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!