Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wooohooo! Kirsten is now a California Cow

I can't believe I'm actually happy about this. But tonight I saw a TV commercial announcing the Kirsten the Canadian cow was selected to be a California cow. I was so glad I phoned my Dad...who, I'm ashamed to say, wasn't even aware of the competition. Oh, Father!!!

Anyway, thanks to all of you who voted for Kirsten. She's warm now. If you'd like to have some fun you might want to visit the California cow website to see the English-Canadian translations. I just about choked myself to death laughing when I read the Canadian translation for "kitten."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Customized Kitty Cat Labels for Fabulous Felines?

I'm thinking of doing something special with our Fabulous Felines line. We could let knitters who purchase a tabby yarn, for example, send us a photo and the name of their own Tabby pussycat and we could create customized labels. What do you think? We've now got nine colors of Fabulous Felines. We could do it maybe for one month because it would be a lot of work. Do you think knitters would like that? I'd love your opinions!

Looking for Something Exotic and Unusual?

This month, our Just My Type newsletter features some unusual fibers -- including several that are absolutely delicious! My favorite flavor out of all the plant-based yarns is banana, like the gorgeous Frabjous Fibers Banana Silk. The texture is soft, with a pretty sheen, and the colors are absolutely glorious! Bright summery shades that you'll want to use for warm weather wear. Perfect if you're visiting some sunny retreat during the cold winter months, or if you're already planning your summer wardrobe.

Other delicious fibers include Fibra Natura Mermaid yarn (that is a combination of kelp, cotton, superwash wool and silk) and Susan Moraca's Cornocopia and Corntastic yarns. I also love the feel of Creamy Solid which is made from milk fiber.

Of all the exotic yarns we present this month in Just My Type, I'm over the moon for Vicuna. This yarn is created in South America from the rarest fiber on earth and it used to be illegal for anyone but royalty to wear it! Believe it or not, we're temporarily out of stock on this "worth more than its weight in gold" yarn, but we're getting more in very soon.

It's hard to believe that knitters will spend $299 for a ball of yarn, but when you consider that items created with vicuna become family heirlooms -- and most are created with just one ball -- it doesn't seem like such an extravagance. The yarn is VERY warm, even in a lace knit, and it's reputed to get better and softer with time. I like to keep a ball of it in my desk here at YarnMartian headquarters...just so I can admire it from time to time and fantasize that it's my very own.

If vicuna isn't your cup of Dom Perignon, Qiviuk is a fabulous "next best thing." Like Vicuna, this is a super-duper warm yarn (from the underbelly of the muskox) and there are loads of patterns that require just one ball. At the more reasonable price of -- gasp! -- $90.80 per ball, it's also treasured for family heirloom items.

Of course, if you want to save (?!) there's always Windy Valley Guanaco for a mere $82.55 per ball. This is another exotic from South America that is soft and light, but also wonderfully warm and will last for a very, very long time.

These three yarns by Windy Valley are extraordinarily expensive, but there's a reason for their cost: rarity, beauty, longevity, and beauty. Yes, they're that beautiful! Like quality china, they're to be treasured and passed down from generation to generation.

The January issue of Just My Type features many more unique yarns that you'll want to learn about. Be sure to read your latest issue. And, if you don't subscribe to our Just My Type newsletter, you'll want to sign up for it because it's loaded with interesting information about various yarns. Each issue concentrates on a certain type of yarn, so you could collect them to create your own library of fibers.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Tahki Cotton Classic Lite is now at Yarnmarket!

We're thrilled to be among the first to offer our customers the gorgeous new Tahki Cotton Classic Lite yarn. It's 100% mercerized cotton from Greece, in 31 fantastic shades for spring 2010. This yarn has the lustre and drape you love in the original Tahki Cotton Classic...but it's a sport weight that's versatile enough for a huge range of spring and summer projects. Be sure to order your color soon because we know this yarn is going to be extremely popular.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Watch this interesting video interview with Clara Parkes of Knitter's Review

In this episode of Let's Knit2Gether, CAT interviews one of my favorite writers, Clara Parkes. Clara's book, "The Book of Yarn" has become my knitting Bible! I learned more about yarns and fibers reading that book than I've learned from any other source.

CAT asks Clara how she got started with her online reviews, and you'll be surprised by her answer. It turns out the Clara and Alex (our head YarnMartian) had very similar motivations!

CAT was lucky enough to get an autographed copy of The Knitters Book of Wool. If you don't already have your own copy, you can find one at Yarnmarket.

Be sure to watch to the end of the episode when CAT presents some squares that have been created for a blanket project for afghans for Afghans. This is one of our favorite charities and we encourage all our knitters to learn about it.

Win a $1000 Yarnmarket Gift Certificate

If you've ever designed a knitting pattern, you'll wan to enter the Knitting Guild Association (TKGA)/Yarnmarket 2010 TKGA Pattern Design Competition. This contest for TKGA knitters will award prizes in several categories, with the grand prize of a $1,000 gift certificate.

The contest requires that knitters submit photos and a pattern of their original design by May 3, 2010 for preliminary selection. Finalists will then be asked to provide their knit-up entries to be judged and displayed at the TKGA Annual Conference, July 9-10, 2010 in Manchester, New Hampshire. Winners will be announced at the conference.

Categories for the contest are: Women’s Fashion Classic, Women’s Fashion Forward, Children’s Fashion, Baby’s Fashion and Accessories.

First, second and third prizes are Yarnmarket gift certificates worth $300, $200 and $100 respectively. The $1,000 gift certificate grand prize and all other prizes will be awarded based on design appeal, use of
stitches, color and selection of materials, and other qualities determined by a team of judges that includes Jan Gratz of, Penny Sitler of TKGA and designer Iris Schrier.

This is a fantastic contest for knitters and designers who want to see their patterns published. We've got lots of last year's winners available for free on the Yarnmarket site, and we'll be adding the 2010 winners, too.

For more information about this contest, please visit the TKGA site.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

More news about Fabulous Felines yarns!

This indignant looking pussycat is Ira, a pretty tabby with golden eyes. He's wearing a creation crafted from his namesake yarn. It's a new color that was made available about a week ago. While Ira isn't necessarily thrilled with his garment, we're sure he's awfully flattered to have been chosen as a Yarnmarket Fabulous Feline.

This very beautiful pussycat with the mesmerizing gaze is Katrinka. She's wearing a cowl in her own Yarnmarket Fabulous Felines color. If you haven't read about Katrinka on this blog, you might want to learn about her. We thought she was simply a pretty little cat. Imagine our shock when we were notified that she's an international spy, uber-assassin, time-traveling shape shifter! Those who have come into contact with her have been posting messages that are often very frightening...and always entertaining. Please be assured that Yarnmarket will not be selling her green mercury-based yarns although we are trying to get hold of the red version.

Oh! Please don't forget to enter our silent auction to raise money for Mary's Kitty Korner in Pleasant Valley, NJ. Rajah was obtained from her rescue shelter and we're hoping that the auction of Rajah's blanket will help us make a contribution.

We're continuing to add new colors to this line of yarns so please keep your photos coming! Pussycats of every color are invited to enter.

You can see all the entries to our contest at our new Fabulous Felines site.

Monday, January 18, 2010

If we knew a good lawyer, we'd sue Brittany!

This is a photo of the happiest woman in the world. Brenda.

For years now, Brenda has been nagging her daughter, Brittany, to make her a grand-mother. But, no. Brittany had to finish Law School. Brittany had to get a job. Brittany had to enjoy being a career-woman and wife.

Her mother, in the meantime, had to resort to working at Yarnmarket and stealing other people's grandchildren (my grand-daughter, Madison, in particular) because her own kid had far more important things to do.

Thanks, Brittany!

But all that has changed. This morning, Brenda appeared in my office with three little sets of booties and the biggest smile imaginable. She'd been crocheting all weekend because her daughter, Mrs. Corporate Lawyer, has learned that sometime at the end of the third quarter (when she's probably supposed to be going over Financial Statements to make sure there isn't anything illegal in them), she's going to be delivering a baby.

Yes...Brenda is going to be a grand-mother. This is good news for Brenda, and very bad news for Yarnmarket.

Brenda fully plans to sell her house and move to California where she can be with her new grand-child. We're not sure Brenda's husband knows about this, but if he knows what's good for him, he'll just go along with it. Otherwise, he'll be a very lonely old guy sitting by himself in a house in Pickerington, Ohio.

Over here at Yarnmarket, we're going to have to replace Brenda -- and we really don't want to. She does a great job serving our customers and shipping out hundreds of packages each evening when Marlon (our faithful UPS guy) shows up at the door.

Congratulations, Brenda. And Brittany. And the realtor who'll get to sell Brenda's house. And the person who'll buy it. And the folks in California who will be selling their house to Brenda so she can be close to her grand-baby.

And congratulations to whomever is going to replace Brenda at Yarnmarket. We hope you make cookies as good as Brenda's and that you don't have a daughter who's a corporate lawyer who's decided that it's time to have a baby.

(We'll let you know when Brenda's house sells and we need to replace her. There are a lot of local ladies who are going to be very, very happy about this wonderful/unfortunate turn of events -- depending on whose side you're on.)

Friday, January 15, 2010

NEW for Spring! Berroco Origami yarn in earthy tones

We're delighted to be among the first to introduce a delicious new yarn by Berroco. Origami is constructed of multi-hued strands running parallel to each other and wrapped by a black binder. Whether you knit or crochet, you achieve a wonderfully light, crisp fabric with great stitch definition and drape.

Like a lot of delicious things (like pizza and gelato) it's beautifully crafted in Italy. Origami is a perfect blend of 58% acrylic, 16% linen, 15% nylon and 11% cotton. We have eight gorgeous colors in stock for fast delivery.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lighten your heart. Give to help the people of Haiti.

Support Doctors Without Borders in Haiti

As we watch the news tonight, we can't help but feel sorry for the people of Haiti who are enduring unspeakable hardships after the recent earthquake. You're seeing the images, too. Children injured. Mothers crying over the loss of their babies. Young men carrying the wounded. The dead left out in the open.

It's been very difficult to get supplies into the region, but the good people of the world are doing their best to provide aid -- quickly.

When disaster strikes, Doctors Without Borders does difficult work under the worst of conditions. That's why Alex and I often choose them when we give what we can to help.

We hope that those of you who are able to do so will offer a donation -- however small -- to one of the groups who are hurrying to assist the Haitian people. You can find lists of these groups on several sits including CNN and FoxNews.

Even the smallest amount helps. And, believe me, it will do your heart a lot of good.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Impressionist Collection Masterpieces by Miriam

We're always so excited when one of our knitters shares their work with us. When I saw these absolutely stunning items on Ravelry, I just had to write to ask Miriam if I could show our Shear Bagatelle readers what she had created with Yarnmarket's Impressionist Collection yarns. She I'm delighted to present you with a couple of garments that are truly works of art.

The first one is called "Ostrich Plumes." It's a beaded rendition of Anne Hanson's Ostrich Plumes stole design with all the beads slip-stitched rather than knitted.

After blocking, the piece measures 60" long x 19" wide which is a little shorter than the original pattern even though Miriam added two extra pattern repeats. She chose not to stretch it any further by blocking so that the piece would retain its softness.

This is a really elegant piece that I can imagine wearing to the symphony or theater. I love the color Miriam chose -- Paris Rain -- in the gorgeous Zazu Hand Paints yarn by Twisted Sisters. This is a 100% merino wool with color inspired by Gustave Caillebotte's painting Paris Street: Rainy Day. It features pretty blues, teals and beige that would complement any complexion.

Another masterpiece by Miriam is her felted Entrelac sweater crafted in Rio de la Plata's Impressionist Merino Pampa. She chose the color Spring Bouquet based on Auguste Renoir's Bouquet of Spring Flowers. This is a pretty yarn in blue, green, cream and violet. The yarn is thick and thin, and proved to felt quite nicely. Miriam had decided to use this process to make the sweater snuggly warm and also to mute the colors so they'd look more like the Impressionist painting.

I didn't imagine that you could achieve the gorgeous effect that Miriam accomplished.

If you'd like to read more about Miriam's very cleverly crafted and creative projects, visit her area on Ravelry. I'm sure you'll be as impressed as I am with her talents!

Silent Auction in Memory of Rajah, a Fabulous Feline

As many of you know, Rajah, one of the Fabulous Felines cats, recently passed away. In his honor, we have created a free pattern that you can find in KnitchMagazine KnitchMagazine, our online fashion magazine for knitters.

Additionally, we'd like to contribute money to Mary's Kitty Korner in Pleasant Valley, CT where Rajah was adopted. To do that, we're auctioning off a gorgeous "Rajah's Blanket" -- a lap-sized blanket that is so soft and warm you'll want to stay snuggled in it all winter. The blanket measures approximately 38" x 28". It has a pretty cable design and seed stitch border.

Fabulous Felines yarn was created by Iris Schreier using the most gorgeous 100% wool. Knitters who have tried the yarn comment that it's a delight to use, and they love the feel of it. Fabulous Felines provides excellent stitch definition and has a soft, luxurious drape.

If you'd like to participate in this silent auction, please send an email your bid to:

Friday, January 8, 2010

Announcing another Fabulous Feline!

I'm delighted to announce that we've selected another beautiful pussycat to be a Yarnmarket Fabulous Feline. Meet Ira, the classic tabby who's achieved stardom at the tender age of eight months.

Ira is said to be too smart for his own good and very clever. And though he's likely Mensa material, he's still got a silly you can see by the photo of Ira the Box Cat.

Ira is extremely talkative and quite open about sharing his feelings. We understand that he's now meowing with glee to know that he's joined the ranks of Katrinka, Rajah, Fred and other pussycats who are making their mark on history. (Rather than making their marks on the arms of our sofas!)

Ira's hobbies include turning on the water in the bath tub, marathon bouts with the Turbo Toy, and talking to himself while looking out the window. He enjoys a good chin scratch and purrs at about the same decibel level as an outboard boat motor.

He's a sociable felow, who enjoys visiting the office of his servant (who thinks she owns him) and he's an excellent traveling companion/co-pilot. To date, he's visited most of New England and the Mid-Atlantic region -- mostly because like all cats, he's hoping to find some tuna. With any luck, he'll run into Fred, the sea-faring cat.

Ira also likes yarn, preferring wool over all others, and he makes regularly attempts to steal whatever sock his "owner" is currently working on.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Knitting Daily Rowan, Gedifra and Nashua Yarns

Have you seen the recent Knitting Daily newsletter that featured those gorgeous Rowan, Gedifra and Nashua books and patterns? We've been getting lots of calls about these projects and I'm delighted to report that Yarnmarket has a full selection for you to choose from!

The Highland Alpaca Vest Jacket has been EXTREMELY popular. We've got another big shipment of the Gedifra #206 books on the way, so you'll want to place your order now because our last shipment sold out really quickly.

As you may know, I'm a huge fan of these yarns so I get really excited when other knitters discover them, too.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Winner of Deborah Newton Book is...

Rachel Berkheiser. Congratulations!

Rachel, please send me your contact info so I can mail the book out to you right away.

Many thanks to all of you who entered the drawing. Please keep an eye out for a new contest I'll be launching very soon for a DEBBIE BLISS GARMENT!

It's absolutely gorgeous...and if it fit me, I'd keep it! (Instead I've had to resort to knitting my own. It's almost completed, and I can't wait to wear it.)

Our sincerest condolences on the recent passing of Rajah, a Yarnmarket Fabulous Feline

It is with the deepest regret that I am informing our readers of the recent passing of Rajah, one of the Yarnmarket Fabulous Felines.

Rajah was a Maine Coon/Siamese mix who suffered from epilepsy and FIP. He went to Pussycat Heaven on New Year's Day, in his 13th year.

Rajah was a Rescue cat who was later adopted by the family who cared for him. They considered him a sweet, gentle Giant. Despite the brain damage he suffered, he enjoyed the occasional round of catnip which would cause him to bop his five brother and sister pussycats on the head with his declawed paw.

Our hearts go out to his family, and to the other pussycats in the household who will most assuredly miss him.

We hope that Rajah is frolicking in the Elysium Fields right now, and that there's a lot of catnip to keep him happy. We encourage all our pussycat owners to give extra pats and bellyrubs tonight in honor of Rajah.