Friday, July 29, 2011

What's New at HCW? Solstice and Zen!


One way to keep cool is to sit very, very still in an air conditioned room, preferably with a fan pointed right at you, and possibly with your feet in a bucket of ice water. Something else you can add to that mix? How about sitting still while working a nice pair of socks while you bask in the oscillating breeze? After all, socks are super portable and won't heat up your lap-- perfect summer knitting. Toward that end, we have great news:

This week, we got in a couple of great shipments of sock weight yarn from Zen Yarn Garden and Solstice.



Zen Yarn Garden is a small dyer out of Canada. You can choose from Serenity 20 (an 80/10/10 blend of merino, cashmere & nylon) or Serenity Silk 3 (an 80/10/10 Merino, cashmere & silk.) Both are sock weight yarns with a similar feel-- but the Serenity Silk 3 has a little bit more of a sheen and feels a bit crisper.



Solstice is a new company HCW just started working with. In addition to the SW listed below, we're carrying their DK weight E'toile Silken Camel blend. It has great yardage - 375 yards per 115g skein.

Now, about the Solstice Sock Yarn:

Starlight Cashmere Silk is a 50/50 silk & cashmere blend that is supper soft!

Lumiere Lace is a Merino/Cashmere/Nylon blend, a little bit on the heavier side of lace but each skein is about enough for a small shawl or shoulderette.

Luna Sock is a SUPER soft 80/10/10 Merino Cashmere & Nylon blend.


Besides socks, there's lots you can do with this yarn. Kennedy is using the e'toile in two colors for her Morrison Cardigan and Pam is knitting a long lace scarf out of one skein. Kennedy's also contemplating a Ptarmigan Cowl by Brooklyn Tweed the Starlight and a Swallowtail shawl in the Lumiere lace.Or consider a lace shoulderette or maybe Stephen West's new Creekbed scarf.

Ptarmigan Cowl by Brooklyn Tweed. Buy the pattern at the HCW online shop!

On the other hand, if you want to stick with socks, most of these yarns are dyed in really rich semi-solids so they would be great in a complicated sock like one of Cookie A's patterns.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

An Interview with Kennedy!

Hey Y'all,

Kennedy has been helping folks out down at HCW for nearly a year now. Recently, she attended her first TNNA -- aka Market-- with Suzanne. I caught up with her to ask about her life as a knitter and spinner, her work at the store, her trip to market, and her design work.

How long have you been knitting/what brought you to knitting?

I learned when I was younger but I didn't really take it anywhere back then. I think my parents might even have this awful afghan I did one summer when I was about ten in a basement somewhere, but it wasn't until maybe six or seven years ago that I really got into it. My mom had started knitting and dragged me to a yarn store with her and suddenly I realized I could actually make stuff more complicated than a square and that there was a huge variety of yarn out there to play with.

You've got a lovely design, Bouteloua, in the soon-to-be-released HCW Prairie Bliss pattern book-- what's your experience with designing? Are you self-taught? Does it come easy to you?

Thanks, I'm really proud of Bouteloua. I guess designing is something that just comes naturally. I've always tweaked patterns to make them work for me and after knitting for awhile I would just kind of make something up when I couldn't find a pattern that fit what I wanted. I haven't had a lot of experience with pattern writing until recently though. I've been really lucky here in Austin to have a great group of people around me that are willing to proof and test my designs and I've learned so much about the work goes into translating an idea into something that someone else can also make.

You went to Market with Suzanne in June—what was that like?

Market was INSANE. There is so much to see and its pretty overwhelming. A lot of me wanted to go slow and really take in all the new yarn and accessories and really think of what kind of things I'd use them for but its a huge number of booths you have to get through in such a small window of time so you just sort of have to take away a really fast impression of everything. Besides all of that you turn around and randomly there's like... Cat Bordhi or Amy Singer or someone talking to you. It was especially fun to have the Hill Country Weavers badge on and it seemed like everyone knew the shop and Suzanne.

What classes do you teach at HCW and what kind of teacher are you (e.g. hand-holder or push-'em-from-the-nest or super cheerleader, etc?)

I teach spinning and I've done some lace & dyeing classes. I try to be flexible and figure out what people need from me to learn something. I like to present things broadly to a group and then figure out individually what parts each person needs help with.

Do you have a particular project and/or yarn that you find yourself returning to repeatedly?

Not really, I would always rather try something new than do something again so there aren't that many things I make more than once unless I plan to heavily modify it in some way. I have a lot of yarns that I have loved and would love to work with again but like with patterns given the choice between new and old I'll usually try something new. This year I have been really into Dream in Color's new Everlasting yarns. I've got a sweater out of the DK weight on the needles plus socks and a shawl out of the fingering weight in progress.

Favorite thing you've ever knitted?

Probably my Haruni Shawl. I spun the yarn for it as well and it was one of those projects where everything about it just felt good. I was actually kind of sad to finish it but I love wearing the finished shawl so...

What's coming up on your To Knit list?

Mostly I just want to finish things again! I've been in a bad startitis kick lately - I think after market I just came home with so many ideas and I've been trying to do them all at once. I'm about to cast on for the Morrison Cardigan from the new Knitscene though so maybe I have a few more to start before I can settle down again.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blocking Just Got Easier AND Check Out the Groovy Hadaki Bag Collection!

I just blocked the pieces for a sweater and I admit I suffered through the process a bit. I don't have a designated blocking area, so I used the bed in my spare bedroom and did my best to get things pinned through to the mattress. After I got it all pinned THEN I found out-- HCW now has the solution to my blocking problems. Just in at the shop: Block & Roll mats by Bagsmith. These mats are specifically designed for blocking. At 38" x 50" they can easily hold a whole sweater's worth of pieces or a small shawl. Not only that but, unlike my bed, this block-specific mat has a grid on it to help you pin things straight and to make sure size stays consistent so that your sleeves, front pieces and backs are the same size, not all wonky. As if all that's not enough, the Block & Roll rolls up to the size of a yoga mat so you can take it with you and store it in a small place. I'll be getting one of these immediately.

Meanwhile, bearing in mind that you can never have enough project bags, you should run-don't-walk into the nice air-conditioned store and check out our super cool new Hadaki Bag Collection. These were a big hit at TNNA Market that Suzanne and Kennedy attended in June.

In stock at HCW: the French Market tote, Hannah's tote, multitasker pouches, toiletry pouches, and three sizes of carry-all pods. We've even got a few iPad covers. The Hadaki bags are coated in vinyl so they're really durable and super easy to clean. Plus they are priced to fly off the shelves -- starting at $16 and topping out at $80.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Prairie Bliss! We're Spreading Like Wildflowers!

Hey Y'all,

The picture above is the HCW ad-- touting PRAIRIE BLISS-- the all-new, totally fabulous HCW pattern collection-- featured in the current edition (p. 25) of Interweave KNITS Weekend which just came out. It's a great issue, and yep, you can get a copy down at the shop. We've also got an ad in KnitScene (p. 59). And that's just the start of it. Watch for upcoming issues of Interweave Knits regular issue and their GIFTS issue, too.

For those of you who'd like to preview the whole collection, you can download the look book here. And if you're ready to start knitting, the first two patterns are available at the HCW online store and at our Ravelry page. Here's a link to Kathy's pattern Lantana Haze. And here's a link to Kennedy's pattern Bouteloua, which is already getting great press.

Stay tuned-- more patterns coming soon! We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Knit, You Knit, We All Knit! Join Us for a Knit-Along!

This coming Thursday, July 21st, we'll be starting a summer Knit-Along project beginning at 6:30 pm at the shop. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of Knit-Along, it's pretty easy and really fun. A group of knitters commits to individually knitting up the same project at the same time. It's a great way to garner moral support when you're trying out a pattern that might feel a little tricky. It's also a great way to see how others knit it up-- variations in gauge and color for example. And while Knit-Alongs aren't competitions, it can also be fun to see how fast or slow others knit.

For this Knit-Along, participants will be tackling the Rock Island Shawl designed by Jared Flood (aka Brooklyn Tweed). HCW LOVES Jared! And we are one of a small number of stores that carries his signature yarn, SHELTER, which we love so much we put together the HCW SHELTER COLLECTION of patterns.

You can pick up the pattern and supplies for this Knit-Along project at the shop. If you plan on shopping the day of the event, come a little early to get set up.

For those of you already working on the shawl, come on by, too. While this will not be a structured class-- think of it more like a party-- Kennedy has knitted up this shawl and is happy to help folks get started from cast on or keep going if you've already made some headway. The group will then meet up again in three or four weeks to check in on progress and, if folks want to, set up another meeting beyond that.

So come on down and get your group knit on!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Errata-- Corrections to the Last Post

My apologies-- I put up a post yesterday that had some errors in it. I have taken that post down now, but just in case let me point out to you my biggest error: I said that this coming Sunday is Second Sunday. WRONG. That was last Sunday. So there is not a Second Sunday event coming up until next month. Also, some of the classes I listed didn't make or have passed. So, below you'll find accurate listings for a couple of upcoming crochet classes. And if you go to the store website, you can find a list of all upcoming classes.

Speaking of the Hill Country Weaver website (which is different from this blog)-- the site undergone some lovely changes. Please click the link above to check it out.

Crochet Edging for Knitters
July 17, 2-4pm
Fee: $35
Absolute Beginner (NO experience)
Instructor: Emily Kausalik
Spice up your knitting with adorable, fashionable, and classic crochet edgings.
In this class knitters will learn how to crochet an edging around a small knit sample,
and introduce simple crochet stitches, chain stitches, and basic crochet techniques.
This is a great gateway class into crocheting! Students need no previous experience, though
knowledge of how to hold a crochet hook and yarn, and how to chain and/or make
a single crochet stitch will be beneficial.
BRING: A small, 4"x4" knit swatch in stockinette using worsted weight yarn (any material)
size H or I crochet hook, worsted weight yarn (in contrasting color of swatch)
and locking stitch markers


Crochet 101
July 20/27
6:30 - 9:00 pm
FEE: $50
DESCRIPTION:Learn how to crochet in this class designed for absolute beginners.
Students will learn how to make basic stitches and work flat and in the round.
Projects for this class are a crocheted washcloth and a Granny Square project. There are no pre-requisites for the class.
MATERIALS: Students will need a size H hook, and approximately 100 yards of worsted weight cotton yarn, and at least
3 colors of worsted weight wool or wool-blend yarn (approximately 100 yards each.) Small balls or pygmy balls are ideal
for this project. Students will also need a yarn needle to weave in ends. Locking stitch markers are
recommended for the second session of class, but are not absolutely required.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Knit 101-- Future Expert Knitters, Start Your Needles!

Get Started Now!

Knit 101

July 13, 20, 27, August 3 (a 4 class series)
11:00 - 1:00 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 WashclothClass 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.

(through July 17)
Knit Purl Express
Spin Express
Weaving for Knitters
Sockette to Me
Crochet Edging for Knitters

Thursday, July 7, 2011

First Thursday: 20% Off of EVERYTHING! That's Right: EVERYTHING!


20% off everything *

The hotter the temp the higher your discount!

We're paying homage to our NEW air conditioner by adding
and ADDITIONAL 1% discount for every degree OVER 100
at Camp Mabry or ABIA (whichever is higher!) on Wednesday July 6th

* does not apply to already discounted items
** July Birthday Discount (extra 5%) applies to yarn only

Sale Date: Thursday July 7th, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Class for Our Happy Hookers! And One for Advanced Knitters!


Queen Anne's Lace Crochet Scarf
Beginner (a little experience)
July 10, 2-4 pm
DESCRIPTION: Learn to crochet this quick, easy, elegant and beautiful beginning lace scarf in this class.
PREREQUISITES: Students must be able to chain stitch, single crochet and double crochet to be able to make this scarf.
MATERIALS: "Approximately 200-250 yards of worsted weight yarn with some sort of color change - for example: Noro Silk Garden or Noro Kureyon. Variegated or hand painted yarns will also work.
Size I hook"

KNIT 201

KNIT 201
July 12/19
6:30 -8:30
Prerequisite - Knit 101 or experience with flat knitting
Fee: 50.00
Instructor: Connie Devlin
Gotten your first taste of knitting and want more? Or perhaps you need a refresher class to get back into knitting? We will help you take that next step into pattern reading in Knit 201. Get ready to put that knit and purl stitch to work! You may choose to make either a scarf or a needle case. In both projects you will learn various stitch patterns, basic pattern reading and swatching for gauge.
MATERIALS: Your choice of project. For scarf: 1ball of Araucania Azapa or equivalent. For needle case: 3 balls of GGH Aspen or 2 balls of Lamb's Pride Bulky (or equivalent) in main color plus (optional) 1 ball in contrast ing color. For both projects you will need: size 9 needles (straight or any length circulars), stitch markers, and a tapestry needle.
For the needle case you will also need size 9 double pointed needles.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Love It Or (And) Weave It: More Classes!


Date: July 5/19 (this is a 2 session class)
Time: 6:00 - 9:00
Fee: 58.00
DESCRIPTION: We will learn or be refreshed with lots of weaving techniques in this basket. You will get lots of compliments on this basket adorning your living room or given as a gift. Basket will have a filled base and techniques will include a few varieties of waling, quadruple weave with doubles, and a beautiful braided handle woven with fine cane. Size 10"w x 18"l x 14"h (handle height). Suitable for upper beginner/intermediate weavers. Color choices will be available.
PREREQUISITES: Student must be able to weave and finish basic baskets on their own and be be comfortable shaping larger baskets.
MATERIALS: are provided in class
INSTRUCTOR: Jill Robinson

Date: July 8 and every second friday of the month
Time: 11:00 - 2:00
Fee: 40.00
DESCRIPTION: We will explore the methods of wet and nuno felting and create lovely one of a kind masterpieces,
from bags to hats, scarves to booties and much more.
This class meets the second Friday of each month from 10 am to 2 pm (that includes a short lunch
MATERIALS: You will need wool fleece, which you can purchase at HCW.
Bring a few old towels and dress in comfortable clothes. Wet felting can be quite a workout.
INSTRUCTOR: Mary Macaulay

Date: July 9
Time: 2:00 - 5:00
Fee: 45.00
DESCRIPTION: Imagine learning an off loom weaving technique for narrow strong bands that dates back to the Iron age around 1000 BC. If you want to experience first hand what these ancient people made you will love this class. It is amazingly simple or incredibly complicated. We will explore the drafting and weaving processes and get a sample started.
MATERIALS: Yarn that does not stretch in several high (at least 2) contrast colors. A monochromatic color scheme (like light and dark shades of one color) will not have high contrast. A more bulky yarn like Worstd weight will be easier to start with.
INSTRUCTOR: Mary Macaulay

(through July 14)
Socks Express
Navigating the Wonderful World of Ravelry
Queen Anne's Lace Crochet Scarf
Knit 201
Knit 101
Knit Purl Express
Spin Express