Community Knitting

We open our doors and seating area to all knitters and crocheters throughout the week. Our friends are open to helping each other with minor fixes and encouraging each other to develop their skills. In addition to open knitting, we also have informal classes during which some of our knitters may be working on specific skill sets. Our class schedule is listed below.

Project Classes

Project classes are designed to follow the student through a project. For example, if you are learning to knit socks, you will pay one class fee for the entire project. You will meet on the class date to begin your project and you may return each week for as long as it takes to work on it. That way, you will get the encouragement and guidance you need to successfully complete your socks.

Open Classes

We will be scheduling classes that will focus on a general goal, ie. learning to crochet. Whether you are a beginner, trying to remember what you learned as a child, learning to read a pattern or working on a particular project, an open class may be the best way to improve your skills. During the open class, we will be working with students at all levels but focusing on each individual’s particular needs. Open classes will be charged at $10 for the first session and $5 for each following session. Sessions will last for the afternoon until closing.

Spring Class Schedule

Beginning Sock Project Class


If you’ve ever wanted to learn to knit socks, this is the place to start. We begin your sock journey with a simple sock: Knitted from the top down with a heel flap, we will break down sock knitting into 3 basic components: Casting on, turning the heel and closing the toe. In fact, if using small needles intimidates you, you can start with a Christmas stocking using worsted weight yarn and size 7 needles.
This class will meet on Monday afternoon at 4:00. Class Fee: $20 plus materials; attend as often as you wish on one class fee until your sock project is completed.

Beginning Crochet Open Class


I consider crochet to be an essential skill. For many of us, it is the first yarn craft our mothers or grandmothers taught us. Although it has not been fashionable over the past couple of decades,  it has resurfaced as a fashion medium and a trim for knitted fashion.
In this open class, I will teach you how to crochet with the classical method of holding the yarn. You will learn the basic stitches, how to read a pattern and complete a simple project such as a washcloth or scarf. You will learn how hook size and yarn size interact to produce a stiff or pliable fabric and how to apply that knowledge to your project.
As a knitter, crochet skill can offer several improvements to your knitted projects including finishing techniques and continental knitting.
This class will meet on Wednesday afternoon at 4:00. Class Fee: $10 plus materials for the first session and $5 for follow up sessions.

Beyond Basic Socks Open Class


Now that you have been introduced to sock knitting, I am sure that the many intriguing variations have caught your attention. On Friday afternoons, we will hold an open class that will explore the many variations in needle techniques (double pointed, magic loop, two-at-a-time, etc), construction techniques (top-down, toe-up, diagonal heel, fleegle heel, etc.) and the endless variety of designs (patterns, lace, cable, colorwork).
For the novice sock knitter, we will follow a path from basic techniques through more challenging patterns. Or, bring a pattern that you want to master, and work independently with the instructor’s guidance.
This class will meet on Friday afternoon at 2:00. Class Fee: $15 plus materials for the duration of your project.

New on our Summer Schedule!

The Embellished Bag

Saturday, July 9th and Sunday, July 10th

Nora Bellows of Noni Designs is coming back to Needle in a Haystack to teach us more about knitted embellishments! Think of project as a blank canvas. Nora will help us see the possibilities and create a stunning one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

Decorate your holiday table with knitted flowers of lasting beauty. Combine multiple flowers to embellish felted or fabric pillows with exquisite bouquets of your own creation! Or decorate the top of a gift box in a way that is as beautiful as the gift itself . . .

In this class, students will not only learn to make beautiful knitted flowers to felt (or not) and use as embellishments for bags, gifts, garments, shoes, afghans and more, but will be encouraged to explore their own creative impulses in combining different flowers together for unique results. Nora presents several basic methods for making flowers and offers an overview of and approach for several of her flower patterns.

To prepare for this class, knit and felt purses, bring simple sweaters, flip-flops, a scarf. A t-shirt or other items that you would like to dress up with felted flowers, embroidery, beads…don’t repair it embellish it!

Cost: $75/day or $125 (discounted) for 2 days

Summer 2011 Class Schedule

At Needle in a Haystack, we welcome knitters and crocheters to sit and knit with us whenever the “Open” sign is on!

In fact, we have a very flexible teaching schedule to accommodate your vacation and summer plans. We understand that families and guests plans make it difficult to attend a rigid class schedule. Therefore, attend the classes listed on the Events page if you can. Or, you may call us and schedule a class focussed on your skill level and what you would like to learn.

Under the “Events” heading, I have posted a few of the classes that we will be running this summer. We can also add classes for beginning knitting, continental knitting, socks, cables, or anything else you would like to learn. So give us a call; we’d love to hear from you!

Friday Night Knit-in…Unpatterns Class Update

 Here are more details about the upcoming Unpatterns Knit-Along…

Come to our opening session either Friday night, April 15th at 7:00 pm OR Saturday, April 16th at 11 am. This will be the first of a series of class meetings which will include:

  • A review of the Unpattern method for designing your own unique garment, a discussion on “fit” and a personalized session with me to measure the real you!
  • To be scheduled at your convenience: A one-on-one session to check your gauge, determine the fit of your garment, discuss design elements, review the pattern instructions and get you started on your project.
  • Any Wednesday afternoon you may bring your project to review your progress, get help or simply knit in the shop with others working on their Unpattern projects.
  • May 6th, we will meet again for a Friday night knit in and fashion show!

The cost of this series is $35 plus materials ($14 for the unpattern and yarn).

 Not sure you are ready for this? Come on Friday night anyway, and see what it’s all about.

 For more information, call the shop at 269-637-8216.

A Lesson in Letting Go

 Days like Friday make me wish that I were better at thinking on my feet…

 Vicky and I were sitting in front of the fire when two men walked into the shop. Sometimes when men walk in alone, they enter with curiosity, notice that it’s a “women’s shop” and retreat in discomfort. These men entered with purpose. They walked in the door, oriented themselves and navigated to the display window. They touched the samples in the window, talked to each other, and then approached us. One gentleman was Korean – here on business. The other man was from San Fransisco.

 How much for the fur jacket?” asked the Korean man, referring to the Filatura di Croca Cincilla jacket in the window.

 I explained that the items in the store are samples, and not for sale. He looked puzzled, and asked if there is anything I would sell. He wanted to bring something home to his wife that is unique and hand made. I pointed out a triangular blue lace shawl with sequins that Sue had knit as a sample. (Sue hated it. Knit as directed, it curls at the bottom. We tried to fix it by knitting the bottom edge with US 15 needles, and although it looks better, the bottom point still curls.)

 Would your wife like this? It’s very pretty.” He reflected for a moment and asked how much. I was bewildered. I hadn’t considered that I’d actually have to name a price! “$75,” I replied.

 I’ll take it. Now how about the white jacket. Would you consider selling that?”

 The jacket too? Wow! If he’ll spend $75 on that horrible shawl, how much would he spend on such a stunning jacket?

 $250,” I blurted out.

 Okay, but what about the panther pin. Would you sell that?”

 That pin has sentimental value because it belonged to my mother (then again, I have a whole collection of her gaudy feline costume jewelry…) “Okay, $275”. “Good,” he said, and handed me his credit card.

 Meanwhile, the other gentleman said “His wife and my wife are friends. I’d better get something for her. I like this vest… How much?” He was petting the collar on my Kamelsoft vest with the beaver Fur Yarn trim.

That’s mine. I wear it!” I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, as if they had been playing with my kitten, Neko and wanted to take him home with them.

 It would look great on my wife. She’s tall and thin.” (I felt a pang of jealousy, I remember those days.)

 My internal dialogue went something like this… ‘If he’s willing to pay good money, let him have it!’ … ‘But I love wearing it! It’s unique! I designed it.’ … ‘You can knit another one.’ … ‘When? I have so many ideas that I haven’t knit yet!’ Bingo!! I have more unique ideas that I can produce and wear. It doesn’t matter if I sell this one.

 $175,” I blurted out.

 Okay,” and he handed me his American Express.

 The two men left looking as if they had just eaten a hearty, satisfying meal – or maybe that they just got a steal from someone who didn’t know how to bargain. I just felt stunned! No one had ever offered serious money for the samples before. AND I’D SOLD MY VEST!