A Day in the Life of a LYS Owner

Have you ever wondered what it was like owning your own yarn shop? Sounds super fun, right? Picking out yarn all day and researching new dyers would be the best job ever! But, when you really think about Eat.Sleep.Knit., all of this is Erin’s. Every wall, skein of yarn, needle & notion, shelf, pillow, photograph, desk, tape gun…every carpet fiber is hers. What is that truly like? The excitement and fun that we have is what we love to portray because, really, we have fun here but Erin wears so many hats that she might need to clone herself. Read along as we give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a LYS owner – the defeats, the joys, the fire alarms, and the victories!

Herding Kitties 

Erin has the pleasure of trying to herd 9 kitties. Admittedly, we can be a handful. She has to make sure we are all on task, keeping things running smoothly, and, the thing that’s most important to her, making sure we are all taken care of. From day one, her main priority has been making sure all of her employees are happy which involves a lot. Salaries, health care, job security, general happiness at work are all things that Erin makes sure are covered for us. It’s rare to have a boss like that but these are the things that make us come to work every day with a smile on our faces ready to work hard for her!

Ordering

Erin places yarn orders every week – most of the time, every day. It takes a special skill to know how much to order, when to order, what new dyers to add, what new colors will sell, when to discontinue certain bases, and keeping track of it all. She has it down to a science but so much of her time is spent filling up HER cart so she can keep yours full too!

Building a Building 

As you have probably have heard, Erin is building her very own building from the ground up! From clearing the land to picking carpet, she is all hands on deck to make this an efficient-for-ESK and, frankly, super awesome yarn shop. Here are some of her regular duties: talking to the contractor at all hours of the day, dealing with delays like the construction crew bringing in a too-small crane that won’t lift the roof trusses onto the building, and making little decisions that add up to BIG decisions like picking out brick for the exterior or deciding where windows should go. Then, there are the completely unexpected surprises that arise like rain delays or a sinkhole that needs to be filled. Yes, at the end of this process we will have a perfect new building but getting there has definitely been a headache for our chief kitty.

Having a Life

Erin has a darling family that she loves spending time with. Seeing Levi and Molly grow is really what keeps her going. They are both in preschool now, walking & talking, and becoming tiny humans with feelings and needs and A LOT of adorableness. Then there’s her handsome husband, Dan, who she adores but, being a LYS owner, she might get 2 date nights per year. Family will always come first for her and building this new store so close to her home will allow for more memories to be made at the Walker house!

Behind the Scenes

There are so many things that we don’t really notice around the shop that just get…done. Who does them? Erin. She basically manages 5 departments and takes care of the important but forgotten things like: paying the bills, filling out tax forms, payroll, back-end website magic, credit card fraud, banking, stocking boxes & supplies, ordering prizes, customer service, and a million other things that keep this place running.

Firewoman

When things go wrong, we call Erin. The roof is leaking, we call Erin. The internet debacle of 2016, we called Erin. Crystal Springs didn’t deliver our water, we call Erin. We should invest in a red phone (or probably a rainbow phone since, hello, we’re ESK) so we can always have a direct connection. I’m sure when she’s snuggled in with the kids watching a movie, she would like to unplug that phone but, nonetheless, she is always there to put out the fires.

Basically, Erin does it all. At the end of the day, we are a team and we all work together to make sure everything gets done, no doubt, but we thought it would be nice to give Erin a big thank you. Thank you for sacrificing so much of your life so the kitties can have a wonderful place to work and our customers can have a favorite yarn shop. We see how much you do and appreciate it more than you know! If you’d like, leave Erin a thank you note in the comment section below!

Knitting, Then and Now

Summer 1950

Some things come and some things go but is knitting forever? Of course the skill will always be a big part of our lives but what about the trends, techniques, designers, and patterns that make up our knitting/crochet world? How have they changed from, say, 50 years ago? Where will they be in another 50? Heck, another 6 months! Well, we invite you to sit back and enjoy as we relive some of knitting’s finest moments (in some instances, by “finest” we mean ridiculous…ly awesome) from the decades when knitting seemed more glamorous and classic, knitwear models looked like movie stars, and ads were very…up-front.

The 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s

Let us begin with the beauty days or pre-1970. Designers made patterns with sophistication and glamour in mind. These designs would be worn at parties to impress and create buzz around the neighborhood. Women took pride in how they dressed and took time making quality knits. Intricate cabling, perfect fit, modest lines that accentuated the waist, and being on-trend with solid seasonal colors were what mattered most. Things started to get a little more interesting in the late 60’s (last two pictures).

RobinVintage Ad 2

Beautybeauty crochet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

reynoldsfallplummage2late 60s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Funky 70’s

discoball

This disco ball could mean nothing else but the 1970’s! Things got a little groovy and a lot funky during this decade. People just wanted peace and love! According to their style, people in the 70’s also wanted ponchos, crop tops, fringe, and matching sweaters! For some of you this may be a trip down memory lane and for others it may be inspiration for this year’s Halloween costume!

70s 9 70s 870s 2 70s 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

70s 6

 

The 80’s until Now

The 80’s until now are when knitting got really fun! Designers got inventive and felt more comfortable making original patterns. From geometric shapes to thighlighters, things really took off in a fantastic way! Knitting kind of faded out in the 90s with the popularity of windbreakers, Hammer-pants, and neon puff paint. But trends like fingerless gloves and cowls really brought knitting back in the early 2000s!

80s2 80s80s 2

 

80s 5

90s sonic

 


Nose Warmer

As with most things, knitting styles seem to be cyclical. How popular are chevron stripes right now? Look at this vest from the 40s! What about bunting/pennants? Check out this sweater! We are even starting to reinvent the vintage patterns that were once so popular. But with all things that are cyclical, there are some things we hope never make a comeback. Take this Wool Nose Warmer for example. We all probably wish these were still popular in those wintery months when your nose feels like a popsicle but when the ad describes it as “kooky but practical,” you know it has to be something special. But how is one supposed to breathe? Don’t you think that mini nasal ski cap would be itchy? At least the tassel on the end DOES NOT include a tiny pompom. If it did, this accessory would be taken to a whole other ridiculous level! This Christmas, Wool Nose Warmers for everyone!!

Chevron Jerkinbeauty 40s

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cyclical


To end, here are a few sewing ads that really show how times have changed. A “Chubby Fashion Book” actually existed. Seriously, Lane Bryant? The second ad is just weird. Imagine if sewing a pattern that fit required you to literally cage yourself in, what looks like, chicken wire!

chubbiescagey like a fox

Hope you enjoyed this walk down memory lane and found at least one picture that made you say, “Hey! I had that!”

 

Moroccan Spice Market

spice2_medium2

For our Q1 KAL, we invited our knitters to knit-a-long with us on any Melanie Berg pattern. The response was amazing and will go down in ESK history as our most popular KAL! From Solaris shawls to Qwist Mitts, we saw so many of Melanie’s designs brought to life. You all truly knocked our socks off with your talent and eye for combining colors. We would like to feature one special project, Moroccan Spice Market by Jess in Tennessee AKA SweetBirchDesigns. Read along to hear all about how she gathered inspiration from her personal life to create this wonderful shawl.

spice9_medium2Jess was immediately drawn to the pattern On the Spice Market by Melanie Berg because of her love of cooking and baking. She speaks of her passion for cooking so eloquently:
“When I first started dating my husband, he introduced me to spices like curry, cumin and cardamom. I had never really had these before and it literally enlivened me to explore cooking because there were so many wonderful possibilities. As I gained more cooking experience, I started experimenting with many more spices like cloves, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg and fell in love with each one for the fragrant qualities that they can impart to food and how they compliment different elements of a dish. I loved the On the Spice Market Shawl because it possessed a familiarity and I knew that I wanted to knit it from the start. I wanted colors that would embody the joy, excitement and wonder that I remembered when I first experienced the taste of something new and so began a search for the perfect colors. Morocco is known for their spice markets and I have always envisioned the wonderful smells that must greet one’s senses upon arrival and not only spices but beautiful colors of all kinds fill the atmosphere. So with that in mind, I wanted colors that reminded me of my favorite spices but also segued into the beautiful colors that surround the markets.
I finally settled on a combination of Madelinetosh Twist Light and Tosh Sock in different colors: The Fox & Cardinal for many curries that I love; Oscuro & Weathered Frame for cloves, cinnamon and allspice; finally Mineral, Esoteric & Havana as a small sampling of the beautiful blues and greens in the spice market.”

spice5_medium2Jess wrapped herself in things that bring her joy. Try this for your next project. What things make you happy? A special fabric? A pack of pens you use every day? The sunset at your favorite beach destination? Draw the colors from those and use them to make a keepsake that will remind you of  whatever pleases you.

“I enjoyed knitting the shawl because with each stitch I was knitting a memory of things that have become dear to me. Every time I wear my shawl or look at it, it takes me back to those fragrant memories of wonder that I experienced years ago. I look forward to new discoveries in the future but relish the wonder and amazement of the little things of past and present.”

We would like to thank Jess for allowing us to share her project and we hope it serves as guidance and inspiration for your next keepsake!

Q1 Kitty Picks

KittyPicks_Full

This year, we thought we would try a little something new: Kitty Picks! For each quarterly KAL, the ESK Kitties each have a prize to give away that relates to their position at ESK. Erin, as the owner, will give away yarn, Lindsay, as Shipping Queen, will give away a free shipping coupon, etc. We will all pick our favorite project and give our prize to that knitter! You all made this very difficult with all your amazing projects but, alas, here are our final selections:

KittyEmily

Emily
Prize: Feature your project on ESK’s social media

Pick: sweetbirchdesigns The Moroccan Spice Market
Why? I just can’t get over her color combination: Esoteric, Mineral, Oscuro, Cardinal, Weathered Fram, The Fox, & Havana!

 

KittyErin

Erin

Prize: Skein of yarn

Pick: tsukichan33’s All Paths Lead Home
Why? I’m a sucker for a gradient and this one is absolutely lovely!

 

 

KittyJanine

Janine
Prize: 3 stars for your team

Pick: nest31shop’s Pop Rocks, You’re So Damn Beautiful
Why? It’s incredibly striking in the beloved Pop Rocks (RIP)! Not everyone can pull off that color and it must’ve been so fun to knit with such a happy color!

 

 

KittyJenny

Jenny
Prize: Custom illustration based on your Ravelry profile

Pick: elloknits Drachenfels
Why? There were several beauties that I want in my closet, but I would wear this one with absolutely anything and feel cool & fashion-y for doing it. I might even go so far as to actually knit one myself!

 

KittyJess

Jess

Prize: Glamor-shot of your favorite yarn

Pick: twitch’s a series of fortunate stitches
Why? I love the colors she chose for this, it reminds me of some hiking adventures I’ve been on!

 

 

KittyKenzie


Kinsey

Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: vivakelly’s My Headache
Why? It’s so elegant with fun mixed in. I would wear this every day!

 

KittyLindsey


Lindsay

Prize: Free shipping coupon

Pick: JoyOfSaturn’s Void Citron
Why? I love this color! It feels like Spring.

 

 

 

KittyTracy

Tracey
Prize: 1,500 yards

Pick: ginni’s Transmute
Why? I can’t say no to a Breton!

 

 

 

If your project was picked by an ESK Kitty, please e-mail us at trivia@eatsleepknit.com. We will need your ESK username and, depending on the prize, some other information. We hope you enjoyed this designer-specific KAL. Thanks to everyone who knitted-a-long and submitted their projects!

April Featured Yarn – Hedgehog Chubby

APR17FeaturedYarn

Chubby from Hedgehog Fibres is an extra special base that we are so excited to carry. Beata Jezek had this base spun exclusively for her by the wives of shepherds in Peru. The black specs are spun into every skein which gives it its signature look. Chubby fits into the Super Bulky category which makes it ideal for cowls, hats, and other small accessories. Here are some pattern suggestions for this great new base! There aren’t too many patterns knit up in this base yet so, if you’re looking for more ideas, check out the patterns knit with Madelinetosh ASAP.

Drop Stitch CowlA few of the kitties have knit a Drop Stitch Cowl and we absolutely love how the dropped stitches show off the uniqueness of hand-dyed yarn. If you know anything about Hedgehog Fibres, you will definitely want to show off the colorway you choose.

If thinner cowls are your thing, just omit one of the repeats or knit less garter rows in between the drop stitch rows.

 

Hedgehog Fibers
Picture: Miki Barlok

Knit Knit Hat was written by the brains behind Hedgehog Fibres, Beata Jezek. We especially love this pattern because it is incredibly quick to knit up and only requires one skein of Chubby! This would be a great pattern for beginners or those who just want to test out this new base.

Chubby Garter CowlChubby Garter Cowl looks like the most cozy cowl and you just can’t beat the simplicity of this pattern.
– CO 70 sts on US15
– Knit in garter until yarn runs out
– Measures 30” circumference and 12.5” tall
Done and done! You’ve got yourself a cozy new cowl to cuddle up in or give away to someone special.

 

 

really warm hat

Really Warm Hat is just that, a really warm hat! We love this pattern because of the classic stitch pattern and giant pompom. The gentle haze of Chubby would look fantastic and you will definitely have the warmest head on the block.

Have you knit something using Chubby? Show us in the comment section below. We always love to see your projects!

Top 5 Summer Yarns & Patterns

Our Q2 Summer Fiber KAL is right around the corner! We know for some of you, you would happily welcome some warm weather to melt all the snow you’ve gotten recently. The sunshine is heading our way to let’s start planning our summer wardrobes! For this KAL, you can knit any pattern using yarn with a “summery” fiber content: linen, cotton, bamboo, silk, sea cell, or Outlast. To earn the bonus star, choose a yarn with 60% or more summer fiber. Here are some of Jessica’s favorite pattern suggestions paired with yarns she thinks would work up beautifully!

Flaxen

Handmaiden Fine Yarns Flaxen – A luxury for sure, but we can’t resist the beautiful texture and drape that Handmaiden’s Flaxen works up with! This yarn is labeled a sportweight but we love it knit up at a looser gauge for an airy look, but knit it a bit denser and you have the perfect beach cover-up.

BeachCOMBER  A perfect summertime tee! I love the asymmetrical hemline and the delicate eyelet raglan increases.

Waves of Lace  The rows and rows of lace of this top and matching scarf are so mesmerizing!

Boo Humbug  I love how kwuntong adapted Boo Knits’ beautiful Boo Humbug pattern to work with a single skien of Flaxen. With a project at this size, you could easily qualify for the Fun Sized option in our Summer Yarns KAL.

Winning

Nerd Girl Yarn Winning – Another silk and linen blend, this customer favorite is simply incredible. Every time I see a new project pop up using this yarn, my heart starts to race!

The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People Pure and simple, we love vwarner6’s Sunlight Shawl for Sad People, and especially knit up with the sunny color Regenerate!

Estuary – Wow, just look at all the beautiful detail, texture, and movement in knittbusiness’ beautiful shawl!

Poetry in Motion –  twitch knit a beautiful cardigan using Winning, and winning it is! The color Windu is the perfect choice for this lightweight summer cardi.

Mora

Malabrigo Mora – Pure luxurious mulberry silk spun up at a dense fingering weight, and hand dyed with Malabrigo’s beautiful color palette!

Mora Pearl Cowl  A two-skein project, this cowl simply screams GLAMOUR! A perfect piece for chilly mornings when a heavy scarf may be too much, but you still need a little something-something to give you a bit of warmth.

3 Color Cashmere Cowl Having a hard time choosing just one color? I understand, sometimes you just need all the colors and I love the ones Kirsanth chose for her 3 Color (not quite) Cashmere Cowl!

Silk ‘N’ Scribbles I am so ready to cast this on right now! Several knitters have paired beautiful Mora with bulky weight yarns (I suggest Malabrigo Rasta, Madelinetosh Home, or ASAP) to create this eye-catching shawl.

SilkCloud

Shibui Knits Silk Cloud – This fuzzy, fluffy favorite can sometimes be a bit tricky to work with, but the payoff is always so rewarding!

Wisp Such a classic pattern and perfect for lightweight yarns with tons of halo. I especially love JessicaDawn’s Seafoam Wisp using the color Pool.

Mohair Bias Loop  I adore a simple cowl, and McKate’s modification to this pattern is a perfect exaple – these gentle, simple stripes look so delicate with Silk Cloud.

Cirrus This is the sort of garment I want to live in 24/7! The toughest part would be choosing a color but I’m partial to Imperial or Tango.

NEVE

Juniper Moon Farms Neve – This is no ordinary cotton yarn. Neve is a worsted weight chain ply yarn comes in a beautiful array of solid colors, and if you haven’t worked with a Pima cotton before, you’re in for a treat! Try using needles with blunter tips with this yarn for less ‘splitting’ while working with it.

Topiary  So many knitter’s shy away from knitting with black, but I think they may change their minds with one look at ChristenParzych’s beautiful stole! Just look at that stitch definition – wow!

Sailor  Nothing screams summer like cheerful stripes – sparkley’s Summer Sailor top hits the spot!

Rupert Sweater Vest Perhaps stripes aren’t up your alley as you prefer a more bold pattern. The Rupert Sweater Vest is just for you and is knit using mosaic color work so you only work one color per row, easy-peasy!

We can’t wait to see your summery projects! You can cast-on starting April 1st but feel free to plan and swatch your project now. You can pair a summer fiber yarn with any other yarn but we will base your award-yardage on the amount of summer yarn you use.

 

Black Friday Insanity

We have had a few customers ask how we do it when it comes to our Black Friday Sale. Well, over the years, we have gotten it down to a science. A sweaty, tiring, and fast-paced science but a science, nonetheless. The kitties look like little worker bees for 2 days straight. Everyone knows their task so we turn up the music, pull thousands of skeins of yarn off the shelves, and ship hundreds of orders.

For those of you who don’t know, we sometimes have a Black Friday Sale. It’s a random sale so you don’t know how much of a discount you will receive until you place your order. The percentage-off ranges from 15% – 100%. That’s right, your order could be free! The sale lasts from 9 AM – 4 PM, with a 10K preview starting at 8 AM. To give you perspective, we received 1,651 orders on November 25, 2016.

Now, here are our very general procedures. As the day goes on, it can become a free for all where all hands are on deck & we do whatever needs to get done so we can go enjoy some left-over turkey. Let’s start with a map of the shop.

Preparation

Lindsay is the queen of getting prepared. She starts pre-making and stock piling boxes in August. The warehouse slowly begins to fill up with piles of USPS boxes which we try really hard not to knock over. Lindsay’s learned a few things over her 8 years of Black Fridays. She makes the self-sealing boxes last – the glue releases when the warehouse gets hot in summer. While Lindsay makes boxes, Janine & Tracey make prize packs until their arms hurt. They make at least 100 welcome packets per team and as many yarn lotto bags as they possibly can.
Day 1
Lindsay arrives super early to ship the orders from Wednesday & Thursday to get those out of the way. Then Erin & Dan come in to start the sale and the rest of the kitties arrive at 8. Erin adds the Black Friday rules/information to the main page & then turns the sale on at 8 for 10K Clubbers. I bet that’s the best feeling – like starting trading on Wall Street or pressing the button in Willy Wonka’s glass elevator.
We have a team huddle around 8:30 where Erin assigns us to our stations. We split into pulling, checking, and shipping groups. Erin is in charge of the customer service e-mail, sorting orders into box sizes, and putting out fires like mismatched yarn.
The pullers are generally Jessica, Janine, Tracey, and Jenny. Once Erin sorts the orders into their box sizes, the pullers grab buckets and start zooming around the store & warehouse. By lunch, the shelves have absolutely exploded! It’s so hard to find that one last skein of Candombe on Sock that we have to clear a whole cube and lay out the skeins on the floor. You’d be surprised how skeins can hide!

Emily, Amy, and Kinsey check and pack orders. They put three tables into the Sorting/Packing area to serve as packing stations with tissue paper, lotto cards, and big cups of coffee. We try to designate each table to a different box size because that’s how we pull orders, by size, starting with the largest box size. Once we’ve checked each order for accuracy, added top tissue paper, and made sure any prizes earned are included, the checkers move the boxes into Shipping.

Dan sets up an extra shipping station and mans the shipping office with Lindsay. Dan likes to listen to classic 90s music so he can ship to the beat. Lindsay is an absolute beast on Black Friday. All we hear is shipping labels being continuously printed and her mighty tape gun! Once Dan & Lindsay fill up one cart with orders ready to ship, they start the pile in the back of the warehouse by Bay 1 where your orders await USPS.

At Noon, we break for lunch. Erin buys the kitties pizza from their favorite joint and we all sit in the Knit Night area to chat about anything but yarn! Our feet are killing us by now and, according to a few pedometers, we’ve already taken over 12,000 steps. Then, it’s back to the action! We work our way through the box sizes until the first USPS pick up of the day. We arrange for multiple pick ups in the biggest truck they have!

Day 2
Back at it again! We can usually get through majority of the bigger boxes on the first day so Day 2 is for our “little boxes” and padded envelopes. The padded envelopes are our favorite for 2 reasons: 1. They usually only contain 1-2 skeins so we pull them very quickly 2. We can sit on the floor to pack these since we don’t have to look down into a box to pack them.
We can only get 1 pick up from USPS on Saturday so, whatever we have ready to ship after around 11 AM, Dan has to take to the post office in his big truck. We have to play Tetris to fit as many packages as possible in his truck bed – we even fill up his passenger seat that sometimes has Levi or Molly’s car seat strapped in. Those packages are extra safe!

Then we rest. We go home, pull out our knitting, and couch camp on Sunday only to come back on Monday to try to put the store back together. Once everything is said and done, we only remember how hard we worked and how great it feels to have such an awesome team. We cheer each other on, Erin dances around the store to pep us up, and we all know we can depend on one another to help with anything that needs to be done. We are just a big family!

Fun Facts
In 2016, Erin planned games to keep the kitties on their toes during the sale. She made BINGO cards with spaces like “Mismatched Yarn” and “Packed a Finisher’s Prize,” she hid small trinkets (nail polishes & flashing rings) in random places around the store for the kitties to find, and even did a raffle!

In 2015, we forgot to give USPS the scan sheets which create the tracking numbers for your packages. We had to drive to the post office and track down the truck!

During the very first Black Friday Sale when Erin was still working out of just her bedroom closet, she ran out of tissue paper! She called her Mom hysterically crying because didn’t think she would get more than 40 orders – WRONG!

2016 was the first year that Levi and/or Molly didn’t “attend” the Black Friday Sale. Levi was a great manager at age 2 so he definitely has a future in business!

Dan wear gloves while he ships. The kitties don’t exactly know why but we like it.