Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Victoria Fingerless Mittens

The Victoria Fingerless Mittens are found in Knitting Little Luxuries, Louisa Harding's latest collection of designs. Many of you have asked why Louisa chose to have you knit these mittens flat as opposed to in the round. I thought I'd study the pattern by knitting up one mitten. A couple of things I noticed is that the first 5 rows are garter and then there is the issue of the color changes. You probably know about jogs when working in the round and changing colors. When we knit in the round, we are really knitting a spiral. It is easy to see the affects of this when you change colors. The last stitch worked in color A is slightly higher that the first st of the round. Well, the garter st ridge gives a similar result. Hence, why I think this design is knit flat and then seamed.

I worked up the 2nd mitten in the round and am happy with how the garter rounds lined up. My mitten is a solid color though. My thoughts on the multiple color mitten is jogs due to color change and pattern change might be noticeable. So, venture forward with your new found knowledge!! Here are my notes:
  1. Cast on 39 sts per pattern. Ensuring sts are not twisted, join into the round.

  2. Work 5 rounds of garter st (remember, you are knitting in the round so garter st is achieved by alternating rounds of knits & purls - in this case purl 1 round, knit 2nd round, purl 3rd round, knit 4th round, purl 5th round)

  3. round 6 - since we are on the RS of the mitten, replace the purls with knits (so, K1, *yo, k2tog, repeat from * to end)

  4. work 3 rounds of garter (Purl, Knit, Purl). On the last round, increase 1 st (now have 40 on the needle)

  5. change to smallest needles and *K2 tbl, P2, repeat from * around. Repeat this round 21 times (piece measures 4")

  6. change to largest needles and knit 4 rounds, at the same time, decrease 1 st every other round twice (38 sts on the needle)

Thumb Gusset - Coming Soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holiday Open House, Kent, WA

The holidays are rapidly approaching! Have you been to Downtown Kent lately? Take a stroll down Meeker and 1st Avenue and treat yourself to holiday lights, decorations and displays. I noticed Santa's house going up at Kent Station this morning as I was knitting alongside the fireplace. How exciting! Now, those of you who know me know that I am always cold. You are probably wondering if I froze my hands off. The fireplace is actually quite inviting and cozy. Not too many people are out that time of morning. And Dilettante is just a few steps away. I just finished my hat made out of Rowan's Cocoon. The only thing that I could possibly use is a pair of fingerless gloves. I imagine my gauge will be off, however, so those might just have to wait.

Anyway, here are a few moments we captured over this year's Holiday Open House. For those of you who came out to see what your downtown has to offer - THANK YOU! For those of you who missed us, make sure to mark December 1st on your calendar. It's a Holly Jolly Day in Kent as we celebrate Winterfest 2007!

I Love this Yarn!!

The yarn is Rowan's Cocoon! It is 80% Merino Wool/20% Kid Mohair. It knits up quick coming in at 3.5 sts/inch on a US 11. I just finished this ribbed watch cap on a US 10.5. I love the stitch definition, the feel of the yarn and the warmth! I'm thinking about picking up sts to knit an attached cabled scarf. We will see where that idea goes!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Passionately Pink Raffle Begins!

It is truly amazing what 20 people can do when they set their minds to it! We started out on a venture this past June. Our goal was to each knit the beautiful cabled sampler throw, designed by Melissa Leapman. As we chose our colors, someone suggested we all collaborate and make one. Oh my, from there, the idea kept growing and growing! It was so amazing to see every one's excitement as we formulated our plan.

Our plan is now in its final stage of fruition! Twenty six panels and 300 hours later, we are able to show the public our 'labor of love'. And now, we invite you to come to Renaissance Yarns and see for yourself what 20 people can do when they set their heart and mind to a project. Here is a sneak preview, of course, pictures do not do this throw justice!

This beautiful throw is going to be raffled off. All proceeds from the raffle will go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. The drawing will be held on Wednesday, October 31st at 6 PM and the presentation of the throw will be Saturday, November 3rd. Our goal is to raise $5,000 for the cause.

Since opening Renaissance Yarns, I am amazed (and concerned) at how many women I know have or are currently battling breast cancer. I can only imagine how one feels when the doctor tells the news. I have two brother-in-laws who are dealing with two different types of cancer. For me, this project truly has truly been about hope for the future, and that one day, we will find cures, early detection and perhaps even prevention. My recent learning is that some forms of cancer show no systems until it is all but too late.

I would like to express a deep and heartfelt thanks to Louet Yarns for their contribution of yarn to the project. And to the Ewe-nited Knitters - CONGRATULATIONS on a job well done!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Has it really been that long?

OK, so what's the point of having a blog if your not going to blog; right? Well, I promise to get better about it. I just cannot believe how fast time goes! The older I get, the faster time goes! Meanwhile, I hope that you have stayed up to date with what's going on about the shop via our weekly e-newsletter. If you are not receiving it, the problem is one of two things. Problem 1: you are not a subscriber to our newsletter. It's fast and easy, just go to our homepage and sign up. Problem 2: you are a subscriber, but our e-newsletter is going to your junk folder. These days, technology seems to default that most things we receive in our inbox is junk, so the software processes the email accordingly. To solve this, go into your junk folder, find the email from us, right click and choose 'not junk' or 'accept emails from this sender' etc. The e-newsletter is sent weekly, usually on Wednesday.

Other news, Shilo celebrated his 1st birthday last month. He is still the baby of the family for about 4 more months. Around February, my family will be welcoming Emma Rose into the world. I am sure that Shilo will continue to be spoiled but he might have to share the attention!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Pathways for Sock Knitters

It's off to the annual Northwest Needle Market; an event where shop owners, designers and distributors get together to share what's new in the industry.

This year, the public was invited to attend a book signing event where designers, Cat Bordhi and Helen Hamann, were featured. Following the book signing, the amateur design contest was held. These stylish folks got to 'strut their stuff' on the runway as they described their designs. I know that Renaissance Yarns has several knitters who have designed their own creations. I hope to see many of you participate in the design contest next year. How cool would it be if one of our own took home the honors and prize? Finally, we were presented with an incredible runway show! The MC (Brian) was an absolutely hoot! I would say that the MC'ing was well worth the admission! The models (all volunteers) were fabulous!

As if all of this wasn't enough; I had the chance to spend 6 hours (over the course of 2 days) with Cat Bordhi. You might know of Cat because of the moebius cast on. Well, my purpose this weekend was to get a head start on learning the new sock architectures that Cat came up with; especially since her long awaited book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, is on the market. In Cat's first class, I was introduced to the Upstream Sock Architecture. We had the option of working the "bubble-style" pattern, which is basically YO increases every 3 rows; it makes a pattern like like a 'V', so the increase is made one st over from the previous increase. Well, I like the challenge and decided to do the Coriolis Sock Architecture. OK, so we all know Cat is a math wizard, I mean, come on - the moebius cast on! Coriolis is also a math term and instead of me trying to decipher the meaning and then try to interpret it, I thought I'd send you on to Wikipedia and you can check it out yourself. For the curious at heart, here you go: Coriolis Effect.
This is my 1st Coriolis baby sock. This architecture is a toe up one. Notice the nice ridge of sts across the instep. There is no distinct gusset triangle. The heel is a short row heel. When I make one of these socks to actually wear, I will have the Coriolis go around the entire leg. Cat has nicely described how to do this in her book.

This is the my Sky Sock Architecture sock. This sock is a cuff down sock and is the leg is worked the same as a regular 2 circs sock. You are actually looking at the top of the instep, so again, no side gussets like we are used to seeing in our sock construction.

I cannot wait to share with you how Cat has taken sock making to a whole different level! Watch for our Sept - Nov newsletter for workshops on how to do the 8 different sock architectures from Cat's latest book!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Kent Station Concert Series

I can only imagine...

Tonight Al and I ventured over to Kent Station to check out the first, of many, Thursday night "Date Night" concerts. We had the privilege of listening to Jazzhorn Trio. Our dinner choice tonight was Duke's Chowder House. I brought my knitting along and worked on a pair of socks (Duet Sock Yarn - Lavender Fest colorway to be exact) which I must have done before July 20th, the day we head over to Sequim for the Lavender Festival. No, I don't believe it to be rude to knit while you are waiting for your meal. After all, one is still able to carry a conversation while knitting. And besides, Al is very supportive (like the best) and doesn't mind.

Can I just say - sharing dinner with your sweetie and live music on a Thursday night with weather like we had today? What more could you ask for? I cannot wait until my birthday - Molly's Revenge will be on stage. I just love Celtic music! So for anyone reading this - click on the link above and check out what Kent Station has to offer. In addition to an entire summer of music, check out the many shops, restaurants and boutiques that are now open. If you haven't checked out the Station lately, YOU ARE MISSING OUT on the most popular spot in town!!!

I can only imagine the memories you can create this summer! I'll be there; will you?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Duet Sock Yarn - Mariners Colorway!

Peanuts and Cracker Jack? Who needs that when you can have the oh so popular Duet Sock Yarn flowing through your fingers? OK, what if I told you it was the highly coveted Mariners colorway that was hand dyed for us specifically for the 2007 Stitch & Pitch outing? Well, we are finally able to release it to everyone - first come, first serve of course! This colorway is sure to fly out of the shop faster than Ichiro can run the bases. This is a limited, special edition yarn, so 'catch it' while you can!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

All in a Week's Work

Did you notice? No sign of Al in the shop last week. He was off to Alaska on a 'trip of a lifetime' fishing expedition. He set out with his son-in-law, Jack, and four other folks in search of halibut and salmon. I can say that I hate being a bachelorette! Maybe one night is OK, two is pushing it; but a week is really crossing the line. Now, one would think lots of knitting time, right? Wrong! I had planned to work on paperwork (the never ending paperwork). Well, Tuesday I ended up with a full blown summer cold; so bad I could hardly talk. This lasted through Friday. Then it was a 9 AM - 8:30 PM Tues - Fri schedule. So, needless to say, the never ending pile of paperwork is still never ending!! I never realized just how hard it is to cook for one person; especially when one walks in the door so late. Oh, and going grocery shopping, major pain! Just no time to do it. So, Al, thanks for all you do! We now have 80 lbs of halibut in our freezer. No salmon, I guess the run wasn't in yet.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Play Day!!

Monday was a day of fun! Liz, RoxieAnn and I decided that we needed to figure out the Louet Dyeing Kits. We each choose a color (Liz - Blue, RoxieAnn - Green, Nancy - Red) and went to work. The kits are all inclusive - 3 hanks of "blank" Gems (fingering weight), 3 colors of dye, a small package of Soak (used to rinse the yarn), a squeeze bottle, instructions for the dyeing process and a pattern to knit the socks up afterwards. A "blank" is what the industry refers to as undyed yarn.

The first thing we had to do was soak the yarn in water for approximately 30 minutes. This was a great time to have some breakfast: fresh fruit & croissants! With our hands clad in disposable gloves, we squeezed the water out of the yarn, laid the 3 hanks out side by side and prepared out dye. This was the fun part, but also the no rules part. You have to just let go and give it a try!! The first color was pretty easy as there wasn't another color to watch out for. The 2nd color was intended to go next to the 1st color. I decided I was going to put skinny stripes of the 2nd color on both sides of the 1st color. So far, so good!! Then the 3rd color came into play - ORANGE! OMG, this orange was so orange that I was convinced my yarn would be ruined. Try as I might, I have very strong color prejudices (orange, yellow, green). With the wind slightly out of my sails, I continued on with the process. As I blotted the yarn, I noticed that the colors were blending in a little. I started warming up again to my yarn. Next, 8 minutes in the microwave to set the color. Each hank needed to be wrapped in plastic wrap and then all 3 hanks went into a Ziplock Bag. Can you say "HOT"!!! It got so hot the plastic wrap tried to melt to the yarn. We prevailed, however, and now our yarn sits drying. I have to say, my yarn is quite interesting and I cannot wait for the drying process to be completed. There is still another step: rinse the yarn. I will do that tonight after my DPN sock class. With any luck, you will see our hand dyed yarn Wednesday!

I really have an appreciation for what creators of hand-dyed or hand-painted go through. Would I do it again? You bet!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Knitting in Public Day

Well, it was a typical wet, rainy day in Puget Sound today but that did not stop us from joining the rest of the world in the 3rd annual Knit in Public Day! We started our day at Dilettante Mocha & Espresso Cafe located at Kent Station. Many of us enjoyed our mid morning, early afternoon espresso drink along with a sinfully rich and chocolaty treat. We were 16 strong for a good portion of our time. The staff at Dilettante's was fabulous and we were able to spend a little over an hour here. I spotted the Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake and will have to enjoy that with my favorite guy at some point in the future! A lot of socks were being worked on as well as a few sweaters and a couple of entrelac projects.
Our next stop was The Ram. I was happy to be able to get us into the lounge at The Ram in short order. But, I forgot that Sam was with us, who happens to be an incredibly intelligent 17 year old (she scored a 99 on the ACT - WOW!!). Thanks Sam, Cindy & Mary, for being so flexible (yeah, had to split ourselves up for this one).

We wrapped up our progressive lunch/knitting experience at Zephyr Grill & Bar. Can I just say one dessert is more than enough for 2 - 3 people to share! The Strawberry White Chocolate Cake was absolutely delicious and happens to be the featured recipe of the month! Others had Creme Brulee (which actually looked like a manageable one person dessert), Lemon Cheesecake and yes, person had the Texas Funeral Chocolate Cake (7 layes of chocolate bliss). For all of you apple pie lovers, the Warm Granny Smith Apple Pie looked fabulous - again, too much for one person. Also, I have never seen apples sliced as thin as the apples used in this pie. So, all in all, we had a fabulous day in spite of the liquid sunshine! I hope that everyone who came out and braved the rain had as enjoyable time as I did!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

New Toe Up Sock Class Scheduled

By popular demand, we've scheduled a toe up sock class (magic loop style) that begins Thursday, May 31. This is a 2 part class - the 2nd class is June 14. The time is from 6 - 8 PM. The only experience required is knowing how to knit and purl. I will teach you a new cast on method. There are 4 spots left in the class, so if interested, please give the shop a call on 253-852-9276.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

World Wide Knit in Public Day - June 9th

Do you knit in public? If so, undoubtedly people stop and observe what you are doing. Perhaps your knitting has started a conversation with another passerby who was curious as to what you were doing. Quite possibly, you've inspired someone to become a 'Newbie'! Help us take 'knitting in public' to the next step as we join the rest of the world in celebrating the 3rd Annual World Wide Knit in Public Day (KIP Day). Enjoy a wonderful afternoon with fellow knitters at Kent Station. Bring your project and come out for a grand time! Friendly faces from Renaissance Yarns will be at Kent Station from noon - 4 PM on Saturday, June 9th.

Pack a lunch or enjoy one of Kent Station's dining options. Outdoor seating is available throughout Kent Station or feel free to bring your own chair. Sunscreen and camera are highly recommended.

Where do you knit? I knit everywhere. This includes in movie theaters during the previews, in the car (including when stopped at train tracks or long lights), Kent Station around the fireplace and most recently, Maggie's Restaurant (yes, I have a very patient and tolerant husband). I have also been known to knit as I walk to Starbucks on 4th & Meeker, the Seattle Boat Show and the Sportman's Show. I have never knit in church, but would not frown upon someone if I saw them doing it (I would actually be quite jealous of that person). My favorite place to knit in public is by the fireplace at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler in October with a hot chocolate laced with peppermint schnapps. I don't get to do that very often, so it is quite a treat when I do!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Union Pacific Railroad's "Living Legend"

When we are not at Renaissance Yarns, Al & I like to pretend we are amateur photographers (or videographers). We happened to be walking back from our favorite watering hole (Starbucks - 4th & Meeker) and we noticed all kinds of people standing around the train tracks just off Railroad & Meeker. We inquired and found out that a steam engine was going to be passing through. My dad spent his career around trains and tracks; so needless to say, I was a bit curious. We stood around and then heard a very strange whistle. Renaissance Yarns is just a block off from the tracks, so I am used to hearing the loud, long whistle of passing trains. This whistle was much quieter and had a harmonic sound to it. Of course, neither of us had a camera, but we learned that the train would be making the Seattle - Tacoma run later in the afternoon so we thought we'd give it a try later. I snapped this picture of a freight train, just to test my settings.

We went back to the tracks, this time with our video camera and our Nikon D70. We figured between the two of us, we'd be able to capture something. Well, trains can be a bit like planes and make you 'hurry up and wait'. The train was late and I could no longer wait. We left and I felt a bit let down. I really wanted to get a few shots of this train for my dad. Al went back and was able to get some video, but I still felt let down.

Saturday morning turned out to be crazy. The LYS Tour was happening and 'oh no!' we were going to run out of patterns. Thank you Fedex Kinkos for saving the day! But, also heard the harmonic whistle and knew I missed my photo op again. I had one more chance and persistence finally pays off! This steam engine happens to the the last one built for the Union Pacific Railroad. It is known as the "living legend," and also referred to as 'the No. 844'. So Dad, here you go! This one's for you!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Duet Sock Yarn - New Colors!!

Chantily Lace, Molly and Sailor Girl are a few new colors that Angela ( has brought to us. Also, your favorites are back in stock (Lemonade Stand, Army Girl & True Romance). This beautiful yarn is our featured yarn for the LYS Tour, going on now through Sunday.

We hope to see you soon!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

From the Heart

When RoxieAnn and I founded Renaissance Yarns, we wanted to build community. What I see happening is so much more than I think we ever imagined. It never ceases to amaze me how you help each other out. I see the projects trade hands as they go home to get blocked or felted. Someone knit the other sock for another who just needed a helping hand. What about the bags that go home and magically come back with beautiful linings?

But then there is the other thing that I see, that is almost so hard to put down in words. I see counselors, therapists and friends. You are there for each other when Mom is going through health issues. You bring a pot of food to your friend who just had surgery. You cry with each other. Some of you are so quiet, we wait with baited breath for you to come out of your shell. You inspire and encourage each other. You ask about people who we haven't seen for a while. Dare I say, we not only have community, but family?

I truly am amazed at the relationships that have been formed throughout the past year. I am honored to be a part of your life and cherish every minute! It is surreal to see how a common interest has brought us so close.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Surprise Visit!

So, just when you think things don't happen to you, they do! Circle just started today. There were about 6 of us and I needed to print out a pattern. While I am busy with that, I hear RoxieAnn get all excited! She's talking to whoever just walked in the door and rushes to our office and says "Debbie Macomber is here!" Your're kidding, right? I head back towards the group and it is Debbie! OMG! Joyce was lucky to get Debbie's autograph in one of the 'Knit Along' books we had in stock.

Debbie will be visiting 25 cities over the next several weeks promoting her new book, Back on Blossom ST. Look for Debbie's new book on our shelves in a few weeks!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Newsletter is now online!

Yeah!!! The latest newsletter is now online! Here's a tip for you so you can reduce the amount of ink you use when you print the newsletter: click on . Once the printer box opens, click on . From there, click on . Find the 'toner save mode' and click the 'on'. This will make all of the burgundy boxes print much lighter and will reduce the amount of ink you use.

Happy reading!!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Deepest Sympathy

Our hearts and prayers go out to those families who lost loved ones and to all of those who were affected by today's tragic and senseless shooting at Virginia Tech.

What Goes In, Sometimes Must Come Out

Well, I did finish the 28 rows of cable for Ymer. The problem is, I hold my work up to Al and the cable just doesn't hit him right. The whole motif is too low on his long torso. So, you guessed it - rip! I already added 1.5" to the length and this time, I will add 4.5" then start the motif. A minor setback, but still hope to be finished by May 4th. Besides, the motif was fun to make, so I'll that 'double the fun!'

On a lighter note, I went to the Seattle Fiber Arts Expo yesterday. I met up with Klaus and Teyani from Crown Mountain Farms . I acquired a beautiful Turkish hand spindle and really have it down to a science. Teyani was right, 5 minutes and just about anyone can be using this fabulous tool. The beauty of a Turkish spindle is that you make center pull 'singles' and then you ply those together as opposed to needing a nostepinne. I am definitely hooked! I am taking a support spindle class next Sunday and can only imagine how that is going to go. I observed a woman doing this at the expo and am totally fascinated and intrigued. Stay tune for more...

Have you ever had a problem with your car or appliance and try to explain it to your husband? Have you ever tried to recreate the problem so he can see first hand what is going on? Well, my Kromski (spinning wheel) has an irritating squeak. It's had it for about two weeks and I've been reluctant to use it because it really is pretty irritating. I brought the wheel home yesterday after spending an hour of our spinning time trying to fix it (lubricate areas with bee's wax). Would you believe that the squeak is non-existent? Luckily I have several witnesses as I am sure Al thinks I am losing it!! Anyway, squeak seems to be mysteriously gone.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

PLU Bound!!

OK, so totally non Renaissance Yarns related, but what the heck! Most of you know my family and we have exciting news! Stephanie has just been accepted to PLU. She is very excited and, of course, very scared. Wishing her the best!!!

Ymer is moving right along. I did not get the 28 row chart entirely done, but am making great progress. The cable pattern is quite interesting - picture tomorrow. I am using Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Cashmere and the cable definition is unbelieveable!

Need to get my "House" fix and continue Ymer.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Ymer - A Labor of Love

No Renaissance Yarns news today. It's Easter Sunday; a time to relax, celebrate and reflect. I've been slowly working on Ymer (Elsebeth Lavold Designer's Choice Book 9) for husband, Al. I am using Silky Cashmere and you can probably guess the color. I've just started the main motif on the back. The motif is a 28 row chart and I am hopeful to be done with it tomorrow (with the chart, that is). I have to "kick it up a notch" if I want to get this done before the shop's one year anniversary. Thankfully, it is a vest so I do have a sporty chance of pulling it off. Can you believe it? A year already!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Skacel Lace Needles

There is a lot of buzz in the knitting community about lace knitting. I'm happy to announce that Renaissance Yarns just received our shipment of Skacel's Turbo Lace Needles. These needles have sharper points so you can 'grab' the stitches easier. You can easily differientiate your Addi Turbo's from you Addi Lace needles by the brass tips and red cording. The lace needles are available in US sizes 1 - 6 and lengths 24", 32" and 47". These needles will sure to be your favorite as you explore the world of lace knitting!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Surfacing Once Again!!!

Coming up for air again! I have been so busy trying to figure out how to load video clips to the website. I think it will be great for everyone if they had a question on how to do something, such as the magic cast on, you can go to and see how to do things. Now, I know there are a lot of reference books that people could look in. Just as I know there are probably a lot of sites that give instruction on how to do things. But, a lot of us are visual folks, so wouldn't a video clip be helpful? I don't know, I'll leave it up to you guys to tell me. Special thanks to hubby, Al, for being my trusty camera man and director! Also, big thanks to brother, Charles, for being another brain on figuring out the website end!

What else is new? Angela, made a special delivery of the Duet Sock Yarn. The colorways are absolutely beautiful, as we've come to known. Thank you so much, Angela, for the extra special colorways. You could say she has my number! Gems, by Louet Yarns, has arrived. This is our fingering weight, machine washable and dryable yarn that I think you will enjoy. Great for socks and baby, this is sure to become one of your favorite yarns. Check out the Spring issue of Interweave Knits mag for a pair of entrelac socks. This yarn will be very nice for this project.

The entrelac felted bag made out of Kureyon is felted! Not quite finished as I needed to find that perfect button. Thanks to Annie for helping me with selecting just the right one! Lot of interest in a class - look for the dates in the next class schedule.

Gotta run! I only have 3" of my toe up sock done for tomorrow night's class. Yikes!!!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Lights, Camera, Action!!

We are all loving the toe up socks, especially with the Duet Sock Yarn. Many of us, however, are visual people. So, I had this bright idea of making a video clip on how to do the Magic Cast On created by Judy Becker. Judy is published on Well, I am here to tell you that this undertaking was not a walk in the park! First, there is the voice. The voice must be clear and concise - no frog in the throat please! Second, you somehow have to be in sync with the camera man. I can tell you that "lights, camera, action" do not work nor does "three, two, one, action" work. How about a slight pull of the hair (MY HAIR) by the camera man to indicate it is time to start - he's recording!!!

Watch for our very first production, coming to our website soon!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

March & April Newsletter is Online!!

The new class schedule is online! Be sure to check out the wide selection of classes and upcoming events that we have planned for the next several months. Class registration begins Tuesday, February 20th. You may register in person or by phone (253-852-9276).

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rowan Has Arrived!!

Guess what Brown delivered today? You guessed it! Rowan!!!! We are so excited we can hardly stand it! Magazine 41 is the newest Spring/Summer magazine. I've never quite figured out why Rowan calls these 'magazines'. They are beautifully done and they definitely do not match my description of the term 'magazine'. Romance is in the air with the light weight lace wraps. Hence, introducing Kid Silk Haze. Kid Silk Haze is a blend of mohair (70%) and silk (30%). It is light and airy, perfect for the romantic look that spring & summer fashion trends are leaning towards. Lace Knitting is defintely in as well; we've noticed a fair amount of new releases coming in that feature lace. Here, you can see Anice, one of the designs out of Rowan 41 using Kid Silk Haze.

Looking for a solid, DK weight, 100% machine washable yarn? Meet Pure Wool DK. Pure Wool DK has a beautiful color palette, soft to the touch and knits up at 22 sts x 30 rows to 4" on a US 6.

Did you miss the Fall/Winter issue of Rowan (Magazine 40)? Don't fret! We have a limited supply of this magazine as well.
Happy knitting!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Surfacing for a Breath!

WOW! Today I realized just how infrequently I get out and about. I went to Macy's today to pick up a bottle of my sweetie's favorite cologne. Of course, the closest one is Westfield Shopping Mall (formerly known as Southcenter Mall). I was shocked to see the changes going on. I pulled into the mall proper (entering from the south end) and thought I just entered a disaster zone. The food court is closed and will be for 18 months. There is a parking garage south of Sears. There is scaffling all over the mall. I am keeping my fingers crossed for a Williams-Sonoma. While on the subject of keeping my fingers crossed, still wiating for a book store to come to Kent Station. Third Place Books would be an excellent addition; don't you think?

A week since my last writing! I'd like to say I've been knitting like a mad woman; but not the case. We have been working very hard on the newsletter for March & April. We've lined up a few treats for you that I hope you will enjoy. Also, the website has been taking up a lot of time. Hopefully you are noticing the changes (hint: product pictures are starting to appear). Be patient, though; website design/maintenance if very time consuming. Oh, don't forget, I am a knitter, not a webmaster, so everything seems to take longer. If you see something you don't like or if pages don't load right, links broke, etc, etc. jot me an email. Have a suggestion? Let me know!

OK, off to put the finishing touches on the newsletter. I hope everyone enjoyed a relaxing evening with their sweetie!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Lace Style, Favorite Socks and ????

No Sheep for You! You guessed it! No Sheep for You and Lace Style are the newly released books that we arrived today. Lace Style contains romantic, lacy styles and is nicely done (as we've come to know the 'Style' books). Interweave's Favorite Sock - 25 Timeless Designs flew off the shelf last week. I'm happy to say that we received a new shipment today and there should be plenty of this fabulous book to go around. If you are a sock knitter, this is a must have addition to your personal library.

Don't forget, starting tomorrow select yarns will be 25% off. Also, there are several books and magazines that will be 15% off. Frequent Buyers: enjoy an additional 5% off the sale price!

Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

We've All Been Waiting the Arrival of ...

Louisa Harding's yarns! Not one, not two, but three large boxes were delivered by Brown today! I find our handy box cutter and carefully open the boxes. What do I find? Glisten! The colors are gorgeous! There is a very soft, pale pink; an incredible pink, brown and tan, gold, champagne and several others. Then there's Flotsom; you might remember Ann modeling this piece the evening Louisa Harding was at the shop. What else? New bold, spring colors of Nautical Cotton, Sari Ribbon (including the rainbow colorway Louisa tempted us with) and Mariposa. I know, you're all wondering about the books. Well, we still have a little wait for Hummingbird and Swallowtail. But, Gathering Roses: Accessories is back in stock and The Magical World According to Miss Millie arrived.

Other exciting news! I'm happy to let you know that Rowan is on it's way! We've started small and will be getting several colors of Kid Silk Haze and Pure Wool DK. Rowan Magazine 40 & 41 are on the way as well. I expect these yarns & magazines to arrive mid to late next week.

Well, I must close. I am working on Shilo's moebius bed and need to get the attached i-cord done. I am hoping that, at the end of the day, he does not chew this up. I am making Cat Bordhi's moebius nest; the pattern is found in A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting. The liner is red (perfect for a black dog). There will be a Fair Isle nest, but haven't made my final color decisions.

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Sock Hop Yarn - Spinners Needed

A call to spinners - not just any spinner. As a lot of you know, I just learned to spin. I am getting into the spinner's 'zen' but do not qualify as experienced, consistent or efficient at this point. A lot of you also know that RoxieAnn and I like to keep things local whenever we can. You can see this desire to support our local artists when you look around Renaissance Yarns. You will find yarns by Handspun on the Web, Duet Socks by A Swell Yarn, patterns by Fibertrends (Wenatchee) and soon you will see drop spindles by Cascade Spindle Company (Kent) and lavender products to keep your stash fresh and moth free by Purple Haze Lavender Farm (Sequim).

What you might not know is I live this way as well. In 2006 at the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival, I met the husband/wife team (Klaus and Teyani) of Crown Mountain Farms. The farm is located in Yelm, WA. They raise goats and sheep and they both spin. In addition to managing the farm, Klaus does some woodworking and Teyani is a mental health therapist. Enough of an introduction; you can read more about Klaus and Teyani on their website. Anyway, their fibers are what made me think 'I have to learn to spin'! And so, true to form, when I was ready I called Klaus and ordered my wheel (Majacraft Rose). Here's the deal: they have come up with a fabulous sock yarn called Sock Hop. Teyani and company take the roving and hand dyes it. Oh, they also spin it. So, you can imagine how long it takes to make a skein. Naturally, this limits the quantity that can be produced each month. Hence - spinners are needed. If you are interested in a wonderful opportunity of 'playing' with beautiful hand dyed yarn and knowing that what you produce will be unique and treasured by any knitter, please contact Klaus via email or phone 360-894-1738 (8 AM - 5 PM). Like I said, they do raise animals, so if you get the voicemail; leave all of the pertinent details. Please do not call Renaissance Yarns with questions as we will not have the answers. I am, say the middleperson, hoping to put spinners in touch with Crown Mountain so they can continue to grow this wonderful line of sock yarn.

Oh and fellow sock knitters - no, I cannot bring this yarn into the shop at this time. Demand is high, supply is low, very low. Perhaps you might be able to see this yarn at the Seattle Knitting Expo (4/13 - 4/15) at the Seattle Marriott by SeaTac Airport. Remember, keyword is 'perhaps'.
Happy Knitting & congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts on winning Superbowl 41 and to Peyton Manning - MVP!!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Duet Sock Yarn!!

Were you at the shop today? There was much excitement over the latest batch of Duet Sock Yarn! Angela delivered 16 different colorways and each one of them is quite beautiful. For those of you who haven't seen this yarn, Angela (the artist behind it all - handpaints the yarn in beautiful colorways and then includes a matching solid (also handpainted) for the heel and toes. This yarn gives a whole new meaning to knitting socks! The yarn is eye candy and it makes you just want to keep knitting until you are done. Come in and check it out!! Check back often for this yarn as we have unique colorways planned for you throughout the year.

It's been a busy week for everyone. Several of you are working on socks (DPN method). Some have sizing issues, which has me baffled at the moment. Sharon has completed one sleeve! I am so excited for her. One sleeve down, one to go, then the front! We just might make Father's Day (2007)!!! The 2nd Fair Isle Sweater (a Louisa Harding design) kicked off today. There are 11 people currently knitting this sweater. I have never seen so many fair isle knitters at once - it is truly rewarding to watch how everyone's knitting skills continue to grow. Many of you are starting to challenge yourself with cables and colorwork. Is lace knitting next? Oh wait, we also started the Moebius Pet Bed (A Second Treasury of Magical Knitting) today; I think I'll include the MCO (Moebius Cast On) in the list of challenges. I think we all found that this method of casting on is relatively easy; that is, until we think about what we are doing. Then we lose it. My advice, anyone attempting one of Cat Bordhi's moebius projects - don't over analyze the cast on!!!

The swift and ball winder finally have a new home! I am so happy that this set up is out of the sitting room. I think it is so much more convenient for everyone. Thanks to Al Skorupa and Ann and Jim Stroup for helping RoxieAnn and I get the new table built and finished. This project was definitely a team effort!!

It's the night before Superbowl Sunday! Who's corner are you in? Will you be knitting? Crocheting? Or how about spinning? I will be putting the schedule for March & April together and probably working on the Dorothy Bag (entrelac bag done in Noro Kureyon). My household is behind the Colts all the way!!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fibertrends Alpine Boots (Adult Version)

Annalee finished her Alpine Boots and we are lucky to have a before and after shot. Husband, Gordy, is our resident king of felting and seems to thoroughly enjoy the process of shrinking wool. Even though both boots are knit up, Gordy has been taking the pair around showing everyone he knows the incredible results of felting! Consequently, no one is wearing them just yet...

Al & I went to the Seattle Boat Show this past Monday. I brought
along my toe up/two at a time socks that I'm making up out of A Swell Yarn's Duet Sock Yarn. I was able to get the toes done before we arrived at the show, so it was fairly easy to walk the show and knit (stockinette stitch). I was amazed at some of the boats we saw and the price tags that were attached to them. One could go through the boats; most of the big ones (30' and up) the shoes had to come off to prevent scuff marks. Here is a picture of probably the most luxurious boat we saw. My opinion of the show, very interesting, but the knitting makes it more interesting!!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Calling All Sock Knitters!!

Knit Socks? I spotted this book, Favorite Socks, back in November and thought it would be a great book for the sock knitter. Brown delivered it today and I must say, the book is better than what I thought. This book contains classic designs that you've seen in various issues of Interweave Knits. There are 25 different designs, most using fingering weight yarn. The DPN technique is used, but as everyone is observing, DPN's look harder than it really is.

Speaking of socks, remember the fab hand painted yarn with coordinating heel/toe yarn? Well folks, our own Angela has gone international! That's right, our friends to the north in Canada will be enjoying the incredible eye candy that Angela creates. I hope they love it as much as we do.

Remember the sock yarn that looks like the Neapolitan Brach's candy; Trekking 126? Well, this is a classic case of supply and demand in action. We learn that Skacel discontinued this yarn and there were 2 shops in the world that had it (Renaissance Yarns being one of them). Suddenly, we received calls from the east coast and Midwest and several dozen skeins travelled over the Cascade Mountains. To make things more interesting, the yarn showed up on the world's biggest auction block and went for more than 3 times the suggested retail price. Well, we took our story to Joanne Ellis (our fantastic Skacel rep) and she worked her magic. You guessed it! The colorway was resurrected and we hope it will be around for a long time!

Stay tuned tomorrow where you will be awestruck by Annalee's rendition of Fibertrends Alpine Boots (adult version) and I will recap the country's biggest boat show west of the might Mississippi River.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Died and Went to Heaven!!!

It has been a busy week! My twins (Stephanie and Michael) turned 18 yesterday! It seems like yesterday they were just babies. Time goes so fast! We had a quiet dinner at the Lobster Shop on Dash Point. Anthony and Amber (Ant's girlfriend) were able to have dinner with us. It is so great when all three kids can get together!

The Madrona Fiber Arts Festival was fabulous! Crown Mountain Farms is one of the vendors and probably my most favorite. Klaus tempted me (successfully) with a 50/50 blend of fine merino and angora. It is the softest fiber that I have ever put my hands on. I purchased my wheel from Klaus so it is fairly easy to justify the purchase of fibers. I also acquired a black 50/50 superfine alpaca/tencel top, a beautiful, creamy white 50/50 Cashmere/Mulberry Silk Top. Teyani must have been in classes as I did not see her. I imagine I would still be amazed by her amazing ability to walk, talk and work her Turkish drop spindle all at the same time!

MaryAnn and I also found beautiful glass circular needles. I bought a pair to test them out; don't be surprised if you see them in the shop someday soon. Even though they are made of glass, they are fully functional and so far, nice to work with. The cable is extremely soft and the needles come with a lifetime guarantee. Oh, and sock knitters, DPN's are available as well. There is a new software on the market for designers. This software will assist in the creation of skirts, afghans, ponchos and sweaters. On the surface, the software seems a little more sophisticated than the Sweater Wizard. I will be testing it over the next few weeks to see how powerful it is.

It's been a little quiet at the shop the past couple of days. I imagine everyone is getting a touch of 'spring fever' with the nice weather we have been enjoying over the past couple of days. Several folks started their DPN sock class and so far, things have gone very well. We did not get Louisa's Grace Wool & Silk today, so I hope to see that Tuesday.

Happy Knitting!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Louisa Harding's Visit

It is amazing how fast time flies and how many things there are to get done in a day! My apologizes to those of you who kept checking for an update!

Louisa Harding dazzled us Friday evening with her new collection of garments which are in her latest collections (Swallowtail and Hummingbirds). There are so many beautiful pieces in these books; here are a few of your favorites.

We received word today that one of Louisa's yarns, Grace Wool & Silk, shipped today along with Winter Muse Classics. We are waiting with much anticipation for this shipment. There are 10 colors in her palette and the yarn is so soft and luxurious. This shipment comes to us from New York, so I hope to see it this Friday or Tuesday at the latest.
Well, I must close tonight. I have a lot of knitting to do before the next fair isle class (yes, a Louisa Harding design) so I must get busy. Here is Anna Lee's rendition of Louisa's design in an Elsebeth Lavold yarn (Classic Al). Thanks to everyone who came out Friday to meet Louisa! Louisa is an incredible woman with an amazing story and so much talent. I hope that we will have the opportunity for our paths to cross with hers in the future!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Socks, Socks and More Socks

It's incredible to see the progress everyone made on their projects while the weather kept folks away! The fair isle sweaters (Louisa Harding design) are really coming along and I hope to get pictures from you on your progress so we can share with everyone. The color choices are all coming together nicely. I cannot wait until the 27th when we have our next class. Everyone is knitting socks too and I am seeing people challenge themselves with the next step - little yarn!! The toe up sock seems to be challenging some, but everyone likes the way the sock fits. With practice, I am sure everyone will be fine. Next thing you know, we will all be knitting socks two at a time, toe up!!

Does everyone remember the Pleasingly Plaid Cardigan? We must have seen about a dozen different color combinations during the summer and fall months. Well, here is baby Tommy in his cardigan that Anna Lee knit up (photo credits - Sharon Schneider). The matching hat (knit by Stephanie Miller) complements the sweater nicely. The color choice is exquisite!!

We received new sock yarn today (Trekking XXL). I cannot believe how gorgeous the colors are. Lots of new guy colors like the browns, Mariner's color (or darn close), deep rich jewel tones that almost look black until you take a closer look.

I mastered the drop spindle yesterday, thanks to Connie at Cascade Spindle Company. Some day, I hope to be able to walk, talk and drop spindle - all at the same time!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Introducing Duet Sock Yarn!

I hope you are feeling my excitement coming through! We are so lucky and honored to be able to offer you a hand painted sock yarn created by Angela of A Swell Yarn Shop ! Angela is a local artist and truly has a knack for color. Duet is 360 yards of scrumputuous eye candy! Not only are the colors incredibly gorgeous, but Angela has also included a coordinating solid meant to be used for the heel and toe. In order to give Angela the ultimate flexibility in artistic creativity and you the unique opportunity of having a 'one of a kind' pair of socks, we do not guarantee that any colorway will be available in the future. My message here folks, if you see a colorway that you cannot live without; do not hesitate with this yarn! More than likely, the colorway will not be recreated.

Come in and check out the 8 Valentine themed colorways and the 8 everyday colorways! Here are a few examples...

Saturday, January 13, 2007

What's going on?

It was good to see everyone today! It's amazing the progress that everyone has made on their projects this past week. Largo is finished with the fair isle portion of her sweater! It looks FANTASTIC! She is a little bored with knitting up to the armholes and is willing to barter - you knit up to the armhole for her; she will knit your fair isle section! Roberta is planning out her father's fair isle afghan - looking forward to seeing a swatch incorporating the border. Christine is working on her sweater that she waited months to work on - such restraint I must admit. She's making good progress, can't wait until Wednesday. Ann, MaryAnn, Teresa and Debra are working on socks - whether it's toe up, DPN, two at once; seems like every technique is going on (less the extreme - two at a time DPN technique). Nancy (Smith) worked on her Einstein coat; it is beautiful! Nancy - "get 'er done"! You can be wearing it now in this bitter cold!!! Brian is knitting - yeah!!! For those of you stuck at home - WE MISSED YOU! I hope you are staying warm and able to get some good knitting time in!

The toe up socks are coming along fine. I have to get working on my fair isle (maybe I will be the one to take Largo up on her offer). Tomorrow's goal is to get the fair isle piece done. This will be good to work on while the Seahawks are playing.

Shilo (aka, McFelty) loves the snow! He also thinks he is a big dog and tried to take on a doberman pincher this morning. Here is a picture that Al took Thursday morning. Shilo likes to run and leap off the deck into the snow. Then he runs back up the deck and slides across the deck. He is so cute! Good thing - came home to another chewed up DPN (Ugh!).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Magical Winter Wonderland

It's a cold, brisk morning in downtown Kent. I was able to get some fantastic snow pictures today. This is the best one, very picturesque of a day in the mountains! The roads surrounding the shop are sloppy to say the least. The sun is out so the snow is melting. Tonight should be an interesting night as everyone makes their way home - temp is suppose to dip into the 20's.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Amazing Weather! Fabulous New Yarn!!

Once again, Western Washington is experiencing a winter wonderland! The snow is a lovely sight, but it definitely reaks havic on our nerves when we have to drive in it. I believe we have had close to 3" in about a 2 hour period of time.

While the snow is falling, I thought I'd give a new yarn a try. 'Brown' (UPS) delivered Cash Vero today. Cash Vero is made in Italy and has an incredibly soft touch. The fiber content is 55% merino extra fine wool, 33% microfiber and 12% cashmere. I chose two colors, burgundy and black (as if you didn't figure that out) and began a pair of toe up socks. To make the socks more interesting, I am incorporating a Fibonacci sequence for stripes as well as short row shaping for the toe. I'll probably do an afterthought heel. I'll post picture tomorrow of my progress as well as a review of the yarn. Off to sleep for now, could be an interesting, icy morning.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Announcing the Arrival of Tofutsies!

Tofutsies (toe foot sees) is a wonderful new yarn from Southwest Trading Company which is made with 2.5% Chitin (Kite n). Are you finding yourself scratching your head wondering what this fiber is? I sure did! Chitin is a blend of crab and shrimp shell. That sounds like it might be a bit uncomfortable, right? Yet, it sounds so intriguing! It really put us over the edge when Cathian, our SWTC rep, gave us a sample of the color and yarn. I was still a bit hesitant on the fiber, afterall, crab & shrimp shell in a sock yarn! But the colors, WOW! Well, the yarn arrived this past week and I am happy to say, NICE! The yarn feels nice on the ball, but it seems to get softer once it is knit up. RoxieAnn is currently knitting up a pair of socks and I am quite impressed on how soft it is. I cannot wait to knit up a pair myself!!

More info on Tofutsies: 50% superwash wool, 25% Soysilk brand fiber, 22.5% Cotton, 2.5% Chitin. It likes to be knit up on a US 2 and you can expect to get 8 sts/inch. It's machine wash and dry as well, but I like to use the sock blockers and dry flat.