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
It’s officially pumpkin-carving, hot cider & cozy pajamas weather! While I’m grumpy and slow to get out of my warm bed this time of year, my better half is capering around, crowing about how much he loves fall. For me, the one thing that makes fall more bearable is that it is also officially knitting weather. Here at the shop, we’ve started seeing reps, and we just received our first big yarn order of the season, from Plymouth! We’ve added a few new colors to existing lines, and brought in three brand-new lines.
Chunky Merino Superwash is a machine-washable, 100% merino yarn that knits to 3.5 stitches to the inch on a U.S. 10. It’s soft and lovely, and I’m already knitting with it! I’ve cast on for a hat, and I’m really enjoying working with it. We got a beautiful rainbow in this yarn, including perfect colors for a Gryffindor scarf! Our rep (also a Jennifer) is using Chunky Merino Superwash for the Biscotti Sweater by Kiyomi Burgin, which is absolutely stunning.
I’m excited to announce that we also just got Gina Chunky, the big sister to our regular worsted weight Gina! Gina Chunky captured my heart right away with its fun, bold colors, and will make for some quick knits this holiday season. I fell in love with the Zig Zag Cowl by Vanessa Ewing, and it’s only a matter of time before I give in, shove my dirty laundry in the closet, hide my dirty dishes in the oven, and cast on for this one. Honestly, just look at those delicious colors:
And now for something completely different: we’ve been bitten by the speckled yarn craze! We now have Happy Feet 100 Splash, a hand-dyed yarn with pops of color sprinkled throughout. This yarn is machine washable and has 10% nylon for durability. Come try out a skein — it would make splendid socks, or an adorable lightweight baby sweater.
We’re excited for you to try these new yarns and let us know what you think! Don’t hesitate to ask us for pattern suggestions!
We talked about measuring fibers in microns as an objective measure of softness a few months back, but softness remains somewhat subjective. After all, there are different varieties of softness which at times work in unison and at times conflict with one another. Sometimes I walk around the shop, contemplating this question: which is the softest yarn? I consider myself incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to contemplate a question like that. It’s not as straightforward as you think. I always provide several options when I’m asked which yarn is the softest.
There are three factors that come to mind, when I assess my personal experience of softness.
- Slickness: Think about the slickness of spun silk. There is no friction. There are no wisps. Your fingers just slide along the surface like skates on freshly zamboni’d ice. A 100% silk yarn like Luxury Silk Sport has the slickest feel, but others like Bloom and Findley and Ultra Pima possess a similar sort of softness.
- Fuzziness: Think about the halo of angora, or brushed alpaca, or mohair. When you stick your hand into it, it compresses a plethora of little fibers which stick up off the surface. Fuzzy yarns look bigger than they really are. They’re best appreciated with a very light touch, though with too light a touch, you can barely tell they’re there. Andean Mist and Herriot, both baby alpaca yarns, have a luxuriously fuzzy softness.
- Loftiness: Think about the squishiness of merino wool, somewhat loosely spun, like Malabrigo Worsted (a personal favorite). Its surface is kind of slick, barely fuzzy, but more remarkably, oh-so-squishy. The loftiness requires a slightly firmer touch to fully appreciate. It makes you want to dive into a mountain of yarn. Other lofty-soft yarns on our shelves include Noble and Swans Island Worsted.
But in my humble opinion, the very softness yarn on our shelves at Over the Rainbow Yarn right now is Lujoso from Araucania. It’s a blend of baby alpaca, silk and merino wool: that is, a slick fiber, a fuzzy fiber and a lofty fiber. They’re combined in the most ideal proportion. I swear, this yarn is amazing! I made my prototype for the “All The Pretty Things” hat out of Lujoso, and positively loved every second. I think it’s my favorite yarn I’ve ever worked with. Lujoso is the Spanish word for luxury and this yarn looks and feels like luxury. The fuzziness and loftiness give it a warm, insulating feeling. It feels heavenly soft with a light touch or a firm touch. You’re all cordially invited to come touch it whenever you like! I dare you to resist it.