Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The new website is up!

Our new Internet home is at www.hanksyarn.com. Stop by and check out our new digs!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Announcing our new online shop, coming Wednesday 4/30

Our new online shop will be going live this Wednesday morning, and will be located at http://www.hanksyarn.com/

What does this mean for you?

~ You'll have to update any bookmarks that you have to our site; old links will no longer work.

~ The first time you purchase something from our new website, you will have to fill out new customer information, as that info is not transferable from the old site.

~ If you are one of the Chez Casuelle preferred customers, we will need to reset you up for your automatic discount. We can do that on a case-by-case basis the first time you order something from our new website. Simply drop us a note when purchasing and we will assign your discount, and email you back with your new purchase total (in most cases when purchasing from us online, totals are approved but not finalized until we are packaging up your purchase). If we inadvertently complete your sale prior to assigning your discount, we will happily refund you the difference and get in touch with you about it so that you can look over your records.

~ We're having a two-week contest! Things may be buggy on the website, what with it being a brand new piece of software for us; and we could use your help in finding the bugs in our new online shop. If you find something that's incorrect, drop us a line about it, and you'll be entered in one drawing each week to win a $25 gift certificate! One drawing each week, on Wednesdays, and you can enter as many times as you like provided each email is about a different bug. Please note that missing photos on objects are not considered bugs; however, incorrect pictures are bugs (for example, you click on needles and see a photo of a spinning wheel).

Please don't hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Two new Prism colorways

Just a quick note to let you see two new colorways just in from Prism - "Plum Dandy" in Neat Stuff, and "Portofino" in Wild Stuff.

Two new Prism colorways

Right now we just have one half-sized skein (150 yards) of each, but if you want more, or a full sized skein (300 yards), please drop us a line! These aren't on our shop website, but will be next week when we launch the new site!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Friday Five: Designers that we love

Jodi Green: Jodi Green, famous for designs such as Mariah and The Gatsby Girl Pullover (Not to mention Hot Tamale, one of my favorites ever!), is about to receive her MFA at the University of Georgia. She enjoys printmaking and screenprinting, examples of which can be purchased on her Etsy site.

Cookie A.: If you love socks as much as we do, you probably already know who Cookie A is! Her Monkey Socks are very popular, and she has a knack for intricate cable designs. Be sure to check out her beautiful German Stocking Pattern!

Speaking of socks, Charlene Schurch is also one of our favorites. Time and time again we go back to (and these are Ravelry links) Sensational Knitted Socks, and More Sensational Knitted Socks, and Lorena just picked up the new Little Box of Socks and has a project going in that (insert teasing of how many projects Lorena has on the needles here).

If you like socks, but also like other things-- including well-written historical perspectives of fiber-- you might like Nancy Bush. Her books include topics like socks, Estonian folk knitting, and Estonian lace knitting; all of which are explained in easy-to-understand language and well-written patterns.

Lastly (we always save the best for last, eh?) we are in love with Laura Bryant, of Prism Yarns. And we're not just saying that because she's a wonderful and fun person! She's also an amazing designer, and her eye for color and color coordinations put most everyone else to shame. Take a look at some of her patterns; we're sure you'll find something you like!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Oh, Sharon and her silly rules!

Last night and this morning, Sharon had to come up with two new rules for the yarn shop (right now we only have two: keep on most of your clothing, and no sleeping in the shop).

But last night, due to me having a massive allergy attack during work, wherein one of our fabulous and lovely customers had to drive me to the Emergency Room - after stabbing me with my Epi Pen - and one of our fantastic and talented teachers stayed, finished her class, and then locked up the store for us... Sharon had to come up with two new rules.

- If you have an allergy attack during work hours and need to be stabbed with an Epi Pen, you should not then tell all the customers that you're fine and will be finishing your shift; instead you should go directly to the ER.
- When you get out of the ER in the middle of the night, your first stop should not then be back to the yarn store so that you can finish the closing procedures. You should go home, because hello, YOU HAVE BEEN IN THE ER.

Oh, Sharon and her silly rules! Next thing you know she'll be telling me I need to swatch for my sweaters (hee hee hee).

But the point of this post isn't really as much to laugh about rules, or tell you all that I have allergies that attack me out of the blue. The point of this post is to tell you all how humbled and grateful that we are by the wonderful people who have, in six short months, made our shop a community. You build us up and give us so much; your time when you come to sit and craft with us for a while, your tea and coffee that you supply us with to share with others, your delicious home-made cookies and breads; the gift of your hearts and friendship. We wonder sometimes if other yarn store owners feel this way, if others have such giving, honest, caring people who grace their yarn stores. We hope so, for each and every one of you is a gift, and we'd hate to think that we're hogging the menu (so to speak). So thank you, all of you. And mostly today, thank Kristin and Jen, who (as I said on my personal blog) completely rocked taking care of me and taking care of our shop, and well… clearly all those dropped stitches well prepare a knitter for crisis circumstances, because I was never nervous. Unwell, but not nervous. I am so making them some mid-season Chex Mix, and I totally want them both on my side when the revolution comes.

How much sock *can* you get from Jitterbug?

One question we are asked a lot is how much sock (meaning length) can you get from a skein of Colinette Jitterbug? Well, I am here to tell you that it's more than you think.

2nd pair of Monkeys (1)

Jitterbug weighs in at 100 grams and sports of length of 320 yards. Which I think might be an under-estimation, because check out how tall my socks are! I have a 9.25-inch foot with a 9-inch circumference; so yes, I may be knitting a smaller sock than you. But I love big socks! And I can not lie! (Seriously, I love a sock that sticks up out of the top of my ultra-high-high-tops. Ask me and I'll show you next time you're in the shop!)

If you are familiar with the Monkey pattern by Cookie A, that's what these socks are (modified to be toe-up, with a picot bind-off). I wanted to use as much of the yarn as possible, so I began by dividing the ball in half (winding it into a ball, putting that ball on a scale, and making a second ball that weighed half as much as the first ball). I decided to go toe-up so I could keep going until I ran out of yarn. In total, I got four full repeats on the foot (plus about two inches for the toe) and six repeats on the cuff (plus a 15-row rib and the bind-off).

I had enough left over at the end that I could probably have even gotten a seventh repeat (eleven rows each, if you're not familiar with the pattern) but at the end of the sixth repeat I tried them on and felt that they were tall enough. And I also felt at that point that my experiment had been proven: you can get quite a generous pair of socks out of one skein of Colinette Jitterbug!

2nd pair of Monkeys (2)

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Hanks Question of the Week

I don't usually like to knit with cotton. It's heavy, it makes my wrists hurt, and it dries out my hands (making me go for the Zum Rub about every three rows). So I am pleasantly surprised by something I'm knitting with Vickie Howell's Craft. It's soft, it's light as air, and it's not bothering my wrists at all. Unexpected! Happy!

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever had an unexpectedly happy experience with a yarn that you didn't think you were going to like, but turned out loving by the end of your project?

Fiesta Zia being marked down

We've marked our remaining stock of Fiesta Zia down from $26 to $10. Zia is a plied Egyptian cotton cord with a slight shine.

100% Egyptian Cotton
100 yards/4 oz.
4 sts/inch on size US 11 Needles

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Slumber Party 2: Eclectic Boogaloo

I just realized I didn't get any photos of the Hanks contest!

We had a second slumber party-- we mentioned on our Ravelry group that we were going to do it, and all the spaces filled up before we could even get a chance to mention it on the blog. Who knew there would be such a demand for slumber parties at yarn stores?! (Yes, we will be having a third one... probably in August sometime.)

Slumber Party 2 mosaic

(click here to see all the photos)

A great time was had by everyone! We had ice cream, clogging, temporary tattoos, gallons of drink and tons of food, a great contest involving Hanks and Henrys, and a really wonderful, fantastic, amazing crowd of people. And clearly we need a bigger shop so that we can invite more next time! We missed those of you who couldn't make it, are humbled by those who could, and like all of you, we can't wait for the next time.

Thanks, y'all!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

All hail the UPS man!

For he brings us huuuuuuge boxes full of Lorna's Laces!

New Lorna's! Yum!

Five bags of Sock, two of Fisherman, four of Green Worsted, two of Green DK, two of Lion & Lamb, two of Sport, and nine of Worsted! Squee!

How 'bout them Mythbusters?

:begin hijack:

Like we mentioned Monday, we went to see the Mythbusters, who were giving a talk here in Gainesville (thanks for closing the store, Ginger! We love you!).

The wait wasn't too intolerable, thanks (1) to our friends who got there at 4:30 and got us places at the front of the line and (2) we brought our own fun:

Waiting for the Mythbusters

I only got a few good photos, which are here if you are interested.

:/end hijack:

Now back to your regularly scheduled fiber content!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Hanks Question of the Week

This week's question is inspired by us going to see The Mythbusters speak in a couple of hours - what knitting/crochet/fiber question would you ask the Mythbuster guys?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Friday Five: The Alphabet of Hanks (part four)

L is for Lantern Moon. We love the Lantern Moon! We've got needles (straight in rosewood and ebony, the new Destiny circular line in both rosewood and ebony, and the Sox Stix which... wait for it... come in rosewood and ebony *and* come in the cutest little bag); baskets (a few different sizes, some in natural and some with colors); sheep tape measures; and for about a minute-and-a-half we had the most adorable sheep door mats (they sold out that day, but we plan on getting more).

M is for Malabrigo. Do we really need to say anything more about Mmmmmmalabrigo? Mmmmm.

N is for Needle Felting. We have many needle felting supplies (we've also had one fun class on needle felting and plan for more in the future) including single needles, sets of needles, kits with patterns, and sets of different colored fibers.

P is for Purse Handles, which are great for when you've crocheted or knitted up that purse and either didn't leave enough for a handle or are worried that the yarn might not be sturdy enough for a handle.

P is also for Prism Yarns, who are somewhat local to us (three hours away, that's local enough that we can get down there and tour the Prism Fun Factory every now and then). From their website:

Prism hand dyed yarns are well known for their clear, intense colors and the high quality of their fibers. Prism is most famous for their "Stuff" yarns, consisting of 30-40 color and gauge coordinated yarns that are tied together end to end by hand.

In addition to five types of Stuff, Prism hand dyes a full range of luxury and novelty fibers. Creative Director, Laura Militzer Bryant, trained as a fine artist in color and textiles, and is a life-long knitter. She has written numerous books on knitting, in addition to creating the inspiring design collections that Prism introduces every spring and fall.
One thing that we love about Prism is that you can order kits for all of their patterns, and the kits are just as cute as pie!

Millie Topper kit

The "c" word

We got in the Spring 2008 Interweave Crochet magazine (with some very cute patterns!) in this week, and they sent us a little sticker that we could not wait to put up in the window --

The "c" word

The Ab Fab Afghan Throw Kit by Colinette

Many of you have been asking about the beautiful afghans we have on the couch right now.

Paige's afghans

We had another one, but unfortunately I did not get a good picture of it before we sent it back to the owner (it was lovely, though, as you know if you saw it).

The afghans above are all knitted from the Colinette Absolutely Fabulous Afghan/Throw kit, which come in about 20 different colors and retail for $185.

The kits come with all the yarn that you need to make one of the six patterns also included in the kit. There are four patterns for knitted afghans, one for a crocheted afghan, and also a pattern for a knitted shawl.

We're getting ready to place an order from Colinette soon, so please drop us a line if you'd like us to add in a kit for you! We'd be happy to go over color availability with you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Class: Knit a Cell Phone or Eyeglass Case

Saturday May 31st 2008
10:30 AM – 1:30 PM
$25 | Materials Included

Always leaving your eyeglass case at home, or tired of scratching up your cell phone in your bag? We have the solution! With a pre-made bag form, and just a small amount of yarn, you can knit up a case to carry with you.

Classes do fill up early; so please reserve your space in the class by paying in advance, as it is unlikely we will be able to accommodate walk-ins. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this class, or any other classes that we will be offering in the future.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The Hanks Question of the Week

I was having an interesting conversation with a couple of customers the other night, and that conversation leads us to the Question of the Week. What do you think is the cause of this resurgence in fiber crafts? Do you have a definite opinion of "it is this reason for all people" or do you think that different people are drawn to it for different reasons? Discuss!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Class: Felted Bead Necklace

Saturday April 26, 2008 2-5 PM
$25 | Materials Included

It’s easy and fun to make beautiful beaded necklaces out of wool fiber and scrap yarn! We will learn a new way of marking fiber art, and the basics of hand felting will be covered, which can be used to felt larger knitted pieces as well. Students will make tiny spheres from wool, turn them into beads, and learn how to string them onto a necklace with clasps and closures. Walk out of class wearing a unique and beautiful creation!

Classes do fill up early; so please reserve your space in the class by paying in advance, as it is unlikely we will be able to accommodate walk-ins. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this class, or any other classes that we will be offering in the future.

Class: Intro to Crochet (Crochet an Afghan)

April 17, 24, May 1, 8, 15, and 22, 2008
6 PM - 8 PM
$100 | Materials Included

During the six weeks of this class even someone who has never picked up a hook before can make a beautiful 18-panel afghan. Learn new techniques in each class by doing one square, and then practice your new skills over the week by making two more at home. At the end of the class not only will you have a luxurious, soft, multi-colored afghan, but you will be able to apply what you've learned to almost any other crochet project you can think of.

Classes do fill up early; so please reserve your space in the class by paying in advance, as it is unlikely we will be able to accommodate walk-ins. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this class, or any other classes that we will be offering in the future.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday Five: The Alphabet of Hanks (part three)

H is for Haldesoap, our house brand of soap. Have you tried our new scent, Fresh Baked Bread? Mmmmmmmm!

I is for Intarsia, of which you should not be afraid! In fact, we'll be having an Intarsia class in late June (stay tuned for more info on that later this month).

J is for Juice, which we keep in the fridge. It's a great mixer! (Hey, cut me some slack... I walked around the store twice and couldn't come up with something that started with "J". Which means, of course, that I'll turn around after hitting "post" and see just the perfect thing!)

K is for Karaoke, our favorite yarn for Entrelac. It comes in all kinds of colors and just worked out so perfectly for our class pillows.

K is also for Kits. We have purse kits, dye kits, sweater kits, afghan kits, and have also recently been ordering kits from Prism based on their patterns. I can not tell you how cute those come, too! We just got in one for a teddy bear that I really am itching to photograph and blog about. You will not be able to escape the gravitational pull of the cuteness!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Hel-loooooo Dyers!

We are very excited about receiving our first shipment of Jacquard Acid Dyes today! We carry all 40 colors, and you can mix and match those to your heart's content.

Acid dyes, as toxic as they sound, aren't really at all, and are very easy to work with. All you need to add is vinegar. And yarn or roving, of course! Acid dyes work best with animal fibers, and we have plenty of undyed Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn, Lorna's Laces Superwash, and roving from Louet upon which you can let your inner artist loose.

Keep an eye on this space as we put the finishing touches on our dye bar. We'll let you know when the classes and 'studio time' are available!

April is for Lili

Continuing with 2008: A Year in Scarves... we have April is for Lili. Lili is my almost-five-year-old god-daughter, and of course she is very into pink! This pattern could be easily adapted by adding repeats or using a thicker yarn.

April is for Lili

April is for Lili

The pattern is now available for download here.

And as a hint for the May scarf...? My god-daughter is a twin. Perhaps a similar scarf might be in the making...? You'll find out in four weeks!