Knitlandia Blog Tour: Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool


Back before every yarn available was shown in galleries of finished projects on Ravelry, Clara Parkes captivated the yarn world with her Knitters Review newsletter. She dared to try swatching, soaking and unraveling every kind of yarn available, and every week I looked forward to her scientific and fearless exploration.

As fellow knitting teachers, Amy and Clara go way back, and I was lucky enough to meet her just after her first big book, the Knitter’s Book of Yarn, came out. We’ve watched and cheered every one of her publications and have had the happiness of seeing Clara at knitting events as often as possible (and even getting lucky enough to try her homemade Claramel treats).

From a yarn expert and technician, Clara has grown and expanded her writing with her last two books, letting us experience the world through the lens of her own experiences and sparkling wit.The Yarn Whisperer lets us in on her life in knitting, and Knitlandia continues the journey with tales of her travels behind the scenes to every notable knitting destination.

We reviewed Clara’s delightful book on our Podcast.

It’s not just us anymore: even the Washington Post is starting to get Clara’s genius:  “A life entwined in yarn might mystify those who don’t knit, but anyone versed in the language of skeins and cables will sigh with envy over Clara Parkes’s new memoir, “Knitlandia.” 

Clara allowed us to share an excerpt of her book with you: the section on east-coast fall fiber mecca RHINEBECK  (all text and photos below belong to Clara Parkes)!

From Knitlandia:

AUTUMN ON THE HUDSON: Rhinebeck, New York

NESTLED ON THE EASTERN BANKS of the Hudson River, just two hours north of Manhattan by train, is the picket-fenced village of Rhinebeck. It has all the trappings of the weekend getaway: the artisanal bread shop, reliable Thai food, a pricey French bistro, a high-end liquor and wine store, and, to preserve an illusion of small-town America, a diner with vinyl-upholstered booths and brusque waitresses.

In the fall, Rhinebeck becomes a Thornton Wilder vision of bucolic small-town nostalgia. Between the foliage and the carved pumpkins on porches, you can’t help checking the local real estate ads and wondering what it would be like to live here.

Knitlandia_rhinebeck2 (1)

I think this every third weekend in October when I turn off the Taconic State Parkway and wind my way into town for the New York State Sheep and Wool Festival.

Knitlandia_rhinebeck4 So legendary is this show, it has attained Madonna or Cher status in the knitting world. It is known by just one word: Rhinebeck. Say that word to almost any knitter and you’ll get a nod.


Knitters queueing up just to get into the big show!-js


Scored: apple cider and donut at the event.-js

Wherever Clara goes, we want to go with her! Amy and I both highly recommend taking a trip to Knitlandia as soon as you possibly can.


But wait, one lucky reader will get their very own copy of Knitlandia, so they can giggle, snort and generally mystify family members, friends or coffee shop patrons nearby. Please leave a comment below telling us either how much you love Clara and why OR which knitting destination (Rhinebeck, Interweave, Stitches, Vogue, TNNA, etc) you would most like to visit. We’ll pick a winner this Thursday, March 3rd.



Hear more  about this memoir during the Knitlandia blog tour!

Feb 22 –  Knit and Tonic

Feb 24 – My Sister’s Knitter

Feb 26 – Mary Jane Muckelstone

Feb 29 – Knit Circus

March 2 – Yarniacs

March 4 – Leethal

March 7 – Tin Can Knits

March 17 – Marly Bird

ETA: The winner has been chosen! The Random Number Generator picked Taine and she has been notified.  Thanks to everyone for your wonderful comments.

Come What May, by Susan B. Anderson

come what may

Hi, Knitters,

I’m so lucky to have Susan B. Anderson as a friend (and almost a neighbor!). She is one of the most talented designers you’ll ever find, and one of the sweetest people. If you’ve ever gotten to take a class with her or meet at a knitting event, you’ll know that she’s just as lovely and down-to-earth in person as she is on her blog.


photo: susan b anderson

We’ve been working on a project together for a while, and I’m happy to be able to announce that Susan has written a pattern exclusively for us, using a skein of Knitcircus Opulence fingering in Come What May to create an elegant shawl with a silvery beaded edge.

best side

photo:ryan berg for knitcircus

Susan tells the story of its inspiration best herself (from her blog):

As I sat with my friend, Jaala Spiro, having tea, pastries and knitting in my living room one morning she surprised me with several cakes of her lovely KnitCircus yarns. One of these cakes was the spectacular gradient called Come What May. There is just something about the rosy shade of pink moving into the sweet kiss of blush and ending with the lightest shade of gray.
The yarn cake was thrilling to hold in my hands and it was inspiring. I quickly cast on and knit the sweetest little lacey shawl that is not only simple and wearable but is a really fun knit to boot. The sections of the shawl keep you entertained while the gradient yarn motivates you to keep going to get to the next color.
The shawl is a semi-circular shape with stockinette, simple lace and eyelet sections that end with a beautiful eyelet ruffle. The shawl is finished with an elegant bind-off with silver-lined beads. The beads are always optional but they add so much to the look and feel of the finished shawl. The entire project is a pleasure to knit.
The yarn colorway is the single inspiration for the shawl so the name of the design has to be Come What May. The colorway, luxury yarn base, shawl design and beads are the perfect match.

We’re just thrilled with the way the design came out, and are offering Come What May kits so you can make a shawl just like Susan’s, either with or without beads.


photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

You can also find Susan’s beautifully-written pattern on Ravelry if you’d like to work from your stash.


photo: susan b anderson

The shawl shows off the soft color changes of the gradient so nicely;  I created Come What May last February when I was so tired of bare trees and snow and just longed for the colors of spring. And Susan is holding a giveaway on her blog; comment and you could win a Come What May kit of your very own ( just through this afternoon, so hurry!)


photo: ryan berg for knitcircus

Whether you just got a fresh pile of snow like we did or are already harvesting your rhubarb, I wish you all of the loveliness of spring,


Cables and Lace Video, New Colors and Mitts

Hi, Knitters,

It’s getting cold here, tea-drinkin’, stew-makin’, bundle-up cold. I’ve got a hot mug of Chai Spice tea  on my desk as I write. As you know, this is the time when handknits come in handy…

Aran Lace Video

I’ve been a little obsessed with cables and lace lately (for about the last two years). An expert at combining these two techniques is  designer, teacher and tech editor and my friend, Stephannie Tallent. Stephannie has a new video out from Interweave Knits unfolding all kinds of useful tips for combining these two knitterly techniques: Aran Lace Knitting.


In a step-by-step format, Stephannie explains and demonstrates techniques like using a cable and/or lace chart, picking the right yarns for showing off your lacy cables, using a cable needle, cabling without a cable needle, swatching, blocking, and all kinds of other techniques to keep you on top of beautiful charted patterns like the one below.


The video also includes a pattern for a gorgeous cables-and-lace cowl. Stephannie really knows her stuff, and this video is definitely a winner!

Aran Lace Giveaway

One lucky reader can receive this video for their very own. Just leave a comment telling us which of Stephannie’s beautiful patterns you would knit first! Giveaway runs through Monday evening.

Gradient Eye Candy

Wow, how exciting! Jess/Frecklegirl on Ravelry put together a Gradient-themed Community Eye Candy page and our yarn is featured!!!!!!! See the adorable pink baby dress? Talented knitter Greenfiber made her Mia’s Dress out of our Wild Rose Corriedale Sock yarn.

Ravelry Gradients Page

What an honor. Everything on the page looked gorgeous! Thanks so much, Jess!!!!!!

New Gradient Stripe Socks Colors

tropical sunset best

Speaking of thanks, a million to the wonderful Susan B Anderson for hosting a Gradient Stripes giveaway on her blog! She sent a lot of new customers our way and we’re very grateful. Check it out, because right now, you have a chance to win some Manos yarns on her blog! Susie was the very first to knit with the Tropical Sunset colorway (above) and it’s officially released now!

blue skies 2

The next new yarn is Blue Skies Ahead, an optimistic mix of cloudless white and saturated blue.

shy slytherin

We’re excited to present the next in the House Colors series: Cunning Folk, representing Slytherin with pure silver-gray to aristocratic emerald green.

brew crew 2

Last, but certainly not least, Brew Crew! The sunny yellow and cheerful blue works for many school colors, but for a Wisconsin baseball fan, they have to represent the Milwaukee Brewers.

If you’ve ordered Gradient Stripes yarn, we’re making many of them every day, so you should get it soon! If you’ve already got your stripes in hand, please do join us in the Knitcircus Ravelry Group for a Gradient Stripes KAL! (Don’t worry, you can use the original Matching Socks sets too).

I had gotten half of a sock done, then I was leafing through a magazine and saw some lustworthy striped armwarmers. My DH, looking over my shoulder, remarked,”You could make some of those.”

He was right! I could make some just as stripy with the new Gradient Stripes yarn! So I have frogged the sock and re-started a pair of Gothy Gauntlets. I can’t wait to see how they turn out, and I’ll post progress pics in the KAL group.

Happy knitting,


TNNA, Giveaway and April Showers

Indianapolis, prepare yourself for knitters like you’ve never seen! Chris and I can’t wait to join the fun at this year’s National Needle Arts trade show! We are not exhibiting this year, so not stressing about putting together a gorgeous booth, just looking forward to seeing our wonderful designer and yarnie friends. We’ll have plenty of Knitcircus Yarns gradient and kettle dye samples along, so just say the word if you’d like to try out our yarns!


We’ll be staying with Stephannie Tallent and Toby Roxane Barna, which should be a hoot. If you’re going and would like to meet up, please shoot me an email (

We’ll be at Sample It, the Stitchcraft Designer Meetup and as many Yarn Group events as humanly possible. Anybody familiar with Indianapolis who can tell us where to eat or have coffee? I wonder what will be the new Jeni’s?

Hunter Hammersen Yarn Giveaway!

We first met the talented Hunter Hammersen when she submitted a stunning sock design to Knitcircus way back when it was a paper magazine. Since then, she’s gone on to publish five gorgeous themed pattern books, including Silk Road Socks and the Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet series (Volume Three comes out soon!).  Hunter is giving away two skeins of Knitcircus Yarn on her blog!

New in the Lair

We’ve been busy in the Lair as always, so here’s the news from yarnland!

We’ve added an 150g custom order option to all of our dyed-to-order yarns, which means you can have that beautiful gradient in the perfect amount for your Hitchhiker or other larger project. We’ve also added the Turquoise Pool, Summer Afternoon, Apricot, Toast and Cranberry Relish color options.

After an unplanned hiatus, we have a new supplier and now have an even better Greatest of Ease base; 80% Superwash Merino, 20% nylon for lovely and practical sock knitting. So you can choose that for any custom order and we’ll have more ready-to-go in the shop soon.


The April special colorway Come What May was a spectacular success and is now joining our regular lineup of custom orders! Anyone who ordered it, we’re dyeing them up right now and expect to have them packaged up and in the mail next week.


Following one beautiful day, we’ve now enjoyed rain, hail and high winds. But the fruit trees have tiny buds, and the daffodils are in bloom, so we’ll take it!

Sending good thoughts to all of those dealing with dangerous weather. Stay safe!




Spring Sewing Goodness and Giveaways

It’s spring, and many crafters start yearning for turning seams rather than turning heels. If the sound of birds singing makes you think of your Singer, then today’s giveaway is for you!


We have three fun books to give away, courtesy of Interweave Press, St. Martins and Potter Craft! So three lucky winners will each get a spring sewing boost.


If you’ve been longing to add sewing to your yarn-craft repertoire, you’ll find every useful technique in Nicole Vasbinder’s Super Stitches Sewing. With many illustrated step-by-step tutorials, she shows you 50 machine sewing stitches, 20 hand stitches, and methods to choose the appropriate stitch for the occasion.


Mollie Makes Woodland Friends

Editor Lora Watson has pulled together a storybook collection of projects from the Mollie Makes magazine’s designers. Amy and I reviewed this delightful book on the podcast; the charming voice and graphics lead you thorough a multi-craftual forest with sewing, paper, crochet, applique, cross stitch and felting techniques to create home decor and lovable toys.


Many tiny projects abound in Cat Thomas’ 50 Pincushions to Knit and Crochet! Lots of these designs could do double-duty as ornaments, toys or sachets if you’ve gifted all your sewing friends by the end of the volume.🙂

So please leave a comment; let me know if you love to sew, and if so, what project you’re working on. And please tell us which projects look the most fun from the three books here!

The contest runs through this weekend, and we’ll post the three winners on Monday, March 24th. Of course, winners will be chosen by the Random Number Generator.

ETA: We’ve been winding up lots of yarn in the Lair this week, so are doing a big shop update this morning (Friday!) Just wanted to let you know.😉

cabaret burning bush IMG_1272

Hitch Winner, Ne’er Do Well and Busting at the Seams




Thanks so  much to everyone who entered the Hitch, Patterns Inspired by the Films of Alfred Hitchcock giveaway! And thanks to Stephannie Tallent and Cooperative Press for giving me a copy to give away!

The lucky winner is Liz G, and she’s been notified. Please check out the next stop in the Hitch blog tour tomorrow: indigodragonfly!

ndw-cover-square (1)

It’s the time for giveaways! The amazing Hunter Hammersen has generously offered a print copy of Ne’er Do Well Knits for a lucky podcast listener. Check out the book review on the Knitcircus Podcast and leave a comment here to enter!




Vampire Boyfriend is back!

Vampire Boyfriend is back!

The Lair is full of yarns! You’ll see them all very soon…

Take care, I’m off to teach my Elementary School knitters (all 17 of them) to make pompoms!




Hitch Blog Tour and Giveaway!


Today I’m very excited to be part of the blog tour AND you can win a digital copy!

Hitch includes 29 patterns from different designers; you’ll find sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, socks. And shawls!

As you may know, Stephannie Tallent, the editor of this volume, worked closely with me as a tech editor for Knitcircus magazine and helped develop our excellent templates and tech-editing workflows. She can edit a pattern like nobody’s business, designs gorgeous, intricate patterns and has a vision for beautifully-designed and executed garments of all kinds.

I was thrilled when Stephannie released her first book, California Revival Knits, and happy to get a chance to be part of this collection honoring the work of one of her favorite directors. If you look at the cover, my design, the Miss Fremont shawl, was lucky enough to get a cameo there!

Untitled-1hitch collage 1

The Hitchcock film I like best is Rear Window, so I looked at Grace Kelly’s costumes, other sketches by costume designer Edith Head and other clothing of the time for inspiration. I was particularly struck by the full New Look skirt with flowers radiating from the waist, so took that as the inspiration for my shawl design.

;hitch collage 2

The Half-Pi shawl is a favorite shape of mine, so within that construction, I chose a lace pattern to echo the feminine floral of the skirt. Here you can see the original sketch, the lace swatch, and final shawl blocked and pinned. Believe it or not, this was designed before I began dyeing gradients, but you can see that the idea was definitely starting to unfold! The shawl is worked in Blue Sky’s Alpaca Sport Weight, 100% baby alpaca, which was a joy to knit, soft, fuzzy and drapey, so perfect for a shawl.

So many wonderful designers are represented in Hitch, which uses red, white and black to highlight the drama and suspense of the theme. Go check out all the Hitch Designs on Ravelry and tell me which one you’d like to knit first! Leave a blog comment, and the Random Number Generator will choose a winner for us Sunday evening, the 17th of November.

Want to participate in a Knit-A-Long or hear about more giveaways? Join the Hitch group on Ravelry.

The Full Blog Tour

9/28/2013: Sunset Cat Designs
10/5/2013: Knitting Kninja
10/05/13: Knit One, Heart Too Podcast
10/7/2013: Herrlichkeiten
10/8/2013: Knit and Travel
10/9/2013: Knit & Knag Designs
10/10/2013: Wooly Wonka Fibers
10/11/2013: Verdant Gryphon
10/15/2013: Impeccable Knits: Shifting Stitches
10/16/2013: Rewolluzza
10/21/2013: Knitwear Designs by Carolyn Noyes
10/22/2013: Peacefully Knitting
10/23/2013: Dark Matter Knits
10/24/2013: Turnknit: Dani Berg Designs
10/25/2013: SweetGeorgia Yarns
10/28/2013: doviejay knits
10/29/2013: Triona Designs
10/30/2013: Tactile Fiber Arts (you’re here!)
11/4/2013: A Knitter’s Life
11/5/2013: Catchloops
11/6/2013: Yarn On The House
11/07/2013: Ramblings
11/12/2013: Hazel Knits
11/13/2013: Knitcircus
11/19/2013: indigodragonfly
11/9/2013: Fyberspates
11/22/2013: A B-ewe-tiful Design
11/25/2013: knittingkirigami