7/01/13: Think mink.

PLEASE NOTE: Gosh Yarn It! will be closed July 4-5 in observance of Independence Day. Our Summer Sale begins Saturday, July 6 with a large selection of yarns reduced 40-60%.

I ended the last post with a teaser about some of the new yarns Jill is bringing in for Fall/Winter 2013. The shipments will start arriving soon, and one we are particularly excited about is “Mimi” from Trendsetter Lotus Yarns. Mimi is mink. 100% mink. If you thought cashmere was heavenly, just wait.

7.01.01Now before PETA starts picketing on Market Street, let me assure you that no mink have been harmed to make this yarn. Mink grow a double coat, similar to cashmere goats, the arctic musk ox, and my mom’s Welsh Corgis. The fine, downy insulating undercoat is brushed out from the coarser, sharper guard hairs of the top coat. (Please don’t ask me how you brush a mink. But you do.) It’s spun and voilà! Mink yarn is born. Mimi comes in a bright palette of both colors and naturals, and at 330 yards per hank for under $25, she won’t break the bank either.

Mary Beth, who is always way ahead of the curve when it comes to yarn, already had Mimi in her stash and, coincidentally, just this week brought in her gorgeous Mimi Flamboyan*. The pattern’s a classic from our Stephen West collection. Oh, the softness!

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The mink fiber works up to have a (non-shedding) “halo.” It’s light but lofty. You could almost say it’s plush. I tried to capture these qualities with my camera, but maybe you’ll just have to see – and feel – for yourself when Mimi arrives. We’ll let you know just as soon as she does. Until then, enjoy Mary Beth’s handiwork.

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I knew this next pattern was going to be an instant hit. No sooner had Paula Kitchenered her Norway Scarf* closed and draped it on Maude (below) for photos, than we sold two copies of this design by Ilga Leja to two knitting customers, and Paula was “hired” to custom knit another Norway by a non-knitting visitor to the shop! This is actually fairly simple stranded knitting, beautifully executed here by Paula in Berroco Ultra Alpaca.

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Norway Scarf was Paula’s June camp project. Here is Tina’s, the Icelandic Star Cowl from Julia Farwell-Clay that appeared in Knitscene Accessories 2013. Tina used Cascade Eco+ and Ecological Wool (same yarn – just one’s dyed and one’s not). If she hadn’t mentioned it, I never would have known that this perfectly-stitched piece was her very first intarsia project.


Dyan’s June camp project was the Transistor Hat from the same issue of Knitscene. Since most folks prefer to have Maude model their FOs, I was delighted when Dyan agreed to pose for my camera (especially since Maude has no head). Again, Berroco Ultra Alpaca. How happy is she with her completed hat? Check out that lovely smile!


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Up next is Jane’s June camp FO, Foolproof* in Madeline Tosh’s tosh dk. Here’s what designer Louise Zass-Bangham has to say about it:

How about a cowl with no casting on & no binding off? It’s made in rows but ends up all in one piece. There’s no knitting in the round, no sewing, no grafting, no provisional cast-on, no picking up stitches…You can make it to your own custom size, in your own choice of yarn without having to make a [gauge swatch.]…No purling, no knitting. Oh, wait, just joking – there is knitting – it’s garter stitch – with funky stripes and some easy intermediate increasing & decreasing.

Jane experimented with different color arrangements on a website with a random stripe generator, but decided in the end to strike out on her own. Couldn’t have striped up better, wouldn’t you say? Look very closely at the photo on the right, and you may spot some of the secret of Foolproof’s construction.

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Stephanie stitched these masterpiece mittens for her June camp project in Berroco Blackstone Tweed. The pattern originally appeared in the Fall 2011 issue of Interweave Knits. They are True North Mittens by Odessa Reichel. I loved watching her work the Latvian braid section at the cuff. “It only looks complicated,” she said. Uh huh.


The last June camp FO for now is a real cutey-pie. It’s Deb’s Angel Wings Pinafore, a free pattern on Ravelry from Maxine Gonser. Deb made it a button-front dress using Cascade Superwash Sport. She also crocheted a little matching headband with some lacy elastic. (Actually, this one’s off the cute charts.)


Tina completed a hibernating project and shared it with us on Thursday. This is Lilac Leaf Shawl, a pattern from Nancy Bush’s Knitted Lace of Estonia. The yarn is Cascade Alpaca Lace in a majestic purple. That day I had only the camera on my phone to work with. I hope it does justice to Tina’s magnificent lace work.

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The other half of Alice’s sweet big sister/little sister project appeared in the last post. Here, to match big sister’s cowl, is little sister’s Yoked Cardigan*, a design from of Hannah Fettig of Knitbot. Brava, Alice!


If you like Alice’s petite baby version and wish you could have a sweater like it for yourself, you’re in luck. This one pattern is written for size newborn through bust size 61″. With that size range you could make one for everyone in the family.

Shelly knit this jazzy Catkin* with purple Cascade Heritage Sock and some orange stash yarn. Carina Spencer’s design never fails to amaze me, and Shelly’s knitting shows it off spectacularly.

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In addition to Catkin, Shelly also brought in this equally jazzy Noro Taiyo tank. She said the pattern was one she just made it up as she went along, focusing more on getting the Noro yarn to behave for her. Clearly, whatever she did worked!


Sharyn was given a rare opportunity – the chance to restore a crocheted afghan created by a friend’s grandmother and great-grandmother back in Italy. She came into the shop in search of yarns that would match the originals. She clearly made great choices, since I can’t now remember which patches are new and which old.

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Some of the yarns had simply disintegrated (below left). Sharyn had to snip out the damaged pieces, re-work them, and stitch everything back together.

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I admit the colors in my pictures are a bit wonky – this was my phone camera only day – and may not show this 80 x 65″ afghan off to best advantage. But thanks to Sharyn’s TLC, this treasured family heirloom has a new life.

The story of the old blanket made new again reminds me of the July theme for our virtual summer camp, Make New Friends But Keep the Old. The deadline to sign up in time to earn a “merit badge” has now passed, but there’s always time to challenge yourself. Just choose a new pattern, technique, or fiber that gets you out of your comfort zone and into new stitching adventures.

August’s summer camp theme is Secret Pal. Projects should be gift knitting or crocheting. Get a head start on your holiday stitching! Register between July 23 and August 1. Camp store will be open July 23 through August 10. And don’t forget we have two more months of hour-long summer classes. All the fun of camp without the mosquitoes!

Patterns marked with an asterisk* are available at Gosh Yarn It!


One response to “7/01/13: Think mink.

  1. Jill Schwartz

    As always perfect!

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