Happy New Year!

Did you accomplish all you set out to accomplish this year? I outlined three resolutions in my New Year's Post for 2011:

Learn to knit Continental-style.
I did! I've knit two sweaters and a hat this way, and it gets easier every day. And guess what? It IS faster!

Attend a big knitting event.
I went to two knitting events in 2011, Vogue Knitting Live and TNNA in June. Go me!

Put all my projects on Ravelry.
On this goal, I sadly fell short. I did improve my Ravelry notebook though!

I had another goal of completing a sweater every month in 2011...I did get through 11 of them (11.5 if you count an Aran knit baby sweater I made for a friend in the fabulous Liberty Wool), but Christmas gifts dominated my month of December and I just couldn't pull through. I do have a fellow knitter who went above and beyond...

Cheryl, aka Snuzy. May I present to you her 20 Sweaters of 2011!!!!

She wants you all to know that she will be finished with more sweaters by 12/31. Stay tuned for an addendum.

What are your knitting resolutions this year?

Image credit Sally M

Hello Billerica! Moving, Pt. 2

We're finally settling into our new spot, and everything is falling into place quite nicely. It's strange to move from an historic mill building, which has its pluses (character!) and its minuses (lots and lots of dust!), and into a completely new spot.

No more boxes on the floor!

Yup, all this yarn had to be shelved. There were TONS of it. Literally.

We spent a whole week just unpacking yarn...

CEY, Hot Off the Press

Even if I knit a sweater a month (ambitious!) I wouldn't make it through my queue of cold-weather sweaters until SEPTEMBER 2012! Sigh, I still couldn't resist casting on for a project from one of the new Winter knitting magazines. Given my current lust for angora, can you guess which one it is?

See projects in Classic Elite yarns from new editions of all your favorite magazines here!

Vogue Knitting, Holiday

Arm Warmers by Twinkle 1 hank of Twinkle Handknits/Baby Chunky in #81 Amethyst #28. Photo by Paul Amato.

Textured Jacket by Pat Olski, sized for X-Small/Small, Medium, Large 15 (19,23) hanks of Vista from Mountain Top/Classic Elite Yarns in #6003 Ash. Photo by Paul Amato.

Interweave Knits, Winter

We've moved!

Many of you already know, but Classic Elite Yarns is now in North Billerica! After decades in Lowell, we picked up and went south.

There was a certain mystique to our former spot, in an old mill building on the banks of a canal, hearing the drone of freight trains navigating their way north (though we might not miss the exhaust from said freight trains)...

And having our workspace in an artists' building was pretty cool, and gave us lots of backdrops for good photography.

A shot from the aptly named Artwork booklet, shot at the Western Ave. Studios.

From the booklet Panache, a trio of scarves in front of an old mill door.
But moving gave us an opportunity to regroup, to sift through decades of old stuff, and to evaluate what to keep and what we could let go of. And boy, was it a mess.

All our office stuff had to go in these giant boxes on wheels.

However, life must go on, in spite of ever-increasing disorganization.

That's A LOT of yarn to move

Still more yarn to move...

Oh wait, that was just what doesn't fit on the shelves.

Where all our pattern books once lived.

Heather cleared out this entire thing, and many others just like it.

They always look so big when they're empty.

Goodbye Lowell warehouse!
And now we're finally settled in to a completely new office and warehouse space with shiny new floors, super-organized (for now) shelves packed with yarn and books, and, this is the best part, a FORKLIFT. More pictures of our new space to come!

MillaMia Stocking Kits, just in time!

Have you knit a Christmas stocking yet? Christmas stockings have long been on my to-do list, and we may have found the perfect pattern from MillaMia, a line of yarns and patterns based in England.

Scroll down for a holiday giveaway!

MillaMia is an established European brand that is now being distributed by Classic Elite Yarns here in the States. Founded and operated by two sisters who spent their childhood summers in Sweden, MillaMia's style is distinctive and contemporary.

Their products include Naturally Soft Merino, a 100% extrafine Merino machine-washable sportweight yarn in 17 colors, a collection of beautifully styled patterns for children, and cushion and stocking kits for the holidays. You can find their entire range of products here in the States beginning in January 2012, but stocking kits are available now! 

Kits include the Candy Cane (4 balls of yarn plus the pattern), Cables (3 balls of yarn plus the pattern) and lastly the Nordic Star (3 balls of yarn plus the pattern). Though pictured above in Scarlet, these kits also come in Moss and Snow (red, green and white for the holidays!) You can buy stocking kits from the retailers listed below.  If your shop isn't listed here, don't worry! Keep checking our website here for new retailers and ask for it at your LYS.

  • WEBS, Northampton, MA, http://yarn.com 
  • Yarn Garden, Portland, OR,  http://www.yarngarden.net 
  • Stitch House Dorchester, Dorchester, MA, http://www.stitchhousedorchester.com 
  • Sweet Pea's Yarns and Gifts, St. Clair, MI, http://sweetpeasyarn.com/ 
  • Hub Mills Store, N. Billerica, MA, http://www.hubmillsstore.com 

We want to give one lucky reader in the United States a chance to experience MillaMia and Naturally Soft Merino this holiday season. We're giving away one stocking kit of your choice! You'll be hooked. Just comment here and let us know how you prepare your home for the holidays. Be sure to include a way to reach you, either through Ravelry or email so we can notify you if you win! We will choose a winner on December 8th at noon. Comment away!

The Old Norwegian Cast On

This week's Web Letter comes from Rachel Henry, arguably one of our most popular Web Letter designers of the last year. She contributed the Katydid Drop Everything Scarf AND the Ravelry hit, the Cotton Bam Boo Kudzu Shawlette, which made it to #16 of the Ravelry "New and Popular" Top 20 list at its peak and currently has 2750 faves and 179 projects!

Our latest Web Letter, the Bifurcate Cowl, is also destined for greatness. Any inquisitive knitter will be intrigued by the prospect of knitting cables flat in the round. Say what? And Kumara is so luscious, it begs to be worn next to the skin...

There is one teeny detail in the pattern that caught my attention, as I'd never heard of the "Old Norwegian Cast-On" before. Rachel posted a video on her blog explaining what it is and why it's awesome. Watch out for a cool trick to avoid tying a slip-knot in your knitting when beginning your CO. The Old Norwegian cast-on begins at around 2:10.


Another technique that would make the Bifurcate Cowl a little easier is cabling without a cable needle. This is my preferred method of working cables, and I learned from the fabulous and ever-wise Grumperina on her blog. Her tutorial does not include a video, but there are lots of clear pictures to guide you along your way.

Can't wait to see all your Bifurcate Cowls!

Elizabeth Revisited

I know we've been over this, but remember the Elizabeth cardigan? We dubbed it the "Magic Sweater" because it looked good on so many people. By the way, this sample size is small, and is the same sweater featured on the model above.

This is one of my favorite sweaters in my collection of handknits. The deep 1x1 ribbed collar folds over just so, and the machine-washable Liberty Wool is soft, squishy and springy. The slipped rib waistband hugs my waist and keeps the silhouette feminine and tailored, while still cozy. Mine is knit in a solid, #7850 Gold.

Though, to truly let this garment live up to its potential, one should take advantage of the color shifts in the wildly popular Liberty Wool Print, available in 15 distinct colorways.

If this post inspired you, you can buy the pattern on Patternfish as part of their 10,000th Design Competition. While you're there, will you vote for us?

Interweave Knitting Lab!

Did you go? Did you have fun? We had an amazing time!

If you have any pictures of your own, head over to our Facebook page and post them on our wall, we would love to see them. (Most of these pictures were taken with an iPhone, please excuse the quality!)

Setup at shows is ALOT of work!

The tasting area

We brought along Liberty Wool Print, Avenue, and Soft Linen.

People were excited to try Signature needles! We also had free patterns and ruler bookmarks.

We made 108" long (!!) scarves in Liberty Wool to be auctioned off.

Another auction prize: a bag of Avenue, booklet 9145, and a set of US6 Signature needles

A happy knitter and her haul of Alpaca Sox

The winner of our giveaway yarn grab bag, and her gorgeous Silky Alpaca Lace shawlette

Slow down, knitters! A speed bump a la Interweave

Nine Rubies in San Mateo brought along some Liberty Print. If you're looking for it, they've got it!

Tasting some yarn with Signature needles at the Classic Elite Yarns table
We can't wait for next October. See you in Manchester, Interweave!

Knitcircus Winners!

Last week we selected the winners of our Knitcircus Giveaway! Jaala Spiro, editor, offered to give three winners the entire collection of patterns from the Holiday Gifts Issue. That's 13 patterns, including the lovely Shapely Shawl by Jane Prater, knit in Magnolia.

I loved reading people's thoughts on holiday knitting, head over and check them out. It seems the consensus is that only the most deserving receive handknits...giving us more time to knit selfishly! Without further ado, here are the three winning commenters, as chosen by the random number generator at random.org:

Shannatheshedevil said: This year, only I am getting holiday knitting! I did knitted gifts last year and have decided I am just not organized enough to do it.

Graceannecarter said: There will be a white Christmas in southern California because I am knitting up a storm!!!

Mamsy said: I have so many projects going, I love knitting presents. I am sure I will need some last minute pattern for someone I may have forgotten, perhaps even me.

Congratulations, winners!

CEY and Signature Needles, Together!

This has been a great year for knitting events. One particularly exciting one that's approaching is Interweave's Knitting Lab! As knitting creeps deeper into the public consciousness, knitters are becoming more and more advanced and their hunger for intermediate to experienced-level knowledge grows. Interweave responded with Knitting Lab, an event with shopping, classes, lectures, and special events, all catering to the inquisitive, post-beginner fiber enthusiast...and Classic Elite will be there!

Heather, our sales manager, will be walking the floor and checking out all the CEY knits out there (if you didn't catch the blog post on Friday, we are giving away a $75 gift basket to a lucky knitter wearing CEY). You can probably catch her by the yarn tasting area, where you'll have a chance to knit some luscious fibers with some fabulous needles!

This year, we are thrilled to be bringing along Soft Linen, Avenue and Liberty Print to the show floor.

Soft Linen is a blend of fibers that can only be described as perfect: 35% Linen, 35% Wool, and 30% Baby Alpaca. I love the crispness of bast fibers (linen, hemp, nettles, etc.) but find them to be hard on my hands. Soft Linen combines that crispness with the softness and drape of baby alpaca, and the insulating qualities of wool.

Avenue is a new yarn for Fall 2011, and, as the name suggests, it imparts a city feel. Not particularly "woolly", Avenue is a marled fiber in eight sophisticated colors made up of 42% extrafine merino, 29% silk, and 29% viscose. It is soft and knits up into a unique fabric that is perfect for simple silhouettes that benefit from a fabric with plenty of drape. Try it out, you might like it!

What can we say about Liberty Print besides that it's fabulous! The color shifts, the springy ply, the machine-washability without the weird squeakiness of "superwash"! Contributing to Liberty's buttery feel is a secret process that renders it machine-washable but helps it retain its soft woolliness. It can be difficult to see the spectacular colors without knitting a swatch, so we thought this would be a great yarn to bring along.

At this event, Classic Elite Yarns has a partner! Signature Needle Arts, cult producers of precision-crafted, lightweight aluminum needles, have generously provided us with needles for the tasting area! The opportunities to use these stunning needles are so rare, and their following so devoted that this is a must-visit if in San Mateo area. 

For updates from Knitting Lab, whether you're there or following along from home, follow us on Twitter at @ceyarns. See you there!