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Let’s hear it for another beautiful new yarn by Debbie Bliss! (on sale now, for a limited time)

Let me tell you about one of the absolute softest yarns I’ve ever had a chance to touch:  Debbie Bliss Lhasa - Cashmere and Yak Yarn.  This is part two of the Pure Bliss Collection, a new collection of uniquely luxurious yarns from Debbie Bliss. Wait until you hear what’s in it!

Soft as cashmere and warm as wool, yak is known to be a superstar fiber in the knitting world, and it is a rare find. Speaking of cashmere, this yarn has that too!  Lhasa is a 50/50 blend of yak and cashmere, so you know it’s going to perform well and feel incredible. Lhasa also boasts a chainette construction; this provides strength and stability to the yarn while maintaining a smooth surface to further highlight the EXTREME softness of the fiber content.  You almost can’t feel it when you touch it, it’s so darn lofty and soft.

Just like with the Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran - Organic Merino Yarn I told you about a while back, Debbie Bliss has released a book of beautiful patterns to be knit up out of the Lhasa . These patterns range from smaller accessories to a few larger projects (dubbed as “investment pieces” by the designer herself).  The Leaf Cowl (shown on the Lhasa book’s cover) is a unique, approachable way to try a bold color. Available in a simple, but full palette of neutrals and brights, there are plenty of options.

 

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I’m also a fan of the Turtleneck Tank pattern- it’s the perfect project for this yarn, in my opinion. No matter what color you choose, this piece would be a timeless wardrobe staple. Not to mention, this would feel awesome to wear against your skin.

Ok so I’ve been saving the bad jokes for the end.  Yashmere, anyone?  Perhaps you’d like to make a luxurious cashyak cowl?  I sure would.  Grab a hank of clouds at 10% off through next Thursday!

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How long have you been in love with yarn? We’ve been lucky – we’re celebrating 45 years of Halcyon Yarn this year. …And we want to share the love.

We’re offering up chances to win a Yarn Store in a Box (4 will be given away), $45 Gift Cards (x4), and a grand prize of a $450 Gift Card to all who sign up for the contest and our newsletter (don’t worry, you can of course sign up for the sweepstakes even if you already receive our newsletter). What’s more, this contest is all about growing and sharing our community – so if you sign up, you’ll see several ways you can increase your chances of winning by sharing the contest with others.

Creating our newsletter has become a favorite weekly ritual – a chance to get excited about new patterns, yarns, and equipment, to share cool news we’ve seen in the wider world, and to let folks know about special sales. We’re expanding our newsletter’s content too – keep an eye out for more “how-to’s” and videos in the coming year!

Sign up is secure, and we never share your information or send you things you didn’t ask for. We hope and trust that those who sign up will enjoy our eNews, but just in case we’ve made it super-easy to unsubscribe with the link at the bottom of each newsletter.

Please join us as we share the love – and the yarn!

 

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It’s hard to believe that we’re already talking about the upcoming Holiday Season! It seems like just yesterday that lemonade was being sipped and toes were being dipped as a means to stay cool. My grandmother starts asking me in June about what I might want for the holidays so I guess I’m used to it at this point! And in the shop we’ve been noticing a lot of greens and reds being purchased…

Let’s talk about the 2016 Interweave Knits Holiday issue. So. Much. Fun. If the delicate lace shawl on the cover doesn’t draw you in then perhaps the Cable and Knotted projects, 23 Knits for Hearth and Home, and gift ideas for friends and family (or your own wish list) will get you hooked. There is also a “sweet and sophisticated collection of heritage knits for children” that includes some lovely projects for the little ones in your life.

There are two items that I can’t stop thinking about. The first is the porcupine DPN Holder. You’ve got to see it to believe. Trust me. You’ll want one. The other item is our very own ad for our Gimme Shelter - Hooded Scarf with Pockets. Keep an eye out for it… there’s info for a free pattern involved with the purchase of yarn and it is the perfect easy holiday project.

Here are just three of many stand out patterns from the holiday issue:
“The rugged Traverse Mitts are simple gauntlets featuring a striking central cable. Worked in the round in sport weight yarn, these mitts will keep your hands warm without limiting movement as you stack firewood or hang Christmas lights”. Worked in the round from the cuff up, we recommend knitting these mitts in FlyWheel Yarn by Harrisville Designs, a heathered sport weight yarn whose colors are inspired by the natural elements of New England.

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“Light and luxurious, the Mantilla Stole features a large central lace panel and a knitted-on edging”.  The body of this shawl is worked back and forth in rows. Stitches are picked up side to side and joined to the body one row at a time. The JaggerSpun Maine Line 2/8 Yarn and JaggerSpun Heather 2/8 Yarn would work perfectly for this project. These lovely 100% wool yarns are spun right here in Maine where we know cozy! We’re big fans of JaggerSpun’s heathered options but there are loads of solid colors in lovely jewel tones to choose from too.
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Now, this last project is too much. Who doesn’t love a fully knitted pair of overalls? These Tiny Tidings Overalls are “rugged, functional, and adorable. They can handle whatever mischief your little tyke gets into. Worked from the bottom up in easy garter stitch, the overalls feature a colorwork panel that offers a last sweet bit of knitting”. The Plymouth Select Worsted Merino Superwash Yarn will keep your little one warm with the added bonus of being able to wash off any yogurt or applesauce.

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Whatever you choose, we’re happy to help you get started on your holiday gifts, stay on the lookout for more cozy and crisp winter projects in upcoming newsletters!

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While we’re celebrating 45 years this year at Halcyon Yarn – it’s humbling, and embracing, to be a part of a much larger, longer tradition: fiber arts. Archeologists have found samples of woven fabric, dyed multiple colors – including the earliest example of Indigo Dyeing – dating back 6,200 years. Nest time you reach for Indigo, take a moment to savor the tradition you’re  a part of, and take a closer look at the wonderful work people are doing to understand where we came from!

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It’s pretty cool the ways in which art can help us to engage and understand our history and community. That’s what Entropika architecture and design lab has done in Łódź, Poland, a city that is striving to adapt as mills are slowing down. Complicated issues to be sure, but, hopeful –  over the course of days, people were invited to be part of an interactive weaving in the city down town? Yes please! Looks to be part of a much larger festive response to revitalization – wonderful work!

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I’ve fallen in love with Debbie Bliss Falkland Aran - Organic Merino Yarn.  Not that I’m that hard a sell, usually. But I think you might fall in love with it too once you check it out! That’s because not only is this yarn beautiful to look at, it also has a beautiful story. The Falkland Islands are widely known for producing some of the highest quality wool in the world. In fact, I recently read that every bit of land on these islands is used as pasture for… you guessed it, sheep.  Not only are the islands a friendly habitat for our woolly friends, but they’re also home to an abundance of animal life from birds to fish. I mean, I’m a little jealous of the sheep below, chillin’ with Megallanic penguins and geese. Looks like someone took the most beautiful rolling sheep pastures and dumped them in the middle of a brightly colored ocean. Those sheep are luuu-cky.  Well, the wool this yarn is made of comes straight from that paradise.

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Sure, the setting is lovely.  But those sheep are especially happy because they are allowed to roam free, all over the giant sheep pasture islands where humans just happen to also live. The sheep are never dragged back in to treat with chemicals (it’s not uncommon for farmers to spray the sheep, or have them swim through a “dip” of pesticides and other chemicals to ward off a variety of ailments). The only time they come in is when it’s time to be sheared.

Isn’t that a great story? I feel like such a nerd for saying this, but after writing and reading more about the Falkland Islands I am DYING to go there. Work trip, anyone? Anyway, dream vacations aside – these people take great care of their sheep and the Debbie Bliss team knows that means the wool is top-tier. Offered in a beautiful color palette that initially draws you in, you’re not disappointed when you do the “pinch” test. This is an incredibly soft wool, and not even a blend at that. 100% super soft happy sheep’s wool.

Debbie Bliss also released a little book of patterns to go along with the yarn, the Debbie Bliss Pure Bliss - Falkland Aran book. Drawing from traditional cabled and textured designs, the patterns in this book are wonderfully modern. The Cable Jacket that’s featured on the cover is actually my favorite. It’s made of seemingly mismatched pieces, each featuring their own cable pattern. When put together, it makes a beautifully modern, unexpectedly simple jacket.

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This yarn and the patterns that go with it are part of the Debbie Bliss Pure Bliss Collection, which also includes Lhasa, a cashmere/yak blend. Although the Lhasa is stunning in its own right, the Falkland Aran is far from overshadowed. But I’ll tell you more about Lhasa later…  For now, catch the Falkland Aran while it’s on sale!

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It feels like I come across something new, exciting and inspirational here on a weekly basis. Convenient for this newsletter, right? I swear it’s just a lucky coincidence. This week, I was trucking through the shop and stopped dead in my tracks when I caught sight of this new book, Urban Knit Collection by Kyle Kunnecke.

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This wrap, which is shown on the book’s cover, is unlike any I’ve seen in a VERY long time. Inspired by urban architecture (I immediately see an Art Deco influence, which is so cool), this complex showpiece uses a technique called “locked floats”. These make it so the back side of the wrap isn’t a mess of carried strands. Instead, it looks almost woven!  Don’t worry – the book includes detailed instructions on how to do this. Not only that, but I love the designer’s way of explaining things. His notes are so friendly and inviting, reading through this book made me smile more than once.

That fact probably isn’t surprising for anyone who is familiar with Kyle Kunnecke’s work. Having devoted a large part of his life to helping people in one way or another, Kunnecke has used his art and creativity to bring people together for many good causes. You should check out his bio on his website, kylewilliam.com.  I don’t know him, but I think this dude is super awesome and I adore his work.

Anyway, let me tell you a little more about this book!  It’s full of unique goodies and I’m really impressed by the color work; Kunnecke has designed some truly bold, one-of-a-kind pieces here.  Ok, and let’s be honest- I’ve turned down many a pattern because of intimidating charts. Kunnecke is on to that, though, and has some very reassuring words about it. In fact, after reading the book through I felt like a completely different knitter, ready to tackle even the cruelest looking charts.

Not that everything is fancy stranded color work, though.  Which brings me to this:

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I can’t even contain myself, I love this piece so much. It is so impressive and bold and stunning and cool! I want one so badly, I’ve considered stopping every other project I have going so I can make this for myself. And I love how it’s constructed; to look at it, you’d assume it was a bunch of strips sewn together. But it’s not!  It begins at the longest edge, and the stripes are worked simultaneously as you continue through the pattern. I won’t give it all away, but I can assure you that Kunnecke’s instructions are incredibly easy to follow. Did I mention, I love this designer?

Phew. I’m a little worn out from all this enthusiasm. Not too worn out to fantasize about what yarn I’d use for these projects, though… I think the wrap on the cover would knit up beautifully in Swans Island Fingering Organic Merino Wool Yarn. Their colors are so lovely, it’d be hard to choose just two. And the Apollo Wrap shown above would be so wearable in Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool Yarn. There are a ton of colors to choose from, and that would be a wonderfully warm and comfortable piece to wear. I think I’ve got some planning ahead of me…

 

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Halcyon’s Annual Fall Open House is right around the corner and we can’t wait to see you! Join us on Saturday, October 8th, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm as we celebrate fall, the fiber arts, and the kick off to our 45th Anniversary. We will have demonstrators, refreshments and, of course, loads of savings. You’ll see weaving, fiber blending, felting, rug hooking, lucet braiding and more!

Our Open House sale takes place both in-store and online so don’t worry if you can’t book a last minute ticket to Maine. Come on down and bring you family and friends… there’s something for all ages, including hands-on felting and a chance to try your hand at weaving. Make a day of it and enjoy the Autumnfest celebration in downtown Bath, as well!

Nothing says fall like a crisp day full of fiber and cider. See you soon!

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Any tales of international relationships are bound to be complicated, and this is no exception. But this story came to light when intricate, beautiful, Laotian weaving was a part of recent diplomatic meetings at the ASEAN summit. It is well worth a watch (or listen)! Carol Cassidy is a passionate weaver, who, after doing NGO development work in Laos, started the first US business there. The business just happens to celebrate and help preserve traditional weaving. The video is a delight – seeing the workings of simple yet complicated tools, f0r spinning, dyeing, and weaving, is enough to get any fiber artist’s heart rate up! The depth and artistry in the weaving patterns is stunning, and the success in preserving them by creating a supportive business and community is inspiring. More of this please!

 
 
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