This week brought the release of Hunter Hammersen's newest book, The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet: Volume III. This final book in her a series inspired by curiosity cabinets, eclectic collections of natural objects which were popular with rich and powerful men in the 1400s. Her books take inspiration from these elaborate displays and apply it to the art of knitting. The designs she has produced as a result of her research are brimming with natural history, and she describes the history behind the designs great detail. A beautiful story that you might not otherwise ever encounter.
In her introduction, she has this to say about her writing journey:
We did it. I've known from the moment the idea for these books occurred to me that there needed to be three of them. Thanks to you and your support for this unlikely endeavor of mine, now there are. I really am tremendously in your debt. Can you imagine if I'd gone to a publisher and said “so, I want to write a book of knitting patterns inspired by this nifty (if somewhat peculiar) moment in the history of science. There will be pictures of plants and bugs and sea life involved. Oh and by the way, the names of the patterns will all be in Latin and will pose some alarming pronunciation difficulties. And did I mention that there actually need to be three books, not one?” I can't imagine that conversation would have ended well. But that's just what I wanted to do, and, with your help, it's just what I have done. So now, my own knitter's curiosity cabinet (one full of beautiful stitches instead of natural wonders) is complete – or at least as complete as any collection can be. I hope you'll find something here worth adding to your own collection.
I love to know the details behind someone's artistry. It makes the enjoyment of a book, yarn, or craft so much more complete. And I adore that the detail included in this volume makes me want to knit every pattern. In order. Now.
I'd love for you to experience this book as I have, browse through each page and enjoy the journey of natural history and fiber. So Hunter is offering a free ebook to three lucky winners. All you have to do is tell me which of the patterns shown above/below you would choose to knit first (there are many more in the book), and perhaps also inspire us with a yarn and color you might choose. Leave your one comment by noon EST on Thursday, June 26. I'll randomly choose three winners and Hunter will get the winner's their copy.
I can't effectivly express how much I'm enjoying this book. Right now, I have just the ebook copy, but as soon as the paper copies are shipped out (I bought the physical + electronic version), I plan on sitting on my white-railed front porch, with the clip-clop of the Amish buggies going by, and flip through the pages slowly and deliberatly. I'm pretty sure there will be an iced tea involved. And it may, or may not, be spiked with something special. Why not join me in this treat?
Last year, we released a new collection to our Poste Yarn line. Patina is a wool/tencel/nylon blend. The wool and nylon make it long lasting and oh-so-comfortable for socks, and the tencel lends the blend a lovely sheen and drape that is usually reserved for luxury fibers like silk. Not only does the blend make beautiful socks, various accessories and garments, as shown here, but it comes with great yardage (nearly 500) and a very reasonable price. Because we dye it here in our own little studio, we can keep the price down and listen to you when you want new colors.
Today I have new colors for you! Take a look at Patina in Blue Nile, Giza, Glass Mountain, Parthanon, Stonehenge and Yakushima Forest. The name of the line, Patina, comes from our layering of colors on the skein to achieve colors that almost have a burnished look, or patina. And the names of the colors reflect destinations, real or mythic, that have stood the test of time and have their own patina.
If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, you deserve a FLASH SALE! Now through 10am EST on Saturday, June 21, you can get any color of Patina for 20% off! Regularly $23.50 a skein, you can grab some for just $18.80. Just another way we're saying Thank You for your support through nine years this month!
Consider getting one color for one of the projects shown above, or combine them into a multi-color project like Phi or Stripe Study like I have.
We have officially entered DAY 3 of packaging up all your anniversary kits and yarn. Thank you so much for such a wonderful response to the kit and the MadelineTosh Flash Sale on Tuesday... And for your patience as we work to get all these lovely batches of yarn and goodies out to you.
The second picture shows our MadelineTosh section, which doesn't even look phased by hundreds of your orders. We stock a lot of Tosh!
Edited to add 5 hours later: Please note, the kit has now sold out (you can e-mail for possible waitlist). But we have a lovely selection of Madelinetosh left, if you want to scroll down and see what's new!
Go now to get the 9th Anniversary Kit! To read all about it, go to this previous post, and to snag one immediately, just go here. To celebrate our 9th anniversary, I've priced this kit at 9% off! It would regulary sell for $69, but you'll find it for $62.75. Our kits tend to sell out within a day, so don't wait too long if you really want one.
Want to tack on other goodies to your order to take advantage of the free US shipping with an $85 order? We're having a FLASH SALE on all Madelinetosh, including the new coveted colors that I've been fielding calls and e-mails about for a week. Prices are discounted by 9% on Tosh Sock (reg. $26.50, now $24.12), Merino Light (reg. 20.50 now $18.66), Tosh DK (reg $21.00 now $19.11) and Pashmina (reg. $29 now $26.39). This sale will last only a day, so get your Madelinetosh before Wednesday, June 11 2014 at 5pm EST. If you want both the kit and want several hours to plan your Tosh purchase, you might consider placing two orders so you don't miss out on the kit (which could sell out within a day).
What might you consider knitting with your new Tosh? Well, I'm knitting ZigZagular socks with a skein of Tosh Sock in the Holi Festival. I've also snagged a skein of the Cosmic Wonder Dust color for something similar. I really like these confetti colors, and I know there are A LOT of knitters all over clamoring for them right now. I have quite a lot of them in all four bases, so I do anticipate that I'll have them for a bit.
I have sweater quantities of nearly every color, so if there's a larger project you want something in, you should be fine. Of course, if not, we'll promptly e-mail you to consider a substitute to take advantage of the discount.
Have colors you're considering for a larger project and want to make sure they look awesome together? You are always welcome to e-mail us for input at email@example.com .
I'm getting a crazy amount of Madelinetosh ready for the website tomorrow... as you can see above just SOME of the Tosh Sock, but I wanted to share with you a handful of pictures from our anniversary party. It was so fun, and I'm so SO appreciative of everyone who came to visit. It was a super busy day, some of you patiently waiting through half-hour lines, and everyone still had a smile on their faces when they made their way to the front. THANK YOU!
Bird Leg Bag Trunk Show
Bags of fibery goodness
Oh so many knitters
Our fab neighbors at Zinnia's Bakehouse suprised us with a spectacular chocolate snickerdoodle cake. Could be the tastiest cake I've ever had. Best. Neighbors. Ever. You two are awesome.
It's that time of year! We are celebrating our shop's 9th anniversary with an adorable sock kit! Read on to see what will be available early next week... and at a super special price.
I think this kit has had more hands-on creation time than any other kit I've designed. From the special edition fabric produced just for us, down to the perfectly striping yarn, it's all been a labor of love. One that we thought fate might intervene and stop. No, really!
Danny at Bird Leg Bags designed this fabric adorned with polka dotted sheep that match the dots you see around our website logo and shop. It's a great way to celebrate this event, don't you think? After Danny drew the fabric, it was printed by a fabic company (several times, to make it perfect), then the process of making the bags started. Vickie is the original mastermind behind Bird Leg Bags, and her husband is now part of the team. He gets to do fun things like draw designs and cut fabric... and apparently even had to go to the emergency room during the process due to a wee mistake! Yikes! If you follow their Instagram feed, you might have seen Danny's poor little injury and the fact that it's stopped his knitting for now as a result.
This bag is what I would describe as a "tall cube". It's 5"x5" on the base, but then 6.5" tall. This means that you can easily fit your double point needles inside, plenty of yarn for your socks or lace project, and have room to spare. The inside is a coordinating fabric, and there is heavy interfacing between the interior and exterior fabrics to make this bag stand up to wear. The bag is finished with a top-stitched zipper and beaded zipper pull. It's a bag that you'll want to carry around and show off to all your fiber friends. We've been showing off the bag here in the shop and a few teases on Instagram and the response has been delightful.
Lest you think that injury was the only hiccup to happen in the process of getting these awesome bags together... half the batch went down in fire. No REALLY. Last month, Vickie learned that the Fex Ex truck that carried half the bags (the bags with specially designed and printed fabric that took months to get right) were part of an accident between Ohio and Indiana and caught fire! Thankfully, everyone was fine. Vickie was able to move heaven and earth to have more fabric printed and make another huge batch of bags for us in only three weeks! She's quite awesome.
So let's leave the drama of the bags behind and look at this gorgeous yarn... which also had a bit of drama itself. We had a new roof put on the building a few weeks ago, and some water got in and landed right on the boxes storing the yarn! Good thing it was all covered in plastic and unharmed. But GEEZ. Fire, water, personal injury... what else could happen? Locusts? Anyway... Turtlepurl has dyed up a gorgeously coordinating striping sock yarn for us. You get two 50g skeins that match perfectly so you'll have two perfectly matching socks. There are so many ideas for how you can knit these. Let the stripes do the work for you in plain stockinette.
Or how about my favorite rib for hand dyed stripes, a knit 3, purl 1 rib* repeat on row one, then knit all stitches on row two, then repeat those two rows all the way. That way you have more knitted stitches than purl and it shows off the stripes a bit better while also giving a bit of elasticity from the rib and interest from the seed stitch. To me, the perfect, pretty rib.
Or get a little saucy and do a spiral rib, which is a simple knit 2, yarn over, knit two, knit two together* repeat to end, and for every row. You can even knit matching mits, goft club covers or hats by searching "spiral rib" on Ravelry.
Want to do chevrons with yours? Use the popular Jaywalker pattern. Just enjoy your knitting and let the stripes do the work for you!
To round out the kit, I'm including these hilarious and oh-so-true gift tags from Colorado company Knerd. We know knitters are some of the most generous people out there, but we also want to make sure that all our time and effort doesn't get felted or left unworn in a drawer for eternity. These funny cards will go a long way toward showing those giftee's that you worked hard for them.
Finally, we can all use a great helper in our knitting toolbox, and these stitch holders for when we need to keep those live stitches safe, but also want to use the needles that are holding them.
This kit will go up for sale on the SSYC website the morning of Tuesday, June 10. Our kits tend to sell out within a day, so if you think you might want one, please don't hesitate too long. I'll post here on the blog and Facebook, as well as send out e-newsletters. The hand made nature of the kits mean that there are only so many I can make up for everyone and sometimes that means that they sell out in two to five hours. As a thank you to those of you who helped us reach our 9th anniversary, I'm discounting this kit by 9%. This is a first for me, but I wanted to show my appreciation to everyone for your continued support of me and my staff and our shop. The kit would normally retail at $69 but I'll be offering it for $62.75.
Sarah dyed us a spankin' new batch of her Fiberstory, Fave Sock this week. So if you've been waiting on some colors of this gorgeously dyed yarn, the wait is over.
Have you ever wondered why sometimes a skein looks different from batch to batch, even though the colors are the same? Often, it's because sometimes dyers reskein the yarn after it's dyed, which distributes the colors diffferently throughout the skein. For example, take a look at Sundress and Milo below. The skein on the left is reskeined, and the skein on the right is not reskeined but looks instead like it layed in the dyepot or on the dye table.
How do you prefer your skeins? Do you like it when dyers reskein as is done on the left? Or not reskeined, on the right?
Personally, I don't care either way. Because I work with yarn everyday, I know that not reskeining takes up a lot less time, and when you're a one-person operation, that makes a huge difference. It also doesn't mask mistakes or problems that happened in the dyepot (like when two colors meet to make brown accidentally). But it can also make the colorway look much more like it will when knit up. For people who have a tough time seeing how a hand dyed skein might knit up, they seem more likely to purchase a something that is reskeined because it better shows the color distribution.
One thing I like about not reskeining is that you can better see the color changes when yellow meets blue or red meets yellow, etc. The little bits of new color that are developed as one color meets another, well, that's one of my favorite things about hand dyed yarn.
I've noticed over the past decade that hand dyers seemed to reskein a lot more in the past, but now aren't reskeining much anymore. When I first started carrying Miss Babs, she reskeined everything. But I haven't seen anything reskeined from her in years. Same for Black Trillium and Unique Sheep.
For the most part, striping yarns like our Post Yarn or Turtlepurl have to be reskeined. Because dyeing long stripes requires a 30-60 foot skein, after it's dyed you have to reskein from that 30-60 foot skein back into a 2 yard skein so that they are able to be wound into a cake using a swift. That's one of the reasons hand dyed striped yarn is harder to come by. It's very time-intensive because of the skeining and reskeining.
Want to come celebrate our 9th Anniversary with us? We'd love you to! Simply Socks Yarn Company's 9th Anniversary Party is this coming Saturday, June 7 from 10am-4pm.
We'll have cupcakes galore, contests to win some free fibery loot, a sneak peak at the Anniversary Kit and a handful of them for sale, though 99% of them will go up for sale this coming Tuesday online. You can browse through 5+ tons of sock yarn in person, so bring some friends and come say hello! Typically the morning from 10-12 is really busy, so if you prefer a slower pace and short lines, you might consider coming in the afternoon. But we really like the quick and fun pace of our special days, and I hope you do too! We greatly appreciate your continued patronage; afterall, it's because of you that we've made it 9 years! Woot!
Nine years ago today, Simply Socks Yarn Company opened its virtual doors, selling sock yarn online. Since then, my shop has grown while staying true to the mission of offering a vast, high quality selection of sock yarn, with fast service and the best prices I can offer. My family has expanded from two to four, my shop has expanded from a 10x12 bedroom to a 3500 square foot storefront, and my team has expanded from just myself to a small, yet dedicated crew. Simply Socks Yarn Company owns two of its own yarn lines, Simply Sock Yarn Solids and Poste Yarn- and that one is dyed in our own restored-post-office studio.
I am so proud of this little shop we've built. I'm so honored that each one of you has been part of this journey. That you not only trust me and my staff to guide you in your craft, but that you also lead me to what you want Simply Socks Yarn Company to be. Each step I've taken in growth of this shop is because of what you have indicated that you want. You are my advisors, my investors, and my inspiration.
Thank you for allowing me to do what I love everyday. Thank you for supporting my staff, dozens of dyers and staff of yarn companies, delivery people, and artisans. There are dozens of people behind every parcel that reaches your doorstep, and I'm confident in expressing that we are all so grateful.
I look forward to celebrating with you throughout the next couple weeks. I'll share contests with you, our 9th Anniversary party Saturday, June 7 (10-4 at our shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana), and the 9th Anniversary kit early next week.
But for now, let me leave you with this first contest. Tell me in the comments below what was your favorite purchase you've made from Simply Socks Yarn Company. Was it one of the special edition kits? A club skein? Multiple colors of Cascade Heritage used for some colorwork or a gorgeous skein of Socks that Rock? Please share in the comments and I'll give one lucky winner her/his choise of three skeins of our Poste Yarn, Striping yarn. Have you just found us or haven't had a chance to shop with us yet? Take a look through the website and tell me what you like the most. You have until noon on June 10th to leave your comment.
So many times I have stories about the kids that I want to share with you. This morning, I just had to take the time to type it out, because this was the type of hectic morning where everything takes twice the time, you end up making TWO trips to school, you forget your lunch, and in the midst of it was a scene that I don't ever want to forget.
And that scene involves James wearing denim hot pants. Or, at least, what seemed to be so.
At 5:43 this morning, I hear Henry singing in his room. It's a great sound, to hear a cheery baby though the monitor. But not before 6am. Before 6am I just want to curse and lay in bed instead of forcing my limbs to propel my body toward the shower.
After readying myself for the day, I step out of the bedroom to find that James has already dressed himself. He's pretty good at it- picks out his clothes himself and goes downstairs to eat cereal and a Gogurt. And while his clothes rarely match, I just let it go and he wears what he wants. Today is his school's field day, so not only is he to bring extra clothes, but he also is to wear loose, comfortable shorts and t-shirt. Instead, he is wearing painted-on denim hot pants. What evil elf came into his room this morning to paint on said shorts is not to be found. He escaped unscathed from this mother's wrath.
"James, what are you wearing?"
"I got dressed!"
"Come here please. Why aren't your pants buttoned?" Silly me. It's because they are so tight they don't even fit, showing the whole front of his underwear. Was he really planning on wearing these out the door today? So, SO many questions swirl around in my head. But instead, I just start laughing.
"Mama, are you crying?"
"Yep, James, I nearly am."
Turns out, nearly-seven-year-old-James is wearing his brother's size 24 MONTH JEANS. Somehow, James though it was plausible that these were his shorts, and somehow wedged himself into them with the fervor that only a 6 year old can display.
We then spent the next moment nearly literally "laughing our pants off" as I tried to remove the "shorts" from his body. Damn, I love that kid.
You might also consider the Terraform or do a Gradiant version of Semele. I adore Seregeti and Black Day Lily, don't you?
Really, you could use a Gradient set in any pattern that you think would look great with a color change like that. A simple scarf or a stunning shawl would all display the sets nicely. Or, of course, a great pair of socks!
The weather is perfect, the iced coffee is flowing, and our front display is perfectly posed with bright, summery tones. What a great day! Feeling very thankful today for my place in this world. What are your plans for your holiday weekend?
Since adding Regia back to the shop earlier this year, it's been a hit. Apparently, a lot of you are like me and can't get enough of awesome self-patterning colors on yarn that will hold up long-term to wash and wear!
Not only do I have restocks in the Fluormania, Kaffe Fasset, and Zoofari lines, I also have two new ones for you. If you want ultra bright solids, check out the Trendpoint Brights. They come in 100 g skeins and are exactly what you want if you want to knit socks to match all those trendy clothes right now that you see in every store. Bright colors are the thing right now, so don't miss out.
"Woah." It's a common exclamation when knitters see our wall-o-Lorna's-Laces for the first time. Every color of Shepherd Sock plus lots of Solemate and Sportmate stretched out over a long wall of our 3500 square foot shop, ready to be squished between fingers. It's intoxicating.
Our wall of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock keeps growing and growing as Beth and her crew release awesome new batches of color, and this season's new selections certainly deserve a prime place on that wall. Take a look at what their busy team dyed up for us- we're the first shop to get all these new colors, according to Lorna's Laces. Five Multicolors and one Nearly Solid
Go back and click on those images if you didn't. They are truly larger than life.
We also have a special treat. Several years ago, Lorna's Laces dyed up a spooky, sinister colorway for our Halloween Kit. (Shown below on Solemate)
This color, Maleficent's Spindle, was a fave of many and since there's a new Maleficent movie coming out soon, I thought I'd let this color pop back on Solemate and Sock. So if you wanted another skein of this, or missed out on the fast-selling kit a few years ago, or wanted it on Sock... well, there you go!
While this skein does look fab in socks (I've seen a few dozen myself, and I know there are hundreds more out there knit up or waiting to be knit) I think it also would make a really nice lacey scarf or shawl to wear around Halloween. The deep purples and charcoal are set off by just a bit of pale green and I think it make such a great combo. If you wanted something super simple to knit, perhaps do the Drop Stitch Scarf, Lace Ribbon Scarf, Noro Wave Scarf, or the One Row Lace Scarf. Want something a bit more challenging? Try Clapo-ktus, Imagine When, or Trillian.
Waiting on restocks of particular colors? I currently have for you over 120 colors of Sock in Multicolors, over 50 Nearly Solids, and 9 of the one-row Stripes. Also look at the 80 colors of Solemate (fingering weight) and Sportmate (sport weight) if you like a litte bit of Outlast fiber in your socks for temperature and moisture control.
Want to win a skein of Shepherd Sock for yourself? Just tell me in the comments below your two favorite colors of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Multicolors, and I'll randomly choose one lucky person to win one of their favorite skeins! Leave just one comment here on the blog by Saturday, May 24 at noon EST. I know it's hard to choose just a couple from over 100, but give it your best try!
Recently, we were asked for pattern suggestions for sock yarn. Button down sweater ideas, in particular, and Rachael (your shipping diva) compiled a list of some of her faves. Do you have any that you'd like to pass along in the comments? Do share!
Just fill out their form, send it in with your payment (not to us, send it to them) and indicate on the stub that you'd like to sit in the Simply Socks Yarn Company section. This is he easiest way to make sure we all can sit together, because I just got the flier today and we only have one or two open days in the shop before this date.
I've gone to this for the past two years (even went 9 months pregnant!) and had a great time. It's nice to sit around other fiber artists, meet new people, and enjoy a game. Hope to see you there!
All photos used with permission of the Fort Wayne Tincaps