Monday, October 20, 2014

New SE Portland Yarn Store and Boutique opening!

We are finally out of the basement!  Fiber Rhythm Craft & Design will be opening for regular business hours starting this Friday, October 24th at 11 am. Our hours will be Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 6pm.  We've got space in the Brooklyn Business Center right on Milwaukie Ave just south of Powell Blvd.

The address is: 3701 SE Milwaukie Ave, Suite F, Portland, OR 97202

YARNS: we have our Double Bambu yarn, Silk City Fiber's Bambu7 and 12 (cones) and the Metlon reflective yarn (Retroglo) that I have always carried and have in the online store.  We have added an Oregon dyer's (Art by Eve) Betsy, Emma and Anne yarns along with her limited edition Oregon raised yarns. We'll also be carrying Classic Cotton, Donegal Tweed and Tara Tweed from Tahki Stacy Charles.  (The tweeds work well with the reflective yarn)

BOUTIQUE: we have Art by Eve's (hand crafted in Wilsonville) felted soaps, scarves, cowls and shawls (and some kits). We are in the process of stocking jewelry, hand bags and woven items from other local artists/crafts-people.

HALLWAY ART GALLERY: we have Sam Hall Photography in the first showing (mostly nature photographs)

RENTAL ROOMS/EQUIPMENT: Renting by the hour: Sewing room with Pfaff home sewing machine and White Serger; Knitting Machine room with choice of Toyota and Brother mid and standard gauge KMs and a Erlbacher Gearhart Circular reproduction Sock Machine.  Ideal for those who just don't have the equipment or don't have room to keep it set up.

Lots going on!  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Moving Sale!

We're moving the studio to a new space that will allow us to have direct retail as well as online with studio space in the back.... sooooo looking forward to it. We've been painting for 3 days-- I think one more will do it!

While we are prepping for the move, we'd love to reduce inventory (less to move), so the moving sale continues through this Saturday (the 23rd).

Here's a link to our email about it:
Or go directly to Fiber Rhythm online.

25 to 40% off all physical items!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

e-Commerce Migrations

I've been using Zen cart for my e-commerce solution since I started offering product for sale online at Fiber Rhythm Craft & Design.
Since the business was new and I had more time than money to spend, it was a great solution for me. Over the years since I started (almost 7 years now! wow!) I've upgraded multiple times, and implemented other folks' mods countless times. I even developed my own mod that I used for downloadable knitting patterns (later replaced with a filter mod + read-only-attributes). It's been a great outlet for the geek-me that needs hands-on-keyboard problem solving.

Every couple of years-- usually when an upgrade is needed-- I've taken a quick look at alternative open source and fee options. Really looking for one that needs the least effort during an upgrade, which means fewer mods required to accomplish all I think is needed for the online store these days.

Up until this year, I've always opted for the inertia option (as in it is more work to migrate than to stay and upgrade).  This year (since I am now retired from IBM and working full-time on Fiber Rhythm and spring-summer are slow months for the knitting biz), I think I may actually make the move.

In the running are Prestashop and OpenCart.  I've spent some time on each of them and it has really pointed out to me how feature rich the open source ecommerce options are in their base, un-moded versions-- especially those that "grew up" more recently. But it also is pointing out how there are some features that I take for granted that are not part of these solutions-- in their un-moded state. So, mods will be required for any of them, but how many and at what cost? (e.g. PrestaShop seems to have much higher $ requirements for mods)

I found that even through poring over the documentation (many thanks to all those brave souls that have posted their advice and youtube videos!)  it is very difficult to understand which features actually exist in the core of the open source offering and which are not.  Some of this is due to semantics--product attributes become product options, options and values don't always mean the same thing, not to mention how do you keep track of stock-- which can lead you to think the system will act the way you expect it to when it doesn't.

What is an online merchant to do?  How do you make the decision?  Well, while many hire this work out to others, I enjoy this kind of work and so am embarking on completing the migration myself.

I've decided to work through the migration to both Prestahop and OpenCart as far as I can go to replicate at a minimum the basic features that I have already implemented in Zen Cart-- as long as the expense is not too great.

I like the idea of finding out which features and look&feel that my customers like best. I believe that hosting multiple online stores to shop from-- each with a slightly different approach-- will be very interesting and informative. One advantage of doing this myself is that I can write some code to keep the various stores in synch, as I will, through the process of migration,, become very familiar with the databases of each open source ecommerce solution I use.

As I work through the many steps required to migrate, I'll document the experience here and work to produce information that I hope will prove useful to other online merchants who face the same kinds of issues.

So... watch this space  !!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fashion Illustration I

Just finished up the Fashion Illustration I class at Portland Sewing.  Its been decades since I did any figure drawing, but the proportions for figure drawing did  need to be overcome to fit into the fashion mind-set. (It's mostly in the legs!)  Here are the three drawings I did for the final of the class.
The white lines are corrections from the teacher.  (I forgot to put the bust line in, etc). Great class. Just the right amount of instruction and informal-ness. I'll be taking the second class in July. We finally will get to work with color!  I'm hoping that this education will prove useful when submitting knit design ideas to the magazines (my previous drawings always looked a bit dumpy, now I know why--notice I'm not posting them).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Discover Color Knits

Wow. Fun to create the video and got to collaborate with my son, Sam.

Introducing our new class that will start next month.  Registration will be opening SOON!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fiber Rhythm Classes

Our in-person classes for May have been scheduled!  these are held at the Fiber Rhythm Studio in Portland, OR.  Signup on the website. See the calendar here.

We are offering:

  • Beginning Knitting - Saturdays at 1pm starting May 3 - three sessions
  • Basic Cable Knitting - Thursday May 8 at 6:30 pm - one session
  • Basic Sock Knitting - Thursdays at 6:30 pm starting May 15 - three sessions
  • Entrelac Knitting - Tuesdays at 6:30 pm starting May 20 - two sessions
We are also setting up a email list just for the classes. Sign up to be notified of both in person and web-based classes here and you'll get our new Whimsy Hat pattern for free!  

Bambu yarn twist

Another customer question I thought I would share.  
Q: I'm a weaver and interested in your yarns. For weaving the "twist" of yarns is important. What is the twist of your bamboo yarns?

A: This question can be very important for both weavers and knitters.  If the yarn is a single ply, the twist can make a knitted sample lean one direction or another-- you can end up with a skewed parallelogram rather than a square or rectangle.  For weavers, the light and shadow can change the fabric drastically-- creating a crepe when none was intended.

When this question came up for the bamboo yarn we carry (Silk City Fiber's Bambu 7 and Bambu 12) I decided to take a closeup of the yarn and split the ends a bit so that we could see it better.  You can zoom in on the photo to see the strands even better.  (The dime and threaded needle are there for scale)

In the photo the red yarn is Bambu 7 (this yarn gets wound with another strand for our Double Bambu).  It is made up of 6 'S" twist yarns, plied  together with the opposite twist ('Z').  The yellow yarn is Bambu 12.  It is made up of 2 'S' twist yarns, plied together with the 'Z' twist. 

Spinning a yarn in one direction and then plying with another is a fairly common technique used to counteract the tendency of yarn to pull in one direction or another in whatever project you are doing.  

The other factor for this discussion is how tightly the yarn is spun and plied.  The bamboo we carry has a soft twist-- not too tight.  I have seen this vary a bit over the years-- most likely as our supplier changed their manufacturing vendors.  

Hope this helps folks!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Studio Meetups scheduled

For those local to Portland, Oregon folks:

I'll be hosting an open studio / meetup on Monday evenings from 7:30 until 9:00 pm and again on Wednesday afternoons from 1:30 to 4:00 pm.  Starting next week (April 14th and April 16th).  You are welcome to come and bring whatever project you are working on.

The building is on the SE corner of 18th and Ash.  There is parking at the side of the building off of 18th and to get to the studio you enter from the parking lot side and go downstairs and to the right. (You may have to knock on the window if the door is locked).

I'll be there, hope to see you!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Reflective Yarn Closeup

I've been asked to provide a close up photo of the Retroglo® yarns to help a customer decide whether or not to buy it and so thought that likely more of you folks might be interested in seeing a closeup of this fun, somewhat 'magical' yarn

Retroglo without Flash (no retro-reflective light)
This first photo shows the three widths that we carry.  From left to right, the 1/69", the 1/32", and the 1/23".   It's funny how its a bit hard to mentally picture the sizes, even though its spelled out for us in the name.

I've placed them over a wooden ruler to help illustrate the actual sizes.  If you look closely you can see that these just look like a grey strip of fabric-- and that's true. These are cut from a 3M product called  Scotchlite. It is a reflective material that is laminated to a polyester film for strength and then cut into thin strips by Metlon corporation which manufactures this yarn (made in the USA!)

You may be familiar with this, but Retroglo® has 50,000 minute glass beads to the square inch.  This is what give it the 'magical' quality of retro-reflectivity.  The glass beads work to shine the light directly back to the source and is why it provides that all important safety quality to your hand crafted outer-wear.

My second photo is with the flash on. This illustrates the retro-reflectivity we just spoke of.
Retroglo with Flash (retro-reflective light)

If you are interested in trying out these yarns, we suggest that you carry them along with another yarn as even though they are flexible, they are not as flexible or strong as most yarns you might use.

I've used them in hats and scarves with good success.  

I have more projects in the works and will be coming out with an ePub later this year with multiple craft projects using this great yarn.  The working title is "Be Seen! Craft Projects with Reflective yarn"

If you would like to hear more about the ePub and be notified when it comes out, please subscribe to our email list to be kept up to date!

Monday, March 10, 2014


I'm working on developing a course and have a few questions for you.
Please take a moment and let me know (via comments) what your answers are to the following questions:

  1. What is something I can do that you wish you could do?
  2. What would you love to see me teach a class on?
  3. What is the one thing you wish you could do or would love to learn more about?
You don't have to answer all 3-- maybe you only know the answer to number 3. That's fine!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Back to the knitting machines!

I've been checking out mods to knitting machines online lately and going to take an Arduino class this week to see if I can perhaps one-day mod my own... found some interesting projects (where have I been??)

A student duo made a rocking chair powered knitting machine

Some have replaced the older electronics for color work. here as does this one

And this one replaces the punch card (one of the things I'd like to do)

So gratifying to see people coming up with ways to bring these older machines into the new age!