Last weekend I attended another meeting of the Big Apple Knitter’s Guild. If you live in the New York City area, I highly recommend attending one of their monthly meetings, held at the All Souls Church on the Upper East Side. There are plenty of members who come to the meetings from the outer boroughs, and even Westchester. I feel that is a great indication of how fun and informative these meeting are. When I arrived, the room was buzzing with excitement, there were lots of new faces and almost everyone had their knitting out, and was knitting up a storm. The first order of business was “show and tell,” during which members stood up and modeled projects they had finished. Two of my favorites were:Elizabeth Zimmerman’s classic, Ribwarmer, which a member had knit in worsted green tweed; and, this geometric fair-isle, multicolored hat. Which, coincidentally, 2 different members presented at this meeting. Click Here for pattern. However, the highlight of the meeting was the talk and slide presentation from Jane, Ken and Nancy of Jade Sapphire Yarns.
Ken and Jane started the company selling imported cashmere from Mongolia directly to knitters. They now sell their yarns wholesale, through hundreds of yarn shops as well as to designers and manufacturers around the world.
Ken gave an excellent talk about sourcing their yarn from Mongolia, including the difficulty of raising cashmere goats in the US. He also went in-depth describing visiting the farms and factories there, and showed slides from their travels. He told us that cashmere is the only natural fiber where the demand outpaces the supply… (That explains why it is so expensive!) I learned that each goat only produces about 7oz of usable fiber each year. That’s only 3.5 skeins of Jade Sapphire’s 4 ply cashmere, or enough to make a couple of hat and scarf sets, or 1 small sweater!Ken recommends this website: http://cashmere.org for anyone who is interested in learning more about cashmere. [caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="407"] Jade Sapphire Hand-Dyed Cashmere in “Lupine” Color 51[/caption]
Nancy Ricci spoke next, and gave a detailed and fascinating personal history of her life leading up to becoming a designer for Jade Sapphire Yarns. She learned to knit as an adult and worked at yarn shops, learning and improving her craft until she met Ken and Jane from Jade Sapphire yarns. She now designs many of their patterns, using 1 or 2 skeins of yarn, to make the projects accessible to a wider range of knitters. She is an extremely talented woman and even can be seen modeling many of her designs on the Jade Sapphire website.
At the end of the meeting, there were cashmere kits for sale from Jade Sapphire, as well as samples of their yarns, available for “yarn tastings.” It was a great idea because many BAKG members tried these yarns and fell in love at first stitch!
I am looking forward to my next BAKG meeting and all the new people and things I will encounter there. Do you have similar meetings in your area? Please comment below and tell me all about it.