In November here in Olympia we said goodbye to a Knitting hub and institution, local yarn and fabric store Canvas Works. This past year has seen many long established yarn stores close, sometimes due to financial stress after a long slog through the recession, and sometimes due to life changes for the owners. Canvas Works was strongly supported by loyal customers and we know that financially the business was strong. An opportunity came along to sell their building and move on to other things. We’re all grateful for the many years in the community!
Knitters are a fiercely loyal bunch. I shared a few tears and sad moments with distraught customers who shared with me their anxiety about a future without their special store. Canvas Works was also my place to buy needles and get inspiration for many years! When I started the Jorstad Creek Studio I talked with my friend Amy at Canvas Works who said unequivocally that more yarn in the community was good, it would help us all to bring more visitors to Olympia and continue growing the knitting movement. I will always be grateful for that word of encouragement!
You see it was not my intention to open the Studio for retail business. My plans were to grow my wholesale client list and have a place other than my backyard and basement to make beautiful yarn and fiber. However a condition of getting a business license in Olympia for the Studio’s location included the requirement to have a retail component. So when we opened to the public in July of 2015 we set up a retail display and knitter’s lounge. We established limited hours for welcoming in retail customers and embarked on building up a presence in the knitting community.
Over the past two and a half years many local and out-of-town knitters have found us tucked away as we are between two parking lots, a busy pub, and an apartment building. I am so grateful for the loyal support, the new friendships, and the volunteers that helped us through some critical moments. While the Studio is a welcoming place, it is the people who make it special. My heart is full!
Change can be hard, so how do we make it easier? How do we carry on with resilience? And how can the Studio be a positive part of positive change? I have grappled with this, talking to friends, employees, business partners and colleagues.
In the near term we are expanding retail hours for the holidays. In addition to our regularly established hours on Tuesday evenings, Fridays and Saturdays, we’re staying open on Friday evenings until 8 pm and adding Sunday hours from 1 to 5 pm. Once past the holidays we will evaluate expanding to more days or hours for 2018.
More permanently we are adding a supply of ChiaoGoo knitting needles. We’ve added needle felting wool to our fiber selection and in the coming weeks we will supply needle felting tools. Our class offerings for knitting, crafting, and dyeing will also be expanded as we identify more instructors and instruction needs.
We’re also thinking about better signage and other changes that would make us more visible!
With optimism I hope 2018 brings more crafters to our little corner of the world and that they will fall in love with our Studio. One way or another we hope our fellow knitters find a way to carry on with our beloved craft. We wish for you the best of the holiday season from all of us at Jorstad Creek! Kerry
Alissa Allen, experienced mushroom dyer and instructor is coming to teach! Join us on October 29 at the Jorstad Creek Dye Studio for a day of instruction on the collection, preparation, and use of mushrooms to dye yarn and fabric. This full day class will show you the techniques and provide skills you can build on to explore mushroom dyeing on your own. To register send at email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read on to learn more about Alissa and the workshop!
Date and Time: Sunday October 29th – 9am to 4pm
Location: Jorstad Creek – Olympia, WA
Cost: $150 – all materials included
Open to all skill levels
Regional Dye Palette Every region has its own palette of mushroom and lichen dyes. This class takes an in-depth look at using local, wild fungi as sustainable, safe dye sources. Starting with 10-12 species, with the addition of safe mordants and pH modifiers, we will create about 20 colors in all.
Wild Harvest All of the dyes are ethically harvested, dried, and weighed (using some fresh material if available). Students learn about mushroom safety, identification basics, habitats and ethical harvest. Participants receive a customized color guide to the best regional dye mushrooms and lichens and learn where to go for help with identification.
Working with Fiber We will be working with wool and silk fiber. Yarn for class is pre-mordanted to allow ample time to focus on dyes; however we will discuss the steps for preparing the fibers for the dye bath. This includes scouring, mordanting, and techniques to avoid felting wool.
Shibori Demonstration Participants will be guided through the steps to create an intricate arashi shibori inspired design. Each participant receives a blank silk scarf for practice.
Takeaways Students will take home a detailed recipe card showcasing the rainbow of samples dyed in class. The recipe card lists both the scientific and common names of the fungi and lichens, the ratios of fungus to fiber, mordants used, and pH modifications required to achieve the colors. Participants receive a detailed procedural handout, a customized guide to local dye fungi and a beautiful hand dyed scarf. This workshop covers all aspects of getting started with mushroom and lichen dyes and leaves the student with the tools to carry on their own exploration.
©Alissa Allen – Mycopigments – 2017
Speckled yarns were big this past winter and knitters love them. Once you’ve nestled beautiful speckled skeins into your stash, what to do with them? They’re not exactly hand painted variagated, and they are not a gradient yarn by any means. The little pops of color create are stunning in the yarn but how to use them to greatest effect?
Linda Gordon came up with this amazing pattern she named aptly “Falling Stars.” We created three speckled colorways for this great hat; Hello Cupcake, Embers, and Into the Mystic. Paired with either a white, black, or violet solid, the speckles pop out as you knit your way up to the crown of the hat. The yarn is Vashon, our super soft worsted weight four-ply in Superwash Merino.
We are putting together kits with the three colorways. They will be available soon at our new online store on Etsy as Jorstad Creek Yarns.
By popular demand we’ve opened an online Etsy store, Jorstad Creek Yarns, to post our beautiful hand dyed fiber for spinners and select kits for knitters. Keep checking our offerings, we will add more each month. We are putting together yarns and patterns from the BK Collective, Linda Gordon, and other designers to feature our hand dyed beauties and to help customers outside of our local area access our yarns on line. We also continue to work with our good friends at Row House Yarns, an on line yarn, pattern, and help portal, to create yarns and colorways for the beginning and intermediate knitter. Look for BK Collective/Row House designs to be rolled out paired with yarns and colors we created in partnership with their design team!
First up, we are invited to attend the Seattle Knitter’s Guild onWednesday, June 7 to display a table and talk about Jorstad Creek. Next is a trunk show on Saturday June 10 at Northwest Handspun in Bellingham, Washington! We will be in the store with a pop-up shop for the day. Later in the month we’re driving down to Eugene Oregon for the Black Sheep Gathering on June 23 through the 25th.
The Nordic Knitting Conference will be back this Fall! I just heard from organizers that this great event will be held October 6-8! More details to come, along with news about KnitFit in November with a new venue at the Seattle Center. Here’s a summary of the schedule as it stands:
Classes at the studio were rolled out this spring. We offer both knitting, spinning, dyeing and crafting classes at our spacious and friendly studio in downtown Olympia, Washington. We are almost through our May/June schedule – check on our class page on this blog for upcoming dates and class descriptions.
We had our first dye class! We hand painted silk scarves with dye inks, exploring several techniques with Kathie Adams, local fiber and surface design artist. This Saturday, along with our once-per-month Overdye Day we have a hand-painted skein class. We’re full this time, but we will be offering it again later in the summer so check back. Email me at email@example.com to reserve your space!
We’re open from 6 p.m. to 8:30 on Tuesday’s for drop in knitting, spinning, and crafting. There is always a skilled knitter “in residence” to help with knitting challenges. And if you need a skein of something, we’re open for sales, too!
Knitter’s who come to the studio seem to like the atmosphere and feel the creative energy flow as we work on our dye projects, wool, and talk about everything under the sun in a safe accepting place. Sometimes our little warehouse doesn’t love us back. We’ve had floods from the many rain storms this spring, and now a burst pipe as we plumbed a new hot water heater so we can scour fleece. Not to worry, there was minimal damage from this latest accident, and things are almost back to normal! Having a storefront has been a challenge, one we’ve been able to rise to with the help of many friends, family, volunteers, and just innocent bystanders! We are so grateful for the helping hand, the understanding sympathy, and the continued visitors and shoppers who are helping us keep “afloat” physcially and financially. You are so appreciated! As you go about your busy summer we hope you will think of us and stop in to say hello, start a project, or see what’s new.
Some of you know we’ve been stocking cashmere yarns and fiber directly from Mongolia for awhile. We are working on sending one of our own, Madison Wallace, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July to help Zola teach friends and family about drop spindling! We are fund raising to help with travel costs and to purchase equipment for this trip. If all goes well Madison will come back to us with amazing samples of intricate felting by Mongolian felt artists, as well as stories of adventures and new friends. This trip is to scope out further opportunities to partner on what we hope will be a new enterprise. We will be sure to share updates here on this blog, including a soon to be established “GoFundMe” campaign.
Until then hope to see you at the studio!
Every year we begin preparations for Madrona a little earlier hoping that when the day arrives to bring our lovelies to the Hotel Murano to set up our booth that our display will be the best ever. Every year customers come back and we renew our friendships and make new ones with fellow fiber enthusiasts. I enjoy this time, plotting how to amaze and inspire each year. Really we spend all year creating new colorways and patterns and then revealing them to this annual audience for four days of fiber bliss.
This year we’ve expanded our selection and colorways of fiber braids for spinners. Added to our collection of yarn are some amazing cashmere and yak blended with silk. We have new patterns from the BK Collective! And at the urging of some of our fans, we had a special drawstring bag printed with our Jorstad Cat on the back, made in the USA of course. Oh we are going to have fun!
What we’re knitting these days are hats, mitts, socks, and the occasional large project like a sweater. Once the gift knitting was over at Christmas and the emergency pink hat production was done, we turned to projects that had been put on the back burner and spent our evenings cuddled up with larger projects on our laps. That’s all part of the charm of winter isn’t it?
We hope you will come to the Madrona Fiber Arts market to drop in and say hello. You can find out more about the details of this event at the Madrona website.
At the studio we have put together a class schedule for expanding your knitting skills. Yes, we will have dye classes too! A separate class schedule for learning dye arts, spinning, and doll making at our studio is in the works.
Use multi-colored yarn to create a beautiful patterned cowl. Using yarn with long stretches of color opens up a whole new world of possibilities of knitting “fair isle” projects without the stress of putting multiple yarns together. Get stunning results! Class is instructed by Linda Gordon.
The mysteries of cables and twisted stitches will be revealed! Cables look difficult and impressive, but they aren’t complicated if you have someone showing the way. A choice of patterns is included in the class fee. BK Collective designer Jann Hoppler, is the instructor.
In lace or textured knitting, charts are now being used instead of row by row instructions in today’s patterns.
Jann will guide you through understanding and using charts, opening up a whole array of patterns you might otherwise avoid attempting in your knitting. A choice of patterns from the BK Collective is included.
Are you ready to try knitting socks from the toe-up? Learn a technique that lets you use leftover yarn with confidence and try on the sock as you go. You will learn to make a nearly seamless toe and a modified Dutch heel that makes a great fitting sock. Pattern included with class fee. Class is instructed by Kerry Graber.
Make this charming magical creature from Jorstad Creek yarn as we provide the materials and you download the pattern. You will learn techniques you can use to make more stuffed creatures to delight. Leanna Saplan is the instructor.
We love it so much we don’t want to supplant it with other stuff like holidays and even our lovely Harbor Days event! This coming Saturday we will get the dye pots bubbling. Bring us your tired, your unloved skeins and we will make them new again. Please plan to arrive between 11 and 3 – First come will be first served. We have to cut off the list at 3 so we can be sure to get it all done before closing. We have our new utility sink! We’re ecstatic that Overdye Day will be so much easier having the new deep double sink plumbed next to our dye pots.
We had a number of generous volunteers drop in to help us clean the Finn fleeces. It was a lot of fun getting to know you better, a side benefit of working together around a table of beautiful fleece. We are drawing for prizes this weekend to thank everyone for their help in August. We still have too much fleece, so we’ll be doing a new drawing for anyone dropping in to the Studio to help in September.
We still have a few hat kits to give away to support the Click for Babies charitable project. If you didn’t get one come by the studio and get your kit. Bring it back to us and we’ll get it back to Familly Education and Support Services (FESS) to donate to area hospitals. Our booth with the Zonta Club of Olympia and FESS was a big success. Volunteers from both or organizations, all passionate supporters for local families, came out to help staff the booth. Many more supporters stopped by to chat and pick up a hat kit.
Many loyal customers have stopped by the studio looking for lovely Isle of Skye (kid mohair/silk), as well as other yarns that have been out of stock for awhile. We are working as fast as we can to resupply. We delivered a supply of this yarn and Hebrides (merino/tussah silk) to the fabulous Acorn Street Shop in Seattle recently. Our next delivery is to local Black Sheep Yarn Boutique on the west side of Olympia in a couple of weeks – we’ll let you know when they arrive at this wonderful yarn store. Once we have wholesale orders filled we will have some available at the Jorstad Creek Studio. Thank you for your patience, as the supplier for this gorgeous yarn is all the way in the UK and takes planning! We are also working on dyeing new supplies of single-ply sock “Orcas”, Tweed Sock, and Catalina for the studio in new and popular colors.
Currently in development are a selection of Fall Pantone colors that intrigue us. We’re adding a couple of cool blue tones to our loved Lady Grantham and Serenity. Contrasting colors that intrigue us include Dusty Cedar and Taupe. Some of you have seen the astounding Tibetan Red we developed, a bright lipstick red with undertones of sun yellow. We have also perfected our recipe for Saffron Spice, a great Fall color with pops of gold, yellow, and brown like taking the Autumn colors off a Maple tree that is turning. In the realm of hand painted colorways, we are still in love with Sibelius Park, a combination of fucia, persimmon, and grey that are unexpectedly nuanced for such a bright combination. We’ve added solids of Red Velvet in fingering-weight “Fidalgo,”, along with an intense Violet that took us many, many test batches to figure out.
If you would like to see the Pantone take on fashion colors check it out at Pantone. They have a collection of images like the one below that show the Fall colors in application.
CLICKOlympia Harbor Days rolls around at the end of summer each year here in Thurston County. We work and plan for it all year by taking donations from our Overdye Saturday customers towards the purchase of yarn and bags to make our free kits. Then we share booth space with the local Zonta Club and Family Education and Support Services (FESS) to give away the hat kits to raise awareness for the prevention of shaken baby syndrome.
Completed hats from knitters are turned in to FESS and in turn they are given to local hospitals and clinics with an educational video for new parents.
This project, and the educational resources, are very effective at preventing shaken baby syndrome. We at Jorstad Creek are proud of our third year supporting this charitable project that supports families in our community.
This year we’re giving away lovely washable wool/acrylic blend yarn in a DK weight, along with some of our Tweed DK in purple shades. Here’s our free pattern that will work with the yarn for a newborn sized hat. This is a modification from one of the free hat patterns offered through the PURPLE program on line – it works well with the yarn kits.
Visit http://www.CLICKforBabies.org crochet patterns!
Materials: DK wieght sfot yarn in 57 to 62 yards; one US#5 and US#7 double-pointed needles, tapestry needle, 1 stitch marker (optional).
K = knit
p = purl
k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
sts = stitches
MC = main color
Gauge: 23 sts and 32 rounds over 4′ (10 cm)
Head circumference: 14.5 inches (37 cm) for average newborn size
Please note the hat’s cast-on edge needs to be stretchy. With two smaller needles held together, cast on 60 sts using yarn. Pull one needle out. Distribute sts evenly on 3 double-pointed needles (20 on each); mark beginning of round and join, being careful not to twist.
Using size 5 needles knit a 2 x 2 rib (knit 2, purl 2) rib for 1.5 inches.
Change to size 7 neeldes and knit the body of the hat in stockinette for 3 inches.
Round 1: (K8, K2tog) 6 times. (54 stitches)
Round 2: Knit
Round 3: (K7, K2tog) 6 times (48 sts)
Round 4: Knit
Round 5: (K6, K2tog) 6 times (42 sts)
Round 6: Knit
Round 7: (K5, k2tog) 6 times (36 sts)
Round 8: (K4, Ktog) 6 times (30 sts)
Round 9: (K3, K2tog) 6 times (24 sts)
Round 10: (K2, K2tog) 6 times (18 sts)
Round 11: (K1, K2tog) 6 times (12 sts)
Round 12: (K2tog) 6 times (6 sts)
Cut yarn, leaving a 6 inch tail. Using tapestry needle, thread tail through remaining sts and pull tight. Weave ends.
Usually takes place every first Saturday of the month but this month it’s on Saturday the 9th 11am-6pm! We upcycle your ugly or boring yarn. Bring in your wool or wool blend yarn and we will over dye it for you into a yarn color you will love! We will walk you through how the dye processes works then you can sit down and enjoy a cup of tea while we let the overdyeing take effect. We are also accepting donations for the Purple Hat Project.
Shown in pictures: Actual customer’s results from Overdye Saturday event.
A scoping project to establish a fiber company in Mongolia based on the principles of Fair Trade
A yarn and fiber company.
(and crochets, and stitches, and is otherwise generally crafty)
Award-winning Scottish publishing and design
Interweaving life with fiber arts! (Photograph by Carly Moskat.)