Two weekends ago, I traveled a mere 102 miles from my home to teach at the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival. I had a great time teaching Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Stonington Shawl as well as a class on Finishing Hand Knits. There is marketplace at the festival, with vendors of yarn, spinning fiber, beads for knitting, quilting fabric and supplies, spinning wheels, skin care items for hard-working hands… so many temptations! I spent a few hours Sunday walking through the marketplace to take it all in. I was able to relax, as my classes had both been on Saturday, and I just browsed and talked with the many talented artisans I met. Here are a few I’d like to “introduce” to you!
My all-time-favorite knit shop is Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier, PA. Kathy is a prolific and well-known designer, and you can open almost any magazine and find one of her beautiful, often cabled, designs (She is known as “The Cable Queen”). I worked in Kathy’s shop 10 or so years ago, and she has remained a good friend and my mentor as I explore my knitting paths at this stage in my life. I stopped by her booth to visit and check out all the newest items (she is always up-to-date with what is happening NOW! in the fiber world!). Here’s what I found (Please note, I am not receiving commission on this, I just believe in supporting local shops and talented artisans, and that’s what you’ll find links to, below!):
I bought this gorgeous skein of yarn from a company called HiKoo, and I am planning to do this Knit-A-Long (KAL) with my new treasure. The yarn is a worsted weight 4-ply, but the plies have not been twisted together, for a very good reason! You start at either the inside or outside of the ball of yarn, and all 4 plies are the same color. Gradually, one of the plies changes to the next color in the ball, then, about 35 yards later, the second ply changes to that same color.
This continues until all four plies are the new color. You can imagine the effect this will have– a gradient color shift throughout your shawl or cowl. I will be posting updates as I work on the KAL mentioned above, taught by Michelle Hunter.
I also discovered that there is a new alternative to working with Double Pointed Needles–The Addi Flexi-Flips. At $24.50 a set, the price is not the incentive, since a set of regular DPNs is usually under $10. However, imagine using THREE needles to knit socks instead of FIVE! Definitely appealing. Apparently, others agree, because they are out of stock in most places. Kathy’s Kreations has a good supply of them, in a wide range of sizes, and you can call her shop to order.
Another of my favorite discoveries this year was a genius inventor named Sami and her business, Good Water & Co. She has engineered a gorgeous and useful bag for carrying any project or combination of projects. (See above and below for pics of one of her “boxes”) Her system of “Build a Bag” is creative and fun, because of the wide variety of fabric patterns she has for you to choose from. Sami uses beautiful, quilter’s quality cotton for every item she makes. An art major in college, with a Master’s Degree in Learning, Design, and Technology, Sami is using her education and expertise to provide the world with something innovative, from a true maker. Read more about Sami, her inspiration for creating the bags, and the quality materials she uses by visiting her website (link above), where you can also place custom orders for practically anything!
Her “Build A Bag” combo is super-reasonably priced (just a little over $100, if I remember correctly), and she also sells the different components separately. It is a large, collapsible bag (top left), with detachable case for scissors and notions (bottom left), a detachable knitting needle case (Right)…
…And 4 of these “boxes” that tie into the bottom to hold four different yarns.
The design of the primary, large bag, allows for plenty of room for your WIP in addition to the notions case, needle case, and 4 boxes for yarn. This is going to be the next thing I treat myself to!
At Kathy’s Kreations (see link above), I also snagged the yarn for a new Manos Del Uruguay pattern, the Incremento Shawl, by Lisa R. Myers. For the pattern, you use the Fino yarn– 1 full skein and one set of 5 mini-skeins in pre-grouped colors. Here’s what I chose:
I will post pics as I work on it; keep checking back, probably to come this summer!
One of my favorite vendors is Shirsty Cat Designs. She sells yarns and fibers that she hand dyes and spins (for the yarns). Her color combinations are gorgeous, and she chooses unusual and beautiful fibers for her yarns. I loved this skein:
She explained the difference between rainbow nylon and regular nylon like this: Picture regular nylon as one spaghetti noodle. Rainbow nylon is like 3 spaghetti noodles stacked on top of eachother at random angles. This creates many more surfaces for the light to bounce around and back to your eye, making rainbow nylon the fiber of choice if you want a little extra shine in your yarn. The pictures just don’t do it justice–I hope you get a chance to see Shirsty Cat Designs at a festival yourself sometime soon! She also hosts another festival in Allentown. It’s a free admission festival in April every year. Keep watching this blog for picture updates as I spin that fiber into unique yarn this summer.
I also picked up a kit to knit an unusually-edged mini-shawl from a store called “Knitting on the Fringe.” I am really excited to start making this unusual scarf!
Somehow, as I will find out once I start it, you create a scalloped I-cord edging that you can then thread the skinny end of the bandana-shaped shawl through. The designer, Ash Kearns, is just my style! I am definitely going to check out her other designs on Ravelry. For this scarf, my main color will be the multicolor skein, and the I-cord border will be in the turquoise. Again, check back here for photo updates as I work on it over the next few months! I got the pattern free with purchase of the yarn, but you can get it here for free if you already have yarn you want to use.
Well, that about wraps up the “tour” of my visit to the Marketplace! Stop back soon to see how I put all of this to use 🙂