Marie Mayhew – A Shop Favorite

The customers at Knit’n From the Heart love Marie Mayhew and her designs – snowmen, pumpkins, Christmas ornaments and bunnies have been particularly popular.  But, we also have an array of tea cozies, sheep, owls, Christmas stockings, oak leaf and other patterns that are also favorites.

Marie started designing about the same time we opened our shop.  We invite her into the shop a couple of times a year to give demonstrations of her designs and how to embellish them.  Knitters line up to talk with her individually and get tips.

Our shop is so well-known for Marie’s designs that are scattered throughout our shop that when our customers hear she has a new design out or coming out, our phones start ringing.  This happened last  Saturday.  Her newest design, a Penguin, is very cute.  Customers started calling. So,  Julie put in a call to Marie to discover when and how we could get the patterns into our shop.

Soon, we received a special delivery by Marie’s husband, John, and they are truly cute.  We are working to get one knitted as a sample.  Looking outside at the snow falling today, I think I’ll make mine with an Easter bonnet.

Stop by Knit’n from the Heart and pick up yours today.  Send us your pictures!

A Trip to North Carolina…

I travel often for my work and pleasure out of town.  Our family and my colleagues know that whether it is a trip for business or pleasure, a short stop at a yarn shop is an imperative.   I like to see what other LYSs choose to carry, how they have products arranged, colors, classes they offer, and the types of groups that frequent their shops.  If the owner is there and I have time, I often strike up a conversation.  Out of respect, I always buy something in the shop for my indulgence.  Larry has a difficult time understanding with so much yarn back home, why we need more yarn or another book.  The answer is I want to try something new for our shop – sometimes that happens right away or sometimes these purchases are tucked away in my stash for another day.

The first weekend in December Larry and I went to North Carolina to visit our daughter, Valerie, and her husband, Jeff, who had moved from Minnesota less than a year ago.  Valerie has been on many of my personal yarn experiences with me – Stockholm, India, Hawaii to name a few.  By the time we arrived, she had already researched the LYSs and set the schedule to fit into our other activities, such as a Norman Rockwell exhibit.

December in North Carolina is beautiful with a touch of winter and all of the holly trees in their glory with full red berries.  Unlike Minnesota, the major news story of the weekend was the dusting of snow that barely covered the ground.  I was in the holiday mood to buy and talk yarn. . . .it was an especially fruitful visit not only for me personally but Knit’n From the Heart.

We visited Great Yarns in Raleigh (URL:  http://www.yarnsetc.com/).  It’s a great shop with a friendly atmosphere – I thought they had great choices in yarns because we actually carry many of the same products.  I did find some new things that caught my eye.  I purchased some darling buttons that are perfect for a little girl’s sweater.  I’ve tucked them away for the future.  The garment that I loved was Catharine Hennessey’s Modular Capelet (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/modular-capelet)knitted in Noro Silk Garden.  I certainly didn’t need the Noro, but I purchased this pattern to add to my list of future projects.

Catharine Hennessey's Modular Capelet

Our holidays were interesting this year because Larry had a six-hour surgery on December 22 with a two-week recovery at home.  Kids, spouses and a fiancé came and went to help out and make certain our holidays were upbeat.  Catharine’s capelet was a perfect project for me to knit during this time.  Interesting enough but not too complicated for the times I couldn’t concentrate.  On December 26, I had a question about the pattern and emailed Catharine. She emailed me right back with an answer.

I like how this capelet turned out.  I like the colors that Julie picked out for me…Noro Silk Garden and purple Mission Falls. As I knitted it, I also mixed in a little Noro Kureyon because I thought it needed an added vibrant purple.  I managed to finish it, and you can find it hanging in our shop.  Julie has spoken with Catharine, and we now carry this pattern.

Judy will teach this class.  I think it is similar to her BC Ruffle Wrap capelet that has been so popular in our shop since the summer. – It’s a perfect project for advanced beginner who would like to learn modular knitting and picking up stitches.   Once started, this pattern lends itself to adding on and turning a capelet into a cape.

I did buy three hanks of an amethyst color mohair-linen lace blend to test out for the shop.  It is lovely  I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  Since that time, I’m finding it perfect for the shawl that I wanted to knit for our son Todd’s wedding to Nicole.  I’m adapting the popular Saroyan scarf on Ravelry to a shawl (http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/saroyan) and will be incorporating beads.

I love how this yarn is elegantly working up – a much different look than most of the 2800 projects posted on Ravelry.  For fear that I might not have enough, I called the shop and purchased two more hanks to make certain I have the correct dye lot.  Yes, as a LYS owner, I fear I didn’t buy enough. . . .

Knitting Keeps Me from Unraveling

Our Distinctive Counter

Heidi's Plaque

Welcome to the Heartknits blog! People have been pushing me to start this journal about knitting, crocheting, and Knit’n From the Heart.  It’s taken awhile to get there – it isn’t that I don’t have time to reflect or don’t have something to say – I’ve just wondered if anyone would care. . .or what the purpose is?  I’ve talked about what I might say, but as my husband said to me yesterday, it’s been difficult getting it from the couch to the computer.

Not long ago a staff member, Heidi, brought a plaque to our shop, Knit’n From the Heart.  She found it in the back of Woodbury’s Joanne’s store in the sale bin and donated it to the shop – it now hangs behind our distinctive check-out counter.   Many, if not most, of our customers know that I have a day job that demands most of my time and is filled with responsibilities.  Sixty to seventy hour weeks at my day job are not unusual.   To cope, I have for a long time scheduled knitting into my life each day – I’ve knitted since I was in fifth grade.

As a result, I’m not in the shop most of the time.  In fact, I have to schedule my time to be there…often during Christmas Eve afternoons, weekends, vacation days. The good news is a collection of knowledgeable and skilled fiber addicts for whom knitting and crocheting is very important to their daily lives run our shop.  Larry oversees the business aspects and is the head carpenter and computer geek.   Julie is our manager who expertly keeps the shop going – and everyone else works part-time because of passion.

Our staff and loyal followers who either are in and out or come for a half of day of knitting and “community” each week are often working on projects that they give others – from the heart.  But for the loyalists, their knitting is even more.  For example, I’ve watched Heidi knit sweaters and layette sets for her grandsons as she anticipated their births.  Judy can tell you about the sweater she was knitting years ago when she cared for her husband who was dying in the hospital.  I recently watched her rebirth as she knitted a beautiful sweater for the “new guy” in her life, Craig. I purposefully picked out my projects that I would be knitting during my own husband’s recent three surgeries.  Only knit and purl . . . to keep me from unraveling. . . .

People who know me tend to “get” why I knit and crochet, but “why a shop?”  Knit’n From the Heart was actually my husband’s idea – it’s a whole story in and of itself.  What has been valuable for me are the lessons learned that owning Knit’n From the Heart has provided me and translated into my work life:

  • Always learning new things about knitting/crocheting and being a small business owner;
  • Opportunities to meet new people whom I would otherwise never have the opportunity to meet;
  • Balancing my life beyond work – counting skeins of yarn during inventory is actually therapeutic;
  • New ways of communicating in our family by giving us a project and new goals to work on together. Our son is a small business owner – we understand his life better.  Our daughter was our first “webmaster,” always teaching us about using digital resources.  Pushing me to think differently about new media – I’ve learned firsthand about technology that I use in my work life every day;
  • The meaning of team work in a new setting;
  • Opening up conversations with people I work with in my day job that I would never have;
  • Human nature;
  • And many more. . .

While I’m the head “Knitter”, this blog will be shared with our staff and loyalists who feel they have something to say.  Particularly during the weeks I work 60 to 70 hours!  It has already provided us with new ways to communicate.  We’ll be sharing our projects, what we are learning, and how knitting keeps us from unraveling.