The Yarn Gourmet Important Information

Location: 2915 Mishawaka Ave, South Bend IN 46615 (across from River Park Furniture)
Phone: 574-232-9276

Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 10 - 5
Friday: 10 - 8
Saturday: 9 - 3
Closed Sunday & Monday

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Fall issue of Knitter's Magazine has arrived!  It is a HUGE issue, in celebration of their 25th year and 100th issue.  There are 43 projects and some truly killer knitted garments in this magazine.  I am pleased to say that I have the yarn ON HAND for three of them, can get the yarn for another 12, and the remaining 28 call for yarns I have excellent substitutes for, with only one exception (I don't have any chenille yarn).

Also new this week - several more colors of Mochi Plus, including tone-on-tone striping versions.  The brandied apricot colorway is to die for.  I also got in four more colorways of Panda Silk DK.  This yarn is a joy to knit with, and makes a wonderfully drapey fabric.  Great for virtually anything you want to knit.

Books should be arriving this week, including "Vampire Knits".  I'm not sure what's in it, but with a title like that, how could I resist?  And the winter class schedule will be posted in the December newsletter.  Look for some cool new classes, like color theory for knitters, Knitting Boot Camp, Making Garments Fit, Felted Bunny Rabbits, Summer Hats, and more, as well as repeats of the more popular fall classes, such as entrelac, top-down sweaters, intro to knitting, and magic loop.  I will continue to get in more gifts for knitters, too.

Knit happy!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A customer has asked me what, if anything, I know about how to knit sipalu.  I have spent a LOT of time on-line trying to find out anything I can about sipalu, and the ONLY reference I have found to it is the pattern by the same name from Knit Picks.  "Sipalu" is Nepalese for "skilled" or "clever".  It seems to be intended to describe Fair Isle projects with a distinctly "Himalayan" design.  I would hazard a guess that virtually anything Fair Isle with an East Indian, Tibetan, or Nepalese sort of patterning could be considered sipalu (emphasis on the word "guess"). 

Having said that, the swirled and symmetrical designs of the Knit Picks bag resemble some traditional Nepalese art.  Thus, I am extrapolating that sipalu knitting involves a) Fair Isle technique and b) replicating the traditional, symmetrical designs of Nepalese art, especially the mandalas Tibetan monks are famous for drawing with colored sand.  Other examples of this art can be found here.

This is good news, to those of us with a particularly masochistic bent towards doing our own color charts. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Only 63 knitting days left to Christmas!

Yes, folks, that is an accurate count, not including the wee hours of Christmas morning.  To that end, I present the most lovable hedgehog in the world.  Our model, Horatio, was knitted last year, but I have made up kits with everything you need (except the stuffing): pattern, yarns, eyes & nose.  Horatio  took me one afternoon to knit - it takes longer for him to dry after felting.  I only have two kits right now, but more patterns are on order.  I will also be making up kits to make felted penguins.

Purls of wisdom: time flies like an arrow.  Fruit flies like a banana.

Knit happy!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A bunch of new arrivals today

Santa Keith came today, and he brought LOTS of loot.  First we have the Fortissima Socka Shadow, a monochromatic self-striping yarn in luscious colors, 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon.  One ball makes a pair. 

Next we have the ovarian cancer sock kits, with a pattern designed just for the cause and Trekking XXL in the color of the cause.  All proceeds from the sale of these kits will go to the Marsha Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer Research.  The photo doesn't do the yarn color justice - they are a lovely turquoise blue.

Next is Mosco by Schulana, a soft, sexy yarn made of 67% rayon, 20% mohair, and 13% nylon.  The shiny rayon/nylon core of this yarn is surrounded by the mohair, giving it a soft haze and a very "3-dimensional" coloring.  Very soft, very nice to work with at approximately 7 st/inch on #7 needles.

Next is another sock yarn, Fortissima Socka mit Bambu Degradee Color, but since the striping effect doesn't appear when it's in the ball I have photographed the page from the color card book.  The color changes in this sock yarn are very gradual and subtle; even this photo does not do it justice.  It is 60% superwash wool, 25% bamboo, 15% nylon.  One ball makes a pair.

I also got in some yarns that will be used to make up kits of felted toys, but I still need to collect some components before these can be put out for sale.

In an industry magazine I received yesterday I saw the "Wrap Me Up" pattern (the gorgeous wrap as you first come in the shop door) knitted up in sock yarn!  What a great idea for a lighter weight wrap.  Actually, any yarn can be used, as long as you use more or less similar weights in any given project.  I would love it if all of you who are knitting this pattern brought your wraps in to be photographed.  It would be a great way to illustrate how a simple change of yarn and/or color can make a pattern very look different.

On next to update Facebook!  Knit happy!

Monday, October 18, 2010

The winner of the Most Dedicated Knitter Award goes to...

...The young woman who made her husband stop at the shop about 7 PM Friday night, despite his objections, to pick up 6 skeins of yarn.  They were on their way to the hospital in Plymouth.  And she was actively in labor.

A few things worth mentioning:

  • Oaklawn Hospital in Goshen is asking for donations of leftover yarns that are machine washable (mainly acrylics and superwash) for their program to teach residents to knit and crochet.  All articles will be donated to homeless shelters.  You can drop off any yarns you would like to donate at the shop, and I will get it to the coordinator.
  • I am going to add a "Wish List" page to the blog, so you can refer your loved ones to it when they are shopping for a gift for you.
  • A lovely woman came in the shop today looking for someone with a knitting machine that would be interested in making a dress to her specifications.  Anyone know anyone?  You can let me know and I will get in touch with her.
Knit happy!

    Tuesday, October 12, 2010

    This just in....

    Last week I got in more colors of Crystal Palace Mini Mochi, AND some Mochi Plus, the worsted weight version of Mini Mochi!  I also got the first part of a shipment of Fiesta La Boheme, a decadently beautiful rayon boucle and mohair double-stranded yarn, hand-painted in jewel tones, plus solid black and solid white.

    In today's Skacel shipment is a brochure that mentions, among many other things, that the Addi Bamboo Clicks are now available.  I will special order these for anyone who wants them.  Also mentioned is the ArtFelt Roving offered by Skacel..  This roving comes in standard or pencil, and comes in lots of colors, including multi-colored.  I will be getting some of this in, and early next year there will be a class on making thrummed mittens, which require the pencil roving.  The roving is worked into the back of the work as you knit, creating a "fleece" lined mitten, but it also shows on the outside, so color is in play.

    Also arrived today - Heritage Fiver patterns, including a couple of great baby patterns (hat and a blanket), a lovely cabled hat pattern (excellent last minute Christmas gift), a basic socks pattern, a felted mitten pattern (doesn't let snow and wind through), and a shawl pattern titled "My First Lace Shawl".

    Coming soon - kits to make felted hedgehogs and penguins, new sock yarns, and new books, plus knitter's coffee mugs, bumper stickers, necklaces, and more!  Also - the "Egg-stra Special Sock" kit, the proceeds of which go to the Marsha Rivkin Center to raise fund for ovarian cancer research.  These  kits should be here by the end of the week.

    Sidebar: when I told my darling husband yesterday that I married him for his personality, he smiled and said "Which one?"

    Knit happy!

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    The Knitting Boot Camp

    I am very gratified that the response to just the idea of Knitting Boot Camp has been so enthusiastic.  It's enough to make a drill instructor at Parris Island green with envy.  Here is the additional information I have so far: 

    Methodology: Knitting Boot Camp is a swatch-based class where you gain hands-on experience in a "safe" environment (not in the middle of a garment when it is too late to make a difference).  We sample and discuss when and why to choose one method over another.  You learn to "read" your knitting.  You are not graded.  At the end of KBC you will have a comprehensive reference portfolio of your work, increased confidence, and the ability to make more informed knitting decisions.

    Topics covered in KBC include:  casting on, binding off, increases, decreases, buttonholes, seams, pockets, short rows, fitting garments, tension, gauge, reading patterns, and much more.

    Supplies you will need:
    • 3 skeins smooth, worsted weight yarn, light color
    • tapestry needle (bent tip recommended)
    • US size 5 and 7  8" dpns
    • 3 small stitch holders
    • seaming pins or Knit Clips
    • scissors
    • calculator and pencil for note-taking
    • one-hole punch
    • crochet hook size E
    • a handful of wool roving or fiber fill
    • locking stich markers
    • ruler and tape measure
    • 3-inch loose-leaf notebook with sheet protectors for your swatches
    • Vogue Knitting: the Ultimate Knitting Book
    • Knitter's Book of Finishing Techniques, Nancy Wiseman
    Knitting for the first class - must be done in advance: knit four swatches (using US #7 needles and white or cream yarn) that  are 28 stitches wide by 5 inches long.  Block stockinette swatch only.
    • Swatch 1: stockinette stitch
    • swatch 2: garter stitch
    • swatch 3: seed stitch
    • swatch 4: 2 x 2 ribbing (cast on 40 stitches for this swatch
    Bring all swatches to class.

    I could also type up the comments by those who have taken KBC, but let's just say that even very long-time knitters were pleased with how much they learned.
    As soon as I have dates for KBC I will let you know; likely it will start mid- to late-January, and likely it will be on Friday evenings AND Saturdays so everyone gets a shot at it.

    Purls of wisdom: never do / say / write anything you would not want on the front page of The New York Times.  Knit happy!

    Friday, October 1, 2010

    Due to technical difficulties....

    ...with Constant Contact yesterday, I did not get the names of the door prize winners for the Helen Hamann Trunk Show or of the monthly drawing winners posted in the newsletter.  The door prize winners are:
    • M.J. Regan-Kubinski, Anti-moth Satchets kit
    • Mary Stuglick, Soap Bag kit
    • Julia Hupp, Links Necklace kit
    • Pam Mauser, iPhone Carrier kit
    Grand Prize winner, Karen Krepps, Three Triangle Shawls kit

    Winner of the monthly drawing for a $25 gift certificate is: Helen Orisick!

    The winner of the monthly drawing for a set of Addi Clicks is: Carla Myers!

    Congratulations to every one of you!  If you have not yet collected your prize, you may do so at any time.