Online Yarn Tasting Party!
I’m pulling the cord, we’re doing it, we’re hosting our first FREE online yarn tasting party via Zoom on Sunday March 14, from 3 to 4pm. Spend an hour chatting yarn (and what to do with it) with yours truly, Haley!
Attendance is FREE, but you need to register by ‘purchasing’ the Online Yarn Tasting Party on our website and checking out through our online store. After you check-out you’ll automatically receive a link to download a PDF document packed with event information, including the Zoom meeting link, instructions, swatching suggestions, and a survey where you can submit topics you’d like us to discuss. You do not need to have purchased the Berroco Spring 2021 Yarn Tasting Kit (see below), but it is advisable since these are the yarns we’ll be talking about.
To get your engines running, I’ve started uploading Spring & Summer Kits using Berroco’s yarns to our website. Everyone’s experiencing feeling burned out (otherwise know as COVID fatigue), and I think it’s really important right now to actively look for small, achievable things to look forward to and put us in the present moment. I just came across this short podcast on Covid Fatigue on “This Matters” (The Toronto Star) which might give you a little boost (they make some good recommendations, but I also just felt better having my feelings validated).
You may be wondering what’s up with the mini-sweaters in the picture above, and what they have to do with sampling yarn and yarn tasting. Knitting mini-sweaters is currently my favourite way to date new yarns to see how I feel about them. Please note, it does NOT give me an accurate gauge or tension for the yarn, but I do glean lots of other insights from the exercise. It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to make on of these little guys and it’s slightly futzy work, which means we spend a good chunk of time together.
- I get to experience the texture, see how it behaves (or does not behave), figure out what size needles work well, etc.
- I get to feel how much I enjoy working with it, how fiddly it is, how it finishes and blocks, and how much I like the finished product.
- I get an idea of how it is to *really* work with, including increasing, decreasing, picking up stitches, weaving in ends, and blocking.
- After I finish my mini I can choose to take things further and make a larger, proper swatch and go deeper, or we can graciously part ways.
- At the end I have an adorable little ornament to display and share. I tag & label mine and keep them in the store for reference, but you may have other uses for yours, including holiday decorations (tree ornaments, swags, wreaths, advent calendars, holiday cards), little gifts, or you can put them in a picture box frame and display them as art.
- One of the biggest reasons why I mini-sweater sample … I find it entertaining and I don’t get bored.
Mini Sampling Suggestions:
- Pattern: Cheers
- Use short, 5″ or 6″ double pointed needles. I find the longer 7″ and 8″ ones are too fussy.
- Needles that are less slippery are better than more slippery, especially if you are working with fine yarns or summer yarns (cotton, bamboo and other cellulosic fibres, silk, rayon … anything that doesn’t have any ‘grab’).
- Feel free to elaborate and modify the pattern: change the style, needle size, ribbing, increases, etc.
- You don’t have to make sweaters – you can try mini-hats, mini-mittens, mini-socks, mini-pants, or an easy-peasy pennant.
- If you like the sweaters but get tired of making the same vanilla sweater over and over check-out Berroco’s annual Minutia patterns; every holiday they put out new free patterns for little tree ornaments, including sweaters, hats, mitts, socks and more.
Now, I’m not advocating you sample yarns this way, this isn’t a “you must”, or a “you need to”, or a “you should”. This is me and it fits my needs, so file it under the Free to be You an Me tab as “you might like to, but you also might not, which are both cool”. I own a yarn store and have to test yarns out to see if I think clients are going to enjoy working with them and love the projects they make with them. You have to do what works for you. I share my experience in hopes that you’ll feel inspired in some way to do something that brings you enjoyment. I can only be me, you can only be you, so you do you, I’ll do me, and we’ll share and inspire each other!
Berroco Yarn Tasting Kit
This season Berroco is doing something neat and is making their Spring Yarn-Tasting kits available to the general public (via their retailers, like us). It contains samples of the new yarns they are launching or promoting this season, which you can swatch and work experiment with. I receive one of these kits every season and I dutifully swatch with my sample to get a feel for the different yarns. It helps me decide what to order for you, but also it gives me insight into what’s out there, even if I don’t want to carry it (sometimes people come to me looking for something specific and I can special order it for them).
A Yarn Tasting Kit might be for you if:
- You are thinking about making a spring/summer project (or two) and want to find a yarn that makes you happy.
- You like swatching (some people sincerely do enjoy it, they exist, I know them).
- You’re allergic to wool (or know someone who is) and want to try-out some alternatives (5 of the 6 yarns included in the kit are wool-free).
- You’re stuck in a bit of a rut and you’re ready for a gentle exercise to help you moving outside of your comfort zone.
- You like ‘NEW’.
- You don’t like ‘NEW’, but you’re tired of being afraid of it (file this under ‘comfort zone’ above).
What you’ll get in your Yarn Tasting Kit: