Winter Games – GIVEAWAY!

In honor of the amazing competitors in Sochi, we are hosting our very own crafty Winter Games! This is a fun opportunity for you to showcase your skills and talents as knitters and crocheters to win yarn, books, and products. To enter, all you need is a camera and your crafting gear.

yarn world

Here are our crafty “events.” One knitter and one crocheter will be randomly chosen as the winner of each event, and you can enter as many events as you like.

1. Mad Hatters: Tell us how many hats you hope to finish during the two weeks of the Winter Games. Send us a picture of you knitting or crocheting and a photo of your finished projects.

2. Sock Stitchers: Tell us how many socks you hope to finish during the two weeks of the Winter Games. Send us a picture of you knitting or crocheting and a photo of your finished projects.

3. Faithful Finishers: Send us a picture of your WIPs (works–in–progress), and then send us a photo of the projects you finished.

4. Fearless Crafters: Tell us what technique or project you have been afraid to try. Send us a picture of you conquering that fear and a photo of your finished project.

Knitters, send your photos to us at contests@loveofknitting.com. Crocheters, send yours to us at contests@loveofcrochet.com. You can also share them on either the Love of Knitting or Love of Crochet Facebook pages. However you submit your pictures, be sure to put the name of the event in the subject line. Our winners will be randomly chosen on Friday, February 28th. Someone who finishes one hat or WIP has as much of a chance as someone who finishes ten, so don’t be afraid to enter!

We can’t wait to see the photos you send in! Are you ready? On your mark, get set, craft!

Advertisements

Imperial Yarn / Imperial Stock Ranch

As many of you know, Ralph Lauren is the official designer for the garments worn by the American athletes at the Olympic Games. After previously providing garments made outside of the United States, Ralph Lauren pledged that the garments worn by the athletes at the 2014 Winter Games will be made in America.

We were over the moon when we heard that our friends at Imperial Stock Ranch would be supplying the fiber for these Olympic sweaters, and we are thrilled that we can offer this same yarn to you as well. On Friday we will post two free hat patterns for you to make using Erin by Imperial Yarn, so order your yarn today to connect to our American athletes.

While you wait, read on to hear more from Jeanne Carver, one of the owners of Imperial Stock Ranch / Imperial Yarn,  about this amazing experience.

Tell us about this experience. From the initial call to shipping the yarn, how quickly did this process move?

Jeanne: Following the initial call, I put together a packet of information and samples to send off to New York. It shipped out the next day. And then, about a month later (August 2012), a Ralph Lauren design team came to Oregon from New York to visit us. They were interested in everything about the ranch, including the yarns, and we had a fantastic day enjoying plenty of conversation while touring the landscape to see groups of animals and historic buildings. After that, we filled some small orders for sampling and the process continued for quite a few months, with them ordering a couple more significant amounts of yarn for sample sweaters. Five to six months after the initial call (late December), they placed a production order. We moved wool through the steps, completing the spinning and dyeing, and shipped the final load of yarns to the knitting factory in early May, 2013.

What impact has this amazing opportunity had for Imperial Yarns?

Jeanne: It’s hard to say yet, how this will affect us. Immediately, what it did was allow an element of cash flow that had not been expected. We used all the profits from the order to add 6 new colors to our worsted spun craft yarn palette. That was a big plus for our local yarn shops and needlearts customers. Even before Ralph Lauren contacted us, we were seeing an increase in inquiries about American yarns from apparel companies for garment production here in America. With the visibility that has come from the work with Ralph Lauren on the Olympic uniforms, we have experienced more companies taking the step of sampling with our yarns. Hopefully, some of these projects will move forward to production for Fall 2014 collections. The increased visibility helps open additional market channels.

Has this opportunity made a difference in your community?

Jeanne: The opportunity to work with Ralph Lauren on the Olympic uniforms has had a strong positive impact. For Imperial Stock Ranch/Imperial Yarn, it helps ensure jobs for local women in a remote location in this value added agricultural business. We used to shear the wool and then sell it as a commodity. We did that for 130 years. Then with the off-shoring movement and the loss of more than 90% of the textile manufacturing in this country, it became much more difficult to sell the wool. We faced a major decision in 1999 as to whether to continue raising sheep. Since we’ve changed our thinking and begun working toward a value added product with the wool, we’ve created jobs in the process. We employ 7 local women in the Imperial Yarn business, and those are rural jobs that wouldn’t otherwise exist. An order like Ralph Lauren placed with us makes a significant contribution to our local/domestic economy. 

In addition to the economic impact, this effort to make the uniforms for Team USA in America has connected everyone inside the factories and businesses that have been a part of it. All the people in all of the communities where those businesses are located now feel a special connection to our Olympic team they would not have had. There’s a growing pride and support of our team that is very strong across the country, including our local community.

What about Imperial Stock Ranch? How has this affected Imperial Stock Ranch?

Jeanne: Well…..I guess you could say that the cowboys are now more tolerant of the sheep! Close to home, our entire ranch family is in awe that this has all happened. It has been hard to comprehend, but now that we’re seeing Olympic athletes wearing red, white and blue sweaters, it becomes more real.  I think for all of us, not just at the ranch, but in the mills, dye houses, and factories of all kinds, this chance to be part of something important reaffirms that the work we do has value. Deep down, you know what you do on a daily basis matters, but most of the time you labor in obscurity. This process has touched so many people because it makes us feel our work matters.

Wool hasn’t been the economic basis of the Imperial Stock Ranch since the 1950s. There have been shifts in production as well as shifts in our culture, and although raising sheep has been maintained throughout the ranch’s 143 years, the relative importance of wool had diminished. The work with Ralph Lauren, along with our growth in the needlearts industry as we moved to a value added product, has rekindled pride in the wool production and sheep at the Imperial Stock Ranch.

 Do you know of any other economic impact these “made in America” garments have made?

Jeanne: I can’t speak to the whole uniform effort or the whole country, but I know that economists say that dollars spent here at home have a multiplier effect, meaning those dollars recirculate within our own economy and help more local people or groups. The Ralph Lauren order of yarn for Team USA uniforms was worth more than 1.3 million dollars of economic stimulus to our region and the country. I think that’s very important, and I have no idea what the total impact of their decision to make this apparel in America was. However, I think it was huge.

We are already huge fans of your yarns, but we know how difficult it can be to get your name out there. How many phone calls are you receiving from people wanting your yarns?

Jeanne: We’ve definitely seen an increase in phone traffic. The credibility and visibility the partnership with Ralph Lauren has given Imperial Yarn is very positive. We have been able to sample yarns to more than a dozen designers or apparel companies for the coming year. I think it’s really fun that people at home can knit with the same yarns that they know were chosen by an iconic American brand like Ralph Lauren for a project with this high a profile. That’s rare.

What are your plans for next year?

Jeanne: Our plan is to keep doing what we do first….ranching. We will also provide new and exciting patterns and yarns to needlearts enthusiasts and continue to partner with great brands that want an American yarn. We are also excited to launch our own apparel line, the Imperial Collection by Anna Cohen for Fall 2014.

Lastly….I’d like to thank Ralph Lauren for their decision and commitment to sourcing and manufacturing the Olympic uniforms for Team USA in this country. The connections that have resulted and pride that’s been built in support of our Olympic team is a win for all.

To hear more about Imperial Ranch, visit the Ralph Lauren site and watch the Made in America video.

Valentine’s pattern roundup

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and we like to think of this as a holiday to celebrate everyone we love having in our lives. What better way to do that than with some wonderful handmade projects that come straight from the heart? We have gathered up some of our favorite Valentine’s inspired knit and crochet patterns, and some of them are small enough that you’ll have plenty of time to make them before the 14th!

heart_to_heart_web_bonus_200The Heart to Heart Sweater is a darling free pattern you can download directly from the Love of Knitting website. It is covered in colorful hearts, knit in intarsia, and sized for kiddos age 3-8.

Sweaters. (Photo by Glenn Asakawa)

The Love Your Stripes sweater from the Spring 2012 Issue of Love of Knitting is sized for ages 2-12 and features a heart worked in easy duplicate stitches. The classic stripes are sure to please even the pickiest little fashionista.

heart_bunting_200The Heart Bunting from the Summer 2012 Issue of Love of Crochet will work up in an evening for a sweet decoration to get your family into the Valentine’s spirit.

crochet_bookmark_20013

The flowery Book Buddies from the Spring 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet would be a great gift for a book lover in your life. Give one of these charming bookmarks instead of (or in addition to!) a bouquet of their favorite flowers.

We’ll take any excuse you can imagine to stitch something wonderful out of yarn, and Valentine’s Day gives us the fabulous opportunity to make cute projects for the people we care about. Do you have any Valentine’s crafts planned?

New knitting and crochet classes available!

Both knitters and crocheters can get excited about the new classes available from the Daily Craft! Have you been wanting to learn some new skills, but haven’t been able to find the time to meet up for a class in-person? Well, you can watch our convenient online courses from any computer at any time, so they truly are created with your busy schedule in mind.Two tone twistKnitters – we know you loved the Two-Tone Twist Hat from our Fall 2013 Issue of Love of Knitting! If you were intrigued by this pattern, but a bit nervous to start it without some guidance, we have a class for you. Knit along with designer, Lisa Ellis, as she walks you through the steps of knitting in the round and creating two-color cables.

Merry MooseCrocheters – we have something fun for you too. The adorable Merry Moose from our Winter 2013 Issue of Love of Crochet was a huge hit, but we know some of you are new to the world of amigurumi. Don’t let it intimidate you any longer! This class, lead by designer Megan Kreiner, will guide you as you create an adjustable loop, seamlessly change colors, and crochet clever shapes using simple stitches.

These are only two of the many helpful online classes available from the Daily Craft. Check out their site and have fun learning and array of new skills on your schedule.