It’s already the end of February! How did we get here?! Two months of 2020 are already gone, and I have not made much progress on my Make 9 challenge so far. In any case, it means that spring is nearly here, which means new colours, new yarns, new patterns and more. Today, we’re doing our THIRD seasonal preview and talking about the new SweetGeorgia Spring and Summer 2020 collection.
But before I go on, I wanted to share one… okay, maybe two, big bits of news.
As you may know, in September 2020, SweetGeorgia will be celebrating its 15 year anniversary. It’s a big year of transitions.
The first is that we’re moving our SweetGeorgia studio and expanding into a newer, bigger space later on this year. It’s not happening yet, but later this summer we will move to a new studio space that will house our brand new dye studio, retail showroom, and all of our workspaces, including a dedicated film set for the School of SweetGeorgia. This means we’ll be able to film content more easily and more consistently, which means more courses and workshops for the School! I’ll share more details later this year, including taking you on a tour inside the space, but right now I just wanted to give you the heads up that we will be moving later this year. It’s not very far from where we are right now – about a 5-10 minute drive, and still in Vancouver. Interestingly, in our SweetGeorgia survey, many of you said your wish was that we relocate SweetGeorgia to YOUR home town… and failing that, that we move to a place closer to public transit. So, we’re doing that! The new studio will be significantly easier to get to by public transit.
The second transition I wanted to give you the heads up about is a little re-branding we are planning to do, also later this summer. With a new studio and a new address, we need to refresh pretty much every single document, booklet and postcard we have, so it gives us an opportunity to do a brand refresh. So, you might notice some changes to our logos and graphics starting later on this year.
But that’s it for news updates. Let’s talk about colours and yarn!
In addition to the 85 “Core Collection” colour ways we offer, our two seasonal colour collections give us the opportunity as a team to stay really current and involved in the creation and design of new colour recipes and formulas. It is also another creative venue where we tell our stories. I believe that colour is one of the ways we communicate, and the colours that we pull together tell a story. So, let’s talk about this season’s story.
In our 2020 Spring & Summer colour collection, we have twelve new colour ways. Four of them are light and splashy and the rest are dreamy semi-solids. They are meant to feel like warm, beachy sunsets. One of them, one of my favourites, is called Golden Hour. If you do any photography, you might run into this term… it describes the light in the atmosphere for the one or two hours around sunset and the one or two hours around sunrise. It’s at these times of the day when the sun is low in the horizon, and creates the warmest and most beautiful portraits. By contrast, when the sun is at high noon and right above you, the shadows on the face are always harsh and strong. But when you take a photo at “Golden Hour”, it’s just gloriously flattering. So, that’s kind of what this whole collection is about… that dreamy, warm and fuzzy time spent outside.
As always with our new colour ways, we’ve assembled them into two new Party of Five sets. Our first new set is called Spring Fling which includes colours from the collection and is warm and floral, but very mellow. Relaxed, but colourful. The second new Party of Five is called Tofino Roadtrip. Tofino is a little cold-water surf town on Vancouver Island, and in order to get there from Vancouver, you have to take a ferry to the Island, then drive along this long and winding road for about three hours to get to the very tip of a skinny peninsula. Driving that road is a strong memory that has stuck with me for years and years, so it’s probably where the idea for this Party of Five came from. To me, these are the colours you’d see on a trip to Tofino… golden-green sea grass, the colour of the water, clouds, beach, sky. It’s all there.
The next thing we want to talk about is YARN! We are introducing a new yarn for Spring and Summer called SeaSilk Lace. Maybe I should explain that we are, actually, re-introducing it.
Ten years ago or so, we had a lace yarn called SeaSilk Lace that we loved. We used it to knit shawls that were silky, shimmery and drapey. It was gorgeous. And then, somewhat suddenly, we couldn’t get it from our spinning mill anymore, and so we were on the hunt for years for something to replace it with. We were finally able to connect with our mill to re-create this yarn for us!
Our new SeaSilk Lace is a heavy 2-ply lace-weight yarn that runs almost 500 yards for a 3.5 oz (100 g) skein of yarn. It’s 65% cultivated silk and 35% SeaCell fibre. The feel of this yarn is buttery soft, shimmery and drapey – just like we wanted. Sometimes, knitters or crocheters are intimidated about working with lace-weight yarn because it feels as though it goes slowly, but this lace yarn is on the heftier side, and so is easier to hold and get a grip on. We also often talk about how lace is a really great value in terms of making projects because one skein will typically make an entire shawl, so you can get one skein of lace-weight yarn and still make a project!
Finally, let’s talk about SeaCell. As earlier mentioned, these skeins are 35% SeaCell fibre. What is that? Where did it come from? SeaCell is a cellulose fibre made from seaweed. Actually, it’s from a brown algae called Knotted Wrack which belongs to the seaweed family. The seaweed is extracted and combined with lyocell, which is the wood pulp of eucalyptus trees. Tencel is the other name for lyocell, so if you know what Tencel feels like, you’ll have an idea what SeaCell feels like… very soft, silky, and smooth, and it’s entirely plant-based.
Again, referring to the customer survey we did a few weeks ago, the majority of our customers are looking for merino and silk yarns, but one of the requests that we’ve heard from customers over the years has been to add more non-wool yarns to our collection. That is why we brought in our Flaxen Silk line which contains linen and silk, and now our SeaSilk Lace which contains SeaCell and silk. No wool – simply cellulose fibres blended with silk. Since our dyes stick to the silk portion and not the cellulose portion, the colours dye a little bit lighter than on a wool yarn like our Tough Love Sock.
Okay, we’ve talked about new colours and yarns, so now let’s talk about new patterns!
Last year, Tabetha our SweetGeorgia Design Director and I decided to make an intentional change to what we publish for knitting and crochet patterns. We realized there is already a HUGE number of patterns available out there. I was on the new Interweave website a couple of days ago and by Interweave alone, there are 9,000 patterns. We have published more than 200 patterns and I don’t even know how many patterns there are on Ravelry anymore. A lot… there’s just a lot. We wanted to be very specific about adding value to our community and so we wanted to publish patterns and designs that would help teach fundamental skills. This spring, we published four new knitting patterns that all have some easy and accessible lace pattern in them. There are two garments: an open cardigan vest called Spring Petals with a bit of lace at the shoulders and hem, plus a tank top with lace on the back and at the hem, called Early Dewdrops. There are also two shawls: a triangle shawl called First Blooms which blends two colours together in a really lovely way, and a big square shawl called Misty Morn which is knit from the centre outwards.
Lace knitting seems really kind of intimidating, like something you need to work up to. But it is actually a lot more accessible than you think. I always tell people, if you can make knits and purls and yarn overs and decreases, you can knit lace. That’s basically all it is. Knits and purls, yarnovers and decreases. And if you have been interested in learning to knit lace, we made a workshop for it on the School of SweetGeorgia. Tabetha hosts our latest workshop called “Become a Lace Knitter” and she goes through the basics about how to knit lace, from showing you how lace stitches are made to reading lace charts. If you’re interested in checking out our new lace knitting workshop, you can find it at: schoolofsweetgeorgia.com.
So, that is it for today! We talked about new colours, new yarns, new patterns, new workshops for the School, and the fact that we are moving our studio in the summer. There is a lot happening at SweetGeorgia and LOTS more to come as well. Thank you for joining us here!