Sunday, September 28, 2008

New Rowan Yarns

You may remember this picture of Beth from earlier in the month when our huge shipment of yarn arrived. This is actually our only picture of Beth - among her many talents is the ability to disappear when the camera comes out in the store.
This is what the contents of the boxes looks like now. It was our shipment of amazing Rowan yarns from Westminster Fibers. There is a huge variety including Aran and Dk Scottish Tweeds, finely spun solid colour Dk's and 4-plys, Kidsilk Haze (a blend of kid mohair and silk), Kaffe Fassett's Colorscape chunky self- striping yarn, Purelife (yarn spun without dyes in the natural colours of the British sheep), Summer Tweed and Kaffe Fassett's own colourways for new sock yarns.
It used to be that Rowan was known as "high-end" yarn, both in price and quality. Now with the favourable U.S. exchange rate and a new yarn distributor, the price has dropped dramatically while the same high quality that is synonymous with the Rowan name remains.
The new line of accompanying books makes choosing just one project impossible - I'm still struggling with which one will be first. There is a colourway in the Colorscapes Chunky line that has me tempted (more purples and blues for my wardrobe) and a perfect jacket pattern to go along with it. I have just 2 more squares in the Great American Afghan and a store sample sweater that I am disciplining myself to finish - then I'll make my choice. If only all decisions could be this much fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Those Adorable Alpacas

It seems like every knitting magazine has pictures of adorable alpacas. They are the inquisitive, intelligent and gentle creatures found mainly in the Andean Altiplano (highlands) of South America. Alpacas have long necks, slender legs and beautiful round eyes with incredibly long eyelashes (perfect for lash lengthening mascara advertisements). There are 22 natural colours of alpacas, ranging from jet black to snowy white, with many displaying a blend of various markings. The markings on their faces often give them what seems to be a quizzical expression.

Knitters know alpacas best for their luxurious soft fibre that is spun into yarn. The yarn displays softness, warmth, durablility, drape and resistance to pilling. It is ranked with cashmere and silk as one of the most valued yarns.
We have recently received a shipment of hand painted fingering weight alpaca yarn from Misti Alpaca. It is blended with 20% nylon for durability - perfect for socks, shawls or lacy tops. The only problem that we have encountered with the yarn is that it is difficult to start knitting with it - we just want to hold the skeins and enjoy the amazing softness.
Misti Alpaca had a display at the Knitter's Fair in Kitchener earlier in September. Here is their sales representative, Mary, modelling a perfectly draping scarf knit in the fingering weight alpaca. It would certainly be a cherished gift for a special someone this coming Christmas - if you can manage to part with it. This may be a project that will be best knit in pairs so you can keep one for yourself.
Posted by Karen

Friday, September 12, 2008

Welcome Visitors

There have been a number of new faces in the store lately as more people discover the wonderful treasures in our store. We also welcome the returning knitters who have taken a little diversion from knitting over the summer months. Then there are our regular friends who never stop knitting for any reason - what a great attitude to have! All these knitters are coming in to see our new fall yarns and plan their projects for the autumn days.
One of our special visitors was Erin and her new son Hayden. He will definately be making the best dressed list when the cooler days of fall arrive. Erin is a very talented knitter who was designing outfits for Hayden while he was just the tiny "bump" that we watched "grow" from week to week. Erin also learned to crochet and had made a cosy welcoming blanket as well. She is a wise mother who knows that you can never be too young to gain an appreciation of yarn.

Margaret happened to visit on a day when we received a shipment of new yarn from Westminster Fibers. There were 13 boxes of luxurious yarns waiting to be discovered. It will all be on the shelves the next time she comes in.

This is a peek at some of the new fingering weight yarns perfect for socks and shawls. The newest addition here is called "Yummy" - a very appropriate name!

There is a large selection of alpaca yarns for fall, such as the Berocco Ultra Alpaca light, a double knit weight yarn featured in many of Norah Gaughan's amazing designs. Even some soft as butter yarns with a glitter strand called "Lame" has arrived for early holiday knitting.

The display at the front of our store is packed with new fall yarns of "Juniper", "Escape" and "Big Softee" and "Joy". All these yarns have accompaning patterns and samples of completed garments. Guests aren't limited to just having two legs. This is Nori (just like the Japanese yarn, Noro - but with an "i" as her owner so kindly pointed out). She is a very pretty Norwegian Elkhound with a good nose for fine yarns.

We try to have something wonderful for all our guests. There are new additions to the yarns almost every week for our knitters . The children enjoy our sheep and books and the dogs rarely refuse a chewy treat or biscuit.

Posted by Karen

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Second Anniversary

On Friday, September 5, Serenity Knits celebrated its second anniversary. Thank you to all of our wonderful customers and friends who have made it possible. Beth and I have enjoyed the hundreds of knitters who have visited the store since we first opened. You give us so much satisfaction and excitement when we see your skeins and balls of yarn become beautiful knitted projects. It is also rewarding to see the knitting and crochet abilities of our students develop from week to week.

To celebrate, there were the traditional party goodies including cake. Knitters need plenty of nourishment in order to keep the creativity flowing and sweets (especially chocolate) seem to be some of the best sources of energy.

Our neighbours, Tina and Francine from Blooming Wellies brought us a beautiful floral arrangement for the festivities. They always amaze us with their magnificent blooms so perfectly presented.
We appreciated the many best wishes from our guests, including Panda. She seemed a little more interested in the sheep than the yarn, but was happy to receive her chewy stick treat.

There were samples of projects for our many fall knitting classes. Gabriela has developed a new class for entrelac combined with lace. The two techniques blend together beautifully.
Several signed up for our special October 9 lecture with world renowned designer Kaffe Fassett and the 6 hour workshop with colour knitting expert Brandon Mably (October 10).

Our third year begins Monday as we unpack all the boxes of recent arrivals of our new fall yarns. Beth and I couldn't be happier!
Posted by Karen