Posts filed under 'Written by Saloni'
I am loving Spring and enjoying Nora’s lovely blogs on her new book: Noni Flowers. Yes, those flowers in the picture above are knitted!. Aren’t they lovely? We have been enjoying looking at the book – it’s one of those books that one wants to buy for the coffee table first. It’s beautiful and I spent an indulgent afternoon reading it cover to cover and dreaming about making all those flowers.
We are thrilled to announce that Nora is coming back to Nine Rubies in August 2012 to teach a workshop based on her book. We are one of only two locations on the West Coast that Nora will be coming to this year.
This is an intensive two-day workshop on learning how to make flowers and once you have the hang of this, to go on to pick/design the flowers that you would like to grace the accessory of your choice – Nora calls these canvases. A cowl needs a decorative element to make it special for the person who is getting it as a gift – the canvas is the cowl and you get to pick(make) the flowers. The canvas can be a felted bag, a sweater, a cap… The possibilites are endless. I think I am going to take Nora literally and use a real canvas. In her book, she has examples of projects that you could do: the first is putting flowers at the end of a shawl to make it a little more special.
Or for a more dramatic look, try this awesome cowl with dramatic sumflowers. I feel like I am drinking coffee in Provence when I look at this.
On the first day of the workshop, you will learn to make flowers using knitted elements, wire, beads and all the other little things that you might need. On the second day, you will learn to design and make the specific flowers you will use for your canvas. Come join us for this wonderful workshop on Saturday, August 25th and Sunday, August 26th.
For more details on the workshop, see the classes page on our website.
May 3rd, 2012
We’ve gone a little nuts on the Color Affection Shawl. I recently went to Sock Camp at Port Ludlow – what a fun trip! We all got infected by the Color Affection Shawl while we were there. For complete details on the craze at Sock Camp, check out the Yarn Harlot’s blog.
I came back and starting putting different combinations of colors together. I didn’t like the original ones that I was doing. So here are the choices that we came up with in the store.
From Frog Tree Pediboo, 3 colors that look great together.
Another combination from Frog Tree Pediboo:
A little bit of Malabrigo Arroyo and a lot of Plucky Knitter Primo Fingering:
Another warm combination with Plucky Knitter and Malabrigo Sock
Malabrigo Arroyo loves Plucky Knitter MCN Primo Fingering
And maybe brightness is you – with the lovely orange in the middle:
April 30th, 2012
We just finished our Noni Knitalong for the Ella jacket! Check out the new Ella Coat (picture above and also available in children sizes) by Nora J. Bellows. Knitters dropped by and knit this jacket with Sudha, who knit this jacket for Saloni. There were many, many different versions of this jacket and you really should check out Nora’s blog for more ideas on this jacket.
We at the store love this structured sweater. We think it’s perfect for the end of winter and beginning of spring. The ruffles add a sense of whimsy and the pattern is basic enough it almost invites experimentation with colors. For the icing on the cake, the A-line cut and slightly lifted waist on the jacket means it’s flattering for most body types.
The pattern is ranked at intermediate to advanced, but we reckon any daring knitter could manage it.
The children’s pattern is just as charming with the bobbles and striping. Nora herself says it was inspired by the story of the Princess and the Pea. We think it’s the perfect amount of girly without being garish.
This coat, unlike the women’s size, is felted. This adds durability and warmth.
And here is the result of the one Sudha made:
The jacket was knit in Stonehedge Fiber Mills Shepherd’s Wool. Come welcome spring with this great jacket!
March 30th, 2012
This is a new version of this blog post. A previous version of this blog got mistakenly deleted because of technical idiocy. It’s a re-creation of the original and not the original itself – there are differences.
And then there are the samples that Sudha makes. She like the challenging ones because she thinks they are all easy, so easy. The latest one she just finished is Alchemy’s Waterfall Scarf. She chose different colors than the ones in the original. These colors in this scarf were originally chosen by the fabulous rep for Alchemy yarns – Jan Hurwitz. The scarf is knit up with two materials – wool and silk and then felted. Because the wool and silk will felt at different rates – the scarf gets a fluttery look and feel.This felting technique is called Shibori.
This pattern was inspired by the Wisdom Wrap also designed by Gina Wilde. Look at the projects for this pattern on Ravelry and you will get a better feel for the felting and fluttery look of this scarf. Keep in mind that Sudha’s scarf is very lightly felted and she is planning to felt it a little more when she has a bit more time.
The Waterfall Scarf pattern uses 3 colors of the Alchemy Silken Straw and 1 color of Alchemy Sanctuary. The Silken Straw like the name implies is a the pure silk yarn and Sanctuary is the wool which is used for the i-cord dividing the silken straw rectangles. Very unusual yarns from a local supplier – we love their yarns and colors.
The fabulous Jan, who introduced us to the Alchemy yarns, is teaching the Shibori workshop at Nine Rubies! She will get you started on making the Waterfall Scarf or the Magician’s Scarf. Sudha knit up a sample for the store and you can see the stunning results. In Suhda’s version she ended up using most of the yarn. This is what she had left:
Make this your own by picking the colors that you think would work best for you – see the available colors on our website. And come join the class on Shibori Knitting with Jan on April 21st. For more details check out the class schedule on our website.
March 28th, 2012
Donna Griffin’s Pattern Summer Flies is simply one of the best written patterns. I am not crazy fond of lace shawls but we needed a sample for the store in Classic Elite’s Alpaca Sox and I grabbed the yellow color because it was bright (brighter samples seem to do better than the neutrals).
And then I started to knit and couldn’t stop. I started this pattern and was done before you know it. So here are pictures of the one I made:
Then I noticed that people gave me compliments when I wore it (which was often – it was wonderfully soft in this yarn). I thought it was the color and then someone asked me if the pattern was “easy.” For those of you who know my mom Sudha – everything is easy for her and it really is because she has forgotten more about knitting than I know. I do not hand out the designation quite so easily(!) – I would say this is a beginner lace pattern – BEGINNER – LACE. And there is something deeply satisfying about marking off each row as you knit the pattern. She has written down EVERY row.
Then I noticed that other people wanted to knit the very same pattern. As it happens a group came to our store today and they were all working on their versions of Summer Flies. I started an album on our Facebook page for the different versions of this shawl. Send me your pictures if you want me to add them info AT ninerubies DOT com.
And there are other yarns you could try on this shawl. Ravelry tells us some of the popular yarns are:
Madelinetosh Pashmina: I think it would be lovely in Pashmina
Malabrigo Silky Merino: The shine of this silk/wool blend would be gorgeous.
Cascade Ultra Pima: For those of you who don’t like animal fibers
Dream in Color Smooshy Cashmere: Oooh, yes!
Blue Heron Rayon Metallic: I have not seen one in this and the pictures do not do the sparkle justice but I can imagine the shawl will be gorgeous.
Go on to Ravelry to see more versions of this shawl – 3351 people have projects in this shawl on Ravelry. Just to give you an idea how many people are going crazy for this pattern.
March 14th, 2012
Malabrigo does it again! Not only do they dye the most beautiful colors but they choose gorgeous fibers as well. This time they have chosen an ultrafine merino fiber for Malabrigo Finito in a light fingering weight. The yarn is so soft that it does fell like cashmere when knitting and when knitted up. To see the colors, pricing etc and to pre-order this go to the Malabrigo Finito page on Nine Rubies Knitting. We are expecting this yarn to arrive on March 14th/15th 2012 in our store. The yarn is probably only going to come out once a year and when supplies are gone, it will have to wait until next year.
Meanwhile, we do have a sample skein at the store – thank you Tobias! I started playing with it and was thinking of samples to make with this. Let’s see it’s a light fingering yarn and has 220 yards to the skein. Single Skein projects that seem like they would do well in this yarn:
Red Skies at Night
A Very Good Cowl Indeed
I particularly like the idea of a cowl as the yarn is soo soft, it will be very nice against the soft skin of the neck.
For 2 skein projects, so far I like:
I Want You
So, tell me what you would like to make in this yarn! I know what we are going to make with this yarn for the store sample.
March 7th, 2012
Somewhere along the way, I realized that we did not have easily accessible pictures of the samples for our Introductory Weaving class. The idea of the Introductory class is to get a taste for weaving – this is aimed primarily at knitters and crocheters who are used to knitting yarns. The first sample that we created for this class was a simple woven scarf in Plymouth Grande Glow – Baby Alpaca. This yarn has a subtle sparkle to it and is in solid colors. The resulting scarf is soft:
Worn by the model in our store:
Our second sample for this class was created when people attending this class asked for a non-animal fiber in their yarn. The yarn we used for this was a 100% cotton tape called Lang Sol Degrade.
This yarn has a slow color change and every scarf made in it is different and comes out astonishingly beautiful. It has become the more popular sample for our introductory class.
Check out the lovely fringe on this scarf. This is taught in the first class and is created using a nifty little device called the Fringe Twister.
Interested in this fun class? The details are all on our website. If you have more questions, give us a call at the store at 650-685-6205.
February 14th, 2012
I have been working away on my blanket for the Palo Alto Veterans Hospital. I am loving crocheting this blanket in Handpainted Knitting yarns and was working on it last night when Kimberly (our newest addition to staff at Nine Rubies) asked if we could have everyone knit up a square and we could volunteer to put the squares together. We quickly sketched out some ideas that would teach some techniques – all done in the same spirit of the free workshops from spring of this year. The idea is that when you are done with your square, you could donate the square to the store for use in the Palo Alto Veterans Hopital blanket. Join us in learning new techniques and knitting up a storm of squares for veterans!
Each square is approximately 12″ x 12″ and will be knit up in worsted weight wool, like Cascade 220, with US 7 needles. You can bring your own worsted weight yarn – if you don’t have the appropriate yarn, there is a lot of donated yarn at the store for this project. Bring your own US7 needles for sure – we will not have sufficient quantities of donated needles
The techniques we will be teaching and the dates that they will be taught on are:
1. Mitered Square by Melissa Poon (this is a Nine Rubies pattern): Wednesday 14th September at 7 pm; Thursday, 15th September at 2 pm
2. A Cabled Square: Wednesday 21st September at 7 pm; Thursday, 22nd September at 2 pm
3. A Bobbled Square: Wednesday 28th September at 7 pm; Thursday, 29th September at 2 pm
4. A Lace Square: Thursday, 6th Octoberat 2 pm (No Wednesday session as we have another previously scheduled event that day.
All sessions are FREE at the store and will last for about 30 – 45 minutes, we hope. For more about the Palo Alto Veteran’s Hospital and the project to donate knitted items, see our previous blog. We hope to have the blanket ready for the Trunk show on October 12th!
Please call the store at 650-685-6205 to RSVP and even though the sessions are free, we’d like to make sure we have sufficient pattern copies and chairs for everyone. See you next week!
September 9th, 2011
A lifetime ago, I started working in the high-tech industry for a software company in Paris (yeah, it was a tough job but someone had to do it!) During that time, I spent a good deal of my days working with folks in different countries and helping them translate the product into their languages.
These days, I get a little charge when a crafter walks in from another country and they are having trouble communicating – I see it as a challenge and an opportunity as I always learn something about a different tradition and, inevitably, something new about knitting and crocheting. Most of the time we manage with a lot of hand-waving and needle-waving and sometimes we manage because we have a lot of people in the store who speak different languages – Spanish and Chinese among them.
For knitters and crocheters who grew up speaking Spanish (and especially if they learned how to follow patterns in Spanish), I notice that it is sometimes difficult for them to read English knitting and crochet patterns. Normally Dolores translates for our Spanish-speaking customers – but since you do not have Dolores at home, we are providing you with a handy little reference. We are happy to say that Nadya, our summer intern, has translated a standard list of Knitting and Crochet Abbreviations and Terms into Spanish. She has helpfully put them into pdf documents that should be easy for you to download and print out for your reference.
Download the crochet list here: Crochet Terms English-Spanish
And then download your knitting list here: Knitting Terms English-Spanish
We would love some feedback - send it all to info AT ninerubies DOT com. We are planning on translating into a few other languages and would like to catch issues and incorporate great ideas sooner rather than later.
June 23rd, 2011
In August 2010, we got a call from Groupon letting me know that Nine Rubies Knitting had been “selected” to be featured on Groupon. I thought this was a great sales tactic (who doesn’t like to be selected?) and felt flattered at the same time. I ran a few spreadsheets and had a great time analyzing what Groupon could do for us. At the surface, this is how Groupon works:
- They advertise a super-great deal – 50% off at….. In our case, I decided to do “Get $20 worth of merchandise at Nine Rubies if you pay $10 now.” In short a $10 for $20 deal as it has now come to be called.
- This deal is available for 24 hours on the Groupon website and they send it out to their subscribers (also known as a mailing list). They kept referring to our area as Peninsula and I was not sure how that worked, as you could not really sign up for a Peninsula list on their website. There was San Jose or San Francisco. Either way, I have no idea how many people my Groupon Deal went out to.
- The deal ran on September 15th and once purchased was valid for one year. Yes, if you have a Groupon it’s still valid until September 15th 2011. Our data is until May 30th, 2011.
- On September 15th 2010, people could go to the Groupon website, pay Groupon $10 and buy up to 4 coupons for our store per person. Nine Rubies sold 468 Groupons in that 24 hour period. Which means that Groupon collected $4680 for our deal on Day 1. Yes, it’s a good business for Groupon.
- They split this 50-50 with us, which means that Nine Rubies was to get $2340 in 3 installments. The first installment was sent to me 5 days after the Run Date, the second installment after 30 days, and the third installment after 60 days. Note: Groupon can also charge a credit card fee but in our case this was clearly 0% in the contract. We got 3 checks of $780 on time.
So, for every Groupon sold, I was on the hook for $20 worth of merchandise/services and was getting about $5.00 for it from Groupon. For those of you that don’t know, most retail works on a 50% margin – which means 50% of everything we sell is cost that we have to pay the supplier. This means that for every $20 sale, I would have $10 of pure cost. I was going to lose $5 per Groupon sold.So, why did I choose to run with this?
- I started out looking at our average sale – which was around $40 at that time. I figured that it was quite difficult to buy something for only $20 in our store. (Turns out I was wrong about that.) I figured that to break even, I would need an average sale of about $32. Even if the average Groupon customer was more price-conscious and their average sale was $35, I would more than break even.
- I also thought that this was a marketing campaign and would bring new customers into the store – as advised by the Groupon sales people. I made a conscious effort not to advertize this deal to our regular customers through mailing list, blogs etc. (sorry folks!) I wanted to see how many new customers this would attract to the store.
- One more thing to keep in mind are Redemption Rates – what are Redemption Rates? This refers to the idea that people often forget to redeem their coupons even though they might have paid for it. Groupon, Living Social etc. use a 85% redemption rate metric when asked specifically. This means that only 85% of the people will end up redeeming their Groupons.
So, mostly on the strength of #1, I decided to go run with Groupon. If you want to check out the Nine Rubies Groupon page, just click here.
How did we do? I get asked this all the time so, I will do my very best to answer your questions.
Current Redemption Rate
Yes, the Groupon page says we sold 472 Groupons but our Groupon Merchant Center says that we sold 468 – probably some people realized later that it was a yarn store, not a jewelry store. So, I am sticking with 468 at this time.
As of May 30th 2011, 247 Groupons have been redeemed, which makes it a 53% redemption rate. This is 8.5 months later and granted that we have until September 15th, 2011 – another 3.5 months to go. Redemption rates look even lower than predicted at the 85%.
So, what was our average sale? As the data stands today, my average sale is $33.43. Lower than I expected. Moreover, there were a few big spenders and plenty of just a little over $20 spenders. The distribution looks something like this:
The big cluster is the bottom left-hand corner indicates a lot of sales around $20 and right at the start. The X-axis is merely a matter of dates they were redeemed at. The single line in the middle indicates that the average sale went up as time passed, probably because people who came later had more time to make a better decision.
Out of the Groupons redeemed, only 15 of them are customers that were regulars i.e. they bought on a regular basis from our store. The other 232 were new customers. Out of these new customers, we have seen returns, people join the store loyalty program. I also counted the people who had not visited the store in more than a 2 years as new customers – it seemed as if people who had not visited our store for a while were somewhat reminded into coming to our store again. It worked just like good advertising. I think this is all good news. For what I would call minimal amount of work, Nine Rubies got a lot of new customers.
All in all, we would run this campaign again but with a few caveats. And of course, more analysis. I did a little focus group at the store and that generated more ideas and questions. We did run a campaign with a more local version of Groupon called ” Juice in the City” and we have to still analyze that data. So, this is not the last you will be hearing from me on the topic. Send in your questions and requests and stay tuned!
June 6th, 2011