Epiphany 2014: Shawls ‘n’ at

Shawls are a really popular choice for our epiphany knitting, and this year, we had some stunners.

Kelli and Martha, in a nice twist, drew each other’s yarn out of the box.

Martha knit Kelli a Marin out of Socks that Rock in River Rocked.

Kelli knit Martha a Dinner in the Eiffel Tower out of Plymouth Mushishi.

Both patterns are available as Ravelry in-store download purchases.

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Natural Stitches Celebrates Earth Month with Whole Foods

We are very excited to partner with Whole Foods in celebration of Earth Month! Whole Foods has been asked to choose one of three themes (plants, pollinators or people) and create an arresting art installation in their store’s cafe. The goal of the installation will be to “disrupt and engage passerby.”

After some brainstorming, it was decided that we would create a garden loom (or maybe two). The loom will be warped with Euroflax and then participants will use roving, bits of yarn, plants, strung popcorn/cranberries/apricots and other items to weave a “fabric” that will be used by birds and insects for food and nest building. The loom will be moved to the Whole Foods garden and rewoven as needed.


For fun, we’ve also decided to wrap sticks and hang them, similar to Anna Hrachovec’s Wooly Woods Pictoplasma display in Germany last year. (Yes, she knows what we’re up to and has said it’s okay!).

Dessicated items will return to the ground, fertilizing the earth for the next round of plantings. We will also hang pompoms, not only as decorations but also for birds to use the yarn for building their nests.

Join us at Whole Foods on Saturday, April 26th, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. to weave into the loom and be a part of this community project.

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FO Friday: Marla’s Oak Trail Hat

Marla brought in her Oak Trail Hat from the first Botanical Knits book by Alana Dakos. Knit out of Dream in Color Classy, it is living at the shop for a little while if you’d like to take a closer look at this interesting construction.

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More questions about CustomFit? Keep on asking!

We’ve received so much great feedback about the new CustomFit program. Recently, I blogged about how the $18 measuring and consultation fee includes a $10 coupon toward a sweater lot of yarn. A few customers have called or emailed, wondering if it is okay to use yarn from stash for CustomFit.

ABSOLUTELY! So many of us (ahem, me) have random sweater lots that we purchased on vacation or at fiber festivals, without any specific plans for the yarn. Or we have bought it intending to make one sweater, and then months later, when you look at the yarn again, realize that sweater is all wrong. CustomFit is a FANTASTIC way to take yarn you’ve fallen in love with and make a garment you will love equally as much. CustomFit allows you to take the yarn you have and make a sweater that fits you perfectly without the hassle of trying to match a specific gauge or the worry of calculating the appropriate ease.

The $10 coupon toward a sweater lot that comes with your consultation doesn’t expire for three weeks after your appointment. Many of our customers are so excited that they are planning multiple CustomFit sweaters, so if you too catch the CustomFit bug (and we bet you will), you have time to use your coupon.


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Getting Started with CustomFit

We had an amazing opening weekend with our CustomFit program, with over 25 people measured and ready to begin. You’ve been following the blog and looking at the CustomFit projects on Ravelry. Ready to get started? We have five CustomFit specialists on staff ready to launch you on this exciting adventure.

To get started, check our our calendar to see when a CustomFit specialist is available. You may schedule an appointment ahead of time, or, you may come in during a designated CustomFit drop-in time.

The cost of the multi-part consultation is $18. That fee includes the initial measuring service and a second consultation in which we will design and generate your unique pattern (read more about consultations here). You will also receive a coupon for $10 off a sweater lot of yarn. The CustomFit pattern itself is $9.99.

One of the best parts about CustomFit is that once your measurements are in the system, they stay there permanently, so we may generate patterns for you without having to do the consultation again and again. Each pattern is $9.99, and the more I learn about CustomFit, the more I marvel that this is a bargain price.

We are really excited about this program. Now that I’ve started, I honestly cannot see knitting sweaters any other way! I spent the weekend ripping out a raglan that I know won’t fit me and planning out three other CustomFit sweaters in addition to the one I have on the needles now. It truly is an exciting new way to knit for yourself!


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Epiphany 2014!

Our winter was jam-packed with travel and other issues, and so our annual staff gift exchange was a little late this year. Every fall, we all put a skein or two of yarn from our stash into a sealed bag. Then we all pick a bag and knit (or crochet) for that person with their yarn. This way, we can give a gift of our time without spending money. It’s one of my favorite things about working here, and I love marveling at the beautiful things each year.

I’m starting with what I made for Jessica, because she was the first person I photographed in her gift. Jessica put two skeins of Canopy Fingering in her bag, and I chose to make her two cowls, the Quinta Cowl designed by our own Amy, and a Pretty Thing, designed by the Yarn Harlot. Both of these patterns are available as Ravelry in-store purchases.

David knit an Iron Maiden for Shani out of Malabrigo Sock in Rayon Vert. (This is also available as Ravelry in-store download purchase.)

Over the weeks to come, we’ll be sharing more of what we made for each other.


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Spring Fling 2014: Did We Mention SIVIA HARDING?

Even though as I write this it is dark and dreary outside, the promise of spring is there…and our spring fling this year is with visionary author Sivia Harding!

Sivia will be teaching three classes during her visit.  The first is the Heart to Heart Beaded Scarf.  In this class, students will learn the sideways shawl construction that accommodates any amount of yarn, some unusual lace stitches, encounter tips for chart reading, receive strategies for keeping your place and reading your knitting, and practice placing beads with the versatile and no-fail crochet hook method.

This class is 3 hours long and will be held on Saturday, May 31, from 10:30 – 1:30.  Students need to know how to knit and purl, perform basic increases and decreases including yarn overs, and be comfortable with working from knitting charts.  Cost of this class is $75 plus materials.

The second class is the Harmonia’s Rings Cowl.  Learn Cat Bordhi’s Moebius cast on and create a beautiful cowl which features a stitch pattern that creates concentric rings reminiscent of ancient architecture. This cowl sits cape-like over the shoulders, and suits a wide range of body types.   You’ll learn many techniques, including the Moebius cast on, shaping and texture within the Moebius structure, and the charming beaded picot bind off. Customize the shape to fit any body type; even go on to create a tunic or a sweater!

This class is 3 hours long and will be held on Saturday, May 31, from 2:30 – 5:30.  Students need to know how to knit and purl, perform basic increases and decreases, and will have worked a knitting project in the round.  Cost of this class is $75 plus materials.

Annette models her Harmonia's Rings Cowl which was knit by Emily.

On Sunday, June 1, Sivia will delve into sideways lace design.   As Sivia says, side-to-side crescent shaped shawls are great fun to knit, and provide an easy introduction to designing. You will choose between a few basic options to begin your crescent shape, then explore side-to-side knitted lace edgings and choose one to showcase in your shawl.   Students will discuss lace edgings, rates of increase and decrease, and charts.  There will also be instruction on adding beads to lace, how to choose the perfect bead, and placements for beads within your lace design. Sivia promises that she presents a no-fail method of producing a striking and unique lace garment!

This class is 6 hours long and will be held on Sunday, June 1, from 10:30 – 4:30.  Students need to know how to knit and purl, perform basic increases and decreases including yarn overs, and must be comfortable with working from knitting charts.  Cost of this class is $135 plus materials.

Consumable materials should be purchased at Natural Stitches.  We will give you 10% off of things used for your class, and have partnered with Crystal Bead Bazaar for 10% off your beading needs for the classes!

We would love to have you join us!  Please call us at 412.441.4410 to register.

*Thank you to Sivia Harding for providing us with the class descriptions!

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FO Friday: Michael’s CustomFit Acorn Trail

You’ve seen Michael’s picture in her Acorn Trail in Cascade 220 earlier in the week when we’ve been blogging about our CustomFit LYS, but we wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that CustomFit isn’t just about stockinette sweaters. Recipes are a way to add what Amy Herzog called “bling” in her talk last Friday. With CustomFit recipes, you can plug an Amy Herzog design (with more designers to come) into your CustomFit blanks.

Here’s how to make a recipe.  Peruse the recipes for the design you want: Michael’s is an  Acorn Trail.  If you have not already been measured, then make an appointment and we will measure you and enter the information into CustomFit. Then choose the yarn appropriate for your recipe. The recipes, unlike the CustomFit blanks, are a little more specific about the kind of yarn; Acorn Trail, for example, suggests using a worsted weight yarn.

Next, swatch! Bring your completed swatch back to the store and we will enter that information into CustomFit. Then, using the recipe purchased separately (most are $2.50), we follow the instructions of the recipe and enter the fine details into CustomFit. For $9.99, the program will generate, for example, an Acorn Trail that will fit you perfectly.

More questions? Amy describes the recipe process on her blog here.

All the patterns available as recipes are listed here.

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We had such a fabulous kick-off weekend for our CustomFit LYS program! We had about 25 knitters get measured, and then they headed home to swatch. Several of those knitters were super-ambitious over the weekend and they came back with completed, washed swatches to get their patterns generated.

On Friday, Amy got even the most jaded among us get really, really excited about making sweaters that are guaranteed to fit and flatter our bodies.

We were at standing room only! It felt like a revival meeting, with Amy as our CustomFit Evangelist.

Can I get an amen?

Amy posed with Jessica, who knit her VERY FIRST PULLOVER EVER using CustomFit in Yarn Hollow Tor DK. We keep telling her how lucky she is because she is off to a great start! She has no drawer-full of ill-fitting sweaters.

Amy posed with Michael, who is wearing her CustomFit Acorn Trail in Cascade 220. Acorn Trail is a recipe which basically adds “bling” to the basic “blanks” of CustomFit. We will talk more about Michael’s sweater in this week’s FO Friday.

We are more excited about this program than we can express! Starting this Saturday, we will be hosting a CustomFit-along for us all to work together on our sweaters. Stop by the shop from 1-4 on Saturdays to join in the fun!

Interested in starting your CustomFit? Call us at 412-441-4410 to schedule your first appointment. See you soon!

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Questions about the CustomFit Process?


Ask away! It’s a new program, and we know it’s a lot to take in. Find out more about CustomFit here. We take you through the first part of the process here.

Jennifer asked a really good question in the comments:

My question is they send you away to swatch. What if you don’t know what yarn you want or can’t afford the yarn right then?

We want you to know that you don’t have to be measured RIGHT NOW. This weekend isn’t the only weekend we’re doing CustomFit — it is just our launch! If you’re not ready to knit a sweater, that’s fine! We strive to be a no pressure shop and want you to be comfortable, because we understand that a sweater is a big commitment — not just in yarn cost but also in time.

CustomFit appointments will be ongoing. We will be adding them to the class calendar so that you can see when a specialist is available, or you can call the shop and see if someone will be there for measurement services and yarn selection help. So if you’re not ready to commit this weekend, that’s perfectly fine!

When you come in to be measured, we will talk to you about what kind of sweater you are interested in knitting — a pullover, a cardigan, or a vest. We’ll give you guidance with regard to drape and structure, and if you have a budget we’ll guide you to yarns that will fall within that budget. Also, if you can’t afford your yarn all at once, we have a layaway program where you have 3 months to pay off your layaway (but you can also buy a skein at a time out of your layaway!).

We hope this helps to answer some of the questions you have about CustomFit, and please don’t be shy about asking more questions.

Remember, you can meet the genius behind CustomFit, Amy Herzog, TONIGHT, March 28, from 5:30-7:30 at the shop. There is no charge for the event, and you are under no obligation to be measured this weekend!  Email or call us at 412-441-4410 to set up a consultation or if you have any other questions.

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