All the yarn that's fit to knit!

Come on in, the yarn's fine!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

So Much Talent and Creativity

There are so many creative people who are or have been associated with Great Yarns and Yarns etc. Interweave Crochet Magazine has a new Editor- Marcy Smith Rice lives in Raleigh and is doing an excellent job at the magazine. Marcy wrote a crafts column for theRaleigh News and Observer before going to work for Interweave. In between jobs she helped us out at Great Yarns. We enjoy seeing each and every Interweave Crochet that has Marcy's creative touch.
A featured column in Interweave Crochet - Craftivism- is written by Betsy Greer. Betsy has been working at Yarns etc... in Chapel Hill for several months.

Betsy is also the author of Knitting for Good. We all know how much knitting and crafting have made our lives better. Betsy confirms that with her book about how the more we knit and craft the better off the whole world is. Thank you Betsy for putting this in print for all of us to enjoy

This is the latest issue of Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts. The hat ON THE COVER was designed and made by Catherine Shields. There are 2 more colorways shown in the magazine. Catherine worked at Yarns etc... when we were still in Carrboro. She is in school in California and has obviously not been too busy to keep up with her very fine knitting- and now- designing skills. I know we will see more of her work in future publications.

Congratulations to all of you talented and creative ladies!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


For the past six or seven years, not only have I been knitting, but I've also been an advocate of the value of knitting and making other things by hand. A long time ago, in a knitting circle, I started talking about how craft and activism have an innate connection as passion for both can lead to the creation of items that express your values, views and opinions. Someone within the group piped up and said, "You could call it craftivism." And so I did.

Much to my surprise, in uncovering more about this connection inherent to craftivism, it led to charity knitting, a MA thesis on how crafting can facilitate community development, essays, blog posts, and a book! It's called Knitting for Good: A Guide to Creating Personal, Social and Political Change Stitch by Stitch and was published by Shambhala last November. Since then I have also started writing a Craftivism column for Interweave Crochet, which is edited by the very talented local crafter, Marcy Smith! At one of those book signings last year, Mary said she needed some extra help in the shop some days and ever since I've been filling in here and there, as of August, every Friday afternoon and on occasions when there's an open shift.

But what about this craftivism thing? What is it all about? It started with the realization of how handmade items touch us in a completely different way than mass-produced ones. Items made by hand not only feel different, but are different because they are made from two hands and not a production line of machines. Wearing something made specifically for you, versus wearing something made for the bottom line, are two completely different experiences. With this in mind, I started knitting scarves, hats, blankets, mittens and vests for different charities that were collecting handmade pieces for various drives or collection. I liked that I could take the strength of knitting, that one has complete control over a garment's construction from design to size to color to gauge, and make something special for someone...especially for someone who desperately needed a vest to keep warm or could be comforted through difficult times by snuggling up with a cheerful blanket. I also liked that I could, in my own small way, fight against homelessness, war, cancer, or other injustices/causes with little else but my own two hands, some sticks and some string. It reminded me of how we're all connected when I felt overwhelmed that there wasn't a magic pill that would save everyone. It reminded me that maybe I couldn't help save a whole country of children, but that I could make a few children's days better by putting my knitting needles to good use.

In allowing the dual effects of knitting (process and product) to resonate, I've found the spot where maybe I'm not so technical, but I am constantly inspired to keep creating. I love that whether I'm waiting at the doctor's office or watching a movie or talking with friends I can be simultaneously working towards making someone's day better through knitting, whether it's my grandmother's or a stranger's. At first, my mother was worried about the "activism" part of craftivism, as didn't that entail lots of waving banners or breaking windows or something else not so positive? In time, however, she came to see how "activism" is not rooted in negativity, it's rooted in kindness and care and action. Positive action towards making the world a better place to be. That kindness and care is the heart of craftivism, uncovering how we can take our individual gifts and talents and use them to help others. And it's at the heart of knitting and creating, as we make items that are beautiful and sustainable with our own two hands, embracing the past and welcoming it into the future.
What is your favorite way to express your giving spirit?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baby Gifts

We have been noticing a lot of mothers-to-be lately. And along with that goes lots of knitting for babies. This beautiful blue and brown seed stitch blanket was made for a special California baby by his excited Grandmom. We worked together to embroider the initials and birthdate.

This cute flower sweater was made for a lucky little girl out of the ever popular 1824 cotton. I love this color combination!

This Big Sister shows off her cute green cotton sweater with a drawstring neckline. So Cute!!!
This 3 button raglan is made in super special Koigu superwash merino. It will keep some little one warm and snuggly -not to mention quite fashionable- this winter.
And the ever popular Layette set is always a special baby gift. This set has hat, booties, sweater and a blanket.  They were all made in the same Peter Pan Baby Yarn. That is a lot of knitting!!!
We love to see what you make for all your special little ones. We especially love to see your little ones in their special hand knits.

Sign up for our email Newsletter!