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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yarns Part 2. Bijou Basin Ranch

I have a privilege to work with this exquisite natural yarn and I have to say that it surprises me every time I make a swatch. The feel and the look of the fabric is sophisticated and elegant and any stitch pattern that I use is showing up on this yarn at its best. On top of this Carl and Eileen Koop are the nicest people you ever meet. Here is their story.

Established in 2005, Bijou Basin Ranch is a small family owned and run yak ranch located just outside the small town of Elbert on the open plains of the Colorado outback about 65 miles southeast of Denver, Colorado. Bijou Basin's primary goal is to produce and sell premium yak fiber products such as rovings, yarn, and yarn blends. To do this we raise registered full blooded yaks that have superior glossy coats which are harvested annually. We also supplement the fiber we harvest from our yaks by buying quality yak fiber from other yak ranchers across the country and abroad. Our yak fiber is then processed into yarn at various mills across the country or abroad and sold under the Bijou Spun label.

While some of our yarns are made of 100% yak down, others are blended with various other fibers such as Cormo Woo, Superfine Merino Wool, and even Bamboo!

Our yarns come in various weights and lengths which depend on the particular fiber or fiber blend utilized. All yarns and fibers are available in the natural brown and cream that is harvested from the yak and our three most popular yarns (100% yak fingering weight, 50/50 yak cormo blend, and 75/25 yak/bamboo blend) are also available in 13 new brilliant colors!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

100 plus degrees outside

We have a beautiful historical Bidwell mansion here that was preserved in the state it was more than 100 years ago. You can see the furniture, clothing, and dishes among other attributes of the house that tell a story about two people John and Annie who lived there. It is very interesting and educational to visit such places as this one.

Today in my conversation with someone this mansion came in a different light. Our summers here are very dry and hot. Today is a typical summer day -- 100 degrees. At least it is not humid and I have to be fair to say that it does not happen every day. Yesterday was much cooler. Only 97 degrees:) But seriously, the temperature goes up and down and 100-degree heat does not last for weeks. Nowdays we do have AC (thank goodness!) and we can hop from home- to the car-to the store and back the same way. So we were talking about that poor Annie who had to wear corsets, and much different undergarments from what people are wearing these days plus to a very elaborate dresses. There was no AC or a pool to cool off. I was trying to imagine how she felt, but did not succeed.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview with Kristin Nicholas

As knitters we know Kristin Nicholas as an author of knitting books and long-time knitwear designer. Her amazing color work is vibrant and thrilling. Read this interview in full here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


First, I wanted to say big thank you to all 23 people who left their comments with nice words about Cascade 220 and a great book 60 Quick Knits and all the readers who came over to read my review. If I could, I would give you all a copy. Seriously!
The reality is, though, that I have only one to give away :(
I used the Random Integer Generator to help me choose the winner.


Drums please!!!

Congratulations to...Cynthia A. aka Chinders on


Friday, July 16, 2010


This book is another masterpiece by Kristin Omdahl. The focus of her creations this time is on crocheting with fine yarns. She proves that crocheted garment can be light and airy if it is done with a soft and lightweight yarn combined with the choice of a delicate stitch.
Please read this review in full on At First Glance.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Knitting Daily TV. A New Season.

Oh, how I wish I had this show in my area. I think it is a wonderful and very useful show. I will have to buy the CDs they sell. It is too much to miss. Shay Pendray, Eunny Jang, and Kristin Omdahl show all kinds of techniques and tricks that I would love to see. I hope some of you are in the area where you can actually see Knitting Daily on Public Television stations. This morning, the newsletter also called Knitting Daily came with a new season's topics and on one of the photos Eunny during the episode where she is talking about hats. Guess what, on the right of her is my Sweet Honey Beret. I will have to buy this one for me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Paul McCartney in Live Concert

Are you a Beatles' lover? I am. I listened to their music for many years and never even had a dream to see them on stage. It was as impossible in my mind as to see Chopin playing, so I never thought about it. To make a long story short, I had a chance to go to Paul's concert in San Francisco two days ago. Even when I was sitting there before the concert began I did not get it. Then he came out and performed for almost 3 hours straight. It is very hard to describe the feeling that I had sitting with my husband and our daughter who loves this music and arranged the tickets for us and her friends. This concert was on and off stage performed by Paul, his wonderful band, and the audience. These components are not separable. It is one body that contains young and old, memories, personal and world history, sadness, happiness, and much more. I only could imagine how was it when all four young and talented members of everlasting Beatles were on stage in their prime time. People who were there will never forget it. Paul McCartney is one of two alive Beatles and is 68. This music is his life and he is a very good entertainer who knows how to lead his fans. He is still playing his instruments masterfully and I am very happy I had a chance to see him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Yarns at TNNA Part 1

It is hard to describe how many different and beautiful yarns you can see walking from booth to booth at TNNA. There are some established companies and some small and new ones. Each one of them has its own take on colorways and fiber choices. When you stop to talk to people at a booth you learn so much about yarns and fibers in general and about the animals some of them raising. So, it is always a story behind the yarn. Most of all I get the feeling that people who are in the yarn business simply love their job.

Here are the first two stories.

Abuelita Yarns
This is a family business from Uruguay. It evolved from the parent company Balitex that was founded in 1978 and is well-known in their country. Now the young owners Alejandro and Stella Balian continue their grandparent's dream with Abuelita (granny in Spanish) Yarns and have a vision of expanding to the world market. This was the third TNNA for the company and they were a hit. I had a privilege to meet with the owners and pet their beautiful, natural, hand-dyed, and very soft and light yarn. At this point they have lace, worsted, thick and thin, and bulky yarns with colors that call you to make something incredible from them. This company has a full commitment to preserving the environment. You can read their statement here. I am looking forward to seeing their yarns here in the US. You can read more about their big plans for the business on their website.

The story of this American company began in the late 1980s. Bob and Jean Dunbabin are the founders of this Seattle, WA located family business. Their son Robert and his wife Shannon are very much a part of the team. The mission of Cascade Yarns is to provide a high-quality yarn at the price people can afford. Bob and Jean wanted to find the way to fulfill their dream. They found it in Peru. They learned that Peruvians raise sheep which are a blend of Corriedale and Merino. The yarn spun from their fleece is soft and long-stapled. Cascade 220, their flagship yarn, is produced in more than 250 colors. This is very impressive. Check out their website to see their yarns, store list that carry this yarn and their great patterns.

Monday, July 5, 2010


A knitwear designer and decorative artist Kristin Nicholas is the author of a new book Color by Kristin (Sixth&Spring Books). From the subtitle How to Design Your Own Beautiful Knits we gather that Kristin is set to teach us how to work with color, understand it, use a Color Wheel to our advantage, and most of all how to be brave and experimental with color combination.
Continue reading this review here.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


An ode to a very popular yarn Cascade 220, this book includes 60 small patterns that are broken into three groups: 20 hats, 20 scarves, and 20 mittens. In other words, it is exactly what the title of the book says. Read this review in full and enter to win a free copy.