Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Kollage Yarns are Riveting!

Okay...I'm having fun with the name, but once you see this yarn you'll know why I say, "Riveting is riveting!" This eco-friendly yarn is made of recycled blue jean fibers. Isn't that neat? You know how comfy your worn in blue jeans are, so imagine a yarn made from those fibers.

It comes in nice, big skeins of 350 yards for $15.65...which is great for those of us who do not necessarily enjoy the art of weaving in ends. The fewer ends, the better, I say!

The colors are terrific, too. You've got your usual blue jeans colors and then colors like Charcoal, Forest and Lava.

Susan Moraca at Kollage is always coming up with something brilliant and new and I think this is one of her best ideas yet. (Although I've got to admit that the square knitting needles were pure genius...and a gift of knitting to those with arthritis in their hands!)

I've been trying to decide what to make with this soft, eco-friendly yarn. There are some terrific -- and quick -- cowl patterns that are awfully tempting. But then I'm reminded that our sweet designer, Amanda, has just announced that she and Stephen are expecting a baby girl. Their first baby, Lillian is about 1 1/2 now, so it's time for a little sister.

Maybe I need to start looking at baby patterns like this Tabitha top.

Oh...I've already come up with some names for the new baby. The last name is Wood so I've suggested:
Laurel Wood
Arden Wood
Heath Wood
and my favorite...Iwishu Wood.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I married a haggis-eating, hill climbing loony. He married a wolf-woman.

Alex and I were in Scotland last week and I'll write a bit more about our trip as soon as he's processed the photos. We traveled with our granddaughter and son-in-law (ex) and had a fantastic time with them. Kyle's grandmother lived in Edinburgh until she married his grandfather, after WWII, so we visited her house. It was a shock to see it for rent! I tried to talk Kyle into renting it, but he remembered he lives in Canada.

We also stayed at the fantastic Castle Stuart where we enjoyed the hospitality of Caroline, Mrs. M, some shetland ponies, angora bunnies, ducks and pigs named Bacon and Norbert. If you ever have a chance to get to Inverness, I cannot recommend Castle Stuart strongly enough. TripAdvisor members voted it the 2nd best castle in all of Europe -- which is quite a tribute when you consider it's a tiny castle that was restored by a Scottish couple and now managed by their daughter.

I learned a few interesting things on this trip:
1. My granddaughter will eat just about anything -- mussels, haggis, icky things -- but she won't touch olives. Alex ate haggis, too. Yuck.
2. My son-in-law (ex) is great for the environment. If you've got food left over from your dinner but the castle pig, Norbert, isn't available Kyle will happily consume whatever's on your plate.
3. Alex is nuts. He made us climb the hill in the photo, right. We'd gone to visit the palace at Holyrood but he saw the hill and we spent the morning walking up it.
4. I'm crazier than Alex. When I saw the hill, I knew he wanted to walk up it, so I suggested, "Would you like to climb up that hill?"
5. Our granddaughter really laughs when I howl like a wolf and sing, "Werewolves of London."
6. Basil the Bunny who was rescued by Paws Here is now living happily at home in Edinburgh.
7. My granddaughter is a very good traveler. She didn't whine or pout or complain at all -- even when we awoke her at 3:00 a.m. to get on the plane to come home.
8. Our son-in-law (ex)comes from the Cummin clan. We came upon the graves of two of his ancestors. To Kyle's utter shock, both were wood workers. Kyle, too, is a wood worker. Shows you there's something to all that genetics stuff, doesn't it?
9. Scottish people are very, very nice...and funny. When one tour guide learned that Kyle came from the Cummin clan, he spat and said, "They're nothing but liars, scoundrels, thieves and adulterers." Hmmm... I'd never suspected Kyle was a scoundrel.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Debbie Bliss yarns now on sale for 20% off!

If you've been waiting for a HUGE sale on Debbie Bliss yarns, you'll want to check out our massive selection at Yarnmarket. We've got every one of our 27 Debbie Bliss yarns on sale at 20% off the regular price. That means you'll get some great values on many of your favorite yarns. We love the Debbie Bliss line because Debbie herself has so much input into the variety, quality and colors of fibers that are offered.

Check out these prices!

Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk yarn for just $7.88
Debbie Bliss Amalfi yarn for $5.88
Debbie Bliss Andes Yarn for $11.08
Debbie Bliss Angel yarn for $10.28. SAVE $2.57 per ball!
Debbie Bliss Bella yarn for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Astrakhan yarn for $7.08
Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK yarn for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Como yarn for $7.08
Debbie Bliss Cathay yarn for $6.28
Debbie Bliss Cotton Cashmere yarn for $6.68
Debbie Bliss Donegal Tweed Chunky yarn for $11.88. SAVE $2.97 per ball.
Debbie Bliss Eco Baby yarn for $6.28
Debbie Bliss Eco Cotton yarn for $6.28
Debbie Bliss Fez yarn for $7.08
Debbie Bliss Glen yarn for $7.08
Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Aran yarn for $8.68
Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed Chunky yarn for $15.88. YOU SAVE $3.97 PER BALL!
Debbie Bliss Prima yarn for $5.88
Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere yarn for $13.88. YOU SAVE $3.47 PER BALL!
Debbie Bliss Pure Cotton yarn for Debbie Bliss Pure Silk yarn for $5.98
Debbie Bliss Pure Silk yarn for $11.88. YOU SAVE $2.97 PER BALL!
Debbie Bliss Rialto 4 Ply yarn for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Rialto DK yarn for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran yarn for $7.88
Debbie Bliss Stella yarn for just $5.88

Be sure to buy all you need when you place your order because we're selling these yarns very quickly. Yes...we'll be getting lots more in stock, but you want to make sure that you've got the same dye lot. (Remember, if you order too much, you can always return yarn in its original condition with the label on.)

We're working hard to give you great values on your yarn purchases, so be sure to take advantage of this terrific sale on Debbie Bliss yarns today!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Catching up...and running away!

It's been a really busy week at Yarnmarket...and it's only Tuesday!

This morning, Jan just sent our bulletin out to Yarnmarket shoppers throughout the world. This month, she's featuring new yarns and colors from Karabella, Stitch Nation, Crystal Palace, Fleece Artist, Jil Eaton & Classic Elite. She's also presenting fantastic ideas to help you keep up with the latest fashion trends and free patterns for knitters and crocheters. If you don't receive our newsletters, be sure to sign up today!

I've been very busy finishing up ads, writing articles for KnitchMagazine, speaking with customers and getting ready to leave for Scotland. Alex and I are taking off on Thursday morning for about 9 days in the beautifully rugged highlands.

Our flights start in Columbus. We wing our way to Toronto where we'll be picking up our son-in-law, Kyle, and our granddaughter, Madison. Then we head to London for a brief stopover, and we make a quick flight to Edinburgh. We're going to be exhausted after flying all night, but when we arrive we've got to drive three hours north to Inverness to see Castle Stuart.

I can't wait to cross the Firth of Forth on our way. I know that at some point in my life, "Firth of Forth" was the answer to an important history question, but I can't remember what the question might have been. I know that William the Conqueror arrived in 1066 but I think he was in Hastings or somewhere near there...certainly not the Firth of Forth. Maybe the Picts attacked someone there...or the Vikings invaded. If anyone out there knows, drop me a line, will you?

During our trip we're hoping to visit Basil the Bunny, a poor little fellow who was rescued by a terrific animal group in Edinburgh. And we're hoping to see Lindesfarne (where I'm convinced my monk ancestors created the Lindesfarne Gospels). Our son-in-law is hoping to meet some of his Scottish relatives in Edinburgh, and Alex is hoping to meet the haggis appetizer he enjoys at The Magnum restaurant. Ick. Haggis. He actually eats it. And, to make matters worse, he claims to like it!

Madi, our granddaughter has no particular plans because she's thrilled to go anywhere at any time.

If I can, I'll write from the Festival. We're not sure about our computer access from our location there but I'll do my best to write an update. I'm hoping to see some really wonderful woolens! And, I'm hoping to bring some of those woolens home with me.

We hope all our Yarnmarket friends are having a wonderful summer! Bye...until I'm online in the home of Rod Stewart, Glass Tiger, and really good butterscotch candies!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Attention people in Columbus!

Do you know these guys? Yesterday we had a shoot in front of Katzinger's Deli and these two guys happened to pass by. When they saw us, they insisted on having their photo taken. Isn't that a riot?

Any idea who they are? Spread the word and try to find them for us because we'd love to give them a copy of this photo.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For Alex Only

Introducing our newest model, Cassidy

About a week ago, Lynn (our customer service manager) showed up on my office with her very beautiful niece who thinks she might like to do some modeling. She's one of those tall, classic beauties with thick, flowing hair and and a knock 'em dead smile. I was thrilled to meet her because we're always looking for back-ups to the usual models we use.

Lately, we've been searching high and low for a very specific type. We wanted someone blond, perhaps a little elfin in appearance, who we could make up to look like a forest nymph for some interesting autumn shots. We didn't want your typical, everyday, run-of-the-mill knockout beauty...but someone who was just a little different. Beautiful, of course. But quirky. And interesting.

Well, standing behind the stunningly gorgeous Taylor was a tiny young lady who seemed a little bit different to me. She wasn't wearing much make-up and she didn't seem all that engaged in the discussion. She was just politely and quietly waiting for her friend. So imagine her surprise when I narrowed my eyes and stared right at her and asked, "How about you? You ever think of modeling?"

It was exactly what you'd expect. She looked around, confused and responded. "Me?"


A little taken aback, she shrugged and said, "Uh, sure...okay...I guess so."

The next day I asked Lynn to get me contact information for both girls. One of these days we'll need another tall, dark-haired beauty (because you can never tell when your regular one won't be available), and I knew I wanted to test a model who could pull off the look I was seeking.

It took a few days, and a quick note to Maggie Jackson of Maggie Knits, and we had our garments and a shoot set up. Michele, our fantastic photographer, and Stefanie, our in-house fashionista/hairstylist/makeup artist, agreed to shoot the lovely Cassidy at a location selected by our customer service rep/art teacher/potter, Lisa. (We're a small, multi-tasking group.)

They left this morning with loads of garments, buckets of makeup and tons of jewelry and when they came back to the office with the fruits of their labors, I was absolutely astounded.

That little Cassidy looked even more amazing than I'd imagined.

So here she is, folks...our newest Yarnmarket model. Isn't she terrific? (And be sure to keep your eye out for Taylor's debut when we've got the right garments for her.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Those lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer.

Okay, call me an out-of-touch old crad*, but can anyone explain what the heck is going on in the world? I mean, this isn't exactly the summer of love, is it? The markets are tanking, people are rioting, and our politicians have taken off on vacation rather than deal with the problems in Washington.

Because I care so deeply about our planet and the creepy things that creep upon it, I've proposed some solutions to all the ills of the world. I've done my best to cover every base. Here's what we've got to do:

1. Take your business card out of your wallet. If you see under your name the word, "Congressman" or "Senator," go to your computer and start writing your resignation letter. Send it immediately to the President. Remember: Ask not what you won't do for your country. Ask what your country will no longer have to do for you.

2. If you notice your name is Bernanke or Geithner, get together with maybe a dozen really smart people (a few CEOs, an academic or two, some bankers and brokers and farmers and manufacturers) and figure out how to fix this mess. DO NOT INVITE POLITICIANS TO THIS MEETING. If you invite politicians, nothing will be accomplished except a lot of blamestorming and you'll be handed some hefty bills for transportation, food and Five Star lodging for them and members of their staff after they've created a stalemate or provoked chaos before slithering back under their rocks.

3. If you notice that your name is NOT Bernanke or Geithner, sit down and write letters to Bernanke and Geithner. Just chatty little notes to say hi and to ask, "Are you people completely insane?!" I'm no economics major, but I can tell you this: When the dollar is weak, interest rates are historically low, banks are hoarding cash, the stock market's bi-polar, and we're a bazillion trillion dollars in debt, somebody's made an error. It could be a math error. Or it could be that Keynesian economics are theoretically viable but practically unsound and we need to completely overhaul the global economic system. I don't know. I'm a yarn lady, not an accountant.(Don't worry. Misters Bernanke and Geithner won't respond to your letters. But you'll get to meet some of their nice friends when you're invited to the tax office during your audit.)

4. Go next door and ask the teenage kid, "Quick! What's 9 x 7?" If the kid can't answer it correctly on the first try, consider running for the school board. When you're elected to it, make sure you put math and science classes up at the top of the curriculum and Self-Esteem and The History of Angst at the bottom. (American kids score highest in self-esteem but are far below other western students for maths and sciences. This is what happens when you get a trophy just for showing up.)

5. Look down. If your trousers are sitting below your underpants, pull them up. Buy a belt and use it. Then slap yourself on the head and say, "What on earth was I thinking?!"

6. Go to your basement. If there are adult children living there, ask them, "So, what are your plans?" If they have no plans, put them to work doing all your chores -- cooking, cleaning, gardening, anything you can think of. This is the best way to help them think of some plans. You'll be surprised at how much planning your children can do when they're performing manual labor for their parents.

7. Look in a mirror. If you notice that you're wearing a mask to cover your face, please have the intelligence to put down that rock or stick you're carrying and go home. Just go home, sit there, and ask yourself, "Why am I such a moron?"

8. Go out into your street and look at your house. If you notice your house is in Greece, remind yourself that your country is broke and that it can't afford to have you retire 20 years before the people who go out onto their street and notice their house is in Germany.

9. If you're in the food manufacturing business, please ask yourself whether you're producing good, healthful foods that won't eventually cause humans to grow a third arm, an enormous head with antlers, an immune system that attacks and wipes itself out, or causes us to produce children that look like lizard people. Ask yourself if your strawberries taste like strawberries or if they're just strawberry shaped things that don't bruise during shipping and will last several weeks, unrefrigerated, before going soft and yucky. If you're a chicken farmer, ask yourself whether your chickens have nice little chicken lives before becoming somebody's dinner or if they're just chicken-shaped things that produce massive quantities of white meat and will cause men to grow boobs when they eat them.

10. If you're a lawyer, ask yourself if your client really does deserve $7 million in damages because the kid at Burger King accidentally put ketchup on her hamburger and she had an emotional breakdown because ketchup reminds her of the movie, Carrie. Ask yourself whether the money she's ready to give to you for the lawsuit would be better spent on therapy.

11. If you're a CEO earning 300 times what your workers are making, ask yourself how many more millions you'll need before you'll really be happy. Ten more million? Twenty? A hundred billion million kajillion? Write this number down. Then, once you've got that amount, give the rest of your income back to the people who worked so hard to earn it for you. It wouldn't hurt to include a little thank you note, would it?

12. If you're a CEO who just shut down your plant in America and moved all your production facilities to China, please call your real estate agent and put your house up for sale. Then move to China where you can be nearer the people who work for you. Live in a Chinese city. Pay Chinese taxes. Eat Chinese food. Just think, you can have REAL, authentic Szechuan every night!

13. If you're an IT person who can build web sites really quickly that do everything you'd like them to do and they never crash or respond in some weird way that causes you to say, "Gee, I've never seen that before!" give me a call. I will clone you and start an IT company and become one of those CEOs who needs to figure out how many billions of dollars it will take to make me happy.

14. If you suddenly remember that you run an airline that charges people extra for their baggage, their food on board, enough space to keep their legs from growing numb, and a head set so they can listen to your wonderful in-air programming it would be a swell idea if you'd do this: Figure out how many people can sit comfortably on your airplane. Figure out how much it costs to fly that airplane. Then divide the cost of flying that plane by the number of people you can fit in it, assuming maybe three don't show up. Then charge people that amount for their flight. No...don't give points that can never be used. Don't have seven price classifications depending upon when the ticket is purchased. Don't book 435 people when your airplane holds 382. You end up with a bunch of very angry people who yell at your staff who then treat your customers like crap and everyone hates your company and you eventually have to merge with your competitor before filing for Chapter 11.

14. If there's a cameraman following you, but you know you're not a news reporter, figure out what you're doing and whether you ought to be doing it. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Bridezilla," hang your head in shame and leave. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Jersey Shore," hang you head in shame and leave. If the cameraman is wearing a T-shirt that says, "Jerry Springer," hang your head in shame and leave. Come to think of it, unless the cameraman is wearing a shirt that says, "National Geographic," hang your head in shame and leave.

15. Ask yourself a few simple questions like, "Am I a good person?" and "Am I living within my means?" and "Am I an insatiably greedy egomaniac who doesn't care about anyone but myself and will destroy everything in my path to get what I want?"

16. Remember not to destroy anyone else's happiness, property, dreams, or life.

17. Be sure to knit. If you don't knit, I don't sell yarn. If I don't sell yarn, I'll have to go back to my previous career in corporate America and that would be a very, very bad thing -- for me and whichever corporation is dumb enough to hire me.

* I'm not sure what a "crad" is but it's a term my brother always used. It was never uttered without the word "old" in front of it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hey! We've just launched FREE new iPhone app for Knitters! Get yours today!

Have you ever been ready to buy yarn and wondered, " much should I get?"

Or have you ever looked at your stash and said, "What can I do with this?!"

If so, Yarnmarket has a FREE new solution for you. Announcing the arrival of our brand, spanking new iPhone app: The Yarn Genie

The Yarn Genie will tell you how much yarn you need according to the project you want to make, and it will also tell you what you can make when you tell it how much yarn you've got.

It gives recommendations based on the gauge of the yarn, too, so you know you'll be getting good results you can use.

The app is now free at iTunes so be sure to download it today.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Announcing the winners of the TKGA/Yarnmarket Design Contest

I'm thrilled to announce the winners of the TKGA Design Contest. We had a lot of fantastic entries this year -- as always -- and are excited to show you the ones that were selected for prizes by our team of judges: Penny Sitler of TKGA, designer Nicky Epstein, and Jan Gratz of Yarnmarket.

We presented the awards last weekend in Minneapolis at the TKGA Event and the crowd was really impressed by the display of prize-winning designs.

We had two separate competitions: one for Masters and one for Members of TKGA. Masters were required to provide the pattern for their creation and we'll be offering those patterns free on Yarnmarket once we've photographed the items and uploaded all the information. For now, you can see larger photos simply by clicking on the ones I've posted here.

In the Masters Category we awarded three prizes:

First Prize - $500 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
The winner is Stephanie Hatfield for her absolutely stunning "Vineyard Cardigan." This cardigan not only has pretty decorative features on the front, back and sleeves, but inside is knitted a quote from Galileo: Wine is sunlight, held together by water. Isn't that brilliant?

Second Prize -- $350 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
The winner is Nancy Vandivert with her beautiful "Lilac Festival Bag." This bag is in mauve, purple, green, yellow -- a garden of glorious colors. It's big enough to hold a lot and so pretty that you'd want to carry it everywhere. We know this is going to be a popular download once we post it free on Yarnmarket for our shoppers. Nancy did a fantastic job and we congratulate her on her award.

Third Prize -- $200 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
Yes, baby buntings are all the rage. Arenda Holladay created this family heirloom piece that has the Nordic pattern treatment that's also very popular this year. I think Arenda's "Bye Bye Bunting" is going to be another very popular pattern for downloads because it will make a great shower gift to be handed down from generation to generation.

Regular TKGA Members were not required to produce patterns for their entries, but I'm hoping we can get them. I'll let you know once I've spoken to the winners.

First Prize -- $300 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
Susan Abed created this pretty "Cabled Vest" with a high neck zipper front. Imagine wearing this with your autumn wardrobe. Wouldn't it be perfect on crisp fall days? We thought she did a terrific job with the cabling and that it was a style everyone would want.

Second Prize -- $200 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
Emily Armstrong created this "Aran Sampler" afghan. We thought it was a clever design that could be recreated in any color to match virtually every decor. I'm hoping we can get this pattern from Emily because it would be great for any knitter who'd like to perfect her cabling skills.

Third Prize -- $100 Gift Certificate at Yarnmarket
It's become almost a tradition. Every year Britt Raubenheimer thrills us with her outstanding designs and each year she wins an award. This time, her prize-winning piece is a pretty summery pullover with bursts of beautiful colors. The "Searose Beach Pullover" is another pattern we're hoping to be able to offer our shoppers.

Please be sure to join TKGA if you'd like to learn more about the craft of knitting. It's a great organization with lots of benefits including the annual design contest with Yarnmarket.

Monday, August 1, 2011

If you ever see these two people together in a bar, call the police. Sure, we might look benign but you can just bet that trouble is a brewin'!

This is me with the talented, hard-working, brilliant and hilarious Maggie Jackson of Maggiknits.

If I had to choose my cell mate, it would be Maggie Jackson. Together, we'd dig our escape tunnel in no time at all.