Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Charitable Creations

The holidays are around the corner and that means the giving season is here! For many of us, the holidays are a time for giving back. We can donate our time to something like serving Thanksgiving meals at a local shelter or donate items like toys and clothes for the less fortunate. We can also give back when it comes to our knitting and crocheting skills!

There are many local organizations that may be looking for handmade donations such as hats, scarves and blankets. Give them a call to see what items they can use.
Check your local:
-women's shelters
-homeless shelters
-nursing homes
-animal shelters

Consider the yarn you use and where it is going. For example- is it nice and soft for newborns? Is it machine washable? This adult size knitted hat pattern "The Vermonter" is quick and easy-perfect for making a few for donations.

The Vermonter hat pattern. 
You can also contact national organizations that are dedicated to donating handmade items including Project Linus, Comfort for Critters, and Warm Up America.

Sometimes my dog keeps warm with my crocheted hand-me-downs. You can donate your (new) handmade items to shelter pets in need. 
If you are on Facebook, check out Knit and Crochet for a Cause- a virtual community focused on making items for a cause.  Ravelry also has a list of charitable groups you can join.

Remember, you can donate your time too. You can share your love of the fiber arts by teaching your skills to locals of all ages. Talk about the gift that keeps on giving!

Even if you don't have time to make items for charity, you can still be charitable just by stopping in Yarns By Design. We are a donation site from now through December 9th for Toys for Tots. Every toy you drop off earns you 5 raffle tickets to win this gift basket worth over $300 full of yarns and patterns!

Do you know of an organization that is looking for handmade items? Please share your comments below.


Sarah with Yarns By Design

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sweater weather!

It's feeling cool and fresh outside- perfect sweater weather! Sandy has been busy working on two sweater patterns, Koto and Coda. Both are Brooklyn Tweed designs and made with Brooklyn Tweed yarn.  
Sandy is ready for sweater weather after finishing these two beauties.  

Koto is shown here in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in "Snowbound.

Koto pattern by Brooklyn Tweed/picture by Jared Flood

As described on the pattern info on Ravelry: "Koto’s body and sleeves are worked in the round to the underarm, then worked flat with simultaneous shoulder shaping on the front and back. The short rows use the Shadow Wrap method, which is fully explained in the pattern. The collar is worked from stitches picked up after seaming and faced with stockinette fabric for added structure. Tiny facings at the hem and cuffs make for a beautiful, minimalist finish that doesn’t interrupt the lines of the sweater."

Coda is shown here in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in "Woodsmoke" and noted in the pattern description "Coda will let you wear a pretty frock while the weather is still chilly or dress up a casual outfit".

Coda pattern by Brooklyn Tweed/picture by Jared Flood
If you haven't tried Brooklyn Tweed yet, this time is year is perfect to get started. Make a sweater for yourself or get started on Christmas gifts. We have lots of beautiful color options, something for everyone. Save a trip and shop our online boutique!
Don't forget, Woolfolk has also arrived to Yarns By Design! More information to come on Woolfolk projects in upcoming blog posts and currently available in shop only but it would be perfect for your next sweater pattern.

Tell us what sweater pattern is your favorite and which yarn is your go-to for sweater making. Feel free to stop by the boutique with your finished sweater projects or tag us with your projects on instagram #yarnsbydesign.


Sarah at Yarns By Design

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October fun!

Hello, October! Orange is definitely the new black when it comes to October knit and crochet projects. The Yarns By Design team is very excited about the fun that comes with October. You MUST stop by the boutique to see the latest window display…it's fun, it's spooky, it's full of yarn.

A sneak peek at Yarns By Design in October.

Nothing says October like a pumpkin! I always wonder why we give these beautiful fruits (arguably a vegetable, too) only a short bit of our attention span. I think they should be enjoyed all year long. I can't think of many other fruits where we use it for so many reasons, inside and out. The pumpkin flesh and seeds makes its way into soups, pastas, salads, breads and desserts. We spend hours picking out, carving and decorating the "perfect pumpkin". Why not knit or crochet one too?

I found this quick and easy pattern to crochet this pumpkin. I added eyes and a smile. 

An adorable amigurumi pumpkin. 

Here are a few ideas from other pumpkins around the boutique, one knitted and one felted. 
Knitted pumpkin. 
Bonus! It holds candy!
Fuzzy and fun felted pumpkin. 

Check out this Ravelry link for a ton of pumpkin related knit and crochet projects including costumes, blankets, socks and hats. 

Tell us about your favorite pumpkin project or let us know what you are working on this October!


Sarah with Yarns By Design

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Is your yarn stash ready for fall?

Can you believe it? Fall will officially be here in a few days! When I think of fall I think of soups, pumpkins, apples, back-to-school, leaves, football and…yarn. Suddenly, I find myself looking up patterns for shawls, cowls, boot cuffs and re-examing my at-home stash. Our customers seem to be on the same page as we notice they are coming in for chunkier weights and darker hues for the change in season.

We have beautiful shades of autumn at the boutique. Rich golds, bright yellows and deep oranges are catching my eye and reminding me that it's time to work on my colder weather projects. Pictured are just a few that felt fall-like, back row left to right: Malabrigo Rasta in "Sunset", Brooklyn Tweed Shelter in "Fauna", Hedgehog Fibres Merino DK in "Monarch", Malabrigo Worsted in "Sunset", Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima Paints in "Autumn Leaves", Madelintosh Tosh DK in "Glazed Pecan". Front row: Madelintosh Tosh Vintage in "Amber Trinket", Brooklyn Tweed Loft in "Wool Socks", Malabrigo Mecha in "Piedras", Freia Ombre in "Ember".

Say "leaves". Our fall yarns pose for a photoshoot. 
Yarns By Design also has a refreshed stock of Berroco Comfort in black and yellow, ready for tailgates and game time. With the in-store purchase of this yarn, you can get a free pattern of the "Steeler Scarf". Don't forget to get enough yarn to make the matching hat, shown here using Stephen West's Botanic Hat pattern.
Black and yellow!

Stephen West's Botanic Hat pattern in black and yellow. 
Get your free scarf pattern with in-store purchase of Berroco Comfort yarn.
One of my favorite fall projects was this crocheted poncho and I look forward to taking it out of my closet year after year.  My love for the fall season made using these colors and worsted weight yarn a joy to work with. It is just perfect to wear when the chill in the air isn't quite cold enough for a coat.

What are you working on for fall? Share your patterns and projects with us and stop by the boutique or shop online for your fall yarn fix.


Sarah with Yarns By Design

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!


Sarah at Yarns By Design

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.


Sarah at Yarns By Design 

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!


Sarah with YBD