Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Meet the Yarns By Design team- Part Three

Third up in our series of "Meet the Yarns By Design team" is Tamara Hayes, co-owner of Yarns By Design.

Tamara's path into knitting began when she was expecting her first baby. Her mom (and fellow co-owner), Sandy taught her the basic crochet stitch to be able to complete a blanket for her daughter. Her daughter still has that same blanket today. Fast forward to Tamara's second child, where she wanted to try knitting the blanket instead. "This was when novelty yarns were really popular- not the best option for a first time knitter to work with", Tamara begins…"let's just say, the blanket turned out to be a shape I have never seen before".  It was around that time that Sandy was seriously thinking about opening a yarn shop. Tamara became excited about this next adventure for her mom and asked if she could join in on the fun. This new adventure also meant that Tamara needed to get in a lot more practice in the fiber arts, especially if she is going to be selling the product. She practiced with scarves, but felt that became boring so on she went to sweaters instead. "I have to say, I haven't looked back", she states. "I love knitting and have enjoyed the challenge of knitting all of the projects I have made throughout the years."

Tamara's favorite place to knit looks a little different now that she lives in the UK. "Before moving to the UK, I enjoyed knitting in the evenings in our basement watching some sort of documentary while my husband was busy building his radio control airplanes. Unfortunately, now living in London, we do not have the luxury of space nor time so my knitting is usually being worked on while  traveling on the Underground, most times while standing."

Getting some stitches in on the Underground.
When she is not working with YBD or knitting on her own, Tamara enjoys boxing for a good workout. She also likes to dance, ski, cycle, camp and take long walks with her husband and be with her family. "My family would say I am always working at the boutique, I guess this is the advantage and disadvantage when doing something you really enjoy." Tamara's commitment to a successful business continues, even from the UK. "Our goal with YBD is to provide high quality products to our customers (also known as fiber friends); our customers are the best and it is my goal to give them the best experience and options when crafting."

Tamara and family. 
The boutique was designed and decorated by Tamara. When asked what was her inspiration for such she states: "Simplicity. I like clean lines with no distractions." As a collector of mid-century furniture and design, she finds design inspiration from this era. "Sandy was so very trusting and supportive of my ideas and vision, designing YBD was the best designing job I had."

Fiber art seems to differ between London and the United States. "Interestingly, there is a huge difference", Tamara explains. "If I can say it bluntly, nothing compares!"
She continues, "there aren't many yarn shops in London, the fiber options are minimal (Rowan, Debbie Bliss, Louisa Harding, Sirdar are the yarns every yarn shops has available). A few shops have ventured into the more exciting hand-dyed yarns like Manos and Malabrigo, but the color options are minimal".
Tamara has managed to meet up with one  knitting group since moving. "They are a lovely group of ladies, however it just seems like the industry is stuck in the past here- most people have never even heard of Ravelry nor have they ever worked on circulars." Tamara misses what YBD has to offer and continues to purchase from the YBD online boutique .

Tamara enjoys creating, inspiring and experimenting with both fibers and designs. She most enjoys knitting sweaters, particularly top-down projects. Her words of wisdom to those just getting started in the fiber arts: "If you have an interest but are getting frustrated, do not keep trying the same thing. Move  from what it is you are currently working on and try something else to inspire you.  Also, I only ever work on one project at a time. It is like a little game with myself. Thus, I never have unfinished projects looming over me and causing me stress."

Handmade by Tamara: Such a Winter's Day designed by Heidi Kirrmaier and knit with Madelintosh Vintage in Silver 

Stop by to say hi to the rest of the Yarns By Design team. Be sure to bring your finished projects to share with us, we love to see what everyone is creating!

Warmly,

Sarah at Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com



Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Meet the Yarns By Design team-Part Two

Part two to our "Meet the Yarns By Design Team" blog series!


Next up is Natalie Belmont, Boutique Manager. 

Natalie's path to knitting and to the Yarns By Design team started in 2010 and came about when she was in search of a creative outlet. "I went to art school and when I quit, I also quit drawing and painting", she begins. "I wanted to try knitting so I bought some yarn and a pattern and gave it a shot." "When my baby bootie pattern came out to fit a 5 year old, I started looking for a place to get help." Natalie lived in Oakmont, so YBD was the next logical place to go. "Sandy (owner) took me in and taught me everything I know, and eventually employed me!"

Natalie and fam!
Natalie's favorite place to knit is on her sofa with Netflix or at Thursday evening Fiber Friends at YBD.  When she is not knitting or at the boutique she enjoys hot yoga and spending time with her husband and two boys. One of her knitting projects she is most proud of is "The Bounce Blanket, made for her newest son Otto (born in June). "It is such a fun pattern, I had a blast and it turned out beautiful". The blanket is made all out of Rios!

The Bounce Blanket designed by Tin Can Knits, made by Natalie and ready for  baby Otto!
Natalie's favorite knitting designers are Tin Can Knits and Stephen West. When asked what is currently her go-to fiber for knitting, Natalie said "I am a total Malabrigo junkie, and my favorite line of theirs is Rios!"

Natalie and Antonio, owner of Malabrigo. 
Finally, a few words of wisdom from Natalie to anyone just getting started with knitting:

"Just keep knitting! Don't leave any idle time in between projects, always have something on your needles."

Stop by to say hi to Natalie and the rest of the YBD team, we are here to help! Interested in learning to knit or crochet? Sign up for some individual or group lessons today.

Warmly, 

Sarah at Yarns By Design 
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Steel Valley Yarn Crawl 2017 Round Up


The 2017 Steel Valley Yarn Crawl has come to an end and we are all catching our breath! Yarns By Design was open during seven of the 10 days of the crawl and were fortunate enough to have quite the turnout. This year we estimated well over 200 passports stamped at our boutique. We had familiar faces stop by and many first-time visitors as well. Some of our crawlers even came from out of state just for the event. 

We noticed lots of crawlers stopping in to check out our Hedgehog Fibres and our newest brand of Brooklyn Tweed. We can't wait see what everyone has to say about trying those yarns for the first time-be sure to let us know. Don't forget to bring in your finished projects when you stop in, we enjoy seeing our yarns come alive! A special shout out to Tin Can Knits for donating the free knit pattern "Undertone Cowl" and YBD's Sarah LaVoie for designing the free crochet pattern with purchase of the featured Hedgehog Fibres yarn. Both patterns are great for transitioning to Fall weather, so get started now.
2017 Yarn Crawl Knit pattern "Undertone Cowl" by Tin Can Knits and made by Sandy
Undertone Cowl made with this fun shade of  Hedgehog Fibres DK in "Bounce" 

2017 Yarn Crawl crochet pattern "Morning Smoothie" by Sarah LaVoie

 
Morning Smoothie cowl made with this dynamic shade of Hedgehog Fibres DK  in "Birthday Cake" 
 Winners of our raffle were selected. Congratulations to our winners:
Bag #1: Faye Gardany
Bag #2: Chelsea Kelly
Bag #3: Noralynn Spiri

Congrats to Chelsea Kelly, crocheter and winner of YBD raffle bag #2 and newest fan of Hedgehog Fibres!
We hope you love your prizes as much as we do!

Have any recommendations for things you'd like to see at our shop or about the crawl in general? We would love to hear your feedback. Stop in the boutique, drop us a message or just comment below. We are trying to improve the crawl experience every year.



Some views of our 2017 crawlers in action. 
Yarns by Design would like to thank all of the crawlers that stopped by this year and we hope to see everyone again soon. Looking forward to what the 2018 crawl brings!

Warmly,

Sarah with YBD
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com



Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Oh baby!

It always seems to me like June, July and August are popular months for babies to be born. If you're like me, each summer comes with the joyous addition of newborns amongst friends, family and coworkers. Giving a handmade gift is an extra special way to say congratulations. It may even be something the little one gets attached to and treasures for years! 

Yarns By Design has some beautiful yarns that are perfect for your next baby project. Our most popular  one by J.C. Brett- Flutterby comes in a variety of colors. It's super bulky weight can make for a quick moving project if you need one done before baby gets here. This yarn has many pattern designs to use- you'll need more than one as you'll be hooked on the yarn after feeling it's marshmallow-soft fiber. Looking for something in a lighter weight? Try Cascade Yarns: Cherub Baby for sport weight or Rowan: Super Fine Merino for fingering weight. (All pictured above)

Squishy soft Flutterby yarn patterns. 
To make life even easier, Yarns By Design has in stock the  Feza Baby Gradient Blanket kit. Pattern and yarn ready to go!
J.C. Brett Flutterby Hooded Blanket on top and Feza Baby Gradient Blanket in center. 
If you see more baby projects in your future, consider a pattern book to have handy. We have a collection to choose from including patterns for blankets, booties, garments, and toys.

Just a few of the baby pattern books at YBD!

Finally, if you are looking for something a little bit different than the usual pastels of baby projects I suggest trying something like making a blanket or garment in the baby's birthstone color. June is light  amethyst or moonstone, July is ruby and August is peridot. 
Left to Right: June/Light Amethyst in Malabrigo Rios "Orchid", July/Ruby in Malabrigo Rios "Ravelry Red",  and August/Peridot in Madelintosh DK in "Grasshopper".
Bonus: all yarns mentioned and pictured are machine washable! A must for baby friendly projects.

Do you have a favorite project you like to make for the babies in your life? Share them below or bring them by the boutique to show us (babies too)!

Warmly,

Sarah from Yarns By Design

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Meet the Yarns By Design team- Part One

Over the next few blog posts you'll get to meet the Yarns By Design team. 

First up is Michelle who joined our team Winter 2016. You can usually find her at the boutique on Saturdays working the floor and assisting you with your knitting needs. 
Meet Michelle!
Michelle became interested in knitting over 10 years ago when her youngest started first grade and would be gone all day.  When asked how she became interested in knitting she said, "my local YMCA was offering a free class and I thought…why not? I won't say I was hooked right away but I stuck with it and it has become therapeutic for me." "If I'm sitting, my knitting is in my lap" she continues.   
One of Michelle's work in progress. 
When Michelle isn't knitting she is busy with her  family which consists of husband James, teen aged daughters Allyson and Meghan and dog Cha-cha.  She enjoys being outdoors flower gardening and bird watching.  "Fitness is also extremely important to me", she says. "I swim laps Monday through  Friday and run on the weekends.  I also squeeze in a bike ride when I can. I volunteer with Meals on Wheels on Wednesdays."
Knitted hats. 
Her favorite place to knit is on her back porch with her dog at her feet and a glass of iced tea beside her. Her most elaborate project was a baby blanket knitted and sold to a friend to give as a gift.  
Socks handmade by Michelle
Her tips to fellow knitters: "Stick with it if you are just beginning.  Ask more experienced knitters as many questions as you can and don't be afraid to rip a project out and start over.  There isn't a mistake that I haven't been able to fix."
Another project by Michelle
 Stop in to the boutique and say hello to Michelle. Interested in learning to knit or crochet and "stick with it"? Click here for our class information!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Get ready for the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl!

It's that time of year again! Clear your calendar and clear some space for a fresh yarn stash- the yarn crawl is here.



The 4th annual Steel Valley Yarn Crawl runs from July 28th through August 6th. It gives yarn lovers the opportunity to win fantastic prizes at 11 shops in the Pittsburgh area over 10 days.
The passports and bags are now available at Yarns By Design and at each of the participating shops. For $12 you will receive a fabulous bag and eleven raffle tickets. The bag is bigger and better this year, with plenty of room for your yarn crawl purchases and later for toting your projects or even to bring to the beach this summer.

Come and get your 2017 SVYC bag today!

If you'd like to plan ahead, here is a 2017 map of the participating shops. Check out the Steel Valley Yarn Crawl website for all of the details on the event.

In addition to exciting prizes, we will have a free knit and crochet pattern featuring Hedgehog Fibres. It's the perfect opportunity to give this beautiful brand a try if you haven't already. Stop in today to pick up your bag and passport!
Our Hedgehog Fibres are yarn crawl ready. 

Warmly,

Sarah at Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com








Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Summer Solstice: keep cool with linen!

Tomorrow is officially the first day of summer. The summer solstice brings backyard barbeques, days spent at the pool and the search for the perfect breathable knit or crochet project. The search is over with linen yarn.

"Crete" pattern made by Sandy using Shibui Knits linen yarn: lightweight and beautiful. 
Linen yarn is made by using fibers from the stalk of the flax (also known as linseed) plant. It has been used for over 8,000 years, first with Mediterranean civilizations and later adopted by Europe.

This top is hot weather ready, made with Shibui- Twig (46% linen) by Tamara.

So, why linen? Linen is:

  • vegan friendly 
  • hypo-allergenic
  • breathable and lightweight (perfect for warm weather garments)
  • absorbent- wicks moisture away from skin for an airy cool feeling
  • durable- about 30% stronger than cotton
  • quick drying (try it for a beach coverup!)
  • long lasting- with careful laundering, the item will last for years. The more linen is used and washed, the softer it gets. 
  • natural textured look- no need for fancy stitches or complicated patterns, linen's texture comes naturally.
"Vested Interest" pattern made by Natalie using 100% linen (Quince & Co.- Kestrel )
Yarns By Design has many linen yarns to try. Shibui Knits- Reed, Louet North America- Euroflax and Euroflax Lace, Habu- Fine Linen, Quince and Co.- Kestrel and Sparrow and Claudia and Co.- Hand Painted Yarns are all 100% linen. We also have linen blends including Shibui Knits- Twig, Rowan- Cotton Lustre,  and The Fibre Co.- Savannah. All of these will give you the lustrous and lightweight wearability you want this summer. 

Lots of linen options at Yarns By Design!

Check us out online or shop our boutique to pick up your stash of the coolest fiber in town. 

Be sure to comment below to share your linen yarn experience or bring in your linen projects to show off. We love to see what our customers create. 


Warmly, 

Sarah with Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com