The Needle Lady Blog

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wine and Twine with The Needle Lady

Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 25 to enjoy our first Sunday Knitting Workshop at Blenheim Vineyards.

The Sunday workshop series will take place at a variety of locations around Charlottesville and Albemarle over spring and summer. These workshops will be project-based, covering new skills centered around a smaller project that can be completed quickly. The Sunday format will allow for teaching in the morning followed by a break for lunch and a chance to check out our various locations.

March 25 is the "Ridges and Valleys Cowl class" featuring the incredible "mobius cast on." The workshop costs $70, which includes lunch. Come to the shop to take a look at the model and purchase the materials. The class is capped at 15 so sign up while you have the chance by calling us at 434.296.4625!

Wind on, wine on.
The Needle Lady

Sunday, August 14, 2011


We Needle Ladies have been madly knitting away all summer! One of the latest projects to catch our fancy has been The Coloratura--a pattern from Wisconsin knitter Chris Bylsma. Mimi discovered this great sweater when she had dinner with Chris at Stitches South. Here is Chris fixing a loose thread in the original Coloratura with, what else, a fork. Chris knit and designed this sweater with Claudia's Handpaint Yarns.

Chris' Coloratura
She came to Charlottesville several weeks ago to teach a wonderful workshop in which many of you came from long distances to participate. Claudia McLean of Claudia Handpaints joined us from over the mountain in Harrisonburg. She brought boatloads (actually carloads) of her wonderful yarns for us to play with. What a weekend it was! Beautiful weather (remember when we had weather in the 80's?) and we ended the weekend at King Family Vineyards.

To knit our Coloraturas we had to choose six different colors of Claudia's fingering merinos and one color from her silks. The silk ties in all of the other colors into a unified garment. The panels are knit holding the merino and silk together. It's exciting to watch the colors change as you knit. We had so much fun playing with yarn colors (and drinking wine, but hey...)

Here are some of our projects in the making.....l

Mimi is, no surprise, using red colors. The silk is Rubies and the merinos are purple earth, summer berries, mardi gras, plumicious, tomato soup, and Hokies. Here is the back so far.

mimi's coloratura
Claudia went with her favorite blue merinos, anchored with Ocean Depths silk. Here is the back of her sweater.

Claudia's Coloratura

I (Lori) had trouble choosing my favorite color of silk! This is no surprise to anyone who knows me. In fact, I was dreamily lost in the colors with Claudia came up behind me and asked, "Are you petting my yarn?" It is that mesmerizing. The indecision I blame completely on Claudia! She has too many gorgeous colors to choose from! It's amazing! I began with Aubergine, followed by a lovely blend of purples, and finally ended up with the blues and purples of Ocean Depths. I am still looking longingly at that purples silk--it's in my future!

We all began by making swatches and playing with the colors and yarns, switching and arranging them until we had a pleasing color order. This drove my family crazy as there was yarn everywhere, in the dining room, on the kitchen table, family followed me. I'm not obsessed.....


To date, the back of my Coloratura is almost done. My original goal was one panel weekly, but it's going much faster than that! I can't wait to see what the next color is going to look like.

This is a really fun knit and an easy pattern--thanks to Chris Bylsma. Claudia's yarns add another happy dimension. We Needle Ladies invite you to stop by the shop and let us help you choose your own colors so you can be obsessed with us!

All of you women that were here for the Sweater Workshop Weekend--we want pictures!

posted by Lori

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

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. < >


Have you knit your bald chicken a sweater?