Thursday, September 18, 2014

#GoAheadMakeMalabrigo: 6 Top Knitwear Designers Talk About Malabrigo


Inspired by our newest shipment of marvelous Malabrigo, we checked in with designers Melissa Leapman (designer featured in Malabrigo Book 2, among many other things), Alex Tinsley (Dull Roar Designs), Andrea Rangel (Andrea Rangel Knits), Alexa Ludeman (Tin Can Knits), Julie Weisenberger (Cocoknits), and Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton (Hamilton Yarns) to get their take on this classic yet innovative yarn. Check out their answers to our quirky questions below!

JBW: If Malabrigo colors were Skittles flavors, which would be your favorite?
Melissa Leapman: Sour Green Apple (Apple Green), of course! Who doesn't like to pucker up?
Alex Tinsley: Sour Strawberry! But maybe that's just my actual favorite flavor (I do love Mal reds though.)
Andrea Rangel: I love I think I'd go with Rhodesian. It looks delicious!
Alexa Ludeman: Cherry (Ravelry Red)...maybe lime (Lettuce)?
Julie Weisenberger: Classic Vanilla, i.e., Natural. I know, so boring but I never get tired of it!
Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton: Raspberry

JBW: If you were stranded on a desert (arctic most likely) island and you could only have one Malabrigo base for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Melissa: Silky Merino. Great drape, great sheen, great all around!
Alex: Merino Worsted will always be my fave.
Andrea: If I was stranded on an arctic island, I'd have to take Malabrigo Sock along. It's soft, durable, comes in beautiful colors, and if I wanted something heavier than fingering weight, I could hold multiple strands together.
Alexa: I would choose Malabrigo Worsted, so soft and smooshy!
Julie: I would have to say Chunky! I love how it's plied but not too regularly, it still has a hand-made feel to it. And since I'll be on an arctic island I'll need it for warmth ;).
Cornelia: Rastita.

JBW: If you could take your favorite Malabrigo yarn on a date, where would you go?
Melissa: A cruise to South America. I could knit up all the Malabrigo I bring with me onboard and then replenish my supply during a visit to the factory!
Alex: Hmmm... Sledding followed by hot buttered beverages in front of the fire.
Andrea: I'd take a bike ride to the beach and knit while watching the sunset.
Alexa: I would take Malabrigo Worsted out for a lovely evening. We would go roller skating (ironically) and then out for tacos. No reason, I'm just in the mood for tacos.
Julie: I'd buy a baguette, cheese and bottle of wine and take my Malabrigo (and needles) on a picnic along the Seine.
Cornelia: I would take them to a gallery opening!

JBW: What is your absolute favorite project to knit with Malabrigo and why?
Melissa: Writing an entire book of patterns using their yarn (Malabrigo Book 2)! It would allow me the opportunity to play for hours and hours with tons of qualities and colors. Pure heaven!!
Alex: Hats of course :)
Andrea: Making my Sentiment Shawl with Rasta was really fun. It's so bright, quick, and luxurious. Plus, I love knitting lace!
Alexa: Lace. I am currently obsessed with Emily's Gothic Lace scarf in Malabrigo Worsted, the lace looks great in a worsted weight!
Julie: My Prairie Boots Pattern, in which case I would use colored yarn ;).
Cornelia: Boleros and shawlettes, because the yarns and colors are so great as an accessory!

I hope you had as much fun as we did when we got to read these, and you're inspired to create with Malabrigo Yarns!!!

Also, you can still join in the fun on Ravelry with our #GoAheadMakeMalabrigo Challenge; it ends September 30th!!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Extra, Extra!!! We've got Blue Sky Alpacas Fever!!!

Extra, Extra!!! We've got Blue Sky Alpacas Fever!!! 

If you think the Blue Sky Alpaca trunk show is love at first sight, you should really come touch them! It only gets better! 

Our ladies modeled a number of the garments, including (from left to right in the group shot): the crocheted Daisy Wrap in Metalico, silver; the Kaw Valley Wrap in Alpaca Silk, Ruby; the Sylvia Sweater in Alpaca Silk, White, the Peruvian Cable scarf in Worsted Hand Dyes, Rusty Orange; the Brushed Suri Wrap in Brushed Suri, Whipped Cream; and the Brushed Suri Tunic also in Brushed Suri, Sweet Potato Pie. 

Also in shop are the crocheted Valerie's Cardigan and the Vladimira's Shell. Be sure to stop by before Sept. 23rd to check them out in person! 

We also have a free class coming up Sept 27th to make the Fractal Cowl, using BSA's new Extra Yarn! We've waived the class fee, you'll just need to come in and purchase Extra Yarn in your favorite color (and needles or notions as needed!) Hope to see you soon, for the trunk show, the class, or any of your other yarn needs!
The Retail Team - Gus, Jen A, Jill, Matt & Terry

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Lorna’s Laces Limited Edition Voting Results

In case you haven’t already heard, we’re celebrating 7 years of amazing hand-dyed Limited Edition colors from Lorna’s Laces by bringing back the 7 most popular colors as voted by you for a limited time only!  We know it was hard to pick just one color to vote for and that you’re all dying to find out the winners.  So here they are without any further ado. 

Runs With Horses was the runaway winner!   Originally the color from August 2012, this beautiful desert inspired mix of cerulean blues, turquoise greens, dusty purples, and just a splash of heavy patina was created by Shevawn, a former bean who is dearly missed.  The skein is named for one of Shevawn’s backpacking adventures when she and some friends stumbled upon a wild stallion in the Nevada desert. 

Hot on its heels and coming in second place was He Who Must Not Be Named.  This mix of blues, greys, and yellows was inspired by the ultimate villain of the Harry Potter books and films.  It originally debuted in July of 2011, and Harry Potter fans have been missing it ever since. 

Third place officially goes to December 2013’s color The Shire with its gorgeous mix of deep greens, teals and blues, with splashes of gray and brown - the perfect Hobbit-themed color to knit with!

The rest of the top 7 were a four-way tie so here they are in no particular order:  Sea Turtle Dream, Winter is Coming, The White Witch’s Lure, and Royal Wedding!    

The good folk at Lorna’s Laces are busy dusting off the secret recipes for these colors and dyeing up a storm.  If you’re worried about missing out once they arrive, you can pre-order your skeins now and we’ll ship them out on September 1st.  We’ll have limited quantities of each color in Shepherd Sock, ShepherdWorsted, and Honor.  Don’t miss out for the second time!

Thanks so much to everyone who participated.  We had a great time in the shop hotly debating our favorite colors, cheering the ones that were winning and bitterly cursing the defeat of the ones that were losing (sniff—That’s How We Roll—sniff).  We hope you all had fun!


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Outlander MKAL!

We can hardly contain our excitement for the Outlander television show, based on the popular books by Diana Gabaldon, which premiers on August 9th. In fact, we couldn't help but celebrate with not one, but two Lorna's Laces limited edition colors and a Mystery Knit-along!  Our very own Rachel of Unraveled Designs and Yarn is a huge Outlander fan and jumped at the chance to host the MKAL.  She even designed the two Lorna's Laces Limited Edition colors named for the main characters!

The project will be a two color shawl that will take advantage of some gorgeous slip stitch motifs and cables so that you're only knitting with one color in each row. Overall, it's an intermediate knit, and we're always here to help you pick up a new skill or two.  Knit in sport weight wool yarn, it will be super warm and snuggly, even for the harsh Scottish highland weather! That's all the spoilers I can give so you’ll have to join in to find out more!

If you'd like to knit along with us, you'll need:
  • The pattern, of course!  You can grab a copy of the pattern on Ravelry.  Right now, the pattern is only $3, but it will go up to $6 once the MKAL ends.  By purchasing the pattern, you'll get each clue in your Ravelry library when it is posted.  New clues will be posted each Saturday through September 13th, to coincide with the episodes. 
  • Yarn!  Specifically, you'll need 400 yards each of 2 colors of sport weight yarn, and you'll want to make sure that there is enough contrast between the two colors.  If you want to make your shawl with the Outlander Limited Edition colors, you'll need 2 skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport in each color, Fraser and Beauchamps; that's a total of 4 skeins--they're only 50 grams each, after all!
  • A US 5 circular needle (at least 32”) or size needed to obtain gauge
  • 2 cable needles
  • yarn needle
Although you won't specifically need them for the MKAL, we are also super excited for the Outlander-inspired stitch markers that Spark created especially for us.  They're still being made, and will ship as soon as possible!  To go along with the Lorna's yarn, the stitch markers come in Beauchamps and a Fraser set.

Anyone is welcome to join us--no matter what yarn you use or who your favorite character is! Check out Rachel's blog each week for tips, tricks, and possibly spoilers, and be sure to stay connected with all the chatter and the clues in our Ravelry group.  We hope to see you there!

Friday, July 25, 2014

7 Years of Amazing Limited Edition Colors and a Vote


Once Upon a Time
Nobody likes to miss out on a good thing, but we've all been there at one time or another.  When it comes to missing out on limited edition yarn, it’s an extra bummer. So here’s your chance to pick up a Lorna’s Limited Edition color that you may have missed out on the first time around! Or, it's an opportunity to pick up a few more skeins of your all-time favorite color. :)
Sea Turtle Dream

For the last seven years, we've had a limited edition color (or colors!) each month inspired by our favorite books and TV shows, the weather, life events, or just our whims.  We wanted to do something really special to celebrate all the unique and inspiring colorways that we've featured over the years and have decided to bring back 7 of the most popular previous colors for a limited time in the month of September. How will we know which ones were the most popular? We’ll take a vote!
The Beans and their favorite colors
Royal Wedding
Starting Friday, August 1st, you'll be able to cast your vote for the color you'd most like to see again on our Facebook page or in a thread on our Ravelry group. If you need a refresher for all the options, you can find them all on the Lorna’s Limited Edition Page. As you're dreaming about projects and colors, keep in mind that since we're bringing 7 whole colors back, we won't have them on every base. You'll be able to get the winning colors on the most popular Lorna's Laces bases: Shepherd Sock, Shepherd Worsted, and Honor.

That's How We Roll
Voting ends at the end of the day Friday, August 8th. We’ll announce the 7 winners on August 9th and start taking pre-orders so that you can be sure not to miss out on your favorite color while it lasts! We can't wait to see which colors top the list of the all-time favorites!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Julie Turjoman's - Knits that Breathe Giveaway!

One of our designer friends, Julie Turjoman (author of Brave New Knits) recently released her second book called Knits That Breathe, and we couldn't be more thrilled for her! We met Julie, by way of Sandy, one of our long-time employees. They used to work together at a yarn shop in the bay area back in the day and are longtime buddies. When Julie released Brave New Knits back in 2010, she came over to Reno to do a book signing and trunk show display at our shop. What a fun event that was! 

We are so excited to share Knits that Breath with you, which just came out in print last week and uses tons of great summery yarns including some of our favorites, Shibui Linen and Lorna's Laces Sportmate. We just love this collection of light and summery designs, so we did a quick interview with Julie to find out more about the making of the book. Here is what she had to say:

Knits That Breathe
1. Can you give us a super quick history of Knits that Breathe for our readers who might be new to your work?

All 12 garments in the book are designed with cool fibers that drape beautifully, and have moisture-wicking or breathable properties that help keep the wearer cool and comfortable. Some of the fibers will be unfamiliar to knitters, such as Outlast, SeaCell, milk and soy protein fiber - and others are warm-weather staples such as cotton, linen, and bamboo. All are well worth trying! Sizing ranges from XS to 4XL in some cases to flatter a wide range of figures.

Splash Cardigan
2. What was the inspiration for the book?

At Stitches last year, I overhead several knitters complaining that they could no longer wear their warm, woolly sweaters because they were always too hot, or too itchy. Having suffered from the same problem myself and being equally frustrated by the pile of sweaters languishing in my closet, I was inspired to take up the challenge and come up with solutions. I researched alternative and plant-derived fibers and then designed a collection of tunics, cardigans, tees, and more to give knitters some new options for wearing knitted garments.


A little behind the scenes...

3. Do you have a favorite design (or designs) from the book that you’d like to highlight for us? What makes this design(s) your favorite?

The Pacific Coast Tunic (on the cover) was the first project I designed for the book, and it remains one of my favorites. It has wonderful movement and drape, and a flattering A-line shape with raised seams and pleats that make it special. I often wear it with a light tee shirt underneath, and get compliments on it every time. The Tencel Tape yarn from Prism was lovely to work with, and was new to me. Part of the joy of this book was experimenting with new-to-me fibers and blends to discover their cooling characteristics. I also really enjoy wearing the Zephyr tunic made from Lorna's Laces Pearl yarn. The yarn has a beautiful shimmer from the silk blend, and drapes softly. I enjoy designing top-down sweaters because they are nearly seamless, as well as including practical pockets in my designs - so this project is among my favorites because it has both of these features.

Pacific Coast Tunic
Zephyr Tunic

4. What kind of knitter would you recommend this book to?

Knits That Breathe is for every knitter who lives in a hot climate, or is sensitive to wool and other animal fibers, or who has an unreliable internal thermostat (i.e. hot flashes). My theory that "it's always summer someplace" is strengthened every time I get messages from knitters in Texas, Florida, Arizona and other hot parts of the country to tell me that they love the book. Of course, I also get great feedback from knitters who simply run hot, or whose hot flashes make it uncomfortable for them to wear designs made from wool, alpaca, or other heat-retaining fibers.

Still Waters

Iced Frappuccino

Flutterby Silk Tunic

5. What future projects are on the horizon for you?

I'm very excited about my next book, which is in production now. It will be released in late fall, in plenty of time for holiday gift-knitting. It's still in "secret" mode, but I can tell you that it's a collection of accessories with a fun and very stylish vintage theme.

Julie now lives in Chicago and spends her time knitting and designing. You can find out more about Julie's work on her website: or on Ravelry where her username is "juliebean." 

Also, Julie is kindly offering copies of the E-book version of Knits That Breathe to two lucky readers! Please leave us a comment telling us what your favorite design from the book is along with your Ravelry name. Two winners will be chosen at random next Wednesday, July 2nd and Julie will send you a PDF copy of the book on Ravelry. Only entries that include their Ravelry contact info will be eligible.

Updated 7/2/14- This contest is now closed. The two winners (thanks to were comment #'s: 9 & 18! They will be notified via Ravelry shortly!! Thanks for reading!

If you'd prefer a hard copy of Knits that Breathe instead of an E-book, you can purchase them on our website here

Happy summer knitting!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Crafty Blog Inspiration - Posie Gets Cozy

I've been a big blog reader for years, but there are only a few that I've followed since the beginning. Posie Gets Cozy is one of those blogs. I love Portland, OR-based Alicia Paulson's crafty aesthetic (and she's a knitter & crocheter too!) but her hand-stitched embroidery and stuffed animal designs are probably my favorites. 

My mom and I snagged one of the Maggie Rabbit kits last fall (before I even knew I was expecting!) as a someday project for my little one. And how cute is it that she has a hand-knit cape to wear?!?! 

Maggie Rabbit
Each of Alicia's animal softie kits and patterns, which also include a doe, a fox, a cat, and mouse, has a hand knit accessory of some kind which only adds to their charm. I'll be sure to share a photo when we finally get around to making Maggie (hopefully soon.) Truth be told, I'll probably have to grab a Doe and a Fox as well to go in the woodland-themed nursery we are creating.

Juniper Kitty

Phyllis Mouse

Dandelion Doe

Basil Fox

Alicia has also created a series of mini-knit patterns to fit her menagerie, like a cute little hooded garter stitch sweater, a top-down raglan cardigan, and a knit dress. These are perfect for using up little bits of sock yarn in your stash. I know I have plenty of that lying around! 

Knitted Dress

Hooded Sweater

Raglan Sweater

And for the crocheters out there, check out the Sunshine Day Baby Afghan. My mom just finished one for my baby girl who is due next month, and loved making this pattern! She had tons of fun crocheting all the little flower squares on her latest vacation and said it was a really easy project once she got going. The main yarn in this pattern is the super delicious Cascade Eco Alpaca yarn which makes it a true heirloom item.  

Sunshine Day - Alicia's Version

My little one's Sunshine Day in progress.

I was also lucky enough to snag a kit to make this Daisy Chain ABC Sampler (which I fully intend to make someday, I swear!) The kits seem to be unavailable at the moment, but the patterns are currently still available on her site. 

ABC Crewelwork Sampler
Can you tell I am just a little obsessed with Alicia's style? I was just perusing some of her older blog posts the other day looking for some baby knits ideas (seriously check out her Ravelry page-- her daughter is one of the best dressed babies I've ever seen!) and thought it would be so fun to share her work with you here. I hope you'll find as much inspiration in her blog as I do. 

Happy crafting!