When last I left you, The Boy had spotted the Schaefer outlet sign, informed me of this discovery, and graciously redirected the car. We pulled up and saw the yarn waving at us through the open doorway. Someone was out front working in the garden. I asked if we could go in, and stepped inside.
Should you ever be in this part of the world, I highly recommend you find a way to do the same.
The room is tiny, but it’s packed floor to ceiling with lovely yarn. One of my favorite things about Schaefer is the wide array of bases they offer. Lace weight to bulky…wool, cotton, or silk…smooth, fuzzy, or down right bumpy…you’re sure to find something to inspire. And of course the colors are fabulous. I think (though I’m not 100% sure) that the yarns in the outlet are sometimes a bit different from their regular colors. The two skeins I got have tags identifying the base but not the color, and I don’t see corresponding colors on their website. I snagged a skein of Nichole (a long-time favorite) in a lovely green and gray. I also got a skein of Stephanie (which is brand new and not available anywhere but the outlet for the moment) in a lovely blue and green. I have concocted plans for both already.
As I was petting all the yarn, I got to talking. I asked the person who had come in with us if she was Cheryl (as in Cheryl Schaefer who runs the place) and she said she was. At this point I may have made a little squeak and done that peculiarly modern thing where you introduce yourself in person to someone you’ve known for a while online. For you see, when I say I really like Schaefer Yarn, I rather mean it. I used their yarn in Silk Road Socks (Khotan) and in Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet (Dianthus superbus socks and cowl) and in Rabble Rousers (Fracas hat and cuff). Cheryl has been nice enough to feed my habit, and it was lovely to finally put a face to the name.
As we were leaving, she asked if I wanted to take a peek in the dyeing barn. Um, yes? Yes please? I hadn’t realized all the yarn was dyed right there in the next building over. I pictured some sort of massive facility with corridors of shelves and bins stretching off into the hazy distance, each bursting with a different kind and color of yarn. The reality was somehow even more impressive. All that yarn comes out of a fairly small building. It’s a hugely efficient space. I don’t want to give away any secrets, but I did grab a few pics (with Cheryl’s permission of course).
We’ve got some yarn:
And a bit more yarn (it was all over the place, hard not to notice it really):
A lovely bit of machinery (I think for winding the yarn off into hanks, but I’m not sure…I was too busy wondering if I could find a way to disassemble it and take the end bit home and hang it in my living room as art):
And this magical little box of tags, which just amused me to no end. I loved seeing them there ready to go out with their yarns and conquer the world:
And once again, this has grown to shameful lengths and I will have to come back and do more tomorrow. I swear it’s taking me longer to tell you about it than the trip itself took. This excursion just ended up having a far higher knitting quotient that I was expecting, and it makes for good blog fodder!
I feel a tiny bit bad that it’s been so long since I’ve put out a pattern. The last one was Chamfer in what, February? Now to be fair, the e version of The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet did go live in March, so it’s not like you’ve not got something to keep your needles busy. But still, I’m used to putting out an individual pattern every month or so, and the longer time frame is making me a bit twitchy. But never fear, it’s all in the service of a bigger project!
After seeing how much fun Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet was, I decided to experiment with taking some of the things I’d usually do as individual patterns and combining them into a mini book. That’s what all the things you’ve seen around here since March or so will be used for. I think it will work well, but it does mean that the once a month timeline sort of falls by the wayside. Now I know waiting’s no fun, and I also know I find waiting easier if I know what’s going on in the background while I’m waiting. So I thought I’d let you know where things stood.
The photo shoot is this Sunday. As of this morning, all the projects for the mini book are done and blocked. I’ve even got proof! The only thing left to do is sew buttons one one piece (anyone taking bets on whether that will happen Sunday morning).
Down at the bottom there are the Ruction cowl and mitts in Malabrigo Arroyo. They’re reversible, and I’m totally smitten with them. Next up the stack is the Clamor hat in Briar Rose Wistful. It’s scrunchy and slouchy and looks unreasonably adorable on everyone. Peeking out from the middle is the Tumult cowl in Handmaiden Silk Twist. I think it might be my secret favorite, and I want the photoshoot over with so I can wear it. Next up are the Fracas hat and cuffs in Schaefer Yarn Company Nichole. My secret plan is to send them home with Lauren as a thank you for her help modeling. And on the top there are the Uproar cuffs in Plucky Knitter MCN Primo. These are knitting crack and you should never ever start making them as you won’t want to stop. You’ve been warned.
All the patterns are done, and testing is wrapping up. The pattern text is over with the tech editor, and I’m finalizing the other, non-pattern, text this week. The plan is to have the files to the printer in early June. That means the e version will likely be available in late July, and the paper version available a week or two later.
Alright, I feel better now. It’s still not quite as good as having a pattern ready to go for you. But hopefully it works to show that I’m not just lazing on the patio sipping lemonade!
The rip fest mentioned the other day has been accomplished and the yarn put to much better use. See? It’s ever so much happier now. Of course there is the small issue of Rosamund’s wrist being slimmer than mine (freaky man hands, that’s me). When it’s on me, it opens up a bit more and shows off the fancy stitch work. I’ve got the second one on the needles and should have it banged out with a few more hours of knitting.
The yarn is Nichole by Schaefer in Dian Fossey. There’s a lovely gray bit hidden in among all that green, and it’s at just the right interval to spiral nicely. When I found a knot, I made sure to remove enough yarn (and line up the new strand in such a way) that the spiral continued uninterrupted. I’m far more amused by this wee stripe than any normal person should be, but I’m sure all knitters will understand the delight of well behaved yarn.
So, as promised, I’d like you to meet someone who really knows her way around the bead shop. May I introduce the lovely Laura Nelkin?
I got to know Laura when she was design director for Schaefer Yarn. She got in touch with me when I was very new at this pattern thing and asked if I’d like to do a design for Schaefer. This was an incredibly generous thing to do. I was a complete newbie and was totally making it up as I went along. Her encouragement was a tremendous help.
Laura has recently made the switch to being an independent knitwear designer, and she’s doing some amazing things. Her latest project is a video class on lace shawls that looks like great fun. Even more impressive (at lest to me, as I sit here surrounded by hundreds of beads and a few false starts) is her way with beads.
She’s done lots of individual beaded patterns in the past (Ennoble more or less makes me weak in the knees), but now she’s done something even more fun. She’s put together a whole collection of knitted jewelry and other accessories (most of it with beads). She’s releasing one pattern a month, plus a few surprise patterns here and there. The first pattern came out back in May, and new patterns are being added every month.
The pattern collection is called Adorn, and it is absolutely marvelous. The patterns are lovely, and the instructions are clear enough that even a bead novice like me isn’t intimidated. If you’re already a bead expert or if you’ve only been considering taking up beading (and really, if you like yarn shops, there is a good chance you’ll like bead shops…they hit a lot of the same ‘oooooh, pretty colors’ buttons in my brain), you’ll want to add this to your collection.
I’ve got a copy to give away to one lucky reader. If you’d like it to be you, just leave me a comment below and tell me what you like to do with beads (even if it’s just admire them from a distance). I’ll pick a winner on Friday. Do be sure to use a real email address so I can get in touch if you win (and don’t worry, I won’t do anything with any of the addresses except contact the winner).
It’s been an awesome day at Chez Violence. As of close of business today, I have sixteen (out of an eventual twenty) of the projects for Book the Second here and blocked and petted and cooed over and tucked away safe out of reach of mischievous kittens. I know it is unbecomingly immodest, but if you got me alone in a quiet corner, I might just confess to being really really pleased with all of these projects.
On the left is Schaefer Yarn Company in Chris in the color Pomegranate. This is a soft, lofty, 80/20 merino nylon yarn. It’s lovely and fat and round and is just perfect for hats or mitts or just about anything else you can imagine. You could even make socks with it if you were feeling the need for something warm and slipper-like.
On the right is Schaefer Yarn Company in Nichole in the color Thistle. It’s also an 80/20 mix, but much thinner than Chris. My love for Nichole is well documented and undying. It is easily one of my top five sock yarns, giving socks that are both soft and sturdy. I knew from the start that I wanted to work with it again for this project.
Our first stop was the Cultured Purl in Erie, PA (what, it was on the way…more or less). It was the first time I had seen Sweet Georgia yarns in a store. Luckily, I have quite a bit of SG sitting around here, so I was able to grab something new. I picked up two skeins of Filigran by Zitron in what seems to be collor 1603 (such an evocative name). This is a single ply laceweight. I haven’t the slightest idea what I’m going to do with it, so (just to be safe) I got two. I’m calling it the next step on my quest to explore non-sock options.
Next was Wooly Minded in Corning, NY. Somehow, through great self restraint, I managed not to buy any yarn. Don’t worry, I bought needles instead. I am always on the lookout for new needles. I like my needles light weight, pointy, and stiff. Plastic and wooden needles don’t work for me. I had a bunch of KP needles, but they are a bit heavy and they tarnish badly when I use them. My favorites are my Sig Arts, but they are a bit expensive (totally worth it, just hard to get as many sets as I like to have on hand). Kollage square needles are a good alternative, though I find they sometimes start feeling a bit sharp on my fingers if I’ve been knitting a long time. At Wooly Minded, I saw something new, stainless steel needles by Chiao Goo. So far I know that they are light, fairly pointy, and pleasantly rigid. I haven’t used them yet, but I’m planning on it and will report back when I do.
The final stop was Finger Lakes Fiber in Watkins Glen, NY. I’d actually been here before, but they’ve moved since we were last in town. The new space is lovely and very comfortable. The selection was great. I picked up two old favorites, Casbah by Handmaiden in what I think is the color Nova Scotia, and Nichole by Schaefer in the color Dian Fossey. These are two of my go to sock yarns and I’m always happy to work with them again.
Not a bad little haul for a weekend trip!
So it seems I’ve not completely forgotten how to make socks. I know, it seemed for a while there as though I’d lost my way, but I’m now back on track. See? An actual, fresh off the needles, still damp on the blocker, sock.
And to speak in my own defense, I haven’t really ignored socks for the last two months. I actually have (yet another) super secret sock on the needles. These socks are awesome. Alas, they will have to remain secret for a while yet. You’ll have to content yourself with these guys in the meantime. Now that the first one is done I’m itching to cast on the second.
That may be delayed a day or two though. As I was making dinner last night, I managed to get a nasty little burn on my the fingers of my left hand (also known as my yarn tensioning fingers). Knitting is less fun when it involves dragging yarn over freshly burned skin. I shall have to investigate the shielding powers of bandaids.
Hey, know anybody who might want a sock knitting book and some yarn? The lovely Laura Nelkin from Schaefer Yarn is having a wee giveaway of the book and a skein of Nichole in the color Chamomile. My love of Nichole is well documented. If you’ve not had a chance to use it yet, this might be the perfect excuse!