Posts Tagged ‘Berroco’

Q & A with Norah Gaughan

Monday, April 12th, 2010
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Hi Everyone

In my last blog post I was able to share with you my thoughts on the new book Comfort Knitting & Crochet Aghans.   Today I am thrilled to share with you a fun Q & A I had the pleasure of doing with the lovely Norah Gaughan, Design Director for Berroco and co-author of the book.

1.  What inspired you & the Design Team to create this book?

Honestly, the initial impetus was yarn stores telling us that an afghan book would sell for them and that Berroco Comfort was the perfect yarn for it.  Then, Margery and I started thinking about different houses and about how much fun it would be to dream up afghans to go in them.

2.  Berroco offers a vast assortment of beautiful yarns. Comfort is one of the more practical yarns in the line and it’s one of the most affordable, did that have any part in the decision to focus this book on one yarn rather than across other yarns in the line?

I think you’ve answered your own question! I can elaborate though. Some of our yarns are classics and will be sold for years and some have a fashion aspect to them that last only a year or two. We needed to use a yarn that would still be going strong after the two years it took to produce the book.  Ultra Alpaca or Peruvia would have fit that criterion too, but the versatility, machine washability and affordability of Comfort seemed very important.

3.  There are 51 afghan patterns in the book – that is a lot of design inspiration!  Was it hard to come up with all of the designs?  Were there designs that didn’t make the final cut?

To get our thoughts flowing Margery and I got to work looking at home decor magazines, printed fabrics, carpet and rug designs and traditional fabrics. We wanted designs that could be used in many settings, from modernist glass houses to bungalows. We made color 6-8 color palettes to focus our thoughts.  Once we got going it was fairly easy to come up with concepts for way more than 50 afghans. Then we, and the rest of the Berroco Design Team, got busy making the concepts into something real.  In the end I think we had 56 afghans. A few got cut because something went wrong in the knitting or crocheting and a few dropped out because they just didn’t fit in with the others. One ended up looking rather suggestive and while it would have been at home in an art museum, we felt it was best to leave it out of our collection.

4.  Did you know right from the start that you wanted to include crochet designs as well?

Early on in the planning we knew we wanted to have a book that would appeal equally to knitters and crocheters and be a bargain, even if you only knew one of those crafts.  Those who do both are getting a great bonanza with this book and years of entertainment!

5.  Although you and Margery worked together for a long time and you and the existing Berroco Design Team obviously have a great rapport was it at all diffcult working on a book in collaboration or was it similar to the process you go through putting Berroco’s pattern books together?

Margery and I have worked together on and off , in one capacity or another, since the mid eighties.  I consider her my mentor and to say we know each other very well is probably an understatement. Sure, it’s hard to work together. It’s hard to compromise to get a unified vision. With this book though we found it easy to share an over arching vision and then go off and do our own thing.  The book is much richer for it and much richer for the swatching and design decisions made by the rest of the team. Donna Yacino,and Brenda York were integral to making many the original concepts into real and beautiful objects. Every one who spent time in the office contributed.  Cirilia Rose got in on the end of the process but still contributed a beautiful baby blanket.

6.  What can you tell our readers about Comfort?  Some folks will look at the fiber content and never give it a second glance.  What about that yarn made it worthy of an entire book?

Comfort is the artificial yarn for those of us who prefer natural fibers. I admit to being a fiber snob.  My mom, and her mom before her, believed in using good fibers and they passed that on to me… and yet, I like to knit with Comfort. It’s spun like a fine merino yarn would be spun and the final appearance is quite similar. Let’s face it, there are times when practicality trumps philosophy. Even the most stubborn wool lover has a neice who won’t hand wash anything or a friend with a true wool allergy.  Not to mention, afghans are an armful to wash by hand!  Comfort is the perfect solution.

7.  Knit and crocheted afghans have been a staple forever.  I can remember working on Granny Square afghans while my mother knit classic ripple afghans.  What makes the afghan still relevant and interesting today?

We still like to keep warm. Aren’t we all trying to cut down on oil consumption and turning our thermostats down?  Plus, an afghan can change a dull room into a warm and inviting room.  That hasn’t changed over the years either.

8.  If I was to gift you one of the afghans out of this book, which one would you want?  Please do not consider my knitting or crocheting ability in your answer.

Calico Hill or Westchester Winter (trees are a big theme in my house right now – and outside too)

9.  What are you working on these days?

I’ve started several ultra Alpaca sweaters for myself.  One is a very cropped version of Avocet B made in several shades of dark plum used randomly. It will be perfect for winterizing a few of my sleeveless tops. I am also crocheting a bath mat in Weekend. I don’t crochet much (even though I learned it first), but some of the dull stoney colors of weekend are perfect for my bathroom and its fantastic to crochet.  Single crochet, round and round – so soothing.

Thanks Norah!

Kathy

Book Review – Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans

Friday, April 9th, 2010
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It’s been awhile since I’ve reviewed a book here on the blog, but when our lovely friends at Berroco unleash a new publication it’s time to stop and take notice.

Comfort Knitting & Crochet Afghans – More Than 50 Beautiful, Affordable Desings Featuring Berroco’s Comfort Yarn by Norah Gaughan, Margery Winter & The Berroco Design Team has just been released.   As the title says, it is packed with more than 50 afghan patterns knit and crocheted using Berroco’s very price-conscious Comfort yarn.

For 150 or so pages, I was treated to project after project that simply tickled me.  I love that the book is a blend of knit and crochet AND that they are pretty equally represented (27 knit afghans and 24 crocheted afghans to be exact).  Crochet projects are often thrown in as a token gesture or after thought but the team creating this book, lead by Norah and Margery, did the crocheters proud.

With so many patterns to choose from, it was hard to select favorites.  In fact, it seemed my favorites kept changing each time I took another look.  I finally narrowed my picks down to 5:

Although Garter Stripes is “the ultimate in easy knitting” I make no apologies for loving it.  

It’s simplicity speaks to my own personal aesthetic of minimalism.  Since Berroco  Comfort features over 95 colors, the possibilities for customizing this blanket are endless.  There are three panels that are joined at the end to create an afghan 66″w x 60″ long.

Although the color selection doesn’t speak to me despite its ties to the history of this particular design, Crazy offers a very interesting construction using only single crochet and decreases at the beginning and end of rows.  

Inspired by crazy quilts of the 1880′s, the afghan is a series of 6 squares constructed by creating 4 individual triangles and joining upon completion.   Having said that, upon further inspection I now realize that the shapes that constitute the squares aren’t all exactly triangles but since my high school geometry is failing me at the moment, just cut me some slack.  (NOTE:  My very mathematically inclined Berroco rep, the lovely Andra, just returned my call and she was able to solve the mystery – of course, they are simply quadrangles.  I remembered trapezoids and parallelograms but not the simple quadrangle – thank you Andra).

Staying with crochet for the moment, we must take a look at Pinwheel:

Comprised of 140 squares, each is “composed of open-grid filet crochet, which is then embellished with a pinwheel of crocheted chain stitch”  There was no way I could have explained that any better so why try?  Once all of the squares are completed they are simply chain stitched together using a contrasting color.

Not overly difficult, but certainly time consuming, Pinwheel is a good travelling project.  Small and compact you don’t need to lug a lot around with you and you can alternate between creating a bunch of squares and then doing the embellishment and then back to squares to keep things interesting.

Nordic Holidayis bold and modern and it just intrigues me.  It was pointed out to me by my math consultant that it has vague resemblance to a lovely handwoven rug by Jason Collingwood that we have on display at the store.

Again – no intricate knitting is involved here but some smart design techniques result in a graphical wonder.  Love the red stair steps!  Directions are included for both a large blanket and smaller throw.

Herringbone is an afghan I would by in a store if I saw it.  It’s modern and classic all at the same time  - I can easily imagine it in the Calvin Klein bedding section of Bloomies.

I love this blanket.  It speaks to me and I want it.  What more is there to say?  It’s a great project for those of you who have been intimidated to try cables – the herringbone pattern is created using cables and twisted stitches.  The afghan is finished with a lovely 2-row crochet edging.

Now a few words about Comfort yarn.  Comfort comes in four weights – sock, dk, worsted and chunky.  It’s 50% super fine acrylic/50% super fine nylon.  Don’t go making faces or saying impolite things about Comfort.  It is a fine yarn – a might fine yarn at that.   This is not your typical acrylic yarn.  It’s soft and sophisticated and not at all icky.  The worsted and chunky retail for $5.75 per ball with 210 and 150 yards respectively.  DK is only $3.25 per ball with 178 yards while sockis $7.50 for 440 yards.  Comfort is machine washable and I would even hazard to say machine dryable – just be gentle!

I think overall the book is fabulous.   It is soft cover, lovely paper that are a joy to turn, gorgeous photography.  The page numbers are microscopic – I’m all for the “design elements” of a piece but it bugs me when it’s they are not functional.  The instructions from what I’ve gathered assume a certain level of basic knitting and crochet skill meaning not every last thing is spelled out.  I don’t find this problematic but it’s important to point out.  At $19.95 it’s a book you should seriously take a look or two at.

If you will be attending Stitches South in two weeks, you are in for a great treat in the WEBS booth!  The lovely Andra has been working overtime (as have her knitters/crocheters) to create large squares representing 16 of the designs in the book.  They will be on display at the show and I can probably arrange to have them in the store after that.

Finally, on Monday, we will have a VERY special Q&A post with Norah Gaughan herself.  I asked her a series of questions about the book and it’s creation.  I’m thrilled to have Norah share her thoughts with all of us!  Stay tuned for Monday!

Enjoy,

Kathy

New Shop Models

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
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Two new shop models are now gracing the floor at WEBS.  We are constantly getting in new models from our vendors and our staff is constantly whipping up new projects for the floor.

The first one that caught my eye and that of most of the staff is Mayer:

This is a free pattern from Berroco and it’s knit in Berroco Peruvia.   When I came back from vacation yesterday, it instantly caught my eye.  Everyone who saw it was also taken by it and I think several staff members have already hoarded the yarn to make it.

I love the waffle stitch pattern and the big ribbed collar.  I’m short and styles like this can sometimes overwhelm me, but I really liked how this looked when I tried it on.  If I knit it, I think I will make it a little shorter though.

Mayer comes in 6 sizes ranging from 32″-52″ finished chest and takes 6-10 hanks of Peruvia, depending on size.  The garment itself is one of those that is flattering on many different body types.  We love those.

The other newbie on the floor is this Ruffled Drape Front Jacket knit in Ritratto from S. Charles Collezione:

I *heart* this jacket.  It’s stunningly beautiful.  Although at first pass the construction seems simple enough, it’s actually quite interesting.    It’s done by casting on at the cuff and knitting to the middle back.  Then, the pattern suggests joining the live stitches in the center of the back using the 3-needle bind off.  While this will work just fine, you will get a seam that will show on the RS.  This will bug me.  Since the stitches are live, I think I would graft them together using the kitchener stitch.  Yes, it’s a lot of kitchener, but once you get your rhythm going it will move along and you won’t have that bothersome seam.  The fronts are knit separately and joined at the shoulder and armholes.

This jacket is sized in 36(40, 44, 48)” finished chest measurements and requires 7-9 balls of Ritratto.

Again, both patterns are free from their respective websites,  just click above.  Yarn can be purchased in the shop or online and remember our yarn discounts apply!

Happy Knitting!

Kathy

WEBS Holiday Catalog Part II

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009
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Yesterday I gave you some of the background on the cover of this year’s Holiday Catalog.  What I didn’t include was a shot from the photoshoot:

I think it’s just magical how shots like this come to life.

Okay – enough about the cover.  Time to talk about some of the great things happening INSIDE the catalog.  Remember, the printed catalogs are working their way across the country.  My graphic designer based here has yet to receive hers, but her Mom in Wisconsin received her last week. I’ll never understand the postal service.  If you can’t wait or aren’t currently on our mailing list, you can check the catalog out ONLINE.

There are 46 projects in the holiday catalog – 9 of which are FREE!  Consider them our gift to you.   I think they are a nice mix of quick knits and more involved projects.  I love being able to offer our own Valley Yarns designs to you for free, but I love the relationships we have with our vendors which gives us the ability to showcase their yarns and offer a free pattern as well.  Let me highlight a few for you:

First up is the Lavendar Ribbed Hat knit in Valley Yarns Northfield.

The allure of this hat is the attention to the details and the fact that it’s knit on smaller needles than usual for Northfield.  This means the fabric is dense and cozy and will keep you warm no matter how cold it gets this winter.

Our Spotted Christmas Stocking knit in Berkshire Bulky will not only be fun to knit, but fast!

 

Berkshire Bulky is available in 40 colors so don’t feel compelled to stick to the traditionall red/green combo.

The Herringbone Scarf is a showstopper.  Designed and knit by Dori – the absolute best, smartest, most amazing-est knitter around and long-time WEBS Store Associate, this scarf is spectacular:

The picture really doesn’t do it justice.  Dori used our 2/10 Merino Tencel blend which means the finished fabric is warm, drapes beautiful, has a lovely sheen and can easily be dressed up or down.

From Knitty.com we are featuring Thermal:

We reknit this dynamite top in our Huntington.  The waffle stitch is designed to be stretchy and close fitting.  Thermal makes a great layering piece.  Remember ALL KNITTY.COM PATTERNS MUST BE DOWNLOADED FROM KNITTY.COM!

From our friends at Tahki/Stacy Charles comes this gorgeous shawl pattern knit in Gioiello:

 

We’ve had this shawl in the shop for several seasons and it continues to be a favorite.  Gioiello is a yummy blend of merino and kid mohair (plus some cotton, acrylic and nylon) and features a multi-color palette with just a slight hint of glitz.  This shawl only takes 2 balls!  Again, the Gioiello Shawl Pattern can be downloaded at www.tahkistacycharles.com.

Last, but not least is Drift from Berroco and knit in their new fall yarn Vintage:

 

Love Drift.  Love, love, love.  The style is beautiful and Vintage is an easy care yarn so you can machine wash this sweater!  Pattern can be found at here.

Remember, these are only a few of the 40+ projects we are featuring so be sure to check them all out!

What are you adding to your project queue?

Kathy

Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009
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We have just received in the latest “special” issue from Interweave Knits.

This year’s Holiday Gifts issue is HUGE!  It has nearly 60 patterns – twice as many as most issues.  There are lots of great gift ideas, as you would expect.  Many are quick knits others are more involved.   There are several that spoke to me that I’d like to highlight below:

First is the Ripple Cardigan designed by Coralie Meslin and knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze.

This is a gorgeous cardigan that has a simple style but very interesting construction.  It is knit in multi-directional pieces.  The pattern has 6 sizes and depending on your size, you’ll need 4-7 skeins of Kidsilk Haze.

Next is the Little Majolica by Kristin Nicholas.  Without even showing a picture of this pullover, you know it’s going to be a colorwork masterpiece.

Told you so!  This stranded piece utilizes two colors.  As if that weren’t enough, Kristin introduces a two additional colors by utilizing the duplicate stitch.  Duplicate stitch is one of those underrated embellishing techniques.  I think this garment gives the duplicate stitch instant credibility.  Little Majolica is knit using Kristin’s signature yarn Julia – named after her beautiful daughter.

I’m also lovin’ Slip-Stitch Layers by Simona Merchant-Dest.  Knit in Mission Falls 136 Merino  Superwash, this simple but stylish pullover is absolutely a sweater I would wear.

Unlike stranded work, slip stitch only uses one color per row and the knitter “carries” or “slips” stitches from row to row.  In addition to creating a beautiful result, the fabric is also warm.  Perfect for folks like me who freeze all winter!  Slip-Stitch Layers is generously offered in 7 sizes and requires 7-11 skeins of MC and 4-6 skeins of CC.  Just remember our yarn discounts apply!

The “story” in this issue that really spoke to me was “One, Two, Three” – beautiful projects that utilize 3 or fewer skeins.  Here are the ones that I particularly like.

The Quicksilver Bag by Norah Gaughan.

Really, do I need to say more than that?  Probably not, but I will!  Adorable and functional with a simple construction.  The picture shows the bag as a casual accessory.  With the sheen and texture of Bonsai, I can imagine it sophisticated and dressy as well – change the handles and such and Poof!  A completely different bag.  It would also be beautiful knit in Bonsai Colors.  A great and easy gift too that is affordable!

As I’ve said previously, I freeze all winter.  When temps dip below 70 degrees I’m not happy.  Also well documented is my affection for cashmere.  Let me show you one of the ways I get through our long, cold New England Winters:

Cashmere.Fingerless.Mitts.  The delicate and feminine Wine and Roses Mitts were designed by Jolene Treace and were knit in Jade Sapphire Mongolian Cashmere 2-ply.   That would be One Skein of Cashmere.  I know, times are tight and even one skein of this lovely yarn is a bit pricey at $41.00.   Maybe this is your splurge, maybe it’s the project you find a nice substitution from your stash for.  I love the design and I think we all deserve a bit of luxury if possible.

Next up is a lovely project that features one of our Valley Yarns!  Building Block Scarves by Sarah Hoadley are knit in our Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf is 52% Merino and 48% Acrylic Microfiber.  It’s super soft, knits at 4 sts/inch and has a nice drape.  I’m tickled with the results!  The construction is pretty neat too.  If utilizes a long cast-on to form the perimeter and then knit in the round to the center and features mitred corners.  Also, if you scroll back up to the cover image, guess what you’ll see!  One of the scarves!  I knew the scarves would be in this issue but I was simply tickled to see one of them on the cover!  Woohoo!  Congratulations Sarah and thank you Interweave!

Last but not least are the Kumara Red Socks.  How could I not favorite a sock pattern?  I think it has unofficially been the year of the sock.

The Kumara Red Socks are a quick knit and will wrap your feet in warmth and luxury.   Kumara is a merino/camel blend from Classic Elite which is super soft and lofty.   These socks only require 2 skeins and what a great gift they will make!  I’m just not sure I’d be giving them away.

I have just highlighted 7 of the 57 projects in this issue.  There are just over 60 days until Christmas (fewer if you are knitting for Hanukkah) and these are all possibilities in that time frame for most of you (some are beyond my reach at this point, but I’m slow and steady so don’t go by me).

I hope these ideas have inspired you!  What do you like in this issue?  Are one of my faves one of yours too?

Kathy

The Best Intentions

Monday, July 27th, 2009
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I always go into vacations with the best of intentions.  Not only will I relax and rejuvenate and spend quality family time together, but I always plan on “catching up”.  I had blog posts planned, porjects to work on and even (dare I say it) knitting!  The week prior to heading to the Cape was a blur of interviews, missing Jackson while he was at his first sleepaway camp and tournament baseball with Jonathan. 

(Notice what Jonathan is holding?  That’s an MVP award.  Yes, I am bragging – can’t help myself.)  Plus the usual “things to get done before I leave so I can go on vacation, relax, rejuvenate, spend time w/family and catch up”.  That week feels like months ago now.

We had a great vacation – they keep getting better as the boys get bigger.  We enjoyed the beach, we golfed, hung out, ate lots of fried clams and ice cream.  For me, there is nothing better than having my toes in the sand, sun on my face, salt air sticking to my skin and the sound of the ocean.

I didn’t gain any ground and in all honesty lost some ground.  I know – it’s vacation, that’s how it’s suppose to be.  I always like to get a few nagging things that aren’t necessarily at the top of the to do list done and crossed off.  I’m a big list maker and crossing things off a list once completed is a BIG deal for me.  It’s like a mini celebration for me – my own little victory party.  Despite the lack of productivity, it was a great time and now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging, etc.

A few loose ends to tie up today.  First, even though we were away, we pre-recorded two podcasts. On our July 28th episode of Ready, Set, Knit I had the chance to catch up with Berroco Designer Cirilia Rose.  Many of you know Cirilia previously worked with us at WEBS and has been on the podcast at least a couple of times.  Talking with her was catching up with an old friend – all we were missing was nice glass of wine.  Cirilia talked about Sock Summit which is coming at us in a screaming fast sort of way.  She’ll be in Portland representing Berroco so be sure to stop by her booth and say “hi”.  We also talked about Berroco’s latest contest and this one is a keeper!  Berroco’s Sock Star Competition not only has a cash prize, but if your design is chosen it will be published in a Spring 2010 pattern book!  How cool would that be?  Check out all of the information on the Berroco website for complete details and be sure to listen to my interview with Cirilia!

This past Saturday’s Ready, Set, Knit episode feature a great conversation I had with the lovely Susan B. Anderson.  Susan is an author, blogger, designer AND is working with the fine folks at Blue Sky Alpacas on their new Spud & Chloe line.  I had a blast talking with Susan and getting the behind the scenes scoop on this line which is taking the knitting world by storm.  Be sure to check it out!

Before I left on vacation, I Twittered about the newest addition to our Valley Yarns collection – Northampton Bulky!  Isn’t it loverly?

Same gorgeous yarn as our wildly popular Northampton but this time we’ve bumped it up to knit at 3 stitches = 1″ on a #10 1/2 needle.  It has 109 yards, which isn’t bad for a bulky weight yarn.  At $4.99 – it’s (as we say in Boston) a true bah-gan.  It comes in 25 yummy colors.  This one of the yarns that came with me on vacation.  I am going to recreate the Heirloom Baby Hat I did for the One-Skein-Wonders Luxury book.  In addition to reknitting it in a different yarn, I want to size it up and introduce a second color.  I picked light grey and burgundy.  Light grey will be the main color and the burgundy will serve as the accent once I figure out how I want to incorporate the second color.  I’m going to work out the pattern for baby to adult – what size would you like me to see my sample knit in?  Should I do it for one of the boys or for Steve?  You vote – I’ll start knitting!

You know, going on vacation is simply the best, but coming home is also the best.  Missed you all – glad to be home.

Kathy

It’s Winner Time

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
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Thanks to everyone who participated in our Berroco contest.  I read all of your comments and appreciate the time you all took to post your thoughts on the new Fall ’09 line.  I’ve just been informed that the pattern books have arrived at Berroco, so those will be shipping to us in the next couple of days and then right out to all of you that have pre-ordered!

But I digress, it is time to announce the winner of the contest.  This very lucky lady will receive enough Blackstone Tweed (in the color of her choice) and the pattern booklet to make Nuss:

I will be throwing in the necessary needles, etc., and even a $25 gift card from WEBS for a future purchase.  Pretty swanky prize if I do say so myself!

Using a random number generator and matching the comments on my blog to Berroco’s blog, I am thrilled to announce that MICHELLE of the blog FUN WITH KNITTING (and Quilting) is our winner!  Yay Michelle!

Please email me at Kathy DOT Elkins AT Yarn DOT  Com and you can tell me which color of Blackstone Tweed you want and we’ll figure out how much you need and we’ll get your prize out to you!  Also – do you have a preference for needles (wood v. metal, straight v. circs). 

I know many of you are sad that you didn’t win, but we have more contests in the works, so stay tuned to the blog (or better yet, subscribe to our RSS feed and we’ll just pop into your email or reader service every time I update).

Thanks again to everyone who played along and let’s all give Michelle some love in the comments!

Kathy

Tradeshow Warriors

Friday, June 19th, 2009
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I am beginning to think that maybe Steve and I should create our own reality show with the above title.  Just back from 9 days on the road with two back-to-back tradeshows.  Driving down our street late yesterday afternoon, I swear the theme music from “Rocky” was playing.

We had a great trip to TNNA.  Meetings, yarn, meetings, more yarn, food, yarn, meeting yarn. . .. .Columbus was a whirlwind.  As always, I did a lousy job taking pictures.  I do not have one yarny picture to share.  I know, I know, I disappoint you once again.  *Sigh*.  I can tell you about yarn though! 

Now, I must preface this by saying that Steve & I do the majority of our buying before TNNA.  We see all of the major lines and many of the mid-tier companies as well.  So just because I don’t mention them here is not a sign that I didn’t like their yarn or that they don’t have super cool stuff coming.  These are show treasures only. 

I have to say one of my personal faves was the new Spud & Chloe line debuted by Blue Sky Alpacas.  A collection of three lovely yarns that are machine wash & try.  Fashion meets function with this collection.  There are three weights – fine, sweater and outer and a limited, but succinct palette for each.  Terrific pattern support for each is a delight as well.  I think what I like most about this line is that it’s complete – yarn, design, packaging – everything is put together, integrated and ready to go.  I love this as a marketer who can appreciate what it takes to make this happen, but also as a shop owner who has been provided with everything I need to be excited about the brand.  The Blue Sky folks have created a wonderful story in Spud & Chloe and were smart enough to give the voice of the brand to the super-talented Susan Anderson.  It all rocks and we’ll have it in the store and on-line shortly.

Steve & I also got to meet the lovely Ron of Buffalo Gold.  We’ve never carried his yarns, but I got to *know* him in the on-line world over the past few months.  I was looking forward to meeting in person at TNNA and we had a great talk.  I’ve admired his yarns from afar for awhile, but my buddy Guido gave me the nudge I needed to really give the yarns serious consideration.  I thought this was one I was going to have to drag Steve through kicking and screaming and was pleasantly surprised when he willingly and with no pressure, not wifely glares that said “I”m buying this yarn with or without your support”.  We even brought in a brand new yarn he debuted at the show which has been hand-dyed by the fine folks at Lornas Laces.  If you click through to her blog and scroll down, you’ll see the lurvely colors.

We bought some cool new bags & accessories from Namaste, Della Q and Lantern Moon.

We hung with some old friends and made new ones.

We stayed up past our bedtime, ate too much good food but a great time.

We left Columbus and headed to Beantown for a conference of another nature.  We went from TNNA where “everyone knows your name” to an intense business conference where people wonder if anyone can actually  make a living selling yarn.  Even one of the speakers, who also spoke at the Yarn Market News Conference in March, mentioned her experience at the conference and found it rather unnerving to see an audience knitting rather than typing on their Blackberrys.  As always, we learned a lot, had some fun along the way but boy oh boy, did Dorothy get it right.  “There’s no place like home”.

Remember – our Berroco giveaway wraps up tonight at midnight.  Go to the previous blog post for the details, read all about the Berroco Fall line and get yourself in on a great giveaway!

Kathy

Berroco Fall 2009 – The Yarns

Friday, June 12th, 2009
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Hey Everyone – as we’ve been promising fall yarns are starting to stream in!  We’ve just received our entire shipment of new yarns from Berroco!  Let me just say that Norah, Cirilia and the entire Berroco team have hit a major homerun with this collection.  I’m going to give you all a quick run through of the yarns.  Pattern books will be following shortly and I’ll do another post about them when they arrive.  You can certainly pre-order the pattern books.

Berroco’s Fall 2009 Collection features 4 brand new yarns, two line extensions to existing yarns and lots of great new colors in their continuing lines.

First up is LustraLustra is a 50% Peruvian Wool/50% Tencel blend. 

 

The Tencel provides a nice sheen to the finished yarn.  Lustra knits at 4.5 sts/in on a #7 needle and each 100gm hank has 197 yards.  That is not a typo – 197 yards per hank.  It’s available in 16 colors and a great value at $9.00/hank considering the amazing yardage.  Lustra will have a dedicated pattern book.

Sundae is a big, thick, loosely spun yarn with gorgeous colors.

It’s 50% Wool/50% Acrylic and the plies are different colors and spun together very loosely.  The fiber content and roving-like finish means this chunky yarn will be light and lofty.  Sundae knits at 2.5 sts/in on a #15 needle.  We’re talking fast projects – great for accessories but Norah and Cirilia have also designed some great garments as well.  Sundae comes in a 100gm hank which has 62 yards.  Hey – that’s the life of a chunky yarn – shorter yardage.  There are ten gorgeous colors and cost is $9.00/hank.

Next is Blackstone Tweed.  I know, I know, you’re thinking “great, another tweed”.  Just hang on a second.  This is a tweed you definitely want to check out.  First, the fiber content is very cool – 65% Wool/25% Super Kid Mohair/10% Angora.  It’s not shed-y nor will it’s fibers get up in your face and make you all sneeze-y.  The blend is soft – unlike many tweeds which are traditionally crunchy and rough.  You can wear Blackstone Tweed next to your skin. 

It knits at 4.5 stitches/in on a #7 and has 130 yards on a 50gm ball.  There are 12 colors, a dedicated book that you will want to own and it retails for $9.50.

The fourth new yarn is Vintage Wool.  Folks – just hang on while I tell you about this yarn.  Trust me when I say it is going to become your go-to, workhorse, worsted weight yarn.  Vintage Wool is 50% Acrylic/40% Wool and 10% Nylon.  I’m sure many of you just thought to yourself “yuck” or “ick”.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.  Remember Comfort?  Remember poo-pooing it because of it’s fiber content and now how much you love it?  Vintage Wool feels like a fancy Extra Fine Merino.  Vintage Wool is like scoring a great cashmere sweater at Marshall’s for a steal.

It knits at either 5 sts/in on a #7 or 4.5 sts/in on a #8.  It comes in 100gm hanks.  Are you ready for the yardage?  2-1-7.  Yup – 217 yards per hank.  Colors?  Thirty two beautiful colors.  Price?  Go ahead – guess.

Nope, not $9.00.

Not $8.00.

$7.00 – still too high.

Vintage Wool is $6.00 per hank.  SIX DOLLARS PER HANK.  SIX tiny little DOLLARS for 217 yards of gorgeous yarn.

Did I mention it’s machine washable???  AND there’s a dedicated book.

Last but not least – Pure Merino is now available in 8 lovely Chine colors (pronounced shin-ay).

 

The Comfort line now has 12 yummy heathers as well.

All of this and we haven’t even talked about NGV5 or NG Men’s.  You can check those out at berroco.com and pre-order any of the patterns here.  The pattern books will be available in about 2 weeks – so say the fine folks at Berroco.

As if all of this wasn’t faboo enough, there’s one more thing. We’re having a contest.  Here’s how it will work – very easy and straightforward.

1.  Leave a comment here on my WEBS blog, on this post, about which yarn or design you are loving from the Berroco Fall 2009 Collection.

2.  Go to the Berroco Design Studio Blog and leave a comment for Norah and Cirilia with the same info.

3.  Next Friday we will select a winner at random from everyone who comments on BOTH blogs. 

4.  The winner will receive the a complete kit to create Nuss:

Nuss is made with Blackstone Tweed and is one of my favorites of the collection.  The winner will get enough yarn to make their size, they can choose their color, the entire Blackstone Pattern booklet will be included and I’ll toss in the appropriate needles and any other tools the pattern calls for.  Heck – we get enough blog love I might even throw in a WEBS gift card to boot!

I hope you love the line as much as I do!

Kathy

P.S.  For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know I’m here at TNNA and sporting a very special, yet to be seen by anyone else, bag.  I’ve been told I’ll be able to blog about this lovely bag very, very soon, so stayed tune!

Berroco Goodies

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009
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I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day this past weekend.  Whether you created new memories or enjoyed ones already made, I hope everyone was able to spend the day as they wanted.

For me, I got my first breakfast in bed.  I picked the kids up on Friday afternoon and out came Jonathan with a potted plant and note. 

Jackson had nothing.  Not a big deal to me, but to him – BIG DEAL.  He sad “I guess we’re just too busy in 4th grade to make gifts anymore”.  He didn’t say it in a superior way, honestly, he was sad.  I think it was one of those “hmm, getting bigger might not be as cool as I thought it would be” moments.    I told him not to worry, etc.

I woke Sunday morning to rustling downstairs – unusual rustling.  I knew it was Jackson rustling and I thought maybe he was hungry and rolled over.  It then became apparent he was up to something.  About 15 minutes later he appeared with an English Muffin, grapes and OJ.  It was a lovely 6:30am breakfast.  I later asked him about getting the English Muffin out of the toaster (ours can be persnickety).  He told me he unplugged the toaster before using a knife to get it out.  I was relieved and asked how he knew to do that and said “Oh, I saw a safety video on tv once”.  Thank you safety video.

After a few errands Sunday morning, I spent a glorious afternoon cleaning out my closet and bureau.  It was 3 1/2 hours of heaven.  Three bags for donation and one bag of trash later and I was one organized and uncluttered Mom.  Perfect. Day.

Okay, so now that you’ve all skimmed as fast as you can about my day, I’m sure you are wanting to know about the Berroco Goodies I refer to in the title of this post.  For those of you who listen to the podcast each week, you are already in the know!  See, it pays to listen to our little podcast each week – you never know what nuggets we might share and in all honesty, I could never blog about all of the yarn Steve talks about each week and all the special deals.  Just sayin’. 

We are thrilled to offer you a handful of discontinued colors in a few of Berroco’s very beautiful yarns at tremendous savings.  I”m not going to go through all of the specs of each yarn, just give you a bit of a tasting with a picture and link – the rest my friends, is up to you.

First up is Ultra Alpaca.  Yes, that would be THE Ultra Alpaca.  Five faboo colors:

 

Original price is $8.75 and our closeout price on these five colors is $5.19.  Not bad colors either, may I point out.

Next, Berroco Cuzco.  I love Cuzco.   It’s a beautiful chunky weight yarn,  50% superfine alpaca/50% wool and knits at 3.75 sts = 1″ on a 10. 

There are only 3 colors (please use the site for better color accuracy – I did these shots pretty quickly).  Cuzco normally retails for $9.00 but these three colors are only $4.99. 

We also have five Pure Merino colors that have been discontinued.  Pure merino is Berroco’s Extra Fine Merino Superwash yarn – superwash meaning it’s machine washable.

Pure Merino knits at a worsted/heavy worsted weight of 4.5 sts = 1″ on #9 needles and normally costs $8.00/ball.  These five discontinued colors are only $4.99.

Last, but far from least is Peruvia Quick.  Just introduced last fall, Peruvia Quick is a chunky yarn that knits at 3 sts = 1″ on a #11 needle. 

Only two colors available, so let’s show them some love.  Peruvia Quick normally costs $8.00/hank but again we’re able to offer these discontinued colors at $4.99. 

I haven’t had too many guesses on our “m”agical “m” closeout.  Malabrigo is out, Mission Falls is out?  Any takers?  You all know how I operate – first one in gets a prize :)

You also want to stay tuned to the WEBS Blog this week – Tent Sale preview is coming! 

Kathy