Tuesday, November 29, 2011

'Tis The Season... Actually Every Season is Giving Season for Knitters

Hey Y'all,
How the heck the holidays showed up so soon this year we have no idea. Whether you get excited at the prospect or are feeling overwhelmed, we hope you have a splendid time this coming month and that you get to spend lots of time knitting great gifts.

As we at HCW think about giving this season, we're also looking back at a year that was really hard for some folks. We helped out with a Stash Sale/ Red Cross Fundraiser to show our support for folks devastated by the Joplin, Missouri tornado. Closer to home, y'all kicked in with tons of donations for knitters in Paige/Bastrop where fires destroyed so much land and property. Thanks so much for being part of that!

I recently heard from Jane King, an Austin knitter who founded Friends of Colombian Orphans, a machine knitting cooperative in Bogota. Jane says: "Our machine knitting cooperative in Bogota has been taken over by the administrators of the orphanage. We have been able to therefore let the program manager go (which saves us $300 a month). We pay for the knitting instructor, yarn and machines. Hogares Club Michin (orphanage) has plans to expand the space, so we will be able to buy them more machines. They have also partnered with a recent design school graduate in Bogota who is advising them on what to knit for the Colombian market. AND (this is a big AND) one of our knitters has recently interviewed at a knitting company for a job! We don't know yet if she got it, but the fact that she could interview for a knitting position is huge. So.....my knitting buddies in Austin supply me with cool knitted items to sell on ebay and at fundraisers (we just had one in Oxford, England, where we raffled off some cool scarves and hats made by my knitting friends.That's how we raise money."

Chemo cap knitted up in super soft, super fab, super washable Debbie Bliss Cashmerino

Jane also called our attention to another great project you might want to partake in. She says, "On Ravelry there is a group called Hats for Sailors. I've knitted hats for two years now: they are distributed to one or two navy vessels every year. Shanti Sethi is a knitter and a USN gal who commanded her very own ship last year! She asked her mom to organize Rav folks to knit hats, and the hats were given out on Christmas day. It was very cool and so successful, that two more ships were chosen this year."

I've been doing my own little knitting kindness over here-- I just cranked out a couple of chemo caps. One is for a friend who just wrapped up cancer treatment (yay!) but who still has a ways to go before her hair grows out. The other is for a friend who is about to undergo stem cell transplant. He needed a hat that could be washed regularly due to a compromised immune system. I used that as a chance to work with some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino which is ALWAYS a pleasure!

A chemo cap I made to celebrate my friend finishing treatment.

If you have some Knitting Good Deeds going on, please tell us about it. We'd be happy to share your good work with others.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Forget Black Friday Lines-- Make Your Own Gifts!

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!
News reports are showing that lots of people are already lined up, waiting to burst through the doors of big retailers for Black Friday bargains. But as you know, a hand knitted/woven/crocheted gift is far lovelier than some old store-bought item. Toward that end, we've tracked down a couple of one and two skein scarf patterns for you. They knit up quick so you can make one for everyone on your holiday list.

There's the Hitchhiker Pattern-- we made one using a single skein of Crazy Zauberball and another using two skeins of Freia Multi.

And there's the Francis Pattern. Emily knitted up one of these in just thirty minutes using some fun yarn from Berroco called Lacey. More great news? The scarf can be made with a single skein.

Enjoy your holiday knitting!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Kind of Needles You Want to Show Up Under Your Christmas Tree

We've got a bunch of cool new needles in stock. No, they don't smell all piney, but they are a lot easier to pick up than evergreen needles stuck in the rug. A lot more useful, too. And they're beautiful.

From KNITTER'S PRIDE we have the Symphonie Dreamz Interchangeable sets, crochet hooks, and a Sock Set of DPNs.

We also have interchangeables from Hiya-Hiya. The Hiya-Hiyas come in two size sets: 2 - 8 and 9 - 15. And you can get them in bamboo or metal tips.

Interchangeables are great-- you can really keep track of what you've got and it's easy to carry with you enough needles to do all sorts of projects when you're traveling so you don't have to pre-decide. (I don't know about y'all but I love to hit up yarn shops when I'm on the road and decide on a project on the spot that suits my travel mood and needs.)

There's been a lot in the news lately about how Black Friday is starting on Thanksgiving Thursday this year. We have a better idea-- don't be part of the madness. Come on in this weekend for a nice relaxing holiday buying session. And remember, it's okay to buy yourself a gift!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Check Us Out in the New Twist Collective!

Hey Y'all,
Twist Collective is an online mag that comes out three times per year. It's a cool concept, a way for designers to have their patterns beautifully produced and make fair money in the deal. We LOVE Twist Collective and we're happy that: a) the new issue is out! and b) we have an Ad on Page Two for our great Prairie Bliss Collection!

Speaking of the Prairie Bliss Collection, we also have a new gallery up on the website that will make browsing all the beautiful patterns even easier.

Follow your Prairie Bliss!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Better Than an Elephant Performance: Our Trunk Show Features Brooklyn Tweed!

Hey Y'all,
Time to hustle on down to the shop -- we have (for a little while) the Brooklyn Tweed Trunk Show, featuring Jared's 2011 Brooklyn Tweed Fall Collection. The patterns we have samples for are: Ashby, Bedford Mitt, Flint, Irving, Lockhart, Ninian, Peabody, Rosebud, Tinder and Topiary.

And if you haven't had a chance to check out BT's new yarn, LOFT, well now would be an excellent time. Come on down and feast your eyes and hands on these gorgeous samples.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knitting: What a Trip!

I've mentioned here in the past how I love to center my vacations around knitting, or at the very least track down knitting shops when I am on the road. I've been to yarn stores in Japan, Argentina, Israel, and all around the United States.

Last month, I took my annual trip to Maine, where I go to knit for a week every year. While I was up there, I took the world's fastest, most abbreviated tour of Swans Island. While there really is an island by that name, I'm referring here to the company that makes amazing blankets. I got to see their looms and their dyeing vats. And I had a good, if too-short, chat with Bill Laurita, one of the partners in the company.

If you'd like to know more about Swans Island, here's a post I did awhile ago, and it features some great pictures. For a history of Swans Island Blankets go here. Or, do what I did... head on up to Maine.

How about y'all? Do you plan knit related vacations? Where are some of the more interesting places you've knitted?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hooray! Brooklyn Tweed Unveils LOFT!! And We've Got Some!

Hey Y'all,
Last September we were so excited to announce the big news that Brooklyn Tweed (aka Jared Flood) had released his first line of yarn, SHELTER. And, also exciting, we were one of just seven stores nationwide carrying SHELTER.

Well here's more BIG NEWS!! As of today, Brooklyn Tweed is offering a SECOND line of INCREDIBLE fingering weight yarn. It's called LOFT and, as the name suggests, it's all floaty dreamy.

Don't get us wrong-- we still LOVE LOVE LOVE Shelter. But LOFT, we have no doubt, is going to lend itself especially well to lighter garments you can wear more often in Austin's CRAZY HEAT.

LOFT rhymes with SOFT for a reason. It's a lovely two-ply and its made from the fleece of Wyoming raised Targhee-Columbia Sheep. LOFT is also SPUN in the USA in woolen mills in Harrisville, New Hampshire that have been around since 1794.

There are THIRTY-TWO COLORS to choose from, a palette created from an ELEVEN COLOR base, so you get this terrific easy-to-mix-and-match opportunity, a promise of cross-range coherence as Jared puts it. Plus, like it's lovely cousin SHELTER, LOFT knits up great at a variety of gauges without losing fabric integrity. So whether you're working on a dense, colorowork piece at 10 stitches per inch, or something lighter and sportier at 6 stitches per inch, LOFT is going to make you very, very happy.

One more bit of great news for those of you who can't make it to the store today and/or those of you who live far away. You can order LOFT from our online store RIGHT NOW. Just click here to go straight to the online LOFT collection.

AND STAY TUNED-- We're going to have a new batch of Brooklyn Tweed patterns really soon!