Friday, January 30, 2009

Jan's Premiere on Knitting Daily TV

As you may know, we participated in the Knitting Daily TV show that is being aired on PBS stations across the country -- well, except for Columbus, which is really irksome because we want to see it.

Jan recently presented ways to fix mistakes in your knitting and I thought I'd share it with you.

Take it away, Jan!

(You can thank Jenny for figuring out how I could put this onto our blog. I swear, that woman's a genius.)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Debbie Bliss Pattern in Yarnmarket Ad

Many readers of Cast On magazine and Knitscene have been contacting us about the gorgeous sweater in our new ad. It's a fantastic design, isn't it?

We've gotten so many calls that I thought I'd let you know a bit more about this pattern and when you can get it. Here are the details.

Designer: Debbie Bliss
Pattern: Cable Yoke Cardigan
Yarn: Rialto DK. Shade 19.
Book: Debbie Bliss Design It, Knit It

The good news is that we've got that gorgeous yarn, Debbie Bliss Rialto DK in lots of glorious colors.

The bad news is that the book isn't available from the publisher until June. But we're taking Pre-Orders now.

Considering the fantastic response this ad has received, I'd suggest that you order your copy of the book you'll be among the first to receive it when it's out.

Goodbye to Josh

Well, we knew it had to happen one of these days. Our Marketing assistant, Trade Show guy, BargainYARNS deal-hunter, Customer Service rep, Carrier of Heavy Things, and all around good-guy is leaving us. Yes...that's all one person. Josh.

When Josh first came to us he was looking for his first big break in marketing. He was a journalism grad who'd held jobs in health care, auto insurance and -- as he worked his way through school -- bartending. When you combine the customer service skills of a bartender with the compassion of a health care worker and the telephone experience of an auto insurance rep, you've got a guy who we figured would be great with our Yarnmarket customers.

Sure enough, he was. And while he was helping us man the phones and web sites, he was also learning everything he could about marketing: how to select media and develop a media plan, how to organize a trade show, how to create and analyze research studies...lots of things that made him the perfect candidate for a job at a really wonderful organization: Battelle.

Now I'd love to say that we're devastated by the loss of Josh, but I can't. We're thrilled that he's landed such a terrific job in the very exciting field of scientific research and development. When we hired him we told him we expected to turn him loose on the world once he'd gotten a little experience. We've done that many times before with young people who showed promise, and we're delighted that we've been able to do it again.

Just to embarrass Josh, here's how he got the job at Yarnmarket:

Letter to me from my friend, Casey, on 7/18/07:
I’m attaching my son-in-law's resume, his name is Josh. He is an entry level project manager, his degree is in journalism. He is trying to break into the field of Marketing, PR, Communications. He may be quite interested in part-time work in this area to get experience. No pressure at all to look at or consider his resume, just a thought.


That was followed up with a letter from Josh's wife on 7/20/07

Good morning Deb,

How are you doing? Wonderful, I hear. Mom tells me that you would like to speak with Josh about possibly working with you! That is great! He would like to speak with you too! I will have him give you a call if you send me your telephone number. He is working today from 8-5, but he may be able to call you during his lunch hour.

Thanks for your interest!


Every guy should have a wife and mother-in-law who are this supportive of his career! Josh started with us on August 13, 2007, much to the delight of his executive placement personnel.

I'd like to thank Josh for being the Yarnmarket Guy for the past 18 months.

Josh, all the ladies here are going to miss your smiling face and terrific sense of humor. Our regular phone customers will miss the helpful advice you provided to them. And I'm sure that Alex is going to miss the days when he wasn't the only Y-chromosome in the entire Yarnmarket organization.

We're very proud that you're leaving our yarn store for such a stellar organization. All we ask is that you teach the 20,000 employees at Battelle to knit.

Best of luck, Josh. We hope you enjoyed being our YarnMartian guy for a while.

For those of you who want to know who's who in the shot: Josh is surrounded by a few members of his harem, left to right:
our wonderful picker 'n packer who's been with us almost since we started
Susie, who keeps Yarndex up-to-date and has the sweetest puppy she sometimes brings to visit us
Lisa, who helps with Yarnmarket orders, and who ensures all our BargainYARNS and YarnMerchant orders get out quickly and correctly
Michele, our jack-of-all-trades who does everything from photographing our yarns to painting the Showroom
Jenny, our new Web Mistress who did such great work on
Jan, who has also been with us just about since we started. Jan's a walking Yarndex Directory
Julie, who picks 'n packs and knits the most wonderful garments. I love her Kool-Aid dyed mittens. (And they taste good, too!)
Tina, who gets here bright and early each morning to open up the shop and start organizing orders to be shipped each day
Brenda, who prepares orders for shipment and waits each evening for Marlon our UPS guy to arrive. Her daughter just passed her Bar exam in CA. (Congratulations! And now could you please make Brenda a Grandma?)
Amy, who helps pick 'n pack and who I envy right now because she made a commitment to get into shape and she looks great!
Not shown are:
Alex, because he took the shot. He also took the shot of Snowflake the Squirrel. He's good with wildlife and YarnMartians.
Pat, who scans a lot of the yarns you see on Yarnmarket, was co-inventor of Pat and Michele's Handy Dandy Yarn Stackers, and who provides tremendous help to our customers on the phone
Sharon, our customer service rep and in-house artist. She painted the Caledon Hills landscape
Jill, our award-winning cook. Jill's at home recovering from foot surgery. Get well soon, Jill! We miss you.
Lori and the other Lori, who always hide when there's a camera around. We think they're part of the Witness Protection Program
Stefanie, our fashionista who had to stay home today because the schools are closed
Lynn, the nicest Customer Service person in the business, and the woman Trace Adkins has met face-to-face on two occasions but has been too shy to tell her he loves her
Susan, our scanner extraordinaire who is absolutely meticulous about getting those colors right!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snowflake the Squirrel

If you're a regular reader of Shear Bagatelle you'll know that -- well -- I'm just a teensy bit nuts when it comes to animals. And now that we don't have any critters in the house, I've turned my attention to the critters in the yard.

Over the years, we've managed to attract lots of birds intentionally (sunflower seeds, thistle, suet, peanuts, cracked corn) and deer unintentionally(hostas, tulips, lilies).

Recently, when Alex's best friend Boris visited us, he said, "Oh, you guys have a white squirrel." We didn't believe him, of course, because we'd never seen a white squirrel. And we'd never even heard of one, either! So imagine our surprise when we looked to see what the heck Boris was talking about, and there was a white squirrel climbing one of our trees.

Alex -- being a frustrated National Geographic photographer -- grabbed his camera and started taking shots. Surely this must be the only white squirrel on the planet! This shot would prove it to the disbelieving scientific community.

Well, it turns out that white squirrels are rare, but not unheard of. A few people at Yarnmarket have had white squirrels in their neighborhood. we don't have the ONLY white squirrel, but we're pretty darned excited to have A white squirrel.

We're now enjoying the newest addition to our menagerie. Alex is putting out peanuts for "Snowflake" while I obsess about how the other squirrels don't seem to play with him very much, and what if a hawk should happen to see him? Right now, I'm glad it's snowing outside because he's far better camouflaged. But I'm worrying about the summer when everything turns green and Snowflake can be seen a mile away.

I really hope Alex doesn't mind when I'm out in the forest spraypainting everything white.

Fun and Fiber at TNNA

Last week Alex, Jan and I were in San Diego for the TNNA conference. While it wasn't the busiest show ever, it was very productive. Most of the manufacturers we spoke to said they were having a good show, and a lot of the local store owners we chatted with indicated that they were faring well despite the poor economy. (Of course, those who were not faring well likely didn't make it to the show and we sincerely hope that they survive the current crunch.)

We saw a lot of our old friends -- the folks at Berroco, Crystal Palace, Rowan, Knitting Fever, Artyarns, Cherry Tree Hill, Classic Elite, Karabella, Knit One Crochet Too, Kollage, Lantern Moon, Lorna's Laces, Mission Falls, Muench, Prism, South West Trading Company, Tahki Stacy Charles, Trendsetter, Universal and Windy Valley Muskox.

We also got to meet some newer friends like the folks at AslanTrends, and we chatted with manufacturers of brands we don't currently carry. Keep your eye on our Bulletin for new developments regarding some new additions to our lineup.

The first evening we were there we ran into Terri of the Twisted Sisters. They had some fantastic designs in the fashion show, and I might even get up the courage to make one for myself. Whenever I couldn't find Alex during the show, I trekked over to the Twisted Sisters booth because he loves their style. He likes their yarns, too! Alex took this photo of me with the Twisteds. I know...I can't really see us. I like it better that way. But I'm sure Alex will have a nice blow-up of it displayed on his desk, and will claim it's there because I'm in it. Sure, sure. I'll bet he'd trade me in for half a Twisted Sister, given half a chance!

While Jan and Alex were busy buying new yarns for our knitters, I got to meet with the media -- our friends from Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting, and Knit 'n Style. It's always great to catch up with them and learn what's new in the industry. Most of the time, we're communicating by phone and e-mail, so it's nice to actually deal with a human. Have you noticed that humans are getting rarer and rarer these days? We have voice mail, e-mail, IMs and text messaging. But not a lot of human contact. I like human contact...even if it means I catch the occasional cold.

As always, the TNNA fashion show was really interesting with some great entries from all our favorite brands. We didn't take any photos during the runway show, but I'll be posting information about the yarns and patterns we select from all the fantastic designs we saw. Stay tuned!

Happy Birthday, Jan!

As luck would have it, TNNA always falls on somebody's birthday. This year, it was on Jan's birthday. Because she couldn't be home celebrating with her husband, Tom, our good friend Cameron Taylor-Brown, who reps for a lot of different yarn companies, took us for a celebratory breakfast complete with birthday cake!

Jan sure was surprised when she was presented with this gorgeous creation. And we were delighted to share in it!

While we were at the conference we were informed that Richard Brown, of Westminster, will soon be retiring. We enjoyed working with Richard and we're sad to see him go. But he and his wife would like to do some traveling and we're very envious that they'll now be cruising the world and enjoying a more relaxed lifestyle.

We know that Richard is leaving his organization in great hands and we look forward to working with our new colleagues. (It's such a small world! One of our Westminster team members, John, went to the same college I attended: Ryerson in Toronto. Same course, too. And, as it turns out, the same bars!)

All in all it was another great TNNA show. We saw some terrific new yarns we'll be acquiring for our knitters and we got to spend time with some really nice folks who make working at Yarnmarket such a pleasure.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Knit Kit is here! (Almost...)

When we were at TNNA last week, we discovered the niftiest little kit and it's certain to be a big hit.

The Knit Kit is a handy little tool that includes a tape measure, stitch counter, thread cutter, scissors, crochet hook, stitch holders and tip holders all in one compact device. It's sort of a Swiss Army Knife for knitters.

We've placed an order that we expect to receive in March and we're going to be taking pre-orders from our customers.'s THAT good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Get great Berroco yarns at BargainYARNS discount prices

Josh has just taken some terrific Berroco yarns from our Yarnmarket site and put them for sale on, our value-priced online yarn shop. These are really terrific buys from a manufacturer known for fashionable styling and exceptional quality. You can save 30% off:

Berroco Tassel FX. Now only $6.85

Berroco Zap Yarn. Just $8.29

Berroco Zap Colors. Now only $8.95

Berroco Runway Yarn. Just $13.85

Berroco Icon Yarn. Now only $10.35

Berroco Ultra Silk Yarn. Just $6.19

Josh is also offering some terrific discounts on HanzonCreativity kits. These kits were originally developed in New Zealand by fiber artist, Stephanie Quattrini. The color combinations are really spectacular, and the kits are easy to create. They come with easy-to-follow instructions.

The Woven Scarf Kit is 40% off...just $47.85

Luscious Landscape Kit is 50% off at $44.85

Whimsical Wrap Kit is 40% off at just $41.85 is constantly expanding its inventory to allow knitters to knit more and pay less! Be sure to visit often. And don't forget to sign up for the BargainYARNS Alert so you'll get our monthly newsletter announcing new yarns at lower prices.

Monday, January 12, 2009

TNNA in San Diego

Alex and I have been crazy busy these days. First, we launched our newest site, Knitch Magazine, and now we're getting ready to leave on Wednesday for the TNNA Conference.

If you haven't yet checked out Knitch, take a look. It's a fashion magazine for knitters -- and we've got lots of free patterns to check out. There are also interviews with industry dignitaries, Norah Gaughan and Cameron Taylor-Brown.

Our new Web Mistress, Jenny McCutcheon, worked her tail off to design and develop this site. It was great to see her first project go online and get such terrific response so quickly. We've already turned our attention to the Spring issue which ought to be really good. We'll be interviewing lots of people while we're at the TNNA Conference.

It's being held in San Diego so it'll be nice to escape the cold temperatures of Ohio. Alex and I plan to walk along the Embarcadero to get a little if walking the trade show floor won't be enough!

We're meeting with lots of our suppliers to check out their newest yarns -- Berroco, Westminster, KFI. And we'll also see the fashion show on Friday night and take a good look at all the wonderful displays of new yarns, patterns and accessories. It's a fun show, though exhausting.

I hope everyone's keeping warm. It's so terribly cold across North America right now. I'm thinking of knitting myself a cosy wrap to keep me warm on airplanes and at home and the office where we keep it a little cool in the interest of reducing our carbon footprint...and our energy bills!

2DI4 Duo Yarn is now at Yarnmarket

2DI4 is a hand dye co-op sponsored by Cherry Tree Hill. It was started to help independent dyers gain access to base yarns and dyes without having to meet large minimums.

The unique ”2DI4 Duo” is the first release, and it’s selling quickly on Yarnmarket.

The “2DI4 Duo” starts as one 450 yard hank of 80% superwash wool and 20% nylon yarn. Then it’s divided in half and tied together with a gift tag. This enables the knitter to knit both socks, mittens, or gloves at once, ensuring that each pair will look similar and that one sock, mitten or glove can be knit from one duo. Plus, it’s conveniently portable.

Each gorgeous colorway is dyed in limited quantities and will not be repeated, so make sure you get your favorites while they last.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Mirasol Yarn Project helps Peruvian Children

We're always excited when we can contribute to a worthy cause. So we're delighted to introduce Mirasol yarn. The philosophy behind the Mirasol Project is to support local communities in Peru through the sales of their lovely yarns. A percentage of the profits are invested in establishing and running a boarding-house for local children. The project focuses on an infant & child-care program with after-school support for older children so that the alpaca shepherds' families in the region have a secure place where the children can develop their potential.

So, when you purchase this yarn from Yarnmarket, you're helping families thousands of miles away. Isn't that nice?

We've just added three terrific yarns: Chirapa, Qina and Tupa.

Ultra-soft Qina is 80% baby alpaca and 20% bamboo. It's sensationally soft to knit & crochet with and is a delight to wear next to your skin. The bamboo gives a touch of sheen, and the alpaca adds loft and a pretty haloing effect. I'd recommend this yarn for any light worsted knitting & crochet projects.

Chirapa yarn is beautifully crafted of 100% merino wool and then hand-dyed in spectacular color combinations. It's ideal for more than just sport-weight sock projects, so check out the patterns for brightly colored kids' wear and lacy shawls and scarves.

Tupa is superbly crafted in 50% silk and 50% merino wool to achieve splendid drape & sheen. It also provides wonderful warmth, wearability and softness. This incredible 2-ply yarn shimmers with the lovely depth of color jewel tones found in their gemstone namesakes.

Please take a look at these yarns and consider them for your next project. By choosing Mirasol yarns, you'll be doing a world of good!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Awesome Possum!

We're elated to announce that we've just added Supreme Possum Merino Sock Yarn to our ever-growing inventory. This gorgeous yarn is from New Zealand where the little critters are considered a nuisance...but are famous for their fabulously warm fibers. This is a blend of 40% possum, 50% merino and 10% silk, so it's nice and light while it's wonderfully durable. We're selling seven gorgeous colors in a 50g skein of fingering yarn for $11.35 each.

One nice thing about this yarn is that 5% of every purchase goes to saving New Zealand's native birds.

We've got some free patterns available for this yarn, so check them out!