Monday, April 8, 2019


What exactly is color work? Multi-colored knitting that’s done by carrying two or more colors at a time across a row. I love colorwork, it is one of my favorite things to knit. I feel it goes faster than other projects, maybe because you are watching a picture and pattern come to life! I love coming up with color combos and putting them into order. It truly is a work of art! It is also much easier than it looks, too! The first time I ever practiced colorwork, I did it in the car on a small road trip. The FO was a just a small fair isle mug cozy, it only took me a few hours or so to do. It was a free beginners pattern, and you can really see your tension on. After that, I was hooked and moved on to other projects, hats, cowls, etc. 

Don't let the look intimidate you! Download that mug cozy today, and give it a try! When you're done with that, here are some of my favorite colorwork patterns to do next! Enjoy! 

The Kodikas Shawl by Boyland Knitworks knit out of Madelinetosh DK

Prism Hat by Tin Can Knits in Malabrigo Rios

Thursday, March 28, 2019


When you walk out of our boutique with your bag of yarn, what will become of it? Lets face it, some of it may end up in an endless stash, we all have them! BUT some of it ends up in a beautiful finished project or FO (finished object)! We want to see that FO, so please be sure to share it with us any way you can! We love to see your FO's, your WIP's, and even your endless stash! There are so many ways to share your projects with us, and we are here today to tell you how!

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, tag us in your image or #YarnsByDesign. Are you on Ravelry? Join our Yarns By Design group and leave it on our FO forum! And lastly, bring it in for us to photograph on one of our forms! We love seeing you and your FO's in person! 

We want to see your FO's and your YBD images, so keep them coming! Here are some customer pictures that we love! Enjoy! 







Monday, March 18, 2019

Meet my new favorite yarn, Brooklyn Tweed Quarry!


It has been quite a while since we have written a blog post! Life has gotten in our way a bit, and we have been pretty busy in general at the boutique (not complaining)! In the last few months, we have taken on some amazing new yarns, brands and lines. There was one that I was particularly excited for... one that stood out, that I knew would be my favorite yarn to work with and wear! That yarn did not disappoint, and it is Brooklyn Tweed Quarry! I am huge into instant gratification knits, but I also love to knit sweaters. This yarn is perfect for both! My first project with this amazing yarn, was the Carbeth Sweater by Kate Davies. For the size small, it took 4 skeins, which isn't a lot for a sweater. This bulky weight yarn has 200 yards per skein, that is way more than your average skein of bulky weight, and the price point is the same! I knit the sweater in just 2 weeks flat. I opted for a longer body than the pattern called for, and decided to go with a crew neck instead of a turtleneck. I still have plenty of yarn left over, so if a turtleneck is calling my name in the future, I can tear back and add on. There is a lot of other great projects out there for this yarn, and I cannot wait to cast on another project with it! Meet, Quarry...

Quarry is a chunky brother to Shelter and Loft inspired by roving-style “unspun” yarns, offered in pillowy 100-gram skeins. We begin with three strands of the same lofty, woolen-spun Targhee-Columbia fleece, but rather than twisting the individual plies we nestle them together and gently spin the whole trio. The result is a plump yarn that looks like a single ply and has greater tensile strength and stitch definition than a true unspun yarn. Quarry has a soft and rustic hand; since we never subject our wool to harsh chemical scouring, you’ll find the occasional fleck of vegetable matter that remains as evidence of the sheep’s life on the Wyoming rangeland. The yarn’s one-directional twist may cause it to twirl between the needles and the ball while you’re knitting, but the fabric will be well balanced with no biasing. Quarry knits will bloom to become cohesive and supple after a wet blocking. You shouldn’t notice any change in gauge. This yarn loves to cable and beautifully renders all kinds of textural stitch work. Despite its soft structure, it can be worked at looser gauges without loss of integrity to the fabric. We think it’s ideal for sweaters, coats, blankets, and cozy accessories.

Quarry is offered in a new palette of fifteen heathered colors. The structure of this yarn blends the hues in a slightly striated way, reminding us of geological formations, so we gave each color the name of a mineral or gemstone.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Rhinebeck or bust!

Rhinebeck or bust! Our wonderful customer, Jessica Lepak, made her way back to Rhinebeck this year! Since no YBDers were able to attend this year, she has graciously agreed to guest blog for us about her experience! Thank you, Jessica!
 Fall Leave, apple cider donuts, glorious handknits everywhere, livestock to see and much, much fiber to pet and buy.  That’s my Rhinebeck experience in a nutshell.

I usually try and go to Rhinebeck every other year, but the last few years my kids seemed young and life got hectic, so the date came and went.  This year however, I said was my year to go back, and boy did I ever!

I left Pittsburgh with my newly finished Throwback Sweater in my bag completely giddy to meetup with the designer Andrea Mowry.  What was she like in person you ask? She is just as sweet and sincere as you would expect her to be. My married-woman-mom-of-three-girl-crush on her just became even more embarrassing. I somehow managed to sputter, “May I get a photo with you” and was unable to make a coherent sentence back when she commented on how soft my sweater fabric was!  She is delightfully warm, and seems genuinely happy to be part of such an amazing community...ignore my ridiculous expression, I was so excited.
(my sweater by the way was knit out of Woolfolk FAR (colors 1, 4, 18 and 19) purchased at Yarns By Design, it was totally worth the splurge).   
The rest of saturday was perfect.  The weather was crisp and I spent the day cozy in my sweater walking from barn to barn finding so many lovely treasures, independent dyers, lots of smile and lots and lots of wool. By 3pm I had my fill of the crowds, and far too much fiber in my bag, so we retreated home just as the raindrops began to fall. The haul (and crowds!!) from day one:

O-Wool in their sport weight for a Maritime Pullover for my son and Worsted Weight Merino from Dirty Water Dyeworks for the Find My Way sweater for myself!
Sunday was a little blustery to say the least.  I felt like Eeyore worried that my house would fall down any minute if I lost my warm hat or spilled my hot (getting cold) cider.  I’ve never been more thankful of so many layers as the windchill made the air seem biting. I wore my newly finished Humulus and The Shift cowl, but sadly had to layer up with a hideous windbreaker. The temps and wind however didn’t keep my crew from spending the day at the fairgrounds.  We ate lots of falafel, watched some of the demonstrations and even spent some time with our beloved wooly friends.

While the morning was pretty chilly, the crowds were much more manageable, which I found made for a calmer shopping experience.  I browsed again from barn to barn and then participated in a stitch marker swap! This was a free signup on Ravelry for the first 50 people for each day.  Basically you came to Rhinebeck with 50 stitch markers and left the meetup with 50 stitch markers that others made and brought. It was such a fun idea. About 30 stitch markers in, I started to regret my decisions to make my markers, but in the end am glad I did.  It was fun to put my own stamp on my markers and then collect new ones from other knitters. This will be a fun keepsake from the weekend.

The haul from day two included some more yarn and then a few splurge purchases I’ve been eyeing for years.
The pink and yellow/green yarns, from Cozy Color Works, are to make a few hats. I simply could not decide on a color and really enjoyed talking to the dyer so decided both must go home with me.  I’m not sure what pattern I’ll use yet but this big furry Raccoon tail pompom will go on top. The natural fingering weight is from Twist of Fate Spinnery and will be used to make a Arrows Down Cardigan for myself.  I’m really excited about this one, it actually wasn’t on my list but I spotted another shopper wearing one and knew I needed to add it to my list!

...what were the random splurge items you ask? How could I leave Rhinebeck without a pelt for my couch and some lovely wooden tools to stash away for holiday presents?

In the end, Rhinebeck for me is always just as much a shopping excursion as it is a time to reconnect with old friends, make some new, and enjoy being surrounded by ‘my people’ who don’t roll their eyes at my stash, who are completely smitten with the same craft as I am and are proud to show off their talents. I left Rhinebeck with a refreshed mindset, full heart, and a very, very stuffed suitcase.  Until next time!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Tree of Life project

© yarns by design

In the aftermath of the horrors at Tree of Life synagogue in Squirrel Hill, many of you are wondering how you can help. We have collaborated with our instructor Vanessa on the Tree of Life afghan project. 

Over the next several weeks, we will be knitting/crocheting and collecting squares to assemble into an afghan (or 2, or 20) to give to the Tree of Life Synagogue. If you would like to contribute and are in need of a pattern, please visit the boutique, or email with the pattern request.

Sampled above: Nicky Epstein’s Tree of Life (intermediate skill-level)

We have 3 knit patterns to choose from; Tree of Life, Star of David, or plain. And, are in the process of putting together a crochet pattern(s). 


  • PATTERN: any and all designs and skill-levels are welcome. eg. Star of David, trees, hearts, doves, plain, etc
  • SIZE: 9" horizontally by 8.5" vertically with a 5 row seed stitch edging
  • YARN: Dk or sport weight (3 on the standard scale), super wash wool or other washable fibers only. Please make sure your yarn won't felt! 
  • GAUGE: 6 stitches/in stockinette
  • NEEDLE: size 5-7, or whatever you need to get gauge
  • STYLE: knit or crochet

For more information, visit our Ravelry group under the forum Tree of Life. 

All samples can be dropped off at the YBD boutique by December 1st, 
or mailed to us at:

Yarns By Design
622 Allegheny River Blvd
Oakmont PA 15139
(NOTE: Please include your name & email with your square donation)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Thrum thrum thrum thrummmm...

Thrum thrum thrum thrummm... (to the beat of The Little Drummer Boy)

I get asked a lot of questions about thrumming mittens and other knitted items. It is a technique that looks difficult, but is actually quite simple. What you get in the end is a fluffy, squishy, warm mitten, slipper or hat, that is perfect for below freezing temps! What is thrumming you ask? Thrummed Mittens, are also referred to as fleece stuffed mittens. These fluffy wonders originated in Canada, where staying warm is kind of important!  Twisting pieces of fleece wool into a long piece or a loop, they are then knitted into the fabric to create a fleece lining. When worn, the fleece inside felts and creates a warm squishy layer of insulation!

-How, exactly do I thrum?
Step 1.Pull off a wisp of roving or fleece about 3-4" long.

Step 2.Bring the ends to the middle so they overlap a bit.

Step 3.Give the thrum a good twist in the middle, rubbing it between your finger and palm. The finished thrum should be about the same thickness as your yarn.

-You will need around 375-400 thrums for a pair of mittens: roughly 185-200 thrums per mitten.

-      There are two different ways to thrum: long and looped.

-      Turn mittens inside out when finished and gently tug the thrums to tighten them.

-      As time goes on and the mittens are worn, the wool will lightly felt inside to keep the thrums in place. You could always turn them inside out and GENTLY hand felt the wool in some wool wash and water, then let air-dry.

-      Other things to thrum: Slippers, hats, and headbands!

Have you ever thrummed? Willing to give it try? Let us know in the comments below! 


Thursday, October 11, 2018

Everyone needs a knitting buddy!

"Knitting is sitting for creative people!"

On any Thursday night at YBD you will find the "knitting circle" filled with people from all walks of life. It can get a little bit loud, and can get a little bit crazy (knitters do have a wild side) but it is never short on fun! Everyone brings something different to the table. I have had the privilege of knitting side by side with some of these women weekly for about 10 years! Everyone in this group is good at something different, and we always are willing to help each other out when in need. Sometimes we eat cheese and drink wine, sometimes we go for ice cream or beers after, and a few times a year we whip out a pretty amazing potluck dinner! 

If it wasn't for these ladies, and all of our customers, we wouldn't be YBD! We appreciate each and every one of our "Fiber Friends", and I have chosen to feature a few of them in this blog, and the projects they are working on! 

First up is Meridee! Meridee has been quite the fixture at YBD! She belongs to not 1 or 2, but 3 of our clubs! We refer to her as our "Knitting Engineer". She is incredibly organized, she maps out her patterns on graph paper, and just pays excellent attention to what she is doing. She is also incredibly knowledgeable and we are so lucky to have her! 

How long have you been knitting?
I started knitting in the mid 1980's and stopped sometime in the 90's (probably after my kids were born). I resumed knitting in 2013 by taking a class with Edye. After taking a few lessons with Edye, I joined the YBD Knit Club! 

What is your favorite thing that you have knit?
Tattersall Scarf by Elise Duvekot that I made for my mother.

What brought you to YBD?
My best friend had been knitting for several yarns and when I would visit her in Houston, we would visit LYS's. I discovered YBD when she came to visit here in Oakmont. She had found YBD on Ravelry and asked if we could stop. It was still a few more years before I decided to pick up knitting again, and by then the store had moved and I came in and took a class. I knew what a nice shop YBD is and enjoyed the high quality yarns! 

Currently Meridee is working on Tegna by Boyland Knitworks with the rest of the YBD Knit Club. She is using Hedgehog Sock in Pollen for the bottom lace hem, and Raku for the body. 

Next up is Rebecca! Rebecca not only knits, but bakes (worlds best baker), sews, and rug hooks, just to name a few! She is also incredibly organized with her knitting (this is something I am insanely jealous of because I'm a hot mess express) and is our "Voice of Reason". She always has the simplest and easiest response to our questions. It always has us questioning, why didn't I think of that?

How long have you been knitting?
I have been knitting since 2006. I taught myself to knit via an instructional book. I followed all of the instructions and was making good progress, It wasn't until my MIL asked me, "What are you doing?" Did I know that I taught myself how to knit left-handed? I am right-handed. Knitting became much less awkward  when I switched to the right-handed knitting! 

What brought you to YBD?
I came into YBD  just to see what you had. Little did I know I was to make such great friends and find such great yarns! 

Rebecca is making The Circlet Cardigan by Kerin Dimeler-Laurence in Brooklyn Tweed Arbor, color Vitner. 

Last, but certainly not least, is Cathy! Cathy has been a Fiber Friend of ours for a long time. Outside of knitting, she is an amazing cook, and loves to travel with her husband and kids. She is also one of the funniest people I know! She is a huge supporter of ours, and says on a regular basis "Sandy provides such a beautiful place for us to knit, how could you not support her?" She has been knitting for a number of years, and use to sew as well. Currently Cathy is working on The Weekender Sweater by Andrea Mowry in Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, color Faded Quilt. 

How long have you been knitting?
I knit as a little girl and then picked it up again around 6-7 years ago. That was when I first met Sandy.

What is your favorite thing that you have made?
I love making baby things because you get rewarded so quickly! I am also really enjoying making my current project, The Weekender Sweater by Andrea Mowry! 

What brought you to YBD?
I live in Oakmont and never knew we had a yarn shop! I then stumbled upon an ad for YBD and decided to stop in. That was when I met Sandy, and she re-taught me to knit. It was then I started coming to the Thursday night Fiber Friends group!

If you are interested in becoming a Fiber Friend at YBD, all you have to do is show up and knit! This is a free knitting group and we love having everyone attend. There are two different groups that meet, Tuesday mornings from 10-12pm and Thursday evenings from 5:30-8pm. We hope to see you there!