Arcadia Knitting

Welcome to the blog of Arcadia Knitting, Chicago's largest yarn store! Owned by sisters Kathy and Sharon Kelly, Arcadia has been serving the Chicago knitting and crocheting community for over six years. Keep up with shop news and read more about our ongoing adventures in yarn...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Honey - Don't touch the yarn - it's hot!

Wednesday night I tried out Louet's new sock dying kit. It was fun. I made mistakes and the yarn still turned out. The kit contains three 50 gm skeins of yarn, 3 jars of dye, a squeeze bottle, wool wash, directions for dying and a sock pattern.

I mixed the dye with too much water. I read the numbers on Sharon's electric teapot as ounces not cups or whatever those numbers meant on the side of the pot. Sharon says the pot is from Norway and she has never thought about those numbers. So who knows. I probably used three times more water needed to mix the dye.

The entire process took less than an hour and a half. Soak the yarn for half an hour in wool wash to prepare it for dying. The actual dying time was about 30 minutes and then the yarn goes in the microwave for two 4 minute "bakes". Then it dries, gets washed, dries again, and gets knit.

The squeeze bottle is not an exact instrument. The squeeze bottle urped dye unexpectedly. Your ability to target and control the dye placement is limited. The wet dye does travel/seep into the yarn.

I am not a zen, contemplative person making an artistic statement in an altered state. I did not have a master plan for these skeins. I made some stripes and some dots. So, your time to dye may take longer if you are more into the process.

I will post a picture of my results. I used the brown color ways. The kits come in brown, blues, reds, pinks and greens. They are in stock at Arcadia Knitting.

The title is what I said as I brought home the skeins fresh from the microwave to dry in the bathroom: "Honey - Don't touch the yarn - it's hot!"


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Chicago Magazine shops guide just came out and we're in it again. I can't believe we've been in business for over six years. It was just days ago .... wait, wait ....years ago that I called the magazine and really pitched them about urban crafters are important shoppers and the magazine would be ahead of the curve if it included yarn stores, bead stores, etc. The section has grown in depth and breadth. Yeah!! We're a recognized market to be served.

It's a thrill to be in print. I am validated by my husband, family, my business and the guys at the bank almost every day. But every now and then black ink on white paper helps.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

We've got photos up on a Flickr page from our Knit Blogger Meetup!

Don't forget - this Saturday is Yarn Swap! Check out our website for more details.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Andorra alerted me to a crocheted sweater by Michael Kors in Saks on Michigan Avenue. (third floor, by the east escalator) I went to see it this morning. Camel colored, 100% cashmere yarn from Italy and made in China. Unlined. Price: $1265.

Now, let me tell you what it really is: a very simple stitch and a very simple shape ..... with patch pockets. The stitch is nothing more than a *2 dc in next st, skip 1 st* repeat. The workmanship is exquisite and the yarn feels great. But if you think knitting and crochet are expensive hobbies, you can save yourself oodles of money by making it yourself. Arcadia Knitting has patterns that are very similar, or if you're the type who likes to go for it, take your measurements and go!

I can think of a number of yarns in the shop that would be great for this - the Margrite from Karabella, a cashmere/merino blend, Ultra Alpaca from Berroco, alpaca & wool, and Bel Air from GGH Muench. Cost of the wool would be from $120 - $300 depending on what you choose. The Michael Kors sweater comes only in camel. I don't look good in camel. Another benefit of do-it-yourself: pick your own color.

You can make great things for yourself. This is a classic look and you can wear it for years.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome to the
Arcadia Knitting blog! What better way to kick things off than to talk about our blogger meet-up that we hosted on Monday, July 31st? On one of the hottest days of the year people showed up to meet the bloggers they read and meet their readers. New friends were made, old friends met face to face. We gossiped a little, ate and drank a little... and of course, we knit and crocheted, too!

Corrine from Lucky Penny Handmade brought some of her fabulous doggie knits (and some of her fabulous doggie models) to share with everyone. Franklin showed us a fantastic poetry mitten pattern in the latest issue of Piecework and also gifted us with our very own Franklin Habit signed original for the shop. Dee, Gail and Lynette - who collectively run the new pattern website The Island of Misfit Patterns - stopped by; so did Aidon, Christine, Lucia, Elisabeth, Angela, Mary Beth, Katy, Samantha, Marsha, Rachel, Esther, Julie, Macarena, Arissa, Lisa and lots more.

We also had our first sneak peek of new fall yarns:

Ultra Alpaca - by Berroco, Alpaca and wool, super soft, great quality,
215 yards, 5/sts per inch

Brushed Suri Alpaca - by Blue Sky Alpacas, Suri Alpaca, super soft, a
great deal, 142 yards, from 2.5 - 5 sts/per inch

Bel Air - by GGH Muench, Wool and nylon, super soft, 147 yards, 4 -
4.5 sts per inch. A very light weight yarn at a bigger gauge.

Plus some new Lorna's Shepherd Worsted. Super soft, too. Four hanks
make a baby blanket. It's washable!

We had snacks, we had prizes and everyone went home with a goody bag.

Elisabeth walked away with our grand prize for her most embarrassing tale of email woe. She won two skeins of Lorna's Shepherd Worsted in Bittersweet, a sparkly Skacel crochet hook, a signed copy of SnB Happy Hooker, a fabulous signed illustration by Franklin and a gift certificate to Arcadia. You can read Elisabeth's winning tale here.

Pictures from the event are coming. Got a great one from Monday night you want to share? Send us a copy and we'll post it.

Thanks to everyone that came out to our blogger meet-up! We hope to do it again sometime in the future. Want an invite to our next one? Make sure to sign up on our mailing list to get the details about this and future Arcadia events.

Our blog is born!