Friday, October 23, 2009

NY Sheep and Wool Festival, Yarn Crawl

The NYC Yarn Crawl was a great success by all accounts! The stores I visited had long lists of raffle entries and new visitors. I hope everyone who participated made some wonderful new discoveries. It's amazing how different yarn stores can be from each other isn't it? Did you participate? Tell us about your experiences by leaving comments! Check their website for the winners of the raffle baskets and the Scavenger Hunt.

In other news, I visited the NY State Sheep and Wool Festival this past weekend at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds. This was my first visit to the Sheep and Wool festival and it was an eye-opener! So many knitters roving around, fondling yarn and comparing their hauls. I had a wonderful time just sitting on a bench after a delicious lunch and watching all the incredible handknits on parade. I also really enjoyed visiting the animal area, I saw the cashmere goats lining up for inspection, and got to see loads
of fiber on the hoof.

There were spinning wheels and spindles and every fiber working tool you can imagine in hundreds of vendor booths, not to mention yarn. And yarn. And knitters. Knitters fondling yarn. Knitters buying yarn. Knitters knitting on the Big Sock.

Of course, I bought some yarn myself. I had been looking for some black merino to make my husband (who will only wear black) a sweater with and you'd be surprised how hard that was to find. There was so much hand-dyed, hand-painted, yarn calling out for attention in booth after booth.  We had to listen carefully for the soft baritone of the black. And after several hours of focused searching we finally found some lovely, resonant black merino from Oasis Farm Fiber Mill.

Once that was out of the way I was able to move on to the hand-dyed variegated breeds. I must honestly say I wandered around in a daze for quite a while, unable to make a choice since I couldn't just take everything home. I did not follow the good advice from Ravelers about making lists of projects to buy yarn for. I did set myself the limit that I would buy from vendors who don't have stores and whose yarn I could only get at an event like this. Luckily, as I was passing the Silver Moon Farms booth a hank of indigo dyed Merino threw herself in front of me and said "Take me home!" So I picked her up and starting looking around at her sisters. The single-color variegations were subtle and velvety, and the hand painted sock yarns (two colorways shown here) are downright inviting. The deeper I went into the booth, the more skeins of yarn leapt into my arms. They cried when I tried to put them back on their displays or threw themselves to the ground. It was Sunday afternoon and perhaps they were getting desperate. Eventually my husband came to rescue me from the assault, but in the process was solicited by a hank of Orchid merino. A color I can only describe more technically as FUCHSIA. This is the son-of-Johnny-Cash who will only wear black (see above.) Of course, Orchid came home with us too, snuggled up with her sisters Indigo, Eclipse and Dragonfly Wings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Fall Patterns

As promised I've scored a few more images of patterns from the Fall Issue. I think I need to knit this one for my mischievous little guy...

We have some great, classic designs for men in this issue:

And some bold ones for women. I love this tweedy coat. And this long cardigan, too.
Fall issue will be available online and in subscribers mailboxes next week! Come join us in the forums and let us know what you're planning to knit.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Fall Issue Preview, Yarn Crawl Scavenger Hunt!

As Val is getting ready to send things off to the printer, I've been able to sneak a few pictures off her desk long enough to upload them here. These designs are all by Margery Winter of Winterdesign for Filatura di Crosa. The Fall Issue has many more classic sweaters for Men, Women and Children, as well as trendy, eye-catching designs for the more daring. It will be available online October 5th and finding it's way to print subscriber's mailboxes the same week. Bookstores should have it on their stands the following week.

I also have an update from the NYC Yarn Crawl coming up on Columbus Day Weekend: they've added a Scavenger Hunt sponsored by Mason Dixon Knitting and Blue Sky Alpacas. Kay will stash a dishcloth in plain sight in each of the participating yarn stores. The first person to email a correct list of the exact placement of each dishcloth in every store to will win a Blue Sky Alpacas Knit Quilt Kit. 28 skeins of bulky alpaca/merino yarn to make a 45" x 66" quilt. That'll keep some keen-eyed knitter busy and warm for a while! I'm planning to prowl the yarn stores myself, taking pictures and meeting people. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fall Peek, Greenberry House review

The Fall knitting season is upon us, I've just got my first glimpse of the Fall issue and it's a beauty! The subscribers only designer interview and pattern for this issue is the incomparable Kaffe Fassett, and I've managed to sneak a picture of the pattern from Val's desk to show you here.

I've actually been doing a fair amount of lurking around the office, looking for interesting things to put up here while we wait for the Fall issue to be ready. Watch this space for more pictures and other goodies.

The NYC Yarn Crawl is getting closer. If you're going to be in the NYC area over Columbus Day Weekend (a beautiful time to be in NY) you should check it out. We have over a dozen yarn stores participating (some of them truly amazing, but I won't name names) where you can enter to win a gift basket with enough knitting goodies to keep you busy all winter.

And while we're on the subject of amazing yarn stores, I'd like to share one I found over the summer. I was driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped in the tiny town of Meadows of Dan Va, because I liked the name so much. For the record the Blue Ridge Parkway is strung with interesting names like beads in a lace shawl: Banner Elk, Peaks of Otter. It's like poetry on the map! In any case, dinner time was approaching and the farmer's market beckoned. On my way across the street I spotted a little shop with that dangerous word, YARN, on the window. So I stuck my head in the door long enough to interrupt the knitting group and know that I needed to come back the next day for a longer visit.

I love to visit local yarn shops when I'm traveling because they're always so individual in their selections, it's more like visiting a friend than shopping. Even when the yarns are more or less the same ones I can find at home, their arrangement in the store is usually so different, not to mention all the demonstration pieces on display, that I get new ideas just looking around. Whomever's in there is usually very friendly and I've gotten some great tips for other places to visit or eat locally from fellow knitters. No online experience can really come close. So when I looked in the door, I had expected a yarn shop with an assortment of yarn that reflected the sensibilities of the owner and the people who shop there.

But Greenberry House is a different animal entirely. Here Leslie Shelor has created a true gem of locality in her corner of the world. All the yarn and fiber is the work of local artisans and farmers from Western Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina. It is an inspiring collection of fiber. Spinners will find everything from raw fleece to hand dyed roving ready for the wheel. Knitters and crocheters will find hand spun yarn in a glory of colors and weights. Leslie Shelor is a spinner herself, raising her own Angora rabbits whose fur she spins into lovely hanks of yarn. Because she is a fan of Bluegrass music all the colorways are named after Bluegrass songs.

I couldn't resist and came home with all there was of "Mary Ann" a seductive blend of Angora from her own rabbits, dyed in variegated purples and blues and plied with natural black Shetland wool. It will make something lovely when I find just the right pattern. In addition to a temptation of yarns she has fiber working tools from spinning wheels to knitting needles and crochet hooks along with needle cases, notions and almost anything else you are likely to need to play with your yarn.

Any knitter planning to leaf peep along the Blue Ridge this fall will be well rewarded by a trip to Greenberry House. And if you can't get to Meadows of Dan yourself, surf your browser on over to her website where you can learn more about the artisans and farmers she works with as well as buy yarn and spinning fibers.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Please Stand By...

...we are experiencing technical difficulties. Many of you have written to me wondering where your digital content is and why you don't see it when you log in. We are currently in the process of syncronizing the database to correct any errors so that everyone will have the digital issues and subscriber content they should have. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, please know that we are working to restore your content as fast as we can.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Knitting Along

Well the new site is finally up and running! We're still blocking out a few kinks and expect everything to be beautifully draped and fitting properly in the very near future.

Val is currently at work editing the patterns for the fall issue and I'm beginning to ease into more regular blogging. I've been kept quite busy by new site housekeeping and as a result I've neglected the blog.

I wanted to let everyone know about our partnership with Planet Purl. They have a wonderful site with extensive information about local yarn stores, book reviews, travel blogs by and for knitters and much more. If you like knit alongs you'll be interested to know that they host a fine selection. We have arranged for them to host several projects from our Summer 09 issue. The projects range in both size and level of difficulty, so we hope everyone who wants to knit along will find something they want to knit. If there isn't one for a project you're working on and you'd like to start one you can do that too!

If you're planning a trip to NYC or it's environs over Columbus Day Weekend, Friday October 9th through Monday October 12th, you'll be interested in the NYC Yarn Crawl.
This is a self-guided tour for knitters, crocheters and other fiber artists to the city’s premier yarn shops. With special demonstrations, exhibits, sales and promotions, the crawl promises to be 4 days of shopping, discovery and urban exploration for both local and out-of-town knitters. Six big baskets will be raffled off during the course of the event. Participating stores will be collecting entries from their visitors, the more stores you visit the more chances you have to win! Click here for more information.

And for those of you following the exploits of the Yarnstormers, they're at it again. This time they've woven a web of woe. That's the most adorable hungry spider I've ever seen!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Welcome to the new Verena Knitting website!

Even though knitting can be a solitary activity, knitters love to connect with one another. We like to give and get help with tricky spots, share new techniques and show our finished projects to those who really understand. The vast number of local yarn shops, cafes and living rooms hosting knitting groups is a testament to the desire many knitters have to move beyond the solitude of their favorite knitting nook, reach out to other knitters and share the joys of the craft.

Likewise, the large number of knitting websites and blogs is a testament to the many ways in which we connect even when sitting alone at our computers. There are so many opportunities to share, ask questions and show off through this wonderful online medium.

Here at Verena Knitting, we want to connect with you beyond just our magazine and help you get in touch with each other, too. We've jazzed up and streamlined our website for easier navigation. We hope you’ll participate in our forum with your questions and tips. We've added a gallery so you can upload your works-in-progress and finished garments so everyone can see what you're doing with these wonderful patterns. We've also begun a new partnership with Planet Purl where you’ll find knit-alongs for some of our current patterns (more info to come.)

No matter where you are when you knit patterns from Verena you join a group of international knitters who appreciate fashionable designs that make everyone look good. To showcase this we are offering one free pattern every day. If you're not yet a subscriber, this is a good way to test-drive one of our patterns, so check back often. Your next project just might be waiting for you. We've also made some of the hard-to-find European yarns used by our designers available in our online yarn shop. Subscribers get a 10% discount. Here’s another perk for subscribers: 10 bonus patterns per issue, downloadable from this site.

Our international sensibility and desire to connect continues in the new "Community" area of our site where we list events in the English-speaking knitting world, so if you're in North America, Australia, New Zealand or the United Kingdom, take a look (and if you're an event organizer, please let us know and we'll add your event). To keep up with these and other developments in between issues, you can sign up for our free E-newsletter, where we'll announce the winners of our online contests and other news.

And last, but not least, is this blog, Knittitude, written by me—Gretchen Fancher—your new online editor at I'm honored to be part of this exceptional, international group of knitters and consider myself incredibly lucky to be working with such beautiful patterns. I'll be here online to help answer questions and listen to your suggestions. I'll be blogging about my own experiences knitting Verena patterns, sharing peeks behind the editorial curtain, interesting events and more. Become a fan of our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to find out when new posts are up. You can reach me at I'd love to hear from you!