Dear Stitchers,

I'm calling this the "spring/summer" newsletter, but am beginning to wonder if spring is really ever going to come and stay around -- this week has been a rollercoaster in temperatures!  We are moving ahead with our spring/summer schedule though, convinced that winter will truly be over soon!

Though a little late for St. Patrick's Day, as a celebration of the spring season we are holding a Luck-of-the-Irish Sale on Friday and Saturday, March 21 & 22.  When you bring your purchases to the counter, you will be able to draw for your lucky discount, which could range from 10% to 30%.  As a special prize, there will also be two lucky golden four-leaf clovers hidden in the shop each day.  If you find one it will be worth a 40% discount on your purchases!  May the luck of the Irish be with you -- hope to see you on March 21 & 22!

New Hours -- We have had many requests that we open on Mondays so are planning a trial run for the next several months.  It has been nice to have Sunday/Monday as our 2-day weekend, and have a business day free to make phone calls and do errands, but our main goal is to satisfy our customers, hence our change in schedule.  So for the foreseeable future, we will be open on Mondays from 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.  We already have classes scheduled for multiple Monday mornings this spring and summer and staffing levels right now don’t give us sufficient coverage if we are teaching, so we will open after classes dismiss at noon and stay open until 6:00 since classes generally start again at 6:30.  If you are one of the many who say you always forget and come by on Mondays, now you will be able to shop!  We’ll keep you posted as to future plans regarding the schedule...........

Spinner Rack/Book Project - We continue to work on our book revamping project -- we are tweaking the system as we go, and as with any reorganization project is taking much longer than we anticipated!  For those of you who missed our last explanation, we are in the process of transitioning to a binder system for our knit and crochet patterns, rather than the 20+ spinner racks we have been using.  We are putting a sample of each pattern in 3-ring binders, by category.  Each pattern will be numbered, and will have a corresponding numbered file in the filing cabinets -- similar to the pattern set up at fabric stores.  You will go to the filing cabinet and pull the pattern you want to purchase.  We have gotten positive comments from those who have used the new system and we feel it will be much easier to for you to locate patterns you want when all are done, and easier for us to keep track of patterns we are out of so we can reorder in a more timely manner.  Give us feedback and suggestions -- it needs to work for you!

As a result of this reorganization project, we now have numerous spinner racks that we will no longer be using, and so will make them available for purchase.  Each rack has 60 pockets that will hold a magazine size book or leaflet, and would be perfect for a bookstore, library, a playroom or even for organizing your books and leaflets in your craft room at home.  If you know of an organization or individual that can use one, send them our way!  The racks are in good condition and we are pricing them at $75.00 each (original cost was $135.00 per rack). 

Green Bag Program -- If you are not familiar with our "going green" shopping bag program let us tell you about it.  In an effort to cut down on the plastic clutter on our planet, we offer reusable shopping bags.  You will get one free when you spend $100 with us -- either in one visit, or by saving your receipts from multiple visits and bringing them in.  You may also purchase a bag for $3.00.  Every time you bring your bag with you to the shop and use it instead of taking a plastic bag, you will be entered in a drawing for a $10 gift certificate -- we give one away at the end of every month.  Shop often and increase your odds!

New Credit Card Policy - For those of you who might have missed our last web site update, we have had to implement a new policy for small credit card transactions.  Due to the increasing cost of credit card processing, and the huge increase in the use of credit cards, I've had to make some difficult decisions regarding our policies that I hope you will understand.  We have to pay transaction fees and processing fees on every credit card transaction we run, whether run as a credit or a debit.  These amount to hundreds of dollars a month, thousands of dollars a year, and of course come right out of the slim profit margins we operate on.  If the transaction is small, under $10, then we sometimes don't break even on the sale.  For that reason, we will now be charging a 50-cent fee on all credit/debit card transactions under $10.  This will at least cover a portion of the fees we pay every time we run a card.  Of course, you are welcome to pay by personal check or cash (We love those!) if you prefer.  I know banks discourage checks, no one seems to carry cash anymore, and credit/debit cards are really convenient and offer reward programs, but we, along with many other small businesses, do appreciate your considerations of fees we incur when cards are used. 

Warm Up America Update -- Our Warm Up America group began meeting again in March.  On Tuesdays, from 10 AM until approximately 2 PM volunteers meet in our classroom area to organize the Warm Up America efforts.  This program, sponsored by yarn shops across the country, encourages knitters and crocheters to use their scrap yarn to make 7" x 9" blocks.  Bring your blocks into the shop and our volunteers will arrange them into afghans.  The blocks are then crocheted together, and finished afghans are donated to various community groups in need.  If you have yarn you wish to donate, or are willing to knit or crochet blocks, please join us!  You are also welcome to come to the Tuesday meetings if you want to become a part of our volunteer group.  If you have questions about the program or know of a group who serves people in need of warm afghans, please let me know.  We are always open to adding organizations to our list. 






*A deposit of 1/2 of the class fee is required to reserve your space in the class; balance of fees is due at the first class session. 

*If you must cancel, a 24-hour notice is required for refunds -- otherwise, class fees paid are forfeited unless we can fill your spot. 

*If you must miss one of a series of class sessions, make-up lessons are not provided; class handouts and materials will be issued.  

*If you are attending a daytime class, we request that you park in the back of the building and enter through our back door.                   Nighttime class students may park in the front, or along the side of the building, when the other businesses are closed. 

*Classes have both minimum and maximum size requirements, and decisions concerning capping or canceling classes will be made no                 later than 24 hours prior to class - don’t wait until the last minute to sign up!

Classes are designed for a variety of skill and experience levels -- if you have any questions about the required skills for a class, and your corresponding skill level, just ask!  Some classes require pre-class “homework,”  - please consider that if you delay your enrollment until close to the class start date.  Complete materials lists and any homework assignments will be given at registration.

* * *

Beginning Cross Stitch - Wednesday, June 4, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  This class, appropriate for teenagers or adults, is a great introduction to the world of counted cross stitch.  Work on a charming Shepherd’s Bush design while learning how all those symbols on paper translate into a beautiful stitched piece.  If you have not tried it, give yourself a gift that you will always enjoy.  Teacher:  Sherry Nielsen

Beginning Linen - Tuesday, July 1, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $18.00 (includes all materials).  Linen is the fabric on which heirlooms are stitched.  It stands the test of time, always lovely.  Stitch your cross stitch designs on linen, and enjoy the experience.  The threads of the linen also allow you to stitch more complex pieces and explore challenging specialty stitches if desired.  Let us unravel the mysteries of stitching over two threads on linen -- you can do it and you will love it!  Teacher:  Carolyn Danks

Butterfly Garden Needlepoint Sampler - Wednesdays, July 2 & 9, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  This counted canvas piece is a sampler of needlepoint stitches designed in a log cabin format, enhanced with a filagree butterfly charm.  It is stitched in lovely pastels and spring shades on 18-count sage canvas.  Stitches used in the design include tent/basketweave, scotch stitch, long-arm rice, smyrna, mini half scotch, gobelin variations and chevron stitch.  If you've never done needlepoint, this piece provides a great introduction to commonly used stitches.  For those with some needlepoint experience, this could be a great next step or just a fun, relaxing piece to stitch.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Beginning Crochet - Tuesdays, July 29, August 5 - 26 & September 9, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 6 sessions, $72.00 instructional fee plus materials.  This class teaches all basic crochet stitches, several pattern stitches, and pattern reading skills. Several small projects are completed and instruction given on more complicated projects.  Teacher: Amy Jones

Crocheted Shoulderette - Wednesdays, April 9 & 23, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  This lovely shawl is designed with cuffs to allow it to stay comfortably on your shoulders.  The lacey design is worked in two panels which are joined in the center back, and embellished with a lovely edging.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Crocheted Shell Scarf - Tuesday, May 27, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  The shell stitch is a crochet favorite, and when paired with a lovely Noro self-striping yarn, yields a beautiful result.  This lacy version of the shell motif creates an airy scarf that will be a great addition to your spring wardrobe.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Windows on the World Crocheted Cardigan - Tuesdays, June 10 & 24, July 8 & 22, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $48.00 plus materials. This lovely and practical short-sleeve cardigan is crocheted in DK/worsted weight cotton.  It utilizes two different stitch patterns that produce a lacy effect, perfect for layering over your favorite summer or winter top.  It is designed to be worn open, with one button at the neck, and in a wide range of sizes.  Crochet one for yourself or as a gift!  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Cafe au Lait Crocheted Felted Bag - Thursdays, May 8, 15 & 22, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 3 sessions, $36.00 plus materials.  This open-top bag was designed in shades of brown and beige, hence the coffee related name, but would be a great bag crocheted in any color range.   It is worked in one piece, from the bottom up, and can be divided with an interior pocket.  Multiple handle styles would look great, and needle-felting or beads could be used for embellishment.  The bag is open at the top, making it perfect to take to the market or use as a stitching bag.  It is lightly felted after finishing.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Hip 2B Square Crocheted Afghan - Wednesdays, March 26, April 30, May 28, June 25, July 30, & August 27, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session per block, $14.00 plus materials per session. Come and join us once a month to learn a new stitch pattern, while creating blocks for an afghan, or if you prefer, a bag or pillow.  We have now worked through all 3 books in the "Hip 2B Square" series over the last two and a half years and are planning to start over again with the first book.  If you joined this class partway through the series, or would like to start at the beginning, this would be a great time to get going.  Blocks can be made in either DK or worsted weight yarn.  Between the 3 books, there are a total of 30 different patterns and one pattern block will be taught each month.  You can take any or all of the classes and can join this class at any point in time.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Beginning Knitting --  Our beginning knitting class is split into three sections.  Each section focuses on different skills, increasing in difficulty as you go along.  That way, if you know the basics, but wish to brush-up on or learn other skills, you can sign up only for the sections that would benefit you.  Each section is 2 sessions long, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., $24.00 plus materials per section.  Teachers:  Amy Jones & Judy Olson 

                Beginning Knitting I - Thursdays, March 13 & 20, Skills include: Cast on, bind off, knit stitch, purl stitch, counting                                  rows/stitches, yarn weights & gauge.

                Beginning Knitting II - Thursdays, March 27 & April 3, Skills include: ribbing, knit & purl increases and decreases,

                                knitting in the round.

                Beginning Knitting III - Thursdays, April 10 & 17, Skills include:  Cables, buttonholes, bobbles, 2-color fair-isle

                                technique, picking up stitches.

Yarn Dyeing Workshop - Saturday,  July 19, 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., 1 session, $8 workshop fee plus $15.00 per skein dyed.  Have you been “dyeing” to flex your creative muscle?  In this workshop you will get the chance to be the wizard -- and to create your idea of the perfect colorway -- it’s fun!  You can arrive any time during the workshop hours, but will need to arrive no later than 2:00 p.m. in order to complete the process by 4:00.  You can choose to dye hanks of yarn, in various weights, in a multi-color format or dye a machine-knitted blank to experiment with self-striping techniques.  Teachers:  Amy Jones and Judy Olson

Mainline Scarf - Wednesday, April 16, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  This effective, simple pattern stitch, once established, is easy to follow on the right or wrong side.  Using fingering weight yarn, it is worked lengthwise from the long outer edge to the top, getting its rounded shape through decreases in the pattern.  The scarf is designed to wrap securely around the neck and shoulders, perfect for a light wrap when needed.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Ripple Scarf/Shawl - Monday, April 28, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  This pattern knits up quickly in a wavy drop stitch pattern that shows off the texture of an unusual yarn.  We recently purchased some beautifully dyed wide ribbon yarn that just begs to be knitted up in this pattern.  One skein should give you enough yardage for a shawl or one to two scarves, depending on desired length. The stitch pattern is quick to memorize, but intriguing to knit.  Pick out your color and let's get started!  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Basic Brioche Scarf - Wednesdays, May 7 & 21, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions,  $24.00 plus materials.  This scarf, knitted in one color in chunky weight yarn, is a good introduction to the world of brioche.  The brioche stitch creates a lofty, ribbed fabric that feels so soft around your neck.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Airy Lace Scarf - Thursday, June 19, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  This triangular shaped scarf/shawl is worked side to side in a garter stitch and eyelet pattern, creating a lace effect.  A double-layer channel is knitted for a closure.  Worked in lace weight yarn, the result is a light and airy scarf that won't fall off your shoulders.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Vine Lace Scarf/Shawl/Afghan - Thursdays, April 3 & 10, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $25.00 plus materials. This beginning lace class features an easy lace pattern with stunning results -- the perfect way to learn how to knit lace.  You may choose to knit either a scarf, shawl, or throw, based on your available time, but will receive directions for all three versions.  You will learn how to read lace patterns and charts, receive tips on reading your knitting, and discuss the beauties of knitted lace.  Teacher: Susan Winkler

Sock Yarn Shawls - Wednesdays, June 11 & 25, July 23, & August 20, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $48.00 plus materials.  The idea for this popular book grew out the designer's large stash of sock yarn and love of small shawls.  15 designs, appropriate for a variety of experience levels, are divided into 3 basic categories: lace edge, all-over lace and beyond-the-triangle for those shawls constructed a little differently.  Most shawls are completed with one skein of sock yarn, but instructions are provided for some on how they can be made larger if you have a second skein.  You will work on the design of your choice, while learning from each other's projects.  Teacher:  Susan Winkler

Beaded Eyelet Shawlette - Mondays, June 30 & August 4, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  This elegant shawlette is knitted in fingering weight merino and embellished with glass beads.  This class, appropriate for the advanced beginner, utilizes standard increase and decrease methods, and will teach the technique necessary to attach beads without stringing them and a “twice-worked” bind off method.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Cowl on the Diagonal - Thursday, March 27, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 plus materials.  This is another easy cowl pattern from Ann Norling, designed for multiple gauges of yarn.  The two-row pattern creates an attractive cowl that is quick to knit and would be a great gift idea -- many of you have already started those Christmas gifts for this year!  Tips for reading a multi-gauge pattern will be given along with pattern direction.  Teacher:  Susan Winkler

Duplex Reversible Cowl - Mondays, July 7, 14 & 28, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 3 sessions, $36.00 plus materials.  Laura Nelkin's innovative design produces a geometric shape that she calls a "fauxbius."  She starts with a provisional cast on, works a series of short-row blocks to create a rectangle, puts a half twist in the piece, then grafts the ends together to form a mobius strip.  The short-row blocks are worked in a combination of stockinette and garter, punctuated with eyelets, thus alleviating a right or wrong side.  The cowl is finished with a narrow eyelet band and uses an elastic decrease bind off to prevent the edge from drawing in.  There are lots of cool techniques in this piece, resulting in a great looking cowl.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Two-Tone Brioche Cowl - Thursdays, July 10 & 31, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  This featherlight cowl is worked with 2 colors of lace weight yarn using the 2-color brioche technique.  It begins with a provisional crochet cast on and ends with a 3-needle bind off and a single crochet edging.  It can be knitted on either double-point or circular needles.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Fair Isle Baby Hat - Tuesdays, April 1 & 8, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  This adorable hat is another design from the popular book 60 Quick Baby Knits.  Fair-isle color patterning creates a hat that is cute and classic.  If you have been wanting to learn to work with color, this small project is a great introduction.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Idun Entrelac Hat - Tuesdays, April 15 & 29, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 2 sessions, $24.00 plus materials.  As you know, I love entrelac, and found this cute hat pattern I just had to knit!  The entrelac panel is worked sideways/lengthwise, then stitches are picked up along the edges for the crown shaping and brim shaping.  The hat is sized to fit a medium adult head, 19" to 23", but directions are given for customizing the fit if necessary.  A self-striping yarn is used for the entrelac section with a coordinating solid for the brim and crown.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Comfy Short Sleeve Tunic - Mondays, March 17 & 24, April 14 & 21, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $48.00 plus materials.  This design is from the book Simple Stitches -- Knits with Textured Details.  I love several of the designs from this book, including this attractive tunic style sweater with a relaxed fit.  A combination of seed stitches and smooth stockinette stitches at the bottom edge creates an interesting wave pattern.  Sleeve and neck patterns are worked at the same time, making finishing a breeze.  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Zimmermann Surprise Jacket - Tuesdays, April 1 & 15, May 6, June 3 & July 1, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 5 sessions, $60.00 plus materials.  If you are not familiar with the genius of Elizabeth Zimmermann, “knitter extraordinaire,” here is a chance to sample one of her most creative designs.  The surprise jacket, which can be knitted in baby, children’s, or adult sizes, is knitted all in one piece.  The sequence of increases and decreases serves to create this rather strange shaped piece of knitted fabric that when folded, becomes a wonderful jacket -- surprise!  It is a great opportunity to use up small bits of yarn from your stash, or to plan a stunning color combination of new yarns and textures.  Teacher:  Susan Winkler

Easy Lace Cardigan - Thursdays, April 17, May 1 & 29, June 26, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $48.00 plus materials.  This lovely, practical cardigan is knitted in DK/light worsted yarn, making it appropriate for all seasons.  The popular feather and fan motif is used in the body of the cardigan and in the trim on the collar and sleeves.  It is knitted from the top down in one piece, so the finishing is minimal, and easy adjustments can be made to customize body and sleeve lengths.  Teacher:  Susan Winkler

Knit Sweater Workshop - Wednesdays, May 14 & 28, June 18, July 16, August 13, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 5 sessions, $60.00 plus materials.  Is there a sweater you’re dying to make, but hesitant to do on your own?  This class will be a workshop -- you pick the pattern and yarn you want (with our help if you need it) and bring it to class.  We’ll learn from each other’s patterns and each week will discuss a different type of sweater construction so you can learn even more.  Teacher:  Susan Winkler

Tiny Tux or "Blossoms & Bees" Baby Sweater - Thursdays, July 3, 17, 24 & August 7, 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $48.00 plus materials.  Another cute design from 60 Quick Baby Knits, this little sweater is designed for your little guy with the tuxedo shape knitted in and the bow tie done in duplicate stitch.  It is truly adorable, and perfect for that dress-up occasion or holiday party!  In order not to leave the girls out, I've modified the design to include a scalloped edge and a knitted flower design, and embellished the design with ladybug and bumblebee buttons.  Maybe you'll want to do one of each!  Teacher:  Amy Jones

Basic Socks - Thursdays, May 15 & 29 and June 12, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m. 3 sessions, $36.00 plus materials.  Skills required:  Slingshot (long-tail) cast on, knit stitch and purl stitch.  Learn the skills necessary to knit wonderful, comfortable socks.  Using double-pointed needles, you will knit the cuffs, then make and shape the heel, create a gusset, shape the toe, and learn the kitchener stitch for seaming.  Teacher:  Judy Olson

Magic Loop Socks - Mondays, April 7, 21 & May 5, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 3 sessions, $36.00 plus materials. Do you yearn to knit seamless socks in the round, but have a resistance to knitting on 4 or 5 double-pointed needles?  The magic loop method uses a long circular needle, looped back on itself, to create the small circular area needed.  This class is appropriate for sock knitters with sock experience on double-pointed needles, but who want to learn a new technique. Teacher: Judy Olson

Knitting 2 Socks At a Time On 2 Circular Needles (Toe-Up) - Mondays, May 19 & June 2, 9 & 23, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 4 sessions, $36.00 plus materials.  In this class you will learn to knit 2 socks at one time, on circular needles, from the toe up.  You need to have completed the basic sock class or equivalent; magic loop experience helpful, but not necessary. 

Teacher:  Judy Olson

Afghan Workshop - Mondays, April 14, May 12, June 16, July 14, August 11, 9:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. or 6:30-9:00 p.m., 1 session, $14.00 per session.  We've offered 3 knitted afghan series classes over the past 11 years -- The Great American Aran Afghan, The Great American Afghan, and most recently The Great North American Afghan.   There are no doubt a few blocks that have gotten laid aside over the years, with the intent to go back and finish them later.  This workshop class will give you the opportunity to finish those blocks, or start one you may have skipped.  Here’s the help and motivation you need to finish your afghan!  Teacher:  Judy Olson

HELP SESSIONS - We are so glad that our help sessions have been of benefit to you.  If you need extended help with a project, new or old, join us on a Saturday afternoon and get going again!  The fee is only $12.00 for a 3-hour period, 1:00-4:00 p.m.  You can join us for all or part of the session -- whatever meets your needs.  The dates for this semester are April 12, May 10, June 14, July 12, & August 9.  Please call at least 24 hours ahead to reserve a spot so that we can plan for adequate space and teachers. 

I realize that often in my closing paragraph I ask you to let us know how we’re doing, and what we can do to improve our customer service, inventory or business practices in order to serve you better.  I wonder though, if you believe that we really want to know your opinion.  Let me assure you that we do!  If you have comments or concerns about our shop and the way it is set up, the inventory we carry, the classes we offer, the customer service you receive when you walk through the door, or any other area related to the way we do business, I wish you would contact me.  You can email me or fill in the comment form on the web site.  You are also welcome to talk to me directly the next time you are in the shop, or drop a note in the mail.  If you like something it’s always nice to hear, but if you don’t like something or feel we’ve fallen short, then it’s even more important that we know about it.  We can’t fix it or change it if we don’t know there is a problem.  Thanks so much for your business and as always, your friendship -- I value it more than you can possibly know. 

Fondest regards,

Amy Jones