One Dish Delish! A Contest

OneDishDelish-Logo

Contest time!

One of the great joys of living in a locale that has distinct seasons is that each season carries its own sights and smells. This is the time of year when we say goodbye to summer, filled with the beauty of lush greens and the smells of something sizzling away on the grill. As autumn comes upon us, we begin to think a bit more of indoor cooking. There is nothing quite like opening the front door and being greeted with the aroma of something wonderful. It’s funny how the simple smells of a particular spice or a favorite recipe that has been simmering away can trigger memories and instantly make you feel comfortable.

Do you have a favorite one-dish recipe? Is the dutch oven (or crock-pot) your best friend these days? Do you have a never fail, make ahead soup or stew that you turn to at this time of year? And, let’s not forget about desserts…brownies, cakes, cobblers, crumbles and pies, oh my! If it fits in one dish, we invite you to share it with us. And, if your recipe comes with a story, even better. We’d love to hear it!

We are opening a new contest thread in Ravelry for our ONE DISH DELISH contest, as well as inviting you to post your recipe here in the comments section on the blog. Entries will close at Noon Eastern on Friday, November 6th and winners will be selected. And, you know we will have prizes! Of course, adding your recipes to our own personal collection makes us all winners. Thank you for playing along. Now let’s get cooking!

 

Not long now!

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The entire Plucky Crew and I are crazed with excitement knowing the Shindig is now only days away!

Whether you’re a full Shindigger, an overnight PJ knitter, a class-taker, or you’re just planning a quick stop into the marketplace, we can’t wait to say hello. We’ll be ready to have fun with you, answer questions, help with colors, and knit with you. We hope you’re as excited as we are over our roster of extraordinary teachers, a fashion show featuring many of you, karaoke, the photo booth, and more!

Here at the barn, everyone’s a buzz working on all of the final details that we hope will make the 2015 Shindig the best ever. Needless to say, we are still packing— yarn, swag, props…and yarn!!

The Plucky Crew and I are looking forward to reconnecting with old friends and to personally welcoming all our new friends. And for those of you who are unable to join us in person, we have some great things planned for you, too! Stay tuned on the Plucky blog for more details.

Beat The Heat Dining – A Contest

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Beat-The-Heat Dinning

It has been so fun to read all the Morzo Orzo stories of reunions, house guests, alfresco dinning and too-hot-to-cook dinners on the fly. The only thing left to do is have a PHOTO CONTEST!

How do you and your family take your Morzo Orzo? Chopped? Finely diced? Doctored up? Super spicey? More cheese? No Cheese? Quinoa instead of orzo? Let’s see some photos!

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If you haven’t had a chance to taste Morzo Orzo yet – no worries at all! This a ”Beat The Heat With Foods of Summer” photo contest. It can even be a photo of something you want to try, a photo from a magazine, anything that lends itself to our Beat-The-Heat theme.

Please hop on over to the new Beat-The-Heat contest thread and post your photos. You have until 9:00 AM on Thursday, July 30th. And, of course there will be prizes!

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Road Trippin’ With Plucky

Stitches South Road Trip Blog

Road trips. Remember those games we played as kids? The license plate game…I Spy…Madlibs….I’m going out West and I’m bringing? Parents would suggest anything to fend off the dreaded “How much longer?” and “Are we there yet?” Elmer T’s stock answer was always “20 more minutes”.

Would you like to play a game with us as we hit the highway and head to Nashville?

It will be a yardage contest (though I keep referring to it as the mileage contest) and it will begin the minute the truck pulls away from the studio to head to Nashville on Monday the 20th. The contest will end as we pull back up to the barn, sometime Monday, the 27th! You keep track of your yardage worked, from start to finish, and post lots of progress photos and we’ll be posting photos from Stitches. It doesn’t even have to be a new project…WIPs welcome!

The game thread will remain locked until the moment we hit the road. You can be sure I will keep you posted as we get closer, giving you something of a window during which the contest will begin. Right now it’s approximately 7:00 a.m. EST on Monday morning.

We invite you to knit (or crochet) with us as we hit the road and experience Stitches South. We are hoping that the game thread will be filled with lots of photos and great stories of dedication to your yardage goals.

Once we arrive back home, the contest will stop. That’s when you can post your totals! And, just to be sure that no one feels any pressure, there will be lots of prizes drawn randomly from all who participate, as well as special prizes for great feats of achievement!

So remember, because this is just for fun, there will be just two rules to follow!

Start counting your yardage when we leave the barn (you’ll be racking up the yardage, we’ll be racking up the mileage!) and stop counting when we return home.

This is going to be great! It would be terrific if everyone could come to Nashville, but we know that’s not possible. But, we sure can all knit together. Won’t you join us on the road?

xo,
s&h

Tomboy, Petticoat & Twill –

Good morning! How goes it this mid-point in the week? On Spring break? Gearing up for Spring Break? About to start a new project be it knitting, crochet, spring cleaning, or maybe a new recipe?

Hayley and I are about to start a new project that I’ll be able to tell you about in the coming weeks…. and of course there’s the big project that is preparations for Stitches South. But first, you’re all loving the new colorways and, you asked for it, on the lighter bases. So, this is what I’m thinking….

Bello
Primo Fingering
Cashmere
Lace
Sophisticate
Single
Feet
Snug Fingering

In all the below colorways (plus the brand new Tomboy and Petticoat). How’s that sound? I’ll put together a few color kits for you too – sound fun?

In this update you can chose skeins in your preferred amount or you can purchase a color kit in your preferred base or both!

Now the only thing is – timing of the update. It may have to be just Friday at 10:00 a.m. this week.

I’ll be sending out the proper email today and working on color kits and pairings throughout the day. Please keep an eye on Facebook and Instagram for color pairings as they pop up today.

All Dolled Up Collage

Tomboy: If you love Cassidy – you’re going to really love Tomboy. Such a classic, pretty blue. While I love Cassidy (that’s a fellas club color), Tomboy is now favorite/signature blue. Looks great with brights, neutrals, jewel tones and the scums.

Petticoats: A pink for pink lovers and non-pink lovers alike. It’s inspired by a favorite faded red sweatshirt. Girly but not in your face girly. Petticoat is brilliant with aqua’s, greens, neturals (love it with twill and all grays) and more.

Verdea collage colorways 2Verdea collage colorways

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Artichocchi Gnocchi

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The proper PDF download is coming up. I’m having a few technical difficulties.

Winner winner, chicken dinner!

ARTICHOCCHI GNOCCHI!

Thanks everybody for helping us find a name for Hayley’s new recipe. For me, the most fun thing about a contest is reading all the creative and often very personal responses. It is usually a daunting job to pick just a handful of winners. But, I have to say this naming contest was a slam dunk right from the start! There was one name suggested in several entries that rolled off the tongue and cracked me up every time! So, we decided to award prizes to all of you that submitted a variation on the artichokey/artichocchi gnocchi theme!

Above you will find the full recipe – ready to print or add to your recipe box (proper PDF coming up later today).

Congratulations to the winners! Please contact us at pluckycustomerservice @ gmail . com and we will make arrangements to get your yarn & swag prizes to you!

Melissa –
Okie Dokie Artichokie Gnocchi
Okie Dokie Arti-Ghocchi
 
janicevavra –
Comment:
Artignocchi

Serinafoster
Gnocchi Artichokey!

cassienova
“Artichoki gnocchi.”

katherine.smoak
It’s a little bit hokey, but how about Artichoke-y Gnocchi?  Or, to make it prettier, Artichochhi Gnocchi ….

And, a huge thank you Hayley Mae for sharing her plucky kitchen adventures with us all. She doesn’t know it yet, but I am hoping we can convince her to do this again!

 

Nameless Gnocchi OR Name That Dish!

Ox close focus

No gnocchi picture (I was too busy eating) so Ox will have to do.

It’s really cool to have a foodie as a sister. Hayley reads cookbooks and restaurant reviews before bed. No matter what city we find ourselves in, Hayley has a mission to visit one restaurant and another and another. But, best of all, Hayley cooks. Very well and often! She is fearless and posses’ instinct, imagination and a well developed sense of adventure. While desserts and hor d’oeuvres (love a good cheese plate or crudités) are my forte, Hayley hits the main course out of the ballpark, time after time. So much so that I ask Hayley what I’m going to eat when we go out. Why bother when she loves to choose and it’s always so good?!

I would like to share with you a dish that Hayley invented last week and brought into the studio for lunch. We all went nuts. But, it doesn’t have a name! And, what do we do when something new needs a name??? WE HOLD A CONTEST!

Below is a list of ingredients and a general description of the dish. Once we have a name for it, we will prepare a recipe card for you in a downloadable PDF. And, of course there will be prizes! So, warm up your mental taste buds and help us name this delish dish! Here is the list of the main ingredients with the detailed list/recipe to come after the contest is finished.

Gnocchi

Chicken breast

Artichokes

Asparagus

Peas

Lemon zest

White wine

Cream

Doesn’t is sound great? Once the ingredients have been prepared and the selected herbs and seasoning have been added (you will find these listed in the complete recipe PDF once the contest closes), this dish is tossed and topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

We look forward to hearing your suggestions in the comments below (I moderate the comments so if you do not see your entry right away that just means it is awaiting moderation). We will pick a winner (and some runners up!) by Noon on Friday! The prize(s) will be yarn and swag – not quite sure how to send Gnocchi to the winners.

Bon Appetite and let the contest begin!

 

Amaryllis

Amaryllis Collage

You guys! I am having the best time watching the photos of your WIPs and FOs from All Bundled Up pop up in the group!  It delights me to no end to see how you have embraced the patterns from ABU and are making them your own.  So many of you have been really stretching your skills, reaching for things that just a short time ago were not in your knitting repertoire.

Fair Isle is a case in point. Last January, I decided to expand my knitting repertoire and try my hand at stranded knitting. I had always been a little intimated by it (those floats!) but knew I had to jump in with “both hands” so to speak!  At first it felt a little weird and it was slow going. But, I’m glad to say I did it. And now it thrills me no end to see so many of you doing the very same thing! Your Northport’s are amazing! If you are still on the fence about trying out Fair Isle knitting and haven’t quite worked up the courage to start a Northport, may I suggest that you start out and test your skills with Amaryllis. This is the perfect starting point! Amaryllis is worked in a worsted weight yarn and is less than 20 rows of colorwork. That’s totally doable, knits up lightening fast and the results are great! In fact, I love the knit so much that I’m thinking of making a third one in Scholar.

And the color possibilities – they are endless! It’s Friday – are looking for a quick instant gratification weekend project?! Amaryllis is just the ticket! Happy weekend everyone!

 

 

 

Looking ahead –

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The excitement…. it is killing me!

Now that we have all put 2014 to bed, I don’t know about you but I am ready to settle in and surround myself with warm and cozy knitting. To just be quiet (well as quiet as it gets around here anyway). I want something that will put a little twist into my classic! I want something that will set my creative wheels turning! And, I really want to feel the joy and anticipation of trying to decide what to cast on first – I mean next – no first!

Shoot. Did I just give you a hint of what is coming on January 5th? I said choices didn’t I? Oh my, it is getting so hard for me to keep this a secret!

Well, it’s back to the finishing touches for me, as well as some snuggle time with Sam and Ox. Secret keeping is NOT an easy business! But, there’s only three more days that I have to keep my mouth shut and then it’s the big reveal. I sincerely hope you are all ready to treat yourself to something special, because you deserve it!

With warmth & our very best wishes!
s

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Thank You

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With 2014 coming to a close (what a crazy, fun, trying and exhilarating year!), I want to take a look back and and thank you all …. then I’ll be turning to look at the year that is ahead us – it’s going to be a fun one!

Looking back, this year has been filled with adventure, new surroundings, new friends and just a wee bit of adversity. These are all things that have made us a stronger, determined and more efficient. Some of the bumps in our road were things we were able to smooth out ourselves. And many of the bumps were things that you, our dear Plucky pals, smoothed for us and for each other.

Our wonderful community continued to grow and enrich us. We are so grateful for the warmth, knowledge and creativity you bring to our craft. We are also thankful, beyond words, for your willingness and generosity in helping others. You have answered questions, provided information others needed, offered words of encouragement and support, and provided tremendous comfort and virtual hugs to those of us who have had personal pain in our lives. You have helped to create a worldwide community of warmth, knowledge and friendship, even sending partial skeins from your stash to those asking for help to complete projects!

And I also must give a huge shout-out to the long-time members who have been so wonderful in warmly welcoming our new friends. While I’m not often at a loss for words, when it comes to my appreciation for you, our customers and friends, it’s impossible to capture my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for each and every one of you!

You definitely got behind us and provided so much support as the past year tested the “pluck” in us at the studio. During a matter of months, we found ourselves dyeing outside in a seemly endless series of history-making blizzards and vortexes (whatever you want to call them – it was bad), dealing with a break-in at our old studio, working like crazy to assemble enough yarn to get to Stitches West, get our new studio renovated and up to snuff, prepping for the shindig and making the move to our new barn, and getting things up and running. Whew! The old adage “survived and thrived” couldn’t be more true in our case, and we could not have done it without your encouragement and support!

Move Collage Year end.jpg

About that move. Holy smokes. The move. That was quite an accomplishment. We had a two-pronged problem; first in procuring the barn and then renovating it to make it “just right” for our rather peculiar needs. We are no longer dying outdoors in freezing temperatures, snow, sleet or rain. And, while we are a close-knit family we are no longer, literally, tripping over each other. Quite the contrary! We now have room for dyeing, rinsing, drying, twisting and tagging, and shipping—and everything in between. We are now able to provide you the same level of customer service, but with greater productivity and efficiency.

Shindig Collage Year End.jpg

The Plucky Shindig in May was another high point for us in 2014, and we hope it was for you too! What fun it was to host you, almost in our own back yard! We are so grateful for those of you who made the trip. We loved seeing many of our old friends and meeting new ones. We owe such a huge thank you to Lorilee for her incredible organizational skills, and her tireless behind the scenes work. Franklin Habit was a joy. There were so many talented people who participated in the fashion show, the karaoke evening and the dozens of little sit-and-knits that popped up all over the hotel. The hotel loved you all too! As we were leaving… you knitters come back ok?! The 2014 Shindig was most definitely cheeky and a little classy which I think is the best combination of all!

The past year brought out our creative juices in other ways! New colorways – those wheels are always turning! New patterns and, of course, new bases! Snug Worsted, Sophisticate, Crew, Scholar, Oxford and mmmmm…. Cashmere! It’s your enthusiasm and inquisitiveness that helps spark our creative juices. Thank you for that!

In 2014 I also was able to carve out more time to work with an extremely talented pool of designers – both established designers and those new to the designing scene – what a thrill! Thank you! Working one-on-one with the designers to see their work go from sketch to pattern writing, to pairing the base and color with their vision, receiving the finished samples, and then seeing the excitement with which you receive the finished item is, well, it’s the bomb diggity!

And I’m thrilled that just last week we launched the new website! We wanted it to be fresh and creative, intuitive, informative and, most of all, fun and a true representation of Plucky. I really appreciate the positive comments I’ve received from so many of you about our new site, and I truly do hope you visit often and spend a lot of time with us!

I want to again express my heartfelt thanks to each of you for helping make Plucky what it is today. You, our valued friends and customers, inspire me, inspire the whole crew – as we explore new and better ways for you to experience fiber and color and for us to serve you – that is our true privilege! 2014 has been a challenging, wonderful, exciting and inspirational year.

So that the Crew can enjoy some time off to spend with family and friends, the studio will be dark until January 5th. We wish you the same, some quiet time with family and friends. However, my dears, you will be hearing just a bit from me this afternoon. I have a little teaser/wonderful surprise in store for you, something to look forward to for the deep winter months ahead!

With great affection, gratitude and so many hugs….

xo,
s

P.S. As promised, back with a teaser.

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I’m almost ready to start my self imposed technology fast but before I do let me give you just a little peek into something pretty darn big that will be revealed in early January!

For the moment, you will just have to take my word that something fun and colorful is coming. It’s a project that has been in production since July, has needed a cast of dozens of ‘secret Plucky agents’ and is the fruition of years of dreaming and many many months of planning and hard work.

I know it will be hard to wait until January for details but it will be worth it!

 

Welcome to our new home

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Please…. come on in and explore the new digs!

The new website has been a labor of love designed totally with you in mind. We wanted the site to be visual…informative…interactive…and creative and fresh. Most of all, we want you to feel right at home and have a great experience during your stay.

And what’s inside, you ask? For starters, we think the new site is a nice blend of the familiar (yarns and patterns) and the new (some fun swag you can purchase now as well as Plucky Collections coming in January 2015…more on that later!) And of course, there are Frequently Asked Questions, etc. that are intended to be informative and responsive to you, our valued customers and friends. Plus lots and lots (and lots!) of photos because, again, those pictures – they tell a story!

For the time being, our Updates will continue to be on the blog portion of the site. Watch for an announcement on an exciting Update coming later this weekend.

So without further ado, the Plucky Crew and I warmly welcome you to your new Plucky home. We hope you enjoy the experience, visit often and spend lots of time with us!

xo

Playing The Name Game – Contest Time!

Merino cotton blend 3

THE NAME GAME – It’s a contest!

OK everybody, I need a little help.  Would you mind setting your Plucktember knitting aside for just a few minutes and help me find a name for TWO new Plucky bases?

Here are the details for each base….
1. A DK weight, 75/25 merino/cotton blend.  Each skein will contain 310 yards and it knits up like butter. This is the one that all you warmer climate knitters have been waiting for! Best of both worlds. The memory and definition of wool and the cooling factor of cotton – I just love the twist this puts on our colorways!

2. A heavy lace/light fingering weight, 50/30/20 blend of merino/extra fine mohair/silk.  Each skein contains 510 yards.  This is a beautiful stand alone luxury lace that can also be paired with other weights to give that extra pop to your work. Light as a feather and the texture… so ethereal.

But, I don’t know what to call them.  I’m hoping that you do!

Please post your suggestions here in the comments (which I will keep hidden) between now and ….ummm… let’s say Monday morning. That sound like enough time to you? I’m going to read the entries all weekend and at 9:00 am Eastern on Monday, we will pick the winning entrie(s) and post them here.  Guess what the winners will get.  How about the very first SQs of these new bases, in any color the winners choose!!!

We are anxiously watching our driveway here at the barn, waiting somewhat impatiently for the first shipments to arrive.  So, can you help a gal out? Let’s have some fun with this one and get them named so we’re ready to hit the ground running the second they arrive which should be any minute now!

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Snow Day #47,892

 

ground hog day

Anyone else feeling like they’re living in ‘Groundhog Day‘?

Just when we get the deck shoveled off or the dyeing area at the studio somewhat cleared of snow (ha! not really, more like just when we get a path shoveled) and then manage to sneak in one little walk for Sam & Ox or a dye run or two, Mother Nature lowers the boom again. And again.  AND AGAIN.  Here on the west coast of Michigan we are in for a full day of snow.  Flights have been cancelled, the plans for the day have been shelved and there is a run on the beer and wine at the grocery store. I feel like a pot of this or this or this may be in order today… with a batch of these for good measure.

so long agoSeems like ages ago….

So, let’s make lemonade out of snowballs, shall we?:

#1.  It’s Saturday.  That means we will be all shoveled out by the time Monday rolls around. I think. And, if the weather clears up as it is supposed to, I may be able to get a re-do on today’s to do list.

#2.  This snow day is giving me the opportunity to compose some info/ramblings that have been rolling around in my head for a while now.  I want to write about each of the Plucky bases. What I love about each base, what I think they are each suited for, as well as suggest a few patterns that I think are perfect for that base or are a few of my personal favorites. Sort of a love letter to each of the bases. After all, there is a reason that each one is on the Plucky menu and, I’d love to share that information with you.

Stitch Block Close Up

# 3.  I brought Bello Worsted home from the studio last night so that I could cast on for the Stitch Block Cowl.  I’m about five inches in and CAN NOT put this project down.  I am already planning an outfit around this because thanks to the snow, I have a good chance of having this finished and ready to wear at Stitches!

Stitch Book Cowl

That’s all for the moment.  Back to my snow day knitting, email catch-up and soup making. Happy snowy Saturday everyone!

Year End

Location US Ice CloseAs each year ends, it is impossible not to look back and reminisce. At the same time I cannot help but look to what lies ahead.

2013 has been a spectacularly crazy, fun, trying and exhilarating year. Our community of Plucky people has grown this year and we have met so many new and interesting people. With the addition of every new member to our community we have been enriched by the knowledge and excitement they have brought to us.  You have all been so willing to jump in and help others, answer questions, offer comfort and words of encouragement when one of us has been dealt an unforeseen obstacle in their life.  And those who have been long time members have all been incredibly encouraging and welcoming to the newbie’s.  Thank you for that! The willingness of members to help each other has been such a gift to us.  I am so grateful for the work of everyone in explaining and directing others to find the information they are seeking.  And, in a huge way, that includes the generous offers by so many of you to send partial skeins to those who have asked for help to complete projects and your willingness to share things from your stash.  You are awesome.

Location Single

There certainly was some travel in 2013.  We were on the west coast, the east coast and we even got to France for our first ever European trunk show. And, although we didn’t travel too far for the annual retreat, you all did!  We were so thrilled at the distances you were willing to travel in order to attend or to just shop and say hello.  It is always so much fun to put the actual face to those we only know as a Ravatar.

Location Rebecca Right handCustomer Service Central!

Location ryan stackHeavy lifting

Behind the scenes, this has been a year of negotiating with landlords, realtors, banks (who also have been the seller in some cases) and sellers.  We had several false starts and disappointments while trying to find/secure a new building.  But, the old saying of all good things come to those who wait has paid off.  In spades!  We were able to find the perfect building (a big crusty barn… which is music to my ears!) in the perfect location, with more than the perfect amount of square footage.  There are no words to convey how excited we all are. It makes the rough weather we’ve encountered so far this winter almost bearable knowing we will soon be mostly indoors.

This room will insure that we will be able to continue to do our jobs with a smidge more breathing room.  Rebecca will not have to step back from her desk (and Hayley’s desk – they share!) if we need to wind a ball of yarn.  We will still be three people dyeing every single skein of yarn, but the occasional gymnastics we need to perform as we move between pots of dye will be much easier to choreograph!  I know I have stepped on Tiffany’s toes more than a few times as she and Hayley and I perform the Dye-Pot Dance (trust me, it’s a thing).

Location SH laugh Our work on the web site is so close to going live.  The designer, me, code monkey, photographs….  all working to put the puzzle pieces together.  This has not been a simple task because it has so many layers.  But, it has been a joy to work on and I think our caution and attention to detail will pay off when we do launch the new site in its full capacity.

Now, back to looking ahead to 2014…..

There will be travel! I have already added the dates for Stitches West and we are well underway in preparing inventory to stock our booth.  And, then there’s the Plucky Shindig (thank you Lorilee & Franklin!) that promises to be truly spectacular.  We are moving the retreat location to a larger venue and look forward to meeting many, many more of our Plucky friends this year.  We are exploring the possibility of another European trunk show as well as something closer to home (Texas anyone?).  Of course, these are just in the idea stage at the moment, but we are working on some possibilities.

Location Before We aren’t quite ready to pack up and head to the new studio yet, but we will be moving into our new studio as soon as we get the go ahead from Ed (the Eldon of contractors).  This means that 2014 will be another year of change in how we serve you. What will not change is our firm commitment to consistency and warm personal service. The new building will allow us to spread out a bit. Up until now we have had to stop the presses (I mean pots) when it was time to ship, converting precious floor space (internal & external) from dyeing to shipping.  That translated into one-function-at-a-time! But, with our added floor space, Hayley, Tiffany and I will be able to dedicate more time to dyeing AND we will be able to ramp up the shipping!  Simply put, this means that we will be able to continue the same level of commitment to customer satisfaction in a more efficient manor. Three cheers for that one!

Location Dyers Laugh Your dyers, Hayley, Sarah & our sweet cousin Tiffany

It is no secret that I love working with designers.  One of the things I am most looking forward to in 2014 is being able to carve out even more time to work with this talented pool of innovative artists.  I want to encourage and enable their process, form new partnerships with them and continue to be surprised by their vision.  You can look for fresh offerings from those designers we already have a working relationship with, debut offerings from those we hope to work with and an expanding line of simple with a twist Plucky designs!

Lastly, but most importantly, as 2013 continues to tick to a close, I want to send each of you our heartfelt thank you for helping to make Plucky what it is today.  You, our valued friends and customers, keep us reaching for new and better ways to bring color and texture into your lives.  You bring a spark to my creative side, encouraging me to continue to surprise you with new colors, new bases and fresh designs.  I give you my promise that 2014 will be an exciting year for you and for us!

Location Us Use

The studio will be dark until January 3rd.  Our entire team will be taking some time to enjoy our families and friends and, well, recharge our batteries and get ready for a busy late winter and early spring. We look forward to launching 2014 and filling all the pages in our date book with exciting and fun ways to inspire you and serve all our Plucky friends.

With warmth and unending gratitude,

Sarah

Always Plotting & Planning~

oxlake

August?  Already?  How did this happen?!  But, oh how I love this time of year.  The crickets get a little noisier, the air gets dryer and the nights are perfect for sleeping.  There is nothing better than sitting on the patio and having to move my chair to follow the sun across the patio, moving every twenty minutes or so.  If it’s too cool in the shadows, it’s just perfect in the sunshine.

I still have a few unfinished Summer projects on the needles!  And, I’m going to bet that I’m not the only knitter looking this reality in the eye.  I think I better get going because my mind is already turning to the next two seasons.  What to knit for the Fall?  What do I need for Winter?

Remember back in the days before Ravelry when you had to go to your local yarn store and stand in front of their racks of books, pamphlets and single patterns?  You were looking for your next project.  You hoped that something would jump out and grab your imagination and set your brain on fire, planning colors and trying to remember if you had the right needles.

newyarn

New colorways!

Today, I can sit at my computer and get totally lost in the pattern section of Ravelry!  The variety, the innovation, the combinations…. they are all stunning.  And, I admit that I have a personal list of designers that I always look to because I know that their vision is a good fit for me.  But, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to look at all the new patterns and am sure that I am missing some totally stunning designers who would be a perfect fit for Plucky.

This has set me to thinking.  It might be time for me to ask my fellow Plucksters whom they love.  I would love to hear which designers you love and why.  Do you have a personal favorite?   Is there someone new on the scene that the rest of us should give a look to?  Could I ask you take a minute to share that with the rest of us?  Would you be so kind as to post your favorites in the comment section at the bottom of this page?

Hey, thanks so so much in advance for taking the time to weigh in on this.

Hugs to all,

Sarah

oxeyes

Gratuitous puppy eyes

Home Improvements~

oxfordball

This guy here – What.A.Pistol. Just when we thinking we’re about done with home improvements/yard work/sprucing up the patio Ox decides to take flying leap (literally) from the top railing of the patio to the road below – to catch a dog four times (at least) his size.

So now – not as a design element but to keep Oxford from unintentionally killing himself – we are adding two rows of stainless steel wire (or something similar and hopefully not ugly) from post to post. The things we do for our pets.

oxford jump

nangou close 2

Nangou. Almost done. 20 rows and bind off to go. Thinking of an I-Cord BO in the pink cashmere because I just cannot get enough of that pop of pink against the blue gray. We’ll see.

Change is afoot~

Good morning Plucky pals – both new & old!

As I’ve said before (and it totally bears repeating), the heart and soul of Plucky is you – our wonderful, caring, funny and oh so talented customers and knitty friends who share our passion for hand-dyed yarns in unique colors (on the best custom milled bases I can find!), that steal our imaginations and spark our creativity. I feel truly blessed to be able to serve so many of you and to see what you create. You have no idea what joy I get from sharing our work and creations with you and hearing your positive feedback.

However, from time to time we do get complaints about availability, which I welcome (after all, we always want to improve) though I have to say, also trouble me greatly because Plucky is all about pleasing our customers.

To address those occasional complaints and confusion, allow me for a moment to reflect on where we’ve been and where we are today.

When I first began dyeing yarn in my tiny cottage I never would have imagined five years later it would have become my full time job. Plucky has grown from a single person–me!–to a small group of family members (and friends who are truly family – literally I’ve known them about as long as I’ve know my own sister) who work with me to get your yarn to you.

While the Plucky team has increased slightly in number, all Plucky yarns are still created by Hayley (my sweet and just as nutty sister who totally gets my passion and, dare I say it, crazy) and Tiffany (dear cousin and raiser of sheep… stay tuned) and, of course, Ryan, who tells us what to do and when to do it and me. We all work very hard to hand dye your yarn in just the right shade(s), and we continue to take great joy in sharing it with our customers – many of whom have become dear friends.

While production is increasing a bit you still will not be able find it in stores all over the country (just a few carefully chosen stores) or available 24/7 on the internet because Plucky can only be produced through a personal, passionate, handmade process. That is just how I feel it needs to be done.

Please know that all of my business decisions are made with you in mind and I am constantly working with my team (ok, my family and a few special friends who, for better or worse, have to stick with me) to find new and better ways to serve you and get yarn to you more easily and often. After all, as I mentioned earlier, the heart and soul of Plucky is you, our wonderful customers.

On another very positive note, there are several exciting things on the horizon for 2013, the most exciting of which is a new studio!! Do you know what that means?! We will be even more productive and not so at the mercy of mother nature as we have been (-9 degrees in January and 108 in July. Oy….).

I have also made changes in the administration and organization of customer service inquiries and emails as well as the shipping and tagging of the yarn. We also will be re-vamping our website. All of this will help me focus on what I love—dyeing, dreaming up colors, bases, kits and working with designers and, of course, chatting and knitting along with you lovelies online!

So, after all that rambling – really the one thing I want you to know is:

My priority has always been, and will continue to be, my online customers. It is where I started and where my focus will remain. This community we have created is so special and I feel very strongly that we keep it open, warm and welcoming.

Please know how much I appreciate you. I do not your take interest and enthusiasm for granted nor will I ever. It is never lost on me that you have many options where you could spend your hard earned money and precious time, and I am so honored that you choose Plucky.

Lizards n stuff ~

You guys sure know your lizards! Sorry about the delay in announcing the winner – we experienced some technical difficulty with the blog so I thought it only right to wait an extra day or so for more entries. The winner of the Plucky swag is:

Samantha who guessed: “Northern Alligator Lizard! So cute!”

And, because I think it is never a bad thing to have more prizes to give-away and because I can, we have a second winner:

Karate – “I do believe this is a wee alligator lizard. I think.”

Congratulations ladies! Please email me your contact and mailing information (thepluckyknitter at gmail.com) so that I can get your goodies to you the first of the week. Thanks to all of you for playing along. You know how I just love contests and quizzes…. thanks for indulging me.

know your lizard

Sneak peek at the next sweater kit….. details to come.

final-03416

Photo courtesy Splityarn

final-03307

Photo courtesy Splityarn

Plucky On The Road ~

OpenHouse-blog

I’m thrilled that Melynda and Jill invited me to their neck of the woods for a Plucky trunk show. If you’re able, won’t you join us?

Join in the yarny fun!
Saturday, March 12th
10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Hartland, MI

To R.s.v.p. and get directions, email Melynda at melynda@frenchpressknits.com

Hosted by:
Melynda Bernardi, (French Press Knits)
Jill Zielinski, (Knitterella)

Week in review~

heap o' primo

There were heaps and heaps of yarn.

...

Heaps of yarn that were so large they required the use of a forklift. Who’d have thought? Forklift’s and yarn.

...

There was dyeing (of course!). New repeatables as a matter of fact.

Rusty Pumpkin - the repeatable

Rusty Pumpkin

Oatmeal & Barely Birch

Oatmeal & Barely Birch and one more that has yet to make its appearance – probably Monday.

parade continues

And the parade of test knits continues. Once they have all made their way back to the studio I will certainly be posting a ‘Test Knits 2011 Class Picture’.  I’m going to need so many mannequins/busts/hands/feet/stands as I can’t bear the thought of not having every last one of these displayed at the Plucky booth. You guys have totally out-done yourselves. I have the best knitting friends/customers. Ever.

In other random news~

  • Tops movies of the week at the studio:
  • Next update will be Tuesday, February 15th at Noon Eastern. More details to come both here, in Ravelry, Facebook and the enewsletter.
  • A color has been decided on for this months shipment of Classics and dyeing has begun!
  • Pre-orders. Neck deep in pre-orders which will begin shipping the end of next week.

Happy Friday everyone!

And Duh! There was some knitting too! Finished Ida’s Kitchen (and technically I finished it last Friday morning at about 12:30 a.m. – that’s counts as within the past week, right?).
Ida's Kitchen

Loved it so much that I’m now attempting a cowl (similar to the September Circle) with more plucky cashmere scraps. Color + cashmere around the neck – what’s not to love about that?!

perhaps

A little out of the ordinary ~

I’m doing something a bit out of the ordinary this week. Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26th (and then randomly through the rest of the week) I’m going to be listing some onesie/twosies of, well, everything (cashmere, primo, some old bases (oldies but goodies!) and a few repeatable left-overs) in the etsy shop.

The reason for this is simple. I’ve graduated to using grown-up accountant (as opposed to me clunking through the whole process) who has asked that I do inventory.  So, as of January 31 it’s my our goal to be starting with a clean slate.

Just one more thing I’m trying to hand-off to someone else so I can focus on the Plucky end of things. Let’s face it, it’s what we probably all want me focusing on – color, yarn, bases, sweater ideas, kits, etc. I couldn’t be less of a numbers person if I tried – so to hand this off to someone else, well, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention…. they’re all on sale and free shipping too! Here’s a great chance to get some lovely one-of-a-kinds for some kicky late-winter accessories.  Speaking of accessories:

Vine Loop

What a ridiculously good time I’m having knitting this cowl. Such a fun, engaging pattern. Engaging enough to be entertaining, easy enough that you can step away from your knitting, pick it back up and know just where you are. Highly, highly recommend!

cilantro

Oh, and all the test knits are arriving!

  • Cilantro
  • Plucky Knitter Merino SW Worsted

Retooling~

New year, time to change things up a bit, don’t you think? I’ve received some great feedback from you for a re-vamped Plucky Classics (sign-ups coming this week).  In addition to re-vamped Classics, I’m looking forward to offering quarterly sweater clubs (similar to Moody Broody Grey Club) and even creating some monthly luxury clubs throughout the year. Plucky will also be hitting the road and attending more shows than ever before…. Sock Summit here we come! So, long story short, 2011 is set to be a year of new and exciting experiences for all of us!

Oh, and get this…..(pinch me because I can hardly believe it myself) our Ravelry group hit 1,000 members as of early this morning. All I can say is be prepared for a big celebration with a contest and giveaways!

Let’s see, what else? A very little bit of knitting but a whole lot of cleaning and reorganization.  The studio was on the receiving end of a little retooling last week. Nothing crazy, just a nice deep clean and moved things around a bit. A fresh perspective – it sure does wonders for clearing the head.

monday's mess

Vintage Steelcase file cabinet in the most perfect yellow.

coming up

Getting ready for the first update of 2011!

grey cables

Winter Wonder – Plucky Merino Lite, Dark & Stormy. I’m crazy head over heels for gray + cables.

company

Sam can’t seem to keep up with the hectic pace

A New Toy & A Mailing List ~

Yep, I was serious  about the camera. I  adore  Amazon – not only are they super fast, but they have a fabulous selection and great prices. What’s not to love?  

 

What’s that on my head you ask? Why that is the beret! Can you believe it? I knit something!

And, because I promised to show more pictures of the test knits (and I wanted to  test out the new camera…..here are a few more pics of test  knits they had yet to make their appearance….).  

Mad Color Weave by Mai – Yes, you’ve seen these before, but here they are modeled on my feet – See Mai…. they fit!

Knit by  Anna, Anna of the Flying Fingers fame. Please see Anna’s post for lovely modeled shots, but I couldn’t resist playing with the macro setting. It’s the Diamond Fantasy Shawl – so pretty!

And then we have the Easy Flame Lace scarf knit by Rachel  and the Opera Scarf knit by Nicole. Thank you ladies!

And, one more FO for Plucky Girl (took one Grey’s episode and 1/2 an ER). Just your basic drop stitch scarf with fringe. Yarn by FeltStudioUK – Retro colorway.

Recently I have had quite a lot of people ask if I had a mailing list to notify of shop updates. If you are interested in having your name added to  my mailing list, please leave me a comment to that affect and I will add you to the list that I will be making up this weekend. Please rest assured I will keep your information strictly confidential.

I Thought I Smelled Something Funny ~

etsy-listings-017.JPG  Taken just after I put out the flames (because I thought the Mr. Plucky would frown upon me looking for my camera prior to putting out the fire). FYI~ Latex gloves and plastic pitcher cover on top of ceramic spoon rest = very flammable.

 Yes, those are Mt. Palomar Oberservatorysalt n pepper shakers. I have my yarn, he has his astro, space geek  stuff. Boy, I really liked that spoon rest too.

And no, my stove is not usually this messy…. that is soot you see. It seems I turned the wrong burner on, walked away (ok, got distracted by some yarn) and then there was the smell, closely followed by the billowing smoke coming from the kitchen, then the flames. Oh. The. Flames. Not sure, but I may need to pick out a new color to paint my kitchen.

charade-w-wonky-toe.jpg  A finished Charade sock. There has been a bit of knitting here, not much, but enough to finish my sock and start a hat for Plucky girl…she has been waiting very patiently.

Extreme Makeover  – TPK edition:

tpk-makeover.jpg           bt-lamp-2.jpg  Lighting sale at Pier 1  and Boston Terrier picture from here.

Well, not that extreme, but new lighting and a bit of organization. Stacey has the best lighting. Granted, mine isn’t even remotely as kicky as hers, but I am still embarrassingly excited about  the new  teal drum lamp and olive lamp.

Thanks for all your nice comments about the recent update. Have more to add, so check back often – I got really dye crazy. So this next batch that will be posted is really fun.

I Ordered the Red & A Shop Update ~

Shop update. Yay!! And, don’t forget to play along with the contest….tonight is the last night. Pluky girl (a.k.a. the random number generator) will be picking the winning entry tomorrow.

 

Petifores – 100% Merino Wool Fingering

 

Lt. Dan – 100% Merino Wool

 

Shrimp  Gumbo  – BFL Alpaca

 

Little Lambs Eat Ivy – BFL Suri Alpaca

 

Bronze Age – 50/50 Silk Merino Wool Lace Weight

 

Rose Quartz – 50/50 Silk Merino Lace Weight

 

Pewter Goblet – 50/50 Silk Merino Lace Weight

These and quite a few more are now available in the shop. Thanks for looking!

Red or Brown? ~

carine-red.jpg     or    brown.jpg

I have the black (you may remember this). Bought and black and wear them all.the.time. Comfy and cute. Can’t ask for more than that. They go with everything! So, of course, I want a pair in another color? Opinions…..please…..

 Here are the Charades  (yarn is Summer of Love 80/20 Merino Cashmere blend)  – coming along very nicely. Since I was suppose to be dyeing today (got a bit done) and it has since started raining, I have been able to really kick these into gear. Might even have done tonight (Forest Gump is on – perfect knitting movie).

 

Do you think the yarn is too busy for the pattern?

Speaking of patterns: Kirsten  and I are collaborating. She is designing some kicky patterns  exclusively for Plucky yarn. What talent she has. So, in the next few weeks there will be two patterns available that compliment the yarn. Don’t know about you, but I love to have pattern ideas already in mind when I get new yarn.

Don’t forget to play along with the contest. Comments are open until midnight tomorrow. Thanks for playing along.

Oh, and a few updates to the shop have been made this evening – more to come as soon as they are finished drying.

Project Spectrum, Eye Candy Friday & Things I Love ~

things-i-love-use.jpg

Not sure if this qualifies for Eye Candy Friday, Project Spectrum or just a random post. Let’s say it’s all three – shall we?

Project Spectrum  – Generally I am not a fan of purple (as in purple to wear) however, I do like purple accents on various things and I think it is a brilliant  accompaniment  to  all  the rich  Fall colors that I am so fond of. The purple beads pictured belong to Plucky girl (she is patiently waiting for me to fix the clasp for her, but in the meantime they reside in my Bauer fan bowl. Which just happens to be the happiest of oranges).

The boots? Well, let’s just say I will wear these boots until they can no longer be re-soled and they fall off my feet. Not only are they the best color, they are comfy and go with everything (at least I make them go with everything) and they have sentimental value – a gift from Mr. Plucky. Got to love Kenneth Cole. This Fall will be their third season and they are just getting broken in. I love them.

It’s harvest time in the Plucky container gardens – the yellow tomatoes are on. These, however, look a bit more orange to me (must have been left the on the vine a tad too long). Looking forward to having these sliced for lunch today.

It is absured how happy this new creamer has made me today. Caramel – Love. Hazelnut – Love. Together = Coffee Bliss.

 Well, off to the dye pot to dye some yarns to go with Project Spectrum – Thank you, Lolly, for the inspiration.

What I did on my summer vacation ~

Just a couple of peeks at what has been cooking around here:

audreys-lace-soaking.jpg  Audrey’s Lace – Soaking……

green-merino-silk.jpg  Basil Bliss…… It’s approx 1,400 yards of 50% merino 50% silk – too lovely to believe. Various shades of vibrant moss, sage and faded greens. This would make a gorgeous shawl/wrap. This will show up on etsy later tonight or tomorrow.

1311.JPG  Speaking of basil – what should I do with all of this? I have three basil plants that are going crazy. It is such a shame to let it all go to waste. Let’s just say there is enough to keep me in caprese salads for the next year. All you talented and clever ladies (and any fellas out there) must know what to do with a bumper crop of basil. Maybe you know of ways to preserve it for the winter months, any recipes to use now?

raspberry-kiss-merino-silk.jpg  Raspberry Kiss  -More 50/50 merino silk lace – 1,050 yards of laceweight.

Then, this came in the mail today…. a little yarny goodness from Hello Yarn and the Yarntini Sock Club – boy these ladies are talented!!!

maisy-day-handspun.jpg  Yarrow – Hand Dyed & Hand Spun

122.JPG  Mint Mojito – Verigated