Monday, January 31, 2011

Because Life Isn't Always Black & White-- Sometimes It's Gray and Fuzzy

I spend a lot of time down at the shop, aka My Happy Place, getting excited about new offerings-- right now I'm having a great time test driving some Shelter-- and also taking comfort in good old "friends" like my beloved Noro.

I also like to survey the ladies who spend even more time than I do at HCW-- that hardworking gang that stocks the shelves, fields so many questions, and makes the place so wonderful. I'm always interested in what they're working with, too.

Kennedy told me that right now she's working with a yarn called Absolu -- which yes, sounds a bit like the famous vodka. It's from Anny Blatt and gets its natural color and softness from French Angora rabbits. The softness-- both color and feel-- are courtesy of the bunnies, and there is no dyeing involved.

Because the fiber is rare and the process is complex, the supply of Absolu is limited, each skein (25g/177 yards) is numbered and ensconced in its own little case. Kennedy says it knits up like you're working with air. Recommended needle size is US 3 -4.

The weather predictors have us due for another big cold snap tomorrow. You might want to go grab some of this limited supply so you can hole up like a little rabbit and knit your way through to the other side of the chill.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Get Your Buzz On! Plus: Upcoming Classes!

Bring a Buddy to the BUZZ!!

January 28
6:30 - ??
Dutch Treat Pizza!

Bring your Appetite
Bring your Friends
Bring you Knitting
Bring your Cricket KnitBuzz (behind hill country weavers)
Call 512-707-7396 to RSVP by 3:00pm Friday
to be included in the pizza order !


Crochet 101

February 2,9,16,23 (a 4 class series)
Fee: 80.00
Learn more than just basic crochet in this class. Students will be introduced to beginning stitches, granny squares, amigurumi basics, and Tunisian Crochet.
Size I and F crochet hooks,
Size N tunisian crochet hook
1 skein Blue Sky Organic Cotton (worsted weight) for washcloth project
3 skeins Blue Sky Cotton (worsted weight) for Baby Love Blankie(1 skein in each of three colors)
1 skein Cascade 220 in red or pink for amigurumi heart
2 skeins Berocco Cuzco in 2 colors for Ipad/Kindle case or small clutch bag
Knit 101

February 3,10, 17,24 (a 4 class series)
6:30 - 8:30 pm
Fee: $67 plus materials

Knit 101 is a comprehensive beginner level class designed to teach you the basics you need to get started!
Knit 101 headband

Skills Taught:
  • Cast on
  • Knit stitch
  • Purl stitch
  • Knit 2 together
  • Bind off
  • Weave in ends
  • Working flat
  • Working in the round
  • Garter Stitch
  • Stockinette Stitch
  • Basic pattern reading
  • Fixing common problems
  • “Right Side” & “Wrong Side”

Learn how to use:
  • straight needles
  • circular needles
  • double pointed needles
  • stitch markers

Knit 101 Washcloth
Class Projects:

1. Either a headband or a washcloth
2. Your choice of 3 hat patterns
3. A scarf (to be finished after class)
Plus you’ll receive 7 knitting patterns to knit again & again!
PREREQUISITE: No previous experience required.

IMPORTANT: Come early to select yarn for the first class. Class size is limited!

Call 512-707-7396 today to reserve your spot.

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Time for My ALL TIME FAVORITE Class!

Hey Y'all,
Spike here. I have taken MANY classes at HCW and I can honestly say I have enjoyed them all. Socks, Spinning 101, Doggie Sweaters, Fair Isle, Mitten Knittin'-- the list goes on. Why I even once took a class to learn how to make a cute cabled purse. (If you don't know me, let's just say that I am the last person on the face
you'd catch sporting any "cute" accessories-- unless we're talking Boston Terriers.)

Even though it's not necessary, and though it is really difficult, and wildly unfair to do so-- I am going to say that of all the classes I ever took, the one I loved best was the Top Down Sweater Class with Deb. There are all sorts of reasons for this. It was an early class in my knitting adventures, and helped me to stop being afraid of classes. I learned something new. And I felt sort of like someone who jumps out of a plane attached to an instructor who can pull the ripcord if need be. Deb didn't really lean over my shoulders, take my hands and do the knitting for me. But she sure was RIGHT THERE there whole time. I made a top down sweater from this gorgeous Manos that is a cross between the color of an avocado (inside) and the Grinch (outside). I wear that sweater ALL the time. Constantly. It is my favorite garment. Sure, I've knitting up lots of sweaters since then. And I do love them and get them out to wear. But something about this top down sweater-- I am so connected to it in part because it reminds me of taking a big step up in my knitting.

Well here's the great news-- it's time for another Top Down Knitting Class!
Details below.
Really- you should sign up!


February 1, 8, 15
10am- 12pm
Fee: 65.00
Join Deb Marvin for this 3 CLASS SERIES in this fast and fun style of sweater knitting!
NO SEW seamless - translate- MINIMAL FINISHING!!
Easy to CUSTOMIZE as you go!
It's FUN!
PREREQUISITES: Basic knitting skills
SUPPLIES: Students should select a 'Pure and Simple' cardigan or pullover sweater pattern and select yarn and needles according to the pattern. Students may also select a pattern from Ravelry like the Lady February sweater in the photo
Please contact Deb to determine you have any questions regarding your choice of pattern
Basic knitting supplies
Tape measure
Pencil and Paper

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Brooklyn Tweed Hearts Us Back!

Hey Y'all,
On Christmas Eve, at the stroke of midnight going into Christmas Day, we announced that we now offer Brooklyn Tweed's exclusive (but affordable!) SHELTER yarn line in the brand new

Well today at his blog, Jared (whom we heart!) offered his ginormous readership a peek at the knit design book commissioned by Hill Country Weavers, full of amazing patterns created using SHELTER and designed by local Austin knitters and weavers.

Yep, you can order those patterns at the online shop, too or check out the Hill Country Weavers Patterns Page on Ravelry, where you can pick up some of the patterns and other super-groovy HCW designs, too.

Thanks for the shout out Jared!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Rain Rain Go Away-- Meanwhile Here's Some Indoor Fun

Yes, that's right y'all. Still more excellent classes are right around the corner. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've been wandering the streets of Austin decked out like the yarn-bominable snowman, literally swathed from head to toe in hand knitted everything (hat, scarf, sweater, leg warmers, socks). Here's hoping the sun shines soon and warms us up. In the meanwhile, enjoy wearing all your warm wooly stuff and consider using the inclement conditions as a good excuse to get toasty in the HCW classroom. Here's info on a couple of upcoming classes:

January 23/30
9:45 am - 12:45 pm
Instructor: Janet Daum
Have you ever knitted a pair of socks and worried that maybe you knitted the cuff just a little too long and think: Will I have enough yarn to finish the sock? This class will relieve all that "sock anxiety"and you won't have to submit any claims to your health insurance company.
This class is designed for the new or experienced sock knitter.
Skills taught:
Knitting socks on 2 circulars
Learn to customize the fit of your sock
Start your sock with a "magical cast on"
Sewn Cast off (Elizabeth Zimmerman)
Materials: Your choice of yarn & needles as follows:
- about 200 yards of worsted weight yarn,
- OR about 250 yards of dk weight yarn,
- OR about 300 yards of sport weight yarn.
We will do a gauge during class. Bring all circular needles you have that are 1 to 3 sizes smaller than the suggested needle size for your yarn. (If you have made socks before and prefer to use dpns you may bring those instead.) Please also bring: a calculator, 2 ring stitch markers, tape measure, and your knitting gear.
Please have yarn wound and ready to knit!

Jan 22/23
Fee $65 plus $15 materials fee
Join Deb for a continuation of beginning spinning. This class is for those who have taken Spin 101 or the equivalent. We will work on spinning a consistent yarn, intro to long draw spinning and spinning from the fold, plying, color blending and fiber blends for simple yarn variations.
Materials: Instructor will supply all fiber for class. Bring fiber you have questions about or would like to spin. Bring wheel if you have one and hand carders if you have them.
Level: advanced beginner
Prerequisite: Spin 101 or equivalent and the ability to spin a continuous yarn. It doesn't have to be pretty.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside: Help Warm the Homless

Hey Y'all,
Please mark your calendars to help pitch in for a good cause. It's winter time in Austin-- not a long season but definitely a cold one. Our friends over at the Knitting Nest are hosting two events to knit scarves for the homeless. Hope you can join in. Here are the details:

Austin Scarf Project

Is staging two Knit In Events to Benefit Austin Homeless

Saturday Jan 29th and Saturday Feb 12th 11am-2pm

Hosted by: The Knitting Nest (THANK YOU, Stacy!)

8708 South Congress # 570

Austin 78745


Please join us and bring your knitting pals.

Crocheters are welcome, too.

We’ll gather both these Saturdays at the Knitting Nest to start building our warm hat and scarf donations for our second annual drive to support Front Steps/Austin Resource Center for the Homeless (ARCH). Bring your completed creations, donate some yarn, start a scarf or just drop by to show your support. This is first of several events we will stage this year, stay tuned for future happenings.

Visit us on Facebook: AustinScarfProject

Email Kay or Dana

Or ask Stacy at the Knitting Nest for info on the Knit In Events

Monday, January 10, 2011

January is Zipping Along-- Time for Classes!

Hey Y'all,
Well Suzanne spent the past weekend at Market and soon as I can I'll get a report from her. Meanwhile, there are some great classes coming up-- an excellent way to get your knit on. Plus, with an arctic cold front on the way, there's no better time to whip out the wool. Here's what's going on this week-- call the shop to reserve your spot:


January 13
6:00 - 9:00
Fee 40.00

This is a perfect class for my fellow fiber fanatics! The loom we use is really portable and extremely easy to set up. You can use all kinds of knitting yarn from leftovers to all that sock yarn you haven't used yet. You will burn through your stash in not time. Weaving cloth is a magical thing and incredibly FAST!!!!
MATERIALS: Bring your Stash... or better yet, buy New Stash!
IMPORTANT: Student can bring their yarn in ahead of time to determine if it is suitable for this class
INSTRUCTOR : Suzanne Middlebrooks


January 14
If you have never accidently shrunk a wool sweater you need to do it deliberately for this class. There are so many possibilities for creating one of a kind items with a sweater. There will be lots of examples and we will brainstorm for more.
MATERIALS: Wool sweaters either washed and lightly felted or extremely hard felted. Bring a few to experiment with. Scissors, tapestry sewing thread for yarn,
sewing machine, if you have a portable one and you absolutely hate to hand stitch, stuffing and yarn scraps.


January 15/22 and Feb 5 (a 3 class series)
Time: 1-3
Fee $65.00
Instructor: Deb Marvin

*see pre-class prep

Deb and Fran designed BEYOND THE BASICS for any novice knitter who is ready to explore beyond the basics of simple knit and purl, and/or flat/rectangular knitting designs.
This class is built around design and construction of a Sampler Purse that will incorporate various fundamental techniques and stitches including knitting in the round, cable knitting, seed stitch,reading a cable chart and much more.
PREREQUISITES: knowledge of basic knitting skills
Fees: $65.00
2 skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky (250 yds)
US # 11, 24 inch circular needle, US#9 dpns
Additional supplies:: Cable needle, crochet hook, 4 ring stitch markers, practice yarn that is worsted weight and size 7 or 8 needles. Needle gauge or tape measure.
*IMPORTANT PRE- CLASS PREP - contact instructor at for MANDATORY but EASY class prep.
students will be making the blue wool version in class but will be given the brown cotton pattern.


January 16
Time 10:45 - 12:45
Fee: 30.00
Instructor: Kathy Bateman
Ever heard of a Mobius strip? Seen a knitting pattern for a Mobius? Maybe you've even created a simple one by sewing the ends of a scarf together with a twist? In this class, we're going to do things the hard way! Have you tried to make sense out of Mobius cast on directions? They may sound crazy, but it works when you do it right. In this class we'll walk you through a Mobius cast-on step-by-step while creating a cowl/capelet that knits up fast and beautiful.
Students must be very comfortable working with circular needles. The Mobius cast-on requires patience--be prepared!
LEVEL OF CLASS – intermediate
MATERIALS- 150-200 yards of Blue Sky Brushed Suri or fluffy mohair yarn, 40" or longer size 13 circular needles, and stitch markers

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Time for the BIGGEST SALE of the Year!



JANUARY 6, 2011

The more you buy, the more you save!

Sale is on yarn only &
does not include previously marked down yarns

This sale is too BIG for just one day!
We'll be on sale from Thursday through Sunday!

You spend $0.00 - $100.00 and you save 20%
You spend $100.01 - $250.00 and you save 25%
You spend $250.01 and BEYOND and you save 30%


Thursday 10am - 9pm
Friday & Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 11am - 5pm

Call for Knitters: The Blanton's Knitting Project!

Hey Y'all,
Many of you are familiar with Knitta Please, Magda Sayeg's ongoing quest to cover the world in knitting. Even if you don't know Magda-- who lives right here in Austin-- likely you've seen her work. Last year, among other projects, she covered "those blue things" on Lamar in colorful knitted blue-thing cozies.

Well, Knitta Please is about to take on its next big project. In conjunction with the most awesome Blanton Museum of Art, 99 (!) trees around the museum will be covered in yarn. This needs to get done by March 5th, which is Explore UT Day. Magda needs your help. There's an informal info meeting on Saturday, January 9th, from 1 - 2:30 pm in the Blanton Auditorium. You can get all the details by clicking on this link. So what are you waiting for? Go on, you know you want to sponsor a tree.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Your Resolution to Take Classes Meets Our Offerings!

Hey Y'all,
Time to act on that New Year's Resolution to take more classes. We've got some great ones lined up for this coming week. Call the store to sign up (number below). Here's what's cooking:


January 8
Fee 50.00

This class in hat or vessel making will give the beginning felter basic knowledge of forming techniques. We will explore felting around an object, which will be a ball. The ornamentation is also created around a ball. Felting is a workout as usual, but the results are amazing.
Participants will need to bring:
1. A bouncy ball. (The basketball that I used was around 30" in diameter. The cheaper ones like Scooby Do will work too, however, they are seasonal and hard to find now.) Ample air in your ball is necessary so that it will bounce. A ping pong ball or other small bounce ball is good to have for the ornament on the hat.
2. An old pair of panty hose.
3. Two old towels.
4. Fleece for felting.
This class is designed for the person who likes to make a statement with an unusual hat, which is perfect for a cold day in Austin or, better yet, the ski slopes. It is incredibly easy, fun and creative.

A Sock on Two Circulars
January 9/16
(a 2 day class)
Are you ready to learn this exciting way to knit a sock? Knitting socks with two circular needles is fast and fun! However, beware: it can become addictive! Join Janet and learn how to knit customize socks to fit all your family and friends.
Prerequisites: Basic knitting skills including long tail cast on method. Students must also know how to knit a ribbing.
Materials: 2 24" circular needles and sport weight sock yarn
Fee: $60
Please purchase your materials before class.
IMPORTANT REMINDER: please have your yarn "knit-ready" (already wound into a ball) so that you do not miss class instruction time.
INSTRUCTOR : Janet Daum (Latifa)

January 8
Learn Tablet Weaving! Learn easy warping method to get set up quickly and how to turn
woven bands into useful and decorative items - bags, straps, belts, table runners, placemats, mug rugs, decorative trim to attach to knitting or crochet clothing (such as straps for tank top, front band for sweater, sleeve trim, etc...).
This is a TECHNIQUE-oriented class. A 2-color sampler strap will be the main focus.
Supplies needed:
2 colors of Cotton Classic - either size - HIGH CONTRAST such as black and white -
-2 skeins of each color - PRE-WOUND BEFORE CLASS.
12 Tablet Weaving Cards
2 large C-clamps
large scissors
2 large tapestry needles - (to fit cotton classic)
INSTRUCTOR: Bren Whitehead
Spaces are limited. Call today to register! 512-707-7396