Behind the Scenes with LolaBean

We had the absolute pleasure of interviewing the uber-talented dyer & owner of LolaBean Yarn Co, Adella Colvin. This woman is a force to be reckoned with and recently took her brand international! We love everything about our new  ESK family member & can’t wait for y’all to read Adella’s responses as she spills the beans about how she came to bring her unique yarn into our lives. Read along & get ready to fall more in love with LolaBean Yarn Co.

Tell us about LolaBean Yarn Co. Location, how it started, etc…
At the end of 2011, my husband’s job shipped him out to Afghanistan for a year. We had just gotten married and I was miserable & all alone in Georgia. I missed my family and friends in New York, I missed my husband, and was worried to death about him.
Our neighbor, Bonnie, such a sweet woman by the way, used to strike up conversations with me whenever I was running out or she was on her way in. One day she invited me in for coffee. I accepted. When I entered her home, I saw all types of throw pillows and blankets. I asked her where she had gotten them from and she told me they were all hand made by her. From that moment I wanted to learn how to make some things for myself.
I originally started out as Adella’s Crochet Cottage. I mainly sold finished knitted and crocheted products like hats and scarves. One day I walked into a local yarn store to check out what they had. To my dismay, the person working there at the time didn’t greet me or anything. She simply stated that “the restroom is for paying customers only”. I guess she assumed that for whatever reason that I wasn’t there to purchase yarn, so from that day I told myself that I’d just dye my own yarn.
The name change to LolaBean Yarn Co came about after the birth of my daughter. I wanted to create something that I could eventually pass down to her one day. So when people see the logo, they are seeing my baby girl in all of her beautiful brown glory. It’s not every day that you see a little brown baby on a company logo, especially in the fiber industry.

What does your yarn dying process look like?
It all started out in our kitchen. I was using four of those restaurant tabletop warmers. It got to the point where dyeing in that space was unsuitable. I was able to move operations into the garage. It is fulfilling its purpose right now, but eventually I will have to move into a bigger space.

How do you choose the colorways and their names?
For the most part, the colorways just kind of come to me. There really isn’t a secret formula or process. The only time that I really sit down and think about things is when I am preparing for the subscription based colorways. I put a lot of thought and effort into those.

Who taught you to knit?
My lovely neighbor Bonnie who I mentioned above. This occurred during the time my husband was a DOD Contractor and had to deploy to Afghanistan. We would chat from time to time whenever we crossed paths. One day she invited me over for coffee. I saw all the lovely pieces that she knitted and crocheted herself. I told her of my interest and desire to learn and the rest is history.

What dyers do you admire?
Kim from Kim Dyes Yarn
Aimee from La Bien Aimee
Terra from Mitchell’s Creations
Diarus from Diarus Made

What are you currently knitting?
A My Boy Lollipop top by Nancy Ricci.

When you’re not dyeing or chasing your mini Adella, where would we find you?
On the rare occasion that I do take a break, you can find me watching something on Netflix and knitting.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community?
I have a thing for sneakers. Not quite a “sneaker head”, but when I see a pair of sneakers that catches my eye, I tend to break out the plastic. Beyond that I LOVE music. My tastes are all over the place. My husband teases me sometimes because whenever we’re driving my playlists can go from Nas and DMX to Dolly Parton or Pet Shop Boys. I also love movies, in particular a good horror movie. Although I can never watch them unless my husband is around.

Do you have plans to expand? New colorways? New bases?
I think it’s the goal of any entrepreneur to expand their business. I am looking forward to the day that I can move out of my home based studio (which is our two car garage at the moment) to a more spacious environment. I also plan to start working with more higher end bases such as camel, alpaca, cashmere and silk.

If you were to create an ESK colorway, what would it look like?
It would start with a nice semi-solid, throw in some deeply saturated earth tones and finish it off with some bright speckles.

Do you have anything you’d like to say to our knitters/crocheters?
Thank you for choosing and supporting LolaBean Yarn Co. I appreciate every single purchase and kind comment/like on my social media accounts. Now that I am able to get out more, I hope to personally meet as many of the folks that I interact with online and who make purchases as I can.

Thanks so much, Adella, for giving us this glimpse into your corner of the world! To see Adella’s yarns on our website, click here but be prepared. Drooling may ensue.

Kitties Wearing T-Shirts

The ESK Kitties wear shop t-shirts every week so we thought we would give you all reviews from the experts! Whether you prefer a tank or tee, there’s definitely a shirt that fits into your wardrobe so you can sport your love of all things ESK in your hometown. If you’ve been on the fence about softness, fit, or durability of our shirts, read on!

Illustrator Jenny:
What t-shirt do you like best and why?
My favorite ESK tee is the yarnathon tee from 2014. While it’s probably the least legible, I love how the kitty turned out and it pretty much went directly from ink drawing to print without much computer work. Basically, it required the least effort. Plus it’s a flattering and comfy fit no matter where I am on my 30lb weight gain/loss scale.

How would you rate your favorite tee on:
Softness? 5
Washability? 5 – a million washes later it still looks great. The ink is faded, but not cracked or flakey. It feels like a perfect vintage tee.
True to size? 4
Overall comfort? 5
FYI – I don’t even like purple but I love these shirts.

Which ESK t-shirt do you get the most comments on?
Hands down the space kitty sweatshirt, which is awesome because it was another one of those quick on the fly designs where I just had fun and didn’t overthink.

Also – A huge thank you to Jordan and everyone at Terminus Tees. They have great pricing, quick turnaround and the printing is always so soft!

Social Media EmilyNan:
What t-shirt do you like best and why?
The minty tank tops are a clear winner for me. Not only are they super soft and aid in less sweating around the shop, minty green is my absolute favorite color. When Erin found these tanks, I almost lost my kitty mind & immediately went home to make a match-y outfit. Coral looks great with mint so I am now in the market for minty TOMS! They’re long, great for layering, and the “straps” are wide enough to be work appropriate.

How would you rate your favorite tee on:
Softness? 5
Washability? 5 (I’ve worn this shirt every week since we got them!)
True to size? 5
Overall comfort? 5

Which ESK t-shirt do you get the most comments on?
The Rocket t-shirt always catches eyes. When I go to Publix to get a sub, there’s no way I can make it out of there without someone saying “What’s on your t-shirt!?!” 2 cashiers have separately said, “Is that a pink whale?” and I’m all, “Nah, that’s a pink Whalien.”

Shipping Queen Lindsay
What t-shirt do you like best and why?
The unisex tee is obviously my fave! I took one in every color. It’s perfect for my longer torso. It’s lightweight and soft but doesn’t cling.
How would you rate your favorite tee on:
Softness? 5               Washability? 5
True to size? 5          Overall comfort? 5
Which ESK t-shirt do you get the most comments on? None – nobody sees me. I am an ESK enigma!

Shipping Kitty Kinsey
What t-shirt do you like best and why?
I love the super soft unisex tees. The fit is perfect for my body shape and I would wear one everyday if I could. They do not shrink or fade and fit true to size. I rate these shirts a 5!

 

Swatch Local


Stitches United, an awesome fiber convention, will be held in Atlanta this year so we are throwing a kick-off party on Thursday, May 30th from 2 – 7 PM. Join us at the shop for games, prizes, food, and fiber friends! We have an exciting local vendors market for you to shop in between knitting & grabbing a donut from a local bakery, The Dawg House. The first 100 attendees will receive a swag bag filled with coupons valid at Stitches United, goodies from our vendors & a few treats from ESK so be sure to arrive on time!

Vendors include:

Once you’ve filled your Swatch Local bag with sock blanks from Gale’s Art and exclusive colors from LolaBean Yarn Co, head on over to our swatch bombing station or enter your Temperature Tracker KAL project into our “county fair” that will be judged by Melissa Alexander-Loomis! Melissa designed the famous Northeasterly blanket and will be bringing her newest blanket design to show off. There will also be a raffle, prize wheel to spin, and photo booth for you to take glamour shots of your FOs.

We truly can’t wait for this event, y’all. It’s going to be a blast so let us know if you can attend on Facebook or Ravelry, pack up your knitting (your WIP, Temperature Tracker project AND any FOs you’d like to photograph for your project page), grab a snack to add to our food table, and let’s start this weekend of fiber off with a bang!

 

Top 3 Transitional Tops – DK Edition

Some of our customers are still in a deep snowy hibernation but the weather in Georgia has become quite unpredictable. In the past weeks, we’ve had temperatures in the 70s and 20s so layering is a must! This weather fluctuation not only makes for an interesting Temperature Tracker project but has sent us on a search for transitional garments that can be worn under a jacket and aren’t too warm. A DK weight top was the obvious choice so we dove into Ravelry paws first. Here’s what caught the kitties attention:

loch ravenLoch Raven Sweater by Emily Connell has smart shaping which makes this a sweater we would grab over & over again. A sweater that fits is such a treasure. Emily Connell uses “short row shaping combined with strategically-placed increases” to make this eye-catching sweater fit just right.
If this pattern looks familiar, you may be remembering other versions of this design: Assateague is the fingering weight version and Baton Rouge is also DK but uses different shaping techniques. To achieve the texture seen in the sample, we suggest Farm Twist from Madelinetosh.

clipper by amy herzogSpeaking of shaping, the designer of Clipper just so happens to be the queen of CustomFit, Amy Herzog! She blended fascinating design elements with a simple bottom-up construction to create a cardigan that’s sure to impress at your next knit night or event. Just check out those asymmetrical sleeves and amazing pop of color on the button band. If you’ve yet to venture into the genius idea of CustomFit garments, this is your chance!

Estri CardiganEstri Cardigan by Meiju K-P lets you choose and modify to your heart’s delight. Don’t believe us? Check out the finished projects to see some inventive ways to make this sweater your own. Some omitted the stripes on the sleeves, others used a single color, and some even left off the sleeves to make a super cute vest! The possibilities with this cardigan are endless so let the project planning begin.
Yarn selection for this one is all over the place because you have so many options. We tend to suggest starting your search with mostly-solid dyers like Squoosh Ultra DK or Juniper Moon Moonshine to achieve a similar look as the sample. But, we also see the potential fun that could be had by venturing into Hedgehog Merino DK for some speckles & solids pairing!
Finding that perfect transitional garment can be tricky but well worth the work. If you have any pattern suggestions, we would love to hear them so drop a comment below!

Eight Tips for Faded Knits

findyourfade2

Find Your Fade, by Andrea Mowry. Knit by Tracey Cox in Hedgehog Fibres Sock in (l-r) Vengeance, Swam, Pine, Urchin, Bramble, Pleasant, and Raven.

traceyThe rest of the Eat.Sleep.Knit. Kitties and I are busy finding our perfect fades for the second quarter Andrea Mowry Fade-(US)A-Long! I hope you’ll join us.

Learn more about eligible patterns, yardage requirements, deadlines, and other knitalong info on our website.

We put together lots of fades in the shop for customers, both in person and via email. Hundreds, if not thousands, at this point! It’s one of my favorite things to do. I wanted to give you a bit of insight into my methods for putting together a fade that you’ll love!

I don’t have a background in the visual arts–my experience is with yarn! I majored in English in college and writing fiction is my first love. I didn’t really have much self awareness or interest in color until I met my husband, who’s an abstract painter, and started knitting in the same year: 2002. Color suddenly had a practical application for me now and I ran with it! I hope this info can make building fades and other yarn-y color needs a little easier.

What is a fade?

A knitted fade project uses at least two colorways of yarn that melt and blend into one another when knit in a sequence of skinny stripes. It creates a slow, magical color change. Speckled or variegated colorways melt the best, and its common to sometimes ground a project with semisolids at one or both ends.

So, how can I fade?

Below are some hot tips to help you find the fade of your dreams:

hawkfade (1 of 1)

A set for Andrea Mowry’s Comfort Fade Cardigan. Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in (l-r) Cheeky, Monarch, Iris, and Hawk.

  1. Fade with your your favorite colorway. What’s your favorite colorway? Start building a fade with it. I love Hawk from Hedgehog Fibres. This Comfort Fade set in Merino DK pulls colors from Hawk–Graphite, orange, pinky lavender–
  2. Pick skeins with a common color. Look for yarns, with, say, a common dark purple in speckles and covering a larger surface area, and you’ll be surprised what you can blend together.  This is typically my starting point for fades when a customer says, “what can I fade with this skein?” What’s a common vein that can run through this project.

    findyourfade

    Find Your Fade-in Progress. See the stripes?

  3. How melty would you like that? Speckled colorways, as well as traditional variegated colors or kettle dyes, melt into one another more than semisolids or solids, which can stripe. This isn’t bad or good, you just need to know what your preference is when choosing your colors. My first Find your Fade has stripy parts and melty parts, and I love it.  But you should take it into account when planning out your fade. If you have semisolids you absolutely want to include but also love color melting, you can bookend your fade with them, just like Andrea Mowry’s original Find Your Fade colorway set–which fades from Poison, a dark and moody purple/pink, through a number of speckled and variegated colorways and into the golden yellow colorway Pollen.
  4. Learn a bit about color theory. Understanding hue, contrast, saturation, and value give you a language for talking about color. This can make communicating your likes and dislikes easier!  This blog post from TinCanKnits is a helpful primer. Learning about the color wheel and primary, secondary and tertiary colors can be helpful too, especially if you’re stuck in a rut with your color choices. It’s not for everyone–I enjoy picking out colors more instinctively but do turn to the color wheel for advice when I’m stumped. This basic post on Bluprint is an easy place to start!

    SRRFade (1 of 1)

    Spun Right Round’s bright lavender is so cheerful to me! This’d be a pretty three color fade melting into a neutral semisolid in the middle! Spun Right Round 80/20 Sock in (l-r) Euphoria, Pigeon, Half a World Away.

  5. Pick a mood. Fades can be subtle, dramatic, or somewhere in between. If you want something cheerful, go for saturated midtones that fade to lighter tones. If you’d like something dark and broody (always my favorite) go for saturated, dark colors.CampDavidSunset

    sunsetfade (1 of 1)

    This photo, a sunset over Big Lake in Princeton, Maine, taken by my husband, has always meant home to me! Madelinetosh Merino Light in (l-r) Eleven Dark, Mindful, Dark Roast, Warm Woolen Mittens, Firewood, Bicoastal, The Fox.

  6. Work from a photo. Starting with a photo you’re attracted to is a much easier starting point than a blank canvas.  lI ove The Fox, ESKs exclusive Madelinetosh colorway, to distraction and have already knit Socks and a big sweater out of it but I can’t get enough! I built my Sunset fade (above) around this perfect burnt orange, finding colorways that included my favorite orange and faded to the dark purple in the photo. comfortfadeyarns

    ComfortFadeSwatch (1 of 1)

    My Comfort Fade Cardigan Swatch!

  7. Don’t be afraid to mix bases! I know, it’s not for everyone.. If you’re concerned about texture, swatch! The swatch shown above includes 6 different yarn bases (held double with marling in addition to fading) for my Comfort Fade that I’m plotting for the Q2 KAL, and I love it! To start, I stick with the same type of yarn construction when possible unless I’m looking for texture as a design element, like in my Comfort Fade. Base mixing gives you so many more color options for building fades, too. Start out with the basics. If you love beady 2 ply sock yarns, mix Spun Right Round 80/20 Sock, Lola Bean Bean Sprout, Madelinetosh Sock, and Claudia Addiction. Now you have the power of nearly 400 colors available to you!
  8. Ask for help! We’re so happy to help you with your fade in the shop. You’ll get the input of multiple voices as fades are pulled together in the retail shop. Just email us at eatsleepknit@eatsleepknit.com with your ideas and we’ll help you find your perfect fade!

Manos del Uruguay Shopping Spree

manos

Manos del Uruguay has been in the ESK family for as long as we can remember. They’re a vital part of what makes this place so special. From a huge variety of bases & show-stopping colorways to the wonderful backstory of supporting local women, Manos gives us so many reasons to call them family! Let us show off some of those reasons with our Manos  del Uruguay Shopping Spree where the ESK Kitties were challenged to spend $125 on any Manos base for 1 patterns-worth of yarn. Here’s what some of the kitties came up with!

emily

Pattern: Cowboy Cowl by Pam Powers
Yarn: 2 skeins of Gloria in Plata
Needles: US 8
Cost: $48 – I could make two!
Why: As a chunky knits lover, I went straight for Gloria! Having worked with it before, I knew I wanted a few things from my pattern: some stockinette (Gloria is perfectly plied so my stitches look super tidy) and something I could snug in all day (this base is the definition of plush). Insert Cowboy Cowl by Pam Powers! I’d only need 2 skeins so I’m way under budget and I would have a cowl I’d reach for most mornings – can’t beat that!

erin

Pattern: Afternoon in Lisbon by Lisa Hannes
Yarn: 1 Fino Mini-Skein Set (Dorothea) & 1 skein of Fino (Silver Teaset)
Needles: US 2
Cost: $72
Why: I’ve been kind of fascinated by this pattern since it came out and keep fantasizing about knitting it!

jess

Pattern: Three Sisters by Cetus Knits
Yarn: 2 skeins of Alegria (9008 Orquidea & 2600 Magenta)
Needles: US 4
Cost: $52
Why: I love the textures of this pattern, including the mosaic color work used to blend the variegated and tonal colors together.

tracey2

Pattern: Lucinda by Carrie Bostick Hoge
Yarn: 8 skeins of Silk Blend (300X Topaz)
Needles: US 4
Cost: $124
Why: The texture of Silk Blend lends perfectly to this design and would keep this pullover lightweight. Dye takes to the wool/silk blend in the most wonderful heathery way so I chose a solid color to show off the natural striations that would mimic the tweed yarn used in the sample. It’s knit in the round so it’s seamless, which I love, and would be a great addition to my stash of simple projects I can bring to knit night!

Do you think you can take the Manos Shopping Spree challenge? Post what project you’d choose & details just like the ESK Kitties did as a comment on this post. 1 lucky blog reader will win the yarn they chose! Don’t forget, you have a budget of $125 for 1 patterns-worth of yarn. We will announce the winner by commenting “Congratulations!” on their post on Wednesday January 23rd so get to planning those Manos del Uruguay projects now!

Temperature Tracker Tell-all

It’s not too late to join our Temperature Tracker year-long KAL! We have been shipping out boxes filled with all kinds of rainbows for beautiful blankets and a variety of similarly colored palettes for more wearable garments. There’s no wrong answer when it comes to color-pairing for this KAL but to inspire those still on the fence, we thought we would share our favorite yarn ideas & color combinations for some of our suggested patterns. A temperature tracker project is a great way to keep you on track to creating a very memorable project. Did anybody see how one Raveler captured 2017’s eclipse? Amazing! Better yet, this type of project is a great stash buster and may only require a few additional skeins to achieve the look you’re after! So, let’s remember this year together. From highs to lows, temperature & otherwise, we’re with you 100% of the way!

© Nona Davenport

The Tunisian Temperature Blanket by Nona Davenport separates your data points into sections to make a wonderful lap/baby blanket. For smaller blankets like this, we suggest using the super durable and washable 220 Superwash from Cascade. In the sample shown above, the designer held the yarn double (1 strand for the day’s high & 1 for the low) to create this wonderful color change. Here are a few Cascade 220 Superwash ideas but, if you have more data points, more colors can easily be added!

871 White, 1914 Alaska Sky, 1942 Mint, 840 Iris, 1944 Westpoint Blue Heather, 860 Smoke Heather, 205 Purple Sage, 856 Aporto, 866 Forest Heather, & 803 Royal Purple

803 Royal Purple, 207 Spectrum Blue, 252 Celestial, 227 Bachelor Button, 251 Evergreen, 802 Green Apple, 821 Daffodil, 827 Coral, 822 Pumpkin, 809 Really Red

© Andrea Shanti

Temperature Timepiece by Andrea Shanti is such a versatile project. Andrea calls her wrap design a “shlanket” because it can be worn/used in a variety of ways: as a shawl, scarf, or blanket! Our favorite part about this option for your year-long KAL is that it’s knit in the round. You know what that means – no ends to weave in and, with 50+ color changes, you’ll be super thankful for this in December. A few other enticing details about Temperature Timepiece in the Round are gauge matters not (no swatching!) and it can be easily modified for any weight yarn. This project can be whatever your imagination wants it to be!

© Bonnie Sennott & © Melissa Alexander-Loomis

For those who are taking this KAL by the horns and tackling a blanket, we will be cheering the loudest for you! With so many pattern possibilities, we encourage all of you to go big this year. Almost any blanket can be used as a temperature tracker, especially those with smaller sections or stripes. We chose Next in Line & Northeasterly as our featured blankets because their design lends so well to multiple colors.
If you are a fan of mixing speckles with solids, casting on Northeasterly should be a no-brainer. When knit up in such an adorable arrow pattern, most any colors will coordinate! We suggest dyers like Dream in Color who have a great selection of both dye styles or pairing some of our dyers for added interest. Hedgehog Fibers Sock Yarn, Spun Right Round SW Sock 80/20, and a splash of Squoosh Fiberarts Beefcake Sock would make for a delightful directional blanket. If you’re looking for more of a classic, simple knit, try Next in Line using Cascade Ecological Wool. With miles of worsted weight yarn knit in garter, you can catch up on your favorite shows while whipping up this show-stopper.

A good rule for any temperature tracker project is to pick a palette that works for you. If you don’t like rainbows, choose a slew of shades in your favorite color. Maybe try all grey shades with a pop of color and see what happens. Or get wild and choose solids to pair with complimentary variegated colors to give your project a magical marled look. That’s what’s great about these unpredictable patterns – you never know what your FO will end up looking like so choose colors that please you! We would love to see what colors you’ve chosen or are planning to use for your Temperature Tracker KAL so share them in the comments below. One random comment will win one of our 2019 exclusive colorways of their choice!