Project Profile: Funky Grandpa

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This week we received a shipment of Zauberball Crazy in from Schoppel and it brings to mind a project that we have always wanted to try.  Funky Grandpa by La Maison Rilile is a boxy, deep v-neck cardigan with a top-down, almost-all-in-one piece construction that is fascinating. http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/funky-grandpa

 

 

 

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Funky Grandpa is not a new design, but it is very much a timeless one.  It’s not trendy or high fashion.  In fact, what makes Funky Grandpa so appealing (beyond the name), is the fact that any body type can wear it.  The wide range of sizes and customizable shaping make it accessible to everyone.  This design’s fashion comes from its retro style.  Our Grandpas wore the basic shape, as did Mr. Rogers.  What sweater loving person can’t relate to either of those guys? spring_cardigan__socks___stuff-53_medium2 Zauberball Crazy is a fingering weight yarn that has fairly long color runs that gradiate, but also change between tweedy and solid within those sections.  Funky Grandpa uses Zauberball Crazy to jazz up solid fingering weight sections every so often, making you look like a brilliant colorist.
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We’re going to give it a try. Stay tuned.  Or come on in and try it with us.  Everyone should have a Funky Grandpa.

Project Profile: “Stole” by Theresa Gaffey

 

Every once and awhile we get a project going at the shop that takes off with a lot of customers.  In this case, a customer brought this pattern and book to our attention (Thank you, Brenda Wilson!) and it grew from there.  The book Wearwithall: Knits For Your Life is a compilation of patterns by various designers and spans the range from kids to adults to home goods.

 

Wear With AllOne factor that is a common thread in popular shop projects is their accessibility for a wide range of knitters.  The skills needed here are pretty basic: the ability to knit and purl with gorgeous yarns.  The most important skill with this project turns out to be PATIENCE, with a side order of stick-to-it-tiveness!  “Stole”, by Theresa Gaffey is a lot of stitches in a basic rib pattern, using 9 different colors.  The yarn used for this project is the gorgeous Isager Alpaca 2, a 50/50 blend of alpaca and merino.  The color palette of Alpaca 2 is glorious, with many options when choosing for a project of this type.

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An excerpt from the Wearwithall blog gives a description of designer Theresa Gaffey’s style and knitting sensibility:

“Knitting and crocheting are my equivalent of worry beads – a way to focus my mind while keeping my hands busy.  My life is often overly complicated, so in my designs, I gravitate toward elegant simplicity – say, a simple rib contrasted with stripes of gorgeous colors – a project that is easy to knit, but satisfying.  And I’m always working on something.  When I’m lucky, my passion for yarn and my editing career overlap, as it did with Wearwithall.”

Customers making this project have the full range of Isager Alpaca 2 to choose from.  Once the job of casting on a zillion stitches is done, the meditative ribbing begins.  Changing colors is a highlight and watching the piece emerge spurs you on.  While the knitting of a piece like “Stole” can be tedious, the finished object yields incredible results.  Kim models Barbara Steinhart’s freshly blocked version below.  Elegant indeed.

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When Brenda, Susie Bank, Amy Gold, Suzanne Dagurt and the many others finish their “worry-bead” project, we’ll be sure to post pictures!

Check out “Stole” by Theresa Gaffey on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/stole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wrapping up the Kelbourne Woolens Beltane KAL

 

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The Mystery KAL’s just keep on coming!  During our May/June Thursday knit along nights, lots of folks took part in the most recent Kelbourne Woolens May Day Mystery KAL.  Courtney Kelley of Kelbourne Woolens featured Fibre Company MEADOW in a pattern that was doled out clue-by-clue for 6 weeks.  This one was a toughie, as it was “true lace”; meaning you knit lace patterning on both the right and wrong side of the work.  The finished object was stunning – a lace shawl that started at the neck with a tab cast on and finished with a gorgeous, flowing lace edge.  Kim and Karen both used Meadow and Susan used Isager Spinni for a little different size and feel.  All the shawls are show-stoppers as you’ll see….At the end of the mystery KAL, the pattern was named BELTANE.

For lots more information about this project, access the links below our finished objects!

 

KAREN’S BELTANE:  FIBER COMPANY MEADOW “Queen Anne’s Lace”

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KIM’S BELTANE: THE FIBRE COMPANY MEADOW “Aster”

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SUSAN’S BELTANE: ISAGER SPINNI “28-s”

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Find the pattern here: http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/beltane-shawl-2

Read about MEADOW here:  http://kelbournewoolens.com/yarns/meadow/

Mystery KAL Round up from Kelbourne blog:  http://kelbournewoolens.com/blog/2014/6/may-day-mystery-knit-a-long-round-up

See other Beltane shawls on Instagram at #KWMKAL

The Case of the Mystery KAL…An Interview with Romi Hill

IMG_4435A couple of months ago I was scrolling through Instagram and happened upon a post from Rosemary “Romi” Hill about her upcoming Mystery Knit A Long, “It’s a Mystery” shawl and decided to give mystery-knitting-along a whirl. With that, I entered into what was a fun, interesting and challenging knitting endeavor and dragged several of my compadres at the shop along!

For starters, Mystery Knit Alongs ( KAL’s) were all over the place on Ravelry and I was curious to see how they worked and what people liked about participating in them. The formula is pretty simple: a designer makes a knitting project available in clues and those clues are doled out one at a time over the course of several weeks. Participants are told what supplies and skills are needed, and what the object is they are knitting, but not much else. After an initial pattern purchase (which many times is the pre-release price for a new pattern), a clue is delivered to your Ravelry Library and you are notified via email. You pick up your needles, the first clue, and start knitting.

Designers establish a Ravelry discussion board around the KAL and moderators administer the discussion threads, answering questions, commenting on progress and encouraging participants. Participants can comment, ask questions, post pictures of their progress and socialize with others. There are even SPOILER threads on which pictures are allowed for those who want to see what others are doing.

As Romi’s “It’s A Mystery” shawl KAL progressed, both the shop participants and knitters on Ravelry formed an ongoing conversation about the techniques, colors and accessibility of the project. It was fun to see what people chose for their color combinations and see their progress, week by week. Romi even stalked the Ravelry thread occasionally to get a peek at how things were going.

At the conclusion of “It’s A Mystery”, the project/pattern was renamed “Red Rock Canyon” which aptly describes the effect of the lace and color work sections of the beautiful finished shawl. I wrote to Romi and asked her if she’d mind answering a few questions for me that I could share with our readers and she most generously agreed!

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Amy: When were you first aware of Mystery KAL’s?

Romi: I knew that there were people doing mystery shawls back in 2005 and it intrigued me, so I finally tried one in 2007: Melanie Gibbons’ Swan Lake Mystery Shawl. I’m kind of a control freak, so it was a giant leap of faith for me.

Amy: As a designer, does a KAL help roll out a new pattern/design? Are they good sales tools for designers?

Romi: That’s difficult to answer for everyone, so I’ll just comment on my own case. I personally love to do KALs because my Ravelry forum enjoys knitting together. There’s a fantastic community there, and I know they like to have all my pattern releases spread out so they can hang out, chat, and share stories while they work.

Amy: Do you design a piece as a KAL, or design a piece and figure out how to break it down into a KAL?

Romi: For my non-mystery KALs, I just design pieces without thinking about how people with end up knitting them – whether alone or in a group. For a mystery KAL (this was my second one), I definitely design the pattern with the mystery in mind rather than breaking it down into clues later. I try to break it into 5 fairly equal pieces that have something interesting about them. My favorite thing is to begin with a clue that gives the impression of heading in a different direction from where the piece will ultimately end up. Maybe I will end a clue with the top of a motif that looks completely different broken up, or in the case of the Red Rock Canyon shawl, the first clue used shaping reminiscent of a circular shawl before getting triangular in the next clue.

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Amy: How do you decide who your moderators will be on Ravelry?

Romi: It’s super important to me that my forum is a welcoming, friendly and supportive place. My moderators are all helpful and kind, and love to chat with people. We share a common goal in wanting everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed, like knitting together in a friendly living room.

Amy: When you read the Ravelry threads related to each clue, what gets you the most excited?

Romi: I love, love, LOVE seeing all the different color combinations people choose. Some I never would think of to try and they look amazing! Watching it all come together is an incredible feeling.

Amy: What do you feel makes a great/successful Mystery KAL?

Romi: Being moderate, I think. In other words: it needs some element of surprise, but not too terribly much, and it needs to look similar to my other work so knitters can decide whether or not they want to participate. I try not to do anything off-the-wall for mysteries. And above all, it needs to be FUN! My wonderful moderators and Ravelry group members made the KAL a really friendly and encouraging place to be, and I think – in the end – a positive experience and a beautiful product are the most important things.

We are most grateful to Romi for sharing her process with us. To view Red Rock Canyon on Ravelry, please visit the link below:

 http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/red-rock-canyon

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Instagramming…Is that a Verb?

photoInstagram has been around for awhile, but just recently we decided that Woolworks would start their own Instagram account to post pictures of interest from our shop.  If you haven’t seen or experienced Instagram, take a look.  It’s a free app, you choose people and businesses to follow and you have your own “feed” of those you’re following.

Woolworks is following knitwear designers, yarn manufacturers and people of interest within our industry.  It’s thrilling to see posts from Kate Davies, Miriam Felton, Knitbot, Kelbourne Woolens, Olgajazzy, Shibui Knits, Never Not Knitting, Brandon Mably, Carrie Hoge, Clara Parkes, Sarah Hatton, Joji Locatelli, Kay Gardiner, Romi Hill and many more.  This is a public way of posting bits and pieces of these designers’ days – what they’re working on, new colorways being produced, photo shoots of new products, swatching with their morning coffee and maybe a kitty or two.

We’re happy to be putting Woolworks out there amongst our peers and making connections at the same time.  Designers comment on our color choices for projects using their patterns or yarn.  It’s a community.  That’s what’s fun. 

If you’d like to follow us on Instagram, our username is Woolworksbalt.  If you’d like to follow some of the same people, click on “following” once you’re on our Instagram page and you’ll see a list of names you’ll recognize.  Have fun with it.  It’s inspiration for your knitting and crocheting life!

That’s Very Pinteresting….

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Have you been sucked into the creative and visually stunning vortex that is PINTEREST yet?  Well we have and believe you me, we are not always proud of the amount of time we’re spending doing it!  However, (and this is important) it is an extremely valuable resource for all creative types.  Just last week we started the Woolworks, Baltimore Pinterest account, after having individual accounts amongst us for a couple of years.  The idea behind Pinterest is to create virtual “boards”, by category of things you like.  These boards can be any subject matter and when we say the possibilities are endless of what you’ll find, we are not kidding.

With that in mind, the Woolworks, Baltimore Pinterest is made up of 19 boards so far – all having to do with knitting, crochet, needle felting, buttons, inspiration and design.  We’ve chosen knitwear designers to “follow” on Pinterest so that you – our followers – may see what current designers are pinning and planning.  If you choose to follow Woolworks, you’ll have access to an already curated batch of boards that cater to what we all love the most.  In addition, when following our “Feed”, you’ll scroll through and see what some incredibly talented people are doing and what they are inspired by when it comes to fiber arts.

If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet (it’s free, there’s an app, etc.), please do.  Once you have an account, look for us – Woolworks, Baltimore – and give us a follow.  We think you’ll like what you see.  Best of all, most of the “pins” track back to the source, whether it’s Ravelry, Rowan’s website, great blogs, tutorials, etc.  It goes on and on.  We love it and we’re pretty sure you will too!

Join Woolworks on Pinterest!

Okay, so you’re not finished….

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We know…it’s crunch week.  The needles are flying, nerves are fraying and gosh darn it, there’s MORE to do!  Every knitter, crocheter, needle felter and handcrafter is at their wits end trying to finish what is started for gift giving.  In light of this very specific angst, we’d like to say this:  We all do it.  We all plan, have good intentions and amazing ideas, all ready for execution.  The reality is, there are only so many hours left and the toothpicks holding your eyelids open are starting to pinch!

For those of you wanting that last minute save, we’ve ordered the greatest reusable project bags that are set to arrive Friday of this week.  The wonderful Della of DellaQ has designed plain fabric drawstring bags that have
x1_fda563f4e00d1ec7cd56d124cb3bb5b9_843480_319175one of three sayings on them…”Shhh…I’m counting”, “Knit With Love” and “Cheaper Than Therapy”.  We figured we’d give you a clever vessel to put that last minute, perhaps even unfinished project in to give on Christmas morning.  For $10, you really can’t go wrong.   A bunch of cute colors in all of the sayings x1_590651ae44620d79671ec87a45871612_793946_138838are on their way to us.

 

We also want to remind you about our great Gift Card Deal that is on until December 24th.  For every $50 gift card you buy, we throw in an extra $5 to sweeten the pot.  So if you go for $100 (for that very lucky recipient), they will get $110 to spend as they choose.  Like you, we love a deal and we hope this helps with some of the knitters on your list.home_header

 

 

 

 

 

 

An easy gift for even the non knitter or crocheter is one of the gorgeous JUL Designs shawl sticks or pins.  They come in a pretty organza drawstring pouches and are sure to please any lady on your list.  We have the Twig Lace Pin pictured below, as well as Pearl Tendril Fermoir Pin, and a variety of shawl sticks with various stones…For specifics, please come in.  We have a great selection, all priced from $17 up.

Twig Lace Pin/JUL

We wish you a wonderful holiday with your family and friends.  We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for being our customers and we greatly value your friendship and patronage.  We look forward to seeing you in 2013 and continuing the fun!

Amy, Mindy, Kim, Karen

We’re All Going Back To School!

 

 

As Labor Day approaches, we all seem to have the “back to school” mentality.  The kids are getting their last swim in and their supplies ready.  The rest of us think about how our schedule is going to change once the calendar flips to September.  At Woolworks, we look forward to Fall especially, with the new Fall/Winter products arriving each day and the shelves switching over to cool weather fibers, patterns and idea inspiration.  This season is no exception, with the abundance of enticing new colors, fiber combinations and patterns to support the yarns.

A big part of our shop learning curve this fall is our new Point of Sale System which arrives today and will be installed on Monday.  We eagerly await the new, improved check-out system, loyalty program and bar-code scanner!  We feel a little nervous about getting ourselves acclimated and “online” with it all, but feel sure we can do it.  This coming Monday, August 27th, we will close our doors at 2:00pm to get things set up and organized.  We’ll be Back-To-School ourselves that day and we’re hoping it is indeed possible to teach a few old dogs a very new trick!  Please indulge us in this half day of learning.  We feel sure it will be worth it!

Speaking of learning, our Fall/Winter Class Schedule is available on this site and we hope you’ll find something you’d like to learn this year.  We have all sorts of technique classes and workshops.  As always, private instruction is available.  Just give us a call and we’ll get that organized for you.

Here’s wishing everyone a smooth transition for Fall, 2012!  We hope a Woolworks class will be in your queue, a visit on your way to carpool, and the place you think of coming for amazing yarns!

 

Summer Sun, Heat & Gaming

 

We’re knitting through the days of summer quickly.  A storm and heat wave left many of us in the dark and in oven-like surroundings about week ago.  We saw an uptick in traffic during a traditionally slow Woolworks time, which was lovely.  Instead of coming in for vacation projects, we saw our friends straggling in for a bit of borrowed cool air and community.  Misery AND knitting love company, after all.

 

 

 

 

Our July Home Goods Knitalong is in full swing with a select few tuffet crocheters and pouf practitioners.  When it comes right down to it, there are may goods for the home that can be crafted with yarn.  Whether it’s doubled for an extra bulky cushion cover or crocheted in a tight stitch to withstand the demands of a family room throw, handknits beef up the homey for all of us.  While our numbers are small for this knitalong, our Thursday night regulars are joining in with whatever project they have going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a few short days the Olympics will be starting!  A rare knit community controversy has been the hot topic as the US Olympic Committee has put it’s collective Nike-clad foot down on the usage of the word “Olympics” by anyone but themselves.  Ravellenics is the new name of our game, thanks to some bright and spunky folks at Ravelry, who renamed their knit and crochet gaming for this year.  We are pleased to be having our own Ravellenics festivities starting July 27th through August 13th, the details of which can be found in the link below.  We thank Hadley Mendoza for lighting the competitive Woolworks spirit, not only organizing the event, but generously donating the prizes.    Ravellenic poster

We hope your plans include stopping in, whether it’s for a vacation project, to say hello, or to participate in Ravellenics.  We’re here!

 

 

A Thank You to All!

 

 

 

It’s the Friday before Memorial Day and as we make our plans for a day or two off, we’d like to extend thanks to all who came out LAST Friday for our Rowan Yarn Tasting Event!  We were thrilled to open up both doors on that gorgeous evening and welcome you for some socializing and Rowan immersion!  Between the samples we had made, a few sent on loan from Rowan and the generosity of several of our customers, we had a shop full of garments to help showcase Rowan yarns and patterns.  We loved watching customers mingle and consult with each other about projects in a relaxed atmosphere.  The hour and a half event flew by and we felt exhilarated by the community that was created.

 

It takes a lot of hard work to run a local yarn store.  On nights like last Friday, we all felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride in the relationships we have not only with our yarn manufacturers, but our extremely loyal and interested clientele, who are also great friends!  Thank you for making what we do so worthwhile!

Have a wonderful long weekend.  See everyone soon!

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