Category Archives: Local Yarn Shop

Rose’s New Sister – Wee Peggy

Recently, I headed to The Spinnery for a class about how to make slubs, think and thin singles, and coils. It was a great class.

Wee Peggy at The Spinnery
Wee Peggy at The Spinnery

While chatting with my fellow classmates, the discussion turned to different types of wheels. I mentioned how I would love one day own a Wee Peggy. Well, after the class was over and I was waiting for my turn to pay, I of course, wandered the shop to check out all the fibery goodness. And what do my eyes see before me? A Wee Peggy! I asked if I could give it a try and Betty said “of course.”

Well, the downside to my attempted spinning? I was so hungry I couldn’t focus. My head hurt and my hands were shaking. I put the wheel back and went to eat.

On the ride home, all I could think of was that beautiful wheel. When I signed on that night, I sent Betty an email and told her I was interested in talking to her about it. She helped me negotiate a price and I told her I would be in on the weekend to give it a try.

It looked like I went there in the nick of time! Someone was in her shop that morning asking about it. Betty let her know that someone was coming in to give it a try and that it didn’t work out she would let her know.

My first bit of spinning on the Wee Peggy,
My first bit of spinning on the Wee Peggy,

I arrive with my wonderful husband to give it a try. Betty had set up the wheel and a chair for me. First, she demonstrated how to spin on it as well as how it differs from my beautiful Rose. Wow is it different! Unlike my Rose that has a lot of metal, the Wee Peggy is all wood and a small piece of leather to help the treadle move. It took a little practice to get used to it. This is a single-treadle and focuses more and heel and the middle of the foot, while my Rose is a double-treadle and focuses on the toe.

The Wee Peggy has a long and fabled

Peggy in the back of the truck on the way home.
Peggy in the back of the truck on the way home.

history and is considered an incredibly collectible wheel. Designed by John Rappard in New Zealand, the Wee Peggy was made from Southern Beech, a lightweight but strong and easily worked wood. I rarely see them come up for sale. So I knew I had a unique opportunity in front of me.

So the end result? I love her! My husband carefully packed her into

the back seat of his pickup. She came home with us. She is now in our living room next to Rose. I gave her a spin yesterday morning using some Frenchtown-area Mohair. It was great.

I still need some practice on the treadling, but I know we will soon work together as well as I do with my Rose.

So Rose has a sister now – and her name is Peggy.

Now sisters - Peggy and Rose.
Now sisters – Peggy and Rose.

 

Thick, Thin, Slubs, and Coils: Yarn Spinning at The Spinnery

Today was a wonderful day. I had the opportunity to head to The Spinnery in Frenchtown, New Jersey for a class about how to spin thick/thin yarn (known as slubs) and coils. I wanted to take this class the last time it was offered, but I was still doing battle with my ankle after surgery. Well now my ankle was amicable and ready for class!

Frenchtown
On the way to Frenchtown.

My day started with a lovely ride to Frenchtown. If you have never been there, I highly recommend it. Once you are off the highway, you are surrounded by historical homes, open fields, and preserved farmland. Today was the perfect day for this ride. Roof open, windows down, Billy Joel on the radio. Just wonderful.

Rebecca Dioda
Master Spinner, Rebecca Dioda and our class.

The class was taught by master spinning teacher Rebecca Dioda of Simpatico Fiber Collective. She made the day fun and informative by giving an explanation, then demonstrating, then helping each member of our intimate group get started. We started by unplying a base (yes, sounds uncounter-intuitive, stay with me). Then we started with our main fiber, making thick and thin “slubs.” She made it look so easy! Then we all started giving it a try. Well, lets just say the easy chatter became serious concentration. As we progressed, we all seemed to improve.

slubbed yarn
My attempt at thick and thin slubs.

What I really found funny as I was working to master this I thought back to when I first started to spin. Initially, I was very good at spinning…rope. Then I improved to thick and thin. Then I learned to spin more even yarn. Now that I need to spin thick and thin yarn like I did in the beginning, I found it very challenging. Go figure.

So it was time to start to ply our base and

Coiled yarn
Rebecca makes coils look so easy!

our slubbed yarn together. Plying has never come easy to me, so I was definitely thinking about multiple techniques simultaneously.

Of course I forgot my lazy kate. Luckily Betty, owner of The Spinnery, came to my rescue and had one I could use. Rebecca taught us the importance of “vrooom!” in our spinning when preparing for a coil. She made the entire process a lot of fun!

So I went to work. I quickly determined I needed at least one more hand. My lovely Majacraft Rose was not in the mood to ply without issue. She is currently in a time out so she can think about her cranky

coiled yarn
Starting to get the hang of coils.

behavior. Hold core in one direction. Hold yarn at a 90-degree angle. Spin in the opposite direction of the yarn. Pinch. Roll. Push. Pinch. Spin more. Vroom! Don’t let the yarn wind before they should connect. Oh my! Like I said. Lots to think about.

After some mumbling to myself, and encouragement from Rebecca, I started to get some decent-looking coils.

I still have a lot to do to become

coiled yarn
My finished coiled yarn.

more comfortable with my coils. But I definitely felt like I understood the process by the time I left. Of course I can never leave The Spinnery without picking up a few things. So what did I get? More fiber and core to practice!

After class I took a little time for a late lunch, pick up a few treats, and then the ride home. It was a wonderful day and I can’t wait to try again!

Getting Reacquainted with My Majacraft Rose

My Rose in the car - ready to go!
My Rose in the car – ready to go!

A number of years ago, my husband took me to The Spinnery in Frenchtown, New Jersey and bought me a spinning wheel. He told me to do my research and pick the wheel that made the most sense for me. I had narrowed it down to a few and he asked to see them. So I went through photos of each wheel until he saw the Rose. He said “that’s the one.” What made it extra special was that my grandmother’s name was Rose. It was a sign. We headed to The Spinnery and I came home with my new wheel.

I had a great teacher not far from my home. After she moved, and I had a few issues that limited my spinning time, my Rose sat unused.

The Spinnery, Frenchtown, New Jersey
The Spinnery, Frenchtown, New Jersey

A few months ago I signed up for an online fiber arts class called Journey to the Golden Fleece Creativity in Fiber Certificate. It inspired me to get started spinning with my Rose again.

I made some attempts, but after my Rose being neglected for so long, she needed some TLC and I needed a refresher. So I went back to wear it all started – The Spinnery. I brought her to Betty, the owner of The Spinnery, to get back on track. We spent an hour taking care of her.

The Bridge Cafe
The Bridge Cafe

We then moved on to my refresher. She gave me a wonderful compliment and said that my spinning skills were still quite good. We then worked on making slubs, over coiling, and plying – three skills that have eluded me. They certainly need practice, but I understand the process better now.

My finished yarn.
My finished yarn.

Afterward I took a quick walk down the main street of Frenchtown (it was quite rainy and cold) and had lunch at The Bridge Café. Then it was back home.

I finished the yarn I started at my lesson and couldn’t be happier!

I look forward to renewing my love to spinning on my beloved Rose.

Black Friday and Small Biz Saturday for Fiber Enthusiasts

Christmas treeSo we all know that the day after Thanksgiving is “Black Friday.” It usually includes people fighting the crowds at some ungodly hour to come home with things like electronics, toys, and appliances.

Well, here is a Black Friday list for the rest of us. The fiber fanatic!

Craftsy: Craftsy Yarn and Fabric sale up to 80% off from 11/27-12/2!

Banana Moon Studio: Enjoy 15% off all patterns on Ravelry from 11/29-12/2.

Too Cute Crochet: Take 25% off all crochet patterns on her Etsy site from midnight ET 11/29/13 through 11pm ET 12/2/13.

The Woolery: Specials from 11/29-12/4 at The Woolery include discounts on jewelry kits, fiber, totes, and more!

Interweave:
Enjoy 50% off savings on a bunch of different items, including patterns, DVDs, magazines – just about everything on the site!

Annie’s:
Use code EYKBRR and get 20% off your entire order. Expires 11/29.

My Etsy Site!
And of course I have to include MY Black Friday coupon code. Use BLACKFRIDAY and get free shipping on anything on my Etsy site until 12/1. No minimum!Small Business Saturday

And on Saturday, make sure to “shop small” and check out your local yarn shops and support them with your business. In 2012, Americans spent $5.5 billion on Small Business Saturday. By shopping local, more of your dollars stay in your community, which helps keep your town vibrant!

As I hear about more sales during this busy Hannakuh and Christmas seasons, I will certainly post them!

Make Sure to Visit Your LYS

In the last month I received word that two local yarn shops in my area decided to close. While they were for very different reasons, it was still very sad to me. Both shops were run by wonderful ladies and they had great shops. They would not just sell yarn, but run classes and help their customers. Oftentimes when anyone would head in either shop, you would see customers happily sitting working on their projects.

I certainly wish them well in their future, but it is a good reminder to all of us to support our local yarn shops. They provide a level of personalized care that will far surpass anything you may receive at the big box stores. They offer a wide variety of yarn brands – also by other small business owners – you will not find elsewhere.

So the next time you need (or let’s face it – to WANT) to make a yarn purchase, seek out your local yarn shop first. I promise you will not be disappointed!

WWKIP Day Event in Denville, NJ

This year’s World Wide Knit in Public takes place this year from the 9th to the 17th of June – second Saturday to the third Sunday in June. There are great events all over the world, but I wanted to let you all know about a great upcoming event in my neck of the woods – my beloved New Jersey.

On Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Nonna’s Yarn Cafe will be hosting an event to knit and crochet squares that will be made into blankets for St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville. They will supply the yarn and patterns, you bring either a size H crochet hook or size 8 needles and the fun will definitely appear!

Nonna’s Yarn Cafe is located on Broadway in the center of Denville. I hope you will be able to participate!

Stitchin’ at…Nonna’s!

This week we are going to do something a little different. We are taking our Stitchin’ at Starbucks on the road! Join us at Nonna’s Yarn Cafe in Denville, NJ at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, as we help celebrate their fifth anniversary! Then at 8:00 p.m., let’s head down the block to Mara’s for some coffee and crochet!

Please be sure to call Nonna’s at 973-983-9276 if you plan to attend, so they have an accurate count for the evening!

Hope you can join in on the fun as we celebrate this great achievement!

Happy Birthday Nonna’s Yarn Cafe!

I love visiting local yarn shops. They provide a great sense of community for we fiber fanatics as well as introduce us to yarns the “big box stores” would never consider carrying. One of my favorite local yarn shops is Nonna’s Yarn Cafe in Denville, NJ. This shop is owned by two wonderful sisters and their store is warm and inviting. When I wrote my Armchair Traveler for Spin Off, I highlighted their shop!

Well, next week marks their fifth anniversary. And what does that mean? A party of course! Stop by on Thursday, July 22 between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. for all kinds of fibery fun like special yarn sales and give-aways! I know I’ll be there! Make sure to call or email if you plan on attending.

Happy Birthday Nickie & Josephine!!!!

Helmet Liners for our Troops in Afghanistan

Nonna’s Yarn Cafe is doing a wonderful project and are asking all knitters to make helmet liners for our troops serving in Afghanistan.

A friend of the shop owner’s is involved with K-help and has asked us to make helmet liners for our troops in Afghanistan. These liners are to be knitted in 100% wool, like Galway or Cascade 220 in dark colors such as black, greys, green.  The shop has the pattern and a finished liner in the shop for added help.
 
And to make it more enticing, with every liner returned to the shop for our troops that is knitted with wool purchased at Nonna’s will receive a coupon worth 10% off your next purchase of regularly priced yarn.
 
Every Tuesday evening in November the shop will be giving free lessons on how to knit the liners.  Therefore take advantage of this opportunity to learn how to knit in the round using circular and double point and at the same time you will be making some soldier feel warm this winter.
 
The shop will be shipping the liners by December 13, 2009. I hope all the knitters out there will help out!

Hat Box Foundation

I don’t know of anyone who knits or crochets that doesn’t love to make gifts for those they care about. Well Jennifer Aquino and Julie Abdallah have taken that idea to the big leagues by starting the “Hat Box Foundation.”

This organization began when a friend asked Jennifer if she could knit a hat for a child undergoing cancer treatment. The gift was received so well and the response so wonderful that Jennifer’s sister Julie decided one hat just wasn’t enough. The Hat Box Foundation is currently active in 34 states, but has a goal to reach all 50 before the end of this year.

I have made hats for many I know and care about who are undergoing chemo as well as for those I don’t know by donating them to a local cancer center where a few friends work. Many know that October is breast cancer awareness month. Well, this is a perfect time for those of us who stitch to make a commitment to do some “social stitching” as I like to call it and pay it forward by making and donating items for those who need it most. I promise to make some hats and send them to the Hat Box Foundation. I hope you will consider making and sending some as well.

The Hat Box Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation. You can find out more by going to: http://www.hatboxfoundation.org/.