If you have ever wondered why our photos are so beautiful – the answer is Jess! She has a meticulous process for photographing all of our stunning yarn so we thought we would share it with you. From the yarn being delivered to our back door to updating the website with accurate & flawless photos, Jessica is hands-on and truly knows what she is doing. We are so lucky to have her talent and eye for detail!

img_4994Yarn Arrives

We love hearing the UPS man knock at our back bay door because that means we get to unpack big boxes of beautiful squishy yarn. Sometimes he only delivers a few boxes but sometimes, usually when we place a big Madelinetosh order, he slings 15 boxes off the truck. The excitement really begins as we load up our red dolly and bring those yarn bombs into our unpacking room. There’s a barrage of kitty paws ripping at the tape and squeeing over all the pretties!



As we unpack the boxes, we count every single skein to ensure our order was filled correctly. We do our very best to make sure our inventory reflects exactly what we received. If we receive 2 bags of a colorway that don’t match well, we note the different dye lots on the invoice. At this point, we pick the skein from each dye lot that gives the best representation of the colorway for Jessica to photograph. We call this box of singles “orphans.”




Before Jessica starts her re-photographing process, she compares the orphans to the picture we currently have on the website. Sometimes they match quite well so there is no need to re-photo but, most of the time, they need to be re-photographed because of the variability of hand-dyed yarn. We want to give you the best idea of what your skein will look like when you pull it out of your box so this is a tedious yet necessary process! Jessica’s eye for detail really comes into play here.




Once Jessica compares the orphans to the website, she begins photographing! She expertly skeins and smooths each skein to make them look super pretty. It’s amazing how perfectly Jess can skein yarn – with a little twist and flick of the wrist, perfect skein every time! She then places the skeins in our photobooth, focuses the camera, and clicks away.

Funny story about our photobooth – there is Velcro around the edges of the booth for some reason. Well, Jessica has very fine, silky hair and it ALWAYS gets caught on that Velcro when she’s reaching to put the skeins inside. If you look closely at the picture, you can see where Jessica stuck scrap yarn to the Velcro so she wouldn’t get her purple locks caught every 5 seconds! Think this would qualify for the Tangled badge?


Jessica edits each photo to color and light correct – the camera does the best it can but sometimes it gets it wrong. This is where Jessica’s highly-trained eye gets put to work. She places the skein next to her monitor for reference as she works her magic. She makes slight color adjustments and “cleans up” any dust or stray fibers that may have floated in her booth. With the wave of her stylus, perfect photos are ready to be uploaded for your viewing pleasure!


Save, Upload, Add to Inventory

The final step in her journey is to save all the photos, resize them for thumbnails & zoom views, and upload them to the website. Dan created an awesome “Inventory Assistant” that allows us to add skeins to inventory super quickly and efficiently.

Adventures in Photography

Jessica & Emily really like going on photography adventures to get shots of our pretty yarn outdoors or posed around the shop. Most of the time, they get great shots quickly and enjoy the break from sitting in their offices. BUT! Sometimes, things just don’t jive. They encounter ants, some forehead sweat, wind, and skeins that just don’t want their photo taken. But the end result is usually worth it. They have been secretly working on a calendar so here is a sneak peak!


From start to finish and depending on how big the shipment is, this process can take days. Jessica is really good about posting and updating inventory as she goes and the hard work she puts into her photography definitely doesn’t go unnoticed. Give this kitty some praise in the comments below!

Statistics 101

Get your pencils and calculators ready, we are taking you back to Statistics class! We are weirdly obsessed with numbers, names, and odd trends. When we find a rare slow moment at the shop, we dive right in to our database and archives! You have probably never wondered about any of this information but we thought we would share it nonetheless.

Largest order: Order 83109 @ 35,626 yards placed on Feb 17, 2014Largest Order

Other honorable mentions –

Order 135249 @ 30,556 yards

Order 141931 @ 30,437 yards

Order 82744 @ 30,000 yards

How old is ESK: 9 years

Rarest countries that we ship to: Chile, Argentina, & Thailand – We have never shipped to any African countries (big surprise, it’s a little toasty for wool)


This map is in Lindsay’s office – Amy adds a star to every city we ship to!

Most popular first name: Sarah

Number of orders shipped: 150,225 (as of August 31st)

Top 5 Yarnathoners of all time:

  1. nelson1122 with 702,090 yards
  2. lfsutton with 627,377 yards
  3. missknitty1 with 557,390 yards
  4. la.nateva with 556,388
  5. sjohnso3 with 543,760 yards

Our first customer: Jennifer in Merriam, KS (October 22, 2007) Here’s her order:

1 Cherry Tree Hill – Supersock, Tropical Storm

5 Artyarns – Supermerino, Color 139

4 Claudia Handpainted Yarn – Sport, John B

Our first dyer: Claudia Handpainted – here is Erin’s first e-mail ever to a dyer!

First Order EVER

Our newest dyer: Hedgehog Fibres

Famous ESK shoppers: Stephen West, Katie Franceschi, Vickie Howell

Biggest Black Friday: 1,837 orders shipped & 10,011 items sold in 2015

Number of customers who have participated every year since 2008 (when the Yarnathon began): 23

We hope your enjoyed your statistics lesson today, students! The kitties, especially Erin, love looking through old data so hopefully this scratched that part of your brain that has been asleep since college.

Shop Stories


Just like anything else, ESK has little quirks and smirks that make this shop what it is. With 9 girl kitties, floods of customers, deliveries, and phone calls, there is no such thing as a normal day around here. There are odd things we have come to know as normal and stories that still make the kitties laugh to this day.


We have two mailmen that visit us each day – one that drops off our mail like your lotto cards, returns, and love notes and one that picks up the outgoing packages. The gem of a man who drops off our mail is named Curtis. Let’s paint this picture – Curtis is a wiry man who talks a mile a minute but doesn’t really say much. We know he’s here because every day when he walks in with a handful of letters, he yells, “Mail call!” He knows he can drop the mail anywhere but he always makes sure to ask if it’s okay if he leaves it on the table.

One afternoon, the outgoing packages had not been picked up so Jess called the number that she thought was the post office. It was actually Curtis’s personal cell phone number that he gave us for emergencies of the mail variety. She left a voicemail which, apparently, caused Curtis to fall in love with her. The next day after yelling “Mail call!” he told Jess that he listened to her voicemail a few times because he liked her voice to much. Awkward.

Crystal Springs

IMG_4718We drink A LOT of water around here. Everyone is so busy rushing around and Erin’s number one rule is to stay hydrated. Consequently, we have to change the Crystal Spring water jug often. If you’ve never tried lifting one of those things, they weigh a ton! There’s two quirks that we have realized about these jugs: 1. We ALL think we are the ONLY one who has to dead lift these things because nobody else changes them. 2. Lindsay gets really annoyed when we leave the green stickers that cover the lid of the jugs all over the kitchen.



AlvinFor some reason, friends of the critter variety love us. Lizards, luna moths, ant armies, and many more have snuck in our door but nothing beats the adventure with Alvin. A few months ago, it was a nice cool day so Janine propped open the front door to enjoy the breeze. Alvin, a darling little chipmunk, must have smelled all the wonderful yarn and decided to come in to shop. His cuteness was welcome but the fear of his chompy little teeth were not! After a short trip to a hardware store, the purchase of a humane trap, a failed attempt that involved a blockade of boxes & cocoa powder to see if he ran out (we thought we would be able to see footprints – WRONG), and a lot of peanut butter, little Alvin was set free in the woods. May he live long and prosper…just not in a bed of silk & cashmere!

Short Quirks

Any salesperson who walks in is both amazed and confused as to what it is we do.

We all have a junk drawer in our house but we have a junk ROOM that houses party decorations, our Christmas tree, t-shirts, Knit Night chairs, and stuff we don’t even remember. Nobody is allowed in there but us – embarrassed face.

Lindsay doesn’t like that we are called “ESK Kitties” because she is a dog person.

Erin’s office is a calculated mess. She knows where everything is amongst her soda cans, Del Taco cups, and tons of papers.

Someone goes on a coffee run just about every day.

We scare each other…a lot. Not on purpose but there are so many blind spots around the shelving that it’s almost impossible not to run into someone. So, if you are visiting and hear a gasp and then a barrage of apologies, it’s totally normal.

Jess has an at home and an office yarn stash.

Everyone knows when Emily is having a rough day because she has her “mood lighting” on in her office which consists of 5 small lamps. It’s pretty romantic.

We try to answer the phone by the second ring but sometimes, we lose the phone around the shop. If we answer semi-out of breath, it’s because we were running around trying to follow the ring!

We have a shower at the shop & we don’t exactly know why. We are located in a business park so we suppose the previous renters had some seriously stressful (and sweaty!) meetings.

Everyone here loves a good pen. There is an unwritten rule that “borrowing” them is not acceptable.

That’s the end of the quirks we are willing to share. Some we like to keep to ourselves because they’re the weirdly special things that you only come to know by being a puppy…see, I’ve tried ESK puppies for Lindsay but it just doesn’t work!

Shipping Queen


If you have ever wondered how we ship so quickly, the answer is Lindsay – our Shipping Queen! We thought it might be fun to give you all a glimpse into our shipping process by following Lindsay around for a day. She does SO MUCH for us so be ready to be in awe of “A Day in the Life of The Shipping Queen.”

2Time to wake up – Lindsay is an early riser! She wakes up so she can spend the morning with her husband before they both start their days.


first-breakfastFirst breakfast – before the gym, Lindsay enjoys her most important meal of the day…twice!


3Gym time – Lindsay and Larry hit the gym early to beat the crowds. She loves a peaceful workout before the craziness of shipping tons of yarn orders begins.


4Commute – Lindsay commutes an hour to work each way, every day. She has become a big fan of books on tape!


5Arrives at ESK – This is the scariest part of Lindsay’s day. Imagine walking into an extremely dark building all alone trying to find 10 light switches. Luckily, she keeps a pair of slippers under her desk that she immediately puts on for comfort!


second-breakfastSecond breakfast & e-mails – As Lindsay nibbles on her second breakfast, she is answering all of the customer service questions/concerns that you all have.



6 Print orders – Lindsay starts printing out the orders that have poured in over night at 6 AM to ensure your package is pulled and shipped as fast as possible.



630 Pull orders – This is a big process, especially when the day before was a 150 order day! She turns on her music and zooms around the store in her slippers. It looks like she is on an episode of Supermarket Sweep!


7 Pack orders – Kinsey arrives to check the orders that Lindsay has pulled & packed. Lindsay has to be sure she has chosen the correct box for the weight of the package or if it’s an international customer. She adds the prizes you all have earned and makes sure all your yarn matches nicely.



Lunch time – By the time the rest of the kitties arrive, Lindsay is usually relaxing in the break room, playing a game on her phone, and enjoying her lunch.


10 Scan, Tape, Ship – After Kinsey has checked all the orders, it is time to scan the invoices so they are marked as shipped, top the boxes with tissue, tape them up, and put them on our big cart for USPS to pick up.



11 Load up the cart – Lindsay gets to play a little Tetris to see if she can fit all the boxes on the cart. The First Class mailers all go into giant plastic bags. Once the mail truck arrives to pick up the packages, they scan a sheet we print out (this is what creates your tracking numbers), and do their best to fit everything in the truck. Sometimes, they have to come back for a second pick up or switch to a bigger vehicle.


2pm The End – A mere 12 hours after The Shipping Queen wakes up, she is ready to go home to her husband and dogs! She drives an hour home and is usually in bed by 7PM so she can come back bright and early to start this process all over again!

Lindsay definitely deserves some kuddos for all she does. If you’d like to share your thanks, comment below!

Introducing Yarnopoly!


Drum roll, please…We are so excited to announce our newest customer rewards game: Yarnopoly! This game will take the place of Yarn Lotto cards for a limited time so see what properties & prizes you can collect before we switch back to Yarn Lotto.

What’s Yarnopoly? Play our version of everyone’s favorite board-turned-give-away game. You will receive a Yarnopoly card, or two if you are in the 10K Club, in each order you place. Open the card to reveal your playing pieces. Playing pieces could either be properties with base-inspired names, railroads, or instant wins. The 6 instant wins include:

  • $5 store credit
  • $10 store credit
  • Soak Sampler
  • Notions Rescue Kit
  • Project Bag
  • Skein of Yarn

If you collect all the properties from a specific color (ie: Navy Yarnopoly is TML Turnpike & Pashmina Parkway), you win a BIG Yarnopoly prize! If you collect all 4 Railroads, you win a $2000 shopping spree! The full list of Yarnopolies and their prizes are listed on the board above or click here to download and print a larger version.

What’s changed? Logistically, not much except for creating this super fun new game! You will still receive Yarnopoly cards in every order just like Yarn Lotto cards. 10K Clubbers will still receive 2 Yarnopoly cards. You still have the chance to win instantly but you now have the added chance to win BIG prizes if you collect a Yarnopoly.


  1. Yarnopoly cards will start to be included in orders placed on July 14th.
  2. The end date of Yarnopoly is a surprise! We will announce when it is nearing the end based on how long suppies last.
  3. Yarnopoly pieces expire 90 days after Yarnopoly ends.
  4. If you get an instant win, send in your filled out card just like a Yarn Lotto card.
  5. If you win a Yarnopoly, send in your winning property pieces with a filled out card and we will contact you via e-mail.
  6. Non-property spots on the board are decorative.
  7. If you win a Yarnopoly in store, your prize may not be claimed in store. Please leave your property pieces with one of kitties and we will contact you via e-mail about your prize.

Kitty Kaboodle: Road Trip


As the summer begins, we are all planning our vacations and road trips. We thought it would be fun to share our favorite spots, memories, and fun facts about how the kitties travel.

  1. Where were you born?
  2. What is your favorite vacation spot?
  3. What do you collect to remember your trips? Magnets, shot glasses, t-shirts?
  4. Have you been abroad?
  5. Money is no object, what is your dream vacation?
  6. What is your worst travel experience?
  7. What is your car snack?
  8. Describe your favorite place to dine. Fancy dinner? Big pancake house breakfast?
  9. How do you pack? Do you take your whole closet? Make a list? Throw everything into a bag last minute?


  1. Memphis, TN
  2. Jekyll Island – that’s where I got married and I love the beaches filled with driftwood.
  3. Christmas ornaments – my favorite is an Elvis from when we visited my Dad in TN and went to Graceland.
  4. Yes – Larry (my husband) & I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.
  5. I want to hike the Appalachian Trail!
  6. I snuck out of the house with my then-boyfriend and headed down to Savannah. As soon as we arrived, we got in a car accident and totaled his car. We had to take the bus 4 hours to get home and, little did we know, there is a huge prison in Savannah and the bus is the main means for the newly released inmates to get home. So, yeah, correction, we took the prison bus home.
  7. Sweet & spicy jerky
  8. I love restaurants that are in the hotels. Who doesn’t love walking down in your jammies to get breakfast?
  9. I pack like 2 weeks in advance. I make a list of all the things I need and pack very neatly. I also pack Larry’s suitcase or he would end up with 1 pair of underwear and some flip flops.


  1. Voorhees, NJ
  2. Tybee Island or a cabin in Blue Ridge Mountains but there must be a hot tub.
  3. Christmas ornaments – this collection started by chance when I found a chintzy trolley in a tiny shop when Josh (my husband) and I visit San Francisco. It was cheap but is now priceless!
  4. No
  5. I would take a month long tour of Japan. I’d eat all the ramen and visit Sanrio Puroland, of course.
  6. Josh and I took a trip to Destin and we were so excited. We checked in, threw on our swimsuits, headed straight for the beach, AAAND it was algae season. The ocean felt like soup and our dreamy, clear water vacation was ruined by nature. Thanks for that.
  7. Pizza flavored Pringles
  8. I love to binge on seafood at The Crab Shack in Tybee Island. They have huge crab legs, trash cans in the tables for your shells, cats for you to give table scraps, an alligator to feed, and a bird sanctuary. It’s an oddly wonderful place!
  9. I am a list maker and very tidy packer! I know exactly how many skirts, tops, shoes, and most importantly, how much hair product I’ll need to keep my wonder-bangs tamed.


  1. Calais, Maine
  2. Paris – David (my husband) and I have been separately but hope to go together someday soon.
  3. Mugs – I recently broke David’s mug from the Spy Museum in DC and he was crushed, no pun intended.
  4. Yes – I’ve been to Paris, rural England, Canada, Berlin, and Mexico
  5. I would definitely rent a castle in Spain or the small town where my family is from in Greece.
  6. I was going home from Maine to Massachusetts after Thanksgiving in a car I recently purchased. It finally warmed up enough in my car so I pulled over to take off my parka and accidentally hit the outside lock button with my elbow. On a low-traffic area, I waited for hours until a fish & wildlife truck pulled over, gave me an ax to break my back window, and unlocked the doors. The main even covered the broken window with a beautiful piece of leather that I still have!
  7. Salt & vinegar chips & iced coffee
  8. I love a local bakery! Nothing beats fresh pastries & doughnuts.
  9. I pack very light because I hate checking bags. I have traveled a lot in the past so I have it down to a science and can pack at a moments notice!


  1. Annapolis, Maryland
  2. Navarre, FL – my sister got married there in 2012 and I loved the clear water, amazing shells, and quiet beaches.
  3. I love those silly turtle-looking guys that are made of shells!
  4. Yes, I’ve been to Canada for about 3 hours to enjoy some Canadian beer.
  5. A wildlife safari in Australia! I love animals, nature, and Aussie’s seem so friendly! Also, the make the best hair products for curly hair 🙂
  6. When we lived in NC, we would visit my Grandma in MD often. We had a lovely olive green station wagon, lovingly named the Shaggin’ Wagon, with one of those luggage racks on the top. That rack would whistle the ENTIRE way there. My mom let us try to deter the whistling by jamming napkins in the racks – it would work for about 10 minutes and we would screech with excitement until we hit about 60 mph and the napkins flew out.
  7. Bullseyes & Vanilla Coke
  8. River City Cafe – it’s a beach burger joint that has amazing onion rings!
  9. I’m a list maker and risk taker. I make my list weeks in advance but when it comes down to actually packing I think, “I have a list so it will only take a minute.” and procrastinate until the night before.

Kinsey, our newest Kitty – portrait in the works

  1. Atlanta, GA
  2. Destin, FL – I have gone there basically every year of my life but I recently got engaged and, Naaman is not a beach boy so that location may change.
  3. Teddy bears or other stuffed animals with the location sewn on them
  4. No, the furthest I have ever been from Georgia is Virginia.
  5. Ireland – both my parents are full Irish so I would love to rent a castle and get to know my people!
  6. On our annual trip to Destin when I was 10, I got ridiculously sunburned the first night we were there. We have a dinner cruise planned for the next day so I had to miserably mist myself with a spray bottle to try to cool off.
  7. Pure Leaf extra sweet tea and Trolly sour gummy worms
  8. The Back Porch – I would eat crab legs every night in Destin but I don’t want my parents to go broke!
  9. I am a roller – I make a list but wait until the night before.


  1. Connecticut
  2. Dupont State Forest in North Carolina
  3. Glazed mugs from local artists
  4. Yes, I’ve been to Ireland!
  5. Yellowstone or Italy, of course!
  6. When in Ireland, I was really sick with a terrible sinus infection. I went to the doctor but he didn’t feel I was sick enough to be treated so I had to suffer through not tasting any food or drink for two whole weeks! Luckily I found another, extremely attractive doctor to prescribe some pseudoephedrine to clear me up!
  7. Iced coffee, gummy bears, and peach rings
  8. If it’s a road trip, Cracker Barrel is a must – buttermilk pancakes, coffee, and a candy refill from their country store!
  9. I roll everything up the night before. I only pack exactly what I need – this girl does not check bags.


  1. Illinois
  2. All of them! Maybe a tie between Hawaii & Tuscany.
  3. I like to collect local artwork. I am also collects stamps for my National Park passport – I hope to visit a national park from every state!
  4. Yes – France, Germany, Italy, Bahamas, and Mexico.
  5. New Zealand – I would eat, drink, hike, repeat.
  6. My husband, Toby, and I booked a fantastic trip to St. Lucia. We were so excited until, about 3 weeks before our departure, a hurricane slammed the island. We thought, ‘No big deal, we bought trip insurance.’ Much to our dismay, the fine print only covered storms with 2 weeks of travel and, though there was no power or water to half the island and the state department issued a travel advisory against going there, we only recovered a small portion of our all-inclusive prepaid trip. So, that’s how we paid a lot of money to NOT travel to St. Lucia.
  7. Trail mix & a Diet Coke
  8. Pubs! I always look for a local microbrewery and there is usually good food to accompany good beer.
  9. I am a planner. I make a list which I edit as the trip gets closer. I am a fairly seasoned traveler so I have mastered the art of packing light. I once spend 10 days traveling through Italy with only a small carry-on and a backpack.


  1. Gainesville, FL
  2. Sanibel Island, FL – my family goes every year
  3. Sunburns & freckles 😉
  4. Yes – London, Paris, and a few cities in Spain
  5. If money and laws were no object, I would travel all over Europe and get access to all the forbidden preserved historical sites that I want. Medieval castles, burial sites, Ice Age cave dwellings, etc.
  6. On my last say in Spain, I went to a beautiful beach in Valencia. It was such a perfect day – so breezy and temperate that I didn’t put on sunscreen. My ex-boyfriend and I were both SEVERELY burn and had a 12 hour plane ride the next morning…to Sanibel Island…covered in blisters. My back has been freckled ever since.
  7. Corn Nuts
  8. When we go to Sanibel, we always eat at Cheeburger, Cheeburger – it’s a rule!
  9. I shove everything in a bag or a laundry basket an hour before I leave and then have to buy all the stuff I forget when I get there.


  1. New London, CT
  2. Costa Rica – Dan & I took the most amazing trip! No problems during travel, the hotel was incredible, and we fed monkeys off our balcony.
  3. I…don’t collect anything. Pictures, maybe? If I buy anything tourist-y, it’s usually a postcard.
  4. I would like to travel more abroad but, so far, I’ve been to the Mexican Riviera and Costa Rica.
  5. I would travel to any hotel with room service. Alone. With all the yarn I could carry. And I wouldn’t say no to adult beverages!
  6. I hesitate to call it a worst travel memory because we still had a really fun time, but, during college a friend and I decided to road trip from CT to Williamsburg, VA to go to Busch Gardens in July. We were poor college students, so our “lodging” was a two-person tent in a campground. The weekend was one of the hottest on record – we were hanging out at the local Wal-Mart to cool off, and it was so hot in that tent that on the day we were leaving, we ended up giving up on ever sleeping in the heat and leaving for home at 3:30 AM. Which was a good thing, because later in the day, after we were home, it was so hot that the NJ turnpike buckled and backed up traffic for hours.
  7. Cheddar cheese pretzel Combos & a Cherry Coke Zero
  8. After a great deal of experimentation, I have determined the fastest way to deal with our family of four on road trips is Cracker Barrel. Plus you get that hash brown casserole as a bonus. When we’re actually at our destination, I will basically eat at a seafood shack for every meal if my companions allow it.
  9. I like to pack as light as possible, but I do make a list. Otherwise, I end up forgetting something important, like phone chargers or, once, underwear (yes, actually. I was stunned too).

Feel free to share your traveling experiences with us below. What do you collect? Where are you traveling this summer? What knitting are you bringing?


Knitting Makes Us Laugh

As much time and effort that we put into our knitting and crochet projects, when you sit back, the things we do are actually quite amusing. We stalk websites, spend hours perfecting our yarn orders, talk to ourselves, and pour over color choices. Here are a few funnies to brighten your day and bring light to some of the crazy things we knitters do!

2016 244cd661554247215349c8d574c9d158 207db949fbab2c5f64887fce189d5574 13029574_1151440684916891_2788791581105118510_o 20161 11252015000185 c76a0fea262d5eb6de17f9c633eb6545 dori first_world_yarn_problems GeneWilder kittylegs2 gnarwool Lenny orange 3 problem_stash showmethatstitch Wizard of Oz

Do you notice anything funny about your knitting style or habits? Share with us in the comments below!