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Portrait of Emily Werner

Handwoven November/December issue – just in time for holiday weaving!

I love Handwoven, but I don’t think I’ve ever devoured an issue as quickly as I read the new Handwoven Nov/Dec 2017 issue! This issue celebrates weaving history with fascinating articles and projects centered on the weaving giants of the 19th and 20th century. Some of the names were familiar, like Weaver Rose, Bertha Gray Hayes, and Mary Meigs Atwater. But some were new to me, like David Xenakis, Betty Davenport, and Carol Strickler. I can’t wait to learn more about them and their styles!

Prim Rose Table Runner, in 10/2 Pearl Cotton, by Norma Smayda and Ann Rudman.

As a perpetual lover of overshot, I was instantly drawn to by Madelyn Van Der Hoogt’s article The Draft: Overshot Threading Then & Now. It’s a wonderful guide on how to use overshot patterns no matter how they are written. She demonstrates how a single overshot pattern can be written twelve different ways, depending on the weaver, the publication, the time period in which it was written, whether it’s balanced or unbalanced, and the manner in which it’s treadled.

Deb Essen’s article, Record Keeping, discusses the importance of taking good notes as you weave and having a standardized method of recording information. She includes the types of information that are relevant to record, as well as how to use technology like cameras and computers to store valuable weaving data. Tom Knisely tells us about his recent trip to Hartland, Michigan, a town rich in little known weaving history and Norma Smayda talks overshot and how she unknowingly became the owner of 270 handwritten weaving drafts by Weaver Rose. The story gives me goosebumps!

Combinatory Play Miniature Table Runner, in 10/2 Pearl Cotton and tapestry weight wool, by Krista Richey.

The issue also includes 10 projects for rigid heddle, 4-shaft, and 8-shaft looms. They range from a Goose-Eye Baby Blanket by Nanette Mother (inspired by Mary E. Black, author of A Key to Weaving), to a Finnweave Runner and Oven Mitts by Marty Benson (inspired by David Xenakis), to the Combinatory Play Miniature Table Runner by Krista Richey (inspired by Bertha Gray Hayes), an 8-shaft pattern that actually combines two overshot patterns into one project by threading one on the first four harnesses and another on the the last four harnesses. The only thing better than one overshot draft is TWO overshot drafts! I may need to get an 8-shaft loom…

Finnweave Runner and Oven Mitts, in 5/2 Pearl Cotton, by Marty Benson.

The rich history of weaving is what continually draws me back into the craft and it is inspiring to see new weavers using historical drafts and patterns as jumping points to design contemporary projects. Be sure to grab yourself a copy of this Handwoven issue, you won’t want to miss it!

P.S. For help with record keeping we offer great Project Worksheets, available for download. If you’re looking for things to make for the holidays, or to put on your wish list, the annual Gift Guide is a treat too!

 

 

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Incredible Indigo

eMail Share • By: Sierra Roberts
Portrait of Sierra Roberts

Incredibly Easy Indigo!

Indigo dyed bed linens from the book Natural Color, by Sasha Duerr.

It’s easy to fall in love with the distinctive blue hues of indigo. It’s also surprisingly easy and incredibly fun to turn your favorite yarns and fibers blue with this ancient dye. At our Open House this year we’re celebrating this wonderful blue dye with a community indigo dye vat. It looks like magic, but it’s surprisingly easy to explore indigo on your own too!

Detail of an indigo dyed cotton wall hanging, by Barbara Goldberg,  from the book Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing, by Yoshiko Iwamoto Wada, Mary Kellogg Rice & Jane Barton.

Indigo is an anciant natural dye, derived from the leaves of the indigo plant. Known for the beautiful shades of blue it produces, Indigo can be used on both protein (animal-based) and cellulose (plant-based) fibers. This unique dye offers a world of possibilities, and evidence of its rich history can be seen all over the world. Safe and non-toxic, this is a great dye for clothing, or try it for table linens or curtains, you name it and we promise it’ll look good in blue!

Detail of an indigo dyed garment by Virginia Davis, from the book Shibori, The Inventive Art of Japanese Shaped Resist Dyeing.

If you’d like to try your hand at indigo dyeing here are some items we recommend:

 

Earthues Dye (Indigo - So Asian, Sky blue-midnight) requires a bit more finesse and creates gorgeous color, or for something a little easier we’re delighted to discover the new Pre-Reduced Indigo, which doesn’t require heat or quite as much prep to prepare the vat. These will require the following materials:

 

For some great books that feature natural dye techniques and fascinating indigo and natural dye lore:

 

Caring for your indigo dyed goods, and a note about crocking…

The way Indigo works is by building up dye materials and bonding onto the surface of the fibers. That means that sometimes a little friction may cause a little bit of blue to rub off. Ever end up with blue legs after wearing a new pair of jeans? This is called crocking, and it is completely normal. Indigo is quite colorfast as soon as it hits the air out of the vat and oxidizes, even when it crocks. If your fingers are a little stained after knitting with some Indigo dyed yarn, don’t worry – it’ll wash right off.

While it isn’t always necessary to give your newly dyed fiber a thorough wash, this step will help keep that lovely blue from transferring onto lighter colors. How to wash your fiber depends on what you dyed:

PROTEIN FIBERS (Wool, aplaca, silk, etc.)

Before washing, try letting it soak for an extra 30 minutes or so in cool water with a generous glug of white vinegar to neutralize the remaining dye solution and help protect the fibers. Hand wash your fiber in cool to lukewarm water using a mild detergent. Do not agitate, just swirl it around gently for a minute or two. Rinse in lukewarm water and hang or lay flat to dry. Tip: Be super gentle, especially when dying unspun roving! The pH of the Indigo vat has made this fiber very delicate and more prone to felting!

PLANT-BASED FIBERS (Cotton, linen, hemp, etc.)

Yarn: Hand wash gently in lukewarm to warm water using a mild detergent, no need for the vinegar rinse. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry.

Fabric/clothing: Hand or machine wash by itself. Dry as desired; hang dry is recommended.

 

 

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Portrait of Gretchen

Annual Halcyon Yarn Open House, In-store & Online!

Halcyon Yarn Open House – Saturday only!

Saturday October 7th, 2017 • 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Halcyon Yarn Retail Store • 12 School St. Bath, Maine 04530

Join us for our huge annual open house sale and celebration at Halcyon Yarn! Every October we welcome visitors from all over the country for a giant yarn party – we hope you’ll join us this Saturday for a fun-filled day of fiber arts. The day includes prizes, demonstrators, refreshments and great savings all day!

Please note that telephone customer service will not be available Saturday. Feel free to leave a message (no orders please) and we’ll return your call when we’re back to business as usual next week!

Open House is online too, until midnight Saturday:  HALCYONYARN.COM

Can’t make it in person? Shop online until midnight Saturday and save! All orders placed online between midnight EST Friday and midnight EST Saturday will receive the same great savings you’d receive in person. You’ll get at least 10% off, plus we’ll draw a mystery discount for your chance at 15%, 20%, 25% or even 30% off your order! You’ll receive a special fall coupon with your order on Saturday too. Please note, discount excludes Floor Looms, Gift Certificates, special order items, and bulk price three.

What to look forward to in the shop!

Everything in the shop is at least 10% off, plus when you get to the register, you have the chance to draw a higher discount out of the basket. Your total discount could be up to 30% off! There are plenty of additional items on sale too. Enjoy great savings and fiber arts demonstrations, plus free refreshments – including local cider and snacks served all day!

Indigo – New this year, we’ll have a community indigo vat that you may dip yarn or finished fabrics and small garments into. Dipping is free, you just need to bring something you want to turn blue! Dips will be from 11:00-noon and again from 1:30-3:00. White yarns and cloth will be available to purchase, or you can bring your own!

Demonstrations include: tapestry weaving, rug hooking, spinning & fiber blending, weaving, lucet braiding, warp painting, lamp-work glass. Woven rugs by Hector Jaeger will be on display with an opportunity to meet the artist.

If you haven’t been to the store recently you’re in for some surprises! We’ve made some fun renovations and we’ve made even more room for amazing yarn, fiber and tools. Come by to see what’s new…

A great time to visit Bath, Maine!

Not only is our annual Open House a terrific day, there’s a lot of great stuff going on in Bath, so why not make a weekend of it! Whether you’re from around the corner or traveling many miles… Bring friends and family (even non-yarn-loving ones!) for a beautiful New England weekend. There’s plenty of parking at the store and getting here is easy. It is peak foliage season and October 7th is also Bath’s annual Autumnfest so there are plenty of activities for the whole family right here in our charming downtown. Located less than an hour from Portland, or Rockland/Camden, and less than three hours from Boston, the Bath area makes a great weekend trip if you want to experience fall in Maine!

Click for more Autumnfest details and Bath area visitor information.

Whether you’re here for Open House, or planning to visit another time, we’d love to see you here in Bath! Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean visiting season is over. The Halcyon Yarn retail store is located in downtown Bath, on Coastal Route One in Midcoast Maine. We’re open 7 days a week and we love welcoming visitors from all over the world to our shop and to our community. Take a class, test drive equipment, sign up for a lesson, or just enjoy browsing over 6,000 square feet of distinctive yarns, fiber, books, and equipment! Bath is also home to great B&B’s a lovely waterfront downtown (a Great American Main Street winner!), as well as being close to many beautiful Maine coast attractions – here are a few area highlights:

  • Downtown Bath: Shopping, dining, art galleries, historical architecture, and beautiful city parks are all found in our friendly and easily walkable downtown, along the picturesque Kennebec River.
  • Maine Maritime Museum: Bath is know as the City of Ships, and the nationally acclaimed museum’s 20 acre waterfront campus, next to the Bath Ironworks shipyard, offers visitors a unique look at the culture and history of the region’s maritime history. With galleries, including the newly opened “Into The Lantern: A lighthouse experience”, trolley tours around town, and river cruises on the Kennebec, there’s something for everyone at the museum.
  • Reid State Park, Fort Popham & Popham Beach State Park are both within a half hour drive from the shop and offer sweeping ocean views, sand beaches, hiking, and excellent wildlife viewing.
  • Freeport: Home of L.L. Bean & outlet shopping is also less than half an hour from us. Stock up on classic bean boots to compliment your handknit socks!
  • Portland: Less than 40 minutes south is Maine’s biggest city. A vibrant food and art scene, with a small port-town feel. Check out the great dining, shopping, and cultural offerings or take a cruise on Casco Bay!

 

See you at Open House!

 

 



Portrait of Gretchen

Our favorite holiday towel kit is back in stock!

Festive Waffle Weave Dish Towels make a great handmade gift and this simple to weave kit makes 3 finished towels. With just one warp, make some for yourself or to give as gifts. The waffle weave structure creates an especially thirsty and durable kitchen towel in super absorbent unmercerized Homestead 8/2 Cotton Yarn. The holiday version of these kits includes a metallic stripe to bring a little bling to your kitchen this winter.

Kits are available in Red or Green with gold highlights, or Blue with silver highlights. Each kit contains the instructions and enough yarn to make three towels, approximately 17″ x 28″ finished. You’ll need a four shaft loom and a reed capable of a 20 epi sett (10, 15, or 20 dent will work), plus shuttles. Strong, pretty and machine washable, with cute little waffle pockets, these towels are easy to weave, even for new weavers.

 

Pattern draft is available available separately if you want to choose your own colors too. The Waffle Weave Dish Towels are a favorite gift and a fun project for weavers of every skill level!

 

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Portrait of Sierra Roberts

Hello Baby Blatt!

As the proverbial saying goes, all good things must come to an end. That’s why we are sad to say we will no longer be stocking Baby Ull Merino Wool Yarn. (So scoop up a great deal on what’s left!) It’s been a good run (many years, in fact), and although we’re bummed to see it go we are equally excited to welcome a new baby-geared yarn line in its place: Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn.

 

Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn is similar to Baby Ull in many ways, and slightly different in others. While both of these yarns are 100% superwash wool, Baby Blatt is noticeably softer than its predecessor. Baby Ull has most recently been sold as 180 yard/ 50 g ball, whereas Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn clocks in at 195 yards/ 50 g ball. Both yarns boast a color palette intended for (but not limited to) little ones, with plenty of shades to choose from. I don’t want to sound unappreciative of the wonderful pastels and soft tones of Baby Ull, but Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn introduces some newer, modern brights into the mix as well as offering the more predictable, tried and true baby shades. Another plus about this beautiful yarn is that it is made in the same mill that’s been producing it for decades. Named for legendary French knitwear designer Anny Blatt, Baby Blatt is spun in Provence, France, and the quality and care are evident in it’s luxurious feel. The fun colors, easy care, and extra-soft hand make it possible to knit awesome wee sweaters like the one shown below:

 

The sweater above is just one of many adorable projects found in Bouton d'Or No. 31 that can be made using Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn. Some of you might be familiar with Bouton d’Or Baby Superwash from France – these two yarns can be used interchangeably. Here are a few other charmers from the same book:

 

  

That textured yellow pullover above reminds me of a popular grown-up pattern we carry here at the shop, the Jo Sharp Ariel Double Moss Sweater - Pattern Download.  That’s a neat coincidence of course, but the Bouton d’Or books are just full of other projects that I wish I could make in my size. These pieces below (especially the striped one on the bottom) are a perfect example, and they can be found in Bouton d'Or No. 28.

 

The Bouton D’Or books I’ve mentioned come in a packet – originally printed in France, the glossy color copies are in their native language. A separate booklet is included that provides an English translation for each pattern.

Now since I’ve mentioned the other two books, I can’t leave the last one out! Bouton d'Or No. 25 contains the onesie pattern that started it all. When our lovely Anny Blatt representative came by to show us this yarn, she pulled out her own hand knit version of the onesie shown below. One touch convinced us that this soft yarn sure does make for comfortable, wearable baby clothes!

Looking through the collections in these books, I’m amazed at how many different results you can achieve with this versatile yarn. Baby Blatt by Anny Blatt Yarn doesn’t just have to be used for babies, either! This yarn is a great choice for just about any fingering weight project, from socks to shawls and everything in between. As we head into the holidays, there are so many great little garments to make for your favorite munchkins. These wee pieces knit up fast so there’s plenty of time if you start your stitching now!

 

 

 

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Portrait of Sierra Roberts

Head On Earwarmer

I was taught how to knit right around the time I was learning to read. 25+ years later, and I’m still always hankering for new quick-fix projects. Regardless of how much experience you have under your belt, everyone likes a little instant gratification sometimes. But while these projects may be quick-n-easy to some of us, my greatest joy comes from seeing the excitement in a new knitter’s eyes when they realize they can make it too.

That was exactly my goal when I created the Head On - Earwarmer Pattern Download, and two kits to go with it. This project uses just 40-50 yards of Bear Creek yarn by Kraemer, a big bulky wooly yarn that features a uniquely wavy construction. This waviness comes from a super thin nylon thread which is wrapped around the fluffy wool. This not only provides added strength, but it also creates a nice, rustic texture. 

 

Walnut Torte (our color 1816) was the color I chose for my first headband, which was inspired by my love of turbans. Simple moss stitch amps up the natural texture of this yarn, making mistakes harder to spot (perfect for new knitters!). First knit a rectangle long enough to stretch around your head, then make another shorter rectangle to sew around the first one. It’s that simple!  Here are the details:

Head On Earwarmer – Free Pattern

Materials:
• US 15 straight knitting needles
• 1 skein Bear Creek yarn by Kraemer (or approximately 45 yards bulky weight yarn)
Tapestry needle

Headband:
Cast on 9 stitches. Establish moss stitch as follows:

Row 1: *K1, p1; repeat from * to last stitch, k1.
Rows 2 & 3: *P1, k1; repeat from * to last stitch, p1.
Row 4: Work same as Row 1.
Continue in moss stitch until headband measures approximately 19.5″, or until the piece fits around your head, slightly stretched. Bind off all stitches knit-wise. Break yarn, leaving a long tail to be used for sewing center seam.

Fold headband in half and sew the two short edges together. Set aside.

Center piece:

Cast on 7 stitches. Work in moss stitch until piece measures 5″. Bind off all stitches knit-wise, leaving a long tail for sewing.

To finish, wrap center piece around headband seam with both short ends meeting in front. Sew these short ends together, then turn center piece inside out. Adjust center pieces so that its seam is on the inside of the headband, and so that it covers the headband seam. Weave in ends.

•  •  •

One skein of Bear Creek yarn by Kraemer will make two headbands with some yarn left over.  \Don’t want to buy a whole skein for one little headband? The Head On Earwarmer Kit - Walnut Torte and Head On Earwarmer Kit - Blackberry Tart conveniently contain enough yarn to make just one, and the pattern is included so you won’t have to hunt this post down again.

 

Lastly, I never make a project without imagining how it would look knit up in a multitude of yarns. For brighter, machine washable headbands with just as much forgiving texture Caracol Yarn by Malabrigo would be awesome. If you’d rather have a solid colored piece with a more clearly defined moss stitch, Ushya Yarn by Mirasol is just the warm, soft yarn you need. Or, go through your stash and see what you come up with! Remember – you can also hold multiple strands of thinner yarn together to achieve a bulky gauge. So many options, you might have to make this more than once. Better start knitting!

 

 

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