Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Well, this was one heck of a year, wasn't it? In the US, we survived the longest election campaign in the history of the universe. We watched a bunch of rich guys take their private jets to Washington to beg for our hard-earned tax dollars. And we watched the stock market tank because our banks were irresponsible in their lending practices.

To make matters worse, we're told that this is just the beginning of the Big Credit Crunch. it wasn't the best year ever. But let's be thankful for all the good things that happened.

We elected a man who sincerely hopes to bring positive changes to our country. The American automotive companies are now -- finally -- going to respond to what the market actually wants and needs. And the banks are going to be more cautious with our money.

That's all good.

At Yarnmarket, we saw a lot of good things happen, too. We added a couple of new YarnMartians to our staff. Jenny, our Web Mistress, is doing great work for us online. And Emily is helping us fulfill orders to knitters throughout the world.

We added oodles of new yarns to our inventory from over 70 manufacturers, we expanded the products we carry on our sale site, BargainYARNS, and we launched, our online fashion magazine. We also helped a lot of yarn shops test new products or fulfill orders through YarnMerchant.

Pat, Michele, Susan and Stefanie completed our Showroom and it's absolutely gorgeous. Every day we have visitors stop by to look at our 700 brands of yarn (yes, 700!)and to shop from the thousands of bins in our warehouse.

Jan helped Alex select the new yarns we've added and wrote her popular newsletter and bulletin twice each month. Research we did on her publications showed that our customers really appreciate the information she provides about yarns, patterns, fashions and charities.

Josh created our BargainYARNS newsletter and introduced The Bargain of the Week. That's when he takes a popular yarn from Yarnmarket and puts it on sale at BargainYARNS for just one week.

Our pickers and packers -- Amy, Alma, Julie and Lisa -- were very busy in 2008 because we're getting many more orders than last year. Lori and the other Lori ensured we got our new merchandise from boxes in the back to bins on the shelves as quickly as we possibly could. And Tina and Brenda saw that every single order was handed over to Marlin each evening when he arrived.

On the customer side, Lynn, Sharon, Susie and Jill ensured that every one of our Yarnmarket shoppers received the best service we could possibly provide. Pat, Josh, Stefanie and Susan were always delighted to help out whenever they could.

Over at Yarndex, Sharon, Susie, Pat and Susan also did a heck of a job keeping the online yarn directory current with over 4500 yarns. (We're always so happy when we visit sites like Ravelry and see how much knitters depend on the information from Yarndex.)

So we've been pretty darned busy. And that's all very positive.

On the personal side, I'm very happy to be working with my husband, Alex -- the man who, when recently asked if he loves me as much when I'm fat responded, "Yes. But it has to cover a larger area, so it doesn't seem like it's as much."

Boy, I laughed so hard I almost choked. For 27 years he's kept me entertained with his very dry, twisted wit. (The kids are sometimes shocked that I don't haul off and belt him. I guess they don't understand.)

Before the year ends, I'd like to thank everyone at Yarnmarket for all their efforts throughout the year, all our manufacturers and their representatives who are so wonderful to work with, our beloved Marlin the UPS guy, and -- mostly -- all the shoppers who have entrusted us with their orders. We really appreciate that you have chosen Yarnmarket to be your online store, and we hope that we've provided you with the top quality service we promise.

I'd also like to give thanks to Dr. Shields of Cross Creek Veterinary Clinic here in Pickerington, Ohio because he provides such wonderful care to many YarnMartian's pets. This year he comforted Alex and me as our cat, Hannibal, needed to be put to sleep. (I still cry when I think about Hannibal.) He also tended to Scarface, the stray who needed medical attention. And he's now taking good care of Gatsby, Michele's pussycat. I think Dr. Shields is someone to be admired. He does the work he loves and he does it well. He is less concerned about money than he is about the welfare of his patients. And he is very quietly kind, caring and sincere.

Maybe in 2009, we'll learn to celebrate nice guys like Dr. Shields rather than larcenous business people, dishonest politicians, airhead heiresses, reality TV stars, and others who deserve our contempt rather than fame.

That will be my wish for 2009. I wish that all you nice guys out there get the recognition and rewards you deserve. It's been a long time coming.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thank you, Frank Mahovlich!

Last week I wrote about our wonderful 27th Anniversary. Alex had gone all out -- giving me a Frank Mahovlich puck, Maple Leaf shirt, cake and card. Well, yesterday I was utterly astounded to receive an official anniversary greeting from THE Frank Mahovlich!

Isn't that something? Now a Senator in the Canadian government, Frank Mahovlich took the time to send us a very nice letter and an autographed photo of himself in his Maple Leafs uniform when he was Number 27.

What a thoughtful, unexpected surprise!

You know...I really don't want expensive gifts like gold and diamonds. Anyone with a credit card could buy me that. I am so much happier with my NHL hockey puck and sweater...and now this thoughtful gift from the man who inspired the celebration.

Thanks, Frank. You were one of the all-time greats on the ice, and you're one heck o f a nice guy, too. I hope our goofy idea catches on and that other Canadians decide to celebrate their 27th Anniversary in your honor.

Yarnmarket December Bulletin has arrived!

It's here! We've just released our newest bulletin, jam-packed with information about new yarns, patterns and other ideas for the holiday season.

In this issue, Jan is featuring new yarns from Berroco, Louisa Harding, Cherry Tree Hill, Regia & Aslan Trends plus new colors from Sirdar & South West. Also, she's offering some quick & easy gifts for your friends & relatives. Remember, there are only 9 days until Christmas!

As always, Jan is also presenting new projects to give your winter wardrobe a fashionable boost, and she's including information about terrific new books, patterns & magazines to inspire you.

Here's one of the free patterns Jan has included in this week's bulletin. It's made with our own Caledon Hills yarn.

We hope you enjoy our quick overview of what we've added to the store over the past two weeks. Be sure to subscribe to the Yarnmarket Bulletin so you'll get up-to-date information about our new yarns, projects and patterns.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Win a $1000 Gift Certificate in our Pattern Design Contest

We’re elated to announce the launch of a Pattern Design Contest in collaboration with TKGA.

This contest features six different categories, and three prizes will be awarded to the best designs in each one. The Grand Prize of a $1000 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate will be awarded to the overall best design.

The categories are:
* Women's Fashion Classic
* Women's Fashion Forward
* Men's Wear
* Children's Fashion
* Baby's Fashion (6-12 month size)
* Accessories (hats, scarves, purses, etc.)

First prize in each category is a $300 gift certificate. $200 and $100 gift certificates will be awarded to second and third place winners.

Entries must be received by the TKGA by March 11, 2009. We are accepting photographs for the initial judging. Winners will be announced at the TKGA National Conference/Knit & Crochet Show in Portland, Oregon from May 14-17.

For more information about this contest, please click here.

You need to join the TKGA to be eligible to win. It's a great organization for knitters worldwide, and you get Cast On magazine as part of the benefits. (You can join after you submit your pattern, but you've got to be a member once you're selected as a finalist.)

What's really great about this contest is that you can enter using a photograph. Once we select the semi-finalists, we'll ask you to send the garment. Then, after it's been presented at the TKGA National Conference/Knit & Crochet Show in Portland, Oregon, we'll send it back to you.

Another good thing about this contest is that we will not request ownership of everything that's entered. (Some contests do this.) We're going to award prizes to the winners, and we'll keep their patterns. But we do ask that we get "first rights of refusal" on patterns that don't win. In other words, you might not win the contest, but we may want to be able to buy your pattern from you because we like it enough to want to produce it.

Please let all your knitting friends know that they’ve got the opportunity to win one of NINETEEN prizes in the Yarnmarket/TKGA Knitting Pattern Contest!

Snow Leopard Trust needs your support

At Christmas time, we get a lot of thank you cards from groups that we and our knitters have helped support. Today we received this lovely card from our very good friends at Snow Leopard Trust.

In case you haven't heard of them, Snow Leopard Trust is a non-profit group that helps protect the endangered species in Mongolia, China, India, Pakistan and the Kyrgyz Republic. Their work is helping to ensure that we don't lose these beautiful cats. Not only do they actively care for and monitor the snow leopards, they also help improve the local economies of their habitat by helping the locals earn money through yarn manufacturer rather than hunting. That yarn is beautiful hand spun camel that you can purchase at Yarnmarket.

If you're considering a charity for your end-of-the-year contribution, please consider Snow Leopard Trust.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bargains galore at BargainYARNS!

If you're trying to save money this holiday season (and who isn't?), be sure to check out BargainYARNS, our sale site. We've just received an enormous shipment of Imperfect books. These books have very minor damage for the most part, and are available at terrific discounts.

We sent out a BargainYARNS Alert yesterday to let our shoppers know that we've just added dozens of new books, so you won't want to waste any time buying the ones you want. They're literally flying out the doors. This makes Josh very happy.

I'm happy to report that BargainYARNS is also featuring several gorgeous Cherry Tree Hill yarns at discount prices, including Baby Loop Mohair, Glitter Alpaca, Silk and Merino Bulky, and Supersock Potluck.

We've also got some great Della Q and Lantern Moon bags and needle holders. These would make ideal Christmas gifts...for knitters you love and for yourself!

BargainYARNS features fabulous savings on good quality yarns and accessories. If you sign up for the BargainYARNS Alert, you'll receive a monthly alert telling you about what's new and on sale.

Busy time at Yarnmarket

Boy, this is a busy time of year. Not only have Alex and I been traveling (to NY where we visited a great yarn store, String on 82nd Avenue and Lexington) but we've also been celebrating our 27th wedding anniversary. Because the 27th isn't considered particularly monumental, we decided to make it a bit more interesting.

So from now on, the 27th Wedding Anniversary is to be officially known as "The Mahovlich."

For those of you who didn't grow up in Toronto in the 1960s, Frank Mahovlich was one of the top players on the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had the most goals per season a couple of years in a row and helped the Leafs win the Stanley Cup. He was one heck of a hockey player, and thinking about him brings back such great memories of Hockey Night in Canada and enjoying the games from the Blue seats behind the goal when I was ten years old. Those really were the good old days. My brothers and I could travel safely by ourselves on the TTC to see the hockey games, and then return home when they were over around 10:00 p.m. without anyone worrying about us.

My older brother, John, used to love Mahovlich. (I confess...I had a weak spot for Eddie Shack.)

Anyway, Alex and I declared this our Mahovlich Anniversary, and he went all out for it. First, I received a card that Alex had Susan design for the occasion. It had a nice photo of Frank in his hockey uniform, circa 1964. Then flowers were delivered to my office bearing the message, "Happy Frank Mahovlich."

Now, I figured this was really something. Alex had outdone himself. But that was only the beginning. That evening, after dinner, he presented me with a cake that had the number 27 in candles, and the inscription, "Happy Mahovlich." Embedded in the cake was an official NHL hockey puck signed by -- you guessed it -- Frank Mahovlich.

Then, when I thought it was over, Alex presented me with a gift. As I opened it, I asked, "What is it? A Maple Leaf hockey sweater?" Well, much to my delight, Alex had found a pink and white Maple Leaf shirt, and had a local fellow print "Happy Mahovlich" over the big "27" on the back.

Can you believe it?

It's stuff like this that reminds my why I married Alex 27 years ago. He's the sweetest guy in the world. And I know that if I were hit by a truck, there'd be line-ups of women wanting him. (Nice, funny guy who's considerate, creative and owns a yarn store. Yup. He's a hottie!)

Thanks, Alex, for making our 27th so memorable. You're my sweetypie!

(Oh...I knitted a cashmere scarf for him. He said he knew I was up to something, and was relieved that it wasn't socks.)

Also...thanks to Frank Mahovlich, who is now a Senator in Canada. Frank, it's probably been 40 years since we last saw you and you still have a place in our hearts. Thanks for making hockey what it was in the 60s. It was the greatest game on earth.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rare...and beautiful Orenburg lace yarn.

If you want something that's truly unique...and very difficult to find, take a look at this gorgeous Orenburg lace yarn. We've just received some of the most glorious colors you can imagine.

This amazing superfine "Orenburg Lace" yarn from Cherry Tree Hill is handspun in the Ukraine and then hand-dyed by Cherry Tree Hill. Because the spinning process is so labor intensive, this 80% mohair/20% silk fiber is in very limited supply worldwide and we might never again receive another shipment. Be the first in your knitting group to knit up a superb lace shawl or scarf as fine & delicate as created by Russian women throughout the centuries.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Aslan Trends is now at Yarnmarket! Ahhhh....

I am so excited! Yarnmarket is tickled pink to announce that we've just added the magnficent AslanTrends Yarns to our shop. They first contacted us a few weeks ago, and followed up with a box of yarns that I did not want to have to hand over to Alex. Instead, I showed them to all the ladies who stroked them and squeezed them and sighed, "Ahhh..."

Now how could Alex refuse us the yarn that made us all say, "Ahhhh...."?

Well, he couldn't. And here it is!

Now, if you're not familiar with the brand, AslanTrends was founded in 1951 -- so it's even older than I am! The company produces top quality natural yarns from Patagonia and the Andes mountains. I've seen their ads in Vogue Knitting, so I was sort of familiar with the line. You've probably seen them, too.

Among the yarns we're excited to present are Glaciar Del Cielo, Del Cerro and Guanaco.

Glaciar Del Cielo is a 100% Cotton yarn that comes in a variety of delicious colors. It's super soft and would be perfect for baby, kids and adult projects. Yarnmarket currently has ten projects you'll want to check out. Think of the wonderful holiday gifts this yarn would create.

Del Cerro is one of the softest 100% Merino Wool yarns you'll ever caress. We've got lots of colors to choose from, and several projects for warm winter wear.

Guanaco is actually a super soft and luxurious 60% Alpaca/40% Merino Wool blend. We have three projects online for that yarn, so it's easy to buy everything you need in one spot.

Oh...if you're not familiar with our Projects, you'll love them. Everything you need is in one spot so you can buy it without searching the site for all the tools. Of course, if you've already got something, just click it (or, un-click it...or whatever the heck you do to remove the check mark) and it will be removed from the shopping list. These are a couple of the projects you'll find for AslanTrends -- a cotton cardigan and a great pair of gauntlets.

If you'd like to take a look at the patterns for these scrumptiously soft and cosy yarns, we've got two books just filled with ideas.

Now, if you're one of those clever, creative people who create your own patterns, you're going to want to know all about the Aslan Trends Knitting Challenge. If you win, you'll not only win the admiration of knitters throughout the known universe, but you could also win some other great prizes. Here are the details:

The AslandTrends Knitting Challenge
You could win one of six great prizes when you enter the AslanTrends Knitting Challenge. Entrants are asked to create their own designs using AslanTrends Yarns. A panel of prestigious judges from the professional Knitting community will select winners who will receive a different amounts of cash and yarn. First place winners will also receive a free subscription to Vogue Knitting magazine.

Take a look at the great prizes!

Full size garments and/or Afghan blanket of at least 48× 60
First Place – $350 cash, 15 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn, and
1-year subscription to Vogue Knitting magazine.
Second Place – $200 cash, 10 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn.
Third Place – $125 cash, 5 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn.

Scarves, hats, hand bags and/or baby blanket
First Place – $250 cash, 15 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn,
and 1-year subscription to Vogue Knitting magazine.
Second Place – $150 cash, 10 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn.
Third Place – $100 cash, 5 skeins of assorted AslanTrends yarn.

For all the details, visit the AslandTrends web site.

Okay...back to business. Be sure to check out all our lovely new AslanTrends yarn. And, if you're in the neighborhood, stop by our showroom so you can actually fondle and squish these decadently soft creations.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Yarnmarket Bulletin!

Jan released another Yarnmarket Bulletin this week, and it's been a big hit! In this issue she features new yarns from Artyarns, Regia & Caledon Hills plus new colors from Lang, Rowan, RYC, Cherry Tree Hill, Regia & Gedifra. She also provides some great info on autumn and winter fashion trends and offers some terrific holiday gift ideas.

Be sure to subscribe to it so you'll get Jan's newsletter and bulletin every month.

That reminds me...a lot of my friends are really nervous about the current economic crisis. And with Christmas around the corner, they're anxious about spending too much money on gifts. We're reading a lot of articles urging people to consider homemade gifts this year -- not only to save, but to return to traditional values.

Well, I'm all for it. I can honestly tell you that there's nothing that will be cherished more than a gift made with your own two hands.

When I was 16 years old, my Grandma made me a quilt for Christmas. It was pink cotton squares, with pink and white gingham trim. Grandma used pieces of white yarn to make a little knot in the center of every square. That was 37 years ago. That pink quilt is long gone, and I have no photograph of it, but it's left in indelible impression on my heart. I picture it vividly.

I also keep in my drawer, in a plastic pouch, the white acrylic shawl Grandma knitted for me the Christmas before she died in the mid-70s. I may never wear that shawl -- because it's too precious to me -- but I will never, ever part with it.

Isn't that the kind of gift you want to give?

I really hope that instead of shopping for expensive trinkets and gadgets that won't be remembered, many of you will be making gifts to be cherished for decades to come.

Quick! It's Peruvia!

It started off as Peruvia, but became so popular that Berroco introduced the fat and fabulous Berroco Peruvia Quick. This is such a terrific yarn that I've got to let everyone know about it. It's a warm and wonderful 100% highland wool in two big, fat it's great for all the new chunkier styles.

We're carrying 13 fantastic shades at Yarnmarket in the rich jewel tones that are so popular this season. There are lots of great patterns to choose from -- including this beautiful vest.

Introducing...Our Favorite Al

Everyone has a favorite Al. Al Einstein. Al Pacino. Al Abama.

Our favorite Al is Al Krogstad of Berroco yarns.

Al visits us here in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, Ohio to show us all the wonderful yarns and patterns Berroco has created for the upcoming fashion season. During his most recent visit, Al presented an array of summer colours and textures that would make you want to run to your blog to write adjectives like, "sumptuous," "stunning," and "irresistible."




We were so excited with what Al had to show us that we're now counting the days to summer. 214 days. Or 5136 hours. 308,160 minutes. 18.4896 million seconds.

Alex and Jan spent hours locked in a room with Al, his samples, a calculator and, apparently, a camera. When they emerged, they knew what wonderful Berroco yarns we'll have in store for you, and which gorgeous colors you'll be lusting after. Al helps us expand the color selection for spring and summer yarns we already carry, and he always introduces something new and exciting that he knows Yarnmarket shoppers will love.

But they aren't telling me...yet. They know that I'll go blabbing to everyone and they say it's still a secret.

But I promise that the minute I'm able to get the information out of them, I'll be posting it right here on our blog. So keep watching...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The November Newsletter is here!

Jan sent out our November newsletter today and it's jam-packed with great information about new yarns, patterns, books and accessories. Be sure to subscribe to it so you'll get Jan's newsletter and bulletin every month.

For November, we've added some fantastic new yarns from Rowan, Gedifra, and Tahki.Rowan's Shimmer is a glimmering delight you'll want for holiday festivities. And Tahki's Donegal Tweed is perfect for winter weekend wear.

From Gedifra, we're delighted to present four fabulous new additions -- Highland Alpaca, Marachela, Diandra and Darina. Any one of these would be great for Holiday gifts.

I love our exclusive Infinity sock yarn that uses Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select in a stunnig new array of colors. I see that it's already getting a lot of attention from knitters who want those hard-to-find, original yarns.

We're all very happy to be able to support cancer research with this exclusive collection of bags and cases from Della Q. Cancer research has always been important to us, but now we're particularly motivated to help out because my sister-in-law, Donna, has been winning her battle against breast cancer up in Canada. We're all so relieved, and very proud of her, as she's gone through the therapy and come out the other side, still smiling and laughing...and concerned about helping others. (Congratulations, Donna!) We've got an exclusive on these items until February, and are taking pre-orders now.

Be sure to subscribe to the Yarnmarket Newsletter and Bulletin. It's filled with great information you won't want to miss!

Our 200,000th Customer!

Last night at 5:20 p.m. ET we were thrilled to have our two hundred thousandth customer. Boy, we've come a long way from our first few orders in the autumn of 2003. To celebrate, we sent Wendy of Washington, DC a gift certificate for $100. She was thrilled to receive it. A nice surprise on Election Day, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

February Knit 'n Style has arrived!

When you work with monthly magazines, it takes forever to see the results of your labor. This is why I really admire the editors. They slave away, working endless hours to pull together all the articles, concentrating on fashion seasons that are many months away. I guess they do some sort of psychic time travel so they can feel holiday festive in June and Valentine romantic in August.

Today I received my February copy of Knit 'n Style, so I'm thinking of hearts and flowers. And chocolate. Especially chocolate. (Note to Alex: Thanks for that bar of white Belgian chocolate that you left on my desk earlier today. Right now, it's making a wonderful dinner.)

I always get a great kick out of the Knit 'n Style Yarn Salon. It's where they present whatever new yarns they've received from vendors across the country. We love to send our yarns in whenever we can, and we're always so thankful to have them included.

In February's issue, our Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select Impressionist Collection yarn was featured...and it's gorgeous. This is a really popular yarn and our shoppers just love the exclusive colorways we offer.

In the patterns section of the magazine -- which seems particularly huge this issue -- our own Caledon Hills Cabled Wrap appears. It's an original Yarnmarket creation, and we've now got it proudly displayed in our showroom for our shoppers to see...and for our staff to try on in the hope of getting it when it's no longer needed in the showroom.

One very happy surprise in the February issue is the inclusion of the pattern for the Windy Valley Qiviut Beaded Muffatee. I love Qiviut because it's so amazingly warm. The Beaded Muffatee is a cute little wrist warmer that is perfect for elegant evenings during the cold winter months.

If you haven't gotten your copy of February Knit 'n Style, be sure to get one because I think you'll find lots of great information and patterns you'll love.

Many thanks to Penelope Taylor for including us!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Regardez! Les Enfants #18 arrivent a Yarnmarket!

We're so excited to have the new Anny Blatt book in stock. Bouton d'Or Layette and Enfant #18 has 65 of the cutest patterns for babies and infants, including toys, overalls, sweaters and rompers. I really love the European childrens styles because they're so timelessly classic.

If you go to the Yarnmarket page you can see 21 of the patterns included in the you know exactly what you'll get when you buy it.

Be sure to check out our great collection of Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or yarns. The quality is exquisite and the colors are superb.

Geez...these patterns are nice enough to make me want to have a baby. Better yet, these patterns are nice enough to make me nag our daughter, Laura, to hurry up and make me a Grandma.

Oh! I ought to mention that this is the book that has the wrap-around cardigan pattern we're offering for free right now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Making a weird Impression.

The other day, while I was out to lunch, I fell victim to Indescriminate Crazed Creativity. When I returned and walked into my office, this is what I saw.

Agghhh!I think it's a YarnMartian.

Pat, Michele and Stefanie were up to their tricks and decided to create a new, improved Deb using some of our new display forms for the Yarnmarket Showroom, a sample sweater that had recently arrived, and one of the wig heads we'd used for a special mailing to editors of knitting magazines. (It was our launch of the Impressionist Collection yarns dyed by Twisted Sisters. We decoupaged the head with pieces of a painting, and then affixed the complementary yarn skein like a French Twist. I tell you, it was a challenge to come up with something that screamed Impressionist painting and Twisted Sisters, but this seemed to do the trick!)

Alex seemed to prefer the new, improved Deb because it's slimmer and more obedient than the old, crabby one. But then he was reminded that it's the old, crabby one who cooks his dinner.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Introducing Caledon Hills Chunky

It has finally arrived! Yarnmarket is proud to introduce a second yarn to our Caledon Hills Collection: Caledon Hills Chunky. This gorgeous 100% wool is available in FORTY-NINE glorious colors, each one reminiscent of the pastoral beauty of Caledon Hills in Ontario, Canada. (Elton John is among the locals who agree it's one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world. Neat, eh?)

We first introduced Caledon Hills Worsted Wool last year, in 72 colors and it's been a tremendous hit with our shoppers.

Both these yarns sell for just $6.85 for a 100g skein, so they're an excellent value. Best of all, Caledon Hills yarns felt beautifully.

If you want a really good quality felting yarn -- or chunky yarn for all the great new fashions -- be sure to check out our Caledon Hills Collection. It's available exclusive at

Aggghhh! It's time for Holiday Shopping!

Woo hoo! Or, is it more like "Boo hoo!" this year? I decided a LONG time back that I'm going to do a lot more of my shopping online. Why? Because I'm a compulsive shopper. If I go into a store, I know I'll buy four gifts for the ones I love, and a couple of gifts for the one I try merely to tolerate: me.

And I don't even need what I buy myself. And I know it. So then I get a bad case of buyer's remorse and feel like a greedy, selfish pig and wish I hadn't spent my hard-earned money on a Special Edition 32-ounce "My Mother the Car" Coffee Mug or a Battery-Powered Toy Hedgehog with Flashing LED Eyes.

So now I'm practicing self control.

This is particularly wise during economic downturns because I can find lots of great stuff online without having to spend money on gas. Sure, sometimes I have to pay for shipping...but mostly I try to meet the minimum amount so I can get shipping for free. On occasion, I'll ask around to see if anyone else wants something from the same online store -- like my Mom. Recently, we bought several different sets of CDs from The Teaching Company and got all our shipping for free. My step-father will receive a really nice set of 96-lectures about the Origins of the Universe for Christmas and Alex will get a really nice set of lectures about a topic that really interests me...but I can't tell you which one because he reads the blog to make sure I don't say anything embarrassing about him.

At Yarnmarket, we do a couple of things to help our holiday shoppers. First of all, we offer electronic gift certificates. I love giving these because no matter what, the gift is always exactly what the knitter wanted -- the right pattern, the right yarn, the right color. These can be delivered online, or nicely printed. And, best of all, they're really quick. I know a lot of our shoppers love these...but not as much as the knitters who get them. After the holidays we get lots of calls from people who say, "I've never shopped your store before, but I got a gift certificate...and I'm so happy!"

The other thing we do that helps holiday shoppers is ship for free in the continental US on orders over $100. You can buy yarn for a couple of gifts and some for yourself, maybe, and get everything delivered right to your door at no cost...and without having to go out to the crowded malls (which, come to think of it, might not be all that crowded this year).

Now, you probably don't need to be reminded, but if you're planning to actually knit gifts for loved ones, it's time to get started. I've already finished a few scarves and pairs of socks, and I've got to get cracking on a few more projects before time runs out on me.

(If you want the honest-to-goodness truth, I started my Christmas knitting in May and I finished almost all of my gift shopping in August. I am a reformed procrastinator who now hyperventilates if I haven't got everything completed before most people have even started thinking about it. Today I'm worried that I haven't got Alex's dinner menu planned...for New Year's Day 2009. If there are any psychiatrists out there, could you give me a call at 888-996-9276, extension 31. Thank you.)

Anyway, back to our knitting. If you're planning on making gifts, please check out the good deals in BargainYARNS to help save money. We've got some terrific Rowan Big Wool Fusion for only $11.05 a ball. You can knit a gift in an evening with that stuff! And if you're looking for luxury-for-less, check out our gorgeous Auracania Alpaca for only $4.71.

When you're planning your gift list this year, we hope you'll consider Yarnmarket.

And we also hope you'll consider buying gifts that support different organizations or good causes. There are so many out there who need your help. We sell yarns, patterns and needles to help fund breast cancer research and camel yarn to help support the Snow Leopard Trust Fund, just to name a couple.

Oh! Just one more thing. The monks at The Abbey of Gethsemani sell the world's best (translation: filled with bourbon) fudge, cheese and fruit cake. This stuff is really amazing...and it makes a great gift. Brother John has been baking fruit cakes all year, and I'm sure he'd really appreciate it if you'd buy some. (This is a picture of Brother John in his "cake baking" clothes.) The monks support their monastery by selling these delicacies, so it's kind of nice to help them out. I figure that if I'm going to eat fudge, I might as well eat monk-made, bourbon-laced fudge so I can feel good about supporting the monks while I get drunk and fat.

Win $200 in the Cherry Tree Hill Design Contest!

Hey, if you like to design socks and other small projects, you'll want to know about this. Cheryl Potter, of Cherry Tree Hill is sponsoring a design contest using her luscious sock yarns, Supersock Select, Sockittome Select and Supersock DK Select.

All you have to do is design something uniquely yours using one hank of these yarns and submit it to Cheryl. You'll find details on her blog.

Yarnmarket carries not only Cheryl's full colorways of these yarns but also our exclusive Impressionist Collection colors. These are based on paintings by artists like Monet, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh.

Cheryl is particularly interested in fingerless gloves, gauntlets, mittens, glittens and unusual socks and leggings. Be sure to enter your submission soon...and good luck!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to Shop for Yarn

A lot of people have asked me, “Deb, how do I shop for yarn?” The first thing I say is, “How would I know? I nag Alex relentlessly until he gives me whatever I want.”

The truth is that there are many different ways to shop for yarn. Yarnmarket offers three:
1. In person at our luxurious showroom in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, Ohio;
2. Online (preferably while in your pajamas and sipping hot cocoa); or
3. By telephone using our free 888 number. (Of course, if you’re in Manchester, England or Tours, France the free phone number won’t work and you should immediately return to Shopping Method 2. Or, if you’re adventurous and have always wanted to see corn fields in the heartland of America, you’ll enjoy Shopping Method 1. )

We long for human companionship.
Our Yarnmarket Showroom is open to the public Monday to Friday from 9 to 5. Or whenever you want, as long as you give us a call first so we can be here. We’re thinking of opening up a couple of Saturdays each month. Let me know if you like this idea. Sure, I usually clean the house on Saturday but if I open up the Showroom instead, Alex will be the one scrubbing the bathrooms. I figure it’s a win for me.

If you haven’t been to our Showroom, and most people haven’t, it’s a lovely little area with comfortable seating, one sample of everything we sell, and a computer so you can look online before wandering out into our massive warehouse complex. We like people to check online before they venture out there because once they start looking at our thousands and thousands of bins, they never want to leave. Last week we had to send out a search party to find wandering knitters who’d disappeared on us. It took four bloodhounds and a rescue helicopter to locate them…high on a shelf in the nethermost corners of the complex where we keep the Windy Valley Qiviut tucked away.

There are advantages and disadvantages to shopping in person. The advantages are that you can touch the yarn, see the colors against your skin, and get that electrical jolt of delight when you fill a shopping bag right to the brim. The disadvantages are that you have to put on clothes (as a public service more than anything else), get into your car and find Pickerington, Ohio. This isn’t a problem for people who live in nearby Reynoldsburg, Ohio but can be a bit of a pain for knitters in Manhattan. Not only do they have to abandon the squalor of their 5th Avenue penthouse for our luxurious Holiday Inn Express, but they also have to drive through Zanesville, birthplace of Zane Grey, the cowboy novel writer. I can’t tell you how many times Manhattan knitters have gotten as far as the Zane Grey Museum and said, “Let’s not go any farther. Nothing in the world can top this. Not even Yarnmarket in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington.”

This is why we suggest Manhattanites shop online.

Our special place in cyberspace.
Now, as all of you know, when you shop online you don’t get to touch the yarn, hold it against your skin and breathlessly gasp, “Ahhhh…” And you don’t get to see the glorious colors in person. But you do get to sit there in your jammies* and flit from page to page to page like a bumblebee pollinating flowers while you examine hundreds of yarns in thousands of colors without having to lift a finger. (Okay…you have to lift a few fingers, but nothing else.) You get to save lots of money on gas, and you don’t have to be nice to anybody. That’s especially important on those days when you wake up, look at your beloved lying in bed beside you in his crappy, faded old T-shirt and sagging flannel pajama bottoms and think, “I gave up David Bowie for that?!”

Anyway, there are advantages and disadvantages to shopping online. Now, if you want to eliminate the disadvantages of not seeing the colors in person, you might want to calibrate your computer so the colors you do see are real. A good friend of Yarnmarket gave us a link to this handy little tool that will help you ensure your monitor is displaying the right colors.

Many thanks to Shel B. Small for allowing us to make it available to Yarnmartians throughout the world.

As for touching the yarns, well…what can I say? Until Microsoft develops TouchSoft 1.0, Software for the Almost Human Experience, you have to imagine it. Maybe we should come up with an index for the feel. Four clouds for Cashmere, Three Clouds for Merino, No Clouds for Burlap. That sort of thing. Whaddya think? Or maybe you could just e-mail us and ask us to describe it and we could write back, “What’s Qiviut like? Well, imagine strapping yourself naked to the underbelly of a musk ox. Ahhhhh…”

Feelings…nothing more than feelings…Now, we know that some of you (and we won’t name names) like to visit your LSY to touch the yarn and then shop online for the lowest prices. Well, it sure would be nice if you’d actually purchase something from your LSY when you visit. When you’re “just browsing” they’re not making a dime even though they’re paying for rent, staff and yarn. I mean, you can browse all you want online and it doesn’t cost anybody a dime, but when you browse in a shop and then purchase elsewhere, you might be forgetting that the yarn shop owner really does need to make a living and if she doesn’t make a living, you’ll soon have no place to browse.

And please -- never, ever, ever rip-off a yarn store owner. I’m not going to go into any detail about what’s going on, but we’ve heard through the grapevine that it’s becoming a serious problem. Yarn must be in its original, perfect condition in order to be sold…and if you do anything to that ball of yarn, you’ve just cost the LSY owner some money. And you don’t want to do that, do you? You’re a nice, good, honest person. (We are convinced that Yarnmarket shoppers are the nicest people in the world and they’d never want to hurt anybody. Sure, call us na├»ve, but only once have we been victim of a major felony. How many yarn stores do you know that can brag about that?!)

*Notice the reference to jammies? Judging by the hours you’re shopping, I have to assume that a lot of you work at companies that have, “Come in Your Jammies Days.” I’ve always wanted a job in a place like that. Alex makes me wear clothes to the shop. And it seems the older I get, the more clothes he wants me to wear.

Can you hear me now?
Lots of people like to shop by telephone. That’s the great thing about cell phones. You can be in the doctor’s office, sitting in that cold, little room all by yourself, alone and semi-naked in that paper gown, shivering while you wait for the doctor to come in and poke you with pointy things. Suddenly, you can exclaim, “Hey, I think I’ll phone Yarnmarket and buy yarn to knit something warm to cover my semi-nakedness.”

That’s why we have an 888 number for free in the United States. 888-996-9276. If you want to call from overseas, you’ll need to dial 1-614-861-7223.

We get lots of phone calls every day from happy knitters in doctor’s offices around the world. Sometimes they have questions about yarns or patterns. Sometimes they’re looking for a particular dye lot. And sometimes they’re just lonely and want someone to talk to because they’ve finished reading all the pamphlets about diseases they hope their doctor doesn’t know how to diagnose.

We have operators standing by (sitting, really) to answer your calls anytime you want to speak to us. As long as that any time is between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday. After that, you’d have to call Alex’s cell phone.

So there you have it. There are fifty ways to leave your lover and three ways to shop at Yarnmarket: in person, online, and by telephone.

If you’d like to touch a yarn before you buy it, give us a call. We can always send you a little piece of it so you can feel it. Okay?

A visit with Joanne Cole

This is one of our favorite times of year: when all our wonderful yarn reps drop by to show us what's new for the upcoming season. Alex and Jan meet with them to discuss the yarns, the colors, the patterns, the promotions, and just about everything else you can think of that might help them decide what to put into our ever-expanding inventory.

Yesterday, we were delighted to welcome to Yarnmarket, Joanne Cole, our rep for Artyarns, Crystal Palace, Himalaya, O-Wool, Stitchkeepers, Iknitiative and a few other companies whose yarn we hope to add to our 600+ brands.

Joanne showed us lots of beautiful new items, and told us what the big colors would be for spring. (The snow isn't even on the ground yet and we're thinking spring!)

You'll want to keep your eye on the blog because I'll be featuring some of these fabulous products as they arrive at Yarnmarket.

Thanks, Joanne, for visiting. We hope you have a safe trip home.

What I Chloe Woods

Michele, proud mama that she is, recently showed me a journal entry by her little girl, Chloe when she was eight years old. (She's ten now.) I thought it was so sweet that I wanted to share it with our readers:

What I Do by Chloe Woods

I watch T.V. and jump rope.
I listen to the radio.
I scream at my brother.
I work on the computer.
I write letters and color and eat.
I play games.
I run. I jump.
I play on my swing set.
I play with people in my neighborhood.
I shop.
I swim.
I write poems and stories.
I sharpen pencils.
I pet my cat.
I feed my fish.
I grow.
I play baseball.
I make my bed, sometimes.
I do my hair.
I make people laugh.
I go to my grandma's house.
I chase birds.
I play dodgeball.
I sleep.
I get dressed.
I talk.
I ride the bus. I ride the car.
I practice spelling.
I go to school.
I wake up.
I learn. I think.
I try to be nice.
I have fun!

Chloe didn't mention it, but she knits, too.

Chloe, I hope you grow up to be a writer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Yarnmarket in the Washington Post

The neatest thing happened a few weeks ago. I received a call from Holly Thomas of the Washington Post. She was doing a fashion feature and wanted to include some absolutely stunning Twinkle yarns from Yarnmarket.

"Sure!" I exclaimed, perhaps a little too enthusiastically. We talked about what she needed and I sent her a few pretty balls of yarn.

Well, today I received a copy of the article and it's really nice. She wrote about the Twinkle designs and then showed some balls of yarn and says that we have them. Isn't that great?

Thanks, Holly for thinking of us. We really do appreciate it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

FREE Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or Patterns

Our good friends at Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or are allowing us to offer two of their popular patterns FREE on (Thank you, Jean-Christophe!)

The free Anny Blatt pattern is an absolutely gorgeous open weave tunic, the Divine Linois Tunic. It's created with Divine yarn, and is in women's sizes 4 to 18.

The free Bouton d'Or pattern is the Baby Blatt Wraparound Top in Baby Blatt yarn. It's sized for 0 to 9 months.

Be sure to visit to see these -- and many more -- free patterns!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The October Bulletin is here!

Our latest issue has just been released. Be sure to subscribe online so you'll receive it every month.

In it we feature new yarns from Noro, Knit One Crochet Too, Lang & Indie Dyer plus new colors from Debbie Bliss, South West, Filatura Di Crosa, Crystal Palace & Cherry Tree Hill.

We also have fantastic ideas to help you keep up with the trends of chunky knits, lacy designs & great colors for the fall & winter. And as always, we have added the new projects you crave to give your wardrobe extra pizzazz plus terrific new books, patterns & magazines to inspire you.

Be sure to subscribe so you'll receive each month's newsletter, jam-packed with helpful information about our newest yarns and patterns plus our monthly bulletin.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nice is...ummmm...nice.

After our stay in Avignon (plus side trips to abbeys and churches and the Pont du Gard), Alex and I drove to Nice. And, best of all, I instructed him to make a wrong turn only once...but the early turn-off provided me with a good perspective on where we actually were so I could more easily figure out how to get us where we wanted to be without taking us someplace else beforehand.

I'd been on a very quick trip to Nice a few years ago, for a business meeting, so I had a bit of an advantage.

Alex and I don't usually go to beach towns because I get sunstroke if I so much as look out a window, so this was a real treat for us. We weren't staying there long -- about 36 hours -- so we were pretty rushed for time. Our trip back to the US was to begin at 6:20 a.m. which meant we had one day to see things, then get to bed really early so we could be up at 4:00 a.m. to hurry to the airport.

Still, we managed to check out the Anny Blatt store window to see what they were selling on The Riviera, and then we took one of those bus tours of the town.

Boy, if I ever get really when David Bowie finally realizes that he can have me if he's willing to leave Iman...I'm going to move to the south of France. I picked up some real estate brochures and found a lovely romantic hideaway for just over 2 million Euros. I'm pretty sure he'd like it.

David Bowie is interested in Templars and Saracens and Gnosticism so he'd appreciate living in the area so steeped in history related to those topics. Don't you think so? Then, he could invite his friends, like Eileen Pagels, to come to see us and we'd talk all about the good old days of medieval religious wars and torture and treachery...and, now that I think of it, maybe the good old days weren't so good after all.

But then I could go shopping at the Anny Blatt store near the Promenade des Anglais and knit him some nice sweaters to wear. And I'd knit some for Alex, too, because I can't imagine moving to Nice and not taking him with me. I'd just tell David he's our electrician, navigator and tax filer.

Sur le pont d'Avignon, l'on y danse...avec Anny Blatt

That 15th century children's song is still sung today. "On the bridge of Avignon, we all dance, we all dance..." The bridge is no longer in use because part of it was destroyed many years ago, but it's still one of the highlights of the beautiful city of Avignon.

After our visits in Paris, Alex and I boarded the famous TGV train for Avignon in the south of France. The TGV goes so fast that you get dizzy staring out the window. The darned thing can get up to 357 MILES PER HOUR, but we cruised at the snail's pace of only 200 MPH. Several times, Alex tried to capture a photo when another train whizzed by us, but it was very difficult. He didn't have time to push the camera button before train had sped away. Isn't that amazing?

When we got to Avignon we rented a car so we'd be able to drive to the Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or factory in a village outside the city. Our friend, Jean-Christophe had arranged for us to meet with Brigette and Patrick Testaniere, the CEO of Anny Blatt. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to see the factory because it produces some of the finest yarns in the world. From a little village in the South of France, Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or acquires high-quality fibres from throughout the world, manufactures absolutely stunning yarns, creates sophisticated patterns and markets to quality-conscious knitters everywhere. It was a real honor to be welcomed by them to their facility.

Well...if we found it.

WARNING TO ALL: If you're going to rely on Google Maps to get you someplace in another country, be sure to print out not only the instructions, but also the actual map. I was armed only with instructions and once they went awry, I was toast. (Several years ago when we divided marital responsibilities I somehow got stuck with electrician, navigator and filer of taxes. To this day, I don't know how I ended up with the really crappy jobs that could result in electrocution, endless wandering, or prison.)

Anyway, I was responsible for getting us from the south end of Avignon to a village north of the city. And I really screwed up. Once I realized I was completely lost because I couldn't find D225 (which Google claims is somewhere near A7 but I really think this is a Google gag they like to play on unsuspecting travelers) I had to improvise using just the little bit of information I could make out in the written instructions. They told me to go 30 km on A7, but because I couldn't find A7 I chose to send Alex along N7 which eventually somehow (miraculously) connected to A7...30 km later.

We were terribly lost and were late for our appointment and, yes, we tried to call but the phone number we had was missing its last digit. Alex didn't say anything...not a word...for miles and miles...not a single, solitary word. And I knew he was really annoyed that we were going to be late for our meeting. He doesn't like to be late and I don't like to be navigating in foreign territory without a map. So you can imagine how pleasant the drive was.

When we got to the village, now following the Google instructions that were getting finer and finer (go 300 meters, turn left, go 20 meters, turn right...) we couldn't find the factory. We made several attempts going up and down the streets, following the instructions, before we realized they were not to the address we were seeking! (Not my fault, I swear. Alex was responsible for pulling the direction from Google. He gave them to me. Blame him! Blame him!)

Again, the God of GPS smiled on us because out of desperation I had Alex drive us to the center of town and then I intuitively sent him where I thought the factory "ought" to be. Sure enough, there it was! Despite my screw-up getting to the right highway, Alex says I'm like a homing pigeon because I always end up finding my way...eventually.

The factory was right there on one of the main streets of the village and -- best of all -- it was surrounded by pussycats. I got some soothing pussycat pats in before we entered the facility.

Brigette, our hostess, and Patrick didn't seem to be offended at all when we showed up an hour and a half later than planned. We showed them our instructions and the telephone number we had and they laughed that both were incorrect. I'll bet they were thinking, "Dopey Americans." And they were right!

Accompanied by the sweet dog who lives at the factory, they took us on a long and interesting tour of their facility. Wow! What a place! We saw the wool roving as it arrives...the carding machines...spinning in action. I thought part of the process was really fascinating. The yarn gets spun into plies that are then spun into the gorgeous yarns that Anny Blatt/Bouton d'Or is famous for.

They had the softest angora, some lovely linen, and sheep's wool that traveled all the way from Australia and South Africa.

Brigette and Patrick showed us the dying equipment and explained the dying process to us. They had some lovely organic dyes they're now using, too. We couldn't believe how intense the pigments were and how little dye is used for a really big batch of yarn.

Luckily, one of the ladies was in the process of spinning yarn -- several skeins at a time -- while we were there so we got to see how it was made into the final product, labeled and put into the box. The boxes are so nicely packed with tissue paper. Everything seemed so luxurious...and French.

When we finished the tour, still accompanied by the dog, we went to the building that houses the factory store. Outside there were so many birds and critters that Alex asked where they kept the corporate cow. "Ou est votre vache?" he enquired. I suspect they thought we were insane, and didn't know it was a Monty Python-esque joke based on the Spamalot line, "Cherchez la vache." Sometimes Alex and I make obscure references to things that only we know we're talking about. The rest of the world thinks we're nuts.

The factory store was heaven! They had all sorts of samples on sale, and special deals on lots of their gorgeous yarns. I controlled myself, though, because this was before the Euro was kind enough to fall to below $1.40.

We stayed at the factory for a long time, learning all about the yarns, watching the process and taking photos. (Check out the original door to the factory. It was started in 1817!) We saw how everything operates -- from the arrival of the fibers to the cleansing of water used in the manufacturing process to ensure that don't pollute the environment. The trip was very informative and a lot of fun.

If you're ever lucky enough to visit the Anny Blatt factory outside of Avignon, make sure you've got the right address and get yourself a really good map of the area. Or, better yet, hire a chauffeur and don't make your spouse be the navigator because nobody can afford a divorce lawyer these days.

Many thanks to Jean-Christophe for setting up the meetings and to Brigette and Patrick for kindly showing us their facility.

Our Visit to Anny Blatt/Bouton D'Or

When our good friend Jean-Christophe at Anny Blatt learned of our trip to France, he was kind enough to set up meetings for us at the store in Paris and the factory in Avignon. Wasn't that nice? He even sent me some gorgeous Anny Blatt sweaters to wear on the trip! (That reminds me, I have to return them. He's probably got a trunk show that missing a couple of important samples.)

We took the train to one of the more elegant parts of Paris -- as if there are any less elegant parts!-- and we found our way to the shop. There, we were greeted by Madame Fabienne Gosse and one of her staff. With Alex's broken French and my almost non-existent French we managed to have a delightful conversation about which of the yarns are most popular, which colors do well, and which patterns are a big hit this season.

The Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or patterns are all very sophisticated, and fairly complicated, so they appeal to the experienced knitter with exquisite taste.

Madame Gosse told us she recently hosted a group knitting trip to Russia and is planning one to the US. She's really active with her carriage trade clientele and regularly holds events at one of the nearby hotels. Maybe if I'm lucky I'll happen to be in Paris someday when she's having one. Of course, the other ladies will be chatting away happily in French and I'll be sitting there looking like a deer in the headlights while catching only every third or fourth word they utter.

I've promised Alex I'll contact the local language school so I can improve my skills. The odd thing is that Alex has a fairly extensive vocabulary, but I'm better with pronunciation and sentence structure. But I won't speak it. He's brave enough to cobble together sentences while I just stand there like a dope whispering that "billet" is pronounced "biyay" and "merci" isn't pronounced like "mercy" but some very difficult way that I couldn't even begin to convey in writing. If you've ever heard Steve Martin's jokes about French, you'll understand.

MARTIN: That man is choking! Oh, he isn't. He's speaking French.

If we could do a Vulcan mind meld with the little bit of information each of us knows, plus Alex's bravado, we might have one single individual who could actually communicate.

Anyway, we had a really nice visit with Madame Gosse who spent quite a bit of time with us and then took us across the street to Tiboodoo, the store that sells ready-knit Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or patterns. Boy, were the clothes ever cute! We really love the European children's wear because it's actually children's wear rather than miniaturized adult clothing. Maybe I'm turning into an old geezer, but I'd rather see little kids dressed like little kids. The sparkly, Las Vegas Showgirl styles for 7 year olds don't appeal to me. Check out the infants' and kids' patterns from Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or and you'll see what I mean.

The best thing about them is that they're not only timeless, they're made with a really high quality fiber, so they're going to last and can be handed from child to child to child. (Maybe with our worsening economy the idea of quality, timeless children's clothes that can be handed down for a couple of generations will catch on.)

Our next stop on the Anny Blatt Tour de France was the factory in Avignon. More to come on that in another posting.

Visit to TexWorld in Paris

TexWorld took place in Paris from September 22 to September 25 and Alex and I had the pleasure of going there to see all the new styles and colors for the Winter 2009/2010 Season.

Let me start out by saying that I love Paris. I love the architecture. I love the food. I love the museums. I love the ambiance. And I even love the French people who are always so kind and accommodating as Alex and I butcher their language. (We can't understand why some people think they're arrogant when we've had nothing but wonderful experiences on our visits to France.)

We were really excited to have the opportunity to travel there to attend TexWorld and then to meet with many lovely people at Anny Blatt.

The conference itself was held at Le Bourget which is on the outskirts of Paris. We had our plans all figured out -- take that train to the Le Bourget station, catch a shuttle bus, and we'd have no problem getting to the trade show. Imagine our surprise when our train stopped a few stations earlier and we were asked to get out because it was not going any further. A "disturbance" had forced the cancellation of trains to our station.

Now, if you live in France you know that these disturbances happen all the time. I was once working at an office there (in my previous corporate life) when the city came to a standstill because farmers were staging a protest and shut down the streets. This is pretty common, and it doesn't faze the French at all. They improvise. But we very perplexed about what we'd do next in order to reach our destination.

Much to our relief, we soon saw was a young lady holding up a big sign that said, "TexWorld" so we approached her. She pointed us up an escalator when another young lady holding a sign pointed us toward yet another sign. Sure enough, they had people directing us toward buses awaiting confused TexWorld attendees. That bus took us right to the door of the conference. Alex and I were impressed with how quickly the TexWorld folks had responded to what must have been an early morning crisis for them.

Anyway, we got to TexWorld and were astounded by the enormity of the show. I mean, this was massive...and perhaps even larger than the shows in Florence. There were companies from all over the world proudly displaying their fabrics and fibers and I was almost overwhelmed with the desire to start grabbing the stuff and shoving it into my bag. These were fashion items you wouldn't even see for another year, and they were gorgeous!

After taking a couple of shots we learned that cameras were not permitted on the floor -- except by the media -- so I'll have to be sure to register myself as journalist for Shear Bagatelle next year.

We were amazed by the heavy representation of companies from China, Pakistan, India and many of the Eastern European countries. I'm afraid we didn't see any manufacturers from the US or Canada, which was disappointing, but there were a lot of people who'd traveled from North America to see the show.

We spent quite a while looking at the booths, gathering brochures, examining the colors (black and purple again, ladies) and lusting after all the fashions on display. The mills have become so sophisticated that there's really no limit to the variety and complexity of the products they produce.

It was a fascinating experience and we're really delighted that we had the opportunity to attend. Now we can start planning for 2009/2010 Winter Season with a better idea of what our knitters are going to want to make and which yarns we ought to make sure we're offering.

Oh, reduce costs (because we're well traveled but cheap) we rented an apartment rather than stay at a hotel. That way, we could make some of our own meals, too. Well, we went out and bought some ham from a butcher, cheese from a cheese shop and bread from a boulangerie and for the first three days all we ate were ham sandwiches. I swear, they were so delicious that we didn't want anything else! There's something about the food there. Maybe it's fresher and not filled with preservatives. Of course, we did go to Alex's favorite place for lunch: Les Deux Magots. It's where philosophers like Sartre used to hang out. I had a cup of hot chocolate there that is quite possibly is the best hot chocolate on the planet.

Alex took the shot of the Eiffel Tower at the top of this posting. It was blue to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the EU. Every hour, on the hour, it bursts into a zillion sparkling lights, much to the delight of tourists who stand in awe of such a beautiful sight.

If you're like me and you're probably only going to get one life on this planet, don't you wish you could live that one life in Paris?, too.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

September 16 Yarnmarket Bulletin

Jan has just released our September Bulletin. If you'd like to get onto our mail list, just fill out the subscription information.

Welcome to the September 2008 issue of the Yarnmarket Bulletin featuring new yarns from Noro, Filatura Di Crosa & the S. Charles Collezione plus new colors from Crystal Palace, Filatura & Rowan. In addition to wonderful new yarns & colors, we have fantastic ideas to help you and your favorite relatives & friends keep up with the trends of chunky knits & great colors for the fall & winter. And as always, we have added the new projects you crave to give your wardrobe extra pizzazz plus terrific new books, kits & tools to inspire you. So relax & enjoy this quick overview of what we've added to the store since you received your copy of the September newsletter at the beginning of the month:

New Yarns & Colors from Filatura Di Crosa, S. Charles, Noro, Crystal Palace & Rowan

This month we've added fabulous new yarn options you'll want to experience first hand. From Filatura Di Crosa we have two new additions to share with you. First, when you add supersoft alpaca to sensational wool with just a touch of acrylic, the result is velvety Aliseo. And not only is this worsted-weight beauty so, so soft, it's dyed to create a subtle striping effect with tonal color shifts in solids & heathered tweeds.

Then just imagine what you get when you mix wool, cashmere & angora with a bit of acrylic and nylon -- sensationally trendy Balu. Available in both neutral hues & funky animal prints, "Balu" is a terrific yarn when knitted or crocheted by itself in superb hats, scarves & more. Also great when used as a faux-fur trim for cuffs, collars & more. Then for ideas to use both of these new yarns check out the Filatura Di Crosa: Fall/Winter 2008 Collection, which includes 27 patterns for fall & winter.

Next, when you crave extra softness with your wool plus added strength & durability, explore the supple lines of Karma from the S. Charles Collezione. With a lovely addition of angora & nylon to this wool blend, "Karma" gives you sensational loft & an airy halo effect. Constructed as a fabulous woven chainette, this yarn has a great stitch definition & drape in all your quick-to-create, chunky knitting & crochet projects and is featured in several of the 18 designs included in the new S. Charles: Fall/Winter 2008 booklet.

Then Noro's amazing Maiko is a luxurious blend of 35% silk, 25% wool and 30% kid mohair. Soft to the touch, Noro's "Maiko" knits up into easy-to-wear garments that look as great as they feel. Available in a bright palette of solid shades with a hint of tweedy highlights, this is a great addition to the Noro collection and continues the Yarnmarket commitment to carry every Noro yarn available in the U.S. And of course, we have in stock the pattern support you'll need once you fall in love with this yarn. Check out Jane Ellison's Noro Family for great project ideas too.

We've also received a variety of new colors in many of your favorite lines including:
• Almost double the color choices now in Yarnmarket's own Caledon Hills popular Worsted Wool yarn with 33 fantastic new shades recently added;
• From Crystal Palace, check out the new options in Kaya (121 & 128), Fjord Solid (4045), Fjord Print (0450 & 0453), Taos (21, 22, 23 & 24) & Panda Cotton Print (460, 461, 462 & 463);
• Then discover the newbies from Filatura Di Crosa in New Smoking (12, 13 & 14) & Zara Plus (405, 408 & 409);
• Plus take a peek at all the new hues in Rowan's Felted Tweed (170, 172, 166, 168, 165, 162, 171, 164 & 167).

Keep Up with Fashion Trends by Adding Chunky Knits & Fab Colors to Your Wardrobe

As we mentioned in the September newsletter several weeks ago, we're all checking out the fall fashion trends & showcasing those ever-popular chunky knits along with added color to your wardrobe. Because of this resurgence of chunky knitwear & bright colors, we've added sensational new choices to the Women's Vests, Ponchos & Coats, Women's Pullovers, Shawls, Stoles & Wraps & Women's Cardigans departments. As usual, we've included more Baby & Kid's Stuff too, so this month check out our hot staff picks to add color, panache & comfort to your life:

• First off, we love the updated classics from Rowan knitwear designer Sarah Hatton, and she shows her exquisite fashion sense in the Colourscape Glow Pullover. Taking lovely advantage of Kaffe Fassett's spectacular, self-striping Colourscape Chunky yarn, this pullover goes from a simple mock turtleneck to a trendy addition to your fall & winter wardrobe.

• Another great example of chunky knitwear is the marvelous Faux Fur Vest from Filatura Di Crosa designer Rosemary Drysdale. With the main body in chunky, furry Balu accented by trim in soft Aliseo, this straight-line vest is great worn with slacks, jeans & even a casual skirt. Also check out the sensational ribbed accents at the hem & collar plus the innovative front placket with toggle buttons.

• Then that special little girl in your life will enjoy keeping with the latest fashions too, and we've added several fun children's projects featuring the chunky, chenille wonder Plush by Berroco. One of our new faves -- the Plush Patsy Hooded Poncho -- will keep her in style & comfy with its faux fur look. Then the Plush Jo Jumper has great trim & use of buttons for a terrific layering option year round. Also the Plush Hooded Baby Jacket has those trendy toggle buttons plus it's a quick knit & a great gift idea. And remember -- you can also make any of these little project gems in variegated Plush Colors instead of solid-hued "Plush" as shown.

• Last but certainly not least comes a fabulous sock project from Noro designer Jane Ellison. Maiko Hepworth Socks provide a basic sock pattern transformed by soft Maiko yarn from Noro. Also the stripes & color accents for the toe, heel & cuff are very effective plus the added length gives you more style versatility. Wear with turned down cuffs & that wonderful slouchy, casual look as shown or stretch them to their full length & have almost knee-highs.

Enjoy New Tools, Scarf Kits & Circular Needles Now in Stock for Knitters & Crocheters

Lantern Moon Blonde Destiny Circular Needles

This month we've received new goodies for our Tools & Accessories, Kits & Needles areas. First off, now you can continue your favorite craft in low light or even in the dark with the Knit Light clipped on your shirt, blouse, pocket, collar or placket. And you won't disturb others with this bright white light that highlights a small area that's large enough to see your needles or hook plus the work in progress. Also includes a carrying case, adjustable, flexible neck, & magnetic base to mount unit on metal surface. Even has a red laser pointer that can be used in presentations. Great gift idea for knitters & crocheters. Available in two colors -- blue or red base for the light. Also comes with three batteries, but for back-ups, check out the Knit Light Replacement Batteries.

Then the Lantern Moon Blonde Destiny Circular Needles are made from the same Vietnamese hardwood highly prized for its straight grain as are their lovely straight knitting needles. The wood is a beautiful, light blonde color and extremely hard & durable but very light and warm to handle. All of these handcrafted needles have a brass connection that's machined, honed & polished with the needles to create a virtually seamless connection and that swivels at the base of the needles to avoid kinks. Also the nylon cord uncoils easily, stays relaxed & is tinted for improved visibility.

One more new item -- from Artyarns take a look at the stunning Kaleidoscope Cashmere Crochet Scarf Kit. Using luxurious, laceweight "Cashmere 1" yarn, Artyarns designer Sharon Sorken has created this lovely crocheted scarf kit. Building on the ever-popular retro look of granny squares, Sharon has designed this terrific collection of interconnecting granny "circles" in a superb range of 11 contrasting solid hues. Available in two colorways: Jewels or Pastels as shown.

Our expansive Books and Patterns department is the place to check when you're looking for inspiration to choose your next project. This month we've added new books we know you won't want to miss. To begin, you'll want to check out Bouton d'Or Layette & Enfant #18. To support this wonderful collection of 64 patterns for babies and children, we've added yarns to our Anny Blatt and Bouton d'Or collections to showcase selected projects from the book. Currently we are carrying only the featured colors from each new yarn, but all the colors are available by special order with no minimum number of balls required. Right now we have 8 of the 64 projects highlighted with more to come soon.

Then take a look at Debbie Bliss: Essential Knits for Kids. Offering 20 adorable new patterns for children ages 2-5 years old, all are created with beautiful Debbie Bliss yarn such as Baby Cashmerino and Rialto Aran. Patterns include tops, pullovers, a blanket, a doll and much more.

Never Not Knitting -2009 Desk Calendar
Plus here's a selection of other new books we've received the past few weeks:
• Find a collection of 15 patterns for Tahki's fall & winter tweed yarns in Tahki: Tweed Collection 2nd Ed.;
• Never Not Knitting - 2009 Desk Calendar features 365 days of wit and wisdom from the self-proclaimed "Yarn Harlot," Stephanie Pearl-McPhee;
• Skein for Skein includes 16 knitted projects with dos and don'ts of yarn substitution;
• You'll find everything you need to know to begin felting including several projects to get you started in Start to Felt;
• Tag, You're Knit includes 26 colorful knitted accessories kids will love;
• Learn to knit with the more than 30 cool, easy patterns found in Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting;
• Custom Knits, a unique and fascinating book, provides a wealth of information on rose-pattern knitting in Iceland plus a feast of ideas on how to apply traditional Icelandic techniques to colorful, contemporary designs;
• Lace Knitting to Go includes 25 hip and modern pattern designs on cards perfect for throwing into your knitting bag; and
• Beyond the Square: Crochet Motifs offers 144 circles, hexagons, triangles, squares and other unexpected shapes to use in your designs.

Always New Arrivals to Come Plus Great Projects Even Better the Second Time Around

As usually happens when we're finishing up the bulletin each month, our Receiving Manager has given us a preview of all the new products she's heard will be arriving soon. We've just learned that within the next few weeks we'll be enhancing our yarn collection with new yarns & colors from some of your favorite yarn companies such as Rowan, Gedifra, South West, Debbie Bliss and Artyarns. We'll also be adding two new yarn companies in the upcoming month, so keep watching the "What's New" column on the Home Page for all the latest releases.

And we do appreciate how much you've been enjoying our showcase of outstanding projects from past fall seasons, so as you've requested, we're again featuring in this issue popular projects we recommend for a second look. They've remained popular since being introduced, but with well over 2000 Project Ideas now available at Yarnmarket, we understand the challenge of finding the best options for you & your favorite friends & relatives. So check out the four we're featuring this issue for women & precious wee ones:

• To start us off with those bright colors for fall, we have the Silk Garden Lite V-Neck Vest. Designed exclusively for Silk Garden Lite by Noro, this pullover sweater vest with the deep V neckline is a sensational layering option all fall, winter & spring. Just select your favorite color combo in self-striping "Silk Garden Lite," and you can get started on this lovely right away! A great project for Intermediate knitters looking for different kinds of stitches to learn.

• Then another marvelous sweater project for your fall pullover collection is the innovative Jane's Pearls Pullover from Twisted Sisters. This little number gives you the quintessential sweater girl look of the 1940s & '50s in a soft, romantic pullover. It superbly combines the textures & hues of their Zazu & Lust yarns. Then with its knitted-on beads at the neck & sleeve bands, you have the perfect finishing touches to set off the contoured, feminine shaping.

• Of course, you can also add sensational pizzazz & color to your wardrobe with one of the luscious, large handbags now on the scene, and we recommend the oh-so-spectacular Zoom Felted Peruvia Bag from Berroco. Using an animal-print design, you can craft this superb bag from your favorite three colors of terrifically feltable Peruvia and have your own little "pet" in no time. (Is the one shown a zebra? Or the rare white tiger?) Also makes a sensational gift for your special friends & family members.

• And since we know how much you enjoy creating outfits for the babies & children in your life, we have lots of project ideas in our Baby & Kid's Stuff department too with over 400 projects available now. Baby blankets remain popular baby gifts, so just imagine your favorite little one cuddled up in the adorable Fleece Rubber Ducky Blanket from Knit One, Crochet Too. Themed to go with the traditional "rubber ducky" at bath time, we bet this design becomes your precious child's best blankie for carrying around the house too.

Stay Current with the Latest Yarnmarket Sales Available at

As we've been reminding you lately, our Yarnmarket sale website -- BargainYARNS -- is definitely the website to check for terrific deals especially on yarn, books, needles & accessories. From sensational Yarn Bargains available at up to 50% off the suggested retail price to Imperfect Books at significant price reductions, BargainYARNS is the place to get the sales & discounts you crave. But remember -- all items listed today on BargainYARNS are available in limited quantities as discontinued items, as mill ends or as special offers, so when you see something you like, buy it immediately and in sufficient quantity for your project because it could be sold out later the same day.

Now even though we know you like to browse for yourself, here are our staff recommendations for September:

• First, take a look at the new additions from Crystal Palace -- Meringue Solid & Meringue Print. A wonderful combination of hand-dyed thick & thin yarn encircled by two criss-crossing metallic threads, this wool blend is available in a fabulous array of colors. Plus print out the free Meringue Baby Blanket to get you started with this great yarn.

• Next you won't want to miss out on Cherry Tree Hill's beautiful Jumbo Loop Mohair. A beautifully hand-painted, 100% mohair boucle yarn from Cherry Tree Hill, "Jumbo Loop Mohair" comes in a generous hank with 185 yards and a vast array of color combos. And check out the Jumbo Loop Mohair Throw. Knit on the diagonal using the seed stitch, this thick throw is recommended for the beginner and beyond. Measuring approximately 46"x56" (excluding fringe), you need 4 hanks of Cherry Tree Hill's lovely hand-dyed "Jumbo Loop Mohair" to complete the project.

• Finally, be sure to take advantage of the incredible price reductions on Malva from Filatura Di Crosa now that it's moved from Yarnmarket to BargainYARNS. Constructed of a super lightweight netting threaded through with single strands of variegated color, "Malva" is sure to become your favorite supersoft, lightweight ribbon option.

And as always, Happy Knitting!
Your Yarnmarket Knitting Store Staff