where to find Huckleberry Knits' final inventory June 3, 2022 13:07
I'm a bit horrified to see that the last newsletter I sent was in October 2020, to let you all know that I was doing Lambtown from home. As it turns out, that was the last show that I'll do.
My career was in public involvement and communications before I became a full-time dyer. When the pandemic hit, like a lot of people I re-evaluated my life and what I was doing with it. Although business was quite good--a lot of you were buying yarn while you were stuck at home!--it crystallized a sense that I should be doing something else. Shortly after Lambtown, I was offered a job with the local health department working on COVID communications, which hit a lot of my buttons: using a skill set developed over a lifetime to help my community through an incredibly challenging time.
I was still dyeing, though--fulfilling wholesale commitments that I'd already made and listing new yarn every now and then. But a couple of months ago, I accepted a new job. This new gig, plus the fact that my kid is entering his senior year of high school, has cemented my decision to wind down the business. My spare time is really limited these days and I have other things that I need and want to be doing.
Northwest Yarns has purchased my remaining yarn inventory (mostly American Dream DK, mohair/silk lace and suri alpaca/silk lace that would be absolutely perfect for Stephen West's new Rain or Shine Shawl, and some Willow and yak/silk/merino) and they will be selling it at Fiber Fusion in Monroe, WA this weekend (and probably online after that).
Will I still be dyeing? I'm considering a wholesale request from a longtime favorite retailer, and I might dye up some fiber for fun. But I plan to be closed up by the end of the year. It will probably take that long for me to sell all the undyed yarn and fiber I have!
I still plan to be part of the fiber community and hope to see many of you around. Thank you for all the years of support and friendship--you are what made this little dyeing business worthwhile, and what I will miss the most.
reducing Huckleberry Knits' carbon footprint June 8, 2020 12:06
From the beginning, Huckleberry Knits has been primarily fueled by Green Power, a program of my electric utility (Puget Sound Energy) that allows customers to buy electricity from only renewable sources, like wind and solar. I've been purchasing Green Power since PSE started offering it in 1999, as a simple way to reduce my everyday carbon footprint
I've been thinking about how to offset the impact of my shipping as well. In recent years, online sales have been a very small percentage of my business revenue, since I've been focusing on wholesale and shows. But with the cancellation of all my remaining 2020 shows and a severe drop in wholesale, I've been selling a lot more online and shipping has become a bigger part of my footprint.
Last month I switched all my shipping label purchases to Shippo, which tracks the number of miles my packages travel. My monthly summary tells me that my packages traveled 22,817 miles last month. How to translate that into an actual offset? I thought there would be an online calculator but I can't seem to find one.
For my May impacts, I'm just going to double my usual monthly donation to the Rainforest Alliance. This is a nonprofit that purchases land in the Amazonian rainforest, to protect it in perpetuity. In my previous job as a water resources planner, I became professionally convinced that buying properly functioning habitat, rather than restoring habitat, provides the biggest bang for your buck.
Beginning in June, I will be shipping through Shopify's in-house shipping app. It comes with the ability to use the Offset app, which calculates my packages' carbon impact based on distance traveled plus their weight and their type of transportation. The project that the Offset dollars are currently going to is the Jari Pará Forest Conservation Project, which works with local communities in this 500,000-hectare (1235 acres) region in Brazil to practice sustainable forestry.
Shopify (which is the platform that powers my shopping cart) will cover any offset costs for purchases made with Shop Pay, while I will cover any made with PayPal.
Hug Shot combos June 4, 2020 13:08
For the last few years, Bronwyn of Casapinka has generously created a pattern that local yarn stores (LYSes) can include with purchases made on I Love My LYS Day. This year's pattern was so helpful in supporting shops that she's designed a second pattern and has invited indie dyers to play, too!
I've put together several pairings using Singular yarn so you can make your own Hug Shot. (It's a great combo for other two-colorway patterns, too!) If you purchase this set of two skeins by 5 pm PT on June 14, you'll receive a Ravelry code for a free download of the pattern. I'll start sending out codes on the morning of June 5.
If you want to put together your own combo, buy at least two skeins of yarn and write me a note at checkout that you'd like the Hug Shot pattern.
- Codes will expire on Sunday, June 14, at 11:59 pm. Please be sure to redeem them by then!
- If you have any trouble with the discount code, please contact Huckleberry Knits, not Casapinka.
- If you purchase multiple combos, you'll receive one code per purchase, which you can then share as you like.
- Many thanks to Casapinka for her kind heart and generosity in sharing this pattern and helping dyers and local yarn stores during these uncertain times. 💕
sale on Polwarth/Silk Ultra March 24, 2020 12:58
I was in the mood to dye some Polwarth/silk but I only had a couple of pounds of it. I did, however, find half a bump of Polwarth/Silk Ultra languishing in a bin. So I'm offering it at the same price as my regular Polwarth/silk. Ultra is 40% tussah silk (compared to the regular blend's 15%), and it produces yarn with an incredible pearly glow. You'll find five colorways in the shop right now, with more to come in the next few weeks.
How to prep a sock blank September 27, 2019 08:23
At shows, people will often pick up a sock blank and ask, "What is this for? What do I do with this?"
I explain that it's a machine-knitted rectangle that comes to me undyed, and that I use them to achieve long bands of colors. Like anything else knitted in the flat, they unravel in just one direction--if you try to unravel the blank from the other end, you'll run into a locked stitch at the end of every row.
You can knit or crochet from blanks just as they are, if you don't mind that the yarn is crinkled, and if you want to start with the color that unravels. A blank makes for a convenient travel project--it never rolls away from you.
But if you want to use less crinkled yarn, or you want to begin with the color at the wrong end, you'll need to unravel it. You can use a niddy-noddy or a swift to put into a tidy little hank.
Tie it off in a few places to keep it from turning into a tangled mess during the rest of the process. I like to run a piece of string in a figure-eight through the hank.
Twist it up loosely (to cut down on the chance of tangling) and soak it in some cool water for about 30 minutes. A drop of dishwashing detergent (like Dawn) will help the water penetrate into the yarn and get it thoroughly wet.
Squeeze out the water and hang the skein up to dry. If crinkles really bother you, you can hang it up on a clothes hanger (use a plastic one--metal ones might leave rust spots) and then place another hanger at the bottom of the skein to add a bit of weight. I wouldn't use anything too heavy, because you don't want the yarn to be permanently stretched out.
Here's a comparison photo of the yarn after this process, compared to an unraveled skein that hasn't been washed.
Wind up your yarn, and you're ready to go!
Next shop update March 25, 2019 22:05
I've gotten some questions about when I'll have new listings. I'm just finishing up a string of shows (beginning with Madrona in Feb, and ending with the Whidbey spin-in, April 6-7), so I expect to finally have some time to add inventory to the online shop after that. I know there are a number of you hoping for gradients, fiber, and Singular. Thanks for asking, and thanks for your patience with this one-woman show!
Also, speaking of shows. I recently learned that my friend Satomi of Japanese Handmade had a credit card reader malfunction at OFFF last September. If you bought one of her wonderful bags there and paid with a credit card, it's very possible that you weren't charged. Could you please check your records and get in touch with her, if you weren't charged? I know she would truly appreciate it.
Summer break June 21, 2017 19:48
I'm leaving for Black Sheep Gathering in the morning, so I'm taking down all listings except for club renewals. The shop will remain closed through the end of July, and will reopen on August 1 with fresh new stock.
Coming to BSG? I'm bringing DK gradients back for this show, made from soft American Dream DK superwash merino. Perfect for that instant-gratification project--I just whipped up a sample from one skein in a few nights. I'll also have both my regular gradients as well as double-stranded ones, for those of you who like knitting identical socks or projects where you work from the center out and need to graft two sides together.
I'll also have Willow BFL/nylon sock yarn, Cascara Silk (merino/cashmere/silk), 50/50 silk/merino, yak/silk/merino, Licorice Twist, and American Dream Worsted and DK. I have a little less fiber than usual, so come early for the best selection.
Looking forward to seeing lots of familiar friendly faces this weekend!
Fiber is up April 18, 2017 08:46
I've gotten a fair number of emails about spinning fiber and when I'll have more listed. Now that taxes are done and my next round of wholesale orders is well underway, I'm happy to finally say that I have lots of new fiber in the shop! MCN,Targhee/silk, and Polwarth/Silk Ultra (40% silk!) are up first. Organic Polwarth and perhaps a little Falkland will follow in the next few days.
On the road: Feb/March 2017 February 20, 2017 18:43
Huckleberry Knits hits the road again! Find me at Stitches West in Santa Clara, CA, February 23-26, in booth #934 (in the Among Friends neighborhood). After that, I'm heading to Portland for the Rose City Yarn Crawl. On Friday, March 3, I'll be at For Yarn's Sake in Beaverton, and on Saturday, March 4, you can see me at Wool N Wares in West Linn. Both trunk shows will run 10-6.
To avoid overselling, I've deactivated all products except for club-related listings. The store should be back up in early March.
You can follow me on the road on my Instagram account. Hope to see you!
Thank you, Black Sheep Gathering! June 29, 2016 12:00
Thank you, volunteers and wonderful customers and vendor friends, for a great weekend at Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, OR. So many happy people, so much great fiber inspiration, so many friends new and old!
I'm slowly coming back down to reality, working to get fiber club ready and shipped. You may notice that the online store is rather empty right now, as I took down most of my listings for the duration of the show.
I will be taking inventory on Friday and adding things back into the store, as well as new items once I put my photo studio back together (it's been buried for several weeks by yarn, since it shares storage space with my show inventory). I'll post notifications to my mailing list, Facebook group, and Instagram feed, if you'd like to join any of those.
Licorice Twist April 17, 2015 18:00
Licorice Twist has been in my repertoire for years, starting back when my primary audience was people who were cloth diapering their babies and wanted to knit wool pants as diaper covers. It's a great yarn for that purpose--100% wool, (mostly) not superwash so it retains its full absorbency powers, and relatively lightweight for summer wear or warmer climates.
Cloth diapering hasn't been my focus in a long time, so it had been quite a while since I'd dyed it in any sort of quantity until Black Sheep Gathering 2013. While getting ready for the show, I found some in my inventory and decided on a whim to dye it up for the show. To my surprise, a lot of people were attracted to it, most of whom would associate knitted pants more with Stephen West than a cloth diapered baby.
Maybe it's the vibrant colors, a holdover from those kid-centric dyeing days? Or just the unusual barberpole effect that comes from one of the plies being superwash, which dyes up darker and brighter than the untreated plies? The attraction happens even before it hits the needles, when you find out that it creates a supple fabric that bounces back wash after wash, thanks to being un-superwash.
Whatever the reason, I'm glad my customers like it because that means I get to dye it. Licorice Twist makes for some great transitions because once dye strikes the superwash ply, it mostly stays put, but you can still manipulate the color of the non-superwash plies around it. It's fun to play around.
I've just put up several colorways, both new and old. It's a great chance to try out this versatile yarn, with a range of color choices.
Friday favorites April 10, 2015 13:55
I listen to a lot of podcasts while I dye, and one feature I always look forward to is the Pop Culture Happy Hour's "what's making us happy this week" segment. I love hearing about what other people are enthusiastic about, so I thought it would be fun to do something similar with the blog on my new site.
Here's what's making me happy this week:
The Methow Valley. We spent a couple of days here on our way home from seeing family in eastern Washington over Easter. I love this beautiful valley, tucked into the eastern slope of the Cascades. And on this visit, I finally managed to visit the Mazama Store. This is an upscale country store that features a variety of local products, plus everything that your inner yuppie could desire. I can't help myself, I liked it.
Sorry about the blurriness of the photos. I feel like a conspicuous weirdo pulling out my phone to snap photos, so I try to keep it on the down low. I need to just own that I'm part of the Instagram age.
Reading. After several months of barely doing any reading, either print or audio, with an attention span that couldn't get me through a magazine article or short story in a single sitting, I knocked out three books this week. I feel more like myself again. This week's reads were Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan, The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin, and Old Man's War by John Scalzi. Zealot was probably my favorite--the best written, the most informative, and the one that made me think the most. I jot down thoughts on most of the books I read over at Goodreads, if you want more.
Fiber. I overdid it while getting ready for Stitches West, trying to finish just one more sample, and my hands have been hurting ever since. So no knitting has been happening around these parts. But it turns that I can still spin, if I'm careful to keep my hands relaxed (which is better for spinning anyway) and if I take lots of breaks. Like while I'm playing a board game.
I spun up some of my Targhee/silk on my Tracey Eichheim spindle, while my party got devoured in a game of Eldritch Horror.
What's making YOU happy this week?