The end of the year is the traditional time to look back and look forward, and even though I resist cliches, I feel myself starting to look back at 2006 through the eyes of a knitter. Lucky youse guys get to partake of my ruminations. Today: the Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat Best of 2006 (not including books. You know me, I'll have to do a separate entry on books.).
The Best of 2006: Non-book edition
1. Destiny Circular Needles, by Lantern Moon. Yep, I love wood needles. Yep, I love the notion that Lantern Moon is one of those fair-trade companies. Yep, I love beautiful knitting accessories. Yep, I love a smooth join on my circulars. So a big thumbs-up for Destiny Circular Needles.
2. RYC Wool-Silk yarn. My favorite blend -- the sheen, drape and silkiness of silk, the elasticity and body of wool -- and a versatile DK weight. Great pattern support, as usual, from the talented Rowan designers. I'd love to see the palette get broadened a bit, maybe lightened up, but this is one nice yarn.
3. Koigu Felting Wool. I haven't sensed a major buzz about this, which shocks me, since who wouldn't want another way to enjoy the great colors of Koigu? When felted, the fabric remains light so you actually could felt a garment in it yet still wear it south of the Arctic Circle. Hats? Mittens? C'mon people, trust me on this one.
4. Lace, lace, lace. All of a sudden, the knitting masses discovered lace. And we all benefited: new lace patterns, new lace books, new laceweight yarns.
5. Soak Wool Wash. I don't know if this is new, or just new to me, but I saw this product at TNNA. It comes in a few different fragrances and all smell great.
6. Etsy. Again, this may have been around before I cottoned on to it, but Etsy is a great and badly-needed alternative to Ebay. The popularity of Ebay led all kinds of scam artists, junk peddlers and corporate sellers to join. Meanwhile, fees steadily increased. Ebay still has its place as a lower-priced alternative to buying new and full-price, but Etsy is superior for craft-related items. By limiting its products to handmade items (or supplies used for handmade items), Etsy keeps it fresh and interesting and ensures that indie crafters are the bulk of the sellers.
7. Smith Island Pattern Factory. Disclosure: the owner is a friend and colleague of mine at Rosie's. Still, you'd be hard-pressed to find nicer or more professional patterns from an indie designer. Several lovely shawls (which we promptly sold out of at Stitches), but also an extremely cute and creative baby jacket,
nice guy socks and an adorable baby blanket. More, please, Courtney!
8. Wild Geese Fibres. Does the world need more small-producer, breed-specific yarns in their natural state? Hell, yeah. Bring 'em on, Barb.
9. The rise of the Podcast. One of the extremely clever ways that the Internet continues to evolve and stay fresh. I'm partial to Knitty D and the City, but Cast On is great, too.
10. Rhinebeck Blogger Bingo. Brainchild of the inimitable Stitchy McYarnpants, illustrated by the prodigiously talented Franklin, Blogger Bingo made Rhinebeck even more fun by facilitating introductions among bloggers and blogreaders. The knitting community, with emphasis on the community. Well done, Stitchy.
11. The rise of the novel fiber. 2006 saw less-widely-known fibers burst onto the shelves of knitting shops. Yak yarn that's soft and sproingy (yes, sproingy, Lisa). Rowan's wonderful wool-soy silk blend, Transitions. Classic Elite's yummy wool-bamboo blend. Not to mention ingeo, sea cellulose, more organic options... it's an embarrassment of riches.
12. Black Bunny Fibers.
What -- you didn't think I was going to shamelessly promote myself? Hah! I've had more fun dyeing my yarns than I ever expected, and I hope you consider them a valuable addition to the virtual knitting marketplace.
I'm sure I've omitted some noteworthy developments in 2006, but I'm also sure my loyal readers will tell me what I missed.....
And a special Philadelphia "yo!" to Carol B-R, who stopped at Rosie's this weekend and had a good long visit with us. I do loves me visits from my blog readers.