Fibres of Life Bags

When you walk into My Sister Knits it’s hard not to notice the striking bags on top of the display case!  These bags are Fibres of Life fair trade products from Nepal.Fibres of LifeJenn Pullin, founder of Fibres of Life, is from Nova Scotia. If you would like to read the full story of how she came about founding Fibres of Life, read this.  Jenn is passionate about fair trade products! She has put that passion to work helping to design and create handmade, ethically produced, high quality products.Fibres of Life designs are fanciful and colorful, embracing a rich fall palette.  Jenn has learned that having up-to-date, distinct designs is an essential part of fair trade success!Fair tradeNo two products are exactly alike.  Knitting, felting, dyeing, stitching, and weaving are all done by hand and reflect each artisan’s traditions and artistic expression.Jenn says it best when describing fair trade associations:"Fair trade associations are based first, on supporting people and communities, with developing products as a means to that end. We meet and work where people work in small groups in neighbourhood houses with their children nearby or nestled in the group, family-based workshops, or in the main facilities of the fair trade associations, where parents working share the space with daycare support, a school for their kids, adult literacy classes, or a subsidized cafeteria with incredible food. The people who come to work at the associations come for varied reasons and from varied backgrounds. Some come simply seeking a positive work environment, training and mentorship, or better compensation. Others may have been marginalized in one way or another – economically, from a minority group or low caste, women leaving family violence, or youth at risk."My Sister KnitsFor in depth information on fair trade, the Fibres of Life website is well worth exploring!We encourage you to come in and check out these bags that are hand made by artisans on a small scale.  One of My Sister Knits' goals is to bring this type of product to our customers! local yarn shop      

What's in Your Notions Bag?

Notions bags!  They are almost as fun as yarn!  These bags come in many shapes and sizes; they can be anything from plastic baggies, to unused make-up bags, to one made specifically for knitters.The important thing about notions bags is not what style they are but what goes into them!My Sister Knits, Fort Collins, project bags, needle gauges, point protectors, They are vital to having what you need with you at all times.  Just like filling a baby’s diaper bag with things that were needed on your last outing, like a third set of clothes (!), your notions bag becomes filled with items as you need them over time.  Most notions bags start out with the bare necessities; possibly a pair of scissors, some locking markers, and a handiTool.  From there, it’s a slippery slope! You start a cable project and add cable needles. You need to weave in some ends and add tapestry needles.  Your lips get chapped and you some lip balm because you know it will be right where you can find it!Perhaps your current project required a large amount of stitches to cast on and you put markers every 20 stitches or so to keep track.  When you worked that first row, you took the markers off and now you have extras in your notions bag!My Sister Knits, local yarn shop, northern Colorado, embroidery scissors, tapestry needles, Kitchener stitchOnce upon a time you lost stitches off of the tip of your needles and now you carry a selection of needle caps with you at all times.  A profusion of paraphernalia makes its way into your notions bag and before you know it, you have at least one tape measure, a needle size gauge, Kitchener notes, hand lotion, an emery board, more stitch markers, pencils, highlighter tape, and it just keeps going!From there, you decide that maybe you need something just large enough for the bare essentials which differ from knitter to knitter.  This will go into your ‘anywhere, anytime’ project so it’s truly ready to grab on your way out the door. And so you buy another notions bag….My Sister Knits, Twig and Horn, Colorado yarn shop, cable needlesWherever you are on your notions bag journey, we have all the goodies, err, essentials for you in the shop!  Just for fun, ask us what we have in our notions bags! 

Project Bags Galore!

We have the perfect bag to hold your Christmas knitting or crochet projects!  Why not treat yourself to one?Local Fort Collins designer Angela Gray makes bags that are exclusive to My Sister Knits; she custom designed these bags with input from our staff and customers!  Using fun fabric from Australia, they are flexible enough to stay open or can be closed with their drawstring.angelas-bags-rtp Do you need a sturdier bag?  Chicken Boots is your answer!  Made with vinyl and treated fabric, these bags hold their shape.  Plus, you can see what is inside the bag from the outside!chicken-boots-bags-rtp Ribbon Street uses Japanese Import fabrics with dynamic prints for their bags; perfect for smaller projects that can be stuffed into a purse or tote!ribbon-street-bags-rtp No matter what size you need, Baggu has it!  Their ripstop nylon bags are lightweight, flexible and strong.small-baggu-bags-rtp We have a size and print to meet your every wish!baggu-bags-with-handles-rtp Now is the time to delight in a new bag to keep your knitting projects clean and safe from harm as you create items made with love!

Yarn Crawl Sample Sale

We have been busy planning an extra special event for you during the Hot August Knits Yarn Crawl, July 30th through August 14th!In the course of rearranging this summer, we realized that we have oodles of samples that need to go to good homes. Therefore, we are announcing our first-ever Sample Sale!  This is a rare occasion to purchase handmade items you've admired in the shop.There will be cowls!cowls-for-sample-sale-RTP There will be hats and mittens!hats-for-sample-sale-2-RTP There will be shawls!shawls-for-sample-sale-RTP And even a sophisticated white felted bag!white-felted-bag-for-sample-sale-RTPWe have many more items than pictured here and you'll be able to see them all on Saturday, July 30th starting at 9am.  Now is the time to get out your calendars, plot your Yarn Crawl adventure, and plan to take advantage of our extraordinary Sample Sale!Stay tuned because next week we will  have another special Yarn Crawl treat to tell you about...........   

Chicken Boots are here!

What are Chicken Boots?chicken bootsDarling project bags made in the California by Saremy Duffy!  Julie has just received her first order and we'll be reveling these new bags tonight at our Community Knit Night.  We hope that you can join the fun between 5 - 8 pm to get the best selection of some of the most sought after bags around!Imagine:  you have carefully selected the perfect yarn, a terrific pattern and you have a selection of your favorite tools to get started on your next project, all that's missing is a bag to store it all inChicken Boots bags are designed by knitters, crocheters and fiber enthusiasts who wanted the best cases to store their needles and the best bags to carry their projects. Chicken Boots was born out of a love of all things functional and fiber.  And that passion for perfection has resulted in terrific bags made with darling fabrics that are just irresistible.And why the name Chicken Boots? "The Duffy's call their boots that are worn to take care of chicken chores their 'chicken boots'. Their daughter was five when she coined the term and it stuck."   Darling.Stop on by this evening to check these new beauties out.  We think that you'll be as delighted as we are with them.

Staff favorite

Storing knitting notions can be tricky.  There are so many little items that are essential while knitting: scissors, stitch markers, a measuring tape, and more.  Having them at hand can keep your work flowing smoothly.  Being able to find what you need within the jumble at the bottom of your project bag is like magic.Julie has just stocked a new little organizer from Lady Danio that will help you keep your myriad tools within easy reach, even on the go!notions-case-01"Eight little compartments keep all your knitting and crocheting notions neatly separated. Organize your life in a snap and go!The first side of this case features four small rectangular compartments that are perfect for storing stitch markers, buttons, and all those itty-bitty knitting notions you always seem to lose in the bottom of your project bag.notions-case-02Flip apart the second half of this case to reveal three long compartments that are great for holding stitch holders, darning needles, point protectors, safety pins, and other medium sized objects. Finally, the big single (brightly colored) compartment sandwiched in the center is perfect for larger items like mini crochet hooks, cable needles, T-pins, a tape measure, and even foldable scissors."There are several colors to choose from and a price that can't be beat -- just $10.  You'll want to get a few, for yourself and as thoughtful little gifts for your friends who knit.

Beautiful bags with a story

We want to tell you about some bags in the shop that come with a unique and inspiring story.  They are made by women living in the north east corner of South Africa.Tambani is a quilting and embroidering initiative designed to set a group of disadvantaged rural African women on a path of self-actualization and economic empowerment. These women create embroidered blocks that capture the stories that are part of their oral tradition. The embroidered folk tales, which are sold as applique blocks and used by quilters, knitters and crafters all over the world, are a practical way of preserving the Venda oral tradition.tampani-01Julie first came across these bags in 2013 and has selected a few beautiful bags from the collection that are available in the shop to be used as small summer purses or smaller project bags. Each bag comes with the folk story that is associated with the artwork on the bag and will give you a rich piece of these womens’ culture to share as your own.You can read the folktale about the hippo who swallowed a little girl (as seen above on the right) and read more about the women who create these embroidered squares on the initiative's website.We hope that you will take a minute to learn more about this amazing initiative and stop by to see the beautiful work that it is creating.

Staff Favorite

We love knitting in public.  Bringing our projects along with us wherever we go ensures that we have more patience to wait in line, for an appointment, or in traffic.It also can be a great ice breaker, prompting folks to ask us about what we're working on.  We've made many new friends and found inspiration while waiting for planes, trains, and while in line at rental car agencies.And the key to being able to easily carry a project along for the ride, is a great bag.field-02Our friend Angela Grey has crafted a fantastic field bag for us that is perfect!  Compact, and yet filled with fun contrast pop pockets to keep things organized.  With special secure spots for notions such as multiple needles, stitch markers, a measuring tape and scissors, these field bags are all that we could ask for.field-01They have a drawstring enclosure and a handle you can hang from your wrist.  Julie has been known to knit while on the treadmill.  With one of these beauties to help you knit and walk, you too can get your steps in as you progress with your knitting!Angela has used a fun selection of the most darling fabric.  We can't choose a favorite among them!  Our small selection is available for just $45 each.  A perfect gift for a crafty pal or for yourself.We hope that you'll be able to to stop on by this week while our selection is at its best and choose the perfect little bag that will help get you out and about this Spring knitting in public and making new friends. 

A perfect solution

All of us have scrambled for last minute gifts.  In spite of our best laid plans and careful lists, it is all too easy to find yourself looking for a few more things when you imagined that you'd be relaxing by the fireside.gift-ideas2-Julie has filled the shop with fun stocking stuffers and great gift ideas for those who love to knit and those who don't.What may be the most successful gift for the yarn lovers on your list is a gift certificate.  They will have a chance to come visit the shop and select the perfect item for themselves and thank you for the opportunity.Especially because, from now until the end of December, purchasing a gift certificate will provide you with a coupon for 30% off a single item.  This can be given along with the certificate to extend its value, or it can be a little treat that you keep and use yourself.What fun!  We hope that we'll see you this week so that we can wish you a very happy holiday.

We're celebrating!

We are going to be celebrating Mother's Day at the shop on Saturday May 9th.  We have a collection of new bags from Ribbon Street that we'll be featuring and you won't want to miss out. ribbon-streetWe've received bags of all kinds including project bags of varying sizes, clutches (like those shown above) that could double as notions or cosmetics bags as well as boxy bags that we can think of dozens of uses for.We'll also be able to share with you some of our other fun hand crafted gift ideas such as yarn bowls, shawl pins and handmade cards.  You may find the bright mobiles from Elevated Scraps as irresistible as we do.elevated-scrapsWe hope that you can visit in the midst of your planned celebrations that weekend.  Dawn will have some special homemade treats on hand and as always we'd love to see you!

Too early?

There are two definite camps of holiday shoppers.  My Dad prefers to delay the inevitable and is among the "wait until the last shopping day" group. Dawn's believes in starting early so that he can enjoy the holidays without the distraction and panic of last minute gift hunting.On the off chance that you'd like a head start for your gift list, we thought we'd share some ideas we have for great gift ideas. project bagsBright and bold project and notions bags designed by by JessaLu help keep projects and odds and ends organized and easy to find.Bags with handles like these are a must for crafters on the go who enjoy taking their projects to knitting groups or out to coffee with friends.  I can tell you that knitting has made waiting in lines during the holiday season a much more pleasant possibility for me. yarn bowls 2These beautiful yarn bowls made by local ceramicist Connie King are an aesthetic treat for knitters who prefer to keep their projects at home.  A beautiful skein resting in a bowl like this is start conversations and elicit compliments from holiday visitors.We'll continue to share new gift ideas with you throughout the upcoming weeks as the holidays approach.  Stop on by the shop at any time with your gift list and we can help you select the perfect project, kit, or hand made item that you will love to give or receive.

A new yarn has arrived

Last week our long awaited shipment from UK based Baa Ram Ewe arrived and Titus is now available at My Sister Knits!This wonderfully soft fingering weight yarn is a blend of 50% Wensleydale, 20% Blueface Leicester, and 30% Alpaca.  It is all  fiber that has been raised, sheared and spun in Yorkshire England.  Each 100 g skein contains 350 yards and knits up beautifully on US 2 and 3 needles. titus 01It has been voted "Favorite British Yarn by Knit Now magazine and has received rave reviews from designers, Ravelers, and other yarn enthusiasts.What makes this yarn so special is the delicious blend of the two wools it includes.  Wensleydale wool is renowned for its silky luster and Bluefaced Leicester is soft and wonderfully fine.  With just a touch of alpaca added for softness and a bit of historical reference, this yarn is a pleasure to work with.(You can read more about Sir Titus Salt -- the namesake of these skeins -- here). titus 03Along with the lovely skeins, we received new patterns as well as a booklet that is chock full of beautiful ideas for great knit accessories.  Above is a selection of the 10 patterns that are included in the Coop Knits Toasty Volume One booklet designed by Rachel Coopey.And that's not all! titus 02Julie also received a few tote bags that she'll be giving away FREE with a Titus yarn purchase on a first come first served basis while supplies last.  We hope that you can pop by soon to see for yourself how special this beautiful yarn is. 

New fairtrade baskets

Julie has found some beautiful baskets to share with us that come from Bolgatanga in Ghana’s Upper East Region that are beautiful, functional, and helping African weavers make a fair wage. baskets1These baskets were created by  dozens, sometimes hundreds, of weavers—men, women, children and students—many of whom The Baba Tree has been working with for years.  You can learn more about the weavers through a slideshow that can be found herebaskets 2We have baskets for every occasion, and in every color.  Dawn swears by the market basket she's been using.  She says that her husband is often stopped by other shoppers and asked where it comes from.We hope that you can stop in soon so that you can take advantage of the incredible choice before they all disappear!

A brand new bag

Summer has finally arrived and with it comes Farmers’ Markets, picnics, trips to the beach or the pool and a myriad other reasons to have a great summer tote at your side.  In late March we had our first Knit Along of 2014, and we all cast on to make a very stylish Simple Hemp Tote with gorgeous leather handles.  Instead of the hemp that the pattern suggests, we used Euroflax Sport Weight Linen.

linen_tote_medium2

 And we aren't the only ones that love this yarn for lightweight summer bags.  We found that it was also a perfect choice for Espace Tricot's Summer Fling that can be knit up with two skeins. toteThere are some terrific FREE tote patterns available online that would all knit up beautifully with linen.  Our favorites include the Ilene Bag designed by Hannah Ingalls, Elisa's Nest Tote,  and Purl Bee’s Knit Tote.Let us know which one you decide to cast on for and we can find the perfect colors of yarn for you to work with!

Jessalu bags are too good to resist

Julie found some darling bags and they have been so popular in the shop that we’ve already sold out of them a couple of times!  A new order arrived this week, and we realized that we needed to get the word out about these handy works of art before they disappear again.These were designed by a knitter who is also a very crafty seamstress, (a bit like Julie herself).  So you know that they have been made with us in mind.  Every detail is carefully conceived, and you are going to love keeping your notions, knitting essentials or smaller projects contained within these fun fabrics. jessalu bagsThese are JessaLu's notions pouches.  They measure 2 1/2" by 7 1/2 and retail for $6.  They are a perfect size to keep all your stitch markers, measuring tapes, crochet hooks, and darning needles from taking over your work space, or getting lost in the depths of your knitting basket."These bags are all hand-sewn by JessaLu herself.  According to her website: “All hand-sewn items are made by me (yes, I am a one-woman operation - my mom irons for me once a week but that's the only help I have!) on a c1937 Model 15-91 Singer sewing machine." photoThese are JessaLu's Box Bags and Wedges.  These box bag dimensions are  7 1/2″ long, 3 1/2″ high, 4 1/2″ wide.  The handles are long enough to fit over your wrist.  I know that there are some knitters out there that can walk and knit, and love to take projects on the road with them.  These bags would make that possible and a bit more fun!The Wedge bags shown above measure 11" wide, 6" tall and 3" wide at the bottom. The perfect size for socks in progress or a similarly sized project.  You could even use this as a make-up bag in your everyday purse.Call us at the shop if one of these bags strikes your fancy.  They are sure to fly off our shelves, and you won't want to miss your chance at these one of a kind treasures.  We'll make sure that we keep our Facebook page updated when new ones arrive in the shop!

Treat yourself

We have a stunning collection of our new favorite bags for you to choose from.  Baggu bags are made in New York, and were featured in Baggu pop-up shops from NYC to San Fransisco this holiday season.  Our order has finally arrived and we can’t wait to share the new leather bags that we have in stock. baggu)These beauties retail for $180.  And they are as soft as butter...  We saw one of these on Dawn's arm last summer, and Julie knew that they would be a hit here in Fort Collins.  These bags are so popular that they have been close to impossible for us to stock.  You can imagine how excited we were when the box arrived this week.We also have some of the great nylon bags that we were to stock before the holidays.  The baggu collection of nylon bags spans a generous size range.  Their standard size ($9) is big enough for groceries, and the smallest zippered bag is perfect for notions.  We have a great selection of all sizes in fun animal print patterns.  They fold up into  beautifully compact packets and just disappear into your purse until you need them. baggu projectWe hope that you can visit us soon so that you can browse through the full selection of beautiful bags.  These are sure to disappear quickly.

Fall shopping at your local yarn store (?)

New bags arrived in the shop this week and they are so good looking you may find that you want to use them for more than just your knitting! Atenti bags at My Sister Knits These beauties are from Atenti.  We have carried this line for years, and love the complex textures and colors that make these bags so unique.  The bags all feature a plethora of interior pockets that make organization a snap.  You’ll be able to find anything in the depths of these bags.   They range in price from $64 to $184. va bags2New to the shop is a New York based line Vance Kitira that Julie came across on her travels this summer.  Each bag is named for a neighborhood in the Big Apple, and they are as put together and good looking as their names imply.I have two favorites that are likely to be added to my fall wardrobe this year: Tribeca shown above is $135.  It has several roomy interior pockets and a full zipper to keep your essentials safe.  It is the perfect size to accommodate a knitting project or a layering shawl.  I also like the look of another bag named after the Italian leather it is made from: Genoa is as soft as butter, and a steal at $270.You should plan on checking these beauties out on your next visit.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Julie has come across a new treasure

We have a great new collection of bags to share with you.

Tammbani is a quilting and embroidering initiative to set a group of disadvantaged rural African women on a path of self-actualization and economic empowerment. These women create embroidered blocks that capture the stories that are part of their oral tradition.  The embroidered folk tales, which are sold as applique blocks and used by quilters, knitters and crafters all over the world, is a practical way of preserving the Venda oral tradition. 

© Tambani

You can learn more about the women behind these beautiful blocks here.

Julie has selected just a dozen beautiful bags from the collection and they are available in the shop on a first come first serve basis for just $44.  Each bag comes with the folk story that is associated with the artwork on the bag and will give you a rich piece of these women’s’ culture to share as your own.

We hope that you will take a minute to learn more about this amazing initiative and stop by to see the beautiful work that it is creating.

Deal of the Day: 30% off all of our bags

Who among us doesn’t love a really good bag?  Women can become as magical as Mary Poppins, and prepared to handle any situation with the tools she can squirrel away in her purse.  I have girlfriends that stash everything from stain removers to multivitamins for their kids in their bags.  Thank god large bags are in fashion.

As a knitter, I use a large variety of bags to keep things close to hand and easy to find.  I have a basket that holds all my patterns.  I have a zippered Walker mesh bag that holds all my notions: circular needles, stitch holders, measuring tapes, etc.   I have a della Que silk needle case that holds my Addi-Turbo Click set of circular needles.  I have baskets and bins from the Container Store to organize my yarn stash.  And finally, I have bags of all sizes to hold my projects.  You may remember from a November blog post, that I have a large number of projects on the needles.  In spite of 6 weeks of furious knitting, that situation hasn’t changed much. (I've emptied 2 of those 8 bags - but there were other secret cast on projects that weren't mentioned in that blog that have taken those projects' places. Not to mentioned all the projects started and finished in those 6 weeks that never went into a bag.)  If it weren’t for this crazy collection of bags, it would take me ages to find things, and my tiny house would be adrift in yarn.

This Wednesday, at My Sister Knits, we are offering 30% off of all our bags.  This includes the breathtaking beauty above from Offhand Designs. The discount will also apply towards the gorgeous knitting bags from Atenti, a US based bag manufacturer whose designs we adore, as well as the playful project bags from Slipped Stitch Studios, perfectly designed to slip over your wrist and facilitate comfy knitting while standing in line.  And I can't forget to mention Chica bags.  These little bags promise practical fun for everyone and being organized with these indestructable wonders has never been more colorful.

Stop on by the shop to see the full selection of all of our bags, big and small, that can make your life more beautiful, more organized and more fun.