June Featured Yarn – Nerd Girl Yarns Winning

JUNE17FeaturedYarn

We have not been able to keep Winning from Nerd Girl Yarns on the shelf. This amazing 65% Silk / 35% Linen yarn absolutely flies out of here the minute we get a restock and we totally understand why. A few garments have made their way into the shop via awesome customers and the kitties lose their minds when seeing it knit up. Tracey, who is traditionally a wool-only knitter, cannot believe how much she loves this yarn. The blocked fabric is soft, airy, and light as a feather, making it the ideal summer yarn. Here are our suggestions for this delightful yarn:

Herald by Janina Hallio lends perfectly to Winning with the flowy eyelet repeats. Asymmetrical in design, Herald is knit diagonally with increases on one side and decreases on the other. This type of construction allows you to adjust the size with ease. Simply stop knitting once you achieve the size you desire. Chose a solid or variegated color of winning – any dye-style will show off in this pattern! We love how versatile and simple Herald is and can be worn with a cool tank top, airy tunic, or neat button-down. Use it to add a splash of color to all your outfits!

Winning is THE summer top yarn. There are dozens of patterns that would knit up beautifully and keep you nice and cool as the summer months approach. We saw CherryCokeKissez’s version of Otherside by Melanie Berg and had to share! Knit at a lose gauge, Otherside is a flattering boxy top worked flat, starting at the front hem. We adore the addition of a lacy yoke knit in a contrasting colorway – it truly sets off this pattern!

Leafy Baby Blanket by Leyla Alieva would make a lovely gift for a little one expected in summer. The leaf motif is precious and the pattern comes with written and charted instructions. Though this pattern is written for a sport weight, it would translate perfectly into a lightweight blanket using Winning. Just go down a needle size, swatch, and see what size needles creates the fabric you are looking for. Winning will also provide for a small amount of sheen and is machine washable which is an absolute for babies!

 

Estuary by tincanknits allows you to wear your beloved knits even when it’s not snowy and grey. Bring this lacy shawl with you when you head to the beach to throw over your shoulders when you head to your favorite seafood dive. We love how the designer described the inspiration for Estuary: “An estuary is an in-between place, not ocean, yet no longer river. It is a fertile habitat where sweet and salt water mix,and many species thrive. Estuary combines two lace patterns to create an ambiguous shape: not quite a shawl, yet something more than a scarf.”

Can you tell there are too many wonderful Winning patterns to share? Here is a quartet of patterns that are too good to not mention:

  1. Dulce de Leche by Heather Zoppetti
  2. Byssus Cocoon by Bristol Ivy
  3. Sirena by Julie Turjoman
  4. Poetry in Motion by Elena Nodel

Have you worked with Winning? Maybe started your Summer Yarns KAL? Share with us in the comments below.

Mounds of Mini Skeins

Mini skeins are not only beautiful but they make color play so much easier! If you are planning a sweater and want to add a few stripes, mini skeins allow you to mix and match colors until you find the right combination for the look you’re going for. We have a plethora of mini-skeins so, whether you want a full set or a bundle, you’ll be able to create an amazing colorwork project from the options we stock. Here are some fun ways to use those pretty little minis!

Handmaiden – 5ply Casbah Gradient Pack
Casbah 5ply Gradient Wrap by Handmaiden Yarns

Handmaiden

Hedgehog Fibres – Sock Mini Sets
Outline by Beata Jezek

Picture: Miki Barlok

Lorna’s Laces – String Quintet
Ombre Quintet by Wendy S. Baker

Lornas

Madelinetosh – Unicorn Tails
Buccaneer by Justyna Lorkowska

Madelinetosh

Squoosh Fiberarts – Beefcake Minis
Fruit Stripes Gum Socks by Leah Oakley (calls for self striping yarn but you can use minis to create your own stripes!)

Squoosh 2

SweetGeorgia – Party of Five
Gimli Peak by Jessie Ksanznak

Sweet GA

Three Irish Girls – Adorn Luxe Mini Skein Sets
Building Blocks Shawl by Stephen West

Three Irish Girls

How do you use your mini skeins? Share with us in the comments below for your chance to win a set of Beefcake Minis from Squoosh Fiberarts! The random winner will be chosen and announced on Facebook on May 12th at Noon EDT.

Notes:
-The random winner will be drawn May 12th at Noon EDT
-Your project must contain at least 1 mini skein that we carry/have carried
-To enter, comment the link to your project page on Ravelry in the comment section on the blog, not Facebook
-Projects can be from any year

Meet Andrea Mowry

We are so excited to bring you an exclusive interview with the woman who made the fade what it is in the knitting community – Andrea Mowry. If you can believe it, she’s just as delightful as her designs. She’s humble, family-oriented, and an all-around gem! Read along to learn about Andrea’s past career, pen collection, and precious personality.

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Tell us about yourself. 

I was born and raised in Michigan, and moved back here with my husband about 5 years ago.  After leaving my job as a pastry chef to have our first child, I finally had the space to try my hand at designing knitting patterns. From there, the stars aligned and everything just fell into place! I feel like the luckiest person ever!!

What does your design process look like?
notebookpensMy design process has always felt very organic. An idea pops into my head and there is almost an urgency to getting it onto my needles. If I can’t cast on right away, I make sure to draw a little sketch, as my memory cannot be trusted! I have a lot of notebooks and quite the pen collection, and I always have at least one of each with me. From there I swatch and cast on. I am “write-as-I-knit” designer, so I always have my notebook or laptop next to me to write out the pattern.

What is your most favorite design and why? 

FullSizeRender 3Hahaha – typically, whatever I have just finished is my most favorite because it is what I am currently the most excited about! It’s hard to pick just one, as it sort of feels like trying to pick a favorite child! Lately, I find myself always grabbing my Briochealuscious shawl. It has some of my favorite colors, and perks up whatever outfit I am wearing.

How do you choose what you will design next? 

Ideas just seem to pop into my head! Mostly, I would say I am inspired by yarn. Often times for me, the yarn comes before the design, and tells me what it wants to be. When I’m traveling, I do love to see what people are wearing in different cities and what they choose as their travel clothes. After I get home from a trip I usually have a lot of new ideas, I think just from having a break from my daily routine and surroundings. It gets my brain percolating again!

Who taught you to knit? 

I was really fortunate to have my grandma teach me the basics when I was little. From there, I used books by Elizabeth Zimmerman and Debbie Stoller to teach myself the rest.

What designers do you admire?

Oh my gosh – so many! Norah Gaughan would definitely be at the top of my list!

What are you currently knitting?

Well, I am FAR from a monogamous knitter – so right now I’ve got a couple sweaters, a cowl, some slippers, a few shawls, and a hat…to name a few 🙂

How do you balance designing with your personal life?
untitled-49Isn’t this the question? I am a work at home mama, so this one is tough. I am always trying hard to achieve balance, and failing most of the time! Ha! Thankfully, I have an incredibly supportive husband and family and we just make it work. Some days I work too much, and others not nearly enough, but that’s life I think.

What are your hobbies/interests outside of the fiber community?
I love to cook and am really interested in nutrition and the healing power of food. So if I’m not knitting, I’m typically in my kitchen!

Do you have plans to expand? 
Yes! Always expanding 🙂 I am actually beginning to design full time in just a few weeks, and have loads of new collaborations and big projects happening this year. I have a number of book dreams, and hope to tackle that next adventure soon!

Do you have anything you’d like to say to our knitters/crocheters?

Aren’t we so lucky to be part of such an amazing community?? I’m so happy to be one of you, and I hope your knitting or crochet brings you joy each and every day!

We would like to sincerely thank Andrea for taking the time out of her busy schedule to do this interview for us! It was a pleasure getting a glimpse into your life and, if it was possible, we adore you even more. Have a comment or question for Andrea? List them in the comments below!

 

May Featured Yarn – Northbound Knitting MCN DK

MCN DK from Northbound Knitting has quickly become one of our favorite go-to DK weights. We would categorize it as a light DK and find it perfect for everything from small accessories like hats and cowls to larger projects like a mid-weight sweater. After we are done admiring this base for its quality and softness, the fantastic colors that Lisa Mutch has created are next. There are spectacular semi-solids like Vixen & Tidal and vivid variegateds like Metallurgy & Flotsam. All around, we love this yarn so take a look at the pattern suggestions below for inspiration for your next project!

Feminine yet bold, Fortress by Lisa Mutch looks spectacular in MCN DK. The original pattern calls for Merino DK but greensnake (project on right) used MCN DK for the added strength of the nylon & softness of the cashmere.

The superb stitch definition created by MCN DK would lend perfectly to Alicia Plummer’s Campside Cardigan. The eyelets and lace edging will hold up well post-blocking and the ribbed edging gives a great stretch when you wrap up in the lovely cardigan.

We suggest choosing a solid colorway for this project. You may lose some of the pattern if you go with a highly variegated color. The inspiration for Campside is quite magical, “Large dots of golden sunlight swish through the leaves on the trees, dancing in patterns across the bare floorboards.”

 

If you love a beautifully combined mash-up of textures, this pattern is for you! Featured here in the color Saffron, Rambled by Dani Sunshine truly comes to life in MCN DK. The combination of warmth, softness, and structure make this pattern a no-brainer for your next hat.

 

Snuggle up in lace repeats with Dinner in the Eiffel Tower Shawl by Jessie Dodington. See Merrick79’s MCN DK rendition here. She chose to use a bold NBK color which we think was absolutely the right choice. Whether you choose something neutral to go with everything in your wardrobe or a more unusual color to complete an outfit, this shawl is sure to be worn time and time again!

Have you knit something amazing using MCN DK? Share with us below! We love to see what you all are working on.

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!”

 

Eat Sleep Knit … Under Construction

Hey all. Erin here, with some really exciting news! I’ll admit, I’ve been holding out a little on you. This has been in the works for a while now, but I wanted to wait to say anything. Until I was sure it was actually happening. So many balls were in the air and there was always so much that could go horribly wrong. But everything just keeps going right, and we can now very confidently say that Eat Sleep Knit is getting its very own, brand-new building, coming in Summer 2017!

It all started out so simply – we were looking for a new space to rent when our lease was up. We’ve been in our current location for five years, and our business has grown and changed a lot in those years. We’ve far outgrown the original concept where I was, I guess for all eternity, planning to just sell yarn online out of my closet or something, (I know, it sounds insane to me now too. I just had no idea!) and the retail portion of our current space is getting tinier by the minute. We have a lot of yarn we want to add and nowhere to put it!

Except, it turns out, the market for affordably-priced 10k+ square foot office/retail space is laughably small. It may not even exist. Warehouse spaces are typically too big with very little actual heated and cooled space. Retail spaces are typically way too small at prices that are 3-6 times what we’re currently paying. And none of the locations of anything remotely suitable were any better than our current one.

But there was this empty lot near my house, a lot that had been for sale the entire time we’ve lived here, a lot which was, we figured, likely a terrible lot or it would have been bought already. Or maybe it was insanely overpriced. Or maybe it was terrible for a lot of people but good for us, and a few phone calls later confirmed that we could probably even afford it, and a miracle was born. Or the beginnings of one, anyway.

What happened next was maybe the craziest thing I have done in my life; far crazier than quitting my very good job to sell specialty yarn online – we decided to go for it. We’d build our own building! A space all our own, built just for us. No more trying to fit ourselves into warehouse spaces built for things either too large or small, no more apologizing on the phone for our “unusual” location, a building that really works for Eat Sleep Knit and all of its customers.

The SBA loan process was stressful and terrifying and there was a lot of explaining to people that yes, $60 yarn really exists and people really do buy it and we do actually have a viable business, but we were lucky to have a great bank guy who trusts our financials and was thus willing to do a lot of that for us. The next thing we knew, it was all systems go!

Almost right away, they started the grading. It wasn’t much to look at yet, but the kids enjoyed having their own personal construction site to play in after hours.

Well, I thought, I’ll just wait until the foundation is done. Then it will be really real, right? And on my 11th wedding anniversary, we got a foundation.

It was impressive! It was a real building! There were so many concrete trucks, and you wouldn’t believe how fast concrete dries – this was taken maybe 3 hours after pouring was complete.

And then on Friday, I drove by, and we had walls. Actual walls. And the contractor told me the crane is coming Wednesday to put on the roof, and oh had I picked a brick color yet, and over the weekend it’s all kind of hit me that the time is now – this IS actually happening, and I hope you’re all as excited about it as we are.

The kids are very, very excited about “mom’s new work.” Levi tells me every time we leave the lot that “your new building is awesome.” And I have to agree. Though I still have to confirm that yes, we really are planning to “just sell yarn” here to some of the folks working on the building, who seem tickled pink at the very thought.