstown. I love this yarn. Steve and I developed this one from scratch and we are really tickled with it. More info will follow once it arrives, but here’s a sampling of the colors:

Then, last, but not least. I’ve often mentioned that we have a phenomenal staff and we truly mean that. We have great, great, people working with us at WEBS. Mike, who works in shipping walks part of the way to work and on Thursday morning, noticed a bunny in our parking lot. Now, this is not uncommon. Northampton is pretty built up be we still have our fair share of critters. He continued on towards our building, but decided to go back. Something just didn’t seem right. Sure enough, the bunny was moving towards the main road, so Mike scooped her up. Right there that tells you something – this was not your average, wild bunny. In fact, it was quite the opposite. He brought her in, a box was set-up, grapes were given and it was evident that this bunny belonged to someone.

So Mike took it upon himself to contact our local Animal Control. Somebody had reported a bunny missing 4 days earlier, but they lived quite a ways from the store. And it had been four days. Nevertheless, the person who filed the “missing bunny” report was contacted. She came over and sure enough, it was hers! You could see the difference immediately. Bunny (which is her name) perked right up and looked so happy to be going home. Big, huge kudos to Mike for taking the time to go back and do all of the work to get Bunny reunited with her owner.
I love a happy ending.

Hot Off The Press!

Monday, June 18th, 2007
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Today has been a bit of a whirlwind – in an exciting sort of way, not a stressful one.

I was on press most of the day for our next catalog. It will be our second “Valley Yarns” only catalog and I have to say, I am really, really excited about it. I believe I showed you some photos from the actually location shoot a few weeks back. Well, all of the photos, projects and text are complete, the proofing (and proofing and proofing and proofing) is complete and we only have on more set of pages to finish up tomorrow. Here are a few pictures from today:

The first picture is of the press that our catalog runs on and the next two are actual pages – right off of the press that we are using to compare to the computer generated proofs for color accuracy, etc. Being on press is like the culmination of any large project – all the hardwork and sweat finally pays off when the first pages start coming off the conveyer. I can’t wait for this catalog to hit mailboxes. We have some new yarns, new colors and amazing new designs (if I do say so myself). I hope you will all be as excited to get knitting!

I discovered that I had a picture from The Yarn Harlot’s visit that I never shared. One of our lovely customers came and was mentioning a log cabin project she was working on – having read here about my “desire” to log cabin (did I just make it into a verb?). Here is what she has knit:

She’s using SWTC’s Karaoke – isn’t it incredible?! What’s most amazing is she is donating the blanket to a charity auction! If I had worked as hard as she had on such a project, I’m not sure I’d be able to part with it. This really is a work of art, the picture does not do it justice.

Our Office Manager Malea was also sporting a lovely new top this past week:

Knit by Melissa in trade for . . . . more pottery I believe (Malea is an amazing potter and is simply hanging with us until she hits the big time). This was knit in Art Yarns Regal Silk, pattern P90. The shaping is beautiful and looks just gorgeous on.

So after finishing at the printer today, Cirilia and I hightailed it back to WEBS. And boy did I find some great new goodies! Have I mentioned that Cirilia is back at WEBS for the summer? She is working with me on catalogs and general marketing initiatives. So thrilled to have her, if only she wasn’t determined to go back and finish her Masters Degree this fall. . . . really Cirilia, education is WAY overrated :)

First off, Berroco Fall has arrived! I only had a couple of minutes to snap photos, so I apologize. But here are some of colors in their Ultra Alpaca Light:

Really, these colors are to.die.for. I am not a fan of small needle knitting, but trust me, I will be knitting with this yarn.

Also, new colors of Foliage:

I’ve always liked Foliage, but I LOVE these new tonal variations.

We also received our advance balls of Comfort:

There are 57 total colors and we picked out 30 for the store. This yarn will be available in about a week, with a dedicated pattern book coming in August. We talked about this yarn on the podcast this past week and it has to be touched and swatched to be believed. It’s a nylon/acrylic blend – I know, I know. It does not sound appetizing at all. But do not judge a yarn by it’s label folks! This is sure to be a new core basic – machine wash and dry.

These yarns should be up on the website tomorrow. I will add links then.

We also received in a bunch of new books. This great new felting book from Amy Swenson looks faboo:

And we’ve finally received copies of Charmed Knits by Alison Hansel:

We will be hosting an event with Alison on Sunday, July 15th from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. Potter mania will be nearing a crescendo at this point and we are thrilled that Alison has made time for us in her busy schedule. Not only does she have this new book, she has a new baby too! Watch the blog and the website for more details about the event.

We also received in two other new yarns that I did not have time to photograph. Dena, our Inventory Analyst had it totally under wraps and only allowed me a quick peek until she’s got it all in the sytem. So check back tomorrow for pictures of my favorite find from TNNA – Shibui Knits. Two of the four yarns we purchased are in, as are patterns. Just wait until you see them.

My “More Thank An Apron” is coming along. I”m about to start on the center panel, but need to be sure I’ve got the right sizing before I go any further.