Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Story of Caledon Hills Yarn

A while back, Alex decided that we should have our own exclusive line of yarn; one that provided really good value in a high quality fiber. We thought about it a long time, and Alex started searching for exactly the right yarn to buy.

As he was doing the real work, I was very busy thinking of what we should call it. We needed something romantic, something versatile, something that conjured up imagery of a myriad of beautiful colors. Something profound and glorious! Well, maybe just glorious. I'm not good with profound. (But I'm quite accomplished with profane.)

As I was thinking about it, I was also planning a visit to see my Mom and Step-father in Canada. They live just north of Toronto in a place so peaceful, pretty and picturesque that even the Happy Hooker used to live there. (I kid you not. My Mom showed me which house. See how easy it is for the profane to sneak in even when I'm writing about yarn?)

These days, Elton John and his partner from Toronto have a home hidden somewhere in the rolling countryside of Caledon Hills. There are also a lot of people who've escaped from the hustle and bustle of the city and who want to enjoy the natural beauty of the area's rivers, meadows and woodlands. And the privacy. And the lack of decent Internet access because Bell Canada doesn't think that anybody outside the 416 area code deserves to be online.

You know, there are no humans at Bell Canada...just phone options for recorded voices. Invariably, those voices put you into a loop from which people rarely escape. But the very few, and the very lucky, if they are willing to wait on hold for a week or two are connected to some guy in India who I think actually IS Bell Canada. He pretends he doesn't know what you're talking about when you complain, "My telephone has been cut off for six days and I have no access to it or the crappy Internet dial-up which is all you'll give me because my area code isn't 416." But I digress...and rant on behalf of my Mom whose phone line was cut by road workers who said the Bell Canada guy in India had refused to tell them where he'd buried her phone line. And she can't get decent access to the Internet even though the Bell Canada guy was happy to sell her a satellite receiver that couldn't receive signals unless she held it in her hands pointing it out her bedroom window.

I wish the Canadian government would take Bell Canada away from that guy in India and give it to someone else. Maybe they could give it to the guy in Spain who owns Highway 407, the world's first all-electronic, barrier-free toll highway. He seems to be doing a fine job with it, and I figure he must be making a profit because I promptly receive a bill for about $30 every time I drive on it...and he has to track me down here in Ohio which has got to be a challenge for a guy living in Spain operating a Canadian highway. I wonder if he knows how to get in touch with Elton John? Surely, he and his partner use 407 to get to their house, and they're rich enough to use it any time they want!

Sorry...sometimes I go off on a tangent.

Anyway, the more I thought about Caledon Hills and how pretty it is, the more it made sense for yarn colors reminiscent of the plants, trees, streams, rocky moraine, and breath-taking vistas. Because we knew that very few people would be familiar with the area, we commissioned one of our staff, Sharon Will, to do a watercolor that depicted the spectacular landscape.

Sharon is really talented and we were delighted when she brought us her masterpiece. She has a studio in the thriving megalopolis of Pickerington, OH that she shares with some other talented local artists. Sharon and her friends have just finished up some other commissioned works for us that I'll tell you about in another posting -- when we're ready to launch another new line of yarns.

Once we had Sharon's painting and Alex's gorgeous worsted wool yarn in 39 colors, Susan created a really nice label for the Caledon Hills yarn collection while Patsy and Michele came up with some perfect color names based on the region. They used the Internet to see the pretty parklands and strange rocky formations and protected conservation areas that have made Caledon Hills such a popular destination.

Then, our friend Barbara Rottman got to work creating patterns for us. We love the felted bags she designed. She told us that the yarn is not only wonderful for any worsted wool project, it felts beautifully! (And, best of all, it's a fantastic value at only $5.85 a ball.)

We're really thrilled by how popular this line has become...not only because it's our own brand, but because so many different people here at Yarnmarket were an integral part of the development process. We had so much fun creating this line that we're now working on two others that promise to be really interesting -- for us and for our knitters. Stay tuned...because we'll soon be launching another exclusive line.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The rich colors of autumn yarns

I really love the autumn when the air is crisp and clean and all the gorgeous, rich colors return. Sure, I always look forward to the whites and brights of summer, but after a few months I get bored and embrace the change to the deeper shades. We've been getting some terrific new yarns in from Cherry Tree Hill, hand-dyed by Cheryl Potter, and I thought I'd share this newest arrival.

Cherry Tree Hill Organic DK feels and looks wonderful. It's created using only "green dyes" on 100% wool yarn -- which makes you feel good about using it. (Knit "green dye socks" to help reduce the carbon footprint of your...uh...footprints.)

Organic DK is certified in Canada (my home and native land) and is produced only in limited edition batches of 50 skeins for each color. So you know you're getting something that's going to be a collector's item. Oh! You get a free sock pattern with every order, and that's always a good thing, isn't it?

Thinking of autumn colors, I thought I'd share with you one of the new masterpieces I picked up while I was at the monastery. Again, the artist is my friend Brother John. His art is becoming so popular that I noticed signs in the gift shop that said, "Brother John/Tony Zuber. Ohio's gift to Gethsemani." Isn't that nice? He has been drawing for just a few years and I notice that his work just keeps getting better and better. Well, I guess it goes without saying that he's divinely inspired!

Exclusive! One-of-a-Kind Sock Yarn from Indie Dyer

We just added the most unique, unusual hand-dyed supersock yarn and I know you're going to love it. Indie Supersock Select yarn is created in very small batches using Cherry Tree Hill's Supersock Select yarn. Because each batch is limited, and will never again be repeated, you get an original yarn that's perfect for one-of-a-kind socks and other garments. Right now we've got seven deliciously rich color combinations in stock. Grab 'em now because they aren't going to last long!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ancient Threads Farm is New to Us!

Every once in a while we come across something truly unique. Ancient Threads Farm's Tri yarn is a good example of a rare find that we know our knitters will love -- not only because it's a fantastic feeling superwash yarn, but because the colors are one-of-a-kind. It's also the only plant-dyed superwash sock yarn you're likely to find anywhere!

The upside of this is that you get to create something original. The downside is that you can do it only once with each color because it can never be repeated again.(That means you'll want to order all you need at one time!)

Ancient Threads Farm hand-dyes Cherry Tree Hill yarn using plant and insect based dyes. Isn't that neat? It's the way fabrics were dyed thousands of years ago so it's kind of revolutionary retro approach. They use combinations of black walnut, logwood, cochineal, tumeric, lac, madder, osage orange, brazilwood, sandalwood, and many other natural sources.

The colors are always different depending on where the dye materials originate, seasonality, temperature and many other factors. This means that each colorway created is available only in limited quantities is likely never to be exactly reproduced again.

We're delighted to be adding Ancient Threads Farm Tri to Yarnmarket, and we think it will appeal to knitters looking for something a little off the beaten path. we love to be unique. (Just like everybody else!)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Exclusive Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select

I guess I'm going to be making a lot more socks over the next while. We just received our new Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Select yarn and it's so fantastic that I won't be able to resist it. The yarn is soft and luxurious, and has such a nice twist that it's going to be a real pleasure to work with.

We're really thrilled with all eight Impressionist Collection colors and I think I might go with Monet's Garden for a bright pair (perfect on dreary winter days) and maybe also a pair with Paris Rain because its muted tones are ideal for a more conservative look -- on those rare occasions when I want to trick people by appearing stately and elegant. (Yeah...right!)

My grand-daughter wants me to knit her a pair of socks in blue, and this interpretation of the Degas paintings -- Ballerina Blues -- is really pretty so I'll likely start out with that. Madison has nice tiny little feet so I figure these will be a quick knit.

This yarn is washable, of course, so it's a really nice choice for socks -- or for anything else you'd like to make. More and more people are getting into knitting lovely lacy garments with Chery Potter's sock yarn, and she's developed some great patterns for everything from shawls to tunic tops. Check 'em out because they're really cool.

Now I'm going to take a look at our new Ancient Threads fibers. I can't believe how many gorgeous new yarns we're getting in right now. Obviously, Alex has been buying things without telling me.

And speaking of Alex buying things, we visited the Dublin Irish Festival this weekend and the BIG fashion hit there was kilts. Men of every age and size were wearing these really funky looking, manly kilts with studs and pockets and all sorts of interesting features. They didn't have Alex's size but I think we might order one online. Check out Utilikilts. The guys who were wearing them looked so cute!

If you'd like to see Alex in a kilt, send him a letter of support! (Hurry...I don't want him to get cold feet. And that reminds me, if he buys a kilt, I'd better knit him some warm underpants!)

Twinkle Knitalong on Planet Purl

I just love the Twinkle patterns, so I was excited to see the cabled dress featured in the latest Vogue Knitting Magazine. If I weren't as wide as I am tall, I'd be tempted to make it for myself, so I'm very envious of my taller friends who can pull off this gorgeous style.

If you're thinking of making it, you'll be happy to know that PLANETPURL.COM is having a Knitalong. The Planet Purl knitalongs are lots of fun and usually attract a great group of ladies.

Oh! If you're looking for the yarn we have it...but don't restrict yourself to the Icy Blue in the photo because we have 32 fabulous colors to choose from and I'm sure there's one just for you! (Hint: Eggplant is going to be the BIG color this autumn.)