Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Big Move!

It's been a while since I've been online--but that is because I have been busy getting the new shop open for the big move. The big move is happening at the end of this month--we will be open regular hours on Saturday, May 29. We will be closed on Sunday, May 30, Monday May 31 and Tuesday, June 1 for "The Big Move!" In case you haven't heard The Needle Lady is moving a half block west--still on the downtown mall--to 111 W. Main St. We will be in between Millers and The Blue Whale Bookstore. Here is our new storefront!


Here is a shot inside the store looking out onto the mall.


That would be Nicki's head in the lower left hand corner. The inside has just been freshly painted and the floor newly tiled. The french doors have just been added to the back wall and the doors lead into our new classroom/office space. With the size of our Wednesday knit group growing we will have 2 big tables in the shop to seat everyone.


Be sure to come in and say goodbye to our old space this week and next. We have received some great new summer yarns--Debbie Bliss Amalfi yarn is in with a great new accompanying pattern book. We've just been restocked with Prism Merino Mia, Symphony and Angora! We have some great MaggiKnits summer shawls and tops that I brought home from Stitches South---complete with a wide selection of Maggi's Linen and Maggi's Cotton! I'll get pictures this week and show them to you if you can't get into the shop!

We are planning a great festive event in the new shop to celebrate our grand reopening! On Friday, June 4 (a first Friday) we will be having The Big Move Yarn Tasting/Grand Reopening Night at the new shop. Admission is $15 ($12 if purchased in advance) and includes wine, catered hors d'oeuvres from Silver Pear Catering, a chance to win some great door prizes, including $100 Needle Lady gift certificate, and 15% off storewide during the event, or all day Friday if ticket is purchased in advance. The tables will be set with a variety of yarns and different types of needles that can be sample knit or crocheted. Tahki Stacy Charles is sending us a great spring/summer trunk show or new garments and yarn to help us celebrate our re-opening. Also, the wearing of some hand knit or crocheted item is also required for admission...

Monday, April 5, 2010

All Knitted Creatures Great and Small!

The latest craze at The Needle Lady is knitting a variety of creatures. It began with Hansi Singh's new book Amigurumi Knits! These weren't ordinary knits, these were jellyfish, snails, hermit crabs--even a praying mantis.... Mary Reid took these creatures on as a challenge and created the most wonderful menagerie. Thank you Mary for the pictures---here they are.

amigurumi frog

amigurumi octopus

amigurumi hermit

amigurumi jellyfish

The book sold out quickly, but we should have more in this week.

Angela created a little family of Bunny Nuggets for Easter. These guys are Rebecca Danger's creations and she has the free pattern available for download on her site http://www.rebeccadanger.typepad.com/dangercraftsbunnynuggetknittingpattern.pdf.

Rebecca Danger's Bunny Nuggets

It's hard not to smile when you see these guys. What a great use of leftover yarn!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Yarn Market News Conference in Seattle, Washington

I am just back from 5 days in Seattle with my oldest daughter Madeleine (the recipient of the Rowan kid silk haze dress shown earlier). I was attending the annual Yarn Market News Conference--a collection of about 100 yarn shop owners and numerous yarn shop suppliers. It is my third year of attending this conference. It is organized by the publishers of Vogue Knitting and they always put on an incredible conference. It is always a very rejuvenating experience for me. The staff at The Needle Lady usually wait anxiously for the reorganization of the shop that occurs after every one of these conferences. Remember when we painted the walls and the outside of the shop blue? That was the first conference. Elizabeth started this blog after the first conference. Perhaps you remember us all fumbling over the new Point of Sale System? That was the second conference. Who knows what's ahead for the shop now?

Here is another in the "it's a small world" category. While strolling through the Pike Place Market last Friday, I ran into Carol Fitzgerald--a Needle Lady customer from New Jersey. We were first admiring each others sweaters, and as our glance moved to the face, we realized we knew each other. Here we are---Carol in her self designed Blue Heron Chenille pullover, and I in my Strickwear Box Sweet sweater. I usually see Carol every year at the Charlottesville Festival of the Book and neither of us could make it this year--we chanced upon each other in Seattle instead. Thanks Carol for sending the picture.

Carol and Mimi

Another highlight of the conference is the chance to visit yarn shops in the host city. Seattle is home to some great shops. I visited Tricoter, which has always held a special place in my heart, because their first book Simply Beautiful Sweaters is one of my favorites and includes the pattern for "Lucy's Sweater" knit from Colinette Fandango and Zanziba. I think the proceeds from the numerous copies of the book and yarn for that sweater kept us afloat in that first year we were in business. I bought up many copies when it went out of print--I may still have a few in the shop. I know I have one on my shelf at home.

Simply Beautiful Sweaters.

Another shop that I thoroughly enjoyed was Churchmouse Yarns & Teas located on beautiful Bainbridge Island a short ferry ride from Seattle. We knew it would be a wonderful afternoon when we boarded the ferry in rain, and landed on the island in sunshine.

Bainbridge Island, Washington home of Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

After a fabulous lunch at Cafe Nola, we visited Kit at Churchmouse. I have to admit I suffered "yarn shop envy" . It was a beautiful shop--and Kit had an office to die for. Kit and her husband John have created a beautiful yarn and tea shop and were such generous hosts to all of the visiting shop owners. It's tough to be judged by a jury of your peers.

They have just published a set of Churchmouse Yarns & Teas Classic patterns. These are small project patterns that use anywhere from 1 to 3 skeins of yarn. The patterns are accompanied by the stunning photography of Jared Flood (Brooklyn Tweed). I have ordered these beautiful patterns for the shop---they should be in by the weekend. There is a ruffled scarf knit with Koigu, a great man's scarf and hat out of Ultra Alpaca, footies for use in your Dansko clogs ( I did discover that Seattle and Charlottesville, and yarn shop owners must keep Dansko in business), a featherweight kid silk haze wrap and much more. Even if you never knit the project, the photos will transport you. Here is John and Kit in the tea section of their shop:

John and Kit, owners of Churchmouse Yarns and Teas

Madeleine and I capped off our trip with an incredible day on Mt. Rainier. An old friend of mine that lives in Seattle supplied us with all of the maps and gear and instruction that we needed to snowshoe on Mt. Rainier. It was unbelievable--not only because it was a crystal clear gorgeous sunny day. We reached a place where we had unobstructed views of Mt. St. Helen, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams--it was as if you were in another world. Thank you, Keith!

Mt. Rainier

Monday, March 8, 2010

Village School Knitting Olympics

The Village School (a downtown Charlottesville middle school for girls) has just completed its Knitting Olympics. The school divided into teams of 8-10 girls and created fictional countries and competed in the Knitting Olympics. The girls competed in scarf knitting, all 74 girls in the school participated. They finished the competition having knit over 125 scarves.

Knitting Olympics Scarves

The scarves will be donated to the Martha Jefferson Cancer Center and will be presented from the Village School during the center's Celebration of Life on March 28.

Village 2

The team representing Casmeccebe was the winner. Here they are with their gold medals.

Knitting Olympics Awards 005

Hurray for the Village School! Congratulations girls!

Pets continued...

Mary Jean brought in her finished cat bed--lucky cats!

Mary Jean's Cat Bed

Betsy sent in some great pet/animal photos. Here is her knitted pig--clearly alarming to her cat.

Silas with Betsy's Pig

To make matters worse, Betsy also brought in a knitted bunny to the house. I think the cat might be able to overpower the bunny.

The cat after Eva's bunny

Lori (who works in the shop on Thursdays) sent us this hysterical BBC link to a story about women in England knitting sweaters for bald chickens---yes, that's right sweaters for bald chickens.

Here is the BBC link.

** Jumpers knitted for bald chickens **
Former battery hens from Norwich that have lost their feathers are being knitted jumpers by a Somerset craft club to keep them warm. < http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/england/8537773.stm >


Have you knit your bald chicken a sweater?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Thank you, Elizabeth!

As we enter the third year of The Needle Lady blog, Elizabeth will move on with her own blog http://www.goodwoolhunting.com/ , and I will take over as the "blogmaster" for The Needle Lady. We will miss Elizabeth's endless enthusiasm, but look forward to following her blog and having her submit some "guest posts" to our blog. Thank you Elizabeth!

Nicki comes to The Needle Lady

Now that I've turned 50 and my children are starting to leave the nest, it is time for a new puppy. Come into the shop and meet Nicholas (Nicki) who is a 12 week old standard poodle and the new Needle Lady shop dog.

Niki and friend

Nicki proved to be so cute that Colleen (who works Tuesday afternoon and Wednesdays) drove to Greensboro and picked up Roxy, Nicki's sister. Here she is......


Roxy is wearing a dog sweater meant for one of Susan Bashline's Yorkies and knit by her mother Doris during the snow. A great use of Debbie Bliss Luxury Tweed stash. Here is one of Susan's Yorkies in her own sweater.


Since the snow in Charlottesville just continued, Susan's other Yorkie also received a sweater from "grandma" knit out of Trendsetter's Tonalita.


Nicki is settling in well at The Needle Lady. He's made lots of friends and sometimes tries to blend in with his surroundings. Can you find Nicki in the Mountain Colors?


Here is a great shot of Vicki Thomas' new bulldog puppy in the snow. This guy is the reason I even started thinking about puppies again....

Cracker Jack Feb 5, 2010 004

Finally, here is a great photo sent in by Lynne Brookfield (one of our favorite customers). Her granddaughter Molly sent her this photo.


She sent it to me with this message:

The Needle Lady's yarns get SEAL OF APPROVAL from feline.

I thought you might enjoy this email photo my granddaughter Molly sent me. Her cat is lying on cotton afghan I crocheted and is wrapped in a $40.00-a-skein-yarn Molly picked out at Needle Lady and knitted.

Please send us any of your "pet knitting" photos and we'd love to post them to the blog this week. Send the photos to info@needlelady.com.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day!


This is the 2 year blogiversary. I can't believe I've been blogging for 2 years! How time flies. Here is the first post http://theneedlelady.blogspot.com/2008/02/welcome-to-our-new-blog.html

If you haven't been to the shop since Snow-verkill happened, you must go today! There is SO much to see, including a sale.



And apparently, Snowpocalypse isn't over yet.


What else is more comforting than stocking up on bread, milk, eggs, yarn, and new magazines?

We now have Interweave's Knitting Traditions.

Knitting Traditions F.indd

I LOVE THIS MAGAZINE. As someone who sleeps with a copy of The History of Knitting by her bed, opening this magazine and seeing articles on Turkish knitting in the middle ages and Swedish two ended knitting was just the perfect addition to my stash enhancement for baby knitting. My friends have had 7 babies so far this year!

I will post again later- for now, my dearest child Gansey is staring at me so I need to take her on an adventure. Stay tuned for Ravelympics updates too! Viny Yoke has been started, and it's fab.

Monday, February 8, 2010

a few more things...


I'm just borrowing it but it was nice to spin by candelight this weekend.

Also, this is SO BEAUTIFUL.


Sunday, February 7, 2010


I hope everyone has lots of crafts stockpiled for Snow-torious B.I.G. I'm reading lots of bloggies, when I have power (please Lord, don't let me lose power today). The superbowl is today and I'm going to be spinning/knitting up a storm. Maybe that was a bad analogy this weekend.

Check out these blogs:

The Purl Bee-- excellent elephant patterns, but really, Elijah will always be the best.

Posie gets Cozy, designer of Sunshine Day Baby Afghan

sunshine day

This would be wonderful in Zara- we have so many colors. But really, it would be wonderful in anything. How about Berroco Vintage or Shepherd's Worsted? LOVE.

More later!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Craft Space

I think I am slowly but surely trying to be Alicia Paulson aka Posie Gets Cozy. I painted my room from lime green to light blue. I suddenly want to organize everything- including my yarn and needles. I am in the market for an armoire that I can refurbish to be my craft space, instead of dedicating an entire room to yarn. I am renovating my bathrooms myself, after five years of living here and hoping some day I would have the money to pay someone to do it. I just decided if I can knit a sweater, I can remove wallpaper.

Here is the Posie studio. So organized. I could never be that organized. But still, it's inspiration.


And here is my Featherweight that I would love to finish this weekend.


I'm really trying to get better at taking photos of my knitting. Do you have any tips? Maybe have someone hold the lighting close to the piece?

I love knitting the malabrigo laceweight. It's so nice. Especially on the Asciano needles.

The shop is closed today because of the snow, but it gives everyone a chance to sit at home by the fire and work on projects.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Designer Spotlight- Gudrun Johnston


Shetland Trader

Here is yet another adorable pattern by Gudrun Johnston. I actually met her at Rhinebeck!


She has lots of Twist Collective designs, and I especially love these...



I borrowed this photo from NessaRenee on Ravelry. Isn't it great?

Tanit's Jacket


So, Gudrun, you rock the house.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Featherweight Cardigan

I suppose it had to happen sometime this winter, but I have a cold. Due to this cold, I have a lot more time to knit. I've started Featherweight on my new Asciano needles, which I love. It's malabrigo laceweight on size 7 needles. Addis didn't work for me because the yarn was slipping too much. The wood on the ascianos is perfect.

Here are three of them from ravelry that I am using as inspiration. I am also taking Stefanie Japel's How to Fit Your Knits class and it is genius. I would highly recommend taking this class for any of you who want your garments to fit your body better. I call it taking control of your knitting and not relying on a pattern that may or may not be totally accurate. Check out other classes here.

Rav Link

Rav Link

Rav Link

I love the way these look with dresses. I also am definitely going to incorporate some sort of lace like middle photo. Photos to come soon. Back to knitting...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Poland Hood

Peaks Hood

Peaks Island Hood by Ysolda adjusted for Poland- no scalloped edges (long story. and by long, i mean like five hours of ripping), felt lining. My mother is going to Poland and I feel the need to keep her warm. Who goes to Poland in January?


Here is the sweater I made for her in two weeks. It's toasty, but she'll definitely need a turtleneck on under it.


A norwegian hat made of leftovers. So pretty!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Do you have any projects you'd like to share with us?

Just email me the following"

Pattern title and where you found it (book, internet)
Yarn used
Needle size used
Who you made it for
a photo


I start an online class today with Stefanie Japel of Fitted Knits and Glam Knits. I am star struck!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A sweater in record time

I knitted a jacket for my mother in two weeks. It's a really cute pattern that was not given justice at all in the Filatura di Crosa Spring/Summer 2009 booklet.

brilla jacket

This photo is literally on the back cover of the book. Oddly enough, I think it's the nicest thing in the book.

Here is the medium size (that is probably a normal person's large) out of Merino Sei color 405.



My favorite thing about this pattern is the pleats. I've never knitted pleats before. They are basically really big cables that you bind off in the middle of. My least favorite thing about this pattern is the drastic error in yardage needed. I needed about 500 more yards than they called for. Oh well, all in the name of couture and the need to keep my mother warm on her January trip to Poland.

Friday, January 1, 2010

First Designer Spotlight...Hannah Fettig

Hannah Fettig

We all know her designs- Whisper, Featherweight Cardigan, Lightweight Pullover. She Rocks. We have all the yarn to make these sweaters.