North, to Alaska

What I Did On Summer Vacation, by Doug Kreinik

For summer vacation this year, my wife Myla and I sought out an adventure as a relief after the death of our son Charles. We wanted to get away, do something different, go somewhere that we'd never been before. We chose Alaska, land of glaciers, whales, seals and open space, and booked an Alaskan cruise.

The trip began with flight delays, missed flights, and late flights, but then we eventually landed in Vancouver, British Columbia, the second most expensive city in the world after Hong Kong. The air was clean, the vistas beautiful, the parks magnificent and the food great. We took a guided bus tour around the city and discovered beautiful Stanley Park, named after the founder of hockey's Stanley Cup.  It had very tall trees, wonderful bike paths and great views.

The ship left from Vancouver Harbor. We walked through line after line, got our passports stamped, pictures taken, answered security questions, had our luggage examined, and eventually marched aboard.  The first event was eating, of course, which we did and continued to do for eight days.

It was fun to meet people from all over the world on the cruise. Being from West Virginia is an anomaly, for most people have never met anyone from this state, so I suspect we were a novelty to some ("We met West Virginians!") Being on ship was like being in a floating mall, however, and we were constantly being bombarded with products to purchase, spa packages, special dinners and photographic moments to buy. Myla had given me a FitBit for Father's Day, so I tracked every step I took on board. I would often walked more than 10000 steps a day (outwalking the sales people?).  Myla had a pedometer, so we would compete as to who had had the greatest number of steps.

We portaged in Ketchikan, Alaska, where we saw a lot of eagles. There are more than 17,000 eagles in Alaska, so numerous that they are almost like pigeons are to New York. We also toured Dolly's House, the last house of ill repute (prostitution) from mid 20th century, which is now just a museum. Coincidently, one of our tour guides was from West Virginia. Small world.

Other stops on the cruise blended together in some ways. Workers from all over the world come to Alaska in the summer and work in the jewelry stores lining the main streets set up by the cruise lines. We saw the same shops in all the cities we visited on the cruise: Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway and Wittier. In other ways, however, the stops were fun and interesting. I had no idea, for example, that Juneau cannot be reached by road from the lower 48 States. The very cute town Talkeetna, near Denali, was the model for the television show Northern Exposure. I asked a local if they catapulted pianos.

We learned many interesting tidbits on the trip. For example, reindeer are domesticated caribou. Some of the rivers are filled with so much sediment from the glaciers that they are not passable because a boat will not float on the muck. The main extent of the Alaskan gold rush last only two years. Only 30% percent of tourists who go to Denali Park actually see Mt. McKinley (Denali) due to weather, and the others are forced to take photos of photos. Amazing as it might seem, most of Alaska is a cold desert with less than 14 inches of moisture a year. Being from a small town in West Virginia, I was stunned to discover that Fairbanks is smaller than Parkersburg, WV with only 30,000 residents.

We almost made it to the Arctic Circle, short of 2 degrees.  We almost saw the Northern Lights, but you find that only during the winter months. We almost saw a moose, but missed by three hours.  We almost saw a pod of whales (should have gone later in the day). Early morning tours saw a grizzly bear, but we toured in the afternoon.  The tour the day after ours saw Mt.McKinley (Denali) on a breathtakingly clear day.

I did get to visit numerous needlework, knitting and bead shops through the coastal area and up towards Fairbanks. One shop I visited was Changing Tides in Juneau. They carry Kreinik threads and have a nice mix of needlepoint, cross stitch and quilting. 

Overall what I did on my summer vacation was was spiritual, quiet, beautiful, memorable, peaceful and just fun. We are glad that we experienced this extraordinary expanse of our country. If you get the opportunity to visit Alaska, we recommend it.





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Kreinik Manufacturing Receives Governor Award

KREINIK MANUFACTURING RECEIVES GOVERNOR AWARD PARKERSBURG, WV—Parkersburg resident Doug Kreinik, owner of Kreinik Manufacturing Company, was recognized this month by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for being one of West Virginia's top exporters. Kreinik manufactures threads for hand and machine embroidery, weaving, knitting, fashion and fly fishing at its Gihon Road facility.

Department of Commerce Secretary Keith Burdette joined Governor Tomblin and members of the West Virginia Export Council at a ceremony in Charleston on July 21, 2015, to recognize West Virginia's top exporters for their success in international markets. Mr. Kreinik received the Governor's Commendation for International Market Entry for expanding to markets in Croatia and Rwanda this past year.

Kreinik Manufacturing was established in the 1970s by Mr. Kreinik's parents, Jerry and Estelle Kreinik, as a way to bring interesting threads and needlework accessories to stitchers, sewers, weavers, and knitters. Expanded over the years and now offering thousands of products, Mr. Kreinik operates the company on core values of supporting independent businesses, artists, and community programs, plus encouraging creativity in everyone.

Kreinik's small but dedicated staff now manufactures threads and products that are sold all over the world. "Kreinik is recognized for high quality product," Mr. Kreinik commented. "We could not do this without the competent people who work here."

The company recently opened a factory outlet store at the facility, 1708 Gihon Road, which is open during weekday business hours. For company information, visit www.kreinik.com.
Photo Caption: “Parkersburg business owner Doug Kreinik receiving recognition from Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for success in reaching new international markets. Photo courtesy of Office of the Governor.”


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Mid Atlantic Fiber Association fiber fest this week

If you live near or within driving distance of Pennsylvania, come to the MAFA 2015 workshop and fiber festival at Millersville University, in Millersville, Pennsylvania. The Mid-Atlantic Fiber Association's annual conference features a vendor area that is open to the public. You will find all kinds of fiber goodies — including Kreinik threads. Doug Kreinik will be there too, so stop by to pick up your daily dose of Kreinik fiber and say hello.

The conference runs July 16 through 19, and you can find the class list and shopping information here: http://www.mafa-conference-2015.org/

MAFA is a non-profit organization supporting the fiber arts in the mid-atlantic area. It includes guilds from eight states, with interests from spinning, weaving, felting to temari and more. Any organized guild of handweavers or related fiber activities may apply for membership. Visit www.mafafiber.org for information.





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New Yarn Holder for Knitting and Crochet

Once in awhile we come across a tool that is so helpful, we have to share. Introducing the "Yarn It" accessory, which is not made by Kreinik, but is useful for anyone knitting or crocheting with Kreinik. It holds you yarn ball and Kreinik spool in one place as you stitch.

Somehow this yarn holder seems so much easier, cuter, more mobile-friendly than some of the others we've seen on the market. Designed by Kate Sullivan out of necessity, it is made in the USA. "I am the proud owner of every bag and organizer out there, still nothing was doing it for me," Kate said. "My "aha" moment happened at 30,000 feet. My yarn fell out of my lap, rolling under multiple passenger seats behind me and all over the grimy floors of the airplane. By the time passengers were able to kick it back to me it was covered with months of crumbs, dirt and who knows what else from the airplane floor."

Kate adds, "Then the 4-hour drive in the car back and forth every weekend [to the farmhouse they were renovating] was prime yarning time but now, unavoidably, the car floor was covered in mud, stones and bits & pieces from the construction and was wicked when my yarn fell from my bag or lap to the car floor mat." So she invented the Yarnit.

By the way, this homegrown product development is something we can relate to: Kreinik Manufacturing Company began when Estelle Kreinik made the first thread organizer on the market, back in the 1970s, when she found her threads all over the place in the car, on the Kreinik's many road trips.

But anyway, what's so great about the Yarn It? Take a look at the video here to see all the fun details. Inventor Kate shows us how to use it, and we show you how to use it with Kreinik thread. It just makes knitting or crocheting easier, and we're all for that!



Details:
  • See www.theyarnit.com
  • Travel yarn holder. Protects your yarn from dirt, pets, and rolling on the floor. Holds a ball of yarn and a Kreinik spool of Blending Filament or Ombre.
  • Docking slots keep needle tips and stitches safe when you aren't knitting or crocheting. 
  • The base stores stitch markers, darning needles, etc. 
  • It is sized to sit in the cup holder of your car, tray table of a plane, train and bus, or the arm of your beach chair. (Side note: we don't recommend knitting and driving at the same time)
  • Built in strap allows you to suspend the Yarnit from your shoulder or chair.
  • It is made of Lexan, which is a polycarbonate used in things like race car windows, hurricane windows, transparent visors for astronauts, hockey and football players, etc. 
  • The base is made from a polymer that is highly flexible, affording a solid grip to any surface. It comes in a variety of colors.

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The Art Of Needlepoint Cats

Forget about the dog days of summer, we all know that cats rule the space-time continuum. If you haven't already fallen in love with internet cat sensations Lil Bub, Grumpy Cat, George2Legs, Maru, Snoopy the Cat, Colonel Meow, Nala, Cooper the Photographer Cat, then you're probably using your time wisely, and we a-paws you, er, APPLAUD you.

For the rest of us who love cats, there's a must-have needlepoint canvas line from designer Marla Pelz of MAP Designs to stitch and show all of our friends, or at the very least hang in our hallway galleries. Each design is a cat-take on a famous painting or famous painter's style. Marla has stitch guides for several, and often uses Kreinik metallic threads. A favorite is using Kreinik Hot-Wire wired #16 Braid for the cat whiskers.

Designs like Pecasto, Chatese, Toolooz, Melo, Catzoir and Vengo are purrfect—sorry, can't help it—perfect for offering a classic design, with a cat motif, for your own artistic interpretation. Your stitches and threads are your paints…and your MAP cat design will be one-of-a-kind.

Marla has been designing hand painted needlepoint canvases for several years. She also owned a retail shop specializing in needlepoint, knitting and crochet. Today she focuses on the painted canvas line as well as teaching classes in her studio near Los Angeles, California. You can see more of Marla's designs on her website http://www.mapdesignsneedleworks.com/ or in needlepoint stores.

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How to use Kreinik metallic threads with a Zoom Loom

If you have a spool of Kreinik metallic thread, you can do many things: cross stitch, needlepoint, knit or crochet jewelry, tie a fly fishing lure, make a tatted ornament, stitch on a card or scrapbook page, wrap something, make string art, hang something, cord some piping, and even weave. Swedish weaving and pin loom weaving are particularly perfect for Kreinik's standard sized spools (10 meters). So grab one of your extra Kreinik colors—maybe one you bought because you loved the color but haven't used in a project yet—and let's get started weaving…

First you will need a small pin loom, like a Zoom Loom by Schacht. This tiny hand loom has pins in place that allow you to weave in and out quickly, making a woven square that you can then transform into many items. Designer Deb Essen, for instance, has a line of stuffed animals made from squares. At the TNNA Columbus trade show this month, she is releasing a line of Christmas ornaments made out of Zoom Loom squares. You can also combine them into scarves, sweaters, blankets, etc.

Pin looms have been around for awhile, but they are seeing a resurgence because they use up yarn stashes, you can use any kind of fiber, they make quick projects, and they are travel size. Doug Kreinik and his brother had pin looms as children, and they made hundreds of little squares that their mother, company founder Estelle Kreinik, could turn into an afghan. (Side note: about 30 years later, Doug found the box of squares in his mother's closet, still waiting to be sewn into something. Don't be sad for Doug, though: some of those squares eventually appeared in an issue of Piecework magazine.) Once you get started making your squares, be sure to turn them into something.

How do you use Kreinik metallic threads in a Zoom Loom? The answer: just like any other yarn. We like to combine the thinner Kreinik metallics like Blending Filament, Very Fine #4 Braid, Fine #8 Braid, and Ombre with other yarns as a way to create custom blends, or dress up plain yarns. See the photos for one idea, combining Kreinik gold Ombre with a camouflage colored yarn. You can also use the heavier Kreinik metallics by themselves for a bold, contemporary woven look.

Top tips:
  • When you use a carry-along fiber in crochet, knitting or weaving, keep a watchful eye on the two fibers, making sure you don't separate them with your needle or hook. 
  • You can also use the heavier Kreinik Braids and Ribbons by themselves in your pin loom, although the final result may be a bit stiffer. These threads are ideal for projects that won't be worn.
  • Metallic threads don't have the elasticity of cotton or wool yarns. You can still wash items made with metallic threads, but they may not shrink stretch like other types of fibers.
  • In all Zoom Loom projects, watch that your tension isn't too tight. 
  • Weave carefully or slowly to avoid tangling, twisting, and knotting of the thread.
Kreinik metallic threads are also used on rigid-heddle looms, but you need larger cones for those projects. However a simple, small spool of Kreinik is all you need on a pin loom. Grab your favorite color and start weaving! It's simple, quick and fun—a perfect creative activity for kids and adults this summer.





More information:
  • For info on Deb Essen's designs, see http://www.djehandwovens.com/
  • For Kreinik threads, see http://www.kreinik.com
  • For shops and designers visiting the TNNA needlearts trade show this upcoming weekend in Columbus, Ohio, visit the Kreinik booth #918 for fibers, and DJE Handwoven's booth for patterns

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Rainy Day Cowl

Rainy Day Cowl

Designed by Diane Zangl using Kreinik Twist, a soft 3-ply carry-along metallic

Kreinik's unique line of knitting yarns offers you options: 1. the option to add any layer of sparkle to a design (choose single ply, 3-ply, 6-ply, or 8-ply metallic), and 2. the option to create your own yarn blends (combine colors to match outfits). With Kreinik carry-along metallics, designs are transformed from blah to gorgeous while you create a unique look all your own.

Diane Zangl has created this quick cowl project with these options in mind. You make a basic pattern even prettier with the super-soft Kreinik Twist, using a silver that complements any yarn (from your favorite yarn store or from your stash). We picked a wonderful cashmere blend from Trendsetter Yarns because when you are wearing something around your neck, it should be dreamy. Don't skimp on your knitting and crochet yarns—you will feel the difference.

Wear this cowl scarf inside a coat for added warmth on cool spring nights, as an extra layer on blustery winter days, or drape it over a blouse or dress for a casual look. The scarf begins with seeded rib and features a delicate 2-row openwork pattern. It is worked circular. Both sides are equally attractive, which doubles the options.

LEVEL: Intermediate

MEASUREMENTS: 10 inches high and 24 inches around

MATERIALS NEEDED:
•   Trendsetter’s Lotus Yarns, Silky Cashmere Fingering, 55% silk, 45% Mongolian cashmere (2 oz/ 400 yds per skein): 1 skein #09 Denim
•   Kreinik Twist (3-ply, 65% Cupro, 35% Polyester) 1 cone #001 Silver
•   Size 7 (4.5mm) 24” circular needles or size needed to obtain gauge
•   Stitch marker
GAUGE
20 sts x 26 rnds = 4” in Main pattern stitch
To save time, take time to check gauge.

DESIGNER NOTES
Cowl is worked with 2 strands Silky Cashmere and 1 strand Twist held together throughout.

STITCH GLOSSARY
CDD (Centered Double Decrease): Sl 2 sts tog knitwise to RH needle, knit next st, pass 2 sl sts over knit st. Center st wil lie on top of other 2 sts.

COWL
Cast on 132 sts. Join without twisting, placing marker between first and last st.
Begin Border pattern
Rnd 1: *K1, p1; rep from * around.
Rnd 2: *P1, k1, p1, k3; rep from * around.
Rep these 2 rnds until a total of 7 rnds have been completed.
Begin Main pattern
Rnd 1: *P3, k3; rep from * around.
Rnd 2: *P3, yo, CDD, yo; rep from * around.
Rep last 2 rnds until cowl measures 9” from beg, ending with Rnd 1.
Work 6 rnds in Border pat.
Bind off loosely in Border pat Rnd 1.

Block lightly.

For more designs by Diane Zangl, visit Stitch Witch Designs on Facebook. For more Kreinik Knitting Yarns, visit http://www.kreinik.com/shops/Knitting-Threads-and-Yarns/

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