Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Sheep and Fiber Fest

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the 14th Annual Sheep and Fiber Fest in Waynesburg, PA. It is a wonderful (and free) two day event that highlights the sheep and fiber industry. The long list of activities included several sheep shearing demonstrations, they looked like completely different sheep after their haircut! The breed pavilion gave visitors the chance to see, touch and learn about the sheep. Other activities were dog shepherding demos, lamb cooking demos and sampling, hand spun skein exhibits, makers space, live music, and fiber arts vendor and crafts sale.
A good looking pair of Kerry Hill sheep.
What's a Fiber Fest without alpacas? 
For those of you with a competitive spirit there were events like the fleece to shawl competition and the fiber arts competition. The fleece to shawl competition consists of teams of fibers artists who spin and weave with the raw fleece material and finish with a completed shawl…all timed of course! The fiber arts competition allows youth and adults to enter their handmade knitted, crocheted, woven and felted items that are judged for the chance at awards and prizes. All items had to be at least 50% natural animal fibers and made within the past one year. I tried my hand at this competition and entered my crocheted "radish brooch", which won honorable mention. Yay!

Soft and squishy fleece and roving from Roving Acres Farm. 

My radish brooch gets honorable mention. 
Checking out the fiber arts vendor and crafts sale was especially fun. Vendors had beautiful hand spun yarns, handcrafted tabletop looms, handmade jewelry, and hand painted ceramic pieces to name a few. Talk about talented artisans and crafters! My favorite pick was Sweitzer's Fiber Mill from Seven Valleys, PA who had lovely displays of their own yarn (including yarn made from milk protein, corn and soybean). I treated myself to some pretty yarns hand dyed in shades of pink and purple by the owner's 7 year old daughter, Lilly. It even came with an autograph from Lilly herself.

Lilly's Ranbow Yarns from Sweitzer's FIber Mill

This fun fest inspired me to learn  more about sheep breeds and the process of how their fleece turns into beautiful yarn for me to use. Now, I'm searching for more local fiber arts festivals!

Sheep shearing demonstration. 
Do you have any fiber arts festival recommendations for me? What about your fiber arts competition stories and tips? I'd love to hear from you, comment below.


Sarah with Yarns By Design

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Wrist Ruler: A Functional Accessory

If you are like me, you are always taking a project with you wherever you go. Sometimes, you just really wish you packed your tape measure too! This problem has a fun and fashionable solution and it is at Yarns By Design…the Wrist Ruler- a bracelet that doubles as a ruler. The bracelets have both inches and centimeters etched on them and are made in the USA.

This bracelet easily measures up to any of your other accessories. 

They come in two lengths of either 15 or 17 inches and designed to be wrapped around your wrist twice for a stylish look that goes with everything.  The genuine leather bracelets will look good on everyone as they come in three shades: medium brown, dark brown or black. I think the leather looks great with anything denim and can be dressed up or down (of course with your favorite handmade top, shawl or pullover).

Prepared for any project on the go. 

Are bracelets not your look but you like the idea of having a ruler with you on the go? We also have the keychain ruler,  you can find them at our boutique in both light brown or black.

Ruler Keychains.

What other accessory or tool do you not leave home without when taking your project with you? Leave a comment here or stop in and tell us about it! 


Sarah with Yarns By Design

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

100% American made Brooklyn Tweed has arrived!

It's here! We are thrilled to announce our latest addition to Yarns By Design:
Brooklyn Tweed.

This Portland, Oregon based company started in 2010 and they use only 100% American made Targhee wool. Their mission includes "we are passionate about wool, knitting and design" and it shows with their true "sheep to skein" story. The Targhee sheep is the 2nd breed to be developed by the USDA. They were bred to have the perfect mix of fine wool with long wool to make for a soft, silky, and strong yarn. The herds of Brooklyn Tweed reside on the plains of Wyoming where they grow their fleece for shearing. Once baled and cleaned, the fleece travels to Pennsylvania for cleaning and dyeing to create an abundance of lovely palettes. Next stop is New Hampshire where the dyed yarn is spun and finished to create skeins ready for you to knit.

Happy sheep make pretty skeins. 

Yarns By Design customer and knitter, Mary stopped by Yarns By Design and couldn't resist giving this yarn a try. She got right to work on her project and had this to say about the "Loft" fingering weight yarn: "I LOVE this yarn so much! I haven't been this excited about a new yarn since I discovered Madelinetosh years ago!" and "the colors are beautiful, the yarn is so soft yet has a nice body and is a joy to knit".

Customer Mary Mervis works up a pattern using Brooklyn Tweed Loft for the first time.
Photo by Mary Mervis

Our boutique is proud to be one of only two retail stockists in the state. We offer fingering weight "Loft", DK weight "Arbor" and worsted weight "Shelter" all in a variety of colors. Brooklyn Tweed also offers an abundance of gorgeous patterns that mix both traditional and modern looks.
Stop by in-store to see the collection in person or shop Yarns By Design online -either way it's yarn you want to check out!

Welcome, Brooklyn Tweed.

Be sure to share your feedback and projects about Brooklyn Tweed with us once you give it a try. We love to hear from our customers. 


Sarah with Yarns By Design

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Yarn Mood Changes

Spring is here; the sun is out, the flowers are blooming. Spring has also sprung inside at Yarns By Design! Our customers' eyes seem to be moving away from the grays, blacks and neutrals of winter and over to the pastels and bright palettes.

I started this crochet beach bag  today and definitely was in a bright and sunny mood and had the beach on my mind when I selected the color scheme. I'm making it with Berroco Comfort, a soft worsted weight yarn found at Yarns By Design. It is machine washable after a day at the beach. Look for the finished product in our window display soon.

Feels like sunshine working on these hexagons!

Our shop is full of fun colors to get your spring and summer projects completed. Our Hedgehog Fibres collection is especially colorful and will be sure to put you in the mood of your choice. Whether it's the calming blues, the happy yellows or the romantic pinks…we have the shade for you!

Check out the colors of these Hedfgehog Fibres!

What's your favorite color(s) to work with this time of year? We'd love to hear from you.


Sarah at Yarns By Design

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Traveling Fiber Artist

I've had the good fortune of having some amazing travel plans in my recent calendar. My travels made me realize how important it is to plan ahead when it comes to packing the perfect project to match your trip. Here are a few things to consider before you are on the go:

-Type of transportation. While knitting needles and crochet hooks are allowed on your carry-on luggage for flights, keep in mind scissors are only allowed if less than 4 inches on domestic flights. Nail clippers are a good alternative option. Check out TSA's list of allowed items: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/whatcanibring. If your trip is mostly by automobile, think about whether or not your travel time will take place during daylight hours. Interior lights or other light up devices may be distracting to your driver. If traveling by bus or train it may be a good idea to find out if you'll have easy access to your bag or if it will be secured away and out of reach.

Crocheting on a plane helps me pass the time. 

-Time allowance. In the past, I found myself overpacking when it comes to yarn. I completely overestimated how much free time I'd have to work on my projects. Try to tally up your travel time and your down time and make a realistic estimate.

-Pattern picking. If you are short on space in your bag, choose a pattern that doesn't require a lot of color change and can be completed in one skein. You can even pick a pattern that can be completed and worn during your trip! The project pictured below was used with scrap yarn I was thrilled to finally use.
Be sure to have a paper copy of your pattern.  While all of the online patterns are wonderful, you never know when you won't have access to WiFi or your mobile device is low on battery power.

Travel projects can be completed in time to wear on your trip. 

-Choosing yarn. When traveling, I try to avoid yarns that tend to shed. No one wants those fuzzies all over their clothes! I like to make sure my yarn is already wound or is one that has a center pull option. Be sure to keep your project free from dirt and stains that might arise during your trip by keeping it in a project bag when not in use. Shop our Project Bags just in time for your next vacation.

-Challenge yourself.  Don't be afraid to increase your creativity during travel time. One of my favorite project packing challenges was successfully making a pair of baby booties and hair accessories on a road trip to the baby shower. It was completed in perfect time from door-to-door.

-Venture out. If I go to a new city, I always try to check out a local yarn shop. Perhaps pack enough yarn to get to the city then switch to a new project with some new yarn on your return trip home.

Checking out the yarn scene in New Zealand. 

Tell us how you like to travel with your projects, we'd love to hear from you!


Sarah LaVoie

Yarns By Design

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Go Green with Dryer Dots

Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22nd. Looking for ideas to make a difference? We have just the product for you to make an earth friendly effort each time you dry a load of laundry: Dryer Dots!

This product by Gleener comes in a bag of six dryer balls, each about the size of a tennis ball. They are a fabulous alternative to chemical-covered fabric sheets. They are made up of 100% New Zealand wool and soak up moisture and cut dry time by 30%. Other benefits include reducing static and helping to soften and separate items in the dryer. Dryer Dots are free of chemicals and fragrances, making them ideal for anyone with allergies or asthma. They can be used with any dryer-friendly fabric.

Use 3 balls for small loads and all 6 for medium to large loads. 

Gleener's directions for use seem pretty easy, too: "Toss into dryer and run cycle as usual"!

Stop by our boutique to be on your way to a greener 2017 or you can get them on our website: http://yarnsbydesignpa.com/dryer-dots-eco-fabric-softener-6-pack.html

Tell us how being a knitter or crocheter has made you more eco-conscious or how you are making a difference this Earth Day. We'd love to hear your comments!


Yarns By Design

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Knit and crochet mistakes: you aren't alone.

Last week, I wrote about starting a crochet summer pattern for a beach cover up. It was going so smoothly and then…(you've all been there) I got stuck. I tried talking to the pattern: "what are you talking about?!" but it didn't answer back. I unraveled and started the section over then over again. After expressing my frustrations to my knitter friend, she tells me "keep frogging or move on to something else". She then explained to me what frogging means. In knitting and crocheting, a frog says "rip it rip it" referring to undoing rows of work due to errors. So I frogged some more but it still didn't look right. I felt like a failure. I consider myself an advanced crocheter, so why couldn't I make this work?
I turned to the pattern on Ravelry.com and realized I wasn't alone. There were other crocheters out there showing the same frustrations. Some got through it, some decided to iron out the errors on their own and some (including me) gave up and moved on to something else. It feels good to let go!
I found this similar pattern http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/summer-beach-cover-up and am moving along nicely with it. Lesson learned: if you get the pattern from Ravelry, look at the project notes from fellow fiber friends if they are available. There are great tips and wonderful pictures too.
Interested in learning more about this feature on Ravelry and how to take advantage of everything else it has to offer? Sign up for our Ravelry 101 class at Yarns By Design on February 23, 2016 from 5:30-7pm. http://yarnsbydesignpa.com/social/classes.html

New pattern + same yarn= happy crocheter!