A new special issue from Interweave has found its way to the shop: take a peek inside Felted.


Felted covers all manner of felt crafts, from needle felting and wet felting to stitching with felt, whether found or created.


Some of these projects begin with yarn and knitting needles and are then wet-felted in the washing machine; others are constructed from woven Zoom Loom squares. Some begin with thrifted sweaters, mined for feltable knit fabric; others begin with ready-made felt fabric, or colorful wool roving. What they all have in common is felt, which is a sturdy compressed wool fabric full of possibilities.


Look for Felted on the teacart with the newest books and magazines. See you at the shop!

Shibori felting with Alchemy yarns.

Gina Wilde is the mind behind Alchemy’s rich colors, a dyer and designer who dreams up interesting uses for the yarns she paints. We always look forward to her color consultations at TNNA–here she is back in May, helping us select harmonious colors in all four Alchemy yarns we ordered.


Many of her designs use a shibori felting technique, where Alchemy Sanctuary and Silken Straw are knit together, then thrown in the washing machine to felt. Sanctuary, a blend of merino wool and silk, felts into a velvety fabric, while Silken Straw stretches out and softens. The combination of the two in one garment yields unique textures and shapes, and adds an exciting, transformative final step to the knitting process. Last year, I tried shibori felting for the first time, knitting a “Simple Shibori Cowl” in bright, warm shades of Sanctuary and Silken Straw.


We’ve seen lots of beautiful color combinations come together for this project; Mary knit these two “Simple Shibori Cowls,” which were featured on the blog for show and tell.


Our new shades of Sanctuary and Silken Straw make for even more fun combinations. Here are a few I put together; I can’t wait to see what other knitters will come up with!

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Earlier this spring, Anne finished her “Widsom Wrap,” a much larger shibori project.


DSCN2888 The “Wisdom Wrap” calls for one shade in Sanctuary and four in Silken Straw. We’ve restocked Anne’s colorway, a beautiful mix of purple, greens, and dark brown.


Of course, I couldn’t resist putting a few other “Wisdom Wrap” colorways together, this time with a bit of glitter from Sparky.

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Come by to select colors for a “Wisdom Wrap” of your own, or search for other shibori felting patterns on the HYS Pinterest page. See you at the shop!

Wisdom Wrap, in progress.

Right before we left for market in June, Anne started knitting a Wisdom Wrap, one of Gina Wilde’s shibori felting designs for Alchemy Yarns. We’d seen (and played dress-up with) a Wisdom Wrap at market the year before, and kept it in mind all year.


It’s an unusual piece, but simple to construct. The first step is to make long stretches of i-cord with Sanctuary, a luxuriously soft blend of merino and silk. Then stitches are picked up along the length of the i-cord and knit up into garter stitch rectangles using Silken Straw.


The end result is a kind of i-cord scaffolding, which frames the Silken Straw color-blocks. When the knitting is done, the Wisdom Wrap is ready to be felted, just like the Simple Shibori Cowl. The Sanctuary i-cord shrinks and felts, looking almost like a velvet rope, and the Silken Straw rectangles soften and stretch out. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but having seen the finished wrap at market and tried it myself on a smaller scale with the cowl, we feel confident that a successful shibori transformation awaits. In the meantime, Anne is hard at work on the wrap, working lengths of i-cord in between blocks of garter stitch–soothing knitting.


Besides the meditative knitting process, one of the major joys of an Alchemy project is choosing from their outstanding, vibrant color palette. Though she was picking from a smaller selection, before our colors numbered in double digits as they do today, Anne put together a beautiful colorway for her Wisdom Wrap, which calls for one shade in Sanctuary and four in Silken Straw.


In selecting colors for a Wisdom Wrap, one strategy is to begin with the Sanctuary, which comes in variegated colorways. From there, you can use the same colorway in Silken Straw, and then pull out three solid colors in the Silken Straw that appear in the variegated color you’ve chosen. Anne is using Sanctuary in color “Dark Star,” and Silken Straw in “Dark Star,” “Jungle Juice,” “Citrine,” and “Coco Rosie.” As I was arranging the Silken Straw in its basket, I couldn’t help but play the Wisdom Wrap game, putting potential colorways together, sometimes following the strategy I just laid out, sometimes not.





I could play this game all day. Come in to plan a Wisdom Wrap of your own!


Hello again, Alchemy.

One of the most exciting orders we placed at TNNA this year was with Alchemy Yarns of Transformation. We first discovered Alchemy at last year’s TNNA, when we dipped our toe in the water with a few colors each in two of their yarns, Silken Straw and Sanctuary. Back home at the shop, the Alchemy yarns were a hit; many admired the sample White Caps Cowl that Anne knit up, striping Silken Straw with Habu Cotton Nerimaki Slub. We loved seeing the different color combinations that our knitters put together, and it wasn’t long before our stock of Silken Straw had dwindled to a mere handful of skeins. We knew we’d dive in deeper with Alchemy the second time around, and now that our big TNNA order has arrived, you can see exactly how deep we dove.


At TNNA in June, we sat down with Gina and Austin Wilde, head alchemists over at Alchemy, and they helped us carefully select an astonishing 20 colors in Silken Straw, and 8 in Sanctuary, a soft and springy blend of merino and silk.


The two yarns are often used together in Gina Wilde’s signature shibori felted designs, so it was important to create complementary palettes in each yarn. We admired all of Alchemy’s knit samples at market, and came home with two special skeins to create an Alchemy sample of our own: the Simple Shibori Cowl.

alchemy cowl before

This lacy cowl is constructed of both Silken Straw and Sanctuary in a straightforward feather and fan pattern, then (gulp) thrown into the washing machine to be felted. The Sanctuary felts because of its merino wool content, shrinking into a fuzzy, velvety stripe whose individual stitches are no longer distinguishable. Meanwhile, the Silken Straw stretches out, becoming softer and draping gently.

alchemy cowl after

I confess, I held my breath as I tossed the cowl in my washing machine, but it quickly became clear that there was nothing to be afraid of. I checked every minute or two to see how the felting was progressing and removed the cowl when it was done, then laid it flat to dry. The transformation was fascinating, and the finished cowl is lightweight and lovely.


Want to make a Simple Shibori Cowl of your own? With all these colors, there are many beautiful combinations to choose from.



Look for the Simple Shibori Cowl pattern in the Alchemy pattern binder, where you’ll find plenty of interesting uses for these singular yarns.



Anne has a Wisdom Wrap on the needles, a little over halfway done–more on that another day. Come by the shop to see all our Alchemy yarns and patterns, and to plan your next project!


Show and tell: a sweater, a bag, and stockings.

I’ve got a bit of show and tell to share today: three finished projects from two knitters whose enthusiasm for their finished knits is infectious. Let’s begin!


Ruth came in last week modeling her Fan sweater, a design by Marianne Isager from her book Japanese Inspired Knits. Ruth used two Isager yarns held together: the fingering weight Highland and the lace weight Alpaca 1, which together make a dk gauge and a unique texture. Ruth was in Anne’s class on the Fan and was the first to complete her sweater; I look forward to seeing all the other Fans as they’re completed!


Cynthia has been felting up a storm, and came in recently to show off the fruits of her labor. Here’s a felted bag with a cable motif made with good old Plymouth Galway, a sturdy, classic, worsted weight wool.


She also brought in a box of her incredible felted stockings, also made with Galway. I have no doubt that Cynthia hung them with pride today; what a delight to decorate with something hand made.


Thanks to Ruth and Cynthia for the beautiful show and tell, and to all the knitters and crocheters who bring their works in progress and works completed to share with us at the shop. We’re so grateful to be surrounded by such skilled and creative stitchers!

Ella Rae Classic Wool.

This week, we have select yarns on sale at the shop, and they’re a diverse bunch. Among the ribbon yarn, self-striping sock yarn, bulky tweed, and fuzzy boucle, you’ll find Ella Rae Classic Wool. One of the bunch, but different.

Classic Wool is so named for a reason: it’s a basic, smooth, worsted weight wool, a real workhorse yarn. With 219 yards on each 100 gram ball, it’s a generous skein, enough for a pair of mittens, a hat, or a small scarf. It’s one of the yarns we suggest to beginning knitters, who find it well-behaved and easy to use. Classic Wool is also perfect for felting projects, like bags, slippers, hats, hotpads, and oven mitts. Anne knit this one with Classic Wool held doubled, which ensured a sturdy felted fabric.

Come by the shop this week to get Classic Wool at a 25% discount! Our last week of Going-to-Market sales will end when we close up shop at 5:00 pm on Sunday the 17th. Hope to see you at the shop before then!

Local Color Hues.

A brand new batch of roving for spinning and felting has just arrived at the shop, hand-dyed by local fiber artist Lorin Fields.

This 100% merino roving from Local Color Hues is buttery soft, and comes in super-saturated semisolid colorways. I’m not a spinner, myself, but these are extremely tempting little bundles of fiber nonetheless. I imagine that it would be a pleasure to work with, and could be transformed by a spinner into some really special yarn.

Come by the shop to see Local Color Hues roving up close. You’ll find it tucked in the Local Yarns corner, next to wool roving from Brightside Wool.

Brightside Wool.

We were approached recently by a woman who, as a former sheep owner, had an excess of unspun wool. She showed Anne a few puffs of roving, dyed in a handful of solid hues, and explained that this one was 100% Shetland wool, while that one was a blend of Cotswold and Shetland, with some Lambswool mixed in. Anne petted the roving as the woman asked, would you like to carry it at the shop? Why, yes!

We have only a modest selection of wool for spinning at the shop, namely Great Adirondack’s hand-dyed Blue Faced Leicester, so we were only too happy to take on a small selection of locally produced roving. Look for Brightside Wool roving right alongside the Great Adirondack roving, near the desk.

Needle felting.

This week, we got some beautiful new needle felting kits from Fiber Trends.

The kit comes with everything you need to start needle felting: instructions, needles, a foam mat to work on, and twelve colorful puffs of roving. If you’re interested in needle felting, check out one of the Ravelry groups devoted to the craft: Needle Me This. There, you’ll find many pictures that answer the question, what can you make with needle felting? From embellishments for knitted or felted items to sculptural representations of creatures real and imaginary, there is a lot you can do with this technique, particularly if garments are not your thing. I’m not a needle-felter myself, but my good friend Andrea (who regular blog readers may recognize as a gifted sock-knitter) has done some particularly interesting work with needle felting and stop-motion animation. (Check it out, if you would, and don’t be too shy to leave a comment!) Anne just ordered some new books on needle felting for the shop, so we can look forward to those, as well, for further information and inspiration on the topic.

Here’s to the forever-expanding possibilities for creating with fiber. See you at the shop!