May 24, 2016

Knitting All Around Blue Sky

Our friend Wendy Bernard has released yet another wonderful book, the “Knitting All Around Stitch Dictionary”. Paging through, you’ll find a spectrum of plush knit swatches, all created with Blue Sky yarn. As Wendy says, “Stitch dictionaries are like cookbooks – you can’t have just one!”

How did she get to write her 5th knitting book? She started creating patterns because she was frustrated with knitting books that didn’t offer ways to convert stitches to the round or top-down. It was a tricky task to convert these patterns, and as she was already doing the work on her own, she decided to put it to use and publish them on her blog knit and tonic. A year after posting her work, a literary agent called to write a book and the rest is history!

Blue Sky has been Wendy’s “go-to” yarn for years, and she’s been knitting with us since she first started designing. When asked what her favorite yarn is, it was a tough choice: she loves Royal, as well as Alpaca Silk, and Worsted Cotton, but likes Extra for quick knits. At the end of the day, our color palette is what continues to draw her back to our yarn. She admires our wide range of colors and enjoys experimenting with them in mosaics.

We adore her book and the opportunity for you to see the variety of styles in our yarn. Her book is available here, pick one up to see our yarns at play!

 

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May 19, 2016

The Story Behind Blue Sky Fibers

Exciting things are happening here and in the upcoming weeks you will start to see changes. Blue Sky Alpacas is joining forces with Spud & Chloë and getting a makeover in the process. No worries, we will continue to have all of the same yarn and patterns that you already know and love, we’re just adding some more.

We’re changing our name to Blue Sky Fibers to reflect the wide range of fibers that we use in our yarn. But did you know that we began as a small herd of alpacas? Linda Niemeyer started the company in 1997 with a few alpacas at her house, so the Blue Sky Alpacas name worked well at that point. While the company evolved she focused on what she loved: the yarn! As we developed new yarns, we began integrating additional fibers.

We’ve grown a lot since then. Since our backyard beginnings, we’ve become a favorite of yarn shops and fiber enthusiasts internationally. While we’ve always focused on luxury yarn and kept a soft spot in our hearts for alpaca, our collections now encompass many more fibers including wool, organic cotton, and silk.

So what’s this mean for you? Spud and Chloë’s social sites are moving over to join Blue Sky Alpacas. We’re adding a new line of 100% Fine Highland Wool yarn called Woolstok Worsted, and a whole bunch of new patterns. We’ll be done making changes in June, can’t wait to show it off!

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May 10, 2016

Become a Knitting Confident Creative

The spring read at Blue Sky Fibers has been Cat Bennett’s book “The Confident Creative”. So we were thrilled when we got the chance to meet with the author to learn more about what being a confident creative means and how it applies to knitters.

Cat’s background as a successful illustrator was unplanned. She always created art that came naturally to her, which resulted in a personal and quirky style. This unfiltered creativity is what she believes to be the cornerstone to the organic growth of her career.

When she began teaching art Cat met MFAs who were frightened of drawing, and left school only to never revisit their work again. She recalls one student who burst into tears because she was so discouraged with her drawing. Cat found that these students were attached to getting “good results.” These students shaped her entire approach and mission to help people let go and embrace free creativity.

How relevant is this dilemma to fellow knitters? When you’re knitting to create an end product with a clear function, it’s easy to get perfectionism paralysis. When we asked her what knitters could do when they are feeling blocked or inadequate in their projects, she said to elude the state of there being an issue. Sure, sometimes with knitting the roadblocks can be very real (and problematic to the final piece) but finding a meditative state by doing an abstract drawing, asking someone else for input, or even taking a break can be extremely helpful to the creative process.

“No problem can be solved by the same state of
consciousness that created it.” -Albert Einstein

We think Cat’s on to something, and we’re trying to implement the philosophy of no good or bad while we’re in the middle of creating. Taking time to play, experimenting so mistakes definitely happen, and doing what comes naturally isn’t always easy – especially when there’s the time investment that comes along with knitting. But creative confidence has helped Cat develop her wonderful style, and it’s helping us think outside of the box too.

Who knows what you might make if you feel confident enough to try? Maybe it’s confidence in trying a new pattern, having fun in the process, or maybe it’s showing your finished work off. Whatever the case, we think Cat’s message rings true for knitters all over, and hope it helps you too.

 

 

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April 26, 2016

Spring Inspiration: Rangoli Shawl

A colorful shawl design recently caught our eye in the latest edition of Twist Collective: Rangoli is a vibrant exploration of color which combines lace with slipped stitches to create a stunning effect.

Designer Lana Jois shared the story of how this design evolved from concept to finished piece:

When I sent in the idea of Rangoli to Twist Collective, it was only in two colors. I mentioned to the editor Kate Gilbert that it was inspired by an artform of the same name, the art of making beautiful designs on floors and courtyards using colored flour and flowers on festive occasions – and so it evolved into a multi-color shawl.

The package of yarn I received from Blue Sky Alpacas simply took my breath away – I was having Spring flown to me in a parcel! Kate must have already had Fruit Theme on her mind for Spring 2016 because she had picked #144 Mango, #143 Papaya, #145 Guava and #148 Peridot in Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk. Beginning with lovingly winding the skeins by hand all the way to taking the shawl off the blocking mats and (very reluctantly) sending it off, I had an amazing time making Rangoli. The yarn was a delight to work with. The shawl combines three stitch patterns that are part lace and part slipped stitches so you’re only working with one color at a time.

Rangoli is knit with Blue Sky Alpacas Alpaca Silk yarn, a shimmering blend of 50% alpaca and 50% silk; you can view pattern details on Ravelry and Twist Collective.

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April 12, 2016

Spring Sweaters

Warm-weather knitting projects need not be an oxymoron with the right stitch pattern and yarn! Recently, two lovely knitted tops have caught our eye for the spring and summer months, both of which are knit with our light and lofty 100% Certified Organic Cotton yarns.

The Garter Twist Tee by Kristen TenDyke is knit from the top down, making it easily customizable for the best possible fit. A breezy lace pattern near the bottom ensures wearability for the entire season and pairs nicely with the garter stitch sections. Knit with Skinny Cotton which is spun from 100% Certified Organic Cotton, this pretty tee is a must-make for spring!

The Lace-Yoke Top by Jeannie Chin features plenty of positive ease to ensure a comfortable fit. A flattering boatneck top is complemented by eyelet lace details which are also echoed near the bottom of the garment. This easy-wearing tee uses our 100% Certified Organic Cotton Worsted yarn worked at a larger gauge, shown above in #601 Poppy.

This June, we’ll be introducing 6 exciting new colors to our 100% Certified Organic Cotton Worsted palette. Make sure to follow our blog to stay updated!

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