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UNWIND WITHIN OUR WALLS

Tencel Yarns
Tencel is made in an environmentally award winning "closed loop" technique.  While harsh chemicals are required to make the yarn, they are reused and are not flushed into the world.  Tencel is considered more environmentally friendly than cotton as it uses less arable land and significantly less water.

Tencel is a highly breathable fabric with super absorption properties.  More and more atheletic companies have discovered it - just like they discovered the joys of Merino Wool!  The fabric is lighter and stronger than cotton and breathes better.  It is considered a luxury fabric because it is more expensive to make but also because it is highly coveted.  Unlike rayon that gets weaker when it gets wet, tencel gets stronger. 
It is ideal for weaving in addition to knitting and crochet. 
We have two fantastic hand dyed tencel yarns in store - Teresa Ruch and Trail Head Yarns. 
Come in and check them out!


 
Think Globally, Shop Locally:
CA Yarn Company Day

 

I have always been an “environmentalist” -- after all, I love to run, hike, and dive!  In my everyday choices I have tried to be more cognizant -- reducing plastic, reuse and recycle, etc.  And one of my favorite trends is the Slow Movement.  This is the deliberate sourcing of foods and apparel from local companies (preferably within 100 miles).  I think this appeals to me because as a small business owner I also love to support others in my area.  And as a maker of things I love the Slow Movement for encouraging less mass consumption but more making things yourself.  As knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners we are already naturally drawn to this concept.

 

When Lacey with Yarning for You in San Marcos reached out to me with the idea of celebrating and highlighting local yarn companies I was immediately on board.  I wanted to take the concept past just yarn so we invited in other local makers of accessories that support our yarn habit.  We hope to make this the First Annual CA Yarn Company Day!  Read on form more detailed information on the companies we will be working with.

 

CA Yarn Companies:

 

Lazer Sheep Yarns:

 

Many of you have met Leslie or have petted her yarn in our store.  Leslie is a mom of two in the San Diego area and has been dying for about 5 years.  Back in highschool she doodled a sheep with a lightening bolt and years later that little sheep became her logo.  For each new colorway she dyes Leslie draws a new sheep and you get that button with the skein.  If you are anything like me you probably bought a skein just for the button – like Stuck in Gum Sheep!  Leslie’s yarns are mostly vibrant happy variegated colors often named after popular culture and SciFi themes with lots of names that make her kids happy. 

 

Elevate Fiber Arts:

 

Barbara has only been dying for a couple of years.  I remember when she called me to see if she could come in and get some opinions on her yarn.  It was love at first sight/touch.  It was right before one of our TrunkShows and we immediately invited her to join.  It was a bit crazy because she could have sold out her stock in store that day. One of the things we loved is that Barbara sewed super cute knitting bags to go along with her yarns! Barbara’s daughter does all of the graphic work.  When you come in, ask Barbara about how she and her daughter became interested in dying!  We also love that Elevate has a commitment to the environment on a local level.  For every skein you buy they donate .50c to ROWIA a non-profit that helps the San Bernardino National Forest. 

 

Wanderlust Hues

 

Charlene spent most of her life crocheting and learned to knit recently in 2015.  Knitting made her want to explore color and what better way than through dying!  She has a fun “stitch-to-wear” philosophy that keeps her yarns warm and lovely in timeless colors that are easy to mix and easy to wear with bases that are easy to care for.  To enhance this collection she also creates some fun speckles and vibrant variegation.  Charlene has only been dying for 2 years so this is your chance to meet and develop a relationship with an emerging dyer.

 

Trendsetter Yarns:

 

Trendsetter is not an Indy-Dyer and most of their yarns come from Europe.  They are, for the specialty yarn industry, an older, well established company.  Barry Klein’s mother owned a yarns store in LA and he grew up in the business as they transitioned from LYS to Yarn Company.  They are very ethical about where they source their yarns – most come from Italy and Germany which as part of the EU have great environmental and labor ethics.  They have a HUGE variety of yarns from trendy novelty to super yummy cashmere and luxury fibers.  They also have quite a few yarns that are organic and natural.  We adore them as a company and they are fabulous to work with and one of the few Yarn Companies based on the West Coast.  We are thrilled to offer kits for weaving and knitting at this event.

 

 

 

CA Accessory Companies

 

Becky Caraco

 

We have long loved Becky’s stitch markers and buttons and have carried them over the years.  All of her products are lampwork glass.  We have several hand beaten metal necklaces that are designed to hold her stitch markers – not just for convenience but because each marker is a work of art.  We will only have these for today!

Lickin' Flames
We are excited for the first time ever to have Lickin's Flames in store.  They are a ceramic company that makes some of the most lovely shawl pins and yarn bowls right here in CA.  When I first saw the shawl pins I thought they would be too heavy... boy was I wrong!  They have amazing staying power.  And each is a work of art.  We only have a few yarn bowls and they will only be here today.

 

Slipped Stitch Studios

 

I met Laura fairly early on in Slipped Stitch Studios life span and immediately fell in love.  Since 2009 she has been making some of the most fantastic knitting bags.  Her specialty is sourcing fabrics that make you want to buy many – possibly even collect them – and buy the whole series!  You will find many that based on popular culture.  The bags are well sewn and well thought out.

 

Go Knits Bags

 

I love these bags.  They are lightweight, strong, and easy to care for.  If you are more subtle in your design aesthetic, you will like the simplicity of these bags.  They are well made and will last you forever!  We are excited to carry them for the first time.

 

Lil Sister Kits

 

I have long searched for blocking wires that work well.  These are amazing!  They are made of titanium, are very flexible, lightweight, and will not rust!  You can wet block with no fear.  They come in a little bag for easy storage. 

 

EZ PZ Gauge

 

I did not realize I needed this until I saw it.  This gauge ruler makes your stitches twice as large so you can easily see them!  Even better, it has one inch and half in segments already built in without annoying numbers and symbols to block your view.  You will never have to ask for help reading your gauge again!

CA Designers
Nancy Bates
We are so happy to have Nancy back with her array of National Park Hats.  She will have all of her patterns with her - and if you have not kept up you will be amazed at her range!  We have long loved Nancy's designs and every time she publishes a new one it become my favorite!  We also kitted up the CA park hates using Berroco Vintage or Cascade 220 Wave/Effects.  All of the kits have the right amount of yarn so you will not have to buy full skeins for tiny bits of color.  And all of the yarns are easy care.

Suzanne Nielsen
Suzanne is a designer and Sales Rep in our business.  She will be here with some of designs and samples to try on.  She has also brought with her pattern books by the Fickle Knitter!



First Annual
Local Yarn Shop Day

By Molly Conroy-
Ungerecht



Today is the First Annual Local Yarn Shop (LYS) Day. We hope that if you have not already been in to celebrate with us that you will pop in today! 

TNNA, The National Needle Arts Association, initiated the day not only to celebrate the LYS but also to help us combat on-line shopping.  They asked all participating yarn companies, designers, and stores to make the exclusive LYS Day items available only in brick and mortar stores.  And doing so, it made me wonder, do we really have to fear on-line sales and big box stores?  I would say yes and no.

The news is constantly shouting, “Retail is Dead!”  And seemingly proving the point, 2017 was a record year for retail store closures with more than 7,000 stores closing and it is expected that 2018 will meet or exceed that number.  Indeed, already this year we have seen the loss of Toys R Us - a chain that put many a Mom and Pop toyshop out of business.  This loss has the toy industry panicking — where will they sell their toys now?  Are they stuck with discount chains and Amazon only?  

And then we think, can this happen to our industry.  Well, in the 7 years we have been open we have seen 9 Yarn Shops within a 40-mile radius close with only one of them replaced with a new store.  And there was some serious panic at the Winter Buying Show because buyers from Amazon were there and we heard from many a retailer that Amazon selling yarn will be the death nail in our coffin.

OK, are you depressed yet?  Take heart!! I do not believe that the situation is nearly as bad as that for our industry.  But I will say that as LYS owners we have to give you a reason to come in!  If we do not differentiate and create an experience for our customers we have only ourselves to blame if you stop coming.

Early on at HOKC we realized that we could never compete with Michaels, JoAnn’s, Wal-Mart and now Hobby Lobby on price.  Think about it — all of those stores are within 5 miles of our store!  We needed to be able to offer yarns of a better quality but still at a good price as well as some amazingly yummy yarns.

But even more importantly, we needed a reason for being.  And our goal, from the very start, was to be a store where people could get a “hands on experience.”  We knew we wanted a space that would allow us a large table in the store where people could gather all hours we were open.  We knew we wanted to offer free help at that table during all of those hours.  We knew we wanted a separate classroom and to offer quality classes at really affordable prices (our classes, taught by us, are still only $15 compared to the industry standard of $65) and to always offer quality tools, great basics, and some fun things too!

So, yes, Amazon has impacted our business.  For the most part, we no longer carry books because Amazon sells them for about the same price as our distributor.  But we do not necessarily see this as a bad thing — it has freed up both money and space for more yummy yarn!  And Ravelry has had an even larger impact on how our customers shop for patterns and books.

And even with all of the changes with online sales, our store continues to do really, really well.  We are strong, healthy, and growing.  And thanks to all of you, we plan to be around for a very long time!

I think the future of the LYS is in providing fantastic in-store experiences.  We plan to continue to do that and we also plan to add an on-line segment to our business.  We realize that we service an ever-expanding area and want to make it more convenient to get our products into your hands.  We added a YouTube channel last year to support our classes and reinforce the information we teach.  We are exploring ways of providing distance learning — so the classes we teach in store can be watched on line in an interactive format.  We want to continue to expand our selection - sourcing both great deals and also ethically produced yarns that help our larger community and to continue to support and build our local artists.

It is interesting for LYS owners to stop for a moment and reflect on why our stores are so very important to our communities.  Those of you who have suffered a loss of a favorite LYS have keenly felt that loss.  I believe the LYS is not just a place to buy yarn — you can do that anywhere — but when done right, the LYS is an integral part of our lives allowing us to meet new friends and find our tribe, explore our creativity, find a shoulder to cry on, a place to celebrate our successes, to learn new things, and find some yummy treats, and so much more!

So while this day is designed to celebrate the LYS, we want to also take the day to celebrate you — our very reason for being.  Thank you so much for all of your support over they years and allowing us the chance to thrive as a store and community.