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Author Archives: YarnBox

Make, Do and Knit

I can’t wait for tomorrow. Yarn Box is packed and ready to travel north for Make, Do and Knit. I’m just hoping that I can fit all of it in the car! I’ve packed hand-dyed yarns by Sparkleduck and Stricken Smitten; brightly coloured “Fine” from Spud and Chloe; lovely soft yarns from Blue Sky Alpacas; and loads more. Liverpool here I come!

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The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace

I can’t belive it’s nearly a week since we packed up the Yarn Box stand and said goodbye to Alexandra Palace at the close of The Knitting and Stitching show. (It’s taken me this long to recover!) What an exciting few days we had. The show was a great place to meet Yarn Box friends old and new. It was as if everybody there was a friend, just we hadn’t me some of them before. I was thrilled to meet lots of Yarn Box customers and hear all your comments on the website, the yarns and the newsletter. All of the visitors to the stand were lovely. We had some great conversations  with demonstrations of Kollage Square needles, magic loop technique for circular knitting, knitting on DPNs and discussions of how to modify patterns and what knitting and crochet yarns and accessories we’d really like to be able to buy in the UK. Erica Knight has answered my question on how many cast-on techniques there are (22!) and Nicky Epstein stopped by to say hello. I’m quite starstruck! I didn’t have much time off the stand as we were so busy, but I did have a little wander about and found some great stuff (more on that another day.)

For those who are interested, the most popular items at on the Yarn Box stand were:

  • Fyberspates Scrumptious DK ( look out for patterns in the Knitter Magazine)
  • Kollage Square Needles – straight and circular
  • Mini Mochi from Crystal Palace Yarns
  • The Big Easy  and 9-5 by Debbie Bliss
  • Noro!

I have to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the extended Yarn Box team… Nikki and Donna for being gorgeous on the stand and letting me talk while they kept it all under control; Debra for help with set-up and merchandising; Graham for being the “home” team and looking after our girls; and finally my very special Dad for working far too hard to set-up the stand and take it apart again and for always being there for me.  I couldn’t have done it without you all.

–NiK

P.S. Sorry that Yarn Box didn’t make it to Harrogate this year.

Good things come to those who wait!

There are 60 copies of the new Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine (fall/winter 2009 issue) in front of me waiting to be packed, and more in the next box! I’m going to pack the first batch and then sit down with a cup of tea so I can have a look and tell you a little more about what’s inside.

Getting carried away…

I think I might be getting carried away with Yarn Box. The new season ranges are here but I’m still looking for new suppliers. Today I’ve added the incredibly beautiful Signature Needle Arts DPNs to the website (so they can now be pre-ordered) and I’ve ordered “Scrumptious” by Fyberspates, along with more Addi Lace Circular needles. Tomorrow I’m planning to order yarn from Dream in Color. Next comes Stricken Smitten – a new hand dyed range from my lovely sister-in-law in the USA. (You can find the current range on Etsy.com.)

Hopefully, Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine will be in tomorrow. I can’t wait any longer!

Is it here yet? Debbie Bliss Magazine – Issue 3

I know many Yarn Box customers are eagerly awaiting the new Debbie Bliss Magazine, so am I. I’m just waiting for the magazines to arrive so that I can get packing and cycle around to the post office with as many as I can carry. I was having a look on http://www.debbieblissonline.com to see what Debbie has to say about the magazine and  I’m very tempted by the Union Jack cushion covers…

In the meantime, I’ve made up my mind and have started knitting the Katerina Shawl from the Knitter Issue 4 using Louisa Harding’s Grace Hand Dyed on Kollage’s square circular needles. (I can recommend the needles if you find you hands ache after a week using a mouse at work.)  I’ll post a picture when I’ve finished the border.
— Nicola

Notes from a small ironing board…

I’ve found out that the ironing board doubles up quite nicely as a workstation for the laptop. The Cath Kidston cover works nicely as a mouse mat and I have room to spread documents all around me. Also, it means that I save time on the organising and relocating. I’ve done the Sunday night ironing and now I can settle down with the Araucania  Collection 2009/2010 colour card to keep me company! The Yarn Box range of Araucania yarns will be extending for the Autumn/Winter season with Toconao (Merino), Aysen (Wool/Alpaca/Silk) and Azapa (Merino, Alpaca, Silk/Donegal) joining Ranco on the website. I’ve been flicking through “In The Mood”, one of the Araucania pattern books, and hope to be able to write a review of it this week as there are some patterns well worth considering for when the evenings start to draw in and allow some serious knitting needle time for this of us who usually knit after dark.

This week I’ve been inspired by Let’s Knit magazine (if you look carefully you’ll find a Yarn Box discount code on the adverts pages). There’s a pattern for a cute mobile ‘phone case in the August issue which I thought I could modify for my phone so I grabbed some left over Socks That Rock and a set of DPNS and  ta dah! I have a made-to-fit ‘phone  case which took only two evenings and required me to stitch in two ends thanks to the DPNs and a rather nifty closed cast off. Speaking of which, how many cast-off (or bind-off) techniques are there? I must research that.

On the research front, I’ve been investigating yarn names, substitution and WPI. (What is light worsted? Does US fingering yarn match UK 4ply? Do I really have to swatch???) It’s been fascinating. If you’ve ever wanted to knit a pattern but can’t get your hands on the yarn used, there is hope for finding a suitable alternative. It appears that the spinners of wonderful yarns are the experts so as I have no intention of putting down my knitting to start spinning I’ll just borrow their wisdom. I’ll share it as soon as I’ve gathered it all together.

–Nicola

P.S. Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Issue 2 is back in stock.

A quiet Thursday evening…

It would appear that Jo not only entrusted me with Yarn Box, she also handed over her love of it. If you read Jo’s blog before you’ll know how much she enjoyed “Yarn Box time” in her day. After the last couple of months I understand why. I could be considered Yarn Box obsessed, and happily so. I’ve taken to researching knitting needles in my lunch breaks much to the amusement of my colleagues! Well, it makes a change from production planning. If you haven’t figured already, Yarn Box is my out of hours “job”, I have two days at home with “Small” (we like to go out for coffe and cake together even though she’s only three!), three days at work and a weekend with the family (and as much yarn as I have energy for.)

It’s all getting quite exciting at the moment. I’ve just placed orders for new yarns and new colourways for September, the release date for the issue 3 of the Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine (Fall/Winter ’09) has been announced, the first batch of Mini Mochi should arrive tomorrow,and Addi Lace circular needles are in stock.  Look out for some reductions on the site over the next few weeks as I need to free up space for new stock.

I’ve been knitting a mini swatch with a sample of Mini Mochi today, I was hoping to take a photo but it keeps rolling up on the needle. It’s lovely to knit with, really light and almost like it’s not there at all. The only downside I’ve found is that I’ve had to pay attention to make sure I don’t split the yarn, often I knit without really looking but it didn’t work with this. It has a nice halo and would make lovely scarves and gloves, or fluffy socks. There are a quite a few free patterns available on Ravelry and wendyknits, I’ll try to add some links soon.

My Cookie A book finally arrived this week after much messing about with online orders. She’s so lucky; imagine being able to knit and talk about knitting all the time. I wonder whether we could get her back to the UK to see those of us who were unable to make it to Socktopus? Maybe we should have a UK Sock Summit and invite our favourite designers. Anyone for knitting socks in Oxfordshire for a weekend? (Let me know!)

I must get a photo of my holiday socks. I’ve reached the ankle and am looking forward to the fun that is the heel turn. The Kollage square circulars (that always makes me smile) have reduced my problems with aching hands and I love the flexible cords, they’re so soft I just push them into a bag and don’t have to worry about kinking (unlike the Addi Turbo cable, if you know what I mean). Our family holiday was great. Mum joined us and we have a really laid back week between the play parks, swimming pools and Mocha Berry Frappucinos! Many thanks to Mum for babysitting so Graham and I could go to see Star Trek.

Live long and prosper!

–Nicola