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








Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The countdown to World Wide Knit in Public Day

If you are a knitter, you probably already pack your yarn and needles with you wherever you go. Whether you are waiting for your child's practice to be over or you are sitting patiently at the doctor's office, you can't wait to fill that down time with squeezing in a few more stitches. If this sounds anything like you, join in on the World Wide Knit in Public fun in just 5 short days.

Join in on June 10th, 2017. 

What is World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIPD)? It is a community of knitters that started in 2005 and is held on the second Saturday of each June. The founder Danielle Landes wanted a way for knitters to get together and…well, knit. Each year, participation grows and this year is sure to be the biggest one yet. So far, 47 countries have signed up! From Turkey, to Guinea, to Slovenia to just down the street from you-knitters will be out and about with yarn in tow.

Knitters often find themselves knitting alone. It can get a little secluded. This special day will give fiber artists the opportunity to get out and show off their skills, meet new people, share tips, trade their yarn and maybe even teach some non-knitters how to get started.

Sandy with YBD knitting in public at the Pirates game. 

Check out the WWKIPD website and Facebook page for more details. You can also host your own local event. Click here for the Pennsylvania events to find your nearest host.  For the crocheters out there, don't feel left out. You'll find most of these events are NOT exclusive to knitters. I, as a crocheter will be keeping an eye out for a knitter in public and perhaps use the opportunity to start learning.  Don't forget to thank the volunteers, the entire day is volunteer run!

Need a stylish way to tote your yarn around for the big day? Stop by the Yarns By Design boutique and check out our fun selection of project bags.

Knit in public in style. 
Be sure to share your World Wide Knit in Public Day experience with us. Comment below, we'd love to hear from you.


Warmly,

Sarah with Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Benefits of Knitting and Crocheting

Are you thinking about learning to knit or crochet? Well here's one more reason to help you take the leap: they're good for you!

They can be meditative. You may not find the skills soothing right away, but once you've learned the basics you'll see that knitting and crocheting can be a lot like meditation. It involves repetition, rhythm, and relaxation. Before you know it, your new skill will be your happy place.

They keep your mind sharp. Both knitting and crocheting involve counting and math and following instructions (for pattern reading). They also involve some sort of concentration and multitasking, even if it is watching Netflix while making a scarf.

Counting and concentration can be fun!

You find friends everywhere. Once you know how to knit or crochet, you'll start to notice when people are wearing a handmade item or fellow fiber artists will start to notice when you are wearing what you've made. And just like that, a conversation is started and you've made new friends. Whenever I have my yarn out in public, there's always a knitter or crocheter (or soon-to-be) wanting to know what I am working on. Just think of all of the group classes and social events you can be a part of!

Sign up and socialize today. 
You gain self pride. Nothing will give you more joy than saying "I made that". Beware: compliments will follow.

Take pride in your D.I.Y.
Now it's time to sign up! Check out what Yarns By Design has to offer, there is something for everyone:
-Classes
-Groups
-Clubs
-Events
-Ravelry

Learn more about the benefits of knitting and crocheting here.

Has knitting or crocheting improved your health or wellness in some way? Please share your story with us!

Warmly,

Sarah with Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com








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.


Warmly,

Sarah with Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com






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! 


Warmly,

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. 

Warmly, 

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.

Warmly,

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!

Warmly,

Sarah LaVoie

Yarns By Design