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Knit     Crochet     Weave     Spin

Cashmere Cast on Party: Sept 8th
We brought in some amazingly lovely yarns that are 100% cashmere or cashmere blends.  Cashmere is expensive, and can be a little tricky to work with so we wanted to give you a head start!

Cashmere is a luxury fiber for several reasons.  Cashmere comes from goats - really any kind of goat!  Most often it comes from Mongolian goats.  But what makes it cashmere is the softness and the micron count.  Cashmere is gathered from the underbelly of the goats in the warm undercoat they develop in really cold winters.  The harsher the climate, the yummier the cashmere.  With such a small amount per goat harvested each year, it is a rare yarn.  But scarcity alone does not make it one of the most sought after fibers.  Cashmere is very light weight and insulating.  Yet is breathes beautiful and wicks moisture away from the body.  The fiber is hollow which traps the air close to your body.  This can keep you warmer or cooler - in most places, one can wear cashmere year round (perhaps not the Inland Empire of SoCal!).

The drawback of the yarn, for hand knitters, is there is very little memory.  This means that every inconsistent stitch will be seen.  A few thoughts: knit with the material of needle that gives you the greatest control.  If your knits and purls are of different sizes, make your cashmere item in the round.  Add some texture so the piece is not 100% stockinette allow the eye to not find every inconsistency.  But even if your stitches are not perfect, you will LOVE the item!

YARNIVAL Class Schedule

Matching and Flexible Cast on and Bind offs with Ann Budd July 6th
While we may use a longtail cast on for 90% of what we do, there are times that you want the beginning and end of your knitting to match.  And times when you need them to be stretchy.  And how fun is it that there is an overlap of these two goals!  This is a two part class with a detailed handout.  Click here to register.

Intro to Landscape Embroidery with Rosanna Diggs July 7th
Embroidery is making a serious comeback!  If you are new to it or need a refresher, this is a great class.  The class includes a kit with everything you need!  Rosanna designs and creates the kits as well as teaches this fun class.  Click here to register.

Color Theory for Knitters and Crocheters with Yoriko Oki July 9th
Most of us love shopping for yarn and adding to our stash!  But choosing just the right color for a project can be tricky!  How do you choose colors to go with variegated yarns?  How do you make sure something will be blendy vs contrasty.  And so much more!! Yorkio Oki is a yarn dyer - with really lovely color sense! Click here to register.

Toe Up Sock with Roxanne Chavez July 10th & 17th
Roxanne is teaching a beginning level toe up sock.  It is in fingering weight yarn with small needles so please be sure that you are comfortable with small yarns.  This calls is ideal for existing sock knitters that want to try a toe up sock.  Click here to register.

Intermediate Embroidery with Rosanna Diggs July 11th
Rosanna Diggs is back teaching an intermediate level embroidery class.  You should feel comfortable with the basic stitches in embroidery or have taken one of her introductory classes before.  We are making a Stitch Sampler Pineapple.  Click here to Register.

Mitered Madness with Barry Klein July 13th and 20th
This class is not just about how to knit mitered squares.  In typical Barry Klein fashion, he takes this simple subject and dives deep.  You will learn all the ins and outs of mitered squares and how to design with them.  Several patterns are also part of the class.  Click here to register.

Granny Square Construction and More with Maridee Dangcil July 15th
Learn how to make two distinctly different types of granny squares.  While making them you will learn how to choose yarn for crochet projects, how to block, and how to seam.  All while making a lovely poncho!  Click here to register.

My First Crochet Top with Molly Conroy July 21st, 23rd, 28th, and August 8th
This 4 part class is designed to help crocheters crochet their first garment.  Molly will walk you through all the basics - choosing yarn and sizes.  How to create a schematic if the pattern doesn't have one and then use it to adjust the pattern.  And more!  Click here to register

Using Shirbori Techniques for Dyeing Yarn with Lisa Teichgraeber and Brigid Kumler July 22nd
Lisa and Brigid bring their creativity and technical knowledge out to play in this fun dye demo.  It is not just and every day dyeing of yarn!  They are using shibori type techniques to get really unique effects.  Click here to register.

Invisible Stranding (Ladder Back Jacquard) with Susan Rainey July 23rd
If you love to do stranded color work, you need to take this class.  Not all stranded colorwork projects space the color changes to avoid floats.  And when your yarns are vastly different colors, you can really see the carried color bleed through.  Susan teaches you how to avoid this using a very clever technique borrowed from machine knitting.  Click here to register

Beginning Spinning on a Spindle with Stephanie Flynn Sokolov - July 30th
Learn to spin yarn on a drop spindle - and so much more!  Stephanie will spend time explaining how yarn is made and also talking about the characteristics of different fibers.  This is also a great chance for a YARNO square!
Click here to register.

How to Knit a Top Down Sock with Molly July 24th & 31st
No sock experience needed!  Learn all the basics on how to knit a sock from the top down!  This includes a traditional heel and gusset.  We use worsted weight yarn so it is easy!!  Magic Loop is recommended.
Click here to register.

Stripes go Marching Two by Two with Nancy Lekx July 25th
You will never look at striping in the knitting the same way.  Nancy is known for diving deep into a subject and providing you with one of the best handouts ever!  You will explore three techniques: Shadow knitting, Slip Stitch/Mosaic Knitting, and Knit One Below. 
Click here to register.

Color Theory for Weavers with Yoriko Oki July 29th & 30th
If you are a weaver, you need this class.  Yorkio explains why weaving has such a different impact on color than knitting or crochet.  It is not just a lecture!  You will have practical experience playing with color on your loom. The class has an optional (but recommend) kit of Yoriko's yarn to play with. 
Click here to register.

Break Down of YARNIVAL


Sanity, Souls, and the Neurology of Needlework  - Catherine Wallace July 12th CANCELLED
A Curated Canadian Bookshelf - Nancy Lekx July 19th

Creating an Authentic Wardrobe - Laura Bellows - July 26th

Trunk Shows:
West Yorkshire Spinners

Erin B

Ruby & Roses

Gathering Opportunities:
Thursday Lunch Chats
Wednesday Fiber Nights
YARNIVAL Gatherings
PJ Party!!

Ann Budd
Barry Klein
Maridee Dangcil
Molly Conroy
Nancy Lekx
Rosanna Diggs
Roxanne Chaves
Susan Rainey
Yoriko Oki

Classes by Category
Cast on and Bind offs
Vertical Stripes
Socks: Toe up and Top Down
Designing with Mitered Squares
Ladder Back Jacquard
Color Theory

Granny Squares
Reading and Adjusting Garments
Color Theory

Intro to Landscape
Advanced - Tricky Stitches

Color Theory

Drop Spindle

Grist - the word you have unknowingly searched for

I was preparing for Stitches last month and writing a handout on weaving and choosing weaving yarns.  And weaving yarns are described in a very different way than knitting and crochet.  In an attempt to find a simple translation for a 10/2 cotton to Craft Council knitting yarn weights I came across the word "grist."

Grist is a word weavers use to describe the density of a yarn.  Now, not to leave you hanging on the 10/2 thing - the 2 refers to the number of plies in a yarn and the 10 refers to the weight of each ply.  What grist does is help us understand why a cotton yarn is so much heavier than a wool yarn - even if they are both DK weight.

Grist is most easily understood at the meters per gram or yards per ounce.  If you have ever felt the weight difference between 100% cotton and 100% cashmere?  Two skeins of the same "weight," say DK, and the same grams will have very different yardage.  A 50g ball of DK weight cotton has 106 meters.  A 50g ball of DK weight Cashmere has 224 meters.  So if you compare how much each meter weighs you get a very good idea of the different density: With Cotton one gram has 2.12 meters of yarn vs Cashmere that has almost 5 meters in one gram - so it is half the weight!  


Now imagine that you are following a pattern written for cashmere yarn that calls for 100g of yarn and you substitute with 100g of cotton.  You will soooo run out of yarn!

There are some serious CocoKnits fans here!  And the latest CocoKnits pattern, Cleo is what got me thinking about grist.  The pattern uses a 50g skein of wool/cotton blend with 146 yards.  We do not happen to carry that yarn - and frankly we may or may not want to make this lovely Tank/Vest out of wool.  So the question is - what plant based yarn should we use to substitute.  We want something of the same "weight" meaning gauge (unless we want to alter the pattern) so we need a worsted weight yarn.  But if we pick 100% cotton in a worsted weight yarn, the yarn will be so dense and the piece so heavy we will not be happy!

So it is a pleasure to find plant based yarns with unique construction!  Riserva is a fantastic yarn by Lana Grossa that finds a way to introduce "lightness" to the yarn.  So it makes the perfect substitution yarn for Cleo.  

As a quick comparison, the grist of the original pattern yarn was 2.56 and the grist of Riserva is 2.5!  Practically perfect!




Successfully Working with Alpaca Yarns                                                          April 1, 2021


We have the joy of interviewing Jamie and Susan from Humming Oaks Farm on Thursday.  They have three fabulous Alpacas right in our area!  And have created some lovely pure alpaca and alpaca blend yarns.  We wanted to spend a little time talking about the properties of alpaca and how to make successful choices.  There are literally books written about this so I am just giving you my highlights!

Alpaca is soft - it is often referred to as the "poor man's cashmere."  Not that Alpaca is cheap!  It is still a luxury fiber and in the Andes is referred to as the "fiber of the gods."  The softness comes from the fineness of the fiber, the lack of scales, and the fact that Alpaca do not produce lanolin.  They do have guard hairs so if you have ever felt alpaca that poked at you it is because it was not well processed.  If you are wool sensitive you might find that you love Alpaca due to the lack of lanolin.  The possible drawback of the lack of scales is that alpaca yarns can grow and often do not have much memory.  Memory in yarn comes from crimp and alpaca can range from no crimp to lovely crimp - it never has as much as a Merino wool.  Combine the less crimp with the lack of scales and the finished project can grow.  Avoid this by using stitch patterns with texture, knitting at a slightly firmer gauge - but not so firm that you make the fabric mean.  Blends really help offset the growth while maintaining the softness.

Alpaca is warm and wicking - Alpaca is considered one of the warmest fibers and is almost twice as warm as wool.  Given the fact that we live in a hot place, you might wonder if it is right for you.  And it is very breathable.  If you ever wondered how Alpaca could live in the warmer climate of SoCal, it is because the hollow fibers also help insulate the critters from the heat.  The fiber is pretty water resistant.  Because it the fiber is hollow it will not absorb the water and causes it to dry faster, hence, alpaca is also a wicking fiber - meaning it will pull sweat away from the body.  And because it does not absorb water it is odor resistant!  So socks are an awesome choice - especially for alpaca blends.

Alpaca is a strong fiber - Alpaca is considered one of the strongest fibers to come from a mammal.  And it is a fiber that lasts the test of time.  Blankets in the Andes are passed from generation to generation.  This also makes alpaca really amazing for weaving!  And in fact the Andes textile traditions are steeped in woven alpaca.

Alpaca has fabulous stitch definition - And this is both a really positive and negative thing!  It will show off textured knits so beautifully.  And cables are lovely (although they add weight so use with some caution).  Lace is a beautiful way of extending this luxury fiber.  But, if you have any inconsistency in your tension, you will see every bit of it in your knitting so plain stockinette may not be your friend.

So what should you knit?  With pure alpaca, avoid items that have to fit and retain their shape - like hats.  Try you hand at scarves and cowls. Especially textured knits like Purl Soho's No Purl Scarf.  Or Isabel Kraemer's Gryer that is mostly garter.  Diamond and Willow Cowl is beautiful lace cowl.  The Beeswax Scarf is a beautiful blend of lace and texture - and would be gorgeous in Julio!  And anything with a Gansey patterning would be amazing, like the Inshore Legwarmers.  Gauging is always advised to see what the final product will look like.  Take the time to swatch to see if you will like it!

With alpaca blends - the sky is the limit!

One last thought - I loved this image that showed the difference between the scales in wool, alpaca, and cashmere:


We asked you for your Silver Linings from 2020

I have built my network of knit and crochet buddies via Zoom and learned a lot of new techniques from the various guilds and meet ups I have been fortunate enough to find on line. Something good always comes out of something bad, we just need to find the good and sometimes, like this past year, it was a tough search.


I started knitting again! I needed a break from books and tv, so started knitting again. More importantly I have actually finished projects! Thank heavens you stayed open to keep me busy!!!


I’m enjoying the zoom get togethers and classes. I can stay in my PJs and enjoy on my couch. Thankfully, my circle of family are very careful so we have been able to meet. My spinning group meets outside; six feet apart with masks. I’m very fortunate because I’m retired.


I should add that the Riverside Knitting Guild has been fabulous in keeping us together with zoom. Also, Hands on Knitting has been a blessing in that too. I do zoom in on a shop in Washington State and have enjoyed them too. This is a time to support and appreciate small local yarn stores. So, all this makes me happy.


My household remained "steady and we'll."


Friendships formed using zoom. Attending knitting events and book author events that otherwise would have been out of reach for me. Hunkering down at home and appreciating the beauty around me that I had taken for granted.


Making friends all over the country over Zoom who I otherwise would never have met.


ZOOM. getting proficient in using zoom for staying in touch with people when we cant touch.


A friend and I started KAL projects to knit down our stashes and finished 19 + projects since August - December (some big, some small) We are so different in taste and personality but have motivated each other whenever one of us is ready to pitch a project towards the UFO pile. We knit via zoom as often as we can, also mask to mask lunch in Burger-king parking lot and Corona Crossings. I’ve learned new techniques and become fearless( mostly) about trying something new She inspires me!!!!!


I participated in my first KAL (completed) and am working on my second KAL. My first MKAL started in 2020 is being revised to add ,another eight inches in length - two inches to go! I also completed three large, eight medium, and seven small-sized projects for charity, two additional projects for myself, and thirteen small projects for family between last March and this March.

Happy New Year!
Let's talk resolutions - the making and keeping

We are, gladly, coming to the end of 2020 and it is time to make our New Year's Resolutions! And, as fiber fanatics, not only do we make resolutions in our lives, but we also make resolutions for our craft. So here is some information to help you make and meet your resolutions.
  1. Goals should be attainable and realistic. Many of us will say, "I am only going to knit from my stash!" But the problem is that we LOVE yarn and enjoy acquiring yarn. So the moment we buy a new skein we feel like we failed and just give up. So try a goal like: "Every project will use yarn from my stash and new yarn." or "For every project I make with new yarn I will make one with stash yarn."
  2. Write down your goals: All of the science says that if you write your goals down and read them from time to time you are much more likely to achieve them. It changes where you recall the information from in your brain and the very process of writing down the goal helps you clarify the goal. And we created a form for you!
  3. Goals should be measurable: As you write your goals and clarify exactly what you are trying to do, be sure to have a way to measure your progress. For example, if you want to finish UFO and WIPS, gather the ones you know you want to finish and have them in sight - even name them! Pull out the stash yarn you want to use this year and find projects for them.
  4. Share your goals: Share your goals with a friend who has similar goals and form an "accountability buddy." We created the YARNO game to help people write and make their goals - plus you get to earn prizes!
We created a printable form for you to write and share your fiber goals. Just click the link below - and get a $5.00 coupon for playing!