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  • Stock Your Sock Drawer : Jenny Blumenstein

    To kick off our Stock Your Sock Drawer blog post series we have Jenny Blumenstien.   Jenny is a Tolt staffer, knitting instructor, knitwear designer, and knitwear model.  We are so lucky to have Jenny as part of our Tolt team!

     

    Do you consider yourself a "sock knitter"?   Why do you like to knit socks?
    There was a season in my knitting that I really enjoyed knitting socks exclusively. I consider myself more of a garment knitter right now but enjoy having a sock on the needle at all times. It's so portable!  I joke that I should have sock yarn and needles stowed in my glove compartment in case of emergency (when I leave the house without my knitting).
    When did you knit your first pair of socks?   Was it harder or easier than you thought?
    I knit my first pair of socks as part of a KAL with Knitpurlhunter in March 2011. I decided to also do my first pair two at a time because I knew that I wouldn't want to go through all the work of making one and then have the feeling of starting over. I didn't think it was harder or easier than I thought because I knew the whole experience was a learning one, but I remember being so excited when I got through the heel. It felt like this tube just magically became a "SOCK"!
    Are you a DPN or Magic Loop knitter and why?   Has it always been that way? If not when and why did you make the switch?
    I started off knitting socks using magic loop and two at a time. Then I went through a period that I knit them one at a time exclusively on dpns. Now I enjoy knitting them either on dpns or magic loop but one at a time because it makes them so portable.
    Do you have a favorite pattern or heel and toe construction?
    My go to sock pattern right now is Ann Budd's 8 stitch per inch pattern. It's a basic sock pattern that allows me to have a mindless knit with fun sock yarn.  I love learning different techniques, so I enjoy knitting different patterns because of the construction or design.  Silver Birch by Louise Tilbrook is a toe up sock that fit my feet so nicely and look sophisticated.  Hermione's everday sock by Erica Lueder has one of my favorite heel flap construction. Cookie A has so many patterns that are like having works of art on your feet.
    Is there a favorite sock yarn at Tolt that you have worked with or want to work with?
    I love the colors and the durability of Hazelknits Artisan sock.  I've knit with 3 of the Arne and Carlos colorways made for Regia. It makes knitting a basic sock pattern so much fun.  I've also tested washing a pair in my washing machine and putting it in the dryer to see if what they put on the label was true. They came out fine! I love using YOTH Little Brother or Magpie swanky sock for a more luxurious pair of socks.  I would love to knit a pair of socks using The Farmers Daughter beautifully dyed yarn....soon.
    Do you have any tips, tricks or advice you can give to other sock knitters new or experienced?
    There's so many different techniques and ways to knit socks. If you've tried and didn't get a certain result there's always another way, so don't get discouraged and give it another try. 

    Jenny will be teaching the Stock Your Sock Drawer series at Tolt, you can check out her classes here.   Be sure to share your projects with us on Instagram by tagging us at #toltknits and #stockyoursockdrawer .

  • Stock Your Sock Drawer : An Introduction by Anna Dianich

     

     I consider myself a sweater knitter.   Don't get me wrong, I do knit other things such as hats and mitts, but my favorite thing to knit and the thing I knit the most are sweaters.   This isn't a bad  thing, I have a nice selection of sweaters to choose from but, while discussing an upcoming sock knitting class series with our team at Tolt, I realized that I was seriously lacking in hand-knit socks.   We then decided that this was the year to Stock Your Sock Drawer!   

    Not only have we put together a series of sock classes that will go through the year, stocked our shelves at Tolt with fun new sock yarns, made a special Stock Your Sock Project Bag and will be doing a series of blog posts from our awesome team to inspire your sock knitting.

    Our window display by Tif Fussell and Beth Newfeld. Photo by Rachel Kieselburg

    We hope you join us this year in stocking your sock drawer full of hand-knit socks.  If your sock drawer already runneth over remember, hand knit socks do make great gifts.   Please be sure to share your projects with us on Instagram by tagging us at #toltknits and #stockyoursockdrawer .

  • Julie Asselin - The Nurtured Journey to a new color.

    We are so happy to welcome Julie Asselin to our blog to share about her color process and her gorgeous yarn Nurtured. Nurtured became a fast favorite in our shop, for its beauty, softness and strength.

    Nurtured was launched a little over a year ago. It is the result of our ongoing collaboration with Green Mountain Spinnery (with whom we also make Zetta), an experiment in dyeing that has been very rewarding for us, in that it allowed us to experiment with colors and fleece in ways that are different from when we work with yarn.

     Creating the colors for this yarn was a new process and thinking for us. It was very exciting and inspiring because we got to explore a whole new world and we didn’t know what to expect.

    Since we are dyeing the fiber prior to spinning and since we want an heathered look to create dimension, we have to create a combination of individual colors that, together, will create an ‘overall’ color. Sometimes we aim for a more subtle color shift, or we could make some of the individual colors stand on their own throughout the yarn, making for more noticeable flecks of colors. The possibilities are endless!

    We love color very much, of course, but we always think about wearability as well; in the sense that we want to focus on practical colors that will complement your wardrobe. That is why we often go for color palettes other than a typical rainbow when choosing colors for a yarn line. It is even more true in the case of Nurtured, because our main goal with it was to showcase and work with the natural color of the fibers we use. We envisioned natural hues taking center stage, helped by the addition of complementing pops, creating a natural landscape of colors.

     

    Since introducing Nurtured we have added 2 new colors to the original 10, building on the lineup, complementing the colors that we already love and…

    Now is time for a new one!

    We knew we needed another dark color to the mix, but which one? We have a grey, and an olive tone brown already. To go with the pale neutrals and the yellows we decided to go with navy blue.

    As a base we always have natural white and medium to dark natural browns, to create light and shades. The varying shades of the undyed fiber are our canvas. To date, we have been exploring the addition of 2 shades of blue, with pops of aqua and an orchid color. 

     

    After playing with those colors a bit, we felt we were onto something - not your typical navy blue, that's for sure, but a navy blue with personality, with beautiful pops here and there, that will blend well together in the spinning process

     

    Now that we know what we want to work with we need to figure out what the proportions will be. In the next picture you can see the sample evolving, lighter/darker and +colors/-colors added in.

     

    What is great about seeing this, aside from giving us an idea of what the finished yarn will look like, is that you also see things you didn’t think about. For now, we decided to go with the darker option of course, BUT, we are really drawn to the lighter, brighter one as well and we think it could very much come to life in the future!

     

    Nurtured is a worsted weight, Rambouillet, Targhee & Merino (with the addition of Moorit for this new color! Hello beautiful gloden fleece!) blend that is woolen spun. The wool is from U.S. sheep, dyed in our Coaticook, QC workshop and spun at the Green Mountain Spinnery in VT. While we love working with colors, involvement in the origins and production of yarn itself is just as important to us.

  • The Tuesday Hat by Dorie Lysaght

     

    Back in 2015, I was asked if I would take over a couple of the weekly Stitch Circle sessions at Tolt Yarn and Wool. I had no idea what a huge impact helping other people with their knitting would have on my life! That’s because Stitch Circle has become much more than just two hours of solving knitting problems, it is about coming together with a group of friends. And every week I am blown away by how a group of women of all different ages, from all different backgrounds and experiences, can be so supportive and generous and helpful and amazing.

    I must confess that I have very little to do with all of the great things that have been added to our Tuesday morning Stitch Circle experience, like the four KALs we worked on together over 2016 (Anna Vest, Halligarth shawl, colorwork hats, and Knit-A-Square charity blocks), the summer outdoor knitting sessions, and the holiday yarn swaps. All of these were suggested and heartily supported by the regular participants. I’m just happy to help them on their fiber journeys and to be able to offer my guidance and support.

    Tuesday Stitch Circle's Halligarth Shawls (designed by Gudrun Johnston)

    We had our 2016 Holiday Party/Yarn Swap this last Tuesday morning and, as you would expect, it was full of yarn, gifts, treats, and laughter. There were even a few knitting issues that needed some assistance! And I was thrilled to surprise the group with a secret project that I’ve been working on with the help of Anna and Clare, the Tuesday Hat.

    This pattern was inspired by all of the wonderful people in our Tuesday morning group. In order to make it feel extra Tolt-y, I started my design by looking at traditional Cowichan knitting patterns and I noticed that some of the designs looked like letters. If you look closely at the colorwork pattern in the hat, you can see the secret coded message that I included in the pattern to remind all of our friends of the place where we love to gather. Because everybody could use some Stitch Circle support in their lives, especially the leader.

    -Dorie

    The Tuesday Hat is available as a free download here.

    Tolt Yarn and Wool's Tuesday Stitch Circle meets from 10:30 am - 12:30 pm every Tuesday.

  • Tolt Pattern Retrospective - Our First Year

    As our 3rd anniversary approaches we have our mind on the past three years. From the beginning we have loved bringing new patterns to our community. We love to share what inspires us, and find more ways to use the yarns we love. Here is a tour of our first year in patterns.
    Tolt Hat & Mitts was our first pattern, designed by Andrea Rangel to celebrate our opening on November 9, 2013. This pattern was designed to use Imperial Yarn's Columbia 2-ply and Spincycle's Independence, two yarns we love.

     

    From the designer:

    “Crisp fall hikes and cool evenings around the campfire call for a cozy set like this. Tolt is an outdoorsy pair of fingerless mitts and a toasty hat that look great on both men and women, worked in stockinette with ribbed cuffs for a snug fit. It’s a perfect pattern for those new to color work, too. The stranded color work pattern takes inspiration from the wending currents of the Tolt River, which was the site of an important salmon run that helped sustain the native Snoqualmie people.” - Andrea Rangel

    Sweet Magnolia was inspired by the lovely ladies of the Thursday night knitting circle at Tolt Yarn & Wool in Carnation, Washington. A new yarn arrived in the shop; creative juices started flowing; and with a lot of laughter, this design was created to welcome spring. Make it long or short in a variety of yarns for a new look every time.

    Susan Gehringer designed Sweet Magnolia in Twirl Yarn's Twirling Petals.

    Rutherford was designed by Veronika Jobe for our first LYS (Local Yarn Store) Tour. This unisex hat was popular immediately, the twisted rib pattern so crisp and timeless and the yarn so lovely. Veronika designed Rutherford in her own yarn, YOTH Big Sister.

    Our Hearth Slippers were designed by Dianna Walla in sizes for the whole family, knitted in Heirloom Romney. We released this pattern just in time for the 2014 Nordic Knitting Conference.

    “When I first started talking to Anna from Tolt about these slippers, she’d put together a beautiful mood board full of delightfully wintry scenes: snowy woods, old fashioned sleds, cups of hot chocolate and wool blankets. I drew a lot of inspiration from the wintry palette, and fell in love with the crisp combinations of light winter greys and blues with contrasting bright red winter berries and deep, dark tree branches. I designed the slippers with these colors in order to convey a certain mood. There is something about the quiet of a fresh snow that I always come back to, and it’s part of what makes winter my favorite season. That being said, perhaps my favorite thing about these slippers is that they’re good not just for winter, but for the transitional seasons before and after, too, when mornings and evenings are still chilly and a little extra cozy warmth is appreciated. ” – Dianna Walla

    We released the Audrey Collection with our newly created Snoqualmie Valley Yarn for our first anniversary.

    “This lovely collection is based on the Snoqualmie valley. I gathered inspiration from Twin Peaks, the mountains, and the valleys to create a simple knit and purl patterning stitch. I incorporated this pattern into the entire collection of accessories using the beautifully undyed Snoqualmie Valley Wool.” –Jessie Roselyn

     

    Next up on the Blog – Our Second Year

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    Please join us for our 3rd Anniversary Celebration on November 19th, 2016. We will be releasing our newest collection Snoqualmie, a collaboration with Bristol Ivy.

    There will be gifts for the first 100 through the door, and a gift with purchases over $50 while supplies last. There will also be Door Prizes from Brooklyn Tweed, Woolfolk, Quince, Spincycle, YOTH and Tolt.

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