Yoth Yarns

Yoth Yarns

At Stitches South this year, I discovered a booth that touched me to the core! Yoth Yarns. Their display was so “clean”- simple, beautiful, like an Anthropologie display.  What I especially responded to was the color- or maybe it was the lack of it. All the yarns were neutrals and greens, blues. I couldn’t help but think,  in a room full of explosive color “Now that’s just plain gutsy!”

From reading their website, I discovered they began with Raw Palette, in neutrals. Then added on the Fresh palette, in earthy blues and greens. Anyone that knows me, can understand why I was so drawn to this color range. They do, however, have plans to add two more palettes, over time: in their own words, “Juicy Palette, the golden sunlit yellows and oranges that mom adores, and Roots Palette, the ravishing reds, purples and pinks that every collection needs.”

And wait, it just gets better and better. Read their story; they tell it much better than I can here. In essence, it’s a sister (Veronka) and brother (Danny) team – with the whole family involved in different aspects of the business.  The yarns are offered in 2 weights: Little Brother in fingering and Big Sister in dk.

Of course, I just couldn’t pass it up. For the first time in over 20 years I paid retail for yarn- but I just had to have these colors in Little Brother. And part of me is still wishing I’d picked up some Big Sister, too. Ah well…one at a time… can’t wait to design with this combo!

yoth yarn colors

Fiber Content: 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon

Big Sister: DK weight, Approximately 231 yds

Little Brother: Fingering weight, Approximately 435 yds

And here’s what they say on their (also beautifully done – by Veronka’s husband) website:

“Our yarns are lovingly dyed in small batches at our dye house in Maine to mimic the look of hand dyed yarns. Some colors may have more variegation than others and we recommend alternating skeins on larger projects as you would with a hand dyed yarn.”

They also have wonderful notions. Below are the pieces I couldn’t pass up. I mean, you can never have enough finishing needles, stitch markers, or safety pins, right? And they’re so darling in the packaging. I don’t have a photo of their careful wrapping because I couldn’t wait to get to what was inside- but just know that all the little glass jars were individually wrapped in brown paper and taped with their masking tape stamped with their logo. It’s the attention to detail like this that endears this company to me even more.

yoth markers

And just look at this masking tape! How cool is that? I had to buy one of each, of course, if for no other reason than to adorn my studio. The note cards are very sweet, too. I was lucky enough to snag the last one, so not the only one that appreciated this booth!

yoth yarns notions


UDesignItYarns!; not just custom yarn dyeing

Wow, April has been a whirlwind of events and knitting for me; not to mention lots of road time, too. How about you? I met a lot of you at Yarn Fest in Colorado and Stitches South in Nashville. Did you increase your stash? Always room for more, right? Especially if you can design your own!

One aspect I’ve really enjoyed at the shows is meeting the other vendors. At Yarn Fest, I was thrilled to see Sally Brandon from Phillipsburg, KS. I’ve known her for quite some time; even designed some beginner projects when she first began the mill. Since then I’ve heard from visitors and clients all over how great her mill is. I was thrilled to see her exhibiting at Yarn Fest and get a chance to talk to her a bit about her new endeavor: UDesignitYarns, an online yarn designer!


UDesignItYarns is exciting! It gives anyone the opportunity to create their own unique yarn- and how cool is that? You enter the website and click on the green “get started now” tab which takes you to a page of choices for your own custom yarn dyeing- and creating. So many choices!

You’ll see a screen with a basket and fiber content selections along the left side. You first choose the fiber content (nylon, bamboo, tencel, merino, silk, alpaca to name a few!) and color. Pick the percentage under the basket and drag and drop into the basket. Decide on the spin style and weight: fingering to bulky in single ply, 2 ply or 3. You can even tweak it a bit with texture: click on special ply and choose from crepe, barber pole, loop spiral, metallic, or none.

The minimum order is 8 ounces. As you fill your basket, the price is automatically adjusted. And she stands behind her product. Read the guarantee. I admit I haven’t tried this yet, but I’m very fascinated. Kristi Traffas, from Unwind, my LYS owner, has though, and she was thrilled with the results. Here’s what she had to say:

“Sally asked me to test the web site and design a yarn when she first introduced this idea. I made 5 hanks of yarn to weave a poncho with. The yarn turned out great, the site is user friendly, and turn around time was fast. Perfect for when you can’t quite find that particular yarn you have in mind.”

So give it a try!

I’m planning on it. Just as soon as I can narrow down my choices!


knitting retreat: painting on knits and vest design

I met a great group of knitters earlier this month at the Riverwools Winter Retreat where I taught 2 workshops: painting on knits and vest design.



The event was held at a quilting retreat center in Danville, Illinois. Attached to a beautiful quilt shop, the facilities included 3 well-equipped kitchens and large work areas with cutting boards and walls to pin projects on. In a former life, the building was a nursing home, so provided the perfect set up for overnight stays. It seemed to be a very popular place. There were people working away at all hours of the night! Definitely check this place out if you’re looking for a place to hold a retreat of your own. The staff was very gracious, too.


Painting on Knits was our ice-breaker- as if this group needed one! As they sipped their after dinner wine, they dipped their brushes into fabric inks and worked with stencils on their swatches. I immediately recognized them to be a creative group of knitters! Even simple stencil designs came alive with their imagination. More than one tried their hand at free-hand and came out with some amazing results.


Next morning, we dove into vest design. It was an intense day of planning and swatching. There were some very accomplished knitters in the group that incorporated complex cable designs. While most had an idea of what they wanted to tackle before they came, others quickly discovered the most important features to them and began to work those into a design. I’ve asked them to keep me posted on their progress and hope to show that here.

It’s always a lot of fun to get a group of like-minded people together for a length of time. I loved seeing the energy and creativity that came from the weekend. Designing Knitwear is one of my favorite subjects to teach. I’ll be scheduling the 2015 workshops at the studio soon, so stay posted on sign up for the newsletter!

how much yarn do I need?

Knitting Calculator at Jimmy Beans Wool

Have you ever started a project and worried that you don’t have enough yarn? Unless you’re very new to knitting, I’m guessing you have. Isn’t that just the worst sort of feeling?

I like to pride myself on not being a worrier, but I gotta say- running short to complete a project fills me with anxiety. It takes all the fun out of knitting. And if it’s not fun…

So how do you determine how much yarn you need for a project? One way is to compare other projects that are similar in size and patterning. Ravelry is a great resource for this kind of research. They even have an advanced search based on yarn amounts, so if you know how much you have you can search for other projects with the same yardage.

There are also various yarn calculators floating around on the internet. Most are limited, showing only socks, hats and scarves. Or just a few sizes in sweaters. The most thorough one I found was on Elizabeth’s Fiber and Yarn Store’s website. It shows socks, hats, mittens, scarves, afghans, vests, and sweaters all in various sizes and fingering to bulky weight yarns. The one from Lion Brand also has a wider choice, but not quite the range- although they do show crochet amounts, too.

I also found a nifty yarn calculator on the Jimmy Beans website that you can embed on your own website! As you can see, I did it here! You just enter in your gauge and size; it calculates how much yarn is needed. Pretty cool.

Of course, there are software programs that have this built in to them, too. But with the software usually comes a hefty price, so unless you’re looking for sweater design software, you probably don’t want to make the investment just for the calculator.

And I’m sure there are also a lot of knitting apps that do this, too. The one I most recently became aware of is Knit Handy from Ann Budd of Interweave. For those of you not familiar with her books, do take a look. She is known for creating basic patterns in a range of gauges and weights. It takes a while to get used to the format, but once you do, you have hundreds of patterns in one book. And, of course, I can’t forget to mention her Knitter’s Handy Guide to Yarn Requirements.

All of these aides will give you a rounded off amount. For more accuracy, there IS a hands-on method. It involves swatching and measuring and math… more on that next time.

I’d love to know what method you use!