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.

Warmly,

Sarah at Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com


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!

Warmly, 

Sarah with Yarns By Design
sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com

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.


Warmly,

Sarah with Yarns By Design
Sarah@yarnsbydesignpa.com


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








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