Grand Canyon Shawl and Studio Update

grand canyon shawlWe’re very excited to present the Grand Canyon Shawl, an exclusive knitting pattern for Kickstarter backers! The Grand Canyon sunset photo I used for the colorway also inspired this design, which showcases different layers and textures  like the striated rock formations in the real Grand Canyon.

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The shawl begins with a garter-tab cast-on, then moves through a relaxing stockinette section with periodic increases, changing to Vine Lace and finishing with a chevron lace pattern and garter edging.

Our lovely Assistant Dyer Erin modeled for this shoot, and our Yarn Processor, Ryan, took the photos. I got lucky having such a multifaceted crew! Everyone whose pledge reward includes the Grand Canyon shawl or the Shawl Collection will get this super-secret pattern via email or Ravelry once the campaign finishes up. I hope you enjoy it; I had a lot of fun designing it with you in mind!

Moving Right Along…

Our landlord, Tom, has been keeping renovations going at a quick pace at the studio-to-be and we just got word this morning that he finished up all of the electrical work. Plumbing is still in the works and I’m going to pick up a new double utility sink for dyeing hopefully tonight and another tomorrow. We’re heading over there now to take more measurements for the second sink area.

I can’t believe TNNA is next weekend and then we’re going to be moving in!!!!! I’ll be in Columbus for TNNA, so please flag me down and say hi if you’re there! This year, Knitcircus is sponsoring the Designer Dinner, hosted by the one and only Marly Bird so we’re pumped about the party.

Thanks so much for all of your Kickstarter support; this couldn’t happen without you! Please spread the word if you have friends who might be interested, because we still have 16 days to make our stretch goals and stock the new space with yarn, working machinery and furniture.

And, good for her, but sadly for us, Amy D headed with a group of knitters to Ireland this morning. Safe travels and good knitting, Amy!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Kickstarter Off and Running

Wow, our Kickstarter got off to a rollicking start! Thanks so much to everyone who got us past halfway in the first two days. Everyone in the Lair is so excited and we take turns checking the site and seeing how far we’ve come. It’s so heartwarming to see the names (secret to everyone by me) of our friends and wonderful customers supporting us in our big move!IMG_2782

Inspired by our new address on Grand Canyon Drive, we’re releasing a new yarn every day with exclusive Grand Canyon colorways just for our Kickstarter backers! Above: the Garnd Canyon gradient.

evergreen kettleOur building is called the Evergreen, so this exclusive kettle dye evokes spruce branches. Tomorrow: Pixie Dust sparkly handpaint!

I don’t know if you guys know how Kickstarter works (I was perviously hazy on the details myself), but you pledge to support a project you like (such as ours) and you get to choose a Reward at different levels. When you pledge to a project, you can proudly say that you’re a project Backer. The Kickstarter Reward is often very close to the price of purchasing something from our store, plus a little more for exclusivity. So you basically purchase the yarn, and we get to use the money we raise for our specific project! The catch with Kickstarter is that the funding is all or nothing. Even if we come up only $100 short, we don’t get a penny if we don’t reach our goal. So, even though you’ve gotten us off on a great foot, we’re still biting our nails until the project is fully funded.

Even if you just want a couple of minutes of entertainment, I hope you ‘ll hop over and check out our Kickstarter video. We had sooooo much fun shooting it! Belle and I agreed we want the few seconds of Amy in the big hat on a continuous loop on our living room computer. Kickstarter also features lots of other creative projects that are fun to look at (I backed the Little Free Library!).

Have a lovely weekend,

Jaala

Biggest News Yet: Knitcircus Studio and Kickstarter Project

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Knitcircus is making a huge move! Thanks to the support of our customers, we’re getting out of the basement and into a professional space.

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Just a couple of years ago, it was only me in the basement pursuing my dream of long-striping gradients, then one part-time person, then three, now we have the delightful Amy D and a total of six people in the Lair, three full-time. Our new space, the Evergreen Building on Grand Canyon Drive, will allow my workers to expand their hours, improve our workflow and make your yarn faster!

Most exciting, the space has room for a small retail store, classrooms for retreats and a central area for events. We can start giving back, hosting events and bringing more people in to the knitting/craft community!

But the big move doesn’t come so easily, and we’re going to need your help. The space needs improved electric, plumbing, ventilation and some new equipment, as well as covering downtime for the move itself. That’s why we started a Kickstarter project.

The way Kickstarter works is, you “back” the project by pledging funds, and in return, you get a “reward,” so it’s essentially buying special products to help fund the project. We’ve got rewards starting at $3 and up, and we’ve worked hard to make sure that you’re getting a bang for your buck!  We’re making exclusive yarns and patterns available through this project that you’ll never find anywhere else. Plus, you get chances to tour the studio (with homemade baked goods), book special classes with me or Amy, have a techniques video made just for you or even have us knit you a pair of socks!

Most fun for knitters, we’re making exclusive gradient, kettle and speckle, colorways just for Kickstarter!

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Inspired by our new address on Grand Canyon Drive, I’ve created the Grand Canyon colorway. IMG_2782

It’s already a staff favorite and I hope a lot of people take advantage of the Kickstarter, because we won’t get to make it again!

Every day for the first six days, I’ll be posting photos of the new colorways and after that, we’ll unveil the new Grand Canyon Shawl pattern, again, just for Kickstarter participants.

We’re all really excited, but it’s making me nervous, too. This is a big commitment and I know it’s going to work, out, but your help will make essential improvements happen. A new stove, utility sink and ventilator aren’t glamorous, but they are needed! Please visit Kickstarter and show us that you’re ready to come visit the Knitcircus Studio to shop, take classes, hang out and even get a peek behind the scenes at the dyeing studio! We can’t wait for you to join the fun. :)

Jaala

Big Shop Update and Sale Tomorrow at 10:00 CDT

Spring sale

We’re photographing and listing things like crazy for our first annual Spring Sale and huge shop update! Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to YarnOver this weekend, so all of the yarn is going up in the shop instead! (But the lovely Amy Detjen will be there, so please say hi if you see her!)

We’ve got sale skeins of kettle dyes, handpaints, Matching Socks Sets, and gradients of all sizes! Watch for the shop update on the Knitcircus webpage tomorrow at 10:00 am!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Yarn Con Yarn! And last chance for Early Spring Yarns

Hi, Knitters,

We’re skeining, dyeing, labeling and packing as fast as we can to get ready for Yarn Con in Chicago this weekend! Belle will be accompanying me and we’re really looking forward to the sweet organizers and meeting/seeing Chicago knitters.

YARN CON COLORS

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The Yarn Con people had a great idea and they asked a number of indie dyers to collaborate on a fun project before the show; custom Yarn Con colorways!  The yarns will be sold at the show as a way to help sustain the event, which has been getting bigger and better every year! (You certainly can’t beat free event parking in Chicago).

We got a little excited and I may have actually designed three colorways, including a whole new dyeing technique I’ve never tried before! The yarn above is a brand-new Speckle colorway inspired by the current Yarn Con logo colors. Everyone in the Lair loved it, and I couldn’t resist naming it Put Me in the Zoo, after the beloved children’s book.

The Speckle technique was so much fun, I’ve designed a number of colorways which will debut this Friday at 10:00 cst as part of the new Late Spring Yarn collection! DSC_0023smaller

More Yarn Con Colors: I designed a gradient using the deep red and pale blue from the Yarn Con logo. These are two colors I’ve always wanted to work with, so it was a lot of fun.

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Then we have a handpaint focusing on the deep red. This is a cousin to the popular Ruby Slippers colorway from the Wizard of Oz collection. DSC_0017 smaller

Yarn con has lots of great vendors, like Sun Valley, Fleur de Fiber, Sophie’s Toes and lots more, plus classes from the lovely likes of Andi Smith, Jen Lucas and more, so if you’re in the Chicagoland area, I hope you’ll stop by and say hi!

LATE SPRING YARN COLLECTION

The new collection will be up in the web store this Friday at 10:00 am, which means we have to say goodbye to some of our favorite Spring yarns until next year!

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If you’ve been thinking about a Robin’s Nest….DSC_0454

or maybe The Can Can Can….

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…or a New Day, order it in the next 24 hours or they’ll be gone!

The good news is, more Spring favorites and new colors including Speckle skeins and gradients will be available as part of the Late Spring Collection!

Happy knitting,

Jaala

Balinese Cardi and Snowshoeing

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Guess what, talented designer Elizabeth Green Musselman just released her Balinese Cardi pattern, making ingenious use of our gradient and kettle-dyed yarns!BalineseCardi_main1 (2)

We’re so thrilled about her design. Using the gradients on the sleeves and yoke makes a lovely  and unusual garment, especially with the handkerchief hems and gorgeous lace inserts. And, if you purchase the Balinese Cardi pattern on Ravelry, you’ll get a special secret code for free shipping on the Balinese Cardi kit in the Knitcircus store.

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Check out that sleeve detail; wow! This is truly a flattering design for all figures, and Elizabeth wrote it for bust sizes 32-54″, so everyone can cast one on.

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Making Tracks

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A bit ago, Buppa, Li’l Buddy and a couple of his pals and I went up north for a weekend ski getaway. It was delightful, rustic and just enough adventure for all of us.

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We got to see near-frozen waterfalls, hike along the otherworldly frozen landscape of Lake Superior shore,

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and for me, try snowshoeing for the first time.IMG_1963

I’m not usually a sporty girl, but hiking through snow-covered woods is about my speed. My DH, being the lovely man that he is, gifted me a set of snowshoes, so now I can do it on our home turf! As soon as it’s above 0 degrees F,  I can’t wait to try…

Have a great weekend, and stay warm,

Jaala

Knitting in the New Year

Happy New Year, Knitters!

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paper chains made by Belle

After a very busy holiday yarn season, we all took a week off to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

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With Christmas and Hannukkah so close, it was a whirlwind, with matzo ball soup and candles at my parents’ then  our family’s traditional homemade Swedish Meatball Christmas Eve dinner here. Every year, we make up a new 12 Days of Christmas song to reflect the events of the year, so this one included “nine baseball players,” “three weeks of clouds,” and “A Sasha under the tree.”

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this little hat was a gift from my mom, handknit and fairly traded

After The Best Christmas Ever(tm), with brunch at our place and dinner at Mom and Dad’s, we took a whirlwind trip to Michigan to check out Mike’s dad’s tree, 12 feet tall with more than a thousand ornaments. Little Buddy found the pickle.

Then two days and two cakes of celebrating Li’l Buddy’s birthday. German Chocolate cake is a family tradition, and it’s an old-fashioned one, with egg separating both for the cake and the frosting. But man, is it worth the time. The kids who came over for a sleepover (just a few this year) got homemade chocolate cupcakes with ganache.

And then it was New Year’s Eve, and frankly, my dears, we were partied out. I snuggled up in our new flannel sheets with a laptop and Dr. Who (season 3, David Tennant, now my favorite Doctor) while Lil Buddy hung out with friends and MIke and Belle puzzled the evening away.

IMG_1703 If you’re puzzlers, I highly recommend this particular one, the Fairytale Fantasia. I have never seen a more intricate, detailed picture, though its complexity isn’t for the faint of puzzle-heart.

And now it’s 2015! Today we’re back to work in the Lair for one big day before the weekend, doing exciting end-of-2014-things like inventory and taxes. But we’ve got a new year of yarn creating and knitting!

Knit this Year 

I took a few luxurious moments to revisit my favorite projects on Ravelry, and though my knitting time is limited these days, a girl can dream! Here’s what I’m hoping to work up this year:

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Moyen Age; this is my dream sweater to knit for myself this year. I just find this delicate design by Hada Knits captivating, and it looks good on all of the Ravelers who’ve posted photos.

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Knotted Pine, by Alicia Plummer; love these cables, with just enough texture and changes to keep it interesting.

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My mom loves the Manly Scarf in progress Mike, so she requested a version for herself using the 100% cashmere Trapeze yarn I dyed for her for Christmas. A (Wo)manly scarf! This pattern uses a classic texture pattern for a timeless effect and it’s perfect car or waiting room knitting.

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Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s patterns always intrigue me, and I’d love to try the unusual stitch in her Moko-Moko cowl.

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Of course, Susie Anderson is on the list, with her 50-Row Shawl I’ve been itching to try. A worsted-weight shawl would be so comfy in the winter.

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Dandelion Days cowl; big surprise, I love the combination of cables and lace in this compelling cowl.

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In fingering, I’m going to try the Ici Paris Beret for my mom; she loves Paris, and I’ve been curious about the Eiffel Tower Stitch for years.

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I want the Zag-Edged Scarf for myself; the combo of garter stitch and a nice edging looks like a sure winner for the actual knitting time I have, which is usually while playing Big Bang Clue or watching Modern Family with our own family.

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Et Frais would make a perfect use for our gradient yarns in the 25g balls. That texture looks super fun.

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The Accelerating Stripes mitts, of course, would make a perfect canvas for some Gradient Stripes action. Belle would love a pair of these.

For socks, I always use Susie Anderson’s How I Make My Socks or Wendy Johnson’s toe-up basic slip-stitch heel pattern, but this year I’d like to try the Fleegle heel with the Time Traveler Socks and some nice patterning with RPM, like Cindy did in our KAL earlier this year.

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Kirsten Kapur creates lovely patterns and I’d love to knit up her Snow Drops and Snap Peas shawl, as well as my perennial favorite, Cladonia.

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What are you knitting this year?

Have a great one,

Jaala