A look back

2015 has been a rewarding year for us at My Sister Knits.  As we take a few moments to look back on all that we experienced and accomplished, we can't help but be grateful for the many friends new and old who are a part of our little crafting community.2015 brought many new friends into the shop with the first Interweave Yarn Fest.  Fiber fans from all over the country came to nearby Loveland to share their passion for all things yarny.  This year also included our first knitting retreat up in Estes Park which brought us together to relax and knit in one of the most beautiful spots along the Front Range.Over the past 12 months, the shop has been filled with well over a hundred new samples created by our friends and neighbors.  New products and yarns have arrived including the Quince & Co. line and our new favorites from TOFT. quince dianaOur favorite new arrival of 2015 has to be the addition of Diana to My Sister Knits family.  The arrival of Julie's sister this summer marks a new beginning for us and the fulfillment of a long held dream: to share the love of creating beautiful things with people we love.May your upcoming year be filled with the peace and happiness of this holiday season.  And may it bring you more discovery, joy and accomplishment as you keep stitching along with us.  Happy New Year!

New Year's Resolutions

The start of a new year is a wonderful time to set goals, clarify intentions and make a promise to yourself to expand your horizons in the months to come.  We spent some time this week making knitting related resolutions this week and thought we'd share them with you.Many of us at the shop want to make 2016 the year of brioche.  "Brioche knitting is a fun method that makes a thick, squishy knit fabric worked by slipping some stitches and working others across the row."brioche 02Julie wants to improve her brioche skills, not just to learn it but learn to love it.  Connie is also interested in strengthening her brioche proficiency, she'd like to learn how to increase, decrease, and fix mistakes on brioche knitting.  And Kimberly is thinking of forming a brioche support group so that she can boost her confidence and try a pattern.  As with any new knitting skill, the more you practice it the easier it becomes.Diana wants to learn the magic loop to make socks. And Eric wants to create and publish his own patterns in the upcoming year.What would you like to learn in the months to come?  Is there a technique that has daunted you, a skill that eludes you or a pattern that you'd love to complete?We'd love to support your crafting goals for 2016.  You can download our newest class schedule here.  If you don't find what you're looking for, give us a call and we'll do what we can to arrange the class that you'd like.Let's make 2016 a year to remember!

A bit more time

Now that all of your gift knitting has been finished and delivered (even if it was wrapped up with the needles and a promise to be completed soon) we hope that you'll have time to knit for others that need your help.We collected underwear for under privileged elementary school children in our area earlier this month; and when Julie delivered these items to the schools, she learned from the principals that what the kids still need is mittens and gloves.  Without proper protection for their hands, the children can't play outside at recess.bulky-mittens-03We've found over 400 FREE patterns available on Ravelry that you could use to create a pair or two.  We hope that you'll take some time in the next several weeks to knit or crochet a pair of mittens or gloves for the little ones in Fort Collins that need warm hands.Julie will be collecting mittens and gloves for children ages 5- 12 until Friday January 15th, and to make this a little more fun, we will offer you 20% off a single item for your donation.We know that your time is precious, and we hope that as the new year starts you may have a few spare hours to make a difference that will warm your heart as well as some tiny fingers.

A holiday wish

Our friend Sarah brought some special treats with her to the Community Knit Night this week that were enjoyed by all.  Thank you Sarah for your beautiful and delicious cookies!  These little mittens are our favorites of the season.treats2We count ourselves so fortunate to be a part of this amazing community.  It is such a joy to share our love of beautiful hand made things with you.  To find new inspiration in what you have created and want to work on next.  And to exchange ideas, tips and suggestions making our world a little smaller and our craft far more rich.We wish you a very happy holiday and a fiber filled new year!  We look forward to seeing you soon.

Two new yarns

We received a shipment from Harrisville Designs last week and are pleased to announce the arrival of two new yarns to the shop: flyWHEEL and WATERshed.These yarns are both 2-ply woolen spun 100% wool.  The first is a lighter sport weight and the second is a comforting worsted weight.  Both are light weight, wonderfully warm and resistant to pilling.  They will knit up beautifully resulting in crisp heirloom knitwear that will last as long as they are beautiful.watershed These two yarns come with an interesting story.  "The inspiration for this yarn came from canoeing through the watershed in Harrisville, New Hampshire. The water bubbles up from natural springs, flowing from the top at Spoonwood Pond down to the bottom at Lake Skatutakee. The names for each color were derived from various things observed along the rivers, lakes, and stream one paddles along."The rich heathered colors are created in the carding process.  Pre-dyed wool is blended as it moves through the industrial machinery in the mill and results in a the gorgeous tweedy texture.  These skeins are more color fast and a bit more brilliant in hue as a result.And happily, we can help support the watershed around Harrisville, NH that inspired these beautiful yarns.  A portion of the proceeds for every skein of WATERshed and flyWHEEL goes towards Historic Harrisville’s hydro-power project that produces clean energy used by the mill.We can't wait to see what you decide to make with these beautiful yarns.  

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.

A gift to be treasured

When our selection of Signature Needles arrived in the shop, we needed to work with them to understand what all the fuss was about.signatureThese needles were designed by a knitter who just happened to work at a family-owned precision machine shop that makes custom metal components.  When her desire for needles with beautifully sharp points inspired her to bring her hobby to work, Signature Needles were born.Many of us at the shop have become converts and find their smooth surfaces and fine points a dream to use for lace work.  All of those decreases (especially when you are knitting or purling more than a few stitches together at once) can be done so much more easily with a nice sharp point.  And some of us (Dawn, Kate, Kristin, Julie C and Connie Bea) reach for them no matter what we're casting on for!These needles are silky smooth and for those of us who like the speed and efficiency of working with metal needles, there are none finer.Dawn has shared with us, "The stiletto point enables me to get into any stitch, and the butter smooth join catches on absolutely nothing. They are pricey, but worth every penny. I don't think twice about spending that same amount of money on yarn, and these needles will continue to help me enjoy many future projects in my Ravelry queue."What better time than the holidays to treat yourself (or someone you love) to something special that will bring so much pleasure to the craft?  You'll enjoy every stitch in the new year with these needles that are available in almost every size imaginable in double points as well as circulars.Stop on by the shop before the holidays and try a pair out.  They are worth their weight in gold. 

Know how? or Know How!

The beginning of a new year has such potential!  A fresh start, a new beginning, a chance to establish new habits and try new things.  It's a perfect opportunity to transform a stumbling block into a new skill.  What would you like to learn this year?Needles_HomeLearning new skills can build confidence and that conviction can make it easier for you to approach new patterns, tackle new techniques and cast on for exciting new projects that you may have never thought yourself capable of.  What is more exciting than that?!We'd like to invite you to browse through our 2016 Winter Class Schedule.  We've been creating a fun calendar filled with great classes, workshops and FREE demonstrations that can make your craft more successful, more fun and more sophisticated.Our classes are intimate, ensuring that you'll get the perfect balance of one on one attention that will help you learn and a small group of other crafters that can become new friends.You could even use our classes as a get together for friends you don't see enough of.  Sign up together and learn something new that you can share.Give the gift of a new class to a knitter you love this holiday season, or present yourself with a chance to expand your horizons a bit in the new year.  You'll be delighted with the results!

You can make a difference

It is the season for giving, and we hope that this week you'll help us support some local children that need our charity.underpantsWe are collecting donations of new unopened packages of children's underwear, socks, tights, leggings, underpants, t-shirts, even little sweat pants. (ages 5 -12).  These items will be distributed to children at the Irish and Putnam Elementary Schools here in Fort Collins before the Christmas holiday.These items will benefit under-privileged elementary school children who are currently attending school with just the necessary outer clothes.  Please bring what you can and support the kids in our area that need our help.And to make this a little more fun, we will offer you 20% off a single item when you bring an unopened package of children's clothing to the shop from now until December 17th!Help us fill our basket this week and make a local child's holidays a bit brighter and warmer with your care.

One down and six to go

Kimberly's first project was completed in just a few hours!70 yard mittsHer 70 yard mitts designed by Hannah Fettig and knit up with a single skein of Green Mountain Spinnery's Mewesic were a very quick knit.  She cast on after work and had her finished pair before bedtime!Next up, a simple stockinette cowl that is made more striking with a few irregular stripes to provide a pop of color. Kimberly has opted for using machine washable Zealana Performa RIMU DK and a Unicorn Tail from Madelinetosh in neon peach. frequency wipFrequency designed by Kristen Hanley Cardozo is a great pattern for new knitters getting comfortable working in the round.  After a few rows of ribbing, you'll knit the rest of the project!  As she likes to say, "Nothing beats stockinette in the round when you're drinking, talking and knitting! "Tune into our Facebook page later today for more updates on how her cowl knit up and what's next on her needles!

Kimberly's 7 day challenge

Kimberly has set herself an exciting goal this week.  And we wanted to share it with you."I love the holidays. Downtown is all a glow with twinkle lights in every tree and sentimental carols play on the radio. But all the while a frantic voice in the back of my head cries,"The holidays are coming! KNIT FASTER!!" I have been searching Ravelry for projects I call "one-nighters" and found a few treasures.In order to quiet the voices in my head I've decided to do a 7 day challenge, 7 projects in 7 days.Don't get me wrong, I'm not one to pull an "all-nighter," so I've chosen some great gift ideas that I think I can get done in within my usual waking hours.

One-night-01

First up, Hannah Fettig's 70 yard mitts. I've chosen Green Mountain Spinnery's Mewesic, a hearty but soft yarn that will have a lasting wear.  Tune in to Facebook tomorrow to see the finished product and find out what is coming next!" 

A little sparkle

As our seasonal decorations come out of storage and our homes are transformed into festive wonderlands with tiny twinkle lights it begins to look a lot like Christmas.  If you've been humming under your breath and smiling at strangers, its likely that you've got the holiday spirit.  Let's enjoy it and have some fun!A darling little sample arrived in the shop that we wanted to share with you because this little tunic is bright, beautiful, and full of sparkle.kismetKismet, designed by Sara Gresbach is a pattern with 7 sizes running from 12 months to 12 years. Intended to be striped, we love how it knits up with one of our Sweet Georgia Party of Five kits with the Cashluxe Spark yarn. (Our friend Dani of Sunshine yarns created a similar version for her daughter Clara and it is as fresh and beautiful as a daisy.)This fresh spring color combination may not be the first thing that would pop into your head for a holiday dress, but what little girl could resist it?  And what a pleasure it would be to gift something that would be treasured because it makes her feel like a princess.  Isn't that magic exactly what we hope for from the holidays?We wish you a very fun and magical weekend and hope that your holiday season is a bright and beautiful one!  (The addition of a bit of sparkle is highly recommended).

Naughty or Nice

One skein projects are a hit.  They are fun to make, quick to finish, and perfect for holiday budgets.  Today we want to share a great scarf pattern designed by Toft: the Twisted Scarf.twisted_scarf_02_medium2This was created with a single skein of Toft's 100% alpaca DK weight yarn.  These undyed skeins feature the subtle natural shades of alpaca fiber.  Their neutral tones make them ideal choices for gifts as they work equally well for him or her.We have a great selection of other Toft patterns for you to choose from; many of which can be quickly knit with single skeins.  You'll find hats, scarves, mitts or even a little menagerie animal to be gifted to a knitworthy friend.  Stop on by this week and we can help you select your favorite.

Giving Tuesday

Perhaps you've heard mention of  this.  "We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On Tuesday, December 1, 2015, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world will come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.  It’s a simple idea. Find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more."It's a lovely intention, and one that we'd like to support by drawing your attention to a project going on right here in Fort Collins.knittersOn Saturday, November 21, an 11 year old boy in our community committed suicide. He left behind his parents, 15 year old sister and 14 year old brother.Our friend Lydia Martin will be collecting 8 in x 8 in handknit squares, to seam together into what she is calling the #knitforhealing afghan for this family. She wants to give them something warm and comforting to support them through this heartbreaking time... especially as the holidays approach.Let's show them that they're not alone. We recognize that there are no words for this tragedy, but let's leave them with something to hold onto, long after the cards and meals have dwindled. Will you join us?The details:- 8 in x 8 (20.32 cm x 20.32 cm) handknit squares in any pattern and colors- Squares must be washed and blocked to measurements before mailing- Only use machine washable or superwash yarns in any weight- Be thinking of 'warmth' and 'comfort' when choosing your yarns- Squares must be finished and delivered by December 10.We'll be collecting squares in the shop and have yarn available for this project that you can use for your square.  Stop on by and let's work together to make something beautiful that will help support a family on our community.

Winter Whites

The first flurries of snow get us eager to work with bulkier yarns and at the beginning of winter, we love working with soft neutral tones.  Eventually, as the season wears on we'll probably start to crave more color; but for now winter white is calling!carmellaWe recently received two terrific new samples that are equally quick knits.  Kimberly is modelling the Carmella Cowl that was created with two skeins of Mountain Meadow Bulky in the natural colorway.  That lush and squishy fabric knit up in a flash on US 15 needles.For a terrific single skein project idea, we love the New City Hat that arrived earlier this week.city hatAmelia created this hat on a US10 needle using a single skein of Quince & Co.'s Osprey.  This aran weight yarn is one of the recently arrived Quince & Co. yarns that is discounted 20% today!We hope that you have some time to pop into the shop before 5pm today while our Maker's Market is offering local yarns at 20% off as well.  You can enter into a drawing to win a set of Limited Edition Dreamz Royale Interchangeable Needles.A great sale and the possibility of a new accessory off your needles before Monday morning...hat's not to love about the beginning of winter?

Gratitude

We hope that you are having a very happy holiday.  We are enjoying some time with our families today, and feeling grateful for all of our friends new and old that we have met through the shop.To express our gratitude, and to share our excitement for the season, we are opening our doors an hour early tomorrow and Saturday; so that you can take advantage of the 20% discount we are offering an a rich selection of locally crafted yarns and our new selection of Quince & Co. yarns.knitters pride needlesAnd, we'll be holding two drawings for Limited Edition Dreamz Royale Interchangeable Needles.  At the end of each day of our Maker's Market sale, a lucky winner will be selected to win a set of these fantastic needles.  Two lucky winners will be announced before the end of the weekend!Our sale extends through 5pm on Saturday, but we imagine that you’ll want the best selection, so you may want to plan on arriving early.  We can’t wait to see you.

A bit of luxury for the holidays

We have a sample in the shop that we all agree would be a perfect holiday sweater.  Shellie Anderson's Cornice is a bottom-up seamed pullover that has a classic silhouette that will make wearable year after year.cornice-01Created with a double strand of Shibui Dune and Silk Cloud held throughout, this fabric is a luxurious blend of camel, alpaca, silk and mohair.  It drapes and has a subtle sheen.  The rich tonal texture of the over-dyed Dune creates a sueded effect that makes for a wonderfully soft fabric that everyone longs to touch.It's possible that wearing this sweater will cause you to enjoy more holiday hugs than usual.cornice02And the rich spectrum of Shibui colors ensures many choices from rich jewel tones and subtle neutrals.  We could see this sweater paired with wide leg trousers and ballet flats or a slim skirt and kitten heels.  Add some fun earrings or a bit of sparkle at your wrist and you've got an outfit.  Crisp, tailored and festive.And when someone asks about your beautiful sweater you can tell them with pride that you crafted it yourself!  What a great way to start up a conversation with a new friend.We hope that you'll have a chance to visit us this week in between your preparations for your holiday gathering.Our store hours are Tuesday 10 - 8pm, Wednesday 10 - 5, Thursday - CLOSED, Friday and  Saturday 9 - 5pm.  We look forward to seeing you soon. 

Join the fun at our first Maker's Market

On Friday Nov. 27th & Saturday Nov. 28th with special store hours: 9am-5pmYou'll have a chance to shop from a specially gathered selection of locally made yarns that we'll be offering at a special 20% discountWe love the idea of supporting the members of our fiber community who are growing, shearing, spinning and dyeing along the Front Range.You'll find many of your favorites such as:Sunshine YarnsMJ YarnsLemonade ShopAlpine AlpacasBlack Wolf RanchMountain MeadowBender AlpacasWild Pony FiberIn addition, we'll be offering all of our newly arrived Quince & Co. yarns at a 20% discount.We want to share our passion for these skeins with you, in part because all of these yarns are made with US sourced fiber; but mostly because they are delicious.
We hope that this will make it even easier for you to have a happy handmade holiday.  We look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Just a week away

The US Dept. of Transportation seems to think that next week will be the busiest travel period of the year with 91% of the long distance traveling (over 50 miles) being done by car.So what will you be working on?We thought we'd share a couple of project ideas with you so that if you will be traveling next week, you can bring a project on your needles.Knitting has always helped us be more gracious and patient travelers, happily working through delays, traffic jams and other stressful scenarios.  The distraction that beautiful yarn and a simple stitch pattern provides can be welcome during weeks like the one that lies ahead.setzer1Kate recently finished a cowl that she knit almost entirely on the road.  Her Setzer cowl, designed by Jared Flood, uses a simple sequence of knit and purl rows to create a lush welted fabric that drapes beautifully.setzer2The shift in the rows that you see above creates a beautiful look and is achieved with a sequence of short rows that is carefully charted.  When Kate saw those charts she thought that she'd have to save the project for another time so that she wasn't juggling the pattern and her project on her lap in the passenger seat.However, she quickly realized that the pattern instructed her work to either two stitches after or before her previous wrapped stitch row and that was a very easy thing to keep track of.So her travel project continued and when she returned home she had just a few rows remaining before binding off!If your travel plans call for something even easier, you might want to consider working on a Baktus Scarf (which just requires knitting and increasing or decreasing) or a Gap-tastic Cowl (which calls for a seed stitch sequence of knits and purls).These two FREE patterns knit up spectacularly when knit up with variegated yarns.  The beautiful colors make the finished projects more complex and show-stopping with no extra effort on your part!Stop on by the shop this week and we'll find a great project for you to take with you on your travels next week.  Something that will make your week a bit more beautiful and a lot less stressful. 

We still love ombré

Earlier this year, Julie found some stunning gradient kits that Felicia at Sweet Georgia put together with several of her most popular fingering weight yarns.  We think that they may be just what you've been looking for.These party of Five kits make great gifts for knitters, and can be worked up into beautiful projects that can be given to knitworthy friends and family.  All three yarns can withstand machine washing and so your gift will stand the test of time without the need for special care.sg-toughThis Party of Five set includes 5 mini skeins of 105 yards each of  Tough Love Sock.  This 80/20 blend of buttery soft merino and nylon is great for socks, but we can't help but want to proudly display these colors in a shawl or cowl where everyone can enjoy the beauty!sg-cash-luxeThis set includes 5 skeins of 100 yards each of CashLuxe Fine.  This yarn contains our favorite blend of wool, cashmere and a bit of nylon for strength.sg-sparkLast but not least is our set of CashLuxe Sparkle. These 100 yard mini skeins bring a dash of glitz and glam to your knitting! Made of 63% Superwash Merino Wool, 20% Silk, 15% Nylon, 2% Glitter this 3-ply fingering weight yarn is strong, silky and sprinkled with sparkles.The perfect choice for a holiday knit that will add a bit of drama and fun to your New Year's festivities.You could use these kits to create a shawl specifically designed for gradient yarns such as Soft Twilight by Corrina Ferguson. Or you could play with these mini skeins in a striped shawl or colour-blocked cowl… ombré socks or fair isle hat… the possibilities are endless!MSK Party of 5 Cowl FULL-10Kimberly is modeling our shop sample of Joji Locatelli's 3 Color Cashmere Cowl.  We didn't limit ourselves to just three colors.  Instead, we used the 5 mini skeins to create a deep soft and comforting cowl that bursts with lovely texture and mouth-watering color.  Beautiful!Do you have an ombré pattern that you've been hoping to cast on for?