Tag Archives: alpaca direct

Begin to Knit Class #2

In our beginning knitting class we teach you the most basic skills of knitting. All knitting is created from two stitches- the knit stitch and the purl stitch- it’s how you put them together that creates beauty and texture. In this two part class you will learn to cast-on, knit, purl, cast off and how to recognize and correct errors. We’ll teach you about yarn, how to read a yarn label, what gauge means and how to choose a needle appropriate to your project.

No knitting skill or knowledge required, all materials provided.

Leave children at home. This will enable everyone to give their full attention to the task at hand and your children will soon reap the benefits of affording Mom a much needed break to learn how to knit. Come and have a cup of coffee and knit with us!
Relax! This is not rocket science. Each and every one of us have had to start right where you are…at the beginning. The learning never stops so just enjoy yourself!

Begin to Knit class

Begin to Knit class

Begin to Knit Class #1

In our beginning knitting class we teach you the most basic skills of knitting. All knitting is created from two stitches- the knit stitch and the purl stitch- it’s how you put them together that creates beauty and texture. In this two part class you will learn to cast-on, knit, purl, cast off and how to recognize and correct errors. We’ll teach you about yarn, how to read a yarn label, what gauge means and how to choose a needle appropriate to your project.

No knitting skill or knowledge required, all materials provided.

Leave children at home. This will enable everyone to give their full attention to the task at hand and your children will soon reap the benefits of affording Mom a much needed break to learn how to knit. Come and have a cup of coffee and knit with us!
Relax! This is not rocket science. Each and every one of us have had to start right where you are…at the beginning. The learning never stops so just enjoy yourself!

Begin to Knit class

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Spinning Wheel Class

“Learning to L❤️ve your Spinning wheel” for beginners

Instructor: Debbie Drake
 (Scotch tension)
 What you will learn:
    Parts of the wheel
    Choosing a good fiber (fiber prep)
    Choosing the correct whorl
    Adjusting tension
    Treadle rhythm
    Understanding twist
    Short forward draft
    Using a Niddy Noddy
What to bring:
    BFL top for spinning (purchased at Alpaca Direct) minimum 2 oz.
    Wheel
    Oriface hook
    Spinning wheel oil (rag for cleanup)
    3 bobbins
    Lazy Kate
Spinning Fiber at Alpaca Direct
Spinning Fiber at Alpaca Direct

Welcome Alpaca Yarn Company!

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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).

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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 – 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!

Idaho Spin-In 2015 Recap

Each year on the last Saturday of March the Log Cabin Spinners host an annual Spin In at the Templin’s Red Lion Inn in Post Falls, Idaho.

Spin In 2015
Our booth at the Spin In

Every year is a little different, but there’s always a marketplace and a spinning area.  We hosted a booth featuring our spinning fiber and spindles and a few other fun things like our rigid heddle looms.

It’s always fun to check out the other vendors and see what everyone is interested in.  There are always farms with their raw fleeces, people selling yarn, and of course lots and lots of fiber.  Mohair, alpaca, different types of wool – you name it, it’s probably in the marketplace.  And lots of different preps – unprepped, roving, batts, and lots of handpainted braided top.

Spin In 2015
The marketplace.

The main feature of the event is the spinning area.  One section of the conference hall is reserved for the spinners to come and spin.  There are wheel spinners and spindle spinners.  They sit in large circles and smaller groupings and spend some or all of the day spinning.  It’s a great way to meet new people, learn more about spinning, and reconnect with other spinning friends.  We got to see some beautiful spinning wheels, and some beautiful spinning.

Spin In 2015
Lots of spinners
Spin In 2015
Spinners spinning.
Spin In 2015
Small group of spinners.

I didn’t bring my spindle with me this year.  I think next year I’ll make sure to bring it along and make time to sit and spin for a while.

I did wander around the marketplace quite a bit.  I got to meet some lovely fiber producers and see some tools I’d never seen in person.  One booth had a picker, and they were using it to prep fiber on site.  A picker is used to get out most of the vegetable matter and fluff the fibers from a clean fleece.  After it goes through the picker it is ready to be combed or carded.

Spin In 2015
The picker in use.

In one of the smaller rooms they had demonstrations of different types of wheels.  They even had a great wheel, which is also known as a walking wheel.

Spin In 2015
Great wheel demonstration.

The great wheel is a type of early spinning wheel.  It’s similar to the kind of spinning wheel you see in the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.  On a great wheel you turn the wheel manually, which turns the spindle. You then have to wind the spun fiber around the spindle, much like you do with hand spindles.  Modern wheels use a treadle to turn the wheel and a flyer winds the spun fiber onto a bobbin.

I always enjoy the neat things available at the Spin In.  The marketplace is a great place to find fibers that you wouldn’t normally have in person access to.  And it’s always fun to see the fiber enthusiasts in the area gathered in one place.

If you’re local, did you make it to the Spin In?  What was your favorite part?  What other fiber festivals do you like to go to?

Honoring the one who took on the World’s Hardest Job for you

Kjirstine Prickett

By Kjirstine Prickett

Customer Service Manager at Alpaca Direct

 

 

Senior Pictures: My Grandmother 1946 and me in 1991

Senior Pictures: My Grandmother 1946 and me in 1991

 

That’s my Grandma. Her senior picture, taken around 1946. That’s my senior picture next to it, taken in 1991. The photographer who took my picture had never seen the photo of my grandmother.  Astounding, isn’t it?

Each of us has someone in our life who slowed the pursuit of their own interests, career, or plans to take on what has been called “The World’s Hardest Job”.  You’ve probably seen the viral video where a man pretends to interview candidates and their look of disbelief as he lists the requirements, tasks and rewards associated with the job he is offering. Many of the candidates describe it as “inhumane”, or “Illegal” and none of them look as if they are willing to accept the terms he offers. He then makes the big reveal. “It’s motherhood”, he says.

I’ve been blessed to have my mom, my grandma, my mother-in-law, and several other women in my life. My mom was a full-time, stay at home mom, and the amount of time she invested in my life is huge. I am forever grateful for the things she taught me… the biggest one being that she taught me to love learning. “Go get a book about it, “ she would say. (Pre-internet days, of course!)  Because of her I can teach myself almost anything. Spinning, knitting, tatting.

And then there’s my Grandma. She taught me the value of family, heritage, and hospitality. She took time to learn and teach all of us the crafts and foods of our Scandinavian heritage. (She was awarded “Norwegian of the year” from her Sons of Norway chapter one year.  Her family is German and she married a Norwegian).  She taught me that things made by hand are precious. Her home was always open to all of us, to her large extended family from North Dakota and the even more extended family from Canada and Norway. Around her table, I met family I would never have known otherwise. She made every holiday…every holiday, an event for us. That’s why she is so close to my heart every Mother’s Day. My grandma doesn’t notice holidays anymore. She’s losing her battle with Alzheimers. But I haven’t forgotten the things she invested in my life.

Take time this Mother’s Day to honor the person in your life who made a difference,  who steered you to where you are, the one who gave you the skills and resources you need to live. It’s not always your mom. But there’s someone who took on that role for you. Get them flowers, cook them a meal, give them a hug, buy them a gift.

And if you’re a mom, thanks for taking on the World’s Hardest Job.  We’re all at different stages. I have a child in each High, Middle, and Elementary school. My challenges are balancing schedules and carpools. My sister is anticipating the birth of a longed-for second child this fall. She’s juggling much-needed rest for her hardworking body with caring for a toddler. My mom has an empty nest and is learning to live in that newer aspect of life. But we’re all moms. We all know what it is to live the World’s Hardest Job.

Happy Mother’s Day!