Mim Bird is the owner of Over the Rainbow Yarn and a knitting genius extraordinaire. In June of 2011, on her birthday, she opened this shop in Rockland, Maine in order to share her love of fiber crafts with the world. Mim is the creative mastermind behind almost everything that we do. She's a knitting history enthusiast as well.
Get to know Mim by reading her latest blog posts below.Find Mim on Pinterest Return to About Us
We’ve been looking through the results from our survey and have seen some interesting comments. Since we’re always interested in feedback about how we can do better, we’re also thinking of ways we can follow the advice we’ve gotten through the survey. At the same time, we’re realizing that asking questions about how we can communicate better are giving us results about how much we’re not effectively communicating now. We had a lot of requests to start doing things that we’re already doing. That lets us know that we need to do a better job of letting everyone know what’s going on.
We had several respondents say that they would like more beginner classes, more, technique classes, more design classes, more free classes, more classes. I want to take this opportunity to let everyone know what we’re already doing and what we’re going to be doing starting right now.
For the downright beginner, we have a “Learn to Knit 5 Minute Guarantee” lesson that can be scheduled any time Mim is in the shop. It takes a little bit longer than 5 minutes to learn to knit, purl, cast on and bind off. That’s why we have Drop In Class every Monday and Thursday evening from 5-7 pm. You can come in with any question, project, goal, or agenda and we’ll tailor instruction just for you. We have so few people taking advantage of this time that you may be the only one there. That means you get 2 hours of instruction all to yourself or maybe with one or two other people, then you can segue right in to Stitch and Spin night until 8:30.
If the Monday and Thursday evening time slots absolutely don’t work for you, we offer 15 Minute Mini-Classes any time you care to schedule one. These Mini-Classes are also tailored to you personally and cover anything you want to cover. The only requirement is that we be open and there be two people here in the shop (that way, one person can devote all their attention to you and the other can help other customers.) From beginner basics all the way through to the most complex, advanced technique, you name it and we’ll teach it in one or more sessions.
Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the absolute basics, we offer Technique Classes almost every Saturday from 2-4. There are single topic classes and series, there are project-based classes and classes that cover techniques only. The more popular the topic, or the more important we think it is for you to learn it, the more frequently we offer a class. For example, “Be The Boss of Your Socks” is offered at least three times a year because there are always more people who want to learn to make socks, and “Finishing School” comes around on the calendar at least three times a year because we think everyone can benefit from some attention to washing, blocking, and seaming. We let you know what’s coming up for classes on our Events page here on the website, the Events page on our Facebook page, through the newsletter, with in-store signage and through community bulletin boards.
If we offer classes and no one comes, we assume the topic is of no interest and shuffle it to the bottom of our idea pile. We’re always willing to expand our offerings or bring things back from the discard pile if there is interest. In fact, most of our class ideas come from customer comments in the store. You can tell us what you want through comments here on the website, or comments on our Facebook page, or in the shop. In addition we’ll be offering a paper evaluation form at each of our classes from now on, and one of the questions on that form will be, “What other classes would you like to take at OTR?”
We’ll also schedule a formal two-hour private class on any topic you like at any time you like if you and four friends want to come together. Teens, retirees, families, veterans or circus performers who want to knit their own leotards, we’ll create a class just for you on any topic you like as long as there are five of you. Call the shop or drop by and we’ll discuss the details and schedule your own private yarn party.
Because several people have asked, we’ll be offering Tuesday evening classes as well starting next week. Beginner Lace will be February 9, 5:30-7:30 and Traveling Stitches will be February 23, 5:30-7:30. In March, we’ll be offering “Finishing School” on March 1, 5:30-7:30, and “Be The Boss of Your Socks” on March 15, 5:30-7:30. If those classes are well attended, we’ll expand the offerings.
In addition to formal classes, we offer The 12 Weeks of Christmas small project knit-alongs from the first week in October through the middle of December. The patterns are free and so is the instruction. We only ask that you buy your yarn from us as we’ve designed the projects around specific yarns. Many weeks during the season we have no one there. This leads us to think that there is no interest. But I promise, if folks really want to show up, we’d be willing to expand 12 Weeks of Christmas to 12 Month of Christmas with small project knit-alongs, free patterns and free instruction if you get your yarn at OTR. Get back to me on when would be a good time to start and how many of you are willing to be here.
If you just want to be around other knitters to ask and answer questions in a social setting, we have Stitch and Spin circles on Monday and Thursday evenings from 6-8:30 pm, Wendesday morning from 10 am-Noon, and a new group that has spontaneously started coming on Thursday starting at Noon-ish. You can come in at any of those times and be assured of lots of companionship and support. Or the comfy chairs are always here, and the staff is always willing, so you can come in and just sit and knit a spell and ask quick questions on the fly whenever you have the time and feel inspired.
For those of you who live far away and can’t make it in, we are looking into webinar formats to be able to offer online classes. We’ll be getting our first on-line class up and running by the end of March. Watch the Events pages for times and details.
As a side note, we had several men comment that they felt awkward or unwelcome being the only guy around. Notice I said “several men?” Well, there are more of you than you think, and if only one or two of you would come hang out, the others would no longer feel like they are the only ones. Paul? Daniel? Cliff? Steven? Chris and Cooper? Bill? Any of you want to sponsor a manly contingent and give the other guys permission to come out of the shadows?
We consider ourselves fiber evangelists. We want to do whatever it takes for you to start, commit to, or sustain a fiber lifestyle. If you have a idea that we are not already doing, please let me know and we’ll bend over backwards to fulfill your fiber dreams.
Maybe you’ve heard, and maybe you haven’t; Pantone has announced its Color Of The Year forecast for 2016. This year, they’ve actually named two colors. We’ll be seeing Rose Quartz, a pink the color of the softest rosy blush without a hint of cloying sweetness, and Serenity, a blue that looks like the love child of Sky and Cornflower. These two colors will be everywhere from the subtlest hints (think about the capital letters at the beginnings of paragraphs in your favorite magazines, or the color on the walls of the kitchens in the TV ads for breakfast cereals) to the most blatant displays (think dominating ready to wear swim suits or raincoats as well as everything from home accessories to shoelaces)
But what does it all mean to us, my lovelies, my yarn-ies, my fiber art compatriots? Well , we’ve had some questions and some lively discussion about it here at Over The Rainbow Yarn and I’ve some up with some things you should keep in mind.
• How do they come up with that? Do they have a crystal ball or do they just pull something out of a hat and it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy?
The first thing to answer is, “who are THEY?” Pantone actually has a group of professional forecasters who come from all over the world. They meet twice a year and work in breakout session and as a whole to asses a huge range of factors. They look at what is happening in the world from a bunch of different angles and perspectives. They watch trends in global politics, social media, economics, publishing, entertainment industries, art, craft and buying habits of small Asian island cultures. They pay attention to themes in popular television sitcoms in Argentina, cartoons in obscure (or not so obscure) French newspapers, which smart phone operating system is selling best, how many Etsy sites are featuring Ancient Norse inspired jewelry for men, and a million other tiny details that you and I can’t even imagine. Then they distill all those tiny details into a coherent assessment of what we could call, for lack of any better term, the global mood. Even then, they are not done. They proceed to look at the global mood as indicated by all the details, then look back at other times in our history when our mood has been like that and what we as a group did about it. Then they look at what they know about color theory and make a prediction about what we’re going to want next in the way of color. Exhausting right?
• So what does mood have to do with color?
Well…there have been studies done for decades on how color affects mood. Just try doing a Google search for color and mood and you’ll find thousands of articles, some based on hard science and some based on market research, some based on ancient or New Age spiritual traditions. The color around us can affect everything from our appetite to our ability to sleep soundly. Color can affect how and with whom we fall in love, when and how much we listen or talk, all of our emotions, their intensity and our ability to express them.
And our mood can affect our color choice. Have you ever noticed how people who are feeling depressed really do choose drab colors to dress themselves in, and there’s that one aggressive woman in your book group who always wears the brightest shades of shocking pink and electric blue? People choose colors based on their mood all the time.
•So should I use pink and blue yarn for all my 2016 crochet projects?
Not necessarily. Forecasting is not about telling you what you must do. It’s about making educated guesses about what you may want to do without even knowing why yourself. Forecasting also in definitely not about telling consumers what they should like. It’s about giving manufacturers, publishers, designers, etc. a sneak peak at what many of us are going to be in the mood for soon. Look around your local department store. Do you think you could find a pair of rain boots or a bathing suit today? “Of course not,” you say. “That’s a spring item.” Well, and you’re right. There’s nothing in the world to stop me from wanting a bathing suit in January, but my local department store can’t stock everything all the time and they have their seasonal cycles. We’ll start seeing bathing suits again just as soon as the Easter stuff is cleared out, right? And they’ll also be stocking lots of things in Rose Quartz and Serenity, and the rest of the Pantone 2016 palette, because the smart folks at Pantone have told them that that’s probably what most of us are going to want. Not all of us and not all the time, but most of us, at least some of the time and for some things.
We also have to keep in mind that we are part of the slow fashion trend. Most of us are going to take our sweet time finishing a sweater and by the time we’re binding off, there may be a brand new Color Of The Year. We are also hoping that the sweaters we knit will not be abandoned after a single season, or even a single year. We are knitting and crocheting for the ages and should choose colors based on many, many things that have nothing to do with the seasonal trends.
• Are these colors going to dominate everything?
Um…it depends on what you mean by everything. In real life, very few of us replace our entire wardrobe every season, or even every year. We definitely don’t repaint our homes even every decade. Forecasting takes two parallel approaches, short term and long term. Short term forecasting is great for things we think of as disposable or nearly disposable. When you upgrade your phone, you get a new protective case, right? Want to take a guess at what the popular color for phone cases will be this season? I bet you’re right. But should Sherwin Williams double their stock of soft pink exterior paint? Probably not. Folks who are buying and decorating their first home this season may be affected enough by the global mood to paint their downstairs powder room baby blue. They are more likely to choose towels in shades of Indigo, and the most likely to grab that pretty Serenity liquid soap dispenser and matching shower curtain rings. When the time come to get a new shower curtain, they may wonder why they ever chose that shade of Emerald two years ago, and opt for the Lilac Gray and Peach Echo one they saw and the big store last week.
It may also mean that finding your favorite colors may be a little more difficult, this year. Not impossible, just a little more difficult. A true holly berry red may not be upper most in everyone else’s mind, but it’s my favorite color. This spring, I may have to settle for a new pair of rain boots in Fiesta. The ready to wear shoe makers are going to be banking on me wanting it that way, at least this year.
• But what If I don’t look good in this year’s color?
Nothing says you have to wear it. What we like to look at and what we look good in are two different things. I already mentioned that a cool, rich, holly berry, Christmas red is my favorite color. I should amend that to “…for some things.” As a color I love to look at it. It makes me feel all warm and energized inside. It’s the color of my car. But I would never in a million years paint my house that color. I like to wear that color, mixed with other bright jewel tones and I have a lot of it in my wardrobe. Still, I get the most compliments on my appearance when I wear soft yet bright blues, like cornflower, like periwinkle, like Serenity.
If you didn’t already know it, let me tell you now; you are the boss of your wardrobe and can wear anything you like for any reason you like. If getting compliments is what you’re after today, then dress to please someone else. If you feel like putting on that pumpkin orange hat that your mother says makes you look like you’re decomposing, but make you feel sunny and creative, dress to please yourself, and too bad about your mother.
And remember that your favorite colors will come around again. They always do.
The bottom line is, you are the boss of your knitting and crochet. You know yourself best and you know the people you love best. Go with what you know about what you and they love. If you want to work with this years colors, try a quick accessory that will work for the season, then go into rotation later. If you know your niece’s favorite color is a dusky olive, by all means, knit her graduation afghan in her favorite color. You know better than Pantone what’s going to work for you.
And do please send me pictures of what you decide to make. I love seeing all your color choices as much as I love seeing the patterns you choose. In fact, my lovelies, my yarn-ies, my fiber art compatriots, you are my forecasters.