Yesterday, Allison and I hosted a small group at Fibers Grass Valley for our first-ever Yarn Tasting... this was an idea we had ready to go as an alternative celebration for those who didn't plan to celebrate Superbowl Sunday, but then we were all snowed in! We decided to move it forward as a consolatory celebration of the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, and it was actually a mild enough afternoon to have the door of the shop open and some sun pouring in for awhile!
Allison and Karyn did most of the set-up work (rolling LOTS of small yarn balls), and when I arrived, the table was set with wine glasses full of small sample balls of a dozen or more yarns...
Participants brought their own needles, and we also brought out a set of Denise needles and some of the lovely Lantern Moon ebony needles to experiment with... as we had the knitters try out several yarns and discuss the qualities and uses for each.
Each wineglass also had some other goodies, including a packet of Glove In a Bottle (a great hand treatment that is non-greasy), a tapestry needle and these tiny wood crochet hooks that Allison found, good for picking up dropped stitches.
We had a very fun afternoon and each person got to sample at least six or so yarns, including Farmhouse Yarns' Mary's Little Lamb, Soutnwest Trading Company's Optimum (along with a great explanation from Allison about how the wool scales are stretched to 'de-barb' them and make the wool both machine washable and softer to those who find wool too scratchy), Gedifra Tiago (a great summer silk blend) and Schaefer's Little Danya. We also tested out both Cascade Yarns and Manos de Uruguay combinations of merino and silk... and concluded that the Cascade version is shinier, but the Manos version has their fabulous kettle-dyed colorways... and both are wonderfully soft. I mulled over what I could make, but also want to get thinking about summer sweaters to wear!
Yesterday was also the debut of my Victorian Shoulder Shawlette....
I was very delighted with the way this lovely Sivia Harding pattern turned out, and received lots of compliments yesterday... the yarn is Anne's Wooly Wonka Fibers Blue Faced Leicester in the Sagebrush and Cedars colorways.
One of the Yarn Tasting participants commented on how this pattern is ideal for a little cover-up for an elderly person, and I got to thinking about what a great charity knitting project that would be, especially using sport weight for a little more warmth... a few others asked if we carried the pattern. It is sometimes a bit difficult explaining to the customers that many independent knit designers don't sell their patterns through stores, simply because they couldn't make enough by selling at wholesale to cover their costs, and can actually do better running their own web-based businesses. I like to wear wonderful pieces like this to work at the shop, but do try to stick with wearing something (yarn, pattern, or both) that we carry at the shop because it is so hard to keep a LYS going these days, what with all the competition (sorry for editorializing here, it just slipped out...).
Anyway, here's a front view... at least I am displaying a lovely Gita Maria pin that we carry at the shop!
The shop is in the background... and you will discover through this photo that I have been wearing my hair a lot shorter the past few months. I decided back in November that I wasn't going to color it any more and then discovered through the winter that this was the length where I had the most natural curl sproing forth, so I could wear it either curly or flat-ironed straight, and have been very happy with it! Love the new shawl too, but not the worn-out look:)