As I mentioned in the last blog post about local yarn shops, one of the perks of being a small yarn shop owner is being able to stock yarn that is made in small batches.
Spincycle Yarns' Dream State is a hot commodity in the knitting world right now!Thanks to all of the recent patterns featuring Dream State, this unique and colorful yarn is flying off the shelves!
My Sister Knits has the good luck to be one of only five yarn shops to carry Ritual Dyes yarn! This is a brand new line of yarn from Rachel Bratcher of Portland, Oregon.Rachel has developed two yarn lines that are quite diverse. One is completely from the United States and dyed with natural plant dyes, producing gorgeous soft colorways. The other is sourced outside of the United States but is dyed in-house, producing deeply saturated and ever-so-subtly speckled colorways.
Cestari yarn is now available at My Sister Knits! We recently added two lines of Cestari Sheep and Wool Company yarns to our thoughtfully curated collection of yarns grown and processed in the United States.Francis Chester, founder of the small family run company, always wanted to be a farmer. He was finally able to realize his dream in 1968 when he bought a sheep farm. He didn't know it at the time but his family had been shepherds for centuries in Italy! His passion for growing the wool sheep population in the U.S. is apparent in the programs he initiated to help other sheep farmers and in the love he puts into his own flocks.In the 1980s Francis built the first wool processing mill in the US for generations. The American mills were closing and he didn't want to send his wool to China to be made into yarn. All of the Cestari yarn is grown in the U.S. and processed, spun, and dyed at their mill in Augusta Springs, Virginia.You may possibly find a few specks of hay or straw in your Cestari yarn and that's a good thing! It indicates that the natural bounce and texture of the wool was preserved during scouring!
Cestari Sheep and Wool Company Vermont Collection
This fingering weight yarn is 100% Merino wool which makes the softest and finest yarn possible and is available in solid colorways. Among other things, it would make a luxurious shawl with incredible drape!
Cestari Sheep and Wool Company Traditional Collection
Columbia and Targhee sheep give us this yarn. Columbia sheep give us a wool that is still soft but hardier than Merino and can withstand rougher treatment. The addition of Targhee wool gives it loftiness, elasticity, and extra softness. This worsted weight Cestari yarn is available in tweedy, heathered, solid, and natural colorways. It is ideal for hats, mitts, and sweaters!We invite you into the shop to oohh and aahh over our new Cestari yarn! As always, we'll gladly help you with ideas for your next project!
We have two sweaters from Quince & Co on display in the shop that we think you are going to love! These pullovers are from Pam Allen's Plain & Simple book. They are knit with Owl, a 50/50 American wool and alpaca blend in a worsted weight.Both of these sweaters have positive ease and simple sleeves. Even better, they look good on every body type!Remember that if you want your sweater to fit, you must swatch!! We've written two blog posts that might help you with swatching; here and here.My Sister Knits has help available for any stage of your sweater making journey. Fearless Knitting is on Thursdays and Saturdays from 11 - 1 when someone is at the shop whose sole responsibility is to help people who come in with questions. We are happy to answer your questions at any time but Fearless Knitting is when we offer our undivided attention to you!
If you are intrigued with classic gansey sweaters but don't want to commit to knitting a full one, this sweater is for you! Only the top portion has classic gansey knit/purl texture, with some also at the top of the sleeves.With plenty of positive ease, it is easy to wear and flattering on everyone. Willow is knit bottom up in the round with only shoulder seams and those are done with a three-needle bind off.The pick up instructions for the sleeves and the neck ribbing are plain and easy to follow. The stitches where the picking up is done will be easy to see because of the weight of Owl; the stitches themselves are large which should make picking up a breeze!
Ash is a completely different sweater with basically the same construction. It is also knit bottom up in the round with a three-needle bind off at the shoulder seams. Stitches are picked up around the armhole and neck.The wide swingy body is perfectly balanced with narrow sleeves. The fun pockets offer an opportunity to perhaps learn a new skill that is plainly explained!The pattern calls for Half Brioche Stitch ribbing but our sample substitutes a twisted rib stitch. You can take your pick or even do a 1 x 1 rib.This is a thoroughly up-to-date sweater design that will become a classic because, like Willow, it flatters everyone!Watch for details on Pam Allen's Plain & Simple trunk show between Christmas and New Year's Day. All of the samples from the book will be at the shop!
A word about short rows because these sweaters use short row shaping at the shoulders and Ash uses it at the neck also. The patterns call for yarn-over short rows but you can use any kind you like and are comfortable with. Again, come to Fearless Knitting if short rows intimidate you! Coco Knits has a great tutorial for Shadow Short Rows. Tin Can Knits has one for German Short Rows. Mimi Kezer has an excellent YouTube tutorial that shows exactly how to substitute German Short Rows.We hope to see you in the shop, examining these exquisite sweaters!
My Sister Knits has a multitude of knitting classes in October and you can read about two of them here today! Classes offer a supportive, friendly environment to learn new skills and make new fiber friends!
One of the benefits of these mitts is the fact that they can be worn completely covering your fingers or folded back, to set those digits free! These are knit with worsted weight yarn; the pattern suggests size 7 needles.These warm mitts knit up quickly with a garter rib pattern consisting of two rounds. Round 1 is a P2 K2 pattern and Round 2 is knit all the stitches. You will learn how to make a thumb gusset and how to finish the thumb. This is reassuring practice for picking up stitches as there are only 10, 12, or 14 stitches to pick up, depending on your size!Lambing Mitts, designed by Veronika Jobe are marvelous gifts and the holidays will soon be upon us!Julie Conway will teach this two-session class on Saturdays Oct. 13th and 20th from 9am until 11am.Call the shop at 970.407.1461 or register online!
Wanderers - Mukluk Slipper Socks
Our winter prediction is for cold and snowy weather. After all, we do live in Colorado at the foothills of the Rockies! These mukluk slippers, designed by Andrea Mowry, will keep your feet cozy and warm!They are knit with two colors of worsted weight yarn and the pattern suggests size 8 needles. Kelly will teach this knitting class and her only requirement is that you know how to knit in the round! She will teach you everything else you need to know complete these cozy slipper socks!This two-part class is offered on Tuesdays Oct. 16th and 23rd from 6pm to 8pm. Your feet will thank you for making these!Again, call the shop at 970.407.1461 or register online for this class!Both of these knitting classes have a class limit of six people to ensure everyone gets the help they need!
My Sister Knits is incredibly excited to introduce our own yarn, Local! Julie and Diana collaborated with local dyer Nicole Clark of Hue Loco to create seven colorways in three bases. This special project has been in the works for months and is now ready to present to the world! We can't wait!The color inspiration came from Pantone colors and paint chips. Julie and Diana wanted a Colorado-themed palette of fall and winter colors for this first edition of My Sister Knits yarn.Our launch party is Saturday, Sept. 8th so mark your calendars! Nicole will be at the shop from 11am until 1pm to help us celebrate.
Julie is knitting socks with the speckled yarn using the orange as a contrast for the heel and cuff. Since the speckled includes all of the colorways, any of the contrast colors can be used to create different effects! There is also a sample of Melanie Berg's shawl Solaris in progress; it should be ready by our launch date so look for it in the shop!This soft but strong yarn is 80% superwash Merino and 20% nylon.
Notice the delicate, softly muted colors in the DK speckled yarn! The exquisite dappled watercolor effect is created by using a non-superwash base. All of the DK colorways are lovely muted colors and are 100% Merino. This is a specialty line of Nicole's and might not be available again.Julie is knitting the Morning Walk hat which is a great 'anywhere/anytime' project. It's a 1x1 rib, meaning knit 1, purl 1 all the way around.
We keep picking up these saturated tonal 100 % superwash Merino yarns to ooh and aah over them! We were amazed to find that five of them perfectly blend with some Shibui Silk Cloud colorways! Oh, the possibilities!The hat in the photo is a free pattern, Marled Hat, by Plucky Knitter Design. It's quite entertaining to see the marled effect developing as you knit! This is also an anywhere/anytime project because it's only stockinette after the ribbing. There aren't even any crown decreases!
Nicole Clark of Hue Loco
Nicole knitted for years before she began playing around with dying yarn in her kitchen. She has a background in art and was an elementary school art teacher before deciding to stay home with her kids. Color has always been a huge part of her life and playing around with the color of yarn was a natural extension for her. She had an Etsy shop featuring sewing bags, put some of her hand dyed yarn on it, and the rest is history! Or as the French say, 'et tout le monde connait la suite'!Note: if any of you are curious about the term 'colorway' and it's use, take a look at this discussion. It clears up the matter a bit although it can still be confusing!We invite you to join us on Saturday, September 8th as we launch our own My Sister Knits Local yarn! There is a finite number of skeins and when they're gone, they're gone. If you miss them, you'll have to wait until next time, with new colorways!
A knitting class is so much fun! You meet encouraging, amicable knitters, gain confidence in your knitting skills by learning something new, and have an experienced instructor right there! The instructors at My Sister Knits are always happy to help you through any crochet or knitting class whether you are a newbie or have years of experience.
The Ninilchik Swoncho, designed by Caitlin Hunter, promises to be a class that will take your knitting to the next level! Our sample was knit with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter which is a worsted weight woolen spun yarn. This is a splendid pattern for your first colorwork project because of the weight of the yarn. Many colorwork projects use fingering weight yarn; the worsted weight will be easier for knitters new to colorwork.Shelter is a woolen spun yarn. It is light in weight while providing extra warmth due to the air trapped in the yarn during spinning.The Swoncho, as the name suggests, is a combination of sweater and poncho. As such, there is no need to be concerned with exact measurements which will be a relief to many! The sleeves, which start near the elbow, make this swoncho easy to wear and less floppy than a poncho.Sleeve ribbing gives a cozy, close fit which contrasts nicely with the loose, swingy fit of the body.
With Kelly ready to guide you through this pattern, anyone who can execute a knit stitch and considers themselves an adventurous beginner can make this! It's knit in the round with no seaming, has only four rows with wrap and turn short rows, and uses only one type of increase and decrease. There is a large-print, easy to follow chart for each colorwork portion. You will come away from this knitting class with newfound confidence in yourself as a knitter!
This pattern can be easily modified in a number of ways. The body and the sleeves can be made longer or shorter and you can choose to eliminate some or all of the colorwork. You'd just need to talk to us about how much more main color you'd need.
Dates and times
This class is offered Tuesday evenings, August 21, 28, and September 11 from 6 until 8.
We offer local knitting classes at our shop on Mountain Avenue in Fort Collins every month. You can find out about them by picking up a class card (always with a lovely photo on the front!) from the shop or by checking our website. You can choose if you'd like to pay online, by calling the shop, or in person!We invite you into My Sister Knits to play with color combinations and sign up to make this swoncho that will quickly become a favorite fall-into-winter garment!As designer Caitlin Hunter says, "take it one row at a time and you will be surprised at what you can accomplish!"
Our Anzula trunk show arrived! We thought it would be marvelous for all of the people participating in the Hot August Knits Yarn Crawl to be able to touch and try on these pieces!Sabrina Famellos, owner of Anzula, started dyeing yarn in 2006. Before that, she was an avid spinner and crocheter and sold her shawls, hats, gloves, and other accessories in the San Francisco Bay area. She began her foray into dyeing with spinning fiber first and later expanded to dyeing yarn. The home base of Anzula Luxury Fibers is now in Fresno, California, where the hand dyeing takes place. All of their yarns are spun in the U.S. and Canada.The items in our trunk show are all made with Anzula For Better or Worsted, a blend of 80% Superwash Merino, 10% Cashmere, and 10% Nylon. We have seven items including sweaters, shawls, and cowls.One of the first things you'll notice is the fantastic stitch definition this yarn gives! Cables and textured stitches such as seed stitch stand out beautifully.Anzula is synonymous with luxury fiber. The colorways range from vivid and strong to muted and delicate. Anzula yarns are soft, squishy, and slide like butter along your needles. Knitting with any of Sabrina's yarns is a sublime experience! Since they are superwash, they can be washed in the machine; we suggest a hand-wash cycle if your machine has one. Jenny recently washed a baby blanket made with Cricket, For Better or Worsted's little sister DK weight yarn, in this way. She laid it out to dry and it looked and felt like new!This yarn pairs well with needles that have a less-pointy tip. As this yarn is slippery, we encourage you to consider using a wooden needle. Swatching with both a wooden needle and a metal needle would immediately tell you which you prefer. If the term 'swatching' has you thinking of huddling in a dark corner, you might substitute the term 'yarn tasting'! You can 'taste' it with both types of needles to see which you like best!We invite you to come into My Sister Knits and pore over the Anzula trunk show items!
Interweave Yarn Fest is Thursday, April 12th through Sunday, April 15th! We are so fortunate to have it take place right in our own back yard at The Embassy Suites in Loveland, CO!We had so much fun in our booth last year that we're doing it again! We're in the same place, about halfway back in the middle, in booth 316. It's a corner booth so we'll be easy to find.We've been scurrying about the shop gathering special items to take and planning our displays. We'll have.......
We've put together kits for Mini Marley and Across the Pond with two skeins of Brooklyn Tweed's Loft and one skein of Spin Cycle's Dyed in the Wool! Mini Marley is a smaller version of Andrea Mowry's Marley, with modifications by Kate Salomon. Across the Pond, also designed by Andrea Mowry, is a cowl with some "techniques to indulge in" as Andrea says!
Shibui Knits yarn
We will showcase two of Shibui Knits' yarns, Lunar and Drift, plus we will have their brand new colors available!Lunar is lace weight loveliness made with 60% Merino wool and 40% silk. Our featured pattern, Birdrock, designed by Anne Ginger, can be either a long cowl or a scarf and uses three colors of Lunar knit with a size 5 needle.Drift is worsted weight and is heavenly to knit with as it is 85% Merino wool and 15% cashmere! Our featured pattern for Drift is Mad Fusion by Plucky Knitter Design. The tassels on this shawl are such a fun finishing touch! Using garter stitch and knit with size 13 needles, you can be wearing this in no time!
Brooklyn Tweed Quarry
Brooklyn Tweed's Bulky weight yarn, Quarry, is a heathered 100% wool, produced entirely in the US. Since it is woolen spun, it is light, airy, and warm! Our featured pattern for this yarn is Annie Rowden's Bracken. This cozy child's pullover, in sizes 6 months through 12 years, has a unique texture that is created with two needle sizes, an 8 and a 13. It's top down, seamless, and has raglan sleeves and a crew neck. It's the perfect 'sweatshirt' for our Rocky Mountain spring!
And sock yarn!
Oh, the fingering weight sock yarn we're bringing! We've gone international with Olann Hand Dyed in Ireland from the parish of Drung, Tot le Matin from Paris, Qing from London, and A Homespun House from Berlin! We certainly will have what you're looking for!Anyone visiting our booth will get a discount coupon for use at My Sister Knits anytime during Yarn Fest weekend!
In December we posted about the value of moving more often while we knit, protecting our backs when we sit, and knitting on more than one project at a time using different sized needles and weights of yarn.Today we’ll share why needle tips make a difference, again with information from Carson Demers’ book Knitting Comfortably, the Ergonomics of Handknitting.
Matching our needle tips to our yarn
Something to keep in mind when choosing a needle for a project is the type of tip on the needle. If you match needle tips to your yarn, your knitting experience will be more pleasant. For instance, like Amelia, you may love sharp needle tips but they aren’t the best for for two-ply yarn or yarn that is softly spun or softly plied. The structure of two-ply yarn causes the plies to push away from each other, causing gaps which are found by a sharp tipped needle. Then we complain because the yarn is ‘splitty’ and it isn’t the yarn’s fault at all! When this happens to you, try a needle with a medium-to-blunt tip and see if the problem goes away! That blunt tip won’t find the gaps between the plies the way a sharp tip will. Sharp tips are wonderful for projects with small gauges like socks, lace, cables, and twisted stitch patterns. Try purling two together through the back loop with both kinds of needles as an experiment!Or, like Diana, you may love medium-to-blunt needle tips which are best for stockinette in DK and heavier weight yarn and simple knit-purl textured stitches. Ideally, every knitter should have both types of needle tips in their knitting toolbox!
Which needle to buy
We carry a selection of needles with both medium-to-blunt tips and sharp tips. If you would like a sharp tip for your next project, our Addi lace and rockets are two of your choices. If you’d like to splurge on a super sharp tip, you can treat yourself to a Signature needle! If a blunter tip will make your project more pleasurable, you could use Addi turbos, Knit Picks Dreamz or the new Lykke needles. A thoughtful pairing of needle tips with yarn goes a long way to making your project easier and more enjoyable to knit!We have fun helping you find exactly what you need to make your next project and that includes choosing needles so please ask!
Knitting classes are perfect for February! The holidays are behind us and we're kind of slogging along until spring. They offer a chance to immerse ourselves in something new to enhance our knitting skills.We have a selection of classes for you to choose from!
Kria Cardigan, Saturdays February 10th through March 3rd, 1pm-3pm
You can learn all of the techniques needed for an adult Icelandic sweater on a small scale in Karen's Kria class! This child sized sweater is made with worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles so it will knit up speedily. The colorwork pattern is ideal for newbies! There is still room so sign up posthaste for this class; it starts Saturday the 10th. Hold your breath, for under Karen's tutelage you're going to learn how to make a button band or put in a zipper and.......steek!
Milet Mittens, Thursdays February 8 through 22nd, 5:30 - 7:30pm
Here is another colorwork class, taught by Amelia. These mittens are made with fingering weight yarn and size 2.5 needles for the most part. The chart is easy to read and follow, especially with a piece of highlighter tape to mark your spot! The pattern on the main part of the mitten is the 'lice' pattern, a mainstay of Norwegian knitting.
Finishing Techniques, Saturday February 17th, 9 - 11am
In this class, you will learn how to finish your project so it looks 'handmade' rather than 'homemade'! Amelia will show you how to weave in ends, the best way to block different types of projects from lace to cables and everything in between, and will answer any questions you may have.
Fixing Mistakes, Wednesday February 21st, 5:30 - 7pm
Overheard in the shop, "I think the Fixing Mistakes class is too advanced for me. I'll wait until I'm a better knitter to take it". This may be a common fallacy. This class is perfect for new knitters! What better way to gain some experience with common errors? Mistakes are a part of knitting and this class offers valuable experience in not-panicking when you have an opportunity to learn (i.e., make a mistake!). Taught by Amelia, this class often fills up quickly but is offered on a regular basis. If you don't get into this one, you can get into the next one!Sign up for any of these classes online or call the shop at 970.407.1461!
A big focus at My Sister Knits is to find yarn that has a great background story. We love yarn companies that we can relate to and have personalities!North Light Fibers is just such a company. They produce hand crafted artisanal yarns that are minimally processed. This yarn is often overlooked in our shop and we'd like to tell you the story behind it.
Twelve miles off the coast of Rhode Island is Block Island. It's a small place, with 48% of the island protected by conservation easements. In the middle of this idyllic spot is Abrams Farm. You will find North Light Fibers' micro mill on this farm on the far side of the alpaca pasture! There are also yak, camels, llamas, kangaroos, Scottish Highland bulls, and assorted sheep and goats who live there.Sven and Laura Risom are passionate about producing luxury yarn with the finest fiber they can find. Their yarns go from raw fiber to luxurious skeins in their small mill! Everything is done on the island. They have scoured the world to find the finest fibers to supplement the fiber raised on the island. My Sister Knits carries two of their yarns, Water Street and Atlantic.
Water Street is the perfect luxurious balance of cashmere and merino in a worsted weight. Cashmere must be knowledgeably sourced as it can get old, dry, and brittle easily; traits that are unacceptable to Sven and Laura. It also must be spun ever-so-carefully to avoid pilling which is caused by short, broken fibers. Most of North Light Fibers' cashmere comes from Mongolia, Pakistan, and Kyrgyzstan via Scotland!Merino wool can be different depending on climate, altitude, and feed, among other criteria. Merino from the Falkland Islands, off of southern Argentina, is known to be high quality fine wool. The sheep are sturdy and basically pest free. Naturally, if North Light Fibers has to go abroad to find the quality of merino they seek, they go to the Falklands!Atlantic is 100% Falkland Island merino worsted weight that is soft and bouncy.We encourage you to give yourself the gift of knitting with either of these yarns. To give you further incentive, for the rest of January they will be 15% off! Water Street and Atlantic are waiting for you on the far wall as you enter the shop! Come in and treat yourself to a skein; we have several pattern suggestions and we're happy to help you find one you can't wait to cast on!
Home and Away, Hannah Fettig’s collection from her book of the same title, is with us through December 21st!This collection consists of pieces with simple lines, nothing fancy! They are wardrobe essentials meant for everyday use. Hannah used Quince & Co’s yarn which is sourced and spun here in the U.S. Their color palette is subdued and their yarns are durable yet soft, perfect for garments that will be worn over and over!There is a hat that can be made in 5 sizes with directions for Bulky, Worsted and DK weight yarn!Then there are the sweaters! Cardigans, pullovers, and a vest! The amazing thing about the sweaters is that each one can be constructed in two ways! You may choose to make a top-down raglan sleeved sweater or a bottom-up seamed sweater with set in sleeves. Hannah wrote patterns for all of us!The sweaters and vest are designed with worsted, DK, and fingering weight yarn; again, something for everyone!The fits vary from the close fitting Lesley pullover to the loose and comfortable fit of cardigans Georgetown and Boothbay. The Moto Jacket is short while Calligraphy is a long cardigan.Hannah put careful thought into this collection, designing for extensive knitting preferences!We also have copies of the Home & Away book. It is filled with gorgeous photographs and well written patterns. There are also helpful articles on gauge, choosing a size, sweater construction, understanding a knitting pattern, substituting yarn, knitting in the round, button bands and buttonholes, and finishing! We encourage you to come into the shop to see these Home and Away samples for yourself. It’s always fun to check out a trunk show with multiple designs by one designer. It helps you to find designers you like!We also are happy to help you substitute yarns for any project. It's easier than you think but there are few things to consider when substituting so please ask if you're unsure!
Today we're going to tell the story of Sally. Sally is a newish knitter who is totally smitten with all things knitterly. She loves to sniff and squish yarn, she has her own Ravelry account, she took our Learn to Knit class, and is eager to learn new skills.The other day Sally came into the shop and she saw our Ondawa sample. She was awed by the intricate cables and the textural beauty of this sweater. She said to herself, "Oh my, if only I could create something this beautiful but I don't even know how to cable!".Ondawa is Sally's 'later' project. For now, she needs to start with a something smaller and simpler, take a class, and come in for Fearless Knitting help to perfect her cabling skills. She may even look to her favorite online resources for technique tutorials when she can't make it into My Sister Knits. In addition, Tuesday Knit Nights will provide her with an encouraging group of knitters who will be cheering her on every step of the way.Sally will start with an easy cabling pattern such as the Pollen Hat. By the time she's finished she'll be cabling with ease, full of confidence in her ability to learn, and her 'later' project will be closer to reality.The next step on Sally's journey to Ondawa needs to be a bit more complex. She spied our Cranberry Capelet sample, tried it on, and fell in love with the cable columns that can run either up and down the side or the front. It depends on how you want to wear it!This is a perfect mid-level project for several reasons: like Pollen, it's made with worsted weight yarn which will make it easier to see what she's doing and the whole project go faster, it has cables over a larger number of stitches, and there are two easy-to-follow charts that will prepare her for the ones in Ondawa.When Sally finishes her Cranberry Capelet she'll be ready to start her dream sweater! Her passion for Ondawa and her belief in herself allow her to develop the needed skills quicker than otherwise. She also knows that there is help and a community of support at the shop.Sally will have prepared herself to make something that wasn't possible in the beginning. She'll realize it's an amazing feeling to attempt such a feat!Do you have a 'later' project that you dream about? We'll be delighted to help you find projects like Sally's that will prepare you to create it!