Saturday, December 18, 2010

Something special

As the shoppers came in from the cold today and our morning class was leaving, it was exciting to watch as a mother and her two young daughters came in. They were there to pick out yarn for their Dad's gaitor (cowl) and the youngest daughter, around 9 years old, was picking out yarn to make a scarf for herself. She had just started to knit and was ready to advance to her own skein of yarn. We suggested Berroco Comfort worsted weight for the price as well as the flexibility of being able to wash and dry in the machine. She was so excited when she left. She was going home with a variegated ball to sit and knit with her mother this evening.

Another customer walked in near closing and immediately said hi to me. I knew I recognized her but couldn't place her. She told me that she had been the student nurse assigned to me this summer while having surgery. She had asked about a logo on my bag - the logo of the store and I had told her about the store and co-op. We had talked about her going back for her degree, though she had been a nurse for quite a while. She came in today to see what we were all about. She was particularly interested in some of the quilted items for purchase. She loved the tree skirt. She was thinking of it being a gift for her daughter who lives in Hawaii. Her daughter will be home for Christmas this year and she was thinking the snow scene on the tree skirt would give her little bit of New England to take back with her.

It is so much fun to hear about people's life stories. Everyone is so interesting!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

How Many More Days?

It has been unusually bitter cold the last few mornings here in the northeast. We understand there has been snow from the southern relatives south of Washington, D.C. Even the post office was closed today!

How is the holiday stitching going for you? For us, the march of time still beats on...

A pair of mittens to be completed... in Manos Maxima.

For those who have heard the saga in the store of the "husband" hat, here is the finished plain ol' watchcap that he loves. It is made out of our farm's merino/llama yarn in natural colors.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Picking Out the Right Gift...

Joanne's mitten and sock

Do you have any one on your holiday gift list that can be difficult to buy for? A cute little idea for a fast, quick gift item that can be used later as a ornament or a key chain is the little Mitten or stock key chain form. It comes with the pattern inside to stitch more than one. So for those who appreciate a little thoughtful piece of you, yet may not knit, this is perfect!
Gift certificates are available in any denomination. They may be used for any merchandise in the store or towards a class or workshop.
How is your holiday knitting going? Some of us are under more pressure than most. All our custom orders for the store are done. Now it is the deadline for the family and friends knitted gifts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Stitch night

Stitch table before Stitch Night

Tonight is "Stitch Night" where stitchers come together around our table once a month to show us what is their work in progress, lament over a pattern and share the love of what we do. The holiday time is always exciting with people trying to finish up those last minute gifts. Some, like me, will be wrapping at the 11th hour and maybe even putting an I.O.U. in the box.
We all get inspired during these gatherings. One month a gentleman told me his wife was so excited when she got home that she couldn't sleep with ideas running through her head.
Feel free to join us, for a free fun fill evening from 6:30 to 8:30 PM, the second Monday night of the month!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holiday Hype?

Today, I had someone withdraw from our newsletter stating that there was too much holiday hype among other unflattering comments. I had to chuckle. She had signed up for the newsletter herself, we didn't solicit her. My conclusion is she never physically visited the store and spent a few minutes talking to us. She has not experience our passion and love of fiber or the gift of giving a little of ourselves to each other.

Yes, we are a business. There are aspects of that side of Iron Horse that means we need to "advertise" some of the items and services we offer. We are most fortunate to have people from all races and religions visit our store. We have always been very respectful of peoples individual beliefs. If you know me at all, I will not allow the Christmas tree, the menorah or any other holiday decoration be displayed until after Thanksgiving, unlike other places where "holiday" music was playing in September. We do offer suggestions in our newsletter for gift giving ideas because no matter what your beliefs may be, it is a time of giving of one's self and a small materialistic gift might be how one expresses themself. Many people make gifts to give to love ones-family and friends.

There is nothing like the joy of watching someone open a small token from you, wanting to bring a little joy into their life. I received many tokens today. One was from a dear friend who recently had a life altering event happen to her and her family. She was having a bad day. She was in the store and as she left, she hugged me. I was most touched. We have hugged before but there was something about this hug that meant something special to both of us. Another one of those small tokens today was from someone, who through visiting our store has become my friend. She is loving, giving of herself and comes a distance to visit about once a month. Sometimes, we are busy with new "friends" to be able to sit and enjoy each other's company while she is here, but she has also given her heart to others in our coop. She always offers to help anyone in any way she can.

We have built a community. A place where we care about each other. It is not about the commercial aspects of the store. As we go forth preparing for this season of joyful celebration remember, a hug, a thank you and even a concern about a love one goes a long way. Thank you to all of you who have made Iron Horse in Natick a home away from home.

Happy Chanukkah to our Jewish friends as you celebrate the first night. Let the "oil" burn on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hope you all had lovely weekend, full of family, food and great shopping deals! We had a great turn out for our Black Friday sale. Many people took advantage of the Small Business Saturday as well. It was great to help you all find just what you were looking for. Stop by the store for your picking of a special lot of yarn from Fleece Artist called Big Blue, we have beautiful generous skeins with 250 yds of bulky weight handpainted BFL. The skeins are much prettier in person, but here is a sneak peek......

They are going fast at 25% OFF! Come on in to the store and see what we have!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Days After...

Hope everyone had a good holiday. We jumped back into the retail world on Friday morning with our Black Friday Early Bird Sale. We are so pleased that many of you took advantage of our sale and visited us. The store is a great place to be, especially when the creative juices are flowing. We are also delighted that people are still discovering us. The Boston Globe's article in Thursday's paper was great for Natick and us. It is wonderful when people tell us that they are trying to shop local to support the small businesses in their own back yard. Yesterday was American Express's promotion day for shopping at small businesses. We know this worked because we accepted the most Amex credit cards for purchases ever in one day. Thank you!

We received a great order of buttons on Wednesday. We have been looking for more cute children's buttons as well as large buttons for sophisticated hand knit. We think you will be pleased with our expanded collection.

Today starts our Sunday Holiday hours. We will be open every Sunday from November 28 through December 19, 12 to 4 pm.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

We have just closed the store for the Thanksgiving holiday. A personal thank you for Barbara for being a trooper and helping out in the store today. We were bustling and I could not have done it without her help!

I said I was not cooking but I will do a little tomorrow. What is Thanksgiving without turkey?

For those, like us, who have lost loved ones this year, we hope your holiday will be filled with love and wonderful memories. It is a time to be thankful for the time we had with them.

We are thankful for our health, family and friends. We are thankful to you our dear patrons who have become friends along this journey called life. We have been most fortunate to build relationships among /with many of you. We are most thankful for your support and love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Ready...

The holidays are upon us once again. This year will be a day of thankfulness for the wonderful people I have met along my journey through life and especially my family and friends. We have decided to take the day "off" and spend a quite time at home before the craziness starts at the store.

We start the season with opening our doors at the store on Friday at 7:30 am for some early bird specials. We have some wonderful gift ideas for those looking for hand crafted local gifts as well as great wonderful yarns and accessories. Don't forget the Classic Elite and American Express promotions we talked about last week. Scroll down if you didn't get to read about them.

This morning is a morning "off", if you will, to stay home and work on the computer work for the store. There are always so many hidden things that need to happen to have a business run. It has been a huge eye opener this past year as we took the store off the farm.

The dye pot is also been steaming for a while with socks I took off the antique circular sock machine last night. Production on socks have really slowed down since moving. I miss working on them so last night was a good night as I took a total of four socks off. This morning they went into a mordant bath for 2 hours and are now in dye pots cooling down.

Last night I got my Christmas gift at the store. My husband kept asking me all day what I was doing and what time I would be home. Since I teach many of the evening workshops, this was not an unusual question until he kept asking it. He called to say he was dropping by the store around 4 pm. Okay, no biggie, but then he just sat there. He then wrote a note to me saying he had a surprise for me. We were busy and usually he will just leave. My husband can not keep a surprise! For those who have heard the store of our engagement and him giving my ring , you know he can't keep a secret. All of a sudden, I see him and Paula Kochanek of Five Crows headed off some where down the street. The next thing they are heading back with Skip holding an amazing piece of stain glass!

Last year, when we decided to open in Natick Center, I approached Paula about commissioning her to do a couple of pieces of stain glass for the store windows. When chatting, she brought up from her cellar a drawing and the vintage glass of a ram's head. Since we were trying to bring some of the aspects of the farm to the store, this was the perfect piece for her to finish for us. It had been drawn and cut out over 15 years ago! It looked just like our first Shetland ram, Dartmouth. Well as with many of us, life just got in the way, Paula and I lost touch with our vision for this piece. As our one year anniversary approached, Skip contacted Paula and the two of them work together for Paula to finish this amazing piece of art and they both presented it to me last evening. I can't thank them enough. What a wonderful act they both created. It proudly hangs in the window at the store. My photo does not do this piece justice. It needs to be seen in person. We hope you enjoy "Dartmouth".

Monday, November 22, 2010

Life's Little Pleasures

Saturday's morning and afternoon classes are compromised of some great people. Saturday afternoon "I" surprised us by showing off her socks that she had made in one of our Happy Feet Sock workshops. She has since made two more pairs as well as many other things. I made her show us a little leg and her socks.
We have finalized our Janaury class/workshop schedule. We have some old favorites as well as new ones up. Can't wait to get them up on the web site for all to view. Our six week classes start up again as of December 1 until January 31.

Today has been a busy day with meeting with the Classic Elite, Tahki Stacy Charles, Dream in Color and Southwest Trading Co. Believe it or not it is exhausting looking at so many yarns and great colors. We want to make the store fun and exciting as well as inviting.

Coop members are bringing in wonderful winter and holiday items. It is starting to get colder out, the one of a kind, ready made scarves, mittens and hats can help with those last minute gifts. Table runners, placemats, honey and more are great hostess gifts when visiting during the holiday time.

Lastly, lip balm from Iron Horse Farm is back in stock! I spent most of Saturday evening making each flavor and then Sunday was label making time. It is made with all natural ingredients and a little flavoring.

Friday, November 19, 2010

More Great News for Shoppers!

The store belongs to the Natick Center Associates. It is a wonderful non profit group of small independently owned businesses that work together to improve Natick Center as well as host some of the great events on the common each year. Check out their website.

They sent out a great email this afternoon for those who shop and for small businesses who accept American Express cards. Iron Horse accepts all major credit cards including American Express so this is very exciting. Add this to the Classic Elite offer we mentioned yesterday and it is a win-win-win situation!

This was the email:

We are pleased to announce that American Express is running a special on Saturday, November 27th for small businesses. Use your registered American Express® Card to shop at participating businesses on Small Business Saturday - November 27, 2010 and you will receive a $25 statement credit when you spend $25 or more. For more information and to enroll as participants, please visit Small Business Saturday. Happy Shopping!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Classic Elite's Gift to You!

If you do not get Classic Elite's Newletter, here is a great promotion from them, for us and most importantly YOU!


Do you Love Your Shop?

Classic Elite wants to give back to those who risk it all to follow their dreams, open yarn shops and keep them open in these changing and challenging times. In fact, we have so much faith in those dreams that we want to give everyone a present.

Spend $40 or more on Classic Elite yarn or books yarn or books between now and December 15th, send us a copy of your itemized receipt and we’ll send you a recent pattern book and three mini-skeins of Classic Elite Yarn, just for buying local.

It's our "thank you" to all the knitters and crocheters who recognize the value of supporting our local knitting communities.

Find out more about the Love Your Shop giveaway on our
blog and view complete rules and details on our web site.


We have nice line of Classic Elite yarn and books for you to chose from. We will be happy to show them to you when you visit.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just Another Day...

Last night our Mitten Workshop participants finished up their two session workshop. Most had finished one mitten. Some were discouraged, but we hope they felt better as they left
knowing that all of us make items we are not always pleased with. The decision then is can we live with it, or rip out and start all over again. Sometimes sleeping on it makes it seem more tolerable.

Three of our participants came in today during our two hour drop in session that we offer three times a week for $15.00 a session, to work on their second mitten and become inspired to continue on. It is a wonderful feeling to see people pleased with what they have accomplished.

These workshops and classes make a community. We laugh, tell stories, cry, share stories about our families and build on relationships. It is wonderful for me to be able to greet people by their first name when they return. They all of have become an important part of my life, even for a brief moment. Just like stitching, weaving or felting, we are building something.

Above I am "building" a hat as a Christmas gift. I have a long way to go. The yarn are from our animals on the farm. Llama and wool. It is yummy!

The Boston Globe is writing an article that will be in the Globe West, Thanksgiving Day (I was just told) or Thanksgiving Sunday about shopping locally. What does the customer get out of shopping in a small community downtown area like Natick verses the malls? I talked to the reporter at length on the telephone yesterday. Today she surprised me with a visit. She was in to talk to customers about their experiences shopping locally. One of our customers at the time was a good friend, Karen. Karen also owns a small restaurant in Lexington called Nourish. Karen was my go to woman when I was trying to decide whether to move the store off the farm and were to go. She was the one that suggested Natick Center. I never tire of listening to Karen talk. The reporter was very interested in what Karen had to say. The one phrase that Karen said that still sticks in my mind is, "We are building relationships when we shop and eat at local independently owned businesses."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Gifts in the Store.

It seems we are at the crossroads of the seasons with fall really gone, yet winter and the holidays are yet to come. The cold weather is not upon us. I say "thank You!" because I am not a cold weather person. So why am I in still New England? For the love of a good man and now my daughter has moved back from the south and she threatens death if I even think of moving...

Hanukkah is early this year, starting December 1. Check out our window displays each week. We move our artisans' around for the window displays.

It seems we are always looking for cute baby gifts. Want something out of the ordinary? Think of a beautiful quilted baby blanket. A group of friends can go in on special gift that will last a life time. Baby socks are always a nice touch also. Joanne just sent pairs of striped socks in 0-3 months and 6-12 months sizes.

HiyaHiya dumplings are back in stock. These make great stocking stuffers or Yankee swap gifts. Look out on the horizon because we have more great little gifts coming in soon.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Sunny Day!

Yes! We have had sun for the last two days. This is a good thing! Things always look better when it is sunny, don't you think? Saturdays are always fun with our classes and seeing friends that are busy working during the week that come by on this day.

This week has been busy with representatives from yarn and button companies calling on us to place spring orders. Yes, I said SPRING! It is sometimes hard to to envision what spring will be like when we have not even started into winter yet. I do have to say that there are some new beautiful yarns and buttons coming out. We are excited about the spring line up so far!

One of the areas I think we lack in are the patterns for the crocheters in our lives. I always say that crocheting has been like Cinderella in the fact that she got left behind for the ball but I think she is getting dressed right now. Last year, Tahki Charles dedicated a whole booklet for crochet. The book is in the store. This coming spring Berroco will also have a booklet that has crochet and knit in it for the person. Can't wait for the book to come in!

Just in! Look at the new sock yarn that just arrived. Opal sock yarn. It is the original hand painted, self striping yarn. The colors are gorgeous and so much fun. Right now they are in baskets next to the hand crafted jewelry by Eileen and Joan.

Our coop has been bringing in great items for the holiday season. The Unique Boutique women have some wonderful items for Hanukkah. It is early this year so don't caught without your Judicial items. They make wonderful gifts also. As some of you know we also welcome custom orders. Please note that if you are thinking of a handmade item as a holiday gift, please drop by soon. The members need time to work with you and create your item. We don't want anyone to be disappointed.

Next week we will be winding down our evening workshops until after the holiday season. There is already a great line up on our website with many more to be addedfor January. Our 6 week instructional classes will continue. If you are able to drop in on a session, it is $15.00 for two hours or if you would like to commit to joining one of our groups, we would love to have you and those are for 6 weeks for $75.00. The next 8 session begins December 1 and runs through until January 31. These classes do have an instructor present ready to help with bumps in the road.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

As we drive to work, shop, enjoy each other's company today, let us take a moment or more to thank all those men and women before us and present who have unselfishly protected this country for the sake of freedom and the persuit of happiness.

I proudly could be called a "retired" military brat. My mother remarried when I was 12 to a wonderful man we fondly called "Sam". That was not his given name by his parents but by my sisters and I for the man who came into our lives and was in the military. Remember Uncle Sam wants YOU! campaign and posters? That is how Carl became Sam. He graduated from the Naval Academy and served in the United States Navy most of his career - there was a short stint in the Army before the Naval Academy. He served through the Korean War and Vietnam. Though he was not always physically there as he served his country, he was there for us. He passed away 13 years ago from prostate cancer, but I will always remember how proud he was to be in the Navy. We saw a part of the military life both wonderful and sad that has been an experience of a life time. .

Last year, I met a wonderful woman who was in the store visiting her hometown of Natick. She was a military naval nurse veteran of WWII and the Korean War. Her stories were fascinating. Just six weeks ago I met a amazing woman who was an army nurse during the Vietnam War. She spoke one evening, sitting in the store, just the two of us about the war and over 40 years later, still shed a tear for those she was not able to save. My brother in law now also serves in the military and has been to Afghanistan and Iraq many times. Let's be proud of our "soldiers". We salute you all.

There is a parade to honor the veterans today in Natick, I am presuming, because there are "no parking" bags over the meters this morning as I arrived. We are still open and do know you can park in the parking lot at the end of our building.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday!

It is hard to believe we opened our doors to our new location one year ago today. There has been a lot of hard work and long hours put in in the last year . The most valuable part of all of this is the absolutely wonderful people we have met along the way from our new yarn reps, new co-op members, as well as the ones who have been with us throughout the years, and last but most importantly our customers who have now become our friends.

We are thrilled when people walk in for the first time and we can show them around our "home". We are so excited when people come back and share their life stories and their stitch work with us. The people who have come in to buy a hand crafted item from our co-op members have really appreciated the work and time involved in creating a one of a kind item. You all have brought us gifts, through your kind works, your purchases and spreading the word about us.

Someone was just visiting last week and said she was not a craft person, she was in to purchase a hand crafted item, but felt when she walked in the door that she was at home. We feel the same way and so glad that others understand.

Thank you to all of you who have helped to make our first year in Natick a success!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Berroco Trunk Night

Thank you to all who were able to join us Friday evening. Andra was running late due to traffic but she arrived with flair as always and everyone helped her unpack the suitcase and started trying on garments! It always more fun with you have friends around to try things on and get their opinion. We had such a great time we are thinking of holding this event again when the spring/summer lines are available.
For those of you whom we ordered yarn for you, the order was placed today and we will be calling you as soon as Mr. UPS arrives with the box.
Berroco just released this great one sheet free patterns with the purchase of the yarn to go with them. No more heading to the computer to find them on their website or on to Ravelry. We will have them behind the register so just ask to look at them when selecting your yarn.
This weekend was my sister, Sheri's birthday. She surprised me with a visit- the first one to the area in 6.5 years! It was wonderful that she also was here for the Berroco event and got to meet so many of you. Thank you for making her feel welcomed.
Tonight is Stitch Night! It is always a great monthly evening of fun! Hope you are able to join us.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Berroco will be here!

We are very excited about our exclusive Berroco trunk show tonight from 6 pm to 8 pm. Andra from Berroco will be here with some great garments, free patterns and wonderful advice! You are welcome to try any of the items on also. Bring or wear in your Berroco fashions. We hope to take pictures to post them on this blog tomorrow. Come for as long as you like. All Berroco pattern books and yarns will be 15% off this evening only! Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Classes galore!

Today was a busy day with people calling and coming in to sign up for our Mitten class night week for 2 sessions. It is a great time to pick up a new skill that can be portable and fast. We are thinking cold weather projects that make great gifts. We are thrilled our mitten class is FULL.

Puppy Snips are back in stock in all the colors! They are perfect for the person on the go. Squeeze the feet and the "head" comes off to display a great little pair of snips to cut your thread or yarn. Don't miss out our your favorit color- we can only purchase them as an asssoted bunch.

New project bags from Classic Elite called Blossom arrived today. Everyone who works in the store wants them! They are made out of a cotton blend and fully lined. They are made in the USA also.

Books are in! Cowl Girls, is just what it says, a book full of cowls! Weaver's Companion and Crocheter's Companion are great pocket reference books for people on the go. New England Knits is back in stock. There are so many more for weavers, knitters and crocheters, please stop by and look.

The last session of the beginner hand spinning workshop is tonight. This has been a great small class with people just "flying" through their fiber. As a treat because they have advanced so fast, they will have the opportunity to use a drum carder, carding Ll lama and then spinning it. They also will have the chance to try Navajo plying and plying from the same ball of singles.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heaven on earth!

Today marks a day in our nation, for those who are old enough and are citizens, to vote, to have a voice. We have wars going on in the Middle East but in downtown Natick, we have heaven on earth, well at least to touch and view. Today, a large box from Knitting Fever Distributors with Debbie Bliss DK cashmerino arrived in assorted colors. YUM!

The best part about it is, it is soft and machine washable! Feast your eyes and just feel it. It is great for baby wear as well as adult.

The next item and certainly where we feel heaven on earth comes into play was the Debbie Bliss "Andes", 65% baby alpaca and 35% mulberry silk. The colors are shown to the left.

In the same box was Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk Aran. Luxurious and can be worked with larger needles so the project just flies. We have neutral tones in burgundy, tan, dark brown and gray.

Unique Boutique brought in great items for Hanukkah as well as totes and hand bags. Yesterday, Patty brought in scented hot pads. The aroma of cinnamon and other scents makes you think of apple pie and holidays. For those who love her dog biscuits, hurry in, they don't last long!

It is the beginner knitting class members last class tonight. They have done extremely well. It will be fun to see their items as well as encourage them to continue on their new passion.

Finally, we have a "feel good" story again. Some may know that we have been the target of some shoplifters.We are better equipped to deal with them now but in the meantime, some wonderful hand crafted items as well as hand dyed and painted yarns disappeared. A woman who works next door to us had heard the story and brought in vintage bears and rabbits she has made from old quilts, too tattered to fix but great for stuffed animals. She offered them to us to sell and to use the money to compensate those who had lost merchandise through the hands of others. We are overwhelmed with her generosity and kindness towards strangers. Her animals are beautiful! We will proudly sell them and in turn will also make a donation to her charity of choice. Again, a little heaven on earth in Natick Center.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The life of a hand dyer...

Remember I talked about hand dying some yarn for Kate a couple of days ago? Well here it is almost dry! It is a beautiful heather blue color. It will be ready to take to the store on Thursday for our stitch group that meets on Thursdays from 10 AM to 12 NOON.

Many nights we are crawling around the portable dryers as yarn and roving are strung throughout our family room. I am very lucky to have such an understanding husband.

This week is a week of transition for our co-op members. They will be taking Halloween themed items out and be bringing more handcrafted items in for Thanksgiving and the holidays. We always have local Honey from Rosemarie's bees as well as new all natural honey candies. These make great hostess gifts as well as Charlotte's holiday table runners and place mats.

On to another subject, for those of you in the Saturday morning class who just LOVED the poncho the woman from CT wore, we have the pattern! It is in one of our booklets by Classic Elite. The Montana yarn is also on its way. I can't wait to stitch this one myself. It will be wonderful over a jacket or coat or worn alone. It is made on US 13 needles so it should whip up in no time! Elaine, our representative was in to place the order for Montana but she also teased us with the Spring line. She also brought in more of Audrey by Schaeffer Yarns. There is a beautiful shawl made with a free pattern from Schaeffer that is inspiring everyone to use this wool/silk blend.

Elaine also brought us some Chris yarn from Schaeffer. This is beautifully hand painted yarn in a worsted weight and the best thing is the softness as well as it is super wash so it is machine washable!

The Clapotis Wrap class was tonight with Jessica. It sounds like everyone really progressed in the class. They have two weeks to do "homework" and then will come back in for a second session.

Tomorrow evening is the last class for the Beginner Knitting Class. This group has really excelled and most have made at least two projects in just six weeks. It is always with mixed emotions I say, "See you soon" to a class ending. Many come back again.

The Sock Yarn-One Skein Wonders: 101 Patterns that go way Beyond Socks! book by Judy Durant arrived this afternoon. What a terrific book once again!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Writing the newsletter

Since we don't receive many trick or treaters here, I thought I would take a few minutes to walk you through the process of producing the monthly newsletter each month. This time of year is always so hard because there is SO much to tell you about, we don't want it to be a novel, yet have enough information to be informative.

The process actually starts mid month trying to remember new items from the co-op members and new yarns or special events we want you to know about. Then it is taking and collecting photos to inspire you!

Once things are collected, it is time to write, rewrite and insert photos. This can take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours- there is a lot of playing around with where to put the articles as well as what photos work best. Once that is done and if there is time it is emailed to a proof reader and many times finds problems with grammar or spelling. What can I say? My fingers working faster than the brain some times.

Once she has received it, we chat on the phone, hoping we have found all the problems and then it is set to published in the wee hours in the morning so when you wake up and go to your email in the morning, we hope it is a pleasant email waiting for you to read.

November's newsletter will be in your inbox in the morning!

Friday, October 29, 2010

And the wheels go round and round..

We had a great time last night with new faces, familiar friends and an assortment of wheels. It is always a pleasant night when relaxing and playing with fibers. The wheels were working hard as we worked on merino and tussah silk, shetland, and other blends. For me it is nice to be able to just enjoy the people who come into the store, spending more time talking about fiber.

After spinning, the dye pot was cooking yarns from Kate's collection that she decided she wanted dyed with indigo. I had just dyed with indigo and still had some of the dye bath remaining. It is now drying. Can't wait for her to see it at stitch group on Thursday.
More dyed roving arrived from the processors in lovely lavender, baby blue, teal, turquoise, soft yellows and more.
If you are not back over the weekend, enjoy yourself and don't let the goblins get you!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ye who dies with the most toys...

Stitchers are always looking for fun gadgets to keep us happy while stitching. These make great stocking "stuffers" for the holiday season.

We just got a new shipment of Nancy's Knit Knack items. We just love items from them. For all those stitchers here is the notion case. They come in assorted colors of hot pink, green and brilliant blue. They are terrific for stitch markers, needles row counters and more. If you sew they are great for bobbins, thimbles, needles and thread.

Their needle and hook gauge card is the best we have ever used. It has all those sizes that most gauges do not like 2.25 mm and 2.75mm. It is made of a hard white plastic and very easy to read. The knitting abbreviation cards are also back in stock. This is a great quick reference when on the go.
It is our spinning gathering tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 for all to enjoy. The camera is ready and hopefully we can finally get some pictures of all the great wheels and their owners.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Doing something good

Ever gotten up in the morning and think of the day ahead and pleased that you are doing something good that day for someone else? Today has been one of those days. During the course of a week, we share personal stories, tragedies, happy times and frustrations. This morning I met with a group of young women who have not had a great life so far in our store to get them interested in a craft. It was wonderful to see these four teens come to life talking with each other and starting to get to know each other through some yarn, a crochet hook or knitting needles. Three of the four have chosen a crochet project.

Another feel good subject, in more ways than one, is the Baaay State Blanket Project. Our farm belongs to a cooperative of Massachusetts wool growers and in 2009, wool was pooled together from anyone who wanted to participate from Massachusetts to have blanket made with our own wool. The wool has been spun and woven in Massachusetts decreasing our carbon footprint as well and keeping things local. These blankets are incredibly warm. They make wonderful gifts also. We have a sample of the 2009 blanket, some sizes still available, with the 2010 plaid to arrive soon. The proceeds go back directly to the producers for their expenses. The price list is in the store or for more information please call our friend, Nancy Miniter at 508-653-3121 or cell 508-740-3839.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Fall?

The leaves have turned color and are falling off the trees and yet it is over 70 degrees! Just a little warm spell for southern New England. I was very touched by the power of knitting today and thought it deserved sharing!

A customer and friend, Iris came into the shop today. I had helped her get in touch with Juli at Chiaogoo to ask them if they would donate needles for a wonderful cause. Juli, of course, stepped right up and asked how many pairs and what sizes Iris would need and a package shortly arrived.

Iris volunteers for REACH (Refuge, Education, Advocacy, Change), a battered women's program. Iris wanted to shared with me a story of one of the women she works with at the program about knitting. This was published in their Vol 6, Issue 2 - Fall 2010 issue. May you feel the powerful voice of "Tina'" and the joyous, positive process of building her life through knitting.

"I am taking a knitting class. It is through REACH and is quite simple: two sticks, string and knots. The finger placement can be cumbersome and holding those sticks isn't always easy. I can't seem to hold on to all the items and then recall which I do next, over or under? I call to Iris and Diane repeatedly, and they patiently show me. sometimes sitting down next to me and allowing me to duplicate their movements in tandem. I learn to do something and take it home. I knit or purl until I get confused because it doesn't look right. I put it down and wait until Monday when Iris tells me what it is and offers to do the dirty work of ripping out stitches. Once I dropped a stitch and Diane worked through the previous row to fix it for me.

The unobtrusive, non-abusive way of learning was unimaginable in my life prior to July 2007 when I put my abuser out of my life. My life expectancy was running out every minute being with him. Always full of criticism and harsh appraisals of my handiwork, even in areas where I really shine. His abusive tactics were undermining. They made me doubt myself and I became his staunchest supporter and most vocal ally of his assault on myself.

I really still can't quite grip how he did what he did, but I continue the process of ripping out old negative thoughts and dropping his derisive condemnation. Now as I knit. with every stitch I hear the positive voices of the knitting ladies. With repetition, their feedback will extinguish my self-critic, negate my negative neural pathways and become my own. - Tina "

Monday, October 25, 2010

Long Time!

Okay, so the summer flew by and we were not good about keeping up with our blog. With all the new and exciting things going on, we need to keep you informed often but don't want to clog up your email inbox, so we will attempt to be better this time.

New Merchandise - Joan has just brought in some great knit, felt hats for the cooler months, these great pieces are a piece of art as well as a fashion statement!

Charlotte has some of the cutest Halloween themed wall hangings/ tablerunners as well some great place mats. Why give candy, when they can enjoy Halloween longer with a place mat?

New Yarn just in is more of the very popular Trail Sock yarn from Fleece Artist. There are two new colorways, one is soft lavender and violet they call plum and the other one is "Brew" a new color yet to be released. Hemlock and Stardust arrived also. This yarn is wonderful for socks as well as the very popular "Willow Cowl".

Manos Silk Blend is in stock in a wonderful array of semi solid and hand painted variegated colorways. Stop in to see a couple of the patterns we have stitched up as one skein gifts for the list of friends and family.

On the horizon - We are very excited about a fun filled evening planned for Friday, November 5 from 6 PM to 8 PM. If The Sweater Fits : A casual and on occasion frenetic meeting of knitters to try on favorite Berroco designs. Andra Azars from Berroco will be here with her trunk(s) loads of Berroco sweaters, scarves and more for all to look at and try on. We invite anyone who has made a garment from Berroco yarn or their patterns to come by and show of your handwork! We will have light refreshments that evening. As an added incentive all Berroco yarns and patterns will be 15% off that evening only!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Celebrate the ArtWalk in Natick Center this week. We are offering 25% of selected yarns. Enjoy 25% off Berroco's Pima Cotton and Week-end, Tahki Stacy Charles Classic and Classica Lite Cotton and Classic Elite Premiere, Firefly and Katydid. These are all great yarns for summer and early Fall knitting and crocheting. Why wait until Fall for a sale on these great yarns?

This offer can't be combined with other offers. It is valid today, 6/17/10 through Saturday, 6/20/10.

Don't have the coupon? That is because they are in the store, conveniently, so stop by and pick one up off the table to redeem. The coupon must be presented at the time of purchase.

Thank you for your support!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Christmas in July!

We have some great new workshops planned for our Christmas in July. Check out our website for the full list at The goal is to keep your needles and hooks busy while helping to spend the summer stitching!

Tonight was the Stitch Night. It was a nice group of women that were able to meet. There were about 12 of us. We welcome a new stitcher to our group, Pam S. It was so nice to Joni again also. It has been too long. Everyone loved the new yarns from Fleece Artist! Jessica was helping to enable many. Jessica was taking it all in while tryign t ofinish her beautiful Firefly sweater Thank you everyone for the show and tell from small chic hand bags to sweaters, socks and more.

We now get ready for the ArtWalk Thursday evenign from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. We are hoping for great weather. What could be better than sitting outside, enjoying the evening, stitching, spinning or felting with the sidewalks coming alive in Natick Center?

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Yarns from Fleece Artist and Iron Horse Farm

Where has this week gone? It is hard to believe it is already Friday and we have not updated you on all the wonderful yarns that are new in the store. We wanted to have some new yarns and roving in the store for the ArtWalk celebration on Thursday evening (June 17- 5:30 PM to 8:00PM) so we got out the dye pots as well as getting in cashmere/merino/nylon blend sport and fingering/sock weight yarn, our blueface/shetland blend yarn for dyeing. We also put in an e-mail to our friends at Fleece Artist. Once again the ladies did not disappoint us! We got a rush shipment of Nyoni (65% Merino, 20% kid mohair, 10% nylon, 5% silk-325m/115g) - it's back - great for socks, shawl and more! Their new yarns, Saldahna (100% Merino 1200m/125g!) and Ottawa (92% Wool, 8% Viscose - 250m/125g)

Look for our new feature also of little flock of sheep in bright colors that shows you where the latest new yarns are located in the store.

We have a contest for you! Help us name our little yarn sheep and if your name wins you will receive a $25.00 gift certificate to be used in the store for books, patterns, accessories, yarn or roving or towards a workshop in July!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Natick Annual Art Walk

We are preparing for the Art Walk, Thursday, June 17, 5:30 to 8:00 PM. We are one of the highlighted stores for their theme this month of "Agri-culture". We invite all of you to participate! There will be new hand painted rovings, yarns prepared by Debbie and hand crafted gifts placed in the store just for this evening. We would love for you to stop in to knit, crochet, bring your drop spindles or wheels, quilters are most welcome also as we join in celebration of our heritage and show off the fiber arts.

This will happen come rain or shine. If nice weather you will find some of our co-op artisans on the sidewalk and in the store. We will have some chairs for outdoor sitting also.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Group

Thanks to those who participated in our monthly book group this month. The book was Pat Conroy's South of Broad. The discussion was great, the stitch projects were being worked on and it was a pleasant evening all around.

Our book for July is Cokie Robert's Founding Mothers. Ms. Roberts discuss what the women were doing while the men were founding the nation. An intriguing book! We hope you will join us to read and discuss this patriotic book on Wednesday, July 7. Also bring your book list you would like to discuss for the fall. We will not meet in August.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Summer knits

June is here! It is always fun to come up with some simple -fast projects to make, especially with spring/summer games with the kids, waiting at doctor appointments or just wanting a "mindless" project. With the weather getting warmer, silk and silk blends are easy on the hands and beautiful to touch...

This is Serena by Manos. A nice slouch hat for all seasons. It is a one skein pattern. A nice hat that slouches so the hair is not flattened. We have details in the store.

This is a close fitting cowl by Jessica Rudenauer, our girl Friday. This is her first published pattern. It is a one night project and it is made from Manos Silk Blend. One skein also! Jessica's pattern is in the store.

Though it may be warm out, we like to keep the needles and hooks moving. Tomorrow morning is our free stitch group from 1o AM to 12 PM. Join us!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The ol' Kitchener...

Ever had a pattern calling for starting with a provisional cast on and immediately you know that they are calling for the Kitchener stitch down the road or you want to make socks and the dreaded Kitchener is waiting at the end? Don't let the stitch prevent you from making that great item.

Check out the Spring/Summer Vogue Knitting magazine this season on sale now. No affiliation here but they have done a wonderful job in their article on "Beyond Kitchener". It shows more than using it with the stockinette stitch.

If you still do not understand the great "weaving" invisible stitch, drop by, we will be glad to help you!

Tomorrow night is Book Group night - 6:30-8:30 PM! Can't wait to discuss South of Broad.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It is a time to reflect all that our fellow Americans of all race and religion have given to our country so that we may enjoy the freedom we have today. We chose to keep the store closed to honor the men and women who have given their time, talents and some even their lives or limbs for us. Thank you.

It is time for Summertime Project of the Month! We select a fun, easy and fast project for the months of June through August to keep everyone motivated to stitch as well as a way to have your name put in a drawing for a $25.00 gift certificate that may be used in the store for yarn, patterns, books accessories or classes.

What are the details? Stop in, select and purchase the yarn(s) we have selected for the project, receive the free pattern or we will tell you where you can find the pattern for free on the internet, stitch it up in 30 days or less and show us the finished project. At the time we see the project completed we will enter your name in for the drawing. June's project is in the store and it is a mobieus cowl from Andra Azars, one of our yarn reps. The cowl is long enough to be wrapped twice or wear it long as an accent piece. A great holiday gift... The finished cowl must be shown to us by June 30. The drawing will be July 1.

We have been waiting for this new yarn from Fairmount Fibers and Manos, Serena and we are not disappointed! It is a blend of alpaca and cotton, a trans-seasonal yarn. It is light weight and the pattern book that accompanies it is great! There are variegated and semi solids that compliment each other. Check out their free patterns also. There is a wonderful Serena Shadow Shawl just for this yarn.

20% off all Madeline Tosh! Exclusive to our blog readers starting June 1. We have some beautiful Madeline Tosh DK and sock weight yarns that we are discounting. When they are gone, they are gone! Don't miss out. You must ask for the discount at the time of check out. All sales are final.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Turbo Knitting

How many watched American Idol or Dancing with the Stars and were knitting frantically while the judges made their decision, tallying up the American public votes and finally telling us who won? Congratulations to the winners -Lee on AI won and Nicole won on DWS. Jessica was betting Lee and I on Nichole. There was some turbo knitting during those final episodes.

As we sat around yesterday waiting for a new Berroco shipment to arrival, new ideas were popping into our heads. Berroco has some great free patterns on their website! We grabbed a couple of work up for all of you to see. One picked is Andoa that will be made in Ultra Alpaca in a beautiful heather blue.

The Comfort DK and DK Prints are finally starting to arrive. This has been a long anticipated shipment. It is comparable to Comfort Baby and is machine washable and dry. Look at one of the new colorways that is on the shelves now... This is "Bluebells". Yummy!

Tomorrow will be another fun day. Meeting with yarn reps is always like the holidays, we make out lists and then wait with anticipation.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Stay Cool with Summer Projects!

It has been a while since writing! The store has had a semi new face lift with new displays. Our stitchers have new models to show you and even during this unusually hot weather we are cool with the air conditioning on, summer cool colors of yarn and plenty of time to help you find the right project for the summer.

Don't forget we start out monthly project of the month in June. which come in, purchase your yarn and many times, pick up the free pattern or we will tell you where to get the pattern for free and stitch away. At the end of the month, stop by with your finished project and we will place your name in a drawing with the prize being $25.00 gift certificate!

Barbara and Joan are working on great knit felt hats for the fall for sale, Jessica and Jamie are working on their latest knit tops, Patty has a couple of shawl on her needles as well as Tunisian crochet, Charlotte is busy with quilts, place mats, table runner s and more. Roberta and Kerry are working on new gift items and Debbie just finished the July Project of the month as well as just starting "Buttercup" in Pima Cotton by Berroco.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

We wish to all women a Happy Mother's Day. No matter whether you are a mother of a human offspring or not, all woman have a nuturing side to them and we want to recognize you for it.
Thank you for nuturing the store and all the artisans who participate in the co-op to bring wonderful hand crafted items to the communuiyt. The jewelry piece above has been handcrafted by Joan Sebastian.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The bees are a buzzin'!

May is finally on the horizon. Where did April go? We did have few April showers and already so many flowers for May have come and gone but we are still here! The Natick Farmer's Market begins in two weeks and the common will come alive with people, fresh vegetables, herbs and local craftsmen.

The store has been updated once again with new displays and great spring and summer yarns and patterns.

The very popular PollyMacc Designs small pattern pamphlets are restocked and available in all their patterns. Polly and Ginny are local designers that have a real bond to the local area.

May is Joan Sebastian's Trunk Show from May 1 through 22. Joan is so talented in many areas. She knits, felts and makes wonderful jewelry. She also teaches quilting, beginner's knitting and jewelry making with a local continuning education program as well as occasionally offering a class at Iron Horse.

We are most honored and pleased to have Barbara Delinsky as our guest at our monthly book club this month. We will be discussing her latest novel, released in Janaury, Not MY Daughter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yarn Holiday and more!

Thank you to all who stopped by early Monday morning to visit and select yarn for your new projects. It was wonderful seeing so many of you. it was nice to catch up with some of you also.

Unique Boutique's trunk show ends this week. They have had some terrific hand bags and totes in the store in lively, bright spring/summer colors as well as ultra suede and madras prints. Only day or two left so don't miss out.

Joan Sebastian's wonderfully hand crafted jewelry will be our featured artisan trunk show for May. Just in time for Mother's Day and the graduations coming up. Her show will be in the store from May 1 through may 22.

We have done a little spring reorganizing in the store for everyone to view the yarns and some of our handcrafted items better. One of our new displays really features some of our great cotton yarns by Takki as well as having their pattern booklets right with the yarn.

It was like the holidays yesterday. Jessica and opened a huge box from Berroco with new colors in Comfort worsted as well as some new Comofrt DK and Sock yarn that we have not carried before, but many of you have asked for it so we now are stocking the shelves with it. Comfort Baby will arrive soon also!

Jawoll Color Aktion is a limited edition of the Lang Jawoll sock yarn collection. It just arrived last week in six color ways! It is made with wool, bamboo and nylon. This yarn is from Germany, great for socks with a self stiping pattern and reinforcing thread included. But this yarn is not just for socks, imagine a beautiful lace scarf or shawl or even a fine gauged vest.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Marathon Monday

It is hard to believe it is already Marathon Monday. Runners from all over the world will be running one block away from the store. It is unfortunate that some can't get here due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, but we will enjoy the ones who are able to be here.

We are open for the Boston Marathon. We have our first Marathon Monday sale in the store starting at 7:30 to 10:00 AM Monday, April 19. Get up early, stop by before going to work or if you are a lucky one, have the day off and stake your viewing spot on RT 135 (Central Street)to watch the runners. To sweeten the pot, we are offering 25% off all in stock yarn! At 10:01 AM the prices roll back to retail, but in the meantime it is the early bird who gets the most choices...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

What's on your needles?

We meet great stitchers every day, whether they are new to the craft or have been stitching for more years than they care to tell us. We are always asking what is on your needles (or hooks)? It is great fun when someone pulls a new skein of yarn or a project almost finished out of their bag.

We thought we would take a moment to show what is on the needles of one of our busy stitchers in the store. She is working with Berroco's Week-end. It is a cotton acrylic blend in beautiful spring/summer colors. If we ask nicely, we might even see this as a display model soon!

Stop in and show us what is on your needles!