Learn to love the act of swatching like it is chocolate.

One of my assignments this week from the yarn company I have the immense pleasure of working with, was to evaluate three separate balls of yarn as they are considering bringing in a new yarn.  I began with the ball I liked least (I always like to save the most pleasurable tasks for last)…though it was a lovely color, it was not very soft and had I not known better I would have said it had something synthetic in it for sure.  These balls are supposed to work up to worsted gauge, but this first one I really had to struggle to bring home that 18 sts and 24 rows per four inches.  I wound up on US6 needles with 18 sts per four inches and 26 rows per four inches.  On the plus side for this yarn, it stood up to being ripped out multiple times.

When I worked with the next ball of yarn (still saving my favorite for last), I began with the US6 needles because there was zero visual difference between this ball and the first.  This one was softer, had a nice luster and good loft but still there was something in the hand that resembled a bad aftertaste.  This time I wound up working my way back up to US8 needles.  The gauge was true and the skein had better stitch definition.  Again, this yarn stood up well to being frogged…good thing.

The final ball of yarn was soft, excellent loft, no lingering feeling of “something” in the hand of the yarn as I worked with it.  It was a complete pleasure.  Now I am subjecting them to the washability test.  That aside, the point of this diatribe is, just as the old saying goes, you cannot judge a book by its cover.  It would never have occurred to me these yarns would have gauged so differently.  What I do know as an LYS owner, is that getting my 12 year-old son to clean his room is easier than getting my knitters to swatch.  I beg you, for your own sanity, swatch every single time.  You will be so glad you did.  Your yarn usage will be correct, your garment will fit and the pattern will work the way it was intended to…trust me on this.  You will thank me in the long run.

This yarn, which said it was superwash on its label, felted on the third time through the wash.

We had a new yarn rep call on the studio this morning, Les, a wonderful man from New York who represents Rowan, SMC (formerly schachenmyer and SRKertzer), Gedifra, and Regia, and more but I have the dumb now so I cannot remember.  What I do recall is purchasing some amazing British pure breed yarn…first to come will be Blue-faced Leicester and it is better than chocolate.  It smelled like heaven…I ordered four bags.  It has amazing loft, is plied beautifully and looks like it will stand up to anything I throw at it.  I am standing here doing a happy dance just remembering this incredible yarn.  Another breed is ordered, which was so popular last time the company carried it, they ran out…I ordered four bags of this too.  What is it?  You will have to come in and see for yourself!  I also found some lovely bulky yarns, some wool and some alpaca that were unusual and I think the local knitters will find very exciting.  There is yarn also on order for charity knitting and prayer shawls at a great price…some in bulky for those of you looking for instant gratification and not a long commitment to a project.  I found bamboo sock yarn for people allergic to wool and Regia in colors that were irresistable.  Here are photos of the rare sheep breed line:

This will be on its way next week. mmmmm...

I am still refining the little sheep pattern.  I have been commissioned to knit one as a gift, and am trading two for a pair of socks in a color of Regia that is no longer available.  The pattern for next month’s sock club is nearly hammered out and I love how the color is working with this new stitch.  We have only three spots remaining, so if you are interested please let me know.

We are getting ready for our holiday weekend here.  My son is happily on Spring break and into letting his brain rot for five days God bless his soul.  The Easter Bunny did a predelivery on the required chocolate bunnies…God Bless Mr. Leopold the chocolatier for his chocolatey creations…he is an absolute master.  Tomorrow the studio will be open from 10:15 to Noon and from 1-5 pm.  Saturday I will open from 10:15 until 2opm.  We will close for Easter Sunday.

No matter your religious persuasion, this is a big week.  So, Happy Easter, have a Zissa Pesach and live well.  May light always shine upon you and your endeavors in this world.

Take care and get your knit on!

with love, light and laughter always, Mary Ellen and Summit Yarn Studio


there is a reason Nikkers gets so much face time...this is all of them

Nikkers making yoga-toes.