Local Yarn Store Day 2020 is Saturday, Sept. 12

This year’s annual Local Yarn Store Day was originally scheduled for April 25.  Due to COVID-19, it’s been moved to this Saturday, September 12! We have a ton of new fall yarns coming in, and some of our favorite yarn companies are supporting us by offering free patterns with purchase.

Berroco LYS Appreciation Week Sweater Kits

Berroco has released three sweater kits featuring their new fall yarns, and you can order them through us this week only! We especially love Gracefield, which is designed for Berroco’s new Mochi yarn. We have a sample of Gracefield and sweater quantities of Mochi in the shop right now! Patterns for these sweaters are free with the purchase of the kit.

Berroco is kicking off a Holiday Sweater Make-along on September 15, so this is the perfect time to get these new kits — or, if you have your eye on a different sweater pattern, you can use code BerrocoHoliday20 to download one Berroco pattern via Berroco.com or Ravelry (enter the code at checkout). Laura will be making Grouse Creek for the KAL with Berroco Millefiori Light and providing support during our Open Stitch.

Free Pattern for New Lowther Cardigan w/ Purchase of Cumbria Yarn by the Fibre Co.

The Fibre Co. is generously giving away a copy of their brand-new all-gender cardigan pattern, Lowther, with the purchase of yarn to make it from your LYS on Saturday, September 12 only! It’s made with Cumbria, one of our favorite worsted-weight yarns, which is available both in the shop and online. You will receive a download code for the pattern with purchase.

Free Blue Sky Fibers Pattern with Purchase of Blue Sky Fibers Yarn

Get one free Blue Sky Fibers pattern with purchase of any Blue Sky Fibers yarn on September 12. A download code will be provided to you at purchase for use on blueskyfibers.com or Ravelry. We have BSF Eco-Cashmere and Organic Cotton available both online and in the shop, and several more BSF yarns available in the shop only. Call to place your order if you can’t stop in!

Free Pattern with Purchase of Malabrigo Yarns

Malabrigo is offering up to five free patterns on Ravelry with purchase of yarn! Download codes provided at purchase.

Free Cascade Yarns Esme Poncho Pattern Just for Stopping In!

Cascade Yarns presents their LYS Day 2020 Pattern, the Esme Poncho! It knits up quickly in bulky-weight yarn — we suggest Cascade 128 or Cascade Ecological Wool, both available in the shop. Stop in to claim your free copy (or, if you’re unable to physically come to the shop, give us a call or send an e-mail!).

August 15 Is Granny Square Day 2020!

This Saturday, August 15, is the 7th annual Granny Square Day, a celebration of one of the most loved and recognized forms of crochet. Founded in 2014 by Susan Regalia, the event is now hosted by Simply Crochet magazine. Read Simply Crochet’s Granny Square Day 2020 blog post for five free crochet patterns that have been released for this event, information about how to participate on Instagram, and more.

Back in 2014, Susan noticed that the little squares on Instagram looked a lot like the patchwork arrangement of a classic granny square blanket. She asked crocheters to post pictures of granny squares online and the first virtual granny square afghan was created. Other hookers soon caught on to the concept and so Granny Square Day was born – bringing the worldwide crochet community together in a celebration of design and color.

Granny squares have traditionally been the realm of crocheters, but there are also plenty of examples of granny squares that are knit. You’ll find some knitting patterns in the resource list provided below.

Granny squares don’t even need to be square, as some of the examples in our list will show! The general construction method of working in rounds can be tweaked to form other shapes, before being joined together. Granny squares are extremely satisfying little projects that are easy to toss into a project bag, ready to work on no matter where you are. The supplies don’t take up much space, and once you’ve learned the basics, you often won’t even need to refer to a pattern!

On August 15th each year, people from all over the world will post pictures of granny squares on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, using the hashtags #grannysquareday or #grannysquareday2020 (and you can also add the hashtag #northfieldyarn so we can find your creations, too). By the end of the day there are so many photos of squares that when you view these photos, virtual blankets are created!

Kelbourne Woolens Granny Square Projects

One of our favorite yarn companies, Kelbourne Woolens, hosts Crochet Summer every year (coincidentally, this event also started in 2014!). Check out their 2019 Crochet Summer round-up blog post for a peek at last year’s creations. Their free Granny Square Day pattern, the Sub Rosa Earrings, can be whipped up in an afternoon using Kelbourne Woolens cotton/linen Mojave yarn. This pattern is a riff on KW’s clean-lined Sub Rosa sweater (Ravelry link), which features a double column of granny squares on the front.

Kelbourne Woolens latest Year of Gifts kit, the Hosta Slippers, are also cleverly constructed from granny squares!

Granny Square Resources

Here are some resource links for learning more about Granny Squares and Granny Square Day, as well as patterns and lots of tutorials for basic to more complicated Granny Squares. Enjoy!!

Gathered How
Basic Granny Square patterns and much more about Granny Square Day 2020

What to Do with Crochet Granny Squares
Granny squares don’t always have to be used for blankets and afghans.

Basic Granny Square (Crochet)
A free Ravelry download for (as the name suggests) a very basic granny square.

How to Knit a Granny Square (Knit)
A free Ravelry download. Not all Granny Squares need to be crocheted!

Not-Quite-a-Granny-Square (Crochet)
A free Ravelry download for a fancier granny square. The pattern uses post stitches to create a non-traditional granny square with a lovely motif.

Granny’s Cloth Revamped (Knit)
Another free Ravelry download for a knit granny square.

365 Days of Granny Squares (Crochet)
There are lots of pop-ups & adds on this site and the patterns are not necessarily free, but there are some good YouTube tutorials that are inspiring, including ways to combine & attach squares together.

Pinterest “Granny Square” board
Fun Pinterest board with lots of examples of knit & crocheted granny squares.

Online Classes Available Through Our Partner, Sweetgeorgia!

One of the things we’ve missed most since COVID-19 business shutdowns and social distancing began in March is hosting in-person classes in our shop. We had many knitting, crocheting, weaving, and dyeing classes lined up for this spring and summer that we were forced to cancel. Since it looks like social distancing guidelines will prevent us from holding in-person classes for the foreseeable future, we’ve begun exploring ways to offer education online. We’re experimenting with moving some of our most popular classes to Zoom, and we are also excited to announce that we’ve become an affiliate of the School of Sweetgeorgia!

Regular customers will know that Sweetgeorgia is one of our favorite yarn dyers — we have a rainbow of colors of their Tough Love Sock, Superwash DK, Superwash Worsted, and Party of Five mini-skein sets in our store. To support their LYS stockists during this time, Sweetgeorgia has offered local yarn stores the opportunity to become affiliates of their recently-launched School of Sweetgeorgia (SOS). By becoming an SOS member, you are supporting Northfield Yarn, Sweetgeorgia, and your own skill-building and community connections.

School of Sweetgeorgia membership includes:

One of the things we’re most excited about is the variety of weaving, spinning, and dyeing classes available to SOS members. Prior to the March shutdown, we had enormous interest from customers in classes related to these crafts.

Support Northfield Yarn by becoming a member using our affiliate link!

After clicking on our affiliate link, click the pink “Sign Up” button on the School of Sweetgeorgia homepage to enroll. Membership starts at $19/month and can be paid monthly, quarterly or yearly.

Curious? Sample Sweetgeorgia’s FREE online courses to see if SOS is for you.

August 2020 Knitted Wit National Parks Colorways

Each month this summer, Knitted Wit will release 4 new colorways inspired by 4 of our National Parks. These colorways will only be available at local yarn stores (LYS’s) and we hope that your LYS is Northfield Yarn! Due to the limited availability of these yarns, we will not have August National Parks yarns available for online purchase when they are first released, but you can place your order over the phone by calling the shop Monday through Saturday, between 10:00 am – 5:00 pm CT at (507) 645-1330. Past months’ National Parks yarns can be purchased in our online shop.

Our August National Parks yarns are available in DK and Sock.

  • Knitted Wit DK: 100% superwash merino. 280 yards/4 oz, $26
  • Knitted Wit Sock: 80% superwash merino, 20% nylon. 420 yards/4 oz, $28 

August colors (top to bottom): Great Sand Dunes, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, and Saguaro.

Read about these parks and see Knitted Wit’s color inspiration photos on their blog!

Free patterns with purchase! Jody’s Bobby’s Socks pattern is free with the purchase of Knitted Wit DK, and Brianna’s Bias Knit Cowl is free with the purchase of Knitted Wit Fingering, Sock, or Pixie Plied (Knitted Wit Birds & Bees Pixie Plied limited edition colorways are available online). We will send you a Ravelry download code for these patterns with your order or, if you prefer, we can include a paper copy or e-mail you a PDF.

“Soundtrack” 4-Day Sweater KAL Wrap-Up

It was so much fun to participate in designer Marie Greene’s annual 4-Day Sweater KAL. Although the name of the KAL invites knitters to challenge themselves, participants had from July 4 – August 1 to complete their sweaters. Laura completed her sweater, made from Green Mountain Spinnery Sylvan Spirit yarn, in 12 days!

Inspired to make your own Soundtrack? We now have the yarn Marie used for her own sweater, Kelbourne Woolens Scout, in stock at the shop! Check out our original KAL blog post for our other yarn recommendations and swatches.

Laura included notes about her knitting process and pattern modifications on her Ravelry project page for her Soundtrack. Here are two of her favorite tips!

Choosing a Size Based On Your Swatch Gauge

First, she chose a size based on the gauge she got in her own swatch, not the pattern gauge. After knitting a 6″ square swatch, Laura’s gauge using Sylvan Spirit was 19.5 sts and 33.5 rows per 4″. The pattern gauge is 21 sts and 31 rows per 4″. Laura’s fabric is more loosely knit than the pattern gauge. Marie recommends 2″ to 4″ inches of positive ease for this sweater. Laura’s bust is 36″, and she choose to knit a sweater with two inches of positive ease. Looking at the number of stitches at the bust for each size in the sweater pattern, she calculated that knitting a Size 2 (a 36″ bust in the pattern gauge) would yield about a 38″ bust at her own, looser gauge. So, Laura knit a Size 2, but her finished garment ended up being a 38″ bust. Don’t be scared to do a little math to come up with your own, custom size based on your gauge swatch!

The Armholes Are (Probably) Going To Be OK

Second, Laura, along with may other KAL participants, was concerned while knitting the sweater that the armholes might be too tight. One of the benefits of top-down sweaters is that you can try them on as you go, and many knitters like to try their sweaters on right after finishing the yoke and separating the sleeves from the body. At this point, it seemed like the armholes might not be deep enough, especially since the pattern does not instruct knitters to pick up any stitches under the armholes when knitting the body, as many sweater patterns do.

Knowing that Marie is a wonderful designer, Laura took a deep breath and decided to trust the pattern (and her gauge swatch!). For many sizes in the Soundtrack pattern, a large number of stitches are added right around the bust. This additional ease in the body of the sweater helps the armholes fit nicely, but this is difficult to see until the body of the sweater is finished. Laura’s sweater fit just as she wanted it to without any pattern modifications around the armholes once it was complete and blocked.

If you’d like to learn some of Marie’s tips and tricks for great sweater fit, grab a copy of her book, Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks!