Category Archives: Store News

Shop Happenings: North Idaho Fair Winners and Socktober

Summer is officially over, and we’re a week into Autumn.  It’s been a busy summer here, with no signs of slowing down on the horizon.

The North Idaho Fair

was the last week of August, and we had quite a few of our knitters enter projects.

It’s always fun to go look at all the beautiful knitted, crocheted, and handspun projects in the fiber division.  There are usually a couple spinners from the local spinning guild, the Log Cabin Spinners, demonstrating on their wheels and spindles as well.  We love supporting the fair and spreading the love of fiber arts far and wide.

This year we had quite a few winners.  Here are some of the winning entries.

Becky with her Sliding Leaves socks that won first place in the sock category.
Becky with her Sliding Leaves socks that won first place in the sock category.
Becky also received the Grand Champion prize for this beautiful piece of knitted lace.
Becky also received the Grand Champion prize for this beautiful piece of knitted lace.
Susan Melka's beautiful sweater using handspun yarn.
Susan Melka’s beautiful sweater using handspun yarn.
Another of Susan's creations.
Another of Susan’s creations.
Scarves
Look at all the scarves!
Our very own Kelley Hobart won First Place in the scarf category with this entry.
Our very own Kelley Hobart won First Place in the scarf category with this entry.
Kjirstine won Superintendent's Choice with her scarf made from her own handspun alpaca.
Kjirstine won Superintendent’s Choice with her scarf made from her own handspun alpaca.
Four of our knitters:  Debbie Drake, Cris Anderson, Becky Acree, and Sandy McCause.
Four of our knitters: Debbie Drake, Cris Anderson, Becky Acree, and Sandy McCause.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Next month is

Socktober!

 

Socktober

Knit a pair of socks or leg warmers and send us a picture!  You can submit it on our Facebook page or just tag your photos on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) with #ADSocktober!

All entries will be voted on via social media and the winner will get a $25 gift card!

So get knitting!  Entries are due by November 7, 2015.  We’re looking forward to seeing all the wonderful socks and leg warmers!

 

Welcome Alpaca Yarn Company!

patternLayoutLogo

In our ongoing efforts to bring you high quality yarn from independent companies and dyers, we’d like to announce the addition of

Alpaca Yarn Company!

Alpaca Yarn Company is owned and operated by Beth Lutz.  She is a lifelong knitter with an eye for high quality yarns.  She owned an LYS before taking over the Alpaca Yarn Company.  As an alpaca owner, alpacas are her favorite fiber producing animal (a sentiment we at Alpaca Direct can totally get behind).

three_alpacas

Alpaca is lustrous and soft – rivaling cashmere in softness, but beating it out of the water on price.  It is also strong and one of the best fibers for temperature regulation.

Here in the shop we have two offerings from Alpaca Yarn CompanyClassic Alpaca Tweed and Halo Watercolors.

Classic Alpaca Tweed Woad

Classic Alpaca Tweed – This yarn is a luscious 85/15 alpaca/nylon blend.  It is a light worsted yarn with 110 yards per 50 gram hank.  It features natural colored flecks, giving it the distinctive donegal tweed look.  It is great for everything from sweaters to accessories.  Though, given alpaca’s tendency to grow, we recommend seamed sweaters over seamless ones.  (For more on that subject, check out our post about the two sweater construction options.)

Halo Watercolors Abstract

Halo Watercolors – This yarn comes in beautiful handpainted colorways.  It is a 78/22 blend of brushed Suri alpaca and nylon.  The brushed Suri alpaca is what gives this yarn its mohair-like halo, without the itch of mohair.  It is a laceweight yarn that comes in 50 gram hanks of 257 yards.  This yarn makes beautiful scarves, shawls, and cowls.

Come in to check out the new yarns in person, or throw a hand or two in your cart on the website and give these lovely yarns a try!

Independent’s Celebration – Palouse Yarn Company

PYC logo copy

 

It’s time for our last featured company for our Independent’s Celebration.

This week’s featured company is Palouse Yarn Company!

Palouse Yarn Company is a fairly recent addition at Alpaca Direct.  These yarns are squishably soft and come in rich jewel tone colors.  My personal color palette is made up largely of jewel tones and dark, rich colors.  The rich tonal colors fit perfectly in my stash.

One of the other things I love about Palouse Yarn Company is that they’re quite local.  The other features we’ve done this month are small companies based in Canada and Uruguay.  Palouse Yarns is based in Moscow, Idaho and headquartered at The Yarn Underground there.  I enjoy being able to support local companies, and I always feel a sense of connection to them even if I’ve never met the owners in person.

cropped-cashmere-squeeze-yarn-pic1

Palouse Yarn Company is owned and run by Shelley Stone.  She’s been a knitter practically her whole life (she says she was taught to knit as a child to keep her occupied during the long winters in Maine so she wouldn’t drive everyone crazy).  More recently she took up dyeing as a side project that has now expanded to become Palouse Yarn Company, producing the wonderful yarns we get to play with and enjoy today.

All Palouse Yarns are hand dyed in small batches in Shelley’s backyard studio.  She loves getting to recreate the colors that inspire her with her own fibery pursuits.

At Alpaca Direct we carry Palouse Yarn Company’s Merino Fine, Merino Lace, and Cashmere Squeeze.

Merino Fine Sour Cherries

Merino Fine is a fingering weight single ply yarn.  It is made from 100% Superwash Merino wool.  It comes in four ounce hanks of 475 yards.  This yarn makes beautiful lightweight accessories and baby items.  It will beautifully display both open, lacey patterns and cables.

Merino Lace Night Sky

Merino Lace is a lace weight single ply yarn made from 100% Superwash Merino wool.  It is an even finer version of Merino Fine.  It comes in four ounce hanks of 825 yards.  It is perfect for creating heirloom lace pieces as well as everyday scarves, shawls, and stoles.

Cashmere Squeeze Wheatgrass

Cashmere Squeeze is a sport weight yarn made of 75% Superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, and 10% Silk.  It comes in four ounce hanks of 400 yards.  This lovely soft yarn makes beautiful lightweight garments and accessories.  The softness combined with its superwash content make it a good choice for heirloom quality baby items that can also be used.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of posts featuring our independent dyers for our Independent’s Celebration.  We’ll be featuring more of our independents throughout the year.  We know how much love and care the creators of these yarns put into their work.  We love to support them and hope you do, too!

Independent’s Celebration – Malabrigo

It’s time for the next featured company for our Independent’s Celebration!

This week’s featured company is Malabrigo!

I first discovered Malabrigo several years ago, before Alpaca Direct opened here.  I was still pretty new to quality wools and luxury yarns at the time, having spent most of my knitting life getting cheap acrylic from big box stores.  By this time there was one local yarn store (LYS) in the area, and a new one was opening.  My mom (who is also a knitter) and I went to check it out.  Now, as I’m sure you know, when visiting an LYS you must go around and pet all the yarns that strike your fancy.

We came upon a stack of what would turn out to be Malabrigo Lace.  I instantly fell in love.  I think it was the softest yarn I had ever touched up to then, and it’s still in the top five.  The softness combined with the rich colors keep it in my list of favorite yarns.

My mom bought a hank and knitted me an Estonian lace scarf with it for Christmas.  I still wear that scarf all these years later.

Hats made from Malabrigo Twist and Malabrigo Merino Worsted.

Malabrigo is a family owned company based in Uruguay.  They started in a kitchen in 2005 with small batches of hand dyed yarns.  They slowly grew and now distribute their yarns worldwide.  They have added new yarn lines to their original Malabrigo Merino Worsted and Malabrigo Lace over the years, and long ago outgrew their first kitchen workshop.

They have maintained their commitment to producing one of a kind colorways and high quality hand dyed yarns.  Their commitment extends to using local (to them) wool producers, and all of their yarns are made with wool from Uruguayan farms who allow their sheep to range freely and care for them in humane ways.  For their yarns that use other fibers, they source their silk and alpaca from farms that show the same commitment to their animals and the environment as the Uruguayan sheep farms.

Their environmental commitment extends beyond their yarn sources to their manufacturing.  Their superwash process now meets Oeko-Tex standards, which means the yarns are free from harmful agents like formaldehyde, heavy metals, and other toxic chemicals.  Since I often recommend Malabrigo yarns for baby things, knowing this makes them an even better choice in my opinion.  They also use solar energy to heat the water used in their dyeing process.

 

At Alpaca Direct we carry Malabrigo Rios, Arroyo, Chunky, Finito, Lace, Worsted, Rasta, Silkpaca, Silky Merino, Sock, and Twist.

Malabrigo Rios Purpuras

Malabrigo Rios is a worsted weight superwash yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 210 yards.  It is a 4-ply yarn, making it great for sweaters, hats, scarves, and baby things.

Malabrigo Arroyo Indiecita

Malabrigo Arroyo is a sport weight superwash yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 335 yards.  Like Rios, it is a 4-ply yarn, so it is great for lighter weight garments and accessories.

Malabrigo Chunky Ravelry Red

Malabrigo Chunky is a bulky weight yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 104 yards.  The bulky weight makes it great for quick knits and warm, thick sweaters, scarves, and hats.

Malabrigo Finito Arco Iris

Malabrigo Finito is a fingering weight yarn.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 200 yards, with five hanks per dye lot.  It is a plied yarn suitable for fine gauge garments and accessories.

Malabrigo Lace Baby Merino Whales Road

Malabrigo Lace is a lace weight yarn made from super soft baby Merino.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 470 yards.  It is a single ply and makes beautiful lace scarves, stoles, and shawls.

Malabrigo Merino Worsted Polvoriento

Malabrigo Merino Worsted is a worsted weight yarn of super soft Merino.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 205 yards.  It is a single, and is great for accessories that don’t see hard wear.

Malabrigo Rasta Baya Electrica

Malabrigo Rasta is a super bulky yarn.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 90 yards.  It is a soft, slightly felted single ply, making it great for quick knits and accessories.

Malabrigo Silkpaca Archangel

Malabrigo Silkpaca is a lace weight yarn spun from a 70/30 alpaca/silk blend.  It comes in 50 gram hanks of 420 yards.  It makes beautiful lace shawls, scarves, and stoles.

Malabrigo Silky Merino Mares

Malabrigo Silky Merino is a DK weight yarn spun from a 50/50 silk/baby Merino blend.  It is a single ply that comes in 50 gram hanks of 150 yards.  It is great for lightweight but warm accessories.

Malabrigo Sock Ivy

Malabrigo Sock is a fingering weight yarn made from 100% superwash Merino.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 440 yards.  It is great for socks as well as other lightweight garments, accessories, and baby things.

Malabrigo Twist Stonechat

Malabrigo Twist is an Aran weight yarn made from 100% Merino wool.  It comes in 100 gram hanks of 150 yards.  It is a plied yarn, making it great for sweaters, hats, and other accessories.

All Malabrigo yarns (except Silkpaca) feature the same super soft Merino wool for which Malabrigo is known.  All yarns come in the full spectrum of colorways offered by Malabrigo.  They are hand dyed in small batches of rich jewel tones and one of a kind colorways.

Malabrigo Nube Lavanda

In addition to the lines of Malabrigo yarns, we also carry Malabrigo Nube, Malabrigo’s line of spinning fiber.  Using the same super soft Merino as the yarns, these braids are hand dyed in the same colorways, too.  Hand spinners will enjoy the rich colors as well as the soft Merino wool while creating their own unique yarns.

All Malabrigo yarns are on sale July 24 – July 30.

 

Check back next week to see our next featured independent – Palouse Yarn Company!

 

Independent’s Celebration – Sweet Georgia Yarns

It’s time for the next featured company for our Independent’s Celebration!

This week’s featured company is SweetGeorgia Yarns!

Since the shop got re-merchandised a few weeks ago, the SweetGeorgia Yarns display has been calling my name.  The jewel tone colors always catch my eye first.  And their hanks of sock yarn are big and squooshy, drawing me in and inviting petting.

So far none of them have jumped in my bag and come home with me.  With two little kids at home, I don’t get a lot of knitting done and I have a sizable stash, including lots of sock yarn.  But they look so pretty and feel so nice, I’m not sure my resistance will be able to last much longer.  Especially since sock yarn doesn’t count as stash.  (Remember?  We talked about that earlier this year.)

SweetGeorgia Yarns is a Vancouver based company that Felicia Lo started in 2005.  It began life as an Etsy shop with three hanks of yarn.  Over the course of the next year, Felicia expanded SweetGeorgia Yarns, and began distributing in shops and online to knitters worldwide.

They produce a wide variety of hand dyed yarns and fibers in unique colorways and rich solids.  Their yarns and fibers are dyed in batches of four to twelve hanks.  They focus on using luxury fibers, including merino, cashmere, and silk, and creating colors that inspire and engage knitters and spinners.

At Alpaca Direct we carry SweetGeorgia Yarns Merino Silk Lace and Tough Love Sock.

Merino Silk Lace Glacier.

Merino Silk Lace is a 50/50 blend of merino and silk.  This is a is a slightly heavier lace weight 2 ply yarn.  The silk adds a shimmer to the finished yarn that will make your lace projects extra special.  If you’re wanting to knit a beautiful lace shawl or stole to dress up your wardrobe, this is the perfect yarn for the project. It comes in big 100 gram hanks of 765 yards.

Tough Love Sock Raspberry

Tough Love Sock is an 80/20 superwash merino nylon blend.  This yarn is soft and squooshy.  Knit at a tight gauge, it makes long lasting socks.  But, like all sock yarns, you can use it for a wide variety of other projects.  Soft enough for next to skin wear, you can use it for shawls and scarves, mittens and gloves, and even things for a baby.  The superwash merino means it can be machine washed, which is ideal for socks and baby things.  It comes in big 115 gram hanks of 425 yards, meaning you only need one hank for a pair of socks.  If you have small feet or knit ankle socks you might even be able to get two pairs.  Or you could knit a pair of socks and a pair of fingerless mitts.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

All SweetGeorgia Yarns are on sale July 17 – July 23.

Check back next week to see our next featured independent – Malabrigo!

 

Independent’s Celebration – Zen Yarn Garden

 

This month we’re celebrating our independent yarn companies as part of our Independent’s Celebration in honor of Independence Day.  We love getting to support independent companies and enjoy the beautiful yarns they produce!

This week’s featured company is Zen Yarn Garden.

If you haven’t seen their yarns in person, you need to.  Their yarns are soft and beautiful with gorgeous colors.  The care they take with their dying is evident in every skein.  When I’m in the shop, I like to just go drool over the Zen Yarn Garden displays.  It’s the perfect yarn for petting and drooling over.  Don’t worry, though.  I’m careful not to get any drool on the yarn.

Zen Yarn Garden is a small company based out of Ontario, Canada.  It is owned and run by Neville and Roxanne Yeun.  They dye hand picked luxury yarn bases that are spun in Canada.

Neville Yeun

Neville is the Lead Dyer, Production Manager, and Color Chemist.  He’s the one to thank for the wonderful depth of color, consistency, and variety in the Zen Yarn Garden lines.  He is in charge of the process that creates the beautiful tonal solids and the playful one-of-a-kind colorways.

Roxanne Yeun

Roxanne is the Creative Director.  She directs the growth of the company and keeps her finger on the pulse of the trends in the marketplace.  She is always on the lookout for new products and design collaborations to keep their customers happy and interested.

At Alpaca Direct we carry Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 and Serenity Glitter Sock.

Serenity 20 is a fingering weight yarn made of 70% superwash merino and 30% cashmere.  This luxury yarn is great for socks, scarves, lightweight sweaters, or any next-to-skin project.  The beautiful colorways and rich tonal solids will provide hours of joy on the needles and off.

Zen Yarn Garden has even made a Coeur d’Alene colorway exclusively for us at Alpaca Direct!

Zen Yarn Garden Serenity 20 Coeur d’Alene colorway

Serenity Glitter Sock is a fingering weight yarn made of 80% superwash merino, 10% cashmere, and 10% metallic nylon.  It features the same depth of color as Serenity 20 in its own range of distinct colorways.  The metallic nylon adds a hint of sparkle that beautifully complements the natural sheen of the yarn.

All Zen Yarn Gardens yarns will be on sale from July 10, 2015 to July 16, 2015.

Come back next week to see our next featured independent Sweet Georgia Yarns!

Our March Knitting Retreat In Montana

Camp Bighorn Knitting retreat
Camp Bighorn

Every March the Open Knitting group at Alpaca Direct goes on a knitting retreat to Camp Bighorn in Plains, Montana.  It’s a beautiful retreat space and everyone always has lots of fun.

This year we’ll be hosting one in the fall as well.  Here are some photos from our latest retreat on March 12-15.

We had beautiful weather on the retreat and got to go for a hike.  The scenery at Camp Bighorn is beautiful.

hiking at the knitting retreat
Going for a hike.
views
Beautiful views

We also enjoyed some time relaxing at Quinn’s Hotsprings, which is just down the road from Camp Bighorn.

Knitting retreat cabins
The cabins.

Camp Bighorn provides comfortable cabins and good food for us so that we can relax and do what we came to do – knit!

As you should expect from a knitting retreat, we spent the majority of our time hanging out and knitting.  We stayed up late, we had lots of fun, and we can’t wait to do it again.  We hope you’ll join us next time!

Eating at the knitting retreat.
Good food!
Friends knitting
Good friends!
knitting retreat
And lots of knitting!
More knitting!

Valentines Day Gift Ideas

With Valentines Day just weeks away, I thought I would share some of my favorite Valentine themed scarf and cowl patterns.

 As any knitter knows, there’s a little love in every stitch.  What a great way to show your love and appreciation for the special person with a hand knit scarf or hat.vkint1

This pattern is fit for a beginning knitter. The pattern is a series of hearts that can be knit on the needles two at a time using any worsted weight yarn. I used Misti Alpaca tonos 50% alpaca, 50% merino blend color #51 Zinnia then attached using the kitchener stitch once each half reaches the desired length. The pattern is called “Heart” by Stephannie C. Roy and can be found on Knitty or Ravelry and is a free download.

 

 

The next pattern is called “Besotted” by Adrian Bizilia which is also a free pattern that can be found on Ravelry and is a charming series of x’s and o’s made with cables. Use this pattern to knit your way into your loved ones heart! If you enjoy cables then you will love knitting this pattern.

 vknit3vknit2

Modeled by our staff member, Courtney, this scarf is beautiful in red, but would also shine in pink, purple or whatever your Valentine’s favorite color is!

 

 

 

We’ve just returned from the annual TNNA yarn trade show and have a variety of new yarns as well as new colors in our favorite yarns arriving in the warehouse.

For spring and summer knits we’ve added CoBaSi from Hikoo, a fingering weight blend of cotton, bamboo and silk. This yarn has a beautiful stitch definition and feels lovely in the hand. Versatile, you’ll want to make summer shawls, socks and garments from it’s wide color range.

 

If winter is still clinging to your landscape, you may want to make a cozy scarf or sweater from Hikoo Simpli Natural, an alpaca/wool/silk blend that combines sheen with drape and warmth to become a luxurious knittable yarn. The fiber drinks in the dye for an amazing depth of color and the silk adds a marvelous subtle shine.

 

Check our site for new colors of Hikoo Kenzie, Zauberball and Zauberball Crazy.

 

One of our staff, Kjirstine, knit this hat for her football fan daughter on a recent car trip to Seattle:

vknit5

It’s the “Easy Ombre Slouch Hat”, free on Ravelry, knit from Hikoo Kenzie in colors #1025 and #1027, both colors we’ve added recently. It’s pretty clear who she is cheering for on Sunday!

 

spinzillaphotobomb

Spinzilla 2014

spinzilla banner

 

October will be here before you know it! We’re excited to be participating in the second annual Spinzilla week. Last year all the spinners combined to spin 1,373,175.06 yards of yarn. Our Alpaca Direct team spun more than 17,000 yards! All in one week!!!

Sign ups for participation start August 4, 2014  at 10 am Eastern time and continue until September 22, 2014. You can sign up here: Spinzilla registration

There is a $10 registration fee, paid to The National Needle Arts Association Spinning and Weaving Group. This fee is donated to the Needle Arts Mentoring Program (NAMP) which was founded in 2000 as a fiber arts program for at-risk students.

During the event, there will be prize drawings, specials offers and lots of fun. Find our team forums on the Spinzilla Ravlery page or you can find us also on the Friends of Alpaca Direct Spinzilla team thread. Please consider joining us for “A Monster of A Spinning Week”!! Spinzilla 2014!

 

Alpaca Direct Sock Knitalong

Ready to start our first Knit Along!

We are so excited to be participating in our first Alpaca Direct Knit Along! I’d like to introduce a few of our staff who are knitting along with everyone else:

 

 

Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct
Kelley, Owner of Alpaca Direct
Sweet Georgia Tough Love sock in "Storm Chaser"
Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in”Storm Chaser”

Kelley is planning to do her socks two at a time using the magic loop technique. Her gauge is 7.75 sts/inch on a #1 addi Turbo needle.

 

Tina, Store Manager
Tina, Store Manager
Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock "Blue Cove"
Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in “Blue Cove”

Tina is also doing her socks two at a time using the magic loop technique. She is using a #0 Kollage needle. Her gauge is 7.5sts/inch.

Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager
Kjirstine, Customer Service Manager
Cascade Heritage 150 "Snow"
Cascade Heritage 150 in “Snow”

 

Kjirstine is using double pointed needles, Kollage #2.5 and her gauge is 7sts/inch.

 

Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store
Courtney, Order Fulfillment & Store
Misti Tonos Carnaval sock "Mint"
Misti Tonos Carnaval Sock in “Mint”

 

Courtney is using the magic loop technique and a #0 needle. Her gauge is 7sts/inch.

Melissa, Social Media
Melissa, Social Media
Cascade Superwash 220
Cascade Superwash 220

Melissa plans to use a size 8 needle with a gauge of 4.5sts/inch

We’re knitters of all different levels and styles. It will be fun to see how each person puts a little of themselves in their project. We’re looking forward to knitting with you for the next few weeks. If you haven’t signed up yet, go to our Ravelry page and join the fun.

Kjirstine, for the Alpaca Direct staff