Christmas Shopping

We’ve had many customers in the shop over the past couple of weeks asking what items we would recommend for the knitters and crocheters on their Christmas shopping list. So here are our suggestions, based on how much you would like to spend.

$5-$10 Gifts

There’s no knitter on the planet who can’t use more stitch markers, another darning needle, a row counter or a tape measure. The only challenge is that sometimes knitters may feel strongly about a particular marker or counter. Prices vary from $3.50 to $7.50.

We have yet to meet the knitter who uses circular needles and does not love Fiber to Fabric’s “Needle Keeper.”  In contract to the standard point protectors that invariably fall off in your project bag, and can often lead to lost stitches, Needle Keeps provide a foolproof way to secure circular needles, and have the added advantage of preventing dogs from chewing on your needles or spouses from sitting on them. Plus Needle Keepers are only $7.95 each.

$10-$25 Gifts

Most knitters crave a magnetic pattern holder, which knitting involving any sort of pattern with charts so much easier. But they are often reluctant to spend money on what they presume is an extravagance. The truth is Knitter’s Pride makes a terrific magnetic chart holder, which is only $15.80.

Another great gift in the $10-25 range is the Akerworks Swatch Gauge, offer a slip-resistant 4-inch cross measurement, for nice confident gauge counting. What did Knitter’s Review say about the Akerworks Swatch Gauge? “Will your knitting life be incomplete without a Swatch Gauge? Of course not. People have been knitting well-fitting clothing for hundreds of years. But if it makes the much-dreaded, often-mistrusted gauge swatch process any easier or more accurate—which it really does—this is a home run in my book.” The price? $17.50

$25-$50 Gifts –

Knitter’s have been know to use anything from grocery bags to zip lock bags to store their partially finished projects. There’s nothing wrong with that approach, assuming that the zip lock bag was not previously used to store parmesan cheese. But if the partially finished project is destined for a wedding or the birth of a first grandchild, wouldn’t it be nice to keep your knitting in one of local fiber artist Jo-Ann Carey’s hand-sewn project bags, which are impeccably crafted and made from the most beautiful fabrics. Indeed, the inside of Jo-Ann’s project bags is as gorgeous as the outside. Jo-Ann’s medium-sized project bags are $30 each, and her large size bags are $40 each.

The Block Island Gansey Hat is a classic sailor’s hat, which includes diamonds, ladders, cables and chevron. Knit in the round with one skein of North Light Fibers’ Ocean Avenue yarn that comes in 4 colors. 15% of the proceeds from the sale of the hat kits goes to The Seamen’s Church Institute, which is an outstanding organization helping sailors and mariners around the world. The kit comes in 4 colors: deep blue, red, maroon and white. The kit – which includes yarn, pattern and information about the Seaman’s Church Institute, costs $35. 15% of the proceeds go to The Seamen’s Church Institute.

$50+ Gifts –

Our hand-thrown ceramic yarn bowls provide the opportunity to combine your fiber artistry with the art of Gill Wilson (from Chatham Stoneware) or Jim Atchison (from Lickin’ Flames, in Northern California). Both men are master potters, whose work combines solid craftsmanship with local colors and art forms. Prices range from $45-55.

Our good friends at Koigu recently came out with their newest creation — the herringbone stranded cowl – which they introduced at last year’s VOGUE Knitting in New York City.   And it is breathtaking. The cowl is made from a “pencil box” kit containing 10 Koigu mini-skeins, arranged in a “gradient” of hand-painted colors. When we met with the Koigu folks in New York we commissioned them to develop a “Chatham gradient” for us, so we could offer kits for making cowls more in keeping with our distinctive colors. And Just look at what they came up with: a pencil box contain mini-skeins that come as close as you can get to waves breaking off Lighthouse Beach, and sending shimmering fingers of water as far as they can reach up onto the sand. Each kit has sufficient yarn to make two different cowls, with enough yarn left over to make a third smaller version. The cost is $70/kit, which includes the cost of the pattern.

And let’s not forget the crocheters!

A Great Yarn has partnered with TOFT UK, which provides British crochet kits based on the number one best-selling crochet book, “Edward’s Menagerie,” by Kerry Lord. TOFT’s Edward’s Menagerie Collection is unbelievably adorable. These amigurumi animal designs are crocheted in TOFT’s DK yarn and make perfect gifts for children and adults alike. WARNING: they are addictive!  Each kit contains 100% British wool yarn, along with everything you need to complete your project — a printed postcard pattern, stuffing for the finished animal, a TOFT branded 3mm crochet hook, a wool needle for sewing up and a short black thread to sew on the eyes.   Most of the animals in the collection measure approximately 7″ tall when seated.

We currently have kits to make nearly two dozen different Edward’s Menagerie animals, including Emma the Bunny, Lisa the Black-Nosed Sheep, Chardonnay the Pony and Fiona the Panda. Prices for the kits range from $12.50 to $29.50.

And then there’s always gift certificates…

Fall Semester Knitting Classes

Children and college students are not the only ones heading back to school in September.  A Great Yarn’s Fall Semester Knitting Classes kicks off on September 15th.   Each class will be conducted as an all-day workshop,  beginning at 10:30 am and lasting until 3:30.   A Great Yarn will provide morning and afternoon snacks and refreshments, and workshop participants will be asked to bring a bag lunch.

We are using the workshop format since we have found that this approach maximizes learning, builds camaraderie among the workshop participants, and is just plain fun.

We know that this is the time of year when many knitter’s thoughts turn to making Christmas gifts, and our first workshop will focus on making a terrific tesselated cowl, and will give participants the opportunity to learn double knit.

The schedule for the Fall Semester Knitting Classes is provided below

  • September 15th: The Tesselated Cowl: Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun, With Double-Knit
  • October 13th: Intarsia Knitting – Discover Your Inner Artist
  • November 3rd: Barking Up The Brioche Tree
  • December 1st: The Lightening Round, Part 2 – More of Knitting Most Valuable Techniques

Tuition for each class will be $75, and will include an excellent selection of yarns for each project.

Each workshop will be limited to six participants, or a first come first served basis.  If you are interested in participating in one of this winter’s technique workshops please give us a call at 508-348-3605, or send us an email at info@agreatyarn.com.  Depending on the lever of interest, we will add additional sessions for each class.

2018 Knit-a-Thon for the Cape’s Homeless – Wrap-Up

Slide1In 2016, our first Knit-a-Thon produced 29 blankets for Cape Cod’s homeless.  In 2017, we hoped to double that number.  Instead you guys managed to knit and crochet enough panels to make 155 blankets.

 

 

This year you recruited your friends, your neighbors, anyone with a set of knitting needles or a crochet hook, and your efforts resulted in 192 blankets for the Cape’s homeless!

Slide1More than 225 of you participated in this year’s event.  We received support from knitters and crocheters in 10 different states. We are very grateful for your collective efforts.  And so is our partner The Housing Assistance Corporation.  And so are the homeless of Cape Cod, who are living at the four shelters maintained by the H.A.C.

You guys also managed to raise nearly $3500 in donations for the homeless. Again, thank you, and your neighbors and friends who sponsored your efforts.

 

Slide1Finally, we’d like to thank the more than three-dozen volunteers who helped prepare the finished blankets.

 

 

 

 

Slide1As we do every year, we capped the annual Knit-a-Thom by yarn bombing the shop. In addition to the shop, we managed to cover every surrounding surface with blankets, including trees, fences, hedges, cars, etc.   For most of the day it looked like the skies above had opened and rained blankets!

 

 

 

Slide1Nearly two-dozen folks stopped by during the five hours that the blankets were on display.  We were particularly delighted to see Jan Hannigan at the yarn bombing.   Jan is 96 and lives in Bourne, and her daughter (who lives off Cape) picked her up and drove her to the shop. As luck would have it (or perhaps divine providence), we were just getting ready to hoist the blanket we made from Jan’s panels onto the wall with the she arrived.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

 

We look forward to your help with the 2019 Knit-a-Thon, when the goal will be 225 blankets.

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Chatham Yarn – Month-by-Month

In March, 2015, A Great Yarn introduced our original Chatham Yarn. Designed in collaboration with hand dyer extraordinaire Mishellee Poulin, it embodied Chatham’s one-of-a-kind summer colors.

In December, 2015, we created Chatham Yarn – The Finest Hours, which represented our attempt to capture the roiling waters off Chatham’s coast in winter, made famous by the Coast Guard’s 1952 rescue of the crew of the Pendleton.

In August, 2016, we added Chatham Yarn – Month-by-Month to the mix. As anyone who has ever visited Chatham knows, our town is a treasure trove of iconic images, and every month we turn one of them into fabulous yarn.

For the past two years, A Great Yarn has created a new Chatham Yarn every month, based on our favorite Chatham images, and recommendations from our customers.

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We have provided the monthly offerings to the members of our Chatham Yarn Month-by-Month Club at a discount, together with appropriate knitting and crochet patterns, a greeting card featuring a photograph of the Chatham image that was the inspiration for dyeing the yarn, and an assortment of knitting tools and accessories to show our appreciation. We have also included free shipping. To date, we have had over 70 knitters join the Club.

Beginning in August, 2018, we will offer our fifth six-month installment of Chatham Yarn Month-by-Month offerings, and we will again attempt to transform Chatham’s iconic images into yarn. As before we will look to include a bit of nature, a bit of Chatham’s history, and some of our favorite Chatham business establishments to inspire our yarns.

The cost for each monthly offering (plus patterns, picture and all the trimmings) is $45 per month. If you would like to receive all six offerings, we will provide a 15% discount, and also include free shipping.  Give us a call in the shop at 508-348-5605, or send us an email at info@agreatyarn.com, if you would like to participate. And also let us know which of your favorite Chatham images you would like us transform into yarn for August’s Month-by-Month offering.

Knitter “HELP DESK”

Even the best knitters need a helpful suggestion now and then. And every knitter has experienced the pattern with the poorly written directions, or the “sweater from hell.”  The staff at A Great Yarn can help every knitter – the beginner, the intermediate and the expert – with their knitting problems, whether they are big or small. And if we can’t help, we’ll find someone who can.

 

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The best way to solve your knitting problems is to visit A Great Yarn during our “HELP DESK” hours, which are Tuesday and Friday from 1:00 to 5:00 pm, and Saturday from 10:00 am until noon.  We will always have an expert knitter in the shop during those hours who can sit with you and help fix your knitting problems.

 

Slide1There is no charge for getting assistance from our HELP DESK, and you are not required to use our yarn or our patterns. If there is a major issue with your knitting that might require several hours to address we can also schedule a private lesson to provide the assistance you require.

 

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Even if you don’t want specific help, you’re still more than welcome to come in during HELP DESK hours (or any other time for that matter) and just sit and knit with your fellow fiber artists. Enjoy the camaraderie and pick up some good ideas while you’re at it.