Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Read all about Cotton Yarns!

Jan has just sent out her most recent issue of the Just My Type newsletter. This issue features summer cottons -- from some of your favorite brands. Read all about Rowan, Tahki and other fabulous cotton yarns. And see some terrific new patterns you'll want to make.

If you don't subscribe to Yarnmarket's Just My Type monthly newsletter, you can find it in the Archieves of KnitchMagazine.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Photos of the Yarnmarket/TKGA Contest Winning Designs

I am delighted to present to you our winning entries for the Yarnmarket/TKGA Knitting Design Contest. We were astounded by the level of creativity and talent of our entrants and are very proud to be able to offer these patterns for free to Yarnmarket customers once we have received them from the prize winners. Please be sure to check our site to download your copy of these patterns when they become available. And be sure to congratulate these creative and dedicated knitters who won our contest.

Grand Prize - $1000 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Stefan's Dinosaur Cardigan
Description: Children's cardigan with a terrific variety of creative stitches and a dinosaur pattern that wraps around the back and sleeves.
Designer: Pat McDermott
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic

Women's Fashion Forward First Prize -- $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Nexo Cardigan
Description: Women's cardigan with intricate geometric design. Nicely tailored with panels that give fashionable flare to sleeves and waistline.
Designer: Ann Kelly
Yarn: Ella Rae Classic

Women's Fashion Forward Second Prize -- $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Cool Curves Summer Shell
Description: Women's shell in summery colors with a wavy pattern and accenting beads. A very new approach to the traditional shell.
Designer: Diane Dugal
Yarn: Ella Rae Silkience

Women's Fashion Forward Third Prize -- $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Cardigan with Lace Border
Description: Gorgeous cardigan (or vest, if made without sleeves) with feminine lace border and flower pin accent closure.
Designer: Dana Matuskey
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden

Women's Classic First Prize -- $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Diamond Delight Cardigan and Camisole
Description: Great for evenings out, this wonderful women's lace cardigan has a matching camisole that can be worn alone.
Designer: Betty Fryer
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto

Women's Classic Second Prize -- $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: My Heart to Yours Pullover
Description: A comfortable, classic women's pullover with matching bag. Pretty heart design is created in contrasting yarn.
Designer: Tina Sherfield
Yarn: Berroco Comfort yarn

Women's Classic Third Prize -- $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: Northern Lights Pullover Sweater
Description: Warm and cozy for winter, this high neck sweater has inset panels of contrasting yarn in front and on sleeves.
Designer: Brit Raubenheimer
Yarn: Misti Alpaca Handpaint Chunky and Chunky Baby Alpaca

Accessories First Prize -- $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Ladybugs for Lisa Shoulder Shawl
Description: An intricate lace pattern featuring ladybugs and hearts. It drapes beautifully from the shoulders.
Designer: Ann Smith
Yarn: Dragonfly Dragon Sock

Accessories Second Prize -- $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Wicklow Hat
Description: Cables give this unisex hat interest and appeal. Perfect for gifts!
Designer: Nancy DaPonte
Yarn: Vermont Organic Fiber Co. O-Wool Classic

Accessories Third Prize -- $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Wings and Cable Scarf
Description: This scarf has a pretty pattern and texture to make it a fabulous fashionable accessory for the upcoming autumn season.
Designer: Gale Ulvang
Yarn: Karabella Aurora 8

Babies' First Prize -- $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Two in One-der Reversible Baby Cardigan
Description: Perfect for girls or boys, the cabled cardigan can be worn both ways.
Designer: Kathleen M. Eldredge
Yarn: Sirdar Snuggly DK

Babies' Second Prize -- $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

Design Name: Spring Time Lace Bobble Jacket with Bobble Buttons
Description: Something new and different for girls, this infant's jacket has big bobble accents.
Designer: Jacqueline Mehring
Yarn: GGH Goa yarn

Babies' Third Prize -- $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: Baby's Flower Hat
Description: Fun and flowery, the pretty bonnet has flower petals along the brim and leaves at the end of the neck ties.
Designer: Diane Walins
Yarn: Berroco Comfort yarn

Children's First Prize -- $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: Embroidered Bolero Sweater
Description: Flower embroidery adds a special touch to this girl's bolero jacket.
Designer: Heidi Roe
Yarn: Tahki Cotton Classic

Children's Second Prize -- $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: Cable-Yoke Little Girls Dress
Description: Gorgeously soft and feminine little girls dress. A wonderful family heirloom.
Designer: Pat Rosenzweig
Yarn: Karabella SuperCashmere Fine

Children's Third Prize -- $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate
Design Name: Girls' A-Line Peasant Dress
Description: Striped summer dress with cord trim on neckline and sleeves. Perfect for special springtime events.
Designer: Kelly Klem
Yarn: Tahki New Tweed

Many thanks to all those who entered the contest!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yarnmarket and TKGA Present Winners of Knitting Design Contest

I'm in Portland, OR right now attending the TKGA Knitting and Crochet event which opened today. At this event, we're presenting the winners of our design contest -- and the reaction to them has been fantastic! We had a lot of entries, and it was very hard to choose, but after much deliberation our team of judges decided on the following:

Grand Prize -- A $1000 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate goes to Pat McDermott for her Stefan's Dinosaurs Cardigan. This is a marvelous little cardigan for children. The dinosaur pattern is unique, and the stitches used in the pattern are complex and creative.

1st Prize Accessories -- Ann Smith wins a $300 Gift Certificate for her Ladybugs for Lisa Shoulder Shawl. This is a pretty little shawl with ladybugs and hearts.

2nd Prize Accessories -- Nancy DaPonte will receive a $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her Wicklow Hat with its pretty cable pattern.

3rd Prize Accessories
-- We'll be sending a $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate to Gale Ulvang for her gorgeous Wings and Cable Scarf.

1st Prize Babies' Fashion
-- Kathleen M. Eldredge created a reversible Two in One-der cardigan that would become a family heirloom. Kathleen wins a $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate.

2nd Prize Babies' Fashion
-- Jacqueline Mehring will be honored with a $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her Spring Time Lace Bobble Baby Jacket with Bobble Buttons.

3rd Prize Babies' Fashion
-- We'll be sending a $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate to Diane Walins for her cute little Baby's Flower Hat.

1st Prize Children's Fashion -- Heidi Roe wins a $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her Embroidered Bolero Sweater. This is an adorable sweater for little girls with pretty embroidery trim.

2nd Prize Children's Fashion -- Pat Rosenzweig wins a $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her a Cable-Yoke Little Girls Dress that is absolutely darling. Crafted in cashmere, it would become a cherished item to be passed down.

3rd Prize Children's Fashion -- Kelly Klem designed a summery Girls' A-Line Peasant Dress that would be perfect for any little girl. Kelly wins a $100 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate.

1st Prize Women's Fashion Classic -- Betty Fryer wins a $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her Diamond Delight Cardigan and Camisole. This has a lovely lace pattern in both the cardigan and shell that is worn beneath it.

2nd Prize Women's Fashion Classic
-- Yarnmarket will be sending Tina Sherfield a $200 Gift Certificate for her romantic My Heart to Yours Pullover. This has a very interesting and unique heart pattern.

3rd Prize Women's Classic
-- Brit Raubenheimer wins a $100 Gift Certificate for her Northern Lights pullover sweater.

1st Prize Fashion Forward
-- Ann Kelly wins a $300 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her absolutely stunning Nexo Jacket. This is a tailored jacket with contrasting inserts that add a feminine flare.

2nd Prize Fashion Forward
-- Diane Dugal will receive a $200 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate for her Cool Curves, a summer shell with interesting bead accents.

3rd Prize Fashion Forward
-- The $100 Gift Certificate goes to Dana Matuskey for her Cardigan with Lace Border. This pattern can be created as a sweater or a vest.

The winners will be officially notified by TKGA in the next few days, and will each receive a gift certificate for their pattern as soon as the pattern is received. Then, we'll be able to make it available to all our customers.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in our contest. We were absolutely astounded with the quality and quantity of the entries. Over the next few days, I'll be posting photos of the garments. They are exquisitely original, and show the great depth of talent of members of TKGA.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ooo, la la! Paris est tres magnifique!

Last week, while Yarnmartian Central was getting a new roof installed, Alex and I headed over to France with our youngest daughter, Deidre, and her boyfriend, Matt. We'd promised Deidre a trip many, many years ago and I kept telling her that the longer she waited, the better it would be.

She waited a long time. She got herself a pretty good trip. (The photo is Deidre in France. She was being goofy...just like her dear old Dad and wicked stepmother.)

Because I'm the cheapest person in the world (now that Jack Benny's dead -- which really dates me, doesn't it?), I rented an apartment rather than hotel rooms. Apartments are way better. You can make your own breakfast, do laundry if you spill red wine all over your nice white shirt, and feel like a native when you go to the local shops for more red wine.

We used VacationInParis to find our place, near the National Assembly and Musee D'Orsay, and I must say we were delighted with what we got. It was very large (for a French apartment) and luxurious (to a cheapskate). There was a bottle of champagne and a bouquet of flowers awaiting us when we arrived, and the place was clean, bright and new.

The day we landed in France -- exhausted from the trip -- we had to go out to shop at the Rue Cler district because the following day was May 1. May 1 is a national holiday in France and the worst day in the world to try to find a meal there. Just about everything is closed. All the parks are crowded with people, and the streets are clogged with French students protesting whatever has annoyed them in the past year. This year they've been very annoyed with Sarkozy, unemployment, and something I couldn't figure out because the signs were entirely in French. But there really weren't any protests of note, which was nice because I hate to see the kids running amuck and causing damage to the pretty things in Paris.

We picked up some great supplies for ham sandwiches with brie (our staple diet when in France) plus ingredients for a nice dinner that I cooked the following evening. Well, burned. The apartment had this really amazing Siemens ceramic-top stove that heated up so quickly that I didn't know how to cook with it. Water boiled almost instantly. Meat was burned to a cinder seconds later. I quickly developed a love/hate relationship with a stove that burned so hot that you didn't have to wait forever for a pot to boil, but heated up too quickly for you to do anything except burn whatever it was you wanted to cook.

I never did figure out the microwave.

And don't even ask about the dishwasher. We had some debates about how it worked. Eventually, Alex figured it out so we made him Minister of Foreign Dishes and he made sure everything was clean.

The days we spent in Paris were really lovely. We forced Deidre and Matt to march with us through museums and art galleries and churches and gardens. We saw the Impressionists at Musee D'Orsay and attended a musical concert at St. Chapelle Church. Then we got them up at 6 in the morning one day to hop on a train to Normandy so they could see where the Allied Troops landed on the beaches.

While they were doing war, we were doing peace. Alex and I spent our time in Normandy visiting the monastery at Mont St. Michel. This is where I want to spend the rest of my life: in a monastery, on an island, off the coast of France.

Mont St. Michel
is a very beautiful World Heritage site, and has become quite the tourist hot spot, although our guide, Alain, said that of the four million people who visit the island, only one million make it up the steep stairs to visit the abbey that rests 260 feet above sea level. Seems like such a waste. It's like traveling all the way to Paris for chocolate eclairs and then deciding you're too fat and you need to lose weight. But that's another story.

Alain was quite the tour guide. He knew everything there was to know about that abbey...and the Glen Ford films that he regularly referenced. We chuckled that he claimed to not be religious, as he demonstrated utmost reverence for the ancient building, and he was constantly shushing tourists who were talking too loudly, which he thought was disrespectful of the abbey's purpose -- to be a peaceful respite from the world. He knew every nook and cranny in that place. And if he didn't, he made something up that sounded really impressive.

I would have stayed there at the abbey with Alain, and joined the few monks and nuns who work there, but Alex reminded me that I'm not Catholic. And I'm married. And I'm a little too old to be making it up all those stairs all the time. Ah, well... A girl can dream.

I think the highlight of our trip was the day we went to Les Deux Magots. Now, to some this is just a nice little cafe where writers and philosophers used to gather. But to Alex, it's Nirvana. And, to me, it's the place where you get the really, really, really good hot chocolate.

So good, in fact, that I carried in my suitcase a Tupperware container with a giant label: Marshmallows. Do not blow up or eat. You see, this hot chocolate is so good that I thought it deserved superior quality marshmallows. So I whipped up a batch of my own and stashed them in my suitcase for the trip. I would have carried them on board but I was afraid the TSA guys would confiscate my marshmallows believing them to be plastic explosives. And then maybe I'd get strip-searched. Don't you hate it when that happens? Me, too.

My marshmallows made the journey intact (and so did I) so we enjoyed some of the world's finest hot chocolate, complete with homemade marshmallows. Mmmm... I can feel those calories rushing through my veins to rest comfortably on my big fat bum.'re going to love this. Alex and I have been taking French lessons in preparation for our trip. When we went to the subway station one morning, Alex intended to ask for a "carnet" of subway tickets. He got a little confused and, instead, requested a "canard." beloved, semi-bilingual Alex walked right up to the subway attendant and cheerfully said to him, "Excuse me, monsieur. Would you please give me a duck?

Introducing Abstractions. Exclusive to Yarnmarket!

You're not going to find this intriguing new yarn anywhere except at Yarnmarket. That's because we worked with our friends at Kollage yarns to invent it!

Susan Moraca, the creative genius behind Kollage, helped us interpret paintings by one of Yarnmarket's talented staff, Sharon Will, and her artist friend Sandra Packer. Sharon and Sandra are wonderful artists who have a studio nearby. They painted several abstracts that really caught our eye.

So working with Susan, we came up with fiber interpretations of these masterpieces.

Lucky me! I got to name them! Now, if you've ever named anything, you know what fun it is. (Good thing I never had kids because they'd have goofy names like Xenon and Achates -- but those are tame when you consider that Frank Zappa named his kids Moon Unit and Dweezil.)

Anyway, I sat down with the paintings and thought, "What does this express?" And now we're launching Abstractions Yarns in the colors Determination, Happiness, Excitement, Discovery, Contemplation and Impulse.

These yarns have a variety of fibers and textures in 67% mohair, 13% wool and 20% nylon. The different elements are combined to reflect the character of the painting. The color I'm showing here is called Happiness...because it's so darned happy looking! See how it looks like the painting? Every color in the collection reflects a different mood or state of mind that the abstract watercolors represented.

These yarns look particularly pretty in fashion accessories, like the Cotton Candy Scarf pattern that you can find for free on Yarnmarket.

We're really excited about the launch of this new yarn. We sure do hope you like it because Susan, Sharon and Sandra worked really hard to create it.

Yarnmarket's summer yarns are hot!

We've just added a number of gorgeous summer yarns to our site, so be sure to take a look. Many of them have terrific patterns, as well, for new and interesting summertime projects.

One of my favorites is the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select Semi-Solids yarn that we're selling for $19.85. Cheryl Potter presents spectacular colors and quality fibers in an enormous hank of 420 yards. Imagine what you could make with just one! This yarn is known for its softness, and will now be appreciated for its lovely tone-on-tone coloration.

Links Yarn by Fibra Natura is a terrific choice for those of us who are going green. An EKO Sustainable Textile certificate is proudly displayed on every label of this yarn so you can be assured it's 100% organic cotton from production to delivery. Beautifully crafted as a woven, chainette yarn, this worsted-weight, eco-friendly fiber option is great for multi-seasonal wraps, jackets, vests, and tops. It's just $5.85 now at

Another great choice for eco-knitting is Cottonwood yarn at $5.85 a ball. It's another Fibra Natura entry that's EKO certified as 100% organic cotton fiber. It's a great choice for your DK-weight projects. Maybe you could knit some pretty shopping bags with it so you won't need to use plastic anymore! The colors in this yarn are so pretty for summer that you'll have a hard time choosing which one to buy.

If you're looking to add a glamorous touch to summer evening wear, you'll be delighted with Anny Blatt's Paillettes yarn. This glimmering black or white yarn adds sparkle and sequins to your projects and is recommending for cuffs and trim on several Anny Blatt patterns. It's now at for $32.80 a skein.

We're getting a lot of new yarns in everyday...which means I'm now driving myself nuts trying to figure out which ones to try first. It's always so hard to choose! (And I invariably end up saying, "I want 'em all!")

Fortunately, I've got some time to think about it because I'm in the middle of a really neat pair of socks and I'm testing another new yarn that we might want to carry. Two projects is enough right now. Well...unless that pretty blue Cottonwood keeps calling my name!