Thursday, July 30, 2015

Rumpelstiltskin: Spotlight on a LYS

We at Brown Sheep feel that local yarn shops are the heart and soul of the fiber arts. We cannot begin to express how important local yarn shops are for delivering our yarn to customers, and for providing instruction, support, advice, and a sense of community to go along with it. Local yarn shops make sure the arts of knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning, tatting (there are so many more!) will continue to grow and flourish rather than die out.
The front window--I love the yarn flowers
Although the internet is certainly changing the way customers purchase things, I think it's doing some really great things for the world of fiber arts such as giving people access to hundreds of new ideas, and the ability to connect with like-minded crafters across the world.
Today we would like to feature Rumpelstiltskin in beautiful Sacramento, California. This store is located on historic R street in downtown Sacramento--and has been in business at this location for 44 years!
The storefront--actually all of these businesses look wonderful!

Rumpelstiltskin is owned by Linda Urquhart, who studied design at UC Davis and opened the shop after graduating. Rumpelstiltskin offers a wide variety of classes including knitting (3 days a week), crochet, weaving, spinning, and felting. There are 6 knowledgeable staff members.

Linda says they've been a customer of Brown Sheep forever, and love our yarns! Oh, how I would love to visit this delightful shop in Sacramento someday.

Wall of hats

Once a year, Rumpelstiltskin has a sale day where the customers come in wearing something made with yarn from the shop.  They love seeing what amazing projects their customers have made.

Throughout their 44 years, I'm certain Rumpelstiltskin has made a valuable contribution to the surrounding community. Thanks for being ambassadors of warmth, color, and joy!

LYS owners, employees, or fans: help us use this wonderful tool called the internet to share photos, stories, and info about your LYS! Feel free to contact me at

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Prairie Hand Knits: Trunk Show Time

Prairie Hand Knits in North Platte, Nebraska has a special place in my heart. This is one of the first yarn shops I ever got to enjoy, in my very own hometown. Prairie Hand Knits has recently moved to a new location in North Platte and Vicki, the owner, has done an amazing job remodeling the building.  As yarn shops are few and far between in Western and Central Nebraska, Prairie Hand Knits draws in knitters and crocheters from all around the region.

This month, Prairie Hand Knits is displaying the trunk show for Green Gables Knits. This is basically a collection of finished projects from Joanna Johnson's wonderful book--all patterns inspired by Anne of Green Gables.  This collection of patterns speaks to the hearts of many knitters (kindred spirits) who have fallen in love with Anne Shirley, Gilbert Blythe, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, and Diana Barry. I myself have knit Anne's Sweater from this book and I LOVE it; it's become a staple in my fall and winter wardrobe.

Anne's Sweater knit with Lanaloft Sport--If you're not a sweater veteran, this pattern is a great first sweater to knit.

Prairie Hand Knits has done a beautiful job of displaying the projects. Vicki has used antique trunks to show off the yarn and books. If you will be in North Platte this Saturday, stop in for an open house between 1:00 and 5:30. . . rumor is, there will be cookies. :)
A gorgeous display of Lanaloft, Shepherd's Shades, and Cotton Fine

Marilla's Apron and Miss Stacy's Shawl

This trunk show is available to any local yarn shop who would like to put the garments on display for one month. If you are a LYS owner interested in getting the trunk show, feel free to give us a call.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A Taste of Weaving at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins

If you haven't been to Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins in Boulder, Colorado, then you need to experience it. This is probably the most extensive yarn shop I've ever been in.  I'm pretty much getting used to being around a huge amount of yarn without spazzing out--but this store has so many looms, spinning wheels, and books! A person could move in there and not get bored for months.
This weekend, my mom and I were immersed in a weekend weaving class taught by Judy at Shuttles, Spindles, and Skeins.  Even though we had already learned the basics of how to warp a loom, there was still a large amount of information to absorb from Judy. We wanted to know how to do the calculations correctly, how to read the pattern charts, how to set up our looms for more complex weaves, and how to fix mistakes! Judy planned this course to maximize our learning within a short period of time--we even had a homework assignment on Saturday night.
Judy, our fearless leader

The first day of class was a step-by-step on how to warp the loom, then weave a small sampler piece. Judy broke down the process into a bunch of small, manageable steps which she would first demonstrate, then let the students loose to complete on our own looms. Time went by very quickly during the class because we were constantly progressing to new and different things. We learned a few different methods of finishing a woven piece.
A few of our samplers from Day 1

Our mission for the second day of the class was to plan and finish an entire weaving project. We Nebraskans needed to bring our projects home at the end of the day so I made a sampler of "mug rugs", or coasters. This was a great way to practice reading simple charts, weaving several different patterns, and hemstitching multiple edges.
Twill in progress. . . I think 'twill be a nice project.

I couldn't help but marvel at Judy's teaching ability. I was actually reminded of watching my brother teach kayaking on a swift-current river. It really takes a lot of patience to cater to each person's needs and skill level, and remain upbeat and encouraging when things get messy or frustrating. Some students in the class chose more complex projects that they could come back and finish throughout the week.
Julia's cotton placemat piece

Marian working on her piece

Roger weaving away

This class was a wonderful experience--it was a great mother-daughter weekend, plus we now have the foundation needed to take off with weaving. There's nothing more invigorating than learning.
My mug rugs before and after felting

Mom's mug rugs and bookmark--made with Pearl Cotton