Saturday, October 19, 2013

The Big Reveal~

It is hard to believe it is time to begin the very first KAL from Alpaca With A Twist!
We have been working hard to iron out all the details and finally it's time to let you know what we
have in store for you.

Lovely in Lace, from our pattern collection created by Christina Wall  is lovely using our best selling yarn.  Baby Twist is  a DK weight, 100% Baby Alpaca fiber.  There are currently 49 colors to choose from. 

The pattern was orginally written for Temptation, a worsted weight silk and alpaca blend.  It is a loose fitting, A-line cardigan featuring a lace and cable edging.  It is knitted from the top down (no seaming!) and has a 3/4 inch sleeve. 

Several shop owners have requested the pattern be adapted using Baby Twist, so we got to work to see how that might go.   The body of the sweater is knitted using garter stitch, and  since I don't need any more bulk around my mid-section,  I decided to knit some swatches to see what I wanted my sweater to look like.  I wanted a loose and drapey piece and I am more than pleased with my result.

So it begins...If you would like to sign up send an email to and I will send you all the information you need.  There is no cost to join and your pattern will be sent to you at no charge. 
Online help will be available throughout the KAL.

I enjoyed knitting this sweater.  The lace and cable edge kept me interested enough not to get bored, but with the garter stitch body it became my "mindless knitting" project.
So consider this our invitation to you and contact me if you want to KAL.
Happy Knitting and Happy Fall!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

On the road again...

The wheels on the car go round and round Indiana...from Shipshewana to Morgantown  to Shelbyville, hosting trunk shows and planning and plotting knit retreats!

A trip to Shipshewana has been on my "bucket list" for years and I am happy to report it was all I hoped it would be...and perhaps even more.  Tucked away in Northern Indiana is a village full of history, passion, wonderful food, friendly folks and a wonderful yarn shop, D'Vine Gallery.

Chris, Peggy and Nancy were gracious hosts and my two days there were so pleasant that  I am hoping to get back again when travels take me in that direction.
D'Vine Gallery is an interesting place.  It's tucked around the corner of the main street, but it was obvious to me that it has become a destination stop for travelers.  Filled with pottery, herbs, beads and buttons and of course, yarn...and lots of it.

As we visited I noticed that many of the same projects that had once been so popular in my former shop are still quite popular with knitters.  The Wingspan Shawl, The Hitchhiker, The "potato chip" scarf were all favorites among the travelers in and out of the shop. 
It makes sense, all are easy knits and something that is simple to master while in the car.
There were plenty of husbands milling around too.  A few of them admitted to knitting, one guy told me he crocheted... but one thing was evident, those guys appreciated a chair and a corner to relax while their companions scoured the shelves and baskets brimming with yarn.

It was a perfect way to spend the 4th of July holiday and even my husband found the town a great little get away and kept busy while I worked.

Next stop for me and my baskets of yarn, patterns and shop models was Sheep Street Fibers located in Morgantown/Martinsville Indiana.  The shop sits on 20 acres of land located along the scenic highway 252 at the borders of Martinsville and Morgantown.

Nancy, Pat and Tim did a great job of getting the word out that Alpaca With A Twist would be there. The place was packed both days of my visit. They too were more than gracious and allowed me to visit with their customers and show off the fibers we chose for their trunk show.

Sheep Street is an interesting place ~ and there is plenty to see during your visit.  Pet some sheep, watch spinners and weavers, adore baskets and baskets of roving and kettle dyed fibers which have been hand spun right there in the shop. 
Along with the notions, patterns, books and fibers you would expect to find in such a place, you will see a whole corner filled with spinning wheels and looms. 

This shop too. appears to be a destination place for fiber artists to visit.  Entire families packed the shop last weekend.  They were greeted heartily by both man and beasts ~guests are encouraged to check out the livestock in the pasture and then welcomed back inside for demonstrations throughout the shop.

Regulars drifted in and out filling the place with stories and laughter.  It's casual atmosphere makes you want to kick your shoes off and stay awhile. 

A knitting retreat is being planned for early 2014 and I would guess this will become an event that will be repeated year after year. 
Pat takes care of the Sheep Street Facebook page and he has mastered keeping the humor coming day after day with his postings of cartoons and quips.
Tim is a great designer and teacher and Nancy holds things together and does a great job keeping things running smoothly. What a team!

Brick and mortar shops are each unique.  The vision of the  owner creates the space.  Support of  customers keep the doors open and as long as there are knitters there will be a need for such a place.  As great as it is that we now have U Tube videos for support and even on line classes to subscribe to, it is the day to day hands on help that will keep customers perfecting their craft and exploring new projects. 
I have been so grateful for the opportunity to meet so many fine folks!  Now let's see...what's next?  Oh, the places we will go!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Just for the Fun of It!

This spring I bought The Knitter's Life List (author Gwen Steege) for myself and a friend.  The book has been out for a couple of years and it always intrigued me.  I just never took the time to buy it, let alone read it.  The book is full of tips and techniques, styles and traditions, suggested yarn fibers to try, famous knitting personalities and 1001 inspirations for every knitter.  So if you need a summer read, this one will keep you up until dark (and that's saying something here in Indiana)!

Summer knitting often involves smaller projects that can be toted about in our beach bags, suitcases and handbags.  Like you I have done more than my share of knitting socks, scarves and hats to amuse myself on long car drives and air flights. 
There's something empowering, I think, to be  working on my Christmas gift giving list during the summer months.  (Let's be honest here.  I never am finished with my ever growing list until the final hours.  It's a goal, that's all.) 

Knitted toys are perfect knits for the warmer months and there are so many wonderful patterns and unusual ideas that one can hardly imagine what to pick up first. 
I think they have become so widely popular due to the number of clever designers and wonderful creations they have shared. 
Even though they might be small in size, quite often there are a variety of techniques in knitting them and that keeps one interested.
Not only can you brush up on your knit skills, you will be creating a little masterpiece to share with a child who will love the fiber thin and threadbare.  What better compliment to each of us!

You might knit a super hero or a beautiful doll.  You might design a monster (and you all know there's a great little contest going on for that).  You might knit animals for a baby shower gift or even finger puppets.  One thing is for sure, bet you won't knit just one because every child in your life will be standing in line for their own little creation. 

So what does all this have to do with The Knitter's Life List?  Actually knitting Just for the Fun of It is one chapter in the book and I concur, sometimes you do things just because it's fun and it makes someone smile.  So how is your monster coming along, anyway?

*Follow Alpaca With A Twist on Facebook for updates about the contest and remember Big Baby is available at your LYS!  Good luck!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Summer Challenge

Monsters, create them and knit or crochet them for cash!!

Who doesn't love a challenge?  Just for fun, we have one for you!
Even better, one talented designer will receive a $100 cash prize and yarn to replace what was used for the entry.
No need to attend Monster University, just get out those needles and hooks, pick up a ball of
Big Baby ( our super soft and cuddly fiber) and create an original design.

Check out our little Monsters on our Facebook Page!

So here's the scoop:
Submit your written pattern and photo to info@alpacawithatwist by July 15, 2013.
The winner will be chosen by a panel of judges based on originality of design and pattern support.
Please include your name, mailing address and phone number with your submission.
Finalist will be asked to send in their monster for photo opts and authenticity.
Be sure to use Alpaca With A Twist's Big Baby yarn to qualify!
Our winner of the Summer 2013 Contest will be announced August 1st. 

Bring out the kid in you, and good luck!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Gentle Spirit

  I'd like to tell you about Ruthanna.  Everyone who meets her wants to grow up to be just like her.  She is 87 years young and she continues to amaze all of her friends and family. A couple of years ago she had a knee replacement and since "that went so well" she had the other knee worked on this past winter.  She has no fears.  It would have taken me months to make that decision.  Not her, without hesitation she scheduled that surgery and was ready to go within a couple of weeks.  It was no big deal.  She just took care of business. 
  She was raised on a farm.  She married Jim and they raised their family on a farm.  She told me once that she was so happy to have lived that life.  She said she learned so much on the farm.  I think that must have been true.  She is as wise as any women I know, but in a quiet, unassuming way.
  Ruthanna has knitted for more years that I have lived on this earth, but I think the secret of her youth is the eagerness to learn something new and to ask for help if she needs it.  Here was a woman who could knit and crochet circles around all of us and yet she often signed up for a class just to learn a new way of doing things.

  Her winning smile and quick wit won her many admirers in the yarn shop.  She was helpful and gentle with new folks who would wander in the store, making them feel quite at home.  She is an encourager and good knitting companion.

I always could count on her to pop in to see the latest shipments each week.  Nasty weather did not detour her...In fact, I always suspected that bad weather just made her antsy to get out and about. 

When I announced the closing of my shop she was gracious, but  I knew that she would surely miss the camaraderie she found at the cottage.  She came in several times a week to stock up on supplies and patterns for what she thought might be a fiber drought.   She thanked me and others for always "being so nice".  But here's the thing...she treated everyone with consideration.  I can not imagine one mean spirited bone in her body.  She seems to find the best in everyone and isn't afraid to tell them so .

Lucky are we that have come to know this charming woman...and is it any wonder so many aspire to be just like her? 
I will check in on her.  She came to love Baby Twist and bought several large hanks.  She said she couldn't help herself.  I understand that and  I imagine she will have them worked up into quite a masterpiece. 

My sincere wish is that you have someone just like Ruthanna in your life ~


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Those nasty detours!

Alpaca With a Twist is on the move!

After spending the last fifteen years of my life sequestered in a couple of small businesses, I now find myself trekking over roads and highways visiting yarn shops in all corners of the country.  We determined that I will stay within Indiana to begin with, to get my feet wet, so to speak.   Needless to say, my navigation skills within a yarn shop are a bit more fine-tuned than my road skills.  But hey, just another life chapter, right?

So now I get to do the fun stuff...take this wonderful fiber to shops who host these events. I love the excitement that each guest brings, and I can't wait!  The car is packed, the tank is full, and I am ready to roll.

After four weeks of "retirement," I began my first adventure of taking the Alpaca With A Twist Cash and Carry Trunk Show to a yarn shop located about 40 minutes away from my home.  That would be 40 minutes if  the roads are all open, the  google map is updated, and I wouldn't have to bypass a bridge that is under construction.  Of course, those were the exact complications of my journey!

You know even that would not have been too bad, had it not been for my "quick stop" to my bank prior to leaving town.  As I am sitting at the drive thru I hear then see a firetruck racing into the bank's parking lot followed by an ambulance.  I'm not sure what the trouble was, and I didn't ask.  As you can imagine, this was not a quick stop, but no worries, I just made a quick call to let the shop owner to let her know that I may be a few minutes late.
No time for that breakfast stop...but that banana and water I tucked away for lunch would tide me over.  I gobbled it up before I left town.  Michael Buble's latest CD was playing loudly and I'm thinking..."now this, it is good."  (You know those kind of moments when the sun is shining brightly and things look really fine.)

And then it happens.  Only 14 minutes later I have no idea where I am going, as the road is closed.  The bridge is out, and I have a choice: left or right.  I choose left.  I should have known by the way my morning began that could be a wrong call. 
I saw places and burgs that I didn't know existed.  I followed a tractor that was in no hurry.  I was getting nervous and I had to make a pit stop...but there were no pits to stop.  Needless to say, I wasn't making very good time.  However, as you might have guessed, I finally made it to my destination and jumped out of my car.

And what to my wondering eyes should appear but two familiar faces who had come to support the trunk show and to say "hi".  As they helped me unpack we caught up on what they had been working on and  we began planning their next project. 
I met with many fine folks that day and left feeling happy to have spent the afternoon inside a world of color, fiber and creativity.  Every yarn shop has a different feel, created by the vision of it's owner. That is what makes each visit seem like an adventure.  That is why we knitters and crocheters scout shops all through our travels.

So why do I tell this tale?  It just goes to prove these truths that I have known for many years.
They are: 
1) You never know what is just around the bend.
2) Always be ready for a change in plans.
3) Friendly faces and places can make our days seem A-OK.

The new chapter has begun.