VBYC, YOUR Local Yarn Shop: The Fiber Arts Trendsetter in Acadiana!

21oo Verot School Road, Suite 8 Lafayette, LA 337-216-4564
To send email, write to: vermilionbayyarnco at Yahoo

M: noon-6pm; T: 10am-8pm; W: 10am-6pm; Th: 10am-8pm; F: 10am-6pm; S: 10am-4pm; Sun: Closed

Classes


Beginning Knitting and Crochet: Beginning classes for knitting and crochet are scheduled one-on-one at your convenience during business hours. You may schedule lessons just for yourself, or for yourself and a few other friends. In beginning knitting, you will learn your stitches while you create a beautiful chunky yarn scarf. At the end of your mastery period, you'll have a fabulous accent you can actually use!

Classes a la carte: If you weren't able to attend a specific class, or you missed out entirely on one, here's your chance! Simply schedule the class topic of your choice at the time that's convenient for you.

How Much Do Classes Cost? At Vermilion Bay Yarn, we're all about getting you moving on your fiber projects and getting you going with new techniques. All classes (including beginning knitting and crochet) at VBYC are $20 plus materials. You do not pay each time you come in to continue the same class.

What's Available At Vermilion Bay

The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your local source for the fine yarns of Rowan, Classic Elite, South West Trading, Cascade, Plymouth, Schaefer, Malabrigo, Muench, GGH, Brown Sheep, Lana Grossa, Tilli Tomas, Universal, and many others! We offer high quality needles and hooks from Addi, Chiaogoo, Hiya-Hiya, and Brittany. Vermilion Bay Yarn (YOUR local yarn shop) is YOUR one stop for all your knitting and crochet notion needs: counters, holders, markers, darning eggs, tapestry needles, etc.

Knit Cafe: The Evening Fiber Art Group meets on Tuesdays from 6pm-8pm at the shop. Bring your project(s) and sit for as long as you like. Food, coffee, and soft drinks are always provided, and everyone is encouraged to add to the buffet.

Need something repaired? Favorite sweater with moth holes? Heirloom lace with a snag? Bring it in for an estimate.

Don't have time to knit or crochet it? The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is your only local custom fiber art source! Please visit the shop for an estimate.

Knitting Parties at VBYC: Gather together 10 of your friends or colleagues and set a date/time for a knitting party at Vermilion Bay Yarn! Beginners and seasoned knitters can participate in the same party! Folks who've never knitted before will learn how and the experienced knitters work their own fun project! Contact the shop for details!

Our Return Policy

Now and then we purchase a bit too much, or decide that a different yarn might be better for a project than the one we selected. Here's how VBYC accomodates merchandise returns. This policy is also clearly displayed in the shop by the register. Thank you for your business!

Merchandise purchased at The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company may be exchanged/returned for shop credit only. No cash refunds. No exhanges/returns on special orders. Gift Certificates may not be redeemed for cash. Yarn presented for exchange must be odor-free and in new condition with the yarn band intact. Yarns wound into skeins are not accepted for exchange.

Knitting Rescue and Project Help

We are most willing to assist YOU, our customers, with quick help or to fix minor blemishes in your fiber work at no charge. As I see it, that's all part of what YOUR local yarn shop is about, especially if your project originated from VBYC. If you find yourself in need of frequent coaching on a particularly challenging project, or if you require detailed assistance with a project obtained elsewhere, we encourage you to make that project into a class ($20 fee applies) for the duration of your work.

19 July 2012

20% Off Thursday-Saturday!

It's a 3-day SALE event at VBYC! Save 20% on all purachases today through Saturday. Just in time for back-to-school knits and Christmas gifts. Have you been thinking about that new bag, a special shawl stick or accent? Hurry in!

25 May 2012

Class: Fixing Mistakes. May 26th, 10:30am

"Fixing Mistakes".  Here it is folks!  You saw it here on the blog as well as in the newsletter.  The class is scheduled for TOMORROW, May 26 at 10:30am.  You'll learn how to identify and correct the most common errors all knitters make.  The hour or so you spend in this class will build your confidence and expertise for a lifetime of knitting.  Do take advantage of this class! 

24 May 2012

Memorial Day, and Thank You!

YOUR local yarn shop, The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company, will be open on Monday, May 28 12noon until 6pm!  Take some time to relax on your day off and stop in at VBYC to find your next fabulous project!  I would like to thank you all for your support and continued patronage.  It is YOU, our friends and customers that make this fiber work oasis possible.  Without your passion for creating new and wonderful things, VBYC can not exist.  As with any small business, our customers are our shareholders, which means that your purchase stays right here to bring you more of what you love and helps maintain what we all enjoy every day.  Ours is a vibrant diverse community!  Thank you very much for making VBYC what it is.  A safe and peaceful Memorial Day to you all!   

22 May 2012

Mini Course: Knitting Argyle

You can't go too far without realizing that color work is the trend.  Of course single-color garments are always in, but now more than ever, more and more design collections and pattern anthologies are offering a wide selection of multi-color options.  Argyles, stripes, paisleys, as well as traditional Scandinavian style fair isle designs.  Even though using a single yarn/color will create a beautiful and appealing garment,  a project that requires two or more colors will stretch your creativity and open up new vistas in your knitting.  There are various ways to achieve colored fabric.  The most basic method is simply to use a varigated yarn, in which lengths are dyed in sequence to create a marbled, random spread of colors throughout.  Jacquard patterns are typically created using a stranding technique called Fair Isle, for which yarns are carried or "floated" along the back of the fabric until they are needed.  Fabric that features large areas of contrasting color requires a specific technique called Intarsia.  Spaces more than 3-5 stitches wide increase the likelihood that floated strands will either cause the fabric to pucker or produce loose garlands of strands that will snag and add extra thickness to the piece. 


Butterflies hanging in order
Instead of carrying yarns along, Intarsia requires each area of color to have its own supply of yarn.  These mini yarn packages are what we call "butterflies".  Some knitters prefer to wind yarn onto intarsia bobbins -- containers that look like little spools or clips that hold yarn.  My caveat on bobbins: they're heavy and since they're heavy, they cause the yarn strands to swing around each other like pendulums and create a big tangled mess.  Also, the yarn doesn't always unspool smoothly.  As a result, you're spending less time knitting and more time untangling and unspooling.  Butterflies are light and the yarn travels from them as from a miniature central pull skeins.    You'll need one for each color area.  Here's how to make them: hold the end that will become the working yarn in your palm and anchor it in place with your thumb.  Start winding around your fingers.  If the color area is quite large, wind a good supply to avoid the frequency of yarn joins.  Snip the winding end of the butterfly, slip the wraps off your fingers and bind them with the snipped end. 

Twist Old and New Color
To attach the butterfly to your piece, simply hold the working end of the bundle up to your work, and start knitting, leaving a 6-8" tail that you will use to weave  the hole that will normally form at the attachment spot (more about that in a bit). The butterflies hang from the needles along the row in the exact order you'll need them.  The secret to keeping everything orderly is in not allowing the butterflies to hang down much more than 8" or so from the needles.  Too much yarn between the butterflies and the needle will encourage the strands to twist around other strands and cause a tangle.  Shorter lengths are harder to tangle.  As you work the row, pick up the strand you need according to your color pattern.  When you move from one color area to the next, it is vital that you establish a connection between stitches of different colors.  In knitting, each stitch is connected by the working yarn as you move from stitch to stitch.  With different colors/yarns, you are working with multiple working yarns and therefore you much establish a connection between them yourself.  Otherwise, there will be a hole in the fabric (like the area where you joined a new butterfly) that you'll have to weave closed later.  When you knit the last stitch of a color area, pick up the new color and twist the strand of new and old color so that they interlock.  Continue in the new color. The twist will connect the two color areas and give the illusion of one continuous working yarn. As you continue your color pattern, you will see the yarn wraps on the back of the fabric along the edges of the color areas. 
When hiding the tails in the place where a new butterfly/color was attached, you must NOT just tie a knot between two yarns.  Knotting the yarns here will pull the fabric and distort the stitches. With the tail in a yarn needle, you must actually weave in the ends to establish a connection between the color areas and close of up the hole.  Follow the progress of the yarn in the fabric and mimic how it would travel.  The sign of a good weaving/finishing job in Intarsia is a clean wrong side that shows a mirror image of the front with color areas neatly edged with yarn twists.  There should be no knots and no tails. 
An important note on undoing intarsia: Not one of us, not even one,  has escaped the curse of Eden unscathed.  Among a host of other reasons, sometimes we may misread the pattern or count wrong, resulting in a flaw in the pattern, which goes unnoticed (typically) until the stitch count is off several rows later.  DO NOT pull your work off the needles and just start ripping.  Since intarsia is a series of multiple working yarns twisted around each other, drastic frogging will do nothing more than tangle your work.  In order to undo this color work, you must unknit ("tink") each stitch back to the mistake.  Besides tangling the yarn, drastic ripping off the needles will cause the fabric to unravel in all directions, not just stitch by stitch.       
Intarsia knitting creates vibrant and extremely beautiful garments.  It does take a bit of practice to master the yarn twists and to maintain your tension at the joins.  As with most things, the only way to master it is to do it. And to be patient while you're at it.  The more practice you allow yourself, the more proficient you'll get.  Try adding some intarsia onto a hat or a small patch on a sweater, scarf or wrap.  Intarsia also allows you to create marvelous color blocking effects on garments.  Be creative!              








18 May 2012

Sign up for Classes!

These next three scheduled classes are guaranteed to introduce you to new things and help build your tool box of useful techniques and knitting skills.  Tomorrow, May 19th, there's Knitting Socks to Size, in which you'll learn to make socks that fit perfectly.  Kristy will discuss with you the mysteries of gauge and the importance of the stitches-to-inches ratio.  She has an easy formula to determine the exact amount of stitches you'll need for a sock that fits like no other.  On May 26, a class that's useful for everyone, and especially for those who are still mastering the basics: Fixing Mistakes.  We all experience problems with our work from time to time, regardlesss whether we've just learned to knit, or whether we've been knitting for decades.  Bottom line: sometimes stitches slip away, sometimes we knit instead purl, sometimes a pattern just doesn't make sense, sometimes we turn a cable the wrong direction because we just couldn't believe what we were seeing on the last episode of Ghost Hunters, or sometimes the joke was so funny we forgot the yarnover.  All normal.  The key is understanding what happened to the knitting and how it can be fixed, and it always can be fixed.  Yes, it's always much easier to stop in at the shop to get help, but sometimes things happen where you're not easily in driving distance of the shop, or during times that your schedule doesn't permit a quick visit.  That's when it's important to be able to make minor fixes yourself, and this is class to learn how.  We'll experiment with a swatch of stockinette, making mistakes on purpose then address how to make repairs. It's the class where you learn how to "make it work".  Fixing Mistakes is the class that moves you on to more knitting independence and builds your confidence to tackle any project.  On the following weekend there's Introduction to Lace.  We've all admired the beauty of fabulous open work, and many of us simply dismiss ever making such things: "I'm only a beginner.  That's too hard for me."  I'm here to tell you: nothing is too hard for anyone.  Intro to Lace involves making a small lace project, a cotton washcloth in DK weight yarn on size 7 needles.  A small lace project on larger yarn that's finshable rather quickly.  We'll work with the basic lace operations: various decreases and increases to make a washcloth that's stunningly fabulous and really quite easy for knitters of all experience levels.  The perfect first-time lace project that will prove to you that you can make anything, and it doesn't matter how long you've been knitting!  

16 May 2012

Knitting Socks to size: This Saturday, May 19, 10:30am!

Sock knitters: have you had trouble with socks that don't quite fit the foot you've made them for?  Here's your solution: the class coming up this Saturday, May 19th will solve all your problems.  Join Kristy Gondron at 10:30 Saturday morning as she shares with us a surefire method of making socks that fit well.  Kristy is an excellent knitter and a very patient and knowledgable teacher.    Everyone who enjoys knitting socks will benefit from this informative and practical class.  The class does not focus on any particular sock knitting technique, so you will be starting the pair of socks that fit using whatever technique you prefer.  Sign up this week for Knitting Socks to Size!   

12 May 2012

A fabulous summertime project


As summertime begins we’re all in search of projects that fit the season, not only from a fashion standpoint, but also in terms of cooler fibers we can wear comfortably when the thermometer tips 100.  It’s high time for summer knitting now.  Instead of the cozy warm wools, llamas, and alpacas, it’s time to grab for the cottons, silks, linens, and sugarcane, lighter weight, cooler fabrics ideal for us here in South Louisiana.  Now  pair those with a carefree design — something both easy to make and easy to wear.  One project that has enjoyed great success by everyone who’s made it is what we call “Willie’s Linen Thing”.  It’s a smart summer shell that’s quick to make and does well in almost any kind of yarn.  Originally, I conceived this top for 100% linen  that you wet block to achieve an open fabric shell.  Since the pattern was first completed, many folks have made it using other fibers that don’t necessarily produce this open look, but which nonetheless are suitable for warm weather wear.  A relaxed fit with a comfortable Dolman sleeve and a simple rolled neckline are what add to this top’s timeless appeal: a simple, basic design that allows the yarn’s color and texture to speak for itself.  One afternoon, our friend Willie stopped by with a fashion dilemma.  She was attending an out-of-town wedding and had her ensemble in mind, along with accessories.  The only problem: no top that really made the outfit.  So we went to work,  pulling yarns of various fibers, and we settled on a fabulous shade of light grey linen with brown overtones to complete the look and highlight the awesome copper jewelry she had selected.  I put pen to paper and “Willie’s Linen Thing” was born.  The “Thing” is the sort of project that you can take with you on trips, work in the car, on the bus, or in the plane without having to be chained to the pattern for every row.  Set it down, and you can pick it up again without having to figure out where you are.  It’s the perfect summertime project.  Easy to make, easy to finish, and easy to wear.  Exactly the sort of project we like the best come summertime, when the livin’ is easy.  Stop in today and select your favorite summer yarns and get started on your new look! 

24 April 2012

Wash Cloth Mania!

Need a simple project to "cleanse the palate" between larger ones? Need a quick, yet excellent gift for a baby shower, wedding shower, birthday party, or just a little sussy for someone special?  Wash cloths have taken off as the number 1 quick springtime project!  We have several clever patterns.  They're so quick and easy.  Each one takes 45-60 minutes to complete.  Make a set of 3 in one evening!  Rowan Handknit Cotton makes wash cloths of peerless softness and durability.  Plus, this outstanding 100% cotton yarn has such a comfortable hand and great stitch definition, you'll not want to use anything else to make them.  Each ball produces 2 wash cloths.  Colors?  VBYC has a super wide selection!  Make a friendly spring bouquet!  Knit more than you need and keep a stash handy for easy go-to gifts!  Stop in today get started! 

New from Cascade!!!!

More spring yarns in all this season's colors are scheduled to arrive today!  Among more fabulous colors of Heritage sock, varigated Fixation, we are happy to announce the return of Sierra, an awesome all purpose cotton blend yarn in worsted weight.  Sierra is ideal for anything from baby blankets to adult garments, and is also suited for more utilitarian projects like wash cloths and dish towels.  We welcome a new yarn to VBYC this season: Cherub Baby Aran, a tremendously soft aran weight baby yarn in cheery varigated colorways. 

Road Construction on Verot School Road

It's not news by now that Verot School Road is being resurfaced.  This is actually not a problem, and it's work that is long overdue.  Luckily this construction does not have to impact your access to the shopping center where we are located.  Here're the alternative routes to the shop via Digby:

From Kaliste Saloom, turn onto the Camillia extension toward Verot.  Turn right onto Blue Bird (the last street before the Verot intersection).  Keep straight on Blue Bird, then turn left onto Digby directly in front of Comeaux High School.  There is an entrance to the Bridge Plaza property from Digby. 

You may also turn onto Marshall from Kaliste Saloom and circle around Comeaux High School to Digby.

From Ambassador Caffery, turn at the light as if going to Lourdes Hospital. This road will bring you to Comeaux High School as well (you'll drive through the parking lot of the baseball diamond by the Comeaux Rec Center). 

We'll see you soon!    

04 April 2012

Driveway is Free and Clear!

If you've been having doubts about access into the Bridge Plaza shopping center where we're located, this important news: THE TEMPORARY SEWER LINE SPEED BUMP IS GONE! Last Friday, with joint efforts of me and the management staff at the office , we were able to have the contraption removed, and the pipes re-routed through the culvert (which had been installed a few years ago) beneath the drive. The parking lot is now fully accessible from Verot School Road! Also, Bette at the office has informed me today that the work that's been going on near the Digby entrance to the property has been completed and that entrance will be opened in the next few days. Stop in today! It's spring and there's a lot new to see!

28 March 2012

Holy Week and Easter Schedule

The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company's schedule for Holy Week and Easter appeared in this month's newsletter on page 3, but in case you missed it and were wondering what our schedule is next week, it's printed at the top of the blog page as well as here, in this quick article. Maundy Thursday, April 5: 10am-4pm Good Friday, April 6: CLOSED! Saturday, April 7: 10am-4pm Easter Monday, April 9: CLOSED! VBYC will reopen as usual (10am) on Tuesday, April 10 with Knit Cafe starting at 6pm.
The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company
wishes you all a Happy Easter!

21 March 2012

The exquisite yarns with the funky names

Nuna, Lontue, Hacho.....they're not secret passwords, but using them them will get you some amazingly beautiful garments this season. Transform a simple pattern into a masterpiece with these yarns. Silk and linen blends, and varigated merino. Splendid. The yarn is just so exquisite, no photograph will do them justice. You'll have to come in and experience them yourself with your own eyes! And, you might be wondering what Thomas More has to do with this? Nothing. Absolutely Nothing.

Ultra Pima!

We've been fans of this amazing pima cotton yarn for a couple seasons now....and for good reason. It's a perfect weight and fiber for our climate, not to mention that it's a pleasure to work -- both to knit and to crochet -- and the fabric it produces always looks fabulous. And the colors! The bins are filled with 15+ colors of spring/summer deliciousness.

09 March 2012

It's a Fiesta!

Ever since our introduction of Fiesta yarns a couple months ago, the new yarn line has been quite popular. Just in time for spring, here's Fiesta Gelato, the rayon ribbon yarn in Fiesta's stunning colorways. In the next few weeks, watch for Fiesta sock!
Love your Planet!

24 February 2012

Beauty in Simplicity

This kimono jacket is an equisite example of that maxim. Stockinette trimmed in garter, five rectangular pieces, blocked and seamed, the 7" shawl collar picked up around the fronts and neck create a garment that makes a statement. I've seen this design made up in various yarns, wools, acrylics alike, but as they say, the yarn does make the difference. For this project, the knitter chose a full-bodied llama/wool blend with just the right heft and drape to create a masterful, stylish look, and the llama provides just enough halo for a spectacular finish. The shawl collar is so generous, that it screams for an accent. The owner's choice of the unique Jul bronze swirls with a rosewood stick add polish to complete an elegant, high end look. Stop by VBYC soon and take a look at the llama/wool kimono jacket. Plan one for yourself or someone special.

22 February 2012

The Stockings were Hung By the Chimney With Care

Clement Clarke Moore immortalized the tradition of hanging stockings near the hearth on Christmas Eve in his famous 1822 poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." Each year, families across the country and the world re-live the ritual of Christmas Eve that Moore describes. Doubtless, this tradition is linked to an alternate December tradition associated with the morning of December 6th, the feast day of St. Nicholas: to set out shoes near the door in hopes that the traveling saint would reward a child for a year's good behavior by leaving treats of fruit and chocolate or in recompense for a year of misbehaving, a brutal punishment of switches and coals. Over time these gifting traditions required not just any shoe or any stocking, but special items designated for use on these specific nights. Specially decorated for the season and usually of exaggerated size to accommodate a maximum amount of chocolates and "stuffers", the stockings especially had become an art form all their own. We see them or at least remember them in various media: cloth or felt, needlepoint, crochet, as well as countless examples of fine knitted ones, almost always personalized somehow, either labeled with a name or an initial designating the owner of a particular Christmas Day haul. When I was a child, I must confess, given the dominant German seasonal traditions while growing up, I did not own a Christmas stocking, nor did anyone in my family. We did, however, set out shoes on the night of December 5th. However, neither do I recall any of my friends speaking of the tradition of hanging stockings. The Christmas stocking was something rather old fashioned for practical use. It had for a time, I suppose, become more a symbol of Christmas past, a bit of nostalgia you read about in novels and poems. As many of you know, my mother had managed the fiber arts department back in the mid 1960's in Little Rock's Pfeiffer's department store. She handled supplies for knitting, crochet, needlepoint, embroidery, as well as a host of craft kits that held quite an appeal at the time. Among these, one yarn manufacturer made Christmas Stocking kits that were wildly popular. They came with yarn, the pattern, and all the little sew-on accessories needed to complete a stocking. People would buy multiples of these and knit them up for their kids. Meanwhile, at our house, we had the shoe.
Back when I opened VBYC, a client stopped in with a tattered Christmas stocking depicting a Santa Clause filling a row of similar stockings hanging from a brick mantle. The stocking had been created by her mother some time in the 1950's, and each of her children had one. My client ordered several of these in order to carry on the family tradition, that every child should have a hand-knit Santa stocking hanging from the mantle on Christmas Eve. So, I created a new stocking with an ancient inspiration to jump start one family's rediscovery of a Christmas tradition. I was intrigued by this, recalling the kits my mom mentioned had once existed. After a bit of digging, sure enough: the things were all the rage from the late 1940's to the early 1970's, when the patterns (and perhaps also interest in perpetuating the tradition) became extinct. This explains why none of my peers ever talked about having knitted stockings like these, because, more than likely, they didn't. These were Americana associated mainly with the post war Baby Boom and seem to have fallen off the radar by the dawning of the Age of Aquarius.
Since then, countless clients both local and across the country have contacted me regarding this Santa stocking. They were recognizing it from their childhood, either having had one themselves or knowing someone who did. Like the one that inspired it, I have sent many kits for the stocking to knitters at home and abroad and completed many more that are chimney ready. A few weeks ago, another client visited the shop with another single stocking with a different design. "I need more of these. I hear you can make them." New inspiration for the re-invention of another American Christmas classic. You see, it's not a matter of any Christmas Stocking, but of this Christmas Stocking. The new stockings must contain a mix of old and new: new styling, and fresh yarns, but they must still contain a recognizable link to the original that inspired them. The new stockings are not carbon copies, but new children in the family.
Lowly project kits purchased by Mom at a department store back in the '50's to bring Christmas joy to her kids (and add a bit of holiday cheer to her living room at the same time) had become for those kids, now adults, fond memories of Christmas. Although the original patterns are gone (or exist somewhere crumbling in knitting baskets), new, updated stockings can be created to hang next to the ones of a previous generation, linking into and carrying on family traditions to inspire new happy memories.
The pictures accompanying this article show an original knitted stocking my client brought to me. The photo shows the new stocking in progress. The next step here will be to secure the tails and to add the sparkly accessories. The American Christmas Stocking: rediscovering family traditions.

Peerless Color

To add to the buzz about the new Kidsilk Haze Stripe, knitrowan.com has added a mini collection of free downloadable patterns that show off the striking beauty of these amazing shades. The model shown has been created in the "Cool" colorway. The garment is worked with a single strand of Kidsilk Haze Stripe on size 9 needles to produce a garment that's practically weightless and takes no time to complete. Basic shaping and simple stitching ensure you a weekend of pleasureful Zen-like knitting, during which the only surprises will be the fascinating ways your colors will appear in your truly one-of-a-kind fabric. The project requires 4 balls of Kidsilk Haze Stripe, and the light-weight nature of this silk/mohair blend will add a stunning garment to your wardrobe that's wearable year round.

21 February 2012

It's Mardi Gras Day!

...And The Vermilion Bay Yarn Company is OPEN! Feel free to bring your favorite Mardi Gras treats! Pack your knitting bag and make a day of it at VBYC! Note: if you bring a King Cake, plan on eating it. Unless it's gluten free, I'll just have to admire it from afar! A King Cake is a terrible thing to waste. See you in a few!

20 February 2012

Debbie Bliss for Spring/Summer!

This time of year, we await the spring/summer edition of the Debbie Bliss Magazine. Speaking of design, two things come to mind at the mention of Bliss: children's knitwear and cute tops. The spring/summer 2012 magazine is no exception. A good collection of warm weather women's wear as well as several darling children's ensembles. Sorry, men, as usual, unless you're 8 or younger, Debbie Bliss is typically not the designer where you'll find much at all to expand your knitwear wardrobes. But I'll say this: whatever's lacking in terms of men's wear, is made up in the terrific garments for women: tanks, tops, shrugs, wraps. Pick up your copy today!

18 February 2012

What's that, Jason?

A few days ago a large group of folks and I were sitting in the knitting circle doing what we do. I had just finished up a Christmas stocking leg for a client project in Brown Sheep Nature Spun -- an enjoyable and festive project for sure -- as several knitters were busy with their glamorous projects in Kidsilk Haze, La Boheme, and Rayon Boucle. Surrounded by this elegance, I was taken by a sudden, irresistible envie to knit something fabulous. Step one: make a quick trip down the way to Subway for a fresh new cup of Fuze Southern Sweet Tea for inspiration. Between VBYC and Chloe's shuttered store-front (smirk), I envisioned the project. Since I had been in the intarsia groove most of the day already, I figured why not stay in it, but using a different medium: one of the spiffy Kidsilk Haze solids combined with one of the new Kaffe Fasset varigated colorways, Kidsilk Haze Stripe. If you're not familiar with Rowan Kidsilk Haze (and how could you have eluded its allure, if you're not?), the yarn is a sublime, laceweight blend of silk and mohair. It's a dream, like knitting with a silk cloud. If you're a fan of color and color combinations like I am, Kidsilk Haze allows you plenty of liberty, and the halo of mohair enables a sort of unique color shading and blending impossible with just any yarn. When I returned from my tea run, I went to the bins and selected Kidsilk Haze in "brick" and Kidsilk Stripe in "circus" for a salmony/coral background with the varigated that moves from a neon irridescent green to a similar corally pink as the background with some pops of fuchsia and brown thrown in. I wanted a background color very similar to a bit of the coloring in the Kaffe Fasset so that my pattern would vanish, split apart, and reappear throughout the length of my piece. The pattern isn't a brain teaser, really. It's very symmetrical: a zig-zag intarsia motif against a solid background. As the zig-zag travels across the field, the colors change, creating a spectacular game of hide-and-seek, like the moon dipping behind the clouds and peeking out again as the sky clears. The swimmy edges of the intarsia on a single rectangular piece reminded me of a brightly colored obi, the long sash/belt traditionally worn with a Japanese kimono. So, I have decided to name this project "La Nipponaise" (Nippon is the Japanese name for....Japan). When I've completed the entire piece, I'll write out the math for the project and make it available in the shop and online. Is it hard? Intarsia colorwork is, I believe, actually much easier in Kidsilk Haze because the texture and look of the silk/mohair is extremely forgiving. Any tension issues in the color changes vanish into the fabric, so if you're still a bit unsteady with the twists at the color zone edges, don't worry a bit. Kidsilk Haze covers a host of sins and iniquities for which one otherwise would be heartily sorry. Also this plus: because the yarn is so light (practically weightless), the yarn butterflies that hang off the wrong side very seldom interact with each other. Instead, they behave and wait for their turn to work their magic. Folks who have learned the intarsia technique from me will remember that I don't prefer to use bobbins or clips that are manufactured to hold yarn supplies. I prefer to wind the yarn into butterflies to minimize the annoying pendulum swing and tangle effect. I stick to that opinion here as well: use of a bobbin will likely add just enough weight to create a swingy tangly mess, so wind butterflies and be happy. "La Nipponaise" is a fairly easy -- and fairly quick too, made on size 9's -- rectangular scarf perfect for newbie intarsia artists as well as folks more familiar with the technique. Experience the magic of Kidsilk Haze and the enchanting instant color surprises of Kidsilk Stripe!

16 February 2012

Popular VBYC Patterns Online!

We've all done it: taken our knitting with us and lost the pattern on the way or set down a project just long enough for an unruly band of garden gnomes to plunder the fiber bag and make off with the pattern. Regardless whether you fell victim to the clever fellows with the red pointy hats or whether you'd like to browse for a pattern from home, you can find your VBYC favorites online on Ravelry.com. Go to my profile at Ravelry and click on "original patterns" and you'll find what you need for instant download. The newest design is the Shadows on the Bayou poncho that incorporates both knitted and crochet elements in one spectacular garment. That pattern is shown in the left sidebar of the blog. Click on the picture and it will take you directly to my Ravelry page. Of course, all these patterns are also available here in the shop.

10 February 2012

Regia Sock

Regia sock yarn is here in the vibrantly bold shades, soft earthtones, and dazzling gem tones we all expect from the expert German line. Sock yarn isn't just for socks, of course. Lace knitters have known this for quite a while, as have folks who love the color of sock yarn and make fabulous drapey scarves and such on medium-sized needles. Light and airy for spring, such things. Stop by and browse the selection of Regia!

09 February 2012

bags and bags and bags!

New fabulous bags for spring in vibrant prints from Hadaki and Amy Butler! Reflect your uniqueness!

Rowan for spring!

The new colors of Rowan have arrived. A sea of vibrant and demure, solid and varigated to renew your wardrobe this season. Pair these terrific new materials with peerless pattern support, and you'll be ready for warm weather knitting and crochet. New colors of Revive, Handknit Cotton, and Summer Tweed await your eye. Also, you will be most interested in new yarns from Rowan this season: Summerspun and Creative Linen, both colorful, light-weight worsted yarns. Also, you'll fall in love with Savannah, a mildly textured yarn that will add interest to your fabric! A smash hit from Rowan this spring is the new Kidsilk Stripe: a varigated version of the already-megapopular Kidsilk Haze. Download one of the free patterns from knitrowan.com and get started on an exciting, instant color adventure. Design expert Kaffe Fasset has combined shades from his magic color wheel to produce colorways of remarkable beauty. The regular solid Kidsilk Haze still proves to be a winner in all seasons. VBYC has the colors you need for single-shade pieces as well as the more flamboyant multi-color wraps, scarves and garments we're all making these days. And if that weren't enough, Rowan has seduced us with a limited edition format of Kidsilk Haze: Kidsilk Creation, an ultra posh silk/mohair net which forms the base of an exquisite ruffly scarf knittable in 45 minutes! Besides the Magazine 51, browse the selection of other new pattern books from Rowan, including Rowan Lace, Seascapes, Little Rowan, Holiday Crochet, Summer Crochet, and a bright new book for children, toddlers, and babies: Little Rowan. Rowan for spring!

01 February 2012

Chinoiserie from Hiya Hiya

There are some French words that you've got to use often, since they're just so fun to say. One of those in Chinoiserie: "Sheen-waaz-ree". It refers to things decorated or embelished in Chinese fashion. Our friends at Hiya Hiya are known for their unique cases and bags done up right in Chinese silk prints with unmistakable Asian flair. Back when they came out, VBYC offered the nifty project bags with the oval bottom, rounded top and perky cord handle that doubled as a zipper fob. At that time, there were only teal and red versions of the bag, but now there's also a glowingly delicious purple edition. All three colors of the project pouch are here and ready for adoption. Now for something to fill your new purple awesomeness: a couple silk print dumpling marker sets. Many of you will remember these little lovelies, each in a unique print (the prints come random from the mega dumpling bin at Hiya Hiya), each containing a supply of ultra cute and irresistable yarn ball markers. They're here too. And of course, there are always the Puppy Snips, which can be clipped onto your new Chinoise project pouch handle to stand at the ready for quick, efficient snipping.

Argyle Socks this Saturday!

If you're following the class line up, you will have noticed that this Saturday, I'm offering a chance to make a pair of smart (or sassy, depending on your color palate choice) argyle socks. People ask me frequently how I made my argyle socks, and this class will teach you how. If you've never done intarsia colorwork before, this is the class for you. Since the socks have a ribbed cuff, and since we don't want to spend class time knitting 3" of ribbing in one color, please stop in in the next couple days to select your yarns so you can come prepared with your cuff and ready to do colorwork! When folks see my argyles, they will immediately ask, "Is that hard?" My answer is this: it's ferociously difficult, tedious, time consuming, and intensely stressful.....until you find out how logical, non-complex and fun it is by taking the class. The best way to do argyles is simply to start in and do them!

28 January 2012

Experience this!

A week or so ago we enjoyed a little preview of what Fiesta Yarns has to offer. Yesterday, we received our shipment of Rayon Boucle and La Boheme. We had no idea what exactly we'd be in store for when the box opened. Dazzling, sparkling, amazing, hand-dyed color! The preview sample was great, but you'll be amazed at these colors! Vibrant, bold, creative, fresh. Spring! Just take a look at this La Boheme wrap. What a stunner! We have this pattern and many others that will have you looking smart for spring. Quick projects, instant fashion! Stop in and select your favorite colors for a bright, new spring look!

25 January 2012

About playing the cello and knitting argyles...

I had mentioned before that my grandmother was a cellist. She played in the local women's orchestra in Stassfurt, Germany. Through an odd turn of events, my grandmother volunteered my mother (who played the piano) to play a solo on the cello at a social function she was attending. To prepare, my grandmother gave my mother crash lessons on the simple piece she was expected to play. A task daunting to any adult, no less a child! When the day arrived for the cello debut, the family readied and departed for the hall. Upon arrival, my mother announced that she had forgotten her music at home. By then, it was too late to return to the house to retrieve the forgotten score. "You'll just have to play from memory," my grandmother told her, "you've practiced it enough." A hard directive. But what choice did she have? At the appointed time, my mother sat with the cello and played her solo -- flawlessly and from memory. I've heard this story told time and again,usually when I was facing a difficult task, or something I really didn't want to do but need to. I had often asked how it was that my mom could have done it, taken an instrument that wasn't hers, an instrument that requires particular nuance and skill to produce any pleasing sounds at all, and perform a solo in public. Her answer was the same each time: "Sometimes you just have to do things. Just put your mind to it." We've all been in similar situations, faced with tasks that we would rather leave to others, because we simply can't. Have you ever seen a fantastic and fabulous knit or crochet design that you absolutely loved, but that you subconsciously removed from your options list by thinking, "I could never do that. It's far too difficult!"? The song from the Broadway show "Avenue Q" reminds us, "There's a whole world outside your apartment!" My adivce is this: if you like it, make it. Turn the can't into can, and just start in! Make the project an adventure, a learning experience. In the class list on page 3 of the newsletter, I have purposely selected a few knitting topics that are designed to break down the barriers we set up for ourselves when it comes to what projects we select. We've admired colorwork in books and on other folks' needles, and now it's time to admire your own colorwork. How to shape garment pieces? After you've made the little baby shrug and learned the tricks to keeping track of several counts at once, you'll be ready to knit anything! This year, explore outside your comfort zone. You can do it! New challenges and discoveries for the new year! Happy New Year, everyone!

New Class Schedule!

Take note of the class schedule that is published here at the blog and in the newsletter! The first scheduled technique class on the list is coming up this Saturday, January 28th at 1:30pm: Fixing Mistakes. It's a popular class to learn how to correct common mistakes that we all experience in our work from time to time. Over the next few months our goal is to try stepping outside our comfort zone a little and challenge ourselves to experience and learn some new things, new techniques, and different projects. The class list contains some good, healthy challenges to help us meet this goal. You'll find colorwork, garment shaping, project planning/pattern reading, and more. Turn that "Can't" into a "Can"! Sign up for these classes and be amazed at the awesome things you CAN accomplish!

Newsletter!

The Vermilion Bay Light for January/February is being mailed out today! Most of you have already received your own copies, but there are still a few that will be going out through the day. If you have not been receiving your copy of the Light, it may be that you've changed your email, or because your email program redirects the Light to some other folder besides your inbox. Please do let me know if you've changed your email!

11 January 2012

Today we welcome Fiesta Yarns to the VBYC family. The first time I had come across Fiesta was on the knitting cruise year before last when we shopped at the fabulous Knit Wits yarn shop in Key West, whose sock bins were jam packed with fantastic colorful sock yarns from Fiesta. You can imagine how excited I was to receive a call from company owner Brad Duncan a few days ago that he wanted to stop off at VBYC on his way to New Orleans. The company is based in New Mexico and features many amazing hand-dyed yarns and blends. It was exciting to experience the complete Fiesta line, and to discover yarns with pizazz and splash, glitz and glamor that are both elegant and classy. Since the bulk of the spring order will not start arriving until later this month, Brad offered a good selection of cash and carry yarns. So, as a fashion preview of what will start arriving in a few weeks, browse the bins of Fiesta Rayon Boucle and Fiesta La Boheme.

New New New New New!

The post Christmas rush has begun, and that means loads of new yarns and such! Nine colors of Kidsilk Haze arrived today and are ready for your projects, as well as new colorways of Schaefer Anne for you sock knitters looking for the unique and one-of-a-kind (some hanks are regular colorways, some are one-of-a-kind)! A boatload of new colors in Lana Bambu is scheduled to arrive January 13th, and today, a whole box of adorable Puppy Snips in assorted colors (including some new colors we've not seen before) landed in our mailbox! Hurry on in!