A Huge Thank You!

Thanks to everyone who supported my first farm-to-skein yarn, Shorn! Much love to all who ordered, inquired, and sent kind notes! All of the orders have been fulfilled as of today! Yay! My house is getting put back in order and yarn is beginning to arrive in post boxes around the country 🙂 I really can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

If you couldn’t get your hands on a skein, my apologies–clearly, the demand was higher than even I expected! 50lbs of fleece just isn’t enough! You can still download the two patterns: the Csilla Cowl and the Csilla Hat on Ravelry. And there is a 40% discount on each of them still! A HUGE thank you to Albina of LB Handknits for her gorgeous patterns!

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I’m starting to hunt down my next farm-to-skein project and will keep you all in the loop. I may even start a little newsletter so that folks can sign up to be notified about the next yarn project–you know, get to know the sheep . . . see some updates . . . know when the yarn will be next available! More soon!

I can’t wait to see what you all make with your yarn! Thanks from my home to yours!

~Melissa xxoo

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Posted in community, Csilla Cowl, Csilla Hat, custom yarn, discount code, Shorn yarn, unexpected, unicorns, yarn, yarn launch | 4 Comments

Introducing Shorn: A Farm to Skein Yarn!

Shorn, my first farm-to-skein yarn, was released on Sat, March 2nd at 1:00pm! I’m currently SOLD OUT, but I do have a short waiting list (in case skeins become available) Please contact me at knittingthestash@gmail.com to be put on the waiting list 🙂  

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Shorn’s Story
This is a limited edition, locally grown and spun yarn made from the fleece of sheep who live right down the road from me on Fox Run Farm (Monticello, Il) and Seven Sisters Farm (Sidney, IL)! It’s been left in it’s natural, cream-colored state and minimally processed by Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Because the mill does not use chemicals, the yarn has a small amount of VM (vegetable matter). This yarn is a delight to knit and makes a beautifully dense and warm fabric! Limited supply available! Add a skein to your stash OR purchase a kit designed specifically for this yarn!

In a nutshell, Shorn is:

  • Blended for next-to-skin softness and strength: 80% Cormo / 20% Corriedale
  • Grown and Gathered from two local Illinois shepherdesses
  • Milled in Michigan
  • Spun to be a sport weight yarn
  • Skeined up in 250 yd / 4oz hanks of squishy goodness!
  • Best for: close-to-the-skin accessories such as cowls, hats, or shawls . . . but it would also make a beautiful sweater!

Patterns for Shorn
To make this launch even more special, I’ve teamed up with my friend, Albina McLaughlin, the brilliant designer behind LB Handknits. She has designed two “Csilla” patterns: a 1-skein cowl and a 1-skein hat perfect for this yarn. Both accessory patterns have been tech edited and test knit. During the launch, kits for both will be available!!

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I’ll also be having a little YouTube yarn launch party with some giveaways! Shorn is in limited supply, and I’m hoping you can get your hands on some.

All you have to decide is what to order! I have three options available:

  • skeins for $20 each + shipping
  • a Csilla Cowl Kit (1 skein of yarn + pattern ): $24 + shipping
  • a Csilla Hat Kit (1 skein of yarn + pattern ): $24 + shipping

**I am currently *SOLD OUT* Email me to be added to the waiting list: knittingthestash@gmail.com

To purchase your own piece of this farm-to-skein adventure, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com with your Paypal email address, ZIP code, AND your order (number of skeins an/or kits). I’ll send a Paypal invoice directly to you with shipping pre-calculated!  I’ll be accepting orders on a first come, first serve basis as of 1:00pm CST on Saturday, March 2nd.

I can’t wait for Saturday . . . can you??

Posted in community, knitters, knitting, Shorn yarn, unicorns, yarn, yarn launch, yarn-lover, yarns | 11 Comments

Episode 52: Learning Through Failure

Hello fiber friends! Episode 52 is about the learning curve–just how much we can benefit from failure . . . Spencer joins me for the discussion and I do have an FO to share: my Dark Pearl is now fully modified and finished–but not without a few fails in the making! Plus, a new book for our rare and out of print series: The Complete Course of Progressive Knitting. And, a reminder about our ongoing Modification KAL for 2019. Oh . . . AND A FARM-to-SKEIN YARN ANNOUNCEMENT!! Yes! Come hang a while? ~Melissa

 

SHOW NOTES:

Posted in Beiroa Yarn, book review, community, Complete Book of Progressive Knitting, Dark Pearl, episode, garment, knitters, knitting, knitting math, knitting podcast, seamed sweater, sweater, sweater design, yarn | Leave a comment

Episode 51: Beekeepers and Walking Wheels

Episode 51 is jam-packed with an FO: Beekeeper Cardigan, shearing day at Seven Sisters Farm, a book about Great Wheels (Walking Wheels), a giveaway, and a test knit invitation! I hope you’re enjoying our book sharing and that you’ll join me for a Snowy Sunday afternoon! ~Melissa

If you’re interested in test knitting a hat for my brand new yarn clip, please email me at knittingthestash@gmail.com and let me know your Ravelry ID. I’ll pick 3-5 folks to help out! One skein, DK weight yarn, due by Feb 25!

Show Notes:

AND . . . If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link http://mbsy.co/lDCgM and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

Posted in Beekeeper cadigan, commissioned project, community, garment, Kelbourne Woolens, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, LB Hand Knits, LB Handknits, Marie Greene, sample knitting, sweater, sweater weather, test knitting, test-knit, Wool & Honey | 4 Comments

Episode 50: The Big Five-0

Hello Yarnies! Well, we made it to 50! Whoa! I am honored and so happy to be here podcasting for and with you all! In this episode, I have a WIP–the BeeKeeper Cardigan; a visit from Spencer and the Tatoo sweater; some chatter about Herbert Niebling’s lace books and Knitting Languages; plus a giveaway and some discussion of diversity and inclusion in the knitting community. I hope you’ll join me! ~Melissa

 

SHOW NOTES:

AND . . . If you’re feeling the KnitCrate love and want some excitement in your mailbox each month, you can  Subscribe to KnitCrate via this link and use this Discount Code to get 20% Off: KTS20

Posted in community, episode, hand dyed yarn, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, podcast, sample knitting, seamed sweater, sock yarn, sweater, sweater design, sweater weather, video, yarn, yarn review | 5 Comments

Indie Interview: Jen Arnall-Culliford

Hello yarn folk! Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Jen Arnall-Culliford, who is an amazing designer, editor, and writer! She is the brilliant mind behind the Year of Techniques, a set of patterns and linked tutorials that can help knitters get out of their comfort zone and try something new. As a technical editor, she has worked with so many of our favorite designers: Kate Davies, Bristol Ivy, Carol Feller, Gudrun Johnston, Donna Smith  . . . the list goes on! I personally love her style and can-do attitude. She is helping knitters learn new things (which is close to my heart) and expand their horizons. Luckily for us, Jen is also just about to release a *new* Year of Techniques–I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s come up with! Plus, Jen has generously agreed to sponsor a GIVEAWAY for her Bruton Hoody! If you want to get involved, head over to our Ravelry thread OR the YouTube video for Episode 49. Leave a comment about what techniques you’d like to learn! So, enjoy the interview below, get to know Jen a bit better, and  . . . I bet you already have one of her books in your collection, so share it with a friend 🙂 All pattern photographs are © Jesse Wild

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KTS: How did you begin designing your own patterns for shawls, sweaters, and accessories? 

Jen: My design career started when I worked as Technical Editor on The Knitter. I was involved in the commissioning process for the magazine, and had an idea for a pair of socks using the helical knitting method. My Editor, Juliet Bernard, took a chance on me and commissioned them for Issue 7, despite me not having written a knitting pattern previously. I really enjoyed the process, but only because I’d had a very techniques-lead idea. I then went on to contribute a number of designs to The Knitter, and the sister publication, Simply Knitting, each time guided by a particular technique, or necessity within the magazine commissioning process. After I left The Knitter, I worked with Jeni Hewlett at Fyberspates to produce her first pattern collection, and I contributed a few designs to that book. I’ve never really considered myself to be “A Designer”, but rather someone who does designs from time to time. I certainly couldn’t make a living from design alone.

KTS: I love the idea of a Year of Techniques! Maybe it’s because I’m an editor (of an academic journal), but I’d love to know more about the process of creating this collection of patterns and techniques.

Jen: We are launching the follow-up to A Year of Techniques in just a few weeks’ time, and we’ve been working on it since late autumn 2017! It’s quite a long process to put together the right combination of techniques, designers, patterns, tutorials and videos! The first job was to approach designers whose work I love, and ask them whether they would be interested in creating an item that could be used to showcase a particular technique. I am lucky in that my work as an editor has allowed be to work with many of my design heroes within knitting. That’s made the commissioning much easier. That said, this time round there are quite a few who I haven’t previously worked with, so it’s been great to get to know their styles. I then spend some time talking techniques with each designer, and we come up with a concept for their piece and select a technique, item and yarn. I then have to make sure as I go along that everyone doesn’t want to design blue hats in the same yarn! Once we had all 12 projects sorted out, I spent a morning switching pieces of paper around to create a timetable so that each technique in introduced in the right order (some techniques build on each other, and some items use techniques that we’ve taught previously). Each season then needs to be balanced for the mix of type of project (not all socks, or three hats in the summer etc…), as well as to give a roughly balanced cost for the seasonal yarn kits. Once all of that is sorted, it’s just a case of the designs being completed, photographed, edited and then tutorials written, swatches knitted and hand shots taken. Oh and there’s some video filming in there too. It’s a really big job, but also a lot of fun. I hope that knitters will enjoy the programme of learning and knitting that we have put together.

KTS: Do you have other favorite designers or mentors that have helped you (literally or figuratively) along the way?

Jen: Oh gosh! There are so many, but the main people would have to be Jeni Hewlett from Fyberspates, and Kate Davies. It was Jeni who gave me the confidence to go freelance, and she supported me so much when I was starting out with my own business. We worked on a number of pattern collections together, and she’s still really important to me now, as she and her husband Andy have helped us to develop our Something to Knit With yarn ranges. I started editing for Kate in 2011, and she has been really supportive of my design work. We published a number of patterns together under the Cross-Country Knitting title, and then I co-edited The Book of Haps with her in 2016. Without Kate we would never have published our own books. She was absolutely sure that I had something to share with the knitting world!

KTS: You also offer yarn support and kits  . . . what is your favorite thing about running a yarn shop online?

Jen: Having a really good excuse to buy lots of my favourite yarns? And I absolutely love packing orders, as it’s like shopping vicariously for other people. I get really excited for what other people might make with their parcels of squishiness!

KTS: What advice would you give to someone who wants to begin designing? 

Jen: Read a lot of patterns, and knit from a wide range of different patterns. That way you can get a feel for the sorts of things people find confusing and frustrating when following patterns. You can tell that I come to this from quite a technical perspective! I have no advice at all about where to get inspiration for how something might look because that really isn’t my strong suit, but if you have a broad knowledge of pattern writing techniques and ways of expressing things, you have a good start at helping other people to recreate your idea.

KTS: What’s new on the horizon for you? 

Jen: At the moment I can’t see beyond the launch and roll-out of the next instalment of A Year of Techniques! It’s a behemoth and so much fun, it will be all-engrossing for the rest of this year.

KTS: Where can folks follow your work and find out more?

Jen:

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Thanks so much, Jen, for sharing your ideas and expertise! I love meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are an indie dyer, a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above) Happy knitting! 🙂

Posted in Bruton Hoody, community, giveaway, interview, Jen Arnall-Culliford, knitting, tech editing, techniques, yarn, Year of Techniques, year-long | 1 Comment

Episode 49: Books, KALs, and Nerdyness

Hello everyone and welcome to Episode 49! I’ll admit to getting a little bit nerdy in this one: We’re talking about stitch dictionaries and charts, Lithuanian knitting, book reviews, and modification KALs for 2019. It’s pretty packed in here . . . oh, and a ski trip?? by buss?? to Colorado with my son’s high school friends?? . . . yeah, there’s that too. We also have a giveaway from Jen Arnall-Culliford that you don’t want to miss 🙂 Come hang a while? ~Melissa

 

SHOW NOTES:

And for anyone thinking and mulling over all of the emotional, political, and important issues of race, anti-racism, and inclusion happening out in the knitting world right now–I promise to share some thoughts in a future cast. My professor hat is on and I’m thinking hard about the most productive ways to discuss some of what’s at stake. In the meantime, I hope everyone feels welcome here and that we can continue to raise awareness, understanding, empathy, and inclusion in this community that I love so much.

Posted in book review, books, Bruton Hoody, community, episode, giveaway, Jen Arnall-Culliford, KAL, knitters, knitting, knitting podcast, Master Hand Knitter, podcast, sweater, sweater design, technique, techniques, video | Leave a comment