Literally, it’s a thread that conducts electricity! So iPhone 5 dropped today (if you pre-ordered and hit the option to pickup in-store that is…) and “Apple Fans are Jubilant”. Big Whoop! $800 for a phone is really incredible especially considering advanced technology these days (should be readily available and definitely affordable) and it’s never $300 better than its predecessor so… But it does make this post somewhat more fitting.
Don’t you hate it when it’s freezing cold outside and you have to text a friend or answer your smartphone but can’t because your gloves are on? I do! But not enough to have to wear one of those types of “digital-ized gloves” you see in a lot in sporting goods stores. But now I have another option, I CAN MAKE MY OWN PAIR!
I just discovered this thread while browsing through a Knit Picks flyer on the train the other day. The photos above are from Knit Picks and if you look closely at the Pointer Finger and Thumb you can see a little added embellishment on the fingertips. Those little embellishments are stitched on using Conductive Thread! The Conductive Thread allows the wearer to operate touch devices like iPhones, iPads, Galaxy Tabs, your new Galaxy S3, (my Android HTC Inspire) etc.
How Does It Work?
This Conductive Thread is a 2-ply thread made of steel fibers and can conduct electricity and complete circuits just like a wire. It comes in a little bobbin containing about 4-10 meters of this special thread. Simply sew it on to the fingertip of your next hand-knit gloves and voila! Instant “E-Tip” gloves. I don’t know just how effective this Conductive Thread is in practice but it could be worth a try for my next glove project.
E-Textiles and Conductive Clothing
There’s been a lot of “digital” clothing and accessories for awhile like jackets that are wired to charge up your mobile phone when placed in a pocket or plugged into a panel and of course sport gloves by the likes of North Face or Marmot with conductive pads on the fingertips that allow you to operate your GPS tracker while scaling the iciest peak on Mount Everest. So this little bobbin of conductive thread is especially nifty because now it means we can add this to any one of our own homemade projects! GO DIY TECH!
Electronic textiles (e-textiles) are fabrics that have electronics and interconnections woven into them, with physical flexibility and size that cannot be achieved with existing electronic manufacturing techniques. Components and interconnections are intrinsic to the fabric and thus are less visible and not susceptible to becoming tangled together or snagged by the surroundings. An e-textile can be worn in everyday situations where currently available wearable computers would hinder the user. E-textiles can also more easily adapt to changes in the computational and sensing requirements of an application, a useful feature for power management and context awareness.
–E-Textile Research Lab, Virginia Tech
Makezine has a nice little blog post about it here. Googling “e-textiles” or “conductive thread” will also generate a wealth of info on anything from conductive fabric to wearable computers to programming arduinos (which is what threads like these are especially useful for).
Where To Buy
Conductive thread comes in bobbins or spools and can come in varying diameters, lengths, and resistances. Knit Picks sells this thread in bobbins of about 4-5 meters each for $4.99 each. Spark Fun sells this Conductive Thread in various lengths and diameters for more advanced projects. Prices range from $2.95 for 30ft to 175 yards for $39.95. They have a wide range of 2-ply, 4-ply, thick, thin, extra-thick, and even thread with different connectivity resistances. So check out their page for the best option to suit your needs.
Look what I found when I went to visit Lancaster, PA earlier this year! Well actually I didn’t find it. I totally missed it. My BF found it and got it for me as a surprise :) :) :) Score! AWESOME FINGER PIN CUSHION!
It’s a tiny little pin cushion that fits on your finger! Traditional ones are much larger and strap onto your wrist. They’re much handier for the serious home sewer since they can hold a lot of pins at once. But this one is great for small projects and such. Plus it’s really cute!
It was freezing cold but we managed to browse around Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA and we also stumbled across this whole cache of Quilting and Yarn Stores right nearby! Jackpot! That’s where I found places like The Old Country Store and Bitty Kinna’s. And the Lancaster Yarn Shop where I first saw the Knitter’s Pride Interchangeable Needle Set in person! They remind me most of the Knit Picks Interchangeable Sets.
I bought my first Quilt Block Kit and am planning to make my first quilt block shortly! I found it at a quilting wonderland of quilt stuff and fabrics at The Old Country Store. I cracked it open and, although I’m excited to start, it was a little confusing already! The fabrics I got did not match the pattern, so it wasn’t easy to figure out which pieces were meant to be cut into what squares. I’ll have to tackle that soon though.
I ate Chipped Beef and Shoofly Pie for the first time. I. LOVED. CHIPPED BEEF! Ha. Which was basically some type of sliced corned beef or pastrami-type deli meat smothered in this white flour/milk/butter gravy. I ate it for breakfast! But didn’t care for the Shoofly Pie much which was basically sugar or corn syrup baked into a pie crust. We also ate Whoopie Pies! YES! We went to the Canning Kitchen in KKV and sampled a huge variety of pickled vegetables, pickles, jams, and spreads. Everything was weirdly sweet IMHO. But in general the food was great (albeit gut busting and not the most diet conscious). Great for every once in awhile or a little splurge.
We stayed at Eden Resort Best Western. The service was so warm and friendly, they made our stay very nice. The room rates were great and came with an awesome breakfast buffet each day! It was seriously the best meal I had all day while visiting. The bathroom was spotless and had these cool dual shower heads one with a rain shower head from the top and some water jets from the sides. The entire hotel was well kept and clean. They also had wonderful amenities like indoor and outdoor pools and whirlpools and sauna. The indoor one was really nice, it was crowded with kids (and not the cleanest) but decorated really nice. Great for families with kids and nearby attractions like Dutch Wonderland.
We saw lots of horse drawn buggies clopping around, weirdly old fashioned yet with modern materials. It smelled like horse poop everywhere, even at the hotel! There were even metal posts found along the streets for buggies to tie up their horses. It was affordable, we went in the off season, took the Amtrak (although a car is really needed) and trudged around in the snow. But we had a lovely little “country” getaway from NYC that turned out to be a great knitting and sewing trip too! (more…)
Meet Shrek, he is a Merino Sheep and one of New Zealand’s most beloved icons. He was found wandering the wilderness on his own so debilitated by his overgrown coat because his fleece hadn’t been sheared in 6 years! As the story goes, he escaped his flock in search of freedom or perhaps to satisfy his wanderlust and evaded shearers by hiding in caves in the wild mountains of Otago, South Island. When he was finally caught in 2004, he became a national hero. They removed 60 pounds of fleece from Shrek when he was finally shorn at Golden Gate Lodge in Cromwell by Peter Casserly, a former world blade shearing champion.
Just how much yarn can come from 60 pounds of fleece? Well there are about 453 grams in each pound, and an average ball of yarn is about 50 grams, making about 544 balls of yarn from Shrek alone! I heard this story at a friend’s rooftop BBQ where there was a Kiwi visiting from New Zealand! I mentioned that I was going to the Sheep & Wool Family Festival. It turns out Shrek had just passed away earlier this year :( But he was celebrated in many ways. He spent his days traveling around as an advocate for the virtues of Merino Wool, a very sustainable resource, as well as the “poster-sheep” for Cure Kids charity helping them raise $170k. Icebreaker, a New Zealand outdoor apparel maker (kind of like our Patagonia), famously made him a merino wool sweater to wear! Oh the irony.
Eco-Friendy – Sustainability – Renewability
Why is Shrek on this blog? Did you know that sheep need to be shorn in order to maintain a healthy life? I did not! And I learned about it through Shrek the Sheep! I knew Merino Wool was eco-friendly but did not know why until now. I always knew wool came from sheep (in general), a natural resource, and when you think yarn you think wool! But I did not know that it was a material that makes use of something that is a necessary process when caring for sheep.
This makes Merino Wool an entirely renewable resource, a resource that is not depleted when harvesting. Which in turn makes it very sustainable and a bonus is animals do not have to be killed or harmed during harvest. All this adds up to merino wool being very ECO-FRIENDLY! Something I first discovered while making this Papercut Patterns Circle Top. The instruction booklet it came with mentioned that Merino Wool was a very sustainable material. It sparked a whole search into sustainable fibers!
Shrek gets shorn http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/archive-video-shrek-sheep-gets-shorn-9-41-4207609
Other famous sheep http://www.sheep101.info/famoussheep.html
UDPATE: I was talking to the Mad Scientist about this sheep wool thing. And he noted that although it is sustainable, sheep (domesticated) are bred to grow lots of fleece which is why they do require shearing. This may or may not color the notion that Merino Wool is Eco-Friendly depending on how you look at it. If it’s humane to breed, keep, and then harvest and process this wool, and then ultimately returned gracefully back to the earth, then this material is earth-friendly. However, the ethical implications may not make it so savory. Depends on how you look at it and as always determining if something is eco-friendly is never so black and white.
If the above gallery doesn’t work, see my Picasa Album for the full gallery.
I made it out to The Sheep & Wool Family Festival up in Rhinebeck, NY and it was so fun! It’s a veritable yarn wonderland, so many lovely yarn producers were showing and there were many sales to be had. I had the chance to see Qiviut in person for the first time. It’s a very luxurious yarn made from Musk Ox down. Swoon. Aside from the wonderful yarn, wool roving, books, tools, and miscellaneous trim offerings, there was a small zoo for kids and animal lovers alike. We also got to see all the winning sheep breeds and their beautiful and varied coats.
And the food. The food was an attraction on its own. Lamb everything (no comment) from soup (delicious) to sandwiches to kebabs to even Shepherd’s Pie, sausages (The Kielbasy on a Stick was YUMM), fries, pretzels, and so much more. There were also many artisan food booths from cheese to hot sauces. Delightful.
For those who need bulk yarn or are serious Knitters or Crocheters in need of mass quantities of high-quality artisan yarns this festival is worth the visit. If I wasn’t already crushing under a gigantic yarn stash it would have been the perfect opportunity to “stock up”. I did manage to get a whole bunch of beautiful buttons from a few booths and some Noni Design patterns though. For those who just might want a day out in the “country”, it’s a nice day trip out of NYC.
To best describe it – My darling boyfriend, who was nice enough to spend the day with me, said it’s like a WoolCon, kind of like ComiCon (a giant conference for Anime, Video Game, and Comic nerds), but for wool! The fall leaves were changing and it was crisp and cold but not too cold! It was the perfect day out and a welcome change of scenery for this city mouse.
It was a bit hard to get to – about a 2-hour ride on the Metro-North railroad and then finding the shuttle bus took some sleuthing but all around it was worth the trip. One slight gripe was instead of the $9 admission, they charged us $12 admission.
Thanks to Craigston Yip III, Esq. for the photos! ❤
Fall is officially here! Love it or hate it, summer is over :(. It also happens to be that time of year where… Holiday season is coming up! So it’s time to start planning your holiday gift knitting, sewing, or crochet too. Yep, can’t believe how time flies either… Anyway, more about that later!
I was looking for a one day getaway outside of the city the other day and found this while on the hunt! It’s the New York State Sheep & Wool Festival that takes place up in Rhinebeck, NY. It’s a hike! It will be quite a long trip but for those New Yorkers and fiber fanatics looking for a one day getaway or a weekend getaway this fall, Rhinebeck could be a lovely little trip.
The northeast’s thriving sheep industry is showcased and celebrated each year in this famous festival that draws 30,000 visitors from across the country to the lovely village of Rhinebeck. And there’s more here than sheep, llamas, alpacas, and their luscious fibers. Your day will include 300 fiber artists and crafts galore, amazing sheepherding demonstrations and sheepdog trials, a petting zoo, hay maze, and other children’s activities, plus the ever-popular Punkin’ Chuckin’ competition on Sunday. By the time you add in great food and music (even a fiddler or two), it will be time to go home and you’ll start counting the days until the 2012 Festival. — New York State Sheep & Wool Festival
There are also wonderful workshops like Spinning, Weaving, Yarn Painting, Dyeing, Bavarian Crochet, Portuguese Knitting, Basket Weaving, Oh My! Check out the Workshops page for all the nice classes. And of course there will be yarn, yarn, yarn! From local vendors to vendors like Lion Brand Yarns, Knit Picks, and Webs.
Sheep & Wool Festival
The Dutchess County Fairgrounds
6550 Spring Brook Avenue
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Saturday, Oct 15, 2011 ~ 9-5PM
Sunday, Oct 16, 2011 ~ 10-5PM
HOW TO GET THERE:
You will take the Metro-North Railroad to the Poughkeepsie stop. This stop is on the “Hudson Line” train. From there you will have to take a bus to the festival. The Metro-North Railroad trains can be caught at Grand Central Terminal, right here in NYC at 42nd Street and Park Ave. To buy “the package”, go up to the ticket teller and request the “New York State Sheep and Wool Family Festival Package”. It will include roundtrip fare and admission. See below for further details.
Get this Package: Metro-North Getaways
Get on at: Grand Central Terminal
Take this train: Hudson Line
Get off at: Poughkeepsie Station
Roundtrip Fare: $31.50
Roundtrip Shuttle: $5.00 (not included in package price) Approx. 45 minutes
Festival Admission: $9.00
If you’re not leaving from New York City, there’s lots of other ways to get there too. So be sure check out their website for other modes of transport.
All pics in this post by Garret C. Lown
I recently discovered KnitMap!. Find your local yarn shop by simply typing in your Zip Code!! I tried it with my zip code and it is really comprehensive. It’s aim is to provide a searchable directory of local yarn shops neatly mapped out on Google Maps from all over the world. Just type in a city, state, country whatever! You can also rate and review! Complete with store hours, directions, and contact information.
Ever away on vacation or just travelling a different city/country and looking to pop into a local yarn shop ? I do. So if you’re crazy about yarn, this directory is especially handy dandy.
It’s also especially handy for when you’re running around town looking for a special tool or shopping for a specific yarn/fiber for your next wonder design and need to raid EVERY LYS you can find.
Put your yarn store on the map too by adding it to KnitMap. Help us find your store!
Update, June 11, 2011: Dude, Where’s My Yarn is also an online directory I found recently. Not as slick nor as comprehensive as KnitMap but it could be a great supporting resource! A fun tidbit I noticed was that New York had the highest number of yarn stores per state listed, 80! With Pennsylvania in 2nd place with 76! Yes, New York could quite possibly have the most yarn stores per state in the country! Since it is user driven it’s not really clear if that’s actually accurate. It may just be that some states are not as internet saavy or have yet to find the site to post their store but you get the idea! Neat!
The elusive “local yarn shop”. If you’re an avid Knitter or Crocheter living in Manhattan then you’ll know a decent local yarn shop is a rare beast. Our frenetic city and its people have plenty of personality but not enough time for the personal. I find yarn shops here have trouble with balancing personal attention with what New Yorkers need. Professional!
So many shops just end up succeeding in being eccentric and moody with none of the benefits an LYS or a well run yarn shop can provide. I appreciate all the uniqueness that makes an LYS an LYS but I want one that has it all without having to intrude, pry, or cajole for the service.
Lion Brand Yarn Studio ~ 34 W. 15th Street, New York, NY 10011 ~ (212) 243-9070
Which is why Lion Brand Yarn Studio is worth its own mention. It’s the perfect combination of local yarn shop along with what I’m looking for in an NYC yarn shop! Personal yet professional attention. Unlikely on first glance since Lion Brand Yarn is actually a large nationwide company that you’d normally associate with a more mass market approach. But no. Their lovely bright studio, 2 floors, has all the character and style of a small boutique store but without the prices and all the comforts and perks a large store can afford!
Nowadays there are Purl Sohos and Lion Brand Yarn Studios, the two shops that come closest to what I’m looking for here. But it wasn’t so long ago that finding a passable yarn shop was just short of demoralizing!
So what’s so great about it? (more…)
Flying Fingers Yarn Shop
15 Main Street, Tarrytown, New York 10591
(914) 631-4113 (877) 359-4648
Field trip! I recently discovered something called the Yarn Bus. Which led me to Flying Fingers Yarn Shop in Tarrytown, NY about 40 minutes from Grand Central Station. A magical little shop set in the picturesque little town known for historic Sleepy Hollow. This shop is floor to ceiling, chock full, every nook and cranny, a veritable explosion of yarn. All hand curated by Flying Finger’s shop owner, Elise Goldschlag. This little yarn shop houses a distinctive collection of handcrafted yarns from all over the country and beyond.
It’s The Yarn Bus!
The Flying Fingers Yarn Bus will take Manhattanites from New York straight to their shop up in Tarrytown. Free! I didn’t take it myself but loved the idea. Especially because it’s so handy. You can save on a subway or train ride and take advantage of non-Manhattan prices while getting outta “Dodge”! Perfect. If you can catch the Yarn Bus, it’s no different than heading down to Brooklyn General. You can avoid all the stuff you don’t find appealing about New York yarn shops too. Like prices, crowds, and meager selections. They’ve made getting there easy, so what do you have to lose? The Yarn Bus runs on Saturdays and Sundays and makes roundtrips twice a day. Making a reservation is required so do call ahead. The Flying Fingers Blog also chronicles the Yarn Bus’s travels across country.
YARN PORN! For those obsessed with all things knitting and crochet! And of course, YARN! Yarnaholics, Knitaholics, Crochetvolutionaries – I just discovered this wonderful blog all about yarn! Well pics of yarn that is. And lovely too. The nice details in the photos let you see they yarns’ fiber and texture up close! Great for ideas and inspiration when looking for suitable yarn for your next project. All without leaving the comfort of your own home. Very nice! Thanks Yarn 365. Heart your blog! Thanks for sharing your passion! yarn365.blogspot.com
So… Anyone who is into Knitting or Crochet will have a “stash”! And people usually treasure them because they are all the little yarn gems they’ve carefully collected. My yarn stash is bad but I guess it could always be worst. Anyway, I’ve just begun Sewing and now have to deal with a new stash already… So I had to do some managing…
All my yarn, and now fabric collections, take up a lot of space in my shoebox (albeit cute!) apartment. And I’m not a fan of hoarding or clutter either! So it takes some vigilance to manage these stashes that can easily grow out of control. Despite being as stringent as possible and trying to use up my old yarn for new projects before I purchase more, I still have a mountain of yarn.
You’d think you could keep it to a minimum by only buying and having yarns to match specific patterns. Once they’re done they’ll be “outta your hair”… But no. The reality is you must have some around for when the mood strikes you – for a quickie pattern or experimenting – or you will have some around when an abandoned project gets unraveled and yarn reclaimed for another project. Or perhaps you went gaga over that one you must have. And lastly, obsessing over yarn just comes with the territory.
But Fear not, it happens. And if it’s your thing then great! But this post is about ways to keep your stash to a bare working minimum without sacrificing too much. So here are some ways I try to keep my stash in check:
Purchase Yarn Only For Specific Patterns So find a pattern you’ll be making before buying your yarn. Then only buy yarn that can accommodate the pattern. The reality is yarns are very unique and hard to substitute unless you’re advanced. Artisan or handcrafted yarns are especially hard to gauge. Projects where size does matter will require you to knit test swatches for the correct gauge or even convert pattern instructions in order to accommodate your yarn. So be weary of impulse buying.
Keep A Yarn Book Don’t buy that “must-have” yarn yet. Instead, take down all the essential details first – Brand, Collection, Style Number, Color, Fiber Content, Yarn Weight and Gauge, Recommended Needle and Hook Sizes, Price, and the Store you found it in! Take a sample if the store permits.
Then consider researching some suitable patterns for it. Then a suitable purpose, will this be a gift? For graduation? Then consider how soon you’ll get to the project and when you’ll need it done. At least this will keep it from hanging around in your house! If the yarn is rare than use your best judgment. It’s probably expensive. So maybe it’s best to wait anyway!
Use the Yarn Book as an archive too. Keep your personal samples from previous projects here for future reference! I have a Yarn Bag actually. I save the yarn labels, tape yarn scraps onto the labels, and throw them in a bag. Then dump them out and wade through them when I need to take stock. When I’m done I just stuff them back in. Sometimes the labels even have the price tag still on them so I can get a general idea of prices. It’s quick and dirty but very effective. I don’t have to waste time copying down all the info either.
Organize and Protect Make it easy to know what you have. I like certain (utilitarian) things like tools and supplies well organized and loosely cataloged! Who wants to waste time looking for cleaning supplies, a screwdriver, whisk, or whatever?! I’d rather have more freedom with pretty/fun things. So try to keep your stash easily accessible by grouping yarns in a way most relatable to you. This is what I do:
I keep similar types of yarns together. For example – Lace Mohairs, Kid Mohair, Angoras together. Or all my artisans handcrafted wools together. All my Noros together. All my cotton baby weights. All my random or novelty yarns together. Etc. Whatever makes most sense to you and your stash.
Ziploc Bags! Then I use lots of large ziploc bags to both organize and protect. I put the above groups in large ziplocs. I leave the tags on and face them out so I can easily pick up a bag and see the label and its details. I even stuff the receipt in there in case I need to know what store I got it from. I also squeeze out all the air before zipping and it saves space! This also helps protect delicate yarns and keep them from unraveling when you’re digging through a mountain of yarn. This also make them easy to pull and look at etc. I just open up a box and rifle through to scan.
For my econo and mass market yarns like Red Heart Super Savers, I just dump into a box. They’re durable (and acrylic) and very easy to find online. Everything from yarn details to where to buy are right on the web. So there’s no need to waste effort on ‘cataloging’ them in this way.
Research and Design Projects For Your Existing Yarn Have lots of yarn lying around? Look up the yarn by name or by brand and check out the manufacturer’s website for patterns tailored to your specific yarn. Oftentimes the yarn or yarn website (even the back of the yarn label!) will have suggested projects just for it. Try to find a suitable purpose for these projects! Use your yarn to make them. Repeat!
If you’re comfortable enough, try to match other patterns that might be suitable for your yarn. Or come up with your own design idea to make use of your yarn.
Don’t Hoard It’s sometimes hard to let go of all those special yarns. Once used up, they’ll be gone for good! You may never find that yarn again!! Let it go. Instead, find a really special and especially fitting project for it. For a very special occasion. Maybe you’ll be excited to see your beloved yarn blossom into it’s full potential (ha!). Then get knitting so it can be properly enjoyed.
Keep a sample, scrap, or swatch in your Yarn Book! Include all the info I listed above for some added security. Truth is you can probably find a very similar and just as precious yarn in the future. As long as you keep the essential information. Simply shop around using that info and see what options come up!