Posted by: jennypenny73 | May 16, 2012

Decisions. Decisions.

It is with some sadness, and a bright outlook towards my future, that I have to announce, that I have decided not to open up A Good Yarn as an online store.  The move back to Halifax 2 weeks ago, was definitely the right move for me…this is where I belong.  In the weeks that I’ve been here (my first real bit of time off in over 2 years), I’ve come to the realization that owning my own business just isn’t for me.

I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, so many people for their support and encouragement over the last few years in St. John’s.  I loved owning A Good Yarn…the time I had, and the people I met, that added to, and changed my life for the better…will never be forgotten.  I love you all.  Thank you so much for all your support and friendship.

Though the shop is now closed, I will be continuing this blog (as a personal blog), for anyone that would like to keep up with my life (and knitting, of course!!!), and the adventures of the pups and my big, orange cat, Rudy, in and around Halifax.

I wish you all the best, and of course, lots of happy knitting!

Cheers,

Jenny.

PS – Here are a few pics of our first few weeks in beautiful Nova Scotia :)

Enjoying a walk along the Halifax harbourfront.

The lovely Halifax harbourfront.

The yarn bombing RIGHT outside my house!

It’s in french, so (aside from the “bonjour”), I have no idea what it says :)

View of Halifax from the Dartmouth side.
I love it when there’s dark, stormy clouds above, and sun shining in from the side :)

Crystal Crescent beach…our favourite place!

Enjoying the warm sun on his sweet, little face.

Enjoying it on mine too!

 

 

Posted by: jennypenny73 | April 6, 2012

Change Is Good For The Soul

Well it seems I’m long overdue for a blog post!  August 2011 was my last one!  Where does the time go???  Well, there’s lots of changes coming in the next few weeks that I wanted to explain to people.  Some people will find these changes sad, some will find them exciting…I am finding them to be a mix of both.

The sad part is, I’ve decided to close my shop in St. John’s (don’t worry, there’s good news coming too!).  Unfortunately the debt associated with the shop is just growing too large, and I need to get things under control.  The problem isn’t customers…I have the World’s greatest customers.  The problem is, my entire life comes out of this shop…rent, car payment, groceries, bills…and all that is aside from the costs associated with the shop.  And (I know some of you have noticed) that the stock in the shop has suffered…it’s been very difficult to keep up with colour selection and expanding into new lines.  It’s not how I wanted my shop to be…my dream was a shop that was bursting at the seams with colour, and selection, and beautiful, glorious fibres…but reality got in the way, as it often does.  I’ve tried everything I can think of to make this work (I’ve even been working a night shift job to help…but it hasn’t helped enough)…and now I need to make some changes before it’s too late and there’s no more A Good Yarn at all.

So what’s the good news you are asking???  Please, we need some good news!!!  The good news is…though the brick & mortar shop will be gone, A Good Yarn will not be…I have decided to try my hand at having an online only shop.  I’m very excited at this prospect (though it will take time to build up to full capacity after the move)!!!  It will be based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia and be a proper online shop…as opposed to just my regular website and mail order service I have now.  It will have a shopping cart (for all those emergency 2:00am yarn shopping sprees), free shipping in Canada over $75, and best of all…the rewards point program will continue online!!!

Why Halifax and not St. John’s?  Well all I can say is Nova Scotia is my heart’s home…if that makes sense to anyone.  The first time I visited NS, the very moment I drove off the PEI ferry in Pictou, I knew I was home…and I moved down the very next month.  It’s very hard to explain, but my heart and soul feel different when I’m there.  The friends I’ve made here though are what I’m going to miss.  The friends I’ve made here are lifelong friends.  Some I met through The Rooms knitting group (through the Ravelry NL Knitters & Crocheters group), and some were customers that became amazing friends.  And there’s even my wonderful customers, that were so supportive of my shop and so happy to have me there…that even though I didn’t get to know you on a personal level outside the shop, you have truly touched my life, and made my daily life for the past 2 years just more enjoyable all around.  I hope some of you will want to stay my customers even after the changeover, and hope to gain some new, and amazing customers from the rest of Canada.  I will do my best to keep making your yarn buying experience a fun, enjoyable, and personal experience.

So what are the important dates you need to know???  There’s a few!  First off there’s my 2 Year Anniversary Sale! It will be starting THIS Tuesday April 10 and running until Sunday April 15!  Everything (except consignment items) will be 20% off!!!  For the week after the big sale, the lines that I will no longer be carrying in the online shop (and there’s only a few), will stay on sale until I close…to sell off what ever didn’t go during the big sale.  The rest I will be taking with me for the online opening.  The last day for the shop will be Sunday, April 22nd…everyone’s invited that day to stop in and say goodbye (*tears*)…there may be treats, and BOTH pups will be there together (and yes, they will most likely be wild and ill behaved…but hey, it’s their going away party too!).  I will be moving to Halifax on May 1st (got an AWESOME summer sublet right downtown that I’m super excited about!).  And…A Good Yarn‘s shiny, new online shop will be unveiled May 15th!!!!!!

So that’s the news…happy and sad.  But change is good for the soul, and I’m very excited about the changes ahead of me.  Over the next few weeks there will be updates here (as well as the Facebook and Ravelry groups) on what’s on sale, how my plans are coming along, and how I’ll no doubt be freaking out as moving day gets closer and closer.  If you have any questions about the move or the new form the shop will be taking, or the shop fixtures (shelving, lights, cash register, funky white Christmas tree with the yarn ball decorations) I’m selling off…please don’t hesitate to drop me a line :) agoodyarn(at)rocketmail(dot)com

Talk to you soon!  And hope to see you next week at the Anniversary Sale…AKA – The Jenny Needs Moving Money For Her Unbelievably Ridiculously Expensive Move sale :D

Much love,

Jenny.

Posted by: jennypenny73 | August 30, 2011

Boneyard Shawl – Summer Featured Pattern #3

Well this is it, the end of summer is upon us. Not that it was much of a summer here in St. John’s…well hopefully the fall will prove a little more lovely, as it often does in Newfoundland.

So for the last Summer Featured Pattern for the shop I have chosen Stephen West’s Boneyard Shawl.  A fairly quick knit and it only used one skein of Malabrigo Sock.  Though, one of the things I love about shawls is the fact that you can easily substitute a heavier or lighter weight yarn and pretty much just change your needles to match. 

For my Boneyard, I substituted yarn overs for all the make ones, simply because I liked the look better.  And for the edging, I followed Plain Jane’s project modifications.  I love how mine turned out…simple, light yet cozy, and the Aguas colourway in the Malabrigo Sock is just beautiful.  This will be the perfect fall weather scarf for that little bit of extra warmth under your jacket.

Like I said, you can use pretty much whatever you want for a pattern like this, but I think it looks particularly good done out of one of the luxury sock yarns (think Malabrigo, Tanis Fiber Arts, Fleece Artist).  And the best part…you only need one skein!  So feel free to stop by the shop if you need some pointers in choosing a yarn/needle combo when doing modifications.  If you need yarn for the project, just be sure to mention it’s for the Boneyard, and receive 15% off right up until Sept 21st!

And don’t forget to upload your project pictures to A Good Yarn’s Ravelry group for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate!!! (deadline Sept 21st).  Check here for full details.

Posted by: jennypenny73 | July 25, 2011

Stripey Hat & Mitts – Summer Project #2

Running a little late, as always, but just finished up my projects for this month’s Summer Featured Pattern at the shop…and really, I couldn’t be happier with the results! They came out so cool!  I did Jared Flood’s, ridiculously popular, Turn A Square hat (my first one!) out of Berroco Ultra Alpaca and Noro Silk Garden.  And out of the same 2 skeins…a pair of Lychee Mitts to match!

The hat and mitts are not totally identical (because there is no repeat in a ball of Silk Garden), but for me, they are matchy enough.  I feel the bold grey stripes in them both, just pull it all together, regardless of the fact that there’s different colours throughout.  If you do want your set to be identical though, no problemo…just make 2 sets, and do your Silk Garden colours opposite.  And the best part of doing 2 sets?  One for you, and one for a friend!  Can you say early Christmas knitting???

There’s all sorts of possible combos for these 2 worsted weight yarn patterns.  Solid & Stripes…match any solid yarn (Berroco, Cascade, etc.) with a self striping yarn (such as Silk Garden).  Two Colour Stripes…any 2 solid coloured yarns for a basic, bold striped effect.  Super Colourful Stripes…in lieu of a solid, use a second (different coloured) ball of Silk Garden for a stunning, striped, colour effect (think Jared Flood’s Noro scarf).  And last but not least, Stash Buster Stripes!…choose a solid base colour, and use alllll those tiny balls of scrap yarn (yeah, I know you’ve got them!) that you have kicking around (but just can’t seem to throw away), and have every stripe a different colour.  The colour combinations, and choices are practically endless!  Plus (depending on your yarn choices, of course), this is a very affordable project…if you use a one Ultra Alpaca and one Silk Garden, you have enought for the hat AND the mitts!  And I’m fairly sure I could eek another hat out of what I have left (though I don’t think there’s enough SG to do the stripes all the way to the top).  But still, that’s a pretty decent deal for just over 20 bucks!

I made a few, small mods to my set.  The Turn A Square hat is basically a perfect pattern…as ALL of Jared Flood’s patterns are!  But I added an extra 1/4″ to the ribbing to compensate for my less than perfect, extra large sized head.  My Lychee Mitts I changed from 2 x 2 colour stripes, to 3 x 2 stripes to match the scheme of the hat.  And used the jogless stripes technique described in the hat pattern.  And…for the mitts, I completely tore apart the remainders of the skein of Silk Garden so the mitts would match each other.  Easy to do…just break the yarn after each colour and use some for each mitt :) Less easy to do…weaving in allll those ENDS! :S But when it’s done, you’ll see, it was totally worth the trouble for a pair of kick ass mittens!  (If you were reeeally into the matchy match thing, you could do this with your hat too, and use a bit of each colour from your demolished ball of Silk Garden for your hat and each mitten…it just depends on what level of knitting insanity you are at)

Both of these are free patterns, which I truly do always appreciate.  The designer of the Lychee Mittens asks that if you like her design, you’ll consider making a donation to the PSPCA.  I’m always more than happy to donate a little to the animals…but I wasn’t sure what the “P” in PSPCA stood for (I’m assuming a specific branch).  So instead, I decided to donate $20 to Maxwell, a beautiful, sad, abused Pit Bull that looks almost exactly like my Blueberry (who passed away in February).  This lady, tirelessly looks after, and adopts out dogs (mostly Pitts and often abused) cruelly dumped and left to die in the California desert. (sorry, you’ll only be able to see these last 2 links if you have Facebook).  So if you do enjoy knitting the Lychee Mittens, please consider making a small donation (money, time, goods, anything) to an animal rescue organization somewhere. :)

And don’t forget…this is a “Featured Summer Pattern” on the shop’s Ravelry group!  You get 15% off your yarns for this project and if you post a pic of your project (hat and/or mitts), you go into the draw (Sept 21st) for a $25 gift certificate!  All the details here.  If you’re interested in my needle sizes used, and yarn colours, here are the links to my project pages…Square-Head and Matchy Mitts.

Posted by: jennypenny73 | June 21, 2011

Ribbed Lace Bolero – Summer Project #1

Just finished up my Ribbed Lace Bolero.  Love it.  Actually, love it so, so much is probably a little more accurate.  It’s super-fast, easy, and doesn’t take much yarn.  It’s pretty much the perfect little summer project…and I’m sure it’ll be an especially great little summer shrug here in Newfoundland where even on the warmest days (that incidentally, we haven’t seen any of yet this year), you still almost always need a little something to cover your shoulders at some point during the day.  I just put on my shrug for a few minutes, and am quite surprised to find just how much it actually warms you up when you have a chill…and yes, I have a chill on the first day of “summer”…it’s 8 degrees!

The Ribbed Lace Bolero is knit flat, it’s really just a big rectangle. And just two little 3″ seams to turn your rectangle into a functional shrug!  I used less than 1 1/2 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca for mine in the Peat Mix colourway, a beautiful gark green with subtle gold highlights. 

The free pattern only comes in 1 size, but is easily customizable to different sizes and yarns…and when I say easy, I mean easy enough that even I could do it!  To figure out your cast on amount, you take your shoulder to shoulder measurement (though I’d highly recommend adding a little negative ease if you’re using a stretchy yarn), add 8″ (4″ per sleeve), and then just multiply by whatever number of stitches per inch you got with your chosen yarn.  Then simply start knitting and you’ll be done before you know it! 

This is a great pattern for a beginner knitter or as an into to lace knitting.  There’s only 1 row that might confuse a beginner a little…the last row of lace, transitioning back into the ribbing.  It’s not hard, just written a little confusingly.  If you have trouble with it, or any part of the pattern, feel free to email me…agoodyarn(at)rocketmail(dot)com, or give me a shout on Ravelry…jennypenny73

Also, this summer on the Ravelry shop group, we’ll be doing a featured pattern spotlight…the Ribbed Lace Bolero is the first one!  You’ll recieve 15% off yarn bought for the project, and there’ll be a draw for a $25 gift certificate at the end!  Check out all the details here!

And last but not least…after trying to take so many pictures of myself (which isn’t all that easy or fun, by the way!) for this project.  I turned around to find this…one other little diva that thought she should be the one being photographed.  And I, of course, was happy to comply.

Bessie

Posted by: jennypenny73 | June 16, 2011

WWKIP Day 2011

Well, our second annual World Wide Knit in Public Day celebration & sale has once again come and gone.  Lots of fun was had by all, despite the windy, cold, drizzly weather.  There were dogs, kids, cakes, yarn buying, laughter…lots of laughter, and of course, many excited local (and visiting) knitters, crocheters, and spinners.  Some of the tough ones braved the cold for an hour or so, until even they had to admit, they could no longer feel their fingers.  Then we all crammed into the shop and knit to our hearts content for the rest of the day…with the heat on!

See you all (and hopefully some new faces too) next year!

A few of the diehards just before it got way to cold & rainy! (L to R) Rochelle, Melodie, Jane, Karen, and Katie...there were more at the start, but my pics didn't turn out, sorry :(

Katie G. and her pal Franklin

Paula, Jane, Karen, and Allison knitting away in the short lived "nice" weather.

The relative peace & quiet of the "inside knitters" didn't last long...

How many knitters can you fit in a little yarn shop, you ask???

Milly trying to avoid Franklin up high on the counter...watched carefully, of course, by her dad, Peter.

Franklin, Milly, and Amy. Franklin was rather enamoured with Milly...the feeling was not mutual.

Allison, Anna, Klara, and Klara's favourite little shop toy...the Well Dressed Bunny.

Bored of the grown ups knitting, Jane reorganizes the shop. Jane reorganizes the shop so often though, that one day I'll probably have to start paying her.

Pollie & Franklin having a cuddly moment.

The end of a long, busy day and one dog tired little pup.

Posted by: jennypenny73 | March 8, 2011

Spinning A Good Yarn

Well somehow 3 weeks had FLOWN by since the spinning workshops with Robyn Love of Wee Ball Yarns and I still hadn’t got to posting the pictures that I promised!  I moved from Torbay to downtown St. John’s last week and my brain has been basically mush…at least that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!!!  Anyway, here are some pics of the fun we had, finally.  I wasn’t in attendance of the 1st class, so these are only shots of the second…sorry guys.  But if anyone has some pics of the first workshop, please send them to me and I’ll add them in :)

Just getting started. Robyn telling us about all the differences in fibres.

Getting excited to get spindling!

Drum carder fun! I'm pretty sure everyone in the class now wants one of these babies!

This thing is like a whirlwind when it gets going!!!

Spindle time!

None of us are quite at the level of letting the spindle spin freely yet...

But looks like Amy's got the "park & draft" method down pat already!

The rest of the evening was spent chatting, spinning, drum carding...

...AND playing with fibre, of course!

A great time was by all, and a whole whack of new fibre/spinning addicts were born in St. John’s over those 2 nights! 

And for all you non-spinner types out there…I just spoke to Robyn today, and it looks like we’ll be carrying some of her handspun yarns at the shop very soon! Can’t wait!!!!!

Posted by: jennypenny73 | February 9, 2011

Berroco Days

Berroco days are coming soon!  Woo hoo!!

Since opening in April, I’ve had quite a few requests/inquiries about Berroco yarns from my customers.  As well as many people coming in with Berroco patterns that I’ve had to find substitute yarns for.  Then a while ago, our yarn group had a swap.  I received a (not so) subtle hint from Lesley, my swap partner, and was given some Berroco Ultra Alpaca Fine, a beautiful, wine coloured, fingering weight yarn that came in a nice hefty skein…I was sold (partially).

Then a few weeks ago I called Berroco, just to make kind of a loose inquiry, and was completely blown away by their customer service and policies…it was then I was sold on Berroco (fully).  First, they sent me a big, honkin’ (free) box of yarn!  I mean, oh yeeeah…who doesn’t love free yarn?!  No one, that’s who!

Clockwise from top left: Cuzco, Borealis, Jasper, Ultra Alpaca Tonal, Ultra Alpaca, Peruvia, Seduce, Linsey, Origami, Pure Pima, Bonsai, Inca Gold, Blackstone Tweed, Remix, and Flicker

And they also sent me colour cards…I mean actual colour cards with actual pieces of yarn!  This will probably only impress those of you that have ordered yarn online only to receive a COMPLETELY different colour than you thought you were ordering!  And the best, most impressive thing of all…free shipping over a certain amount!  Even to Canada!!!  After just having placed an order with an American company and being dinged $107 shipping on a $500 order, this goes a really, really long way with me.  We, as yarn shops, to stay competitive, have to take certain losses…like sales, free shipping, discount cards, etc…and the favour is rarely returned to us from the wholesalers.  So I have to say, I really appreciate the sentiment, Berroco!

So…I’d love some opinions on Berroco yarns you’ve used…or ones you’ve been pining to try.  The Ultra Alpaca has been used over 15,000 times on Ravelry, so I think that one’s a must.  And the Ultra Alpaca Fine, mainly because it’s such a generous skein for not too much money.  But I’m also curious about some of the others that anyone has tried.  Has anyone used Sox?  Feels rather rough in the skein, but the colour selection is nice.  And sorry, I don’t have any pictures of the Sox, it was quickly snatched up by our resident sockstress, Paula (though I do appreciate the test knit, Pollie!).  I was also surprised to find the Borealis and the Remix (all recycled fibers) to be quite intriging…in spite of the high acrylic content (I am usually a rabid anti-acrylite).  The Inca Gold is also  totally drool worthy, and I don’t have any merino silk blends in yet, so I think that’s a go too.  Also 2 other summer yarns looked nice…Seduce and Linsey…though, lets face it,  it’s not like we ever really get much of a summer here in Newfoundland anyway! 

So I’d love to hear any reviews you’d like to offer up, the good, the bad, and the ugly (not that any of us have ever had an ugly project, right??? ;) ) on the Berroco yarns…it will greatly help with my decision process.  Thanks everyone! :D

Borealis and Inca Gold

Seduce - Shimmery & lightweight

Remix - 100% Recycled fibers

Posted by: jennypenny73 | January 30, 2011

Franklin’s Day

It never ceases to amaze me just how popular a hyperactive, untrained, little maniac of a Boston Terrier can be.  Since opening the shop last April, Franklin has been jumping up on, running circles around, slobbering on, snorting, grunting, barking at everyone that walks through the shop door on his days.  There have even been a chosen few that have had the privilege of “enjoying” that, oh so typical, Boston Terrier odour!  And from day one, in spite of all his obnoxious, little quirks, he has been charming the pants off (almost) everyone that’s met him.  I think what usually wins over even the  most resistant, is his unwavering confidence that every, single person that walks through “his” door must be there to see him, and only him…because really, what other possible reason could you have for coming into a yarn shop???

Franklin in his bow tie and party hat (that coincidentally has a strong resemblance to a dunce cap)

Today was Franklin’s 6th birthday, and in celebration, we had a little mini sale at the shop.  To get the sale prices, people HAD to wish him a Happy Birthday.  And I have to say, I was quite pleasantly surprised by how many people didn’t just give him a cursory “happy birthday”…because really, that was all that was required to get the discounted yarn…but were truly excited to wish him a very Happy Birthday, kiss him and play with him, and just generally slather him with affection.  There were even lots of Happy Birthdays on the Facebook page too from people who couldn’t make it down for the sale, but that still love him.   He got cards and treats too!  More cards and treats than I got for my last birthday, I might add!  He even got a birthday picture drawn by his adorable, little friend, Solstice.  Franklin was pretty much the center of our little universe for the afternoon, which is of course, pretty much where Franklin thinks he belongs.

Franklin's birthday pic drawn by Solstice. That's Franklin at the bottom :)

So I just wanted to thank everyone that comes in to the shop to shower Franklin, my love starved little Boston Terrier with affection all the time…and of course, Miss Bessie too (but she’s a whole other blog post).  And an extra thank you to those people who aren’t particularly “dog people” but still bend down to give them a little pat anyway.

Franklin says..."Thanks everyone! Stop in and pat me again soon!!!"

Posted by: jennypenny73 | November 30, 2010

The Cozy Car

Well the St. John’s Christmas Parade has finally come and gone.  And as many of you may know, the shop had a “float” in this year’s parade called “The Cozy Car”.  Me, and a group of shop regulars, decided it would be fun to yarn bomb my little car and cruise the parade.  It was a crazy amount of work (I learned to crochet JUST for this project), and took over 5 km of yarn (and that is a very conservative estimate).  The night before the parade, three of us were up till the wee hours of the morning scurrying trying to finish up our sections (sadly there were still a few small parts that never got finished).  But all in all, I was very happy with the finished product…especially considering none of us had ever done anything like this before AND we never had time for a dry run before parade day.  It was a fly by the seat of our pants kinda day…but I think it all worked out, the kids (especially the little boys, funnily enough) seemed to love it, which, of course, was the whole point.  :)

There are a few parts I’d like to tweak and add to before the next attempt at putting this on again…but it’s too soon to think about that right now (I’m still trying to warm up from the cold ride down Water St!).  Thanks again to Paula, Lesley, Leah, Katie, and Rochelle for all your contributions and encouragement. Thanks to Karen for the photo shoot. And a special thanks to Gillian for all the extra help! Couldn’t have done it without you guys!  So…who’s in for next year?!?!

Lesley & I tying on the fishies

Paula!

Almost ready!

Bessie checkin' out the scene

The girls, soaked from the rain, but still having fun (L to R) Bessie, Me, Paula, Gillian, and Lesley.

And off we go!

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