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.
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These fingerless mitt kits from The Alpaca Yarn Company just arrived two days ago, and Jennifer handed one off to me to whip up a store sample. I’ve only got a thumb to knit and a few ends to weave in yet. I knit every day anyway, but lately I feel like I’m infected with knitting fever. I can’t… stop… knitting.
You all know what I mean, right?
You’re sitting on the couch in your living room. It’s 10:00pm, and you still haven’t made dinner. You’re getting a little sleepy, and your cats are getting more incessant in their demands for attention. But you just have to knit one more row before you can get up and take care of your neglected business. I mean, just one more row. Just one more row. You’re reminded of your boyfriend/husband/annoying little brother who just has to get to the next save point or finish the next round in his video game, but hey, at least knitting is a productive activity. Your stomach is rumbling, but each row is bringing you closer to the knitting finish line. You’re so close that you’re already beginning to savor the delicious satisfaction of another completed project, or is that just a craving for the dinner you skipped tonight? Each row looks a little different from the last because you’re knitting a stranded colorwork design in a hand-painted yarn, and you can’t help but eagerly move on to the next row in order to see the colors and the patterns come together. Your cat suddenly knocks the needles out of your hands, prompting you to glance at the clock. It’s 2:00am and your vision is a little blurry. You stumble into bed.
You don’t regret anything. You’ll probably do it again tomorrow.
Every year when it’s time for our Maine’s Fastest Knitter Race, you all tell me the same thing: “Oh, I could never win! But if you had a race for the slowest knitter…” And I always tell you that you can’t possibly be the slowest knitter (and you can’t all be the slowest). How do I know? Because… (dun dun dunnnnn) I am Maine’s Slowest Knitter!
Yes, that is my Goldfish Cardigan. Yes, the one I mentioned in early September, and then again later that month. You will note that there are now actual fish on the yoke (two whole rows of them!). But no sleeves. Or body. Nope, not yet. And this is why I never knit a baby sweater in a size less than 1 year. (I’m may be slow, but at least I’m practical.) Before you judge me the glacial pace of my knitting, you should know that I’ve been terribly distracted lately… I’ve been holiday shopping for the store!
Let me show you a few of my newest arrivals:
I ordered kits for these adorable fingerless mitts from The Alpaca Yarn Company. The Forget Not Mitts are a quick knit (Lauren is almost done with hers, and she started yesterday), and super soft because the yarn is an alpaca blend. The colorways are super fun! One of them is actually called “Figgy Pudding”! It doesn’t get much more seasonally appropriate than that. I only got a few of these, so grab your favorite color soon.
I also reordered some kits from Laura Nelkin Designs! These kits make great gifts, and are also very quick to make if you still need to finish some items. The instructions are clear, and there are video tutorials you can access if you get stuck. All you have to do is pre-string the beads, and then slide them up between your stitches when required. I made a pair of the earrings in under an hour! (Remember how slow I am?) The kit comes with everything but the needles, so you’re ready to go.
Finally, I got some fun bags and clutches from Plymouth’s new line, Hand Made Accessories. These are made in Thailand, and they assured me that there’s no sweatshop labor involved. We’ve got everything from a notions bag to a weekender-sized duffle! The colors will make your heart sing in grey old February. To be honest, I wish we had learned about these earlier — the clutch would’ve been perfect for the fall weddings I attended!
There are lots more items arriving daily with you and your loved ones in mind. (Pssst — I ordered three Cricket Looms!! Call and reserve one!) My brain has been fully occupied with Over The Rainbow Yarn’s holiday stock — come on in and see the pretty things I’ve ordered for all of you! Just don’t ask me if I’ve finished that darn baby sweater yet. It’s not happening until
Yarn shop samples are important. It’s often hard to tell how a yarn will look and feel when knit up when you first encounter it in skein-form. Does it really knit to the gauge on the label? How fuzzy will it become? How will it drape? How will the colors pool? How wide will the stripes appear? Most of the time, words are inadequate. When it comes to yarn, you have to hold it in your own hands.
And the same goes for knitting patterns – clear photographs are helpful, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a physical object is surely worth a million. We’d all rather feel like we’re not stabbing in the dark when it comes to committing to a knitting project.
Yarn shop samples to the rescue! We do our very best to show off as many of our yarns as possible with knit-up examples on display in the shop. We invite you to hold them in your hands, try them on (we have a full-length mirror for your convenience), check them out in different lighting situations, toss them around, or whatever helps and inspires you to knit with confidence. If you ever find a shop sample that you like, we will put the yarn and pattern in your hands. Yarn shop samples are good for showing off the latest knitting world trends and helping you think outside the box. Why limit yourself when there’s inspiration all around?
So, I’ve been on a quest to furnish the shop with new samples lately. I’ve been banging out small projects that you could easily finish in a few days (hello holiday gift ideas!). Here are the newest shop samples you’ll find at Over the Rainbow Yarn. Come on in and touch them any time!
Thanks to Catherine for modeling these ones! I knit the Zig Zag Cowl in Gina Chunky and Jennifer knit the coordinating Zig Zag Hat in Chunky Merino Superwash. I loved seeing how the Gina Chunky works up in delightfully irregular stripes with numerous colors swirled throughout. This pattern is so clever, too. The zig-zags are formed by wrapping the yarn around the needle twice to make an extra-tall stitch, then slipping the stitch for several rows.
I just whipped this one up last night after it was recommended by our Euro Yarns sales rep (yep, it’s a quickie). It’s basically my favorite crochet stitch – the linen stitch! It’s worked in alternating colors of Cairns, a cotton/acrylic yarn with an unusual structure and many colors. The pattern is incredibly easy to adapt for anyone who’d like to have a longer, shorter, wider or narrower cowl! If you don’t know how to crochet yet, it might be worth learning in order to make this cowl.
It’s the biggest, the squishiest, the coziest cowl ever! I made the Clayton Cowl out of Ushya (merino wool) and Paqu Pura (alpaca fiber). This cowl combines a super-bulky yarn and a sport-weight yarn in a really cool way. It’s basically garter stitch, except you knit every other stitch in the row below, which has the effect of creating an unbelievably fluffy texture and wrapping the two yarns around one another in a very unusual-looking way. No one will know how you made it unless you tell them.
Sometimes it’s all about the pom pom! I knit the Swirled Ski Cap in Classic Shades. I used about half the skein for the hat and the other half for the pom pom. I knit the child size, but the pattern includes an adult size as well. This pattern is so much fun, and reminds me of soft-serve ice cream! The pattern suggests a 2-color option with the stockinette parts in one color and the reverse-stockinette parts in another. Oh, the possibilities!