Category Archives: Mission Falls 1824 Wool

But what about Matt?

Ok, ok. So what am I doing now?

Well, I’m currently officially unemployed, but as a dear friend and fellow entrepreneur commented to me recently, entrepreneurs are never unemployed. Thankfully, I’ve found that to be true.

I’m working on a major “saw-sharpening” project that will hopefully pay off in a marketable skill in the near future, and as it comes along, I’ll be excited to share it with you. Yes, it’s knitting-related, and yes, it’s a logical fit. But I’m a beginner, and I—like the vast majority of the people I’ve worked with over the years—don’t care to share my fumbling first steps with the world. Yet. At some point if I’m very, very lucky, it will be something I can share entirely, and oh, that would be fun for a whole huge lot of people. But I’ll stop teasing.

Something I am at liberty to share is a by-product of recently downsizing to more affordable accommodations. I’ve had to unpack, resort, and reevaluate all of my stash and unfinished projects.

Now, if you’re the kind of knitter that I was prior to opening a yarn shop, you probably have at least a room dedicated to your stash and projects. You’ve likely got stitch markers in every upholstered piece of furniture in your home and possibly some in your pet’s bed. It happens. You have a kit that’s literally within an arm’s length at least most of the day every day. Now imagine that same person had access to one of the largest inventories of independent-market yarns in the country for a few years.

When you’ve regained consciousness after the aneurism that thought caused, let’s just say that I was conservative. My collection was limited largely to yarns that I truly loved and were one-of-a-kind opportunities (frequently as products were being discontinued) and projects that I either taught as a class or had planned for either classes or my own patterns. Luckily for me, I suppose, I’m also notoriously non-project-monogamous, so I have a lot of projects on the needles. Some will most assuredly be finished, and some most assuredly will never be. But that also means I have yet more yarn to incorporate into stash.

In the coming days, I’ll share some of the treasures that I’ve unearthed and that I’m going to be using in projects moving forward. But since I haven’t yet gotten much of anything in enough semblance of order to want flash photography involved, I’ll just offer yet another tease.

For one thing, any visitors to my home in the last year or so would know about the three-and-a-half foot tall Collins glass of various shades of Koigu KPPPM that I kept at the corner of the kitchen and living room. I’m a collector. What can I say? I love that yarn, and I absolutely love their dyeing. I’ve been an addict for years, and I expect there are quite a few folks out there still sporting Charlotte’s Web Shawls for which I put together colorways in the early days of ThreadBear. My God, we must have been shipping those things a dozen a day at the height of the craze if not more. I definitely recall many afternoons standing in the post office with tub upon tub of small double-fist-sized envelopes going to every corner of the globe (except Antarctica—I suppose if you haven’t knit it before you get there, you’re kind of screwed).

There’s a similarly tall blown glass vase full of various shades of Mission Falls 1824 Wool. I’ve always loved that original Mags Kandis palette, and of course, this is old enough product to have seen her tenure. In any case, I’ve got a project in mind for that whole vase, and it’s going to be amazing.

There’s a bag of multiple shades of Jamieson’s Spindrift and Jamieson & Smith 2-Ply Jumper Weight in appropriate shades for an old Alice Starmore Fair Isle pattern that I’ve wanted to knit since before the shop ever got rolling. I’ve got the pattern around here somewhere, but that will also have to be unearthed.

I’ve got sweater quantities of Jo Sharp Classic DK Wool (my favorite all-purpose worsted-weight wool on the U. S. market until it no longer was), Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino and Alpaca Silk, Classic Elite Bazic, and even a fine-gauge red cashmere that I’m still deciding on a final use for. I’ve blown the dust off The High Helen Sweater, my decadent and damned-near-unearthly Pyramid Sweater, and my Colour-Your-Own Philosopher’s Wool sweater.

And sock yarn? Sweet Jesus, I’ve got sock yarn. It doesn’t hurt that I worked as a sales rep for some of the fastest-selling sock yarns (at the time) in the country for several years, but I already had an extensive collection. And that doesn’t even count the Koigu, and yes, if you want a truly luxurious experience, make yourself a pair of Koigu socks. No, they don’t have an iota of nylon in them, and they’ll wear through like butter if you stomp around in them. But they’re like sex on your feet while you’re sitting on the sofa or really getting dressed. Seriously.

But enough for now. I’ll have the camera up and running before much longer. And I’ll have to toss in some gratuitously cute dog pics for those of you who know my penchant. I may have lost my own beloved mutt, but my roommate is the proud papa of four—count ‘em, four—adult Chihuahuas.  Life is never boring.

Slowly but surely…And don’t call me Shirley!

You know, this business amazes me every day. We just got in our fall order of Manos del Uruguay, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.


Manos del Uruguay Wool

I’m known around the shop for working with color, and I’ve just got to say that this stuff is out of this world. Their colors are always amazing, and if you’re familiar with their palette, you’ll notice the two new shades… the bright acid green solid in the top left corner and the coordinating multi in the top right. They definitely weren’t what I would have expected from Manos, but they’re certainly brilliant.

As for my knitting, most of my recent work has been associated with classes that I’m teaching this summer. I’ve done tons of swatching for my Sock Options class where I go over several techniques of use to sock knitters from using circulars to knit one or more socks at a time to heel and toe options to various ways of getting started and finishing off. I’ve also been developing a pattern for the toddler coat that I posted photos of recently for a class I’ve dubbed DIY Victory Coat for the V-shaped construction and the ease of varying the size to suit your intended wearer.

Later this summer, I’ll be doing an intarsia class, and I’m really looking forward to working through the SWAK Intarsia Workshop book in preparation for that class, but I’ve also just placed orders for some intarsia patterns and yarn that I’ll be working on for shop models later this fall.


I’m doing the and the Karma Throw (left) Bloomfield Throw (right).

In the meantime, I’m finishing up the pattern and model for my Traditional Fair Isle Techniques class that I’m teaching in July. The pattern is ThreadyBear, and those of you who’ve been around for a while will remember that I actually started writing this pattern while we were still in the old Indiana shop.


Body of ThreadyBear Teddy Bear Fair Isle
with two more panels before the shoulders.

Personally, this is the one I’m most excited about at the moment. As I said, I started the pattern over a year ago in Indiana, and I used it as the class project in my Intro to Fair Isle [ultimately named Traditional Fair Isle Techniques] class there. There were too many colors in the original, though, at least for such a small project for beginners to the technique, and I broke up some of the dual color changes that confounded some of my folks back then. It’s been nice working on this little guy, though, because it’s been like having those folks with me again. Hi, Margaret! Hi, Monica! Hi, Mary and Pat and Melissa and everybody else that acted as my guinea pigs for that class. What a hoot! You can see pics of some of their accomplishments in my archives.

It’s a fun class, and I’m really looking forward to working through the project with a class again, but if you’re not in the area, you may want to bounce over to Yahoo! Groups where we’re about to start test-knitting and finalizing the ThreadyBear project for learning Fair Isle knitting at a distance.

Visit the ThreadyBear Yahoo! Group

So that’s what’s up. Other than that, I’m still tearing the shop apart and putting it back together again to make room for yet more new stuff coming in.


The front counter is now in the middle of the front of the store facing the front door so that you’re not forced to walk all the way around the far side of the counter or stumble through our mail station (which, I might add, is now completely out of the public space and behind the counter).


Official Olympic Norweigian Ski Sweaters and Ingeborg.


Our big wall of DiVé at the black tables (our standard classroom and technical help area). That’s a huge wall of Lana Grossa behind there.


Cha-cha-Land includes Trendsetter, Kertzer, Crystal Palace, Ironstone, and several others.

So now what? Oh, there’s always more coming in the back, so I’m sure it will all shift around again soon. *sigh*

Much love, folks.
-Matt.

P. S. By the way, check out our new patterns from Trish of Bloomin’ Knitiot.