Jennifer is the store manager and yarn buyer. She keeps us all organized, patiently solves problems, and keeps new products on our shelves. She’s a kind, welcoming and ever-helpful presence at Over the Rainbow Yarn for customers and co-workers alike. Jennifer has been a part of Over the Rainbow Yarn since the beginning in 2012. You’ll find her here Monday through Friday.
When I started working here at Over The Rainbow Yarn, one of my first tasks was to open all of the boxes of new yarns, and check them against the packing lists. (Yes, it was pretty much just like Christmas.) Karla and I waded through piles of yarn in the basement, and then hauled them upstairs to start making rainbows on the shelves. The biggest project was the giant back wall of Cascade 220, over 100 colors. We arranged, rearranged, went to lunch, and came back to rearrange again.
The wall of Cascade 220
Now, almost five years later, the time has come for a change. We sold off our Cascade 220, and carefully vetted new yarns. We swatched them, we gave them to our regulars to knit and felt, we agonized, changed our minds, and eventually came to a decision. Finally, as last week’s blizzard closed in on us, we sent out our order to Plymouth Yarn Company for 101 colors of Galway Worsted! The yarn arrived in enormous boxes on Friday, blocking Lauren’s desk and almost filling the back office. I had a moment of panic, wondering if I had gone insane and ordered far, far too much yarn. (But Jennifer, I hear you saying, there’s no such thing as too much yarn!)
And indeed, you are right. In fact, I’d say I ordered exactly enough:
Ta daaaa! Galway Worsted!
This new worsted weight yarn is 100% wool, and knits at 5 stitches per inch on a #8 needle. It’s perfect for sweaters, cowls, hats, mitts, felted bags… pretty much everything. Come on by and admire our beautiful new rainbow!
Today is March 14th, which makes it Pi Day! This day, which can be written 3.14, is a fun excuse to celebrate all types of pi(e). Other than the obvious (and delicious) option of making and/or eating a pie, we knitters can also observe Pi Day by casting on a project inspired by Elizabeth Zimmermann! Knit author Kate Atherley, writing for Interweave, explains that the Great EZ “realized that the application of a simple fact of geometry could make knitting a circular shawl significantly easier and more fun”. Atherley’s article, “Demystifying The Pi Shawl: Create Your Own One of a Kind Circular Shawl” is a perfect quick read for today.
EZ’s full original pattern for the Pi Shawl is in the Knitter’s Almanac and Knitting Workshop, both of which we have on the shelf at the shop. But one search in Ravelry will show you the influence that she has had on the knitting world. When I searched “pi shawl”, I got eight pages of results! The beauty of EZ’s genius is in the way it empowers knitters, and transforms complicated or tedious concepts into inspirational springboards. One of my favorite designs on Ravelry is Mwaa Knit’s “EZ 100th Anniversary PI Shawl: Camping” pattern. The designer pieces together four carefully chosen motifs to create a stunning shawl that is a tribute to EZ’s writings, specifically her tales of wonderful camping experiences. The final piece is a work of art.
Happy Tuesday, wonderful readers! I’m in a good mood today — we have exciting new things coming your way, I’m almost done with my Goldfish sweater, and I’ve just been looking at the beautiful new yarns and patterns some of our suppliers are releasing for spring. Also, last night, it was still light out at 5:15 pm! Woot!
Bubble cables on my Goldfish sweater!
Last week I wrote a cryptic Facebook post about news from Quince & Co. that I couldn’t share yet. You see, they sometimes send me top-secret emails with drool-worthy photos of soon-to-be-released yarns/patterns/kits/plans for world domination. Quince has finally done their own post about this news, so now I’m allowed to share: behold, the Linen Noir collection! They’re doing a series of breathtaking patterns in black linen, both Sparrow (fingering) and Kestrel (worsted). These patterns are described as “summer-night-worthy knits”, and I can safely say that you will not be disappointed. Here’s the first pattern, Deschain, by Leila Raabe:
We currently carry Sparrow, but not Kestrel. However, this collection has captured my heart, so I wanted to make you an offer: if you want to make something from the Linen Noir collection, I will order you any color of Sparrow OR Kestrel between now and April 1st. (No joke!)
The other company that really has me excited is Universal Yarn. You may have seen our newest cowl sample on the needles, the Hanasaku Cowl by Tori Gurbisz, using Bamboo Bloom Handpaints and Plymouth Yarn Gina — it’s going to be beautiful! And Universal Yarn has made it so that if you buy the yarn from us, we can give you the pattern for free. Come by and check out your (many, many) color options!
I’ve been knitting cozy, bulky things all winter, but now I’m ready for spring. Bring on the cute accessories, bright colors, and cool fibers of spring — and summer! Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), the Deschain top will be mine!
(As a reward for those of you who made it all the way to the end of this post: We’re having a huge Spring Cleaning Sale starting this Friday. I’m putting Cascade 220 on sale. Now you know.)
Sometimes when I knit, I think of my grandmother, who patiently taught me to knit when I was little. Her needles flew, with a rapid click-click that never seemed to stop. She lived in England, so when she wasn’t visiting us, she would mail me books, comics, and nature articles clipped from magazines. I became a voracious reader, and while those Rupert Bear books will always have special place in my heart, my favorite stories soon became the fairy tales.
Have you ever noticed how often fiber arts come up in these types of stories? Is it because knitting, spinning, and weaving were integral parts of daily life for the original tellers of our favorite tales? Or is it because the fiber arts have a kind of magic of their own — a something-from-nothing spell? Fairy tale characters are often clever and resourceful — dare I call them “crafty”? The craftiest one of all might just be Anansi the spider from African folklore. Anansi spins stories as well as webs, and frequently uses his weaving/spinning ability to get himself out of a tight spot or to get the better of a rival.
Many of the fiber artists in stories are strong, resourceful women. The most well-known example might be Penelope, of Homer’s Odyssey. In a bid to delay having to choose a suitor, Penelope states that she will make her choice once she has finished weaving a burial shroud for her father-in-law. Every night, she unravels that day’s work, postponing her decision a little longer. While Penelope cannot forcibly eject the suitors from her hall, she utilizes her knowledge of fiber arts to outsmart them until Odysseus returns home.
In Cap O’ Rushes, the heroine, cast out of her father’s house, is able to disguise herself by weaving a cap and cloak out of reeds. No one recognizes her for the noblewoman she is, until she chooses to reveal herself. Because she knows how to transform grasses into garments, she survives and even lives happily ever after.
The magical power of knitting features prominently in The Wild Swans, where a young woman must make a special sweater for each of her brothers, who have been transformed into swans. (In some versions, she sews shirts.) The sweaters must be made from a specific plant, which also varies from tale to tale, and she may not speak until the project is completed. In the end, the young woman runs out of time — one brother is left with a swan wing, as his sweater was missing a sleeve. However, her determination and skill saves all of their lives.
I feel a thrill to know that I share skills with these impressive heroines. Traditional fiber arts skills have been passed along for generations, and now I am a part of that story. While my sweaters may not be able to break a spell, there is something undeniably magical in the creation of a garment out of sticks and string.
Do you have fairy tales from your childhood that feature fiber arts as well?