Kitty Kaboodle – Before We Were Kitties

kittyKaboodle

Have you ever wondered what we all did before we were knighted as kitties? What were our first jobs in high school? What type of jobs led us or, in some cases, forced us to adorn the fantastic title of an ESK kitty? Follow us as we go from dead end to dream job!

Jenny – From Barbizon modeling to her first job in high school as a Custard Queen at Jeannie’s Custard Palace, our darling Illustrator, Jenny, has had a very interesting journey! Her favorite job was working at the Saint Louis Science center as a Designer & Illustrator where she designed signage, came up with the wall art & color schemes for exhibits, made posters & invitations for events, and started her day at morning meetings with a rousing game of Boggle! She also freelances – designing logos, invitations, etc. for a slew of awesome companies.

jessJessica also has a colorful “resume.” She started her working years as a Grocery Clerk at Publix! Then she moved on to become a Preschool teacher where she loved throwing holiday parties for her hilarious 4-5 years olds. After snack time & playgrounds lost their interest, Jess turned her gig as the “door girl” at a nightclub into a position that suited her better – she got to decorate for themed parties & events! Right before she blossomed into our Photographer, Jess worked for an apartment management company doing clerical work.

EmilyStill in high school, Emily teamed up with her 2 sisters and manned Guido’s Pizzeria in the heart of 6 Flags where she slung pizza, traded on the “6 Flags Black Market” for lemonade & cotton candy, and made some of her best memories sweating in the summer heat. During college, she worked part-time in an elementary school after school program and had the same fantastic group of kids from Kindergarten until their 4th grade year when she graduated college. Marketing-wise, she worked for a Canadian steel company, then a Realtor, and finally ESK!

traceyOur Maine-native, Tracey, first worked as a waitress in a local diner named Grant’s Family Restaurant. As she describes her time at Grant’s, she says, “I basically just topped off coffee cups for old men.” Once out of the diner business, she got involved in Environmental Consulting as a Marketing Manager where she would write proposals & run trade show booths. In between, she was a Test Knitter and Research Assistant before moving down South to avoid the harsh Maine winters.

Janine – The first job Janine ever accepted was as a Receptionist at a car dealership. She answered phones, crunched some numbers, and met some very interesting people. During college and a little after, she hopped around a few retail positions before finding her true love – working in a research lab. She worked in a Cognitive Neuroscience Research Lab where she measured study participant’s brainwaves as they read different sentences! Janine loves Science almost as much as she loves knitting!

lindsayOur oldest kitty, Lindsay, has a fairly short work history – she is a very dedicated employee as you all can tell by our super fast shipping. Her first job in high school was at her local Piggly Wiggly as a cashier. Once she graduated, she accepted a position at a Marriott hotel where she did laundry, made breakfast, helped at the front desk, managed the housekeepers, and even drove the Marriott van. She says, “I housed tons of baseball teams, plunged a lot of toilets, but I loved the variety! No two days were alike and I never knew what I was going to find in a room!”

amyLindsay’s loyal shipping assistant, Amy, took her first job at a neighbor’s catering company. She spent her after school hours decorating cake, cookies, and hand-dipping confections in chocolate. Amy then helped at Kitchen Affair, the same neighbor’s store front, where she helped prepare for cooking classes. She ran copies of recipes & helped with clean up. After graduating college, she worked & eventually retired from Commercial Real Estate as a Director of Project Management. She managed renovations at resorts from Hawaii to the Caribbean and everywhere in between. Though she spent 45 weeks out of the year traveling, she says, “They don’t build resorts in ugly places!”

Erin – Our head kitty started her journey at Hoit Cinema taking movie tickets for a mere $5.20/hr! She then moved up and spent the rest of high school as an Express lane cashier at Shaw’s Grocery. She loved competing with herself to check people out quickly which is no big surprise. After graduating college, she took a position as Copywriter. It was so terrible that she left for her lunch break and never came back! Her most recent, pre-ESK job was VP of Products & Services at a small company where she mastered search engine optimization and user conversion. After 4 years there, she started ESK, and actually remained working for another 2 years before she finally got up the courage to take on ESK full time.

We all started somewhere and were molded in different ways but ultimately, we ended up together..amongst these piles of yarn!

Q2 Begins Today!

The first quarter is always an absolute madhouse of excitement! There are so many new things that it is somewhat hard to take in. As things settled and you got to know your new teams, the competition was seriously on! You all earned tons, and we mean TONS, of Booster Club badges, blasted through the Yarniverse, and gathered so many stars for your teams. We hope to continue the fun so read on to see what’s new in Q2!

Knit-a-longs

Knitalong_iconWe are not starting any new KALs in April but we will continue working on our Space Shawls and Carson Throws. If you haven’t started, feel free to join any time! We have seen some amazing progress and look forward to awarding more store credit in the show off threads for the Carson Throw and shawl voting thread which will open at the end of April.

We will start our Freestyle KAL in May which is going to be tons of fun! We know what happens when we let you guys loose – you produce some inventive & beautiful work. As the name states, this is not a pattern-specific KAL but you must choose between 2 yardage brackets: 300-599 yard projects earn 250 yards & .5 star; 600+ yard projects earn 500 yards & 1 star.

In June, the Space Socks KAL begins. For this KAL, you must knit a pair of adult sized socks (this Ravelry search may be helpful) using any weight of our exclusive space colorways. You may choose any sock pattern and the minimum yardage requirement is 350 yards. If you complete your socks, you will earn 500 yards and 1 star for your team!

Booster Club

BoosterClub_IconWe know you all have been anxiously awaiting the new set of badges but wait no more! We have 6 new badges for you to earn in 2016. See what you can, will, or maybe even have already earned:

Walk Like An Estonian (20 points)
To Wear Not to Wear (20 points)
New School (10 points)
I’m So Indie (10 points)
Steeking Streaker (5 points)
Double Dutch (5 points)

New Puzzle

yarnatronIn lieu of trivia, we will be starting a new puzzle series on April 4th called Yarnatron 5000! If you can correctly solve the puzzle each week, you will earn 50 yards towards your Yarnathon total. That means you can earn 500 extra yards this quarter just by playing along & not buying a single thing. The puzzle will be posted each Monday on our Google doc and is due by Friday at Midnight EST, just like trivia. For the full explanation on how to solve Yarnatron’s puzzles, click here.

Yarnatron 5000

yarnatronAll the yards & stars you all earned during the Leap Day Challenge put the ESK ship into overdrive; unlocking a whole new planet to add to the Yarnathon – Pluto! We also found this cute little robot who is a distant relative of our 2014 Roboknit mascot. Everyone, meet Yarnatron 5000! If we can solve all of Yarnatron’s puzzles in Q2, he will show us how to get to Pluto. You know what that means, you can get there too! If you earn 100,000 yards along your Yarnathon journey, you will receive a special Pluto Pack filled with lots of awesome goodies, $50 store credit, and 10 stars for your team!

How do you play?

Yarnatron 5000 replaces our weekly trivia game, so you’ll go to the same Google form to see his puzzles. He has every picture of our yarn stored on his memory chip. He will tune his dials and 2 pictures will show up on his screens. You must first decipher which colorways he pulls up then find their common linking word. Here is an example. Say Yarnatron dials in Spicewood and Woodstock from Madelinetosh. The answer for this puzzle would be ‘wood’: Spice-wood-stock. The yarns he finds won’t always be from the same dyer so they will be more challenging throughout the quarter.

Where do you submit?

Yarnatron will be just like trivia used to be. You will find him on the Google doc each Monday and submit your answer just like you always have by Friday at Midnight EST. Please only answer the linking word. So for the example above, all you would write is ‘wood’ and we will add 50 yards to your account.

Have fun with our newest puzzle! Continue with your chatter on Ravelry so we can all zoom out to the littlest dwarf planet, Pluto!

Kitty Kaboodle

kittyKaboodle

If you ever had a Kaboodle, you know what fun it is to carry all your favorite things around. Well, your Kaboodle just got a make over – you can now carry the kitties around with you in this handy blog series called Kitty Kaboodle. We’ll talk about different things, okay mostly yarn, but we want you all to get to know us a little better and hope you will share with us in the comments!

What are we working on?

erin take 2

Erin is Knitting-a-long for the February KAL! Her Carson Throw uses Tosh Chunky in Kitten, Paper, Espadrilles, Chamomile, Grasshopper, & Glass Bottom Boat.

Emily

This is the pattern picture because Emily has not gotten very far on this beginner shawl. She is using Squoosh Merino Cashmere: Sock in the ESK exclusive colorway Tybee Island.

Janine

Janine was so inspired by Kayum’s version of the 3 Color Cashmere Shawl that she decided to knit one herself! She is using Tosh Merino Light in Firewood, Spicewood, and Dutchess for a rich, luxurious twist on this fantastic design.

jenny

Jenny is knitting Starfighter by our very own Tracey Cox! She is using the ever-so-squishy Amy March DK from Yarn Love in the dreamy colorway Dryad.

Jess

Jessica is knitting-a-long as well on her beautifully bright Carson Throw in Tosh Chunky. She chose a rainbow of colors: Cactus Flower, Daffodil, Jade, Flashdance, Baltic, and Holi Festival!

tracey

Tracey is using Dream in Color’s Smooshy with Cashmere in Mermaid Shoes to knit up a classic pair of socks. The simplicity in this pattern really shoes off this amazing hand-dyed skein!

Amy

Amy is also participating in February’s KAL! She is using Tosh DK in Flashdance for her Starfighter.

Feel free to share what you are working on in the comments below! We love seeing what is on your needles.

 

5 Reasons Why I Love Yarn More Than Cake

IMG_3346a

A knitting themed cake is pretty darn cute and I’m sure delicious, but seriously, nothing compares to yarn. If there is a skein that makes me inhale with excitement, I will find a way to get it. Even if my pantry has tumbleweeds blowing through it, I will look through the couch for coins & mow a lawn just so I can have my precious skein of whatevercatchesmyeye in some crazy variegated colorway named after a character from my favorite obscure childhood book character. Basically, yarn reigns supreme and there’s no shame in that. Here’s why:

It’s SO Pretty

I’m trying to find a picture of a skein that embodies what I mean when I say, “Yarn is SO pretty.” 38 minutes later, I have 6 tabs open and there’s no way I can pick just one. How can dye dripped on fiber and wound into a skein attract me like a mosquito to light? And all for different reasons. Some colorways remind me of a special memory. Others go well with my winter coat. Most just make my heart beat so hard because I know I MUST have it…no project planned, no pattern in mind but it must come home with me. Why? Because yarn is SO pretty.

I Can Knit That

priceI know I’m not the only one who refuses to buy things in department stores or hip pop-up shops because, “I can knit that.” I will spend $150 on yarn to knit an imperfect sweater that will make me want to scream but I absolutely refuse to spend a third of that on a perfect fit, flawless sweater in a department store. What is this logic I have come to know as truth? How do I justify this to myself time and time again? I suppose it’s because knitting isn’t just about the end result..it’s the whole process that makes it worth while. It’s so exciting when you finally find that perfect pattern and you can begin your search for the colorway of your dreams. You set up your project page and cast on. Then comes the sharing. Pick your favorite forum and share your WIP with your friends so they can ooo and aww over it. And nothing compares to clicking the ‘Finished’ button on your project page, taking your FO pictures, and watching those little pink hearts pop up. Each project is a one-of-a-kind journey – not just a machine pumping out hundreds of the same sweater.

Holy Fiber Friends

Knittaz4lifestripI have never known a community of people to be so fun, supportive, kind, and loving as my fiber friends. We all share a hobby but, it’s more than that. Plenty of people share hobbies and don’t know much about one another but I consider my Ravelry friends, most of whom I’ve never met, and my Knit Night friends as my real friends. I see a package of Oreos and think about the Cowlettes or I walk past Alegria in the crazy colorway Locura Fluo and think of MissBlane. It’s fun to think that you all have become a real part of my life – I always wanted good friends but never expected to have so many!

That Squish Tho

alpacaFrom Angora rabbit to the hippest alpacas, yarn’s squish factor is high! I have come to learn that you are a true knitter when you do the Face Test. You know what I’m talking about – head slightly tilted, yarn on cheek, eyes gently closed, slight smile, then the rub. We’ve all done it and the Face Test is the only true measure of squishiness. Yes, this test may also be used for practical things like testing for allergies or seeing how the color looks with your skin/hair, but I like to think we are just listening to the skein. Most of the time it tells me to take it home or else it will be lonely on this shelf for the rest of its life and I, all too often, listen wholeheartedly! But we’re not here to judge.

Sticks & String – I Make a Thing!

Take a second to really think about what we are doing when we knit. We take sticks, sometimes connected by a cable, and click them together to make clothes. It’s one long string looped and stitched in different ways to make a garment or accessory. Seriously, think about it. Knitting is amazing.

XOXO, EmilyNan

2015 – What A Year!

This has been another spectacular year at ESK! We started the Booster Club where you all earned badges for successes & failures in your knitting, we added exclusive Georgia colorways from Madelinetosh where you refreshed the heck out of the website at 8 AM to snag skeins of Little Magnolia, and we added so much yarn to the shelves that you all truly lived up to the Year of the Sheep! Let’s take a closer look at all the fun we had this year:

IMG_3253

Quarter 1: Colorwork, Headgear, Shawls

Q1 Colorwork JudyL

Q1 Colorwork Winner – JudyL

Q1 Headgear - kgartley

Q1 Headgear Winner – kgartley

Q1 Shawls celticmidget

Q1 Shawls Winner – celticmidget

Quarter 2: Hitofude, No Sleeves, Mitered Squares

Q2 Hitofude Winner - historychic

Q2 Hitofude Winner – historychic

Q2 No Sleeves Winner - ginni

Q2 No Sleeves Winner – ginni

Q2 Mitered Squares Winner - stellaah

Q2 Mitered Squares Winner – stellaah

Quarter 3: Socks, New-to-You, Sweater Free-for-All

Q3 Socks Winner - lucy325

Q3 Socks Winner – lucy325

Q3 New-to-you Winner - quixotism

Q3 New-to-you Winner – quixotism

Q3 Sweater Free-for-all Winner - luarn

Q3 Sweater Free-for-all Winner – luarn

Quarter 4: Selfless Knits, Felting, Chunky Knits, Triathlon

Q4 Selfless Knits – Popular Vote:  ElloKnits      Random Winner: LauraPNW

Q4 Selfless Winner - elloknits (she also knit multiple baby hats and a triceratops too!)

Q4 Selfless Winner – elloknits (she also knit multiple baby hats and a triceratops too!)

Q4 Felting – Popular Vote:  Naora   Random Winner: PastorErinKaye

Q4 Felting Winner - naora

Q4 Felting Winner – naora

Q4 Chunky Knits – Popular Vote: HonestBloom Random Winner: enw001

Q4 Chunky Knits Winner - honestbloom

Q4 Chunky Knits Winner – honestbloom

Congratulations, Winners! Your store credits will be added shortly! Thanks to all those who submitted in the voting threads. You will have more chances to win with our Carson Throw KAL. Each month, if you submit your completed portion of the throw, you will be entered into a random drawing for $20 store credit. It pays to keep up in the KAL!

New Additions

cake_4

Western Sky Knits

NBKNew

Northbound Knitting

Kathmandu Bowl

Queensland Collection

freia facebook

Freia Fine Handpaints

koigu cuties jar

Koigu Wool

The newest kitten, Molly McBride, joined the ESK team on April 17th & her big brother, Levi, is now a gentleman at age 2!

The newest kitten, Molly McBride, joined the ESK team on April 17th, 2015 & her big brother, Levi, is now a gentleman at age 2!

Race Results

raceIcon_Woolrus

The race results have been changing all year long – the Yarnicorns and Fleecy Foxes have been trotting and slinking between 2nd and 3rd place for months. The Cowlettes were the most enthusiastic and friendliest with over 26,000 posts on the Ravelry forums. We all wanted to just hang around the nest with them. The Mighty Woolri remained on top and took 1st place! Congratulations Team Woolrus – team members with over 500 yards purchased in 2015 will receive $20 store credit. Those credits will be added to  your account by January 15th.

Woolrus – 95

Yarnicorns – 86

Fleecy Foxes – 84

Cowlettes – 77

The End…for now!

We can’t thank you enough for another awesome year! We fell in love with the newest ESK kitten (little Miss Molly), watched Levi grow taller than his Mom, conquered trivia, knitted-a-long each month, earned badges, solved puzzles, and discovered so much new yarn! 2015 is sadly over but 2016 Yarnathon and Beyond: A Space Race has just begun. Check out the new additions to the website to see what we have in store this year!

 

December’s Exclusive Madelinetosh Colorway – The Fox

thefox_4

Opened in 1929, The Fox, often called Fabulous Fox by Georgia natives, is a former movie palace which is very evident by its elaborate and lavish design. It now serves as not only an Atlanta staple, but a host to a plethora of cultural and artistic events including the Atlanta Ballet, a summer film series, concerts, and touring Broadway performances. The Fox is the home of the 2nd largest theater pipe organ and was originally intended to be a Yaarab Shrine Temple. This theater has survived remodels and threat of demolition for almost 90 years and has earned its permanence in the heart of Atlanta.

The FoxIf you haven’t been to The Fox, you haven’t truly been to Atlanta. The rich interior is something to experience all in itself with red velvet seats, intricate wood carvings, and a blue-lit ceiling that mimics the sky. I’ve been to a few concerts at The Fox but my favorite visit was, hands down, seeing the off-Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. The costumes, the make up, the props, the staging..it was as if I was under-da-sea with Sebastian and Ariel! But for me, Ursula and Flotsam & Jetsam stole the show. Ursula was truly a master villain who gave you goosebumps when she bellowed ‘Poor Unfortunate Souls.” Flotsam & Jetsam were brought to life with their glowing eye, lit-up “electric” tails, and they even “swam” through the stage on roller skates. The Fox hosted a truly magical show!

The last exclusive Madelinetosh colorway, The Fox, is available in the following bases: TMLPashmina, Tosh DK, Tosh VintageTosh Sock and Twist Light.