Welcome to Appalachian Yarns. We are striving to make this a one-stop shop for independent knitters & crocheters who are looking for help, ideas and laughter and local yarn shop owners who are looking for help with any aspect of their business.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mystery Bag KAL

Well!  Let me tell you what!  If I thought I was busy last week...it was nothing compared to this week!  I can hardly hang on to this fast-growing thing called Appalachian Yarns.  The website is complete - needs some minor tweaking now, but there's no time! 

I innocently started a mystery bag KAL on Ravelry and with the help of my friend, Tal, it skyrocketed into a nearly 50 member KAL group and is still growing!  It has gone "international" with Germany, France, The Netherlands and Canada being represented as well as many of the U.S. states!!  So much fun to see everyone excited about this KAL!  The "mystery bag" has been designed by Tal, so she will be in charge of moderating/instructing the weekly events, as well as answering any questions.  In fact, this has been such a wonderful surprise that we plan to host a "mystery" KAL every month!  So, if you aren't yet a member of Ravelry - you need to sign up asap at Ravelry.com!!  If you just want to follow along - you can check out the KAL at http://www.appalachianyarns.com/ - click on the upper tab for the mystery bag KAL.  Particpants are listed there and when the KAL is finished, we hope to post as many bags as possible!

Business has been brisk with the advent of the KAL and I send many thanks to new friends and customers for their business and kind words of support.  We're already giving thoughts to expanding the catalog and would love to hear your suggestions!   We're having tons of fun here and hope you're tuning in to it!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weekly News Update

Hi everyone!  Wheeew, it's been a whirlwind week for the past month....but things are coming together now.  The website is getting organized and should be complete by early next week.  The timing is perfect since Dale of Norway and Cascade will be in stock by then as well.  We'll announce our grand opening as soon as we complete all of the site changes.
We have some great yarns and books coming your way!!  "60 Quick Knits featuring 20 hats, 20 scarves and 20 mittens" as well as all of the recommended Cascade yarns and "Knitting Brioche" which has some beautiful stitch patterns, as well as a full brioche stitch instructional section.  You'll love Knitting Brioche as this technique makes your fabric wonderful on both sides at the same time!  Look for some new Cascade yarns like Eco Wool +!!  I used Eco + to make the Nora's sweater in eggplant, featured below.   Fabulous yarn at a great price!   Dale of Norway, Baby Ull yarns are on their way!  These vibrant colors are perfect for cute baby and toddler patterns but they are also fun as adult summer tops!!  These yarns were used in the Ladybug sweater featured on our storefront!  We'll also be bringing you some of the industry's top magazines from Interweave.  It's been very busy here at Appalachian Yarns and we love it that way!  Remember, join our Ravelry group or become our fan on facebook as we'll be occasionally offering specials to our group members and fans.  Stop in anytime - we're open 24/7 !! 

Friday, March 19, 2010

New Website

News Update!  Our website should be up and running in the next few days.  There will be a section for retail sales and we're beginning to choose the merchandise we will offer.  So, where do we go when we need help making a decision??  Why, to you all!  Please tell us about your favorite yarns and colors and what you would to see on our site.   We have lots of other goodies planned for you!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nurse Needles - picking up stitches for bands

Everybody's got their own way of picking up stitches for button bands.  Nurse Needles recommends picking up about 20 stitches and knitting a swatch...yes yes, I know everyone hates swatching but it is a necessary tool to avoid rip outs!!  So, knit your swatch.  The hard and fast rule is that you must like the outcome - so look at your swatch - if it seems too "bunchy" you know you have picked up too many stitches.  If it seems too "stretched" you know you need to pick up more stitches.   This is especially important in button bands - which we'll talk more about in the next post.  Happy knitting!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Getting In Touch with Your Inner B....tch

Today, my calendar advice says, " An inner b....tch diet tip:  Some days our mind says, grains, veggies, fruit and other days it says, melted cheese, melted cheese, chocolate...consider striking a balance".....

And so, I am - but not with food.  I am spending a couple of hours each day quilting....I got some great new spring time fabric and decided I needed a new quilt.  To balance this - I spend a little while each evening in front of the TV - knitting...after all - that summer top and pair of socks won't knit themselves!!  So that's my balancing act for the day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Consulting Services for LYS

Appalachian Yarns is pleased to announce that it will begin offering consulting services to local yarns shop owners in the areas of financial management, marketing strategies, partnership-building, inventory selection, shop designs, customer service techniques and more!  Our Consultant is a former local yarn shop owner who understands the challenges of continuous quality improvement.  Customers are always looking for new merchandise....how can LYS owners keep up with the demand for new products on limited funds?  What strategies can LYS owners use to get the word out about their shops with limited advertising dollars?  Are you thinking of opening your own local yarn shop?  We can help you get started in the right direction.  Leave us a post here and we'll get in touch.  Our contact information will be available shortly.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nurse Needles - Prevention is the best remedy

Prevent mistakes instead of fixing them.  Read your pattern thoroughly before treating your castonitis!!  Also, prevent damage to your pattern by photocopying it and using the copy to write on and make reference notes!  File the original in your pattern organizer for future use!

Knitting RX with Nurse Needles

No insurance?  No problem....Nurse Needles doesn't take insurance.  Have a knitting ailment?  Nurse Needles will try to help.  Please include needle size, type of yarn and specific problem in your question.
If we can't solve your problem - we'll simply refer to you the nearest wine bottle - perhaps it's just your vision!  Things will naturally look different from the bottom of the wine glass....so let's get started! 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Recent Projects

Two big projects I recently completed were Philosopher's Wool sweater and Nora's Sweater.  Still trying to get the hang of this blog thing - I have the photos on my Flickr photostream but I can't get them over to the blog yet...lol...any way - it's like this:

Philosopher's Wools sweater was started as a class/KAL at Cozy Cabin last fall.  Using the style, Color Your Own, in the blue/black colorway, I learned the philosopher's wool technique of fair isle knitting.  This technique weaves in the yarns as you go, which practically eliminates the long strands or "floats" on the inside of the sweater.  Floats occur from carrying different color yarns along in your work.  With the Philosopher's wool technique, you get a much stonger and warmer fabric.  I must admit, it took some getting used to....The technique is easy - training yourself to keep doing it is tougher.  The fall turned into winter and, with both sleeves done and the body about 1/2 way, I set the sweater aside to work on Christmas gifts and other things.  Under pressure to finish the KAL and the class, I completed my sweater in February so that I could be up to speed with button bands - which I hadn't done before.  I got some great tips on button bands so that they look professional on the inside as well as the outside.  I altered the pattern to make a small V-neck and collar rather than the small rounded collar that was called for.  The sweater is knit in the round with purl stitches to mark the front and two sleeve steeks.  The yarn was purchased directly from Philosopher's Wool in Canada and while I would definitely make this sweater again, I would probably use Bartlett yarn 2-ply. 

Next up - Nora's Sweater.  Pattern is from InterWeave Knits - February, 2010 issue.  I absolutely love this pattern!  Using Cascade Eco wool in eggplant color, this sweater knit up easily in 2 and 1/2 weeks!  It is a pieced sweater which, I think, is why it is such a quick knit.  The longest piece took me about 4 days and it was the front band that is made in two halves and joined at the back of the neck.  It is a 36 row repeat with no rows being the same pattern - including the wrong side rows!! UGH!  But it is beautiful and warm and I get so many compliments on it.  I would definitely make a dozen of this sweater is a bunch of colors!!

New tricks for an old knitter

Hi everybody!!
I am new to the mechanics of blogging. Always thought it was a cool idea but never learned how to begin. So, here I am and I hope you'll find my blogs informative and riveting - ok ok - maybe atleast you'll pick up a tip here and there and get some entertainment along the way.

I hope this is an interactive blog and that you will respond with posts of your own! It'll be like a sit n blog!!