Come Behind the Scenes at TNNA!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to own a yarn business and to go shopping at industry trade shows? Well wonder no more! I recently returned from San Diego and The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA)’s trade show. Take a sneak peek behind the scenes and find out what I saw, what trends are hot, and what new items we’ll be carrying.

These shows are a great opportunity do in-person all the things that are difficult to do from the office – I get to fondle gorgeous yarns, connect face-to-face with suppliers, find out what’s new in the market, and reconnect with friends I’ve made along this 35-year journey in the business. And you know what they say about all work and no play – we had to fit a few zany photo opportunities into the mix!

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So what’s looking hot for 2014?

LACE

Lace continues to be a big crowd-pleaser – quick and easy lace shawls, gorgeous sweaters, and airy wraps dominated the show floor.

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Gorgeous lace projects on display at TNNA.

BABIES

There are some wonderful new fiber combinations from Berroco, Classic Elite and Tahki Stacy Charles on the way that are perfect for baby projects. Some are of my favorites:

  • silk/cotton/rayon blend
  • cotton/alpaca yarn (an experiment for us adding an animal fiber)
  • A 100% USA-made organic cotton yarn from Appalachian Baby Designs. This was my absolute favorite yarn of the whole show – the softest cotton I’ve seen in a long time!

COLOR

Get ready for bold! Clear and intense pastels are mixing with ethnic-inspired curry tones. Pairing soft shades with vivid brights in the same project creates unexpected and exciting color possibilities! Inspired by a mixture of blooming flowers, travels abroad, and strong, confident women (that’s us!), designers are using color to refresh, revive, and defy conventional color wisdom.

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COMING SOON AT COTTON CLOUDS

You’ll be seeing these trends in full force as we put together the new 2014 items in the Cotton Clouds shop. New yarns, new knit and crochet kits, and of course our continued emphasis on weaving and spinning. We’ll be keeping out social media channels updated as we add new things, so check in with us on Facebook and Ravelry for all the latest news.

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Looking forward to a happy spring 2014 – thanks for making us your place for all that’s warm and good in the natural fiber world!

01/21/2014 at 4:29 am Leave a comment

Easy Gifting: Cotton Clouds Towel Clubs

What’s the perfect way to stay motivated in your weaving all year long while making a great group of projects? A weaving club! Cotton Clouds offers many 6 and 12 month clubs for weavers of all skill levels. Check out these great club options for every weaver’s favorite project: towels.

Towels are a perennial favorite among weavers, and for good reason. With such a simple shape and relatively small size, there are endless ways to experiment! Cotton Clouds Kit of the Month clubs are a great way to try your hand at a lot of projects while reaping plenty of handy benefits:

  • You’ll save time because shipments arrived regularly and include everything you need to get started right away.
  • You’ll stay motivated with a steady delivery of inspiring projects – join any club for 6 months to receive a kit every other month, or choose the 12-month option for a new project each month.
  • And you’ll save money with free shipping and never having to purchase more yarn than you need.

Drop a hint to Santa that a membership in one of our towel clubs is the perfect thing to leave under the tree. Also, for a limited time, the first 25 members in each 12-month club will get our exclusive 2014 Year of Towels calendar!

NEW! Year of Towels Rigid-Heddle Club

Discover and delight in these projects to weave using any two-shaft loom. Weave structures include plain weave, waffle weave, houndstooth plaid, log cabin and pick up stick technique. Click here to learn more.

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Projects from the Year or Towels Rigid-Heddle Club

Treasury of Towels Club

Choose from 6 or 12 projects that are perfect for kitchen, sauna, or bath. Click below to watch a video tour of all the great projects in this club. Click Here to watch Treasury of Towels video.

Click here to learn more.

Winning Towels Kit of the Month Club

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Designing With Color towels

These designs from Handwoven’s 21st Century Towel Contest are perfect for four shafts and will keep you weaving all year long. Choose the basic club to receive enough materials to make 2-3 of each towel, or the deluxe club if you’d like to make 4-6 towels from each kit. A personal favorite from this club are the Designing With Color waffle weave kitchen towels. This is the perfect project for anyone who wants to experiment with color. You will receive four colors to work with; one color for the border and three colors for the waffle weave squares. Click here to learn more.

NEW! Eight-Shaft Towel Club

Not all towels in this club require eight shafts; some use five or six. All, however, show the advantages in design and use of weave structure provided by more than four shafts. Weave towels in M’s and O’s, in variations of lace, undulating twill, and more! Click here to learn more.

Projects from the asdsad

Projects from the 8-Shaft Towel Club

Top 10 Towels Club

Discover and delight in these projects from our newest Best of Handwoven: Top 10 Towels on 4-shafts e-book from Interweave Press. Each of these towel projects (except one which can be adjusted) can be woven on your 18″-20″ four-shaft loom. Click here to learn more.

Projects from the Top 10 Towels Club

Projects from the Top 10 Towels Club

Enjoy one of these clubs and keep yourself weaving all through the year! Or, if the Santa in your family isn’t quite sure which club to choose, there are always gift certificates, which you can spend on joining the club of your choice.

Happy holidays – here’s to a warm and handwoven 2014!

12/15/2013 at 9:45 pm 2 comments

A Year of Towels – Rigid Heddle Weaving

A Year of Towels for Rigid Heddle Weaving now online at CottonClouds.com

Join now!

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About a year ago I had the idea of designing twelve towel projects to share with my fellow rigid heddle weavers.

I started with basic plain weave, adding simple stripes to jazz up my towels, then as the ball got rolling, or should I say the shuttles were flying, I expanded on simple plain weave with some of the many weave structures that our rigid heddle looms allow.

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Weaving towels on my Schacht FLIP Rigid Heddle Loom has always been the most rewarding weaving for me, with the need for minimal finishing  and the many design possibilities.

patterned stripes

As each towel was evolving, the next project idea was beginning to form.   I couldn’t wait to start the next project and I almost felt like I was on a production line!  My shuttles were definitely flying!

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Another great thing about weaving towels is that they can be woven in any size, from small-sized tea towels to generously sized kitchen towels.

There is always a need for kitchen towels.

They make great gifts too! My friends and family love receiving my hand woven towels and almost expect them for their birthday and holiday gifts.

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  Most of these towels are woven in our soft, super-absorbent, all-natural, unmercerized

Aurora Earth 8/2 cotton.

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Each kit comes with all the yarns, instructions and pattern resources you’ll need to weave two to four towels depending on kit.

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Much of my inspiration came from The Weaver’s Idea Book. It’s a great reference for many of the pick up techniques and designs I used in these towels. It’s a must for any rigid heddle weaver’s library!

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When all twelve projects were complete,  I loaded them into two huge shopping bags and drove to my mom’s house for a photo shoot. 

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My mom’s collection of kitchen props is amazing! I was even able to use one of my grandma’s antique cookie jars and we actually ate the pie in one of the photos for Thanksgiving!

LOG CABIN TOWELS

Once we had twelve great weaving projects and twelve great photos, it was time to design the calendar for our “Year of Towels:  Rigid Heddle Weaving”.

Designing the calendar fell into place and presto,  A Year of Towels Kit-of-the-Month Club for Rigid Heddle  was born.

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Order any of these kits individually or join our

Year of Towels Kit-of-the-Month Club

FREE SHIPPING all year when you join!

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Come join the fun!

Your fellow Rigid Heddle weaver at Cotton Clouds,

Jodi Ybarra

12/09/2013 at 4:11 am Leave a comment

Go GREEN, or brown or natural with our 1

Go GREEN, or brown or natural with our 100% color-grown organic cotton yarns, Pakucho! It’s a fair trade yarn so that you can rest assured your purchase is going to provide a fair, living wage for the folks (in Peru) who grow, harvest and process this gorgeous yarn. Available in sport, worsted and finer 10/2 in 12 gorgeous naturally grown colors. Check it out at:http://www.cottonclouds.com/extras/news.asp?id=81

11/26/2013 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

Great Gift Ideas for Everyone On Your List!

Can you believe there are only 5 days until Christmas!

If there are crafty people on your list, sometimes it can be hard to know what to get them. Don’t stress, we’ve got suggestions for great gifts that the fiber-lovers in your life will be happy to receive.

Our Five Tips to Relieve Pre-Season Stress will help you get through the holidays healthier and happier!

FOR THE NOVICE WEAVER

  • Cricket Loom Studio Special: Schacht’s rigid-heddle loom has been making waves recently, and will be featured in the December issue of Martha Stewart Magazine. The Studio Special includes everything needed to learn how to use this great loom: a 10″ or 15″ Cricket loom, The Weaver’s Idea Book, Weaving on a Rigid Heddle DVD, and the Bambu 7 Summer Scarf kit.
  • Anything But Plain Towel Kit: Once you’ve got the basics of the Cricket down, try your hand at the weaver’s perennial favorite project – towels! Each kit comes with enough of our best selling Aurora Earth yarn to make four 16″ x 24″ towels.
  • Yummy BonBons Scarf Kit: Fancy Schmantzy’s scarf kit is woven from a combo of yarns in fiesta colors with plenty of shimmer and sparkle. It’s perfect for weaving on a Cricket loom and is a bold accent to any wardrobe.
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Gifts for the novice weaver, from left: Items in the Cricket Loom Studio Special, Anything But Plain Towel Kit, Yummy BonBons Scarf Kit.

FOR THE ECO-CONSCIOUS

For the sustainably-minded on your list, we love Pakucho Organic Cotton. Not only are these yarns organic and available in 12 naturally-colored shades, but the cotton is also grown and produced on a local cooperative in Peru where all employees make a fair income. Try one of these ideas in Pakucho for a gift that’s gorgeous and green!

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Great ways to give Pakucho organic cotton, clockwise from top left: Crochet Bath Collection kits, Pakucho Shawl/Throw, or gift as yarn (available in Sport, Worsted, and on cones.)

FOR THE SHAWL COLLECTOR

Shawls and scarves are a wardrobe staple for many weavers – you can never have enough! Our kits for these favorite accessories provide just the right amount of yarn in gorgeous color combos so there’s no waste and no need to buy more yarn than you need.

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Shawl and scarf kits we love, clockwise from left: Serenity Shawl, Two-Tone Lace Shawl, Color Horoscope Scarf.

GIFTS UNDER $25

  • Lo-Lo Body Bar: Lo-Lo Bars from Bar-Maids are for people who wish to proactively protect, defend, and restore their skin to baby bottom softness. They’re made with the finest local ingredients available, creating non-greasy, non-sticky, non-flaky combinations that penetrate multiple layers of skin to soften and nourish.
  • Potholder Loom with Cotton Loops: There’s probably someone you know who made potholders on a loom like this when they were a child. It’s one of those wonderful old-fashioned inventions that’s still popular and useful today. Making potholder is also a great activity to do with kids!
  • Cross-Stitch Pillow & Greeting Card: This kit is perfect for the person on your list who loves both weaving and needlepoint. This quick and easy cross-stitch design is done right on the loom while the fabric is under tension for beautiful results!
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Gifts under $25, clockwise from top-left: Lo-Lo Bar, Cross-Stitch Pillow and Greeting Card Kit, Potholder Loom.

For lots more gifting inspiration, check out our Pinterest account! There are more ideas for gifts under $25, Pakucho organic cotton, gorgeous shawl kits, and more! Plus our newest Pinterest Gifts Under $50 will help you choose the perfect gift for someone special!

And if you’re shopping for someone picky or are down to the wire and still haven’t found just the right gift, try a Cotton Clouds gift certificate! Available in any amount over $25, a gift certificate allows the recipient to choose from any of our quality yarns, fibers, kits, club memberships, spinning wheels, weaving looms, books, DVDs and more! Plus, it’s easy to order – we can email or mail the gift certificate to you or directly to recipient.

Wishing you happy hand-made holidays!

11/19/2013 at 9:16 pm Leave a comment

Last day for FreeShip Kit Sale! Save up

Last day for FreeShip Kit Sale! Save up to $24.95 on all knit, weave, crochet, spinning kits. We make it easy for you to craft your holiday gifts with these money-saving kits. Order today and save! http://tinyurl.com/oq5bs33 http://ow.ly/i/3H5PU

11/15/2013 at 1:46 pm Leave a comment

Weave beautiful scarves on a simple loom

Weave beautiful scarves on a simple loom! Cricket Studio Special has everything you need to learn how: loom, book, DVD and yarn! Free scarf kit when you order by November 15, 2013! http://ow.ly/qIhCF http://ow.ly/i/3H6fG

11/12/2013 at 1:25 pm Leave a comment

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