Sunday, December 14, 2008

Our New Home!

Renaissance Yarns, LLC, has settled into its new home at Kent Station! Finally, I don't feel like the shop is a little remote island. Here, there is so much synergy amongst the businesses. My fellow business owners and friends, Debbie Haggin (Marie Haggin Accessories) and Marie Wainhouse (Bella home & garden), are great supporters.

I am most excited about how many people are saying "it's about time there is a yarn shop in Kent". Even though I feel Renaissance Yarns is a destination shop, I have come to learn that no matter how much advertising I do, it seems that the rule LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION applies. It will be interesting to see how the marketing engine (which includes word of mouth, TV, print. website and e-marketing) kicks into gear...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Interweave Knits Holiday 2008

There are so many great projects in this issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts! There are many small projects to keep us knitting for our loved ones, yet not break the pocketbook. Here are my top picks (not in any particular order):

Ribby Slipper Socks - made out of Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky & Worsted Hand Dyes. This is a great project for your parents, husband and kids. You’re looking at under $50 for this project.

Flying Trapeze Socks - generous sizes ranging from toddler’s to man’s sizes. The cabling on these socks makes it interesting to take on. The yarn is Louet Gems (fingering, sport or worsted; depending on the size you make). Price range on this project $18 - $28.

Frost Flowers Stole - This project has been ‘ooohed and aaaahed’ over by anyone who takes a peek! It’s a lace piece made of of of Jade Sapphire’s Silk/Cashmere. It takes 3 hanks of pure luxury. I’d be putting this on my wish list!

So, what projects have caught your eye?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hat Attack II! - Death Hat is Done

I finished my death hat this past Sunday! Let's just say that I'm relieved that I finished my hat (which was my goal). I can honestly say that I welcome death, as morbid as that may sound. On top of managing the day to day operations of Renaissance Yarns, I need to continue focussing on the macro processes within the business. Also, I'm working on acquiring the Nihon Vogue Certification, which is a fairly rigorous program. For instance, instead of knitting a death hat for the glory of 'taking my victim out' and for 'dodging a bullet from my would be assassin', I should be knitting on my top down raglan or my vest. Did I mention I must have these two pieces well into the knitting stage by October 11? I do not want to be known as a 'slacker' afterall.

So, the hat. I like it. It's almost my colors. I actually think I could wear this hat, not being a hat person at all. I'd change a few things, of course. I'd ax the turned up brim and just make it a beannie style hat. The Fibernocci sequence wasn't very apparent to me. My target and assassin haven't done any smack talk. For that matter, neither have I. I guess we've all taken on the 'stealth' approach. But, I am done. And, I am so relieved. Will I participate in a competitive knitting contest again? Well, I'm not officially out of this one. I like the idea of competitive knitting. But, when it comes down to an assassin hot on my tail and a victim sitting there waiting to meet their demise, well, I just don't know. For me, the process of knitting is relaxing, soothing and therapuetic. I don't know that I can say 'absolutely no way will I do this'. I mean, human nature thrives on competition, right? So, will I do it again? Time will tell...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hypnotic, Intoxicating, Provocative!!

I received an email from Bath & Body Works yesterday that caught my attention. They introduced their newest fragrance ‘Black Amethyst’. I did not have time to really explore as I was running out the door. I had a few errands to take care of some things at Kent Station so I poked my head in and checked it out. The young woman was very helpful. She sprayed a bit on a ribbon bracelet, which I wore all day. The fragrance has been haunting me ever since (in a good way). I’ll be stopping by after the shop closes to pick some up. Lucky for me they are open until 9 tonight!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hat Attack II - Kill or Be Killed (with a hat)

Your weapon: a hat. This friendly game of kill or be killed works like this: on 9/16/08, you will receive a pattern via email as well as the name of your target. You will also receive information about your assassin. The goal is to knit your hat as fast as you can and send it to your target before your hat (knit by your would be assassin) gets to you. So, you're not a fast knitter, eh? No problem! There are so many factors in this game that luck plays a huge roll. The offical yarn for this round of battle is Therapi by SWTC. Therapi is made of 50% Fine Wool, 30% Bowlder (Jadeite) and 20% Silk. You will need two different colors to do this hat. Therapi will be available at Renaissance Yarns later this month!

The grand prize goes to the 'last one standing'. The prize is $500 worth of SWTC yarn. Purchase your yarn at Renaissance Yarns and be the 'last one standing' you will also receive $150 gift card valid at Renaissance Yarns. All of us will be winners as we will get a beautiful hat out of the adventure.

Join us for the Hat Attack II launch party on Tuesday, 9/16 from 6 - 10 PM. Bring your pattern, yarn, needles and your spirit and LET THE GAMES BEGIN! Refreshments will be on hand!

Ready to become a warrior? If so, register today!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

2008 Breast Cancer Awareness Project

July marked the month when 20 knitters started on a journey to knit the Great American Aran Afghan. The afghan consists of 20 aran (cabled) blocks, so it was fairly easy to break it down. We chose a pink shade Cascade 220 Superwash as we wanted the finished project to be machine washable. As project manager (so to speak) I set a date of two weeks for the blocks to be completed. Yes, I did receive a few 'are you crazy' responses, but I'm happy to say that overall, everyone completed on time!!

So, now that all blocks had been delivered, there was still the task of stitching all of the blocks together. Once again, the knitters of Renaissance Yarns were called upon to lend a hand. I contacted friend and fellow business owner Sue Froyd, owner of Bittersweet Restaurant in Kent, WA. We collaberated on a light dinner for my team of knitters and arranged for Bittersweet to be the venue in which the project would come together.

On Thursday, July 31st, 15 of us convened at Bittersweet. We began the task of seaming. Now the thing about seaming is as knitters, we know we have to do this, but many knitters don't like to do it. I was amazed at how fast the project came together. Within an hour, 20 individual blocks were not 10 groups of 2 blocks!

We broke for a lovely dinner that Sue and her team had prepared. I felt like it was Thanksgiving and I was surrounded by my family. No, we did not have turkey. The feeling wasn't even about the food, really. I looked around and everyone was conversing as if they were old friends catching up on life. It's that feeling you get at the holidays when you see eveyone that you haven't seen for a while. It's that feeling that no matter how you try to capture it, pictures just don't cut it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Introducing Mooi By Louet

Here’s what Louet has to say about their latest yarn - MOOI:

Mooi (pronounced moi) is a unique blend of fibers that combines all of the natural qualities of bamboo, bison and cashmere into an amazingly soft yarn. Mooi is simply a pleasure to knit and adds lustrous color to any project. The name of the yarn is based off Louet’ heritage and means “pretty” in Dutch. The bamboo is dyed, while the cashmere and bison content remain natural, producing a stunning and vibrant visual effect. The fibers are blended prior to spinning.
Mooi has received amazing reviews by customers just like you. Check out the what Knitter’s Review has to say about this luxurious yarn! Experience luxury and elegance - experience MOOI!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

He's Leaving on a Jet Plane...

Hey Folks! The day is rapidly approaching when William will be on his way to Fordham University. Even though classes don’t start until fall, there are several things that William needs to do once he lands in the ‘big apple’. Here are a few of the tasks at hand (perhaps in the order of importance):
  1. find a new LYS until we get our webstore up :)
  2. make sure he likes the place he found ‘virtually’
  3. get a job
  4. did I mention, get a job???

Along his knitting career, William has made several friends and acquaintances. Did you know that William has been part of the Kent Knitting Community for 6 years? To give everyone the opportunity to wish William a warm and fond ‘so long for now’, Renaissance Yarns will have an open house on Saturday, July 26th - Sunday, July 27th. Please join me and my team as we send William off to pursue his educational goals. Light refreshments will be available.

P.S. August 4th is the day William gets on a plane!!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Great American Aran Afghan - Play Yard Close Up

This year, I spent Independence Day with a small group of my closest friends. In additon to each other's company, we had great food and drink. I focused on getting my square done for our 2008 Breast Cancer Awareness Project. My square is currently drying. I cannot wait until more squares are complete so the assembly process can begin!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

2008 Tall Ship Festival

Al & I enjoyed a rare play day! We ventured down to Tacoma to the Tall Ship Festival. We've gone once before, so we've really been looking forward to enjoy the day at the Foss Waterfront. We saw many amazing ships, infamous pirates (including Captain Jack Sparrow) and a magic show. I love photography, so I really enjoyed the opportunity to explore! For those of you who haven't been to Tacoma's waterfront lately, you should. It is incredible how the waterfront has changed.

I thought the most spectacular ship was the CGS Eagle. This tall ship is part of the US Coast Guard and is the only sailing ship in service. I can only imagine how elegant this ship must look with her sails unfurled! The festival runs through Monday, July 7th. This is a fabulous event, fun for the whole family!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Soulful Sounds of Summer are Back!

Announcing the return of the Soulful Sounds of Summer! This is a FREE concert series that occurs at Kent Station on various days throughout summer. Imagine:
  • An afternoon iced espresso drink, knitting/crocheting and jazz. Tuesday from noon - 1 PM would be your day. Got kids? Promise them a trip to the newly opened fountain park at the corner of 2nd & Smith (just south of Kent Station)
  • What about a glass of wine and swing to the music? Come on folks, let’s not be shy! Wednesday evenings 6 - 8 PM would be your night. Got kids? Hire a babysitter and make Wednesday ‘date night’. Enjoy some nice quality time with your sweetie!
  • Saturday concerts begin in August! Enjoy an afternoon of music with the family!

Click here for details on the Soulful Sounds of Summer.
The concert series begins Tuesday, July 8th!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Ravelry, Blog or E-Newsletter

WOW! Another month has gone by since my last post. No excuse, really. Part of it, I suppose, is between Ravelry and the e-newsletter, I fret about sounding redundant. But then I remind myself that many of you are not on Ravelry yet. Or, maybe you are on Ravelry, but don't know how to use it. I admit, it can be a bit overwhelming. So, for those who are looking EVERYWHERE for news about Renaissance Yarns, I do apologize (in advance), if I do sound just a touch redundant...

Meanwhile, for those of you still with me, I'm excited about a new sock yarn that just arrived today. The yarn is called Heritage. It comes in several colorways, including hand-painted and solids. This yarn is incredibly soft on the hank. It's 437 yards of 75% Merino (superwash) and 25% nylon. I think it's the perfect yarn to try one of Cat Bordhi's new sock architectures with.

On a personal note, my youngest son, Mike, graduates from Kent-Meridian tomorrow! Needless to say, we are VERY proud of him and this accomplishment!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Renaissance Yarns' Anniversary Sale

Renaissance Yarns is celebrating our 2nd anniversary! Join us for a celebration sale! Click on the link for more details!! Thanks for the past two years as we look to the future years to come!

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Notorious Knitters Express

On April 24th, Chix with Stix met at Renaissance Yarns. I was totally amazed as MJ departed. I thought I saw a mini bus with the words 'Notorious Knitters Express' on it as the group began to arrive. I just caught a glimpse, so really thought nothing of it. Just that it was pretty cool. Well, turns out, it was MJ's ride. This bus is the coolest thing I've seen! It contains autographs of several famous knitters, including The Yarn Harlot and Cat Bordhi. MJ - way to go!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Chantilly Lace

Originally uploaded by thenobleknitter

This sweater is adapted from Elizabeth's Zimmerman's Baby Sweater on Two Needles pattern. My granddaughter, Emma Rose, will be the one I think about as I knit this project. Perhaps, by Christmas, she will be able to wear it. The color is burgundy, although my picture doesn't really capture the essence of the color. I decided to knit this sweater side to side so I would not have to seam in a lace pattern. Here are my tips on dividing for body and sleeves:

Work 25 sts (this is the left front)
Place next 28 sts on waste yarn (sleeve sts)
CO 14 sts using e-loop method
Work 42 sts (this is the back)
Place next 28 sts on waste yarn (2nd sleeve)
CO 14 sts using e-loop method
Work remaining 25 sts (this is the right front)
Work body per pattern
Work sleeves in the round, pick up 14sts at underarm

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Winter-like Spring!

Wooly Pulley #1
Originally uploaded by thenobleknitter
Rainmakers, snow makers, low pressure systems from Canada and so it goes! It's hard to believe that snow is still falling in the great northwest! The Spring Fair is going on as we are experience an arctic blast. The weather is certainly a rollercoaster - 80 last Saturday, 40's today and supposedly 60's next week.

Meanwhile, my first helmet liner (aka: wooly pulley) is complete! I hope to make several more of these for our brave men and women serving our country. This was a quick knit and only took one hank of Cascade 220.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Errr, the Wacky Weather Continues

I cannot help but to wonder just exactly what season is it? I loved the teaser Mother Nature gave us last Saturday! I have family that live in Maple Valley and at 10 PM last night it was snowing! Meanwhile, the trees are in bloom AND the ducks are starting to travel with little ones waddling behind! Yes, it is true! Check it out:
Meanwhile, I'm knitting for Emma Rose. I started the Baby Surprise Jacket, an Elizabeth Zimmerman 'undesign'. After a few issues and restarts, I am finally on track. I chose Debbie Bliss Prima for this project. It's 80% bamboo/20% merino and knits like a dream. Albeit, a bit splity, so a little care is needed as your fingers glide along. I happened to be thinking about the Sequim Lavender Festival when I chose the colors. You might have heard me say 'just take a leap of faith'. Well, with this particular sweater, that's exactly what I've been doing so far. I still do not have a vision of how this sweater is going to come together. I consider it quite the brain teaser! I'm just about to the point where I 'knit even' for a few rows and then increase.
More later...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Curly Q Bush!

I don't know what kind of bush this is, but it caught my eye as I was in route from Renaissance Yarns to Kona Kai Coffee. There is a little park in downtown Kent called Kherson Park (2nd & Gowe) and I spotted this. It's the strangest looking bush I ever saw. This happened to be a day where I left the yarn at the shop. I grabbed the camera instead to see what I could unusual things I could find. It's amazing what one notices when they purposefully get in tune with the surroundings. Stay tuned for my next finding...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Mariner's Let One Get Away!

It's Sunday and the Mariner's just gave away a game to the Baltimore Orioles! Felix Hernandez just pitched 8 beautiful innings and had a 2 - 0 lead. It's the bottom of the 9th and our ace closer, JJ Putz, is on the DL list. But, we have a bullpen and I'm confident that Felix will get the win, someone will get the save and I'll do the 'happy dance'. Not so fast! They got one guy on 1st, one guy on 3rd, need one more out (oh, and the score is now 2 - 1). Here we go, the wind up and WILD PITCH! WHAT?? You've got to be kidding me!! Score is now tied, men on 2nd & 3rd. Great, extra innings (I hate extra innings; I mean, 9 innings is long enough - isn't it?). SCREEEEEECH! Base hit - MARINERS LOSE! So, I pack up my fiber, Victoria (Louet portable wheel) and head to Renaissance Yarns.

I surprise myself that my fiber isn't breaking and that I'm able to spin evenly. We all had to talk about the Mariner's and poor Felix. We look so good on paper, yet what happens when it comes to execution? We should be a playoff contender this year, but $#*!. I keep telling myself it's only April, they need to settle down. Fine guys - just don't take all season, will ya?

Here are some lighter highlights of the day as we find other topics to discuss:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Happiness is...

Having my DSL service back! Apparently, the storm we had on Monday night blew up my modem. I don’t really get that as the power light came on, ethernet lights came on and the infamous steady blinking DSL light was going a mile a minute. How is it that my modem suffered a power outage? IT HAS POWER!! I have to go through the usual drill, turn off the modem, wait 30 sec, turn on the modem, switch the phone cord so the jacks go in the other end, and so on. Look, I’m into my modem’s configuration. I’ve already done all of the obvious stuff. So, I’m told ‘we will send you a new modem’. Geeesh! Another 2 days without DSL, that’s like 3 - 4 hours of lost time per day!!!! Maybe I’m suppose to take a break from computers, eh? Well, today I get the new modem. I’m doing the ‘happy dance’ but my head is staying, this isn’t going to work, you know that don’t you?’ Quiet!! So, it’s 9:30 PM and I feverishly open the box! What??!! No power cord? Yet, the instructions say return the power cord with the old modem. Ummm, Houston, we have a problem.

Anyway, plug in the new modem, run the CD, reboot the computer (yeah, I’m holding my breath) and &#!, no internet connection. OK, call the not so local folks at Qwest, actually hoping to get someone in India and not the person I got Tuesday. I explain I’m looking at the modem configuration screen and the technician (yes, from India) has me configure the modem with a few secret codes he has to give me. Why the installation instructions don’t tell me I’ll have to call regardless is beyond me. But guess what?? I’M BACK!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It's Snowing!

It's 9:30 PM on Wednesday, March 26th and IT'S SNOWING!! I'm so excited! Born in Chicago, raised in Franklin, WI, I really love snow. Now mind you, I'm not saying I enjoy driving in it. But I love being indoors, watching the snow come down as I work on the Narnia White Witch Mitts. I hope to be far enough along in the fair isle piece to post a picture or two tomorrow.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chasing a Dream!

It's an exciting day! I've taken the first steps to pursue the world of designing. Sure, I've designed a few things and it's been great. So what's going to be different? Well, to start with, I've registered for Jean Wong's Tailored Knitting Workshop; 2.5 days of valuable information, including formulas to figure out a wide variety of critical numbers. From there, I'll be exploring the Nihon Vogue Certification, which is a three year, highly intensive program. On the horizon is Catherine Lowe's Couture Knitting Workshop, but need to evaluate the intensity of the Nihon Vogue Cert before scheduling with Catherine.

I aspire to bring classic, beautiful designs to the hand knitter. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Taking Time Out to Celebrate!

Al & I left Saturday for Cannon Beach to celebrate his birthday. We made a stopover in Shelton to visit some long time friends. It's odd how so much time can go by and people pick up where they left off, almost as though no time has been lost. I went to Fancy Image Yarns while I was in Shelton. There were about 7 women knitting (like circle) and it they were all having a great time. Yeah, I know! I own a shop, why did I go here? Well, like you, I'm a fiberholic! Renaissance Yarns just cannot carry every type of yarn or accessory that's around. So, yeah, I like to explore! One never knows what treasure might be found!

Sunday morning, after a fabulous breakfast; we started on the road for Rockaway Beach, which is a little south of Cannon Beach. We arrived at our hotel around 4:30, just ahead of the sunset. I managed to get some breathtaking shots of the sunset before we headed out to dinner. We had dinner at the restaurant that Al proposed to me (Pirate’s Cove, Garibaldi, OR) and it was out of this world!

Monday we watched the ocean roar; it was a bit stormy. That’s OK as we like to watch ocean storms. We went to the little yarn shop, Coastal Yarns, in Cannon Beach. Next thing we knew, it was time to come back home!
You probably can guess, I knit my way there! I worked on the Limbo Sampler Shawl. I started and finished the mitered triangle. It was a quick knit and did not take much concentration. I'm working on the diamonds now. I must admit, I had to put the basketweave on hold for now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Limbo Sampler Shawl KAL

Our very first KAL, at last!

This knit-along is designed to bring together knitters worldwide who want to share their learnings, progress, inspiration and tips on the Limbo Sampler Shawl, designed by Brian Kohler for the Skacel Collection. Here we share our creations, answer questions, and continue to grow as an individual and a community. Choose to participate in the KAL virtually or in person (1st & 3rd Saturday of every month from 8:45 - 9:45 AM at Renaissance Yarns, Kent, WA).

If you're interested in joining the Knit-Along, please e-mail Nancy at and you'll receive an invitation to join the blog. Once you receive your invitation, you will be able to post (including pictures) to the KAL.

The shawl is conveniently kitted up in to 6 different colorway options. If you need to order a kit, please follow this link to check out the available color options.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vintage Velvet FO!!

FO - Finished Object! What a feeling! If you haven't experienced the rush you get when you complete a project - I'm here to tell you: GET GOING! It's a great feeling and sense of accomplishment. One FO leads to another; I've had two this year and albeit they've both been scarves, they haven't been of the mindless nature. Well, maybe one was once I got past Cat's MCO (moebius cast on). I'm working on my 3rd which is the Empire Waist Sweater. Please, please God make these sleeves go a little faster (doing 2 at a time)!

So, the Vintage Velvet scarf is totally to die for! I finished knitting the scarf last Saturday and was eager to get the felting out of the way. I gathered up a couple of towels (for extra agitation), my zippered pillow case (to catch any fiber that might shed - don't want to clog the washer) and my Soak (rinse free woolwash). I let the scarf go through the entire wash and rinse cycle. Normally when we felt, we don't go through any spin cycles to avoid permanent creases in our project. With Touch Me, however, it's OK to spin. As I expected, the scarf looked HORRIBLE! But remember, LEAP OF FAITH!! I put the scarf in the dryer (alone) and let it dry until what I thought was damp dry (still took 3 days before it was totally dry). The scarf looked beautiful! The sheen was back, the scarf was soft and the cable definition was perfect! This is a must have scarf for your wardrobe.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Vintage Velvet

There's a yarn called Touch Me that is so true to its name. One look at this yarn and it calls to your 'touch senses'. Let's face it; there's the velvety look that looks so inviting, not to mention the incredible sheen this yarn has. I've been on a mission since New Year's Eve day to get this beautiful reversible cabled scarf done by Saturday (1/5/08). Yes, I did get the date right without having to retype! Thanks to Lisa Daniels, designer of this luxurious piece, for keeping my fingers busy during the BCS bowl games. You can find Lisa's pattern in Scarf Style.

Project progress: I'm 1/2 way through the 4th ball of yarn. It takes 5. Looks like I will be paying my washing machine a call tonight. Oh, did I mention this scarf is felted? That's how one keeps Touch Me from worming over time. Worming is a chenille's (and other fibers) tendency to pull away from your work and coil on itself. This happens as the yarn is twisted during the knitting process. In the case of Touch Me, there's 28% wool in the yarn. So, go ahead and wash your piece (let it go through the spin cycle as well). Sure, it will look like a total waste of your time and money when you take it out of the washer. But don't despair (leap of faith here - you know what I mean by this). Put it in the dryer and set on low heat until try. You'll be amazed and quite pleased with the results!