Spud says (the blog)

May 17, 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!

April 28, 2016

Armchair Knitting: Route 99

If you’re planning to hit the road this summer, a lightweight hat is a must for windy days and chilly nights. Lee Meredith’s new turban-style hat in Spud & Chloë Fine, Route 99, is a colorful way to accessorize your journey!

Lee was kind enough to share some insight on her design inspiration for this pattern:

I came up with the Route 99 design concept when browsing Art Deco patterns and vintage styles, combining an idea for a slip-stitch colorwork stitch pattern with the turban style shape. I had previously designed a hat with a panel which squished the body fabric in a little bit (called Unbroken), so my shaping idea was to use that same modular construction, but to pull in the body stitches much more dramatically. In order to make this all work out how I envisioned it, I designed it for fingering weight yarn, in two highly contrasting true solid colors. I knit up a prototype in 100% wool yarn, which worked out alright, but I knew it would work even better in a yarn with some kind of drape factor; a silk blend would be perfect. The design is published in Stranded Magazine, so they were in charge of yarn – they chose the Spud & Chloë Fine yarn (80% Wool, 20% Silk) which was an absolutely perfect fit! The colors were based on their cheery road trip theme, and I was so happy because orange is always a favorite color of mine. The bright orange & white makes for a totally different feeling hat from my black & off-white prototype version, but it works so well!

Click here to view the entire Fine palette.
Click here to find your nearest Spud & Chloë Stockist.

April 14, 2016

Knitting for Wee Ones This Spring

Knitting for baby can be so rewarding – not only does the project work up quickly, but the end result is oh-so-cute! Last year, we released our Little Spuds collection for birth to 12 months. Each adorable pattern includes a bonus coordinated accessory, and they are sure to be the hit of the baby shower.

Top: Pint-Size Pullover and Happy Hat; Bottom (L-R): Honeybear Hoodie and Sweetie Socks & Bundle Me Blankie. All patterns designed by Sarah Smuland.

Top: Roundabout Romper and Sweetie Socks; Bottom: Boo Boo Bottoms and Tiny Topper. Both patterns by Sarah Smuland.

Once your little spud outgrows his or her first handknits, they can graduate to our Tiny Tots Collection which will be arriving in June! Sized for 18 months to 4T for girls and boys, the Tiny Tots collection will include 7 new patterns for sale and 1 new free pattern, all designed in Fine, Stripey Fine, Sweater and Outer yarns. Stay tuned for more details!

March 24, 2016

Interview with a Yarnbomber

Today we have a special treat for our blog readers: an interview with the mysterious Knitteapolis, a local knitter-turned-yarnbomber whose work we frequently spot while out and about in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. We’ve shared some of our own photos of Knitteapolis’ work on today’s post, and you can see more photos at knitteapolis.tumblr.com.

When did you learn to knit?
My girlfriend taught me how to knit eight years ago. We both worked in theater, so when she was teaching me, she helped me learn the feel of the stitches so that I could knit in the dark backstage. It was a wonderful trick and now I never look down at my needles unless I’m doing a particularly tricky pattern.

What inspired you to begin yarnbombing in your community?
I saw my first yarnbomb roughly 2 1/2 years ago. I thought it was one of the coolest things I had ever seen and was very excited by the fact that it looked like something I could do. I’ve always been a huge fan of street art and I thought that knit signs and benches would be absolutely fabulous and something that everyone in the Twin Cities could enjoy.

What is the most ambitious location you’ve bombed to date?
I’ve yarnbombed some pretty awesome places, but I think most ambitious yarnbomb I’ve ever done was the Minnehaha Falls danger sign. I had to jump the fence to install it, but it looks fabulous and is probably the most photographed of all of my yarnbombs. It’s pretty dangerous to get to, so hopefully that means it will last for many years.

Have you ever gotten caught in the act?
I love talking with people who come up to me while I’m yarnbombing. I do all of my installations during the day and don’t really try to hide, so if you see me out there, please do come say hi!

 

When you aren’t creating new yarn bombs, what types of projects do you like to knit?
When I’m not knitting yarnbombs, I’m usually knitting yarnbombs! I’m almost always creating something in colorful acrylic on size 11 needles to put up outside. I do miss knitting dark slouch hats w/ insanely soft alpaca on size 5 needles sometimes, but that’s alright. Whenever I start missing my smaller needles I’ll knit a silly stuffed animal monster or two for a friend and hide it at their home or work and then I feel better.

Knitting is one of the most therapeutic and calming activities a person can learn to do. That’s why I really enjoy teaching the yarn arts to kids. I teach a knitting class at the Boys and Girls Club in south Minneapolis and will also begin teaching at Kiddywampus in Hopkins soon. It can be tricky at first, but once they start getting the hang of knitting, they become completely obsessed. I had one gal in my B&G Club class tell me knitting makes her brain calm down and the boy sitting next to her agreed and told her that he that felt better when he was knitting. I think every fiber artist can relate to that. Whether you knit, crochet, or yarnbomb stop signs, playing with yarn makes you feel good inside.

March 10, 2016

Sock Inspiration: Martian Spring

A freshly-knit pair of socks is a great way to put a little spring in your step this month. Virginia Sattler-Reimer’s newest design in Spud & Chloë Fine yarn, Martian Spring, features a pretty lace motif in a vibrant color (shown here in #7812 Lizard). Knit in the round from the top down, these striking socks will be your favorites for frolicking this season!

Virginia was kind enough to share her thoughts about the design process with us:

When choosing yarn for my new lace sock idea, I knew I wanted to use something with great stitch definition that would also feel soft on the feet, and Fine is the perfect choice! A Minnesota winter really makes a person long for the bright greens of spring, especially in February and March when it seems like so much of the world is already bursting into bloom, so I chose this really bright and happy green. I love working with Fine, the fiber mix (80% wool/20% silk) makes it lovely for lots of items, and a great choice for socks.

Click here to view the entire Fine palette.
Click here to find your nearest Spud & Chloë Stockist.