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A Royal Wedding: Even the Embroidery is a Secret

Posted By TNNA Editor, Wednesday, May 9, 2018

A Royal Wedding: Even the Embroidery is a Secret

By: Joy Macdonell


#wedding2018 #harryandmeghan #royalwedding #weddingideas #meghanmarkleveil#cathedralveil

A post shared by Onlylovebridalboutique (@onlylovebridalboutiqueofficial) on


On May 19, 2018 Prince Harry will wed Ms. Meghan Markle at St George’s Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle. This is all we know. Like all royal weddings, the particulars of the event are a secret. Especially the dress!

The wedding will be televised around the world for an audience of adoring fans. Embroiderers should be particularly curious as The Royal School of Needlework secretly worked with designer Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to hand embroider details on the bridal gown for HRH, Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. The embroiderers did not know they were working on a royal wedding gown, they were led to believe it was a costume for a television drama. 

The Royal School of Needlework
The early history of the Royal School of Needlework (RSN) is linked with the social, cultural and political history of Victorian and Edwardian Britain. The RSN began as the School of Art Needlework in 1872 founded by Lady Victoria Welby. The first President was Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria's third daughter, known to the RSN as Princess Helena. 

The founding principles of the RSN were two-fold: to revive a beautiful art which had fallen into disuse and, through its revival, to provide employment for educated women who, without a suitable livelihood, would otherwise find themselves compelled to live in poverty.

Located in the Hampton Court Palace, offering a thriving education program for beginners through to advanced levels of hand embroidery certifications. They restore embroidered family heirlooms, home furnishings and items from places of worship. The RSN creates bespoke embroidery for special individual occasions, organizations, and corporations. 

Kate’s Embroidery
Of particular current interest is the question of Ms. Meghan Markle’s wedding gown, the designer, and the participation of the Royal School of Needlework. Will we see the work of the Royal Embroiderers on Meghan’s dress like we did on Kate’s? A tweet from @royalneedlework on May 1 announced that Ralph & Russo Haute Couture Atelier team was in the studio reviewing hand embroidery portfolios by RSN Degree students at Hampton Court Palace – is there a royal connection? … Only time will tell.

The attention to detail on Kate’s royal wedding gown was breathtaking – from the hand-cut Chantilly lace of the sleeves, to the lace applique on the bodice and the individual lace roses, thistles, daffodils and shamrocks hand-engineered on to the ivory silk tulle. Her veil was also crafted with hand embroidered flowers, and on the back of her dress were 58 buttons of gazar and organza, which fastened by means of Rouleau loops. 

Kate’s lace was “something old”, her “borrowed” was the tiara from the Queen, “something new” were her earrings from her parents, and a blue ribbon was sewn inside her dress for her “something blue”.

Will Meghan Have Embroidery?
Tradition is very important to the royals. Meghan is marrying in a deeply religious space of St. George’s Chapel, her dress will most likely be modest and probably have some form of sleeve – which leaves plenty of room for embroidery detail along with the veil and train. 

Meghan’s wedding day will be the first time her fans, friends, family, and adoring Prince get to see her dress. Look closely at the details, the Royal Embroiderers will (hopefully) have stitched embroidery into the fabric of this royal wedding.


About Joy Macdonell

Joy Macdonell ( is a Creative Blogger and Fiber Consultant. Her job has provided her with lots of great opportunities to teach, including as the host of a television show on the DIY network (Greetings, from DIY) and one on PBS (Crafting at The Spotted Canary). She has also been the guest representative for Martha Stewart Crafts on the Home Shopping Network and has been the education director for the Martha Stewart Crafts brand since it launched in 2007. Prior to starting her career with EK Success Brands in 2001, she and her sister owned the very popular scrapbook store in Fairfax, VA, My Scrapbook Store.

Tags:  embroidery  TNNANews  trends 

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The Latest Trends in Needlearts

Posted By TNNA Editor, Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Updated: Monday, February 19, 2018

The Latest Trends in Needlearts

Yoke Sweaters

Yoke Sweaters knit from top-down or bottom-up! Colorwork, Fair Isle and cable or laddering details and right on trend!

Jennifer Steingass
Ravelry: Lovewool-knits

Timeless yet modern hand-knitting patterns inspired by nature.  Jennifer’s stranded colorwork, yoke sweaters have recently arrived in Ravelry and have been well received with an active KAL on Instagram #knitlovewooolkal.

By Jennifer Steingass
Published in Lookbook #2: Portland and Mid-Coast Maine

Tin Can Knits 
@Tin Can Knits
Ravelry: Tin Can Knits


Strange Brew
By Tin Can Knits
Published on Ravelry

This is a recipe pattern for designing your own yoke sweater!  Simply follow the instructions and they have done all the math for you!  The pattern includes 25 sizes.  You can pick your own motifs and colors to design a sweater that is as unique as you are.

The recipe includes:

·         Instructions for sweater body and sleeves.

·         An overview of round yoke design.

·         A ‘plug and play’ round yoke guideline pattern (just follow the pattern - no math!).

·         A hat and cowl pattern so you can make ‘useful swatches’ to choose yarn, color, and patterns before you begin your sweater.

·         Nearly 100 stitch patterns to get you started, and knitters graph paper so you can draw your own.

·         A ‘wedge design’ strategy for the more adventurous knitter.


Caitlin Hunter 
Ravelry: Boylandknitworks

By: Cailtin Hunter
Published on Ravelry under Boyland Knitworks

 Zweig is a fingering weight yoke sweater worked from the top down featuring lace, colorwork and texture on the body. I love the relaxed beauty of a yoke sweater, and the way the drape of fingering weight yarn is flattering and comfortable at the same time. As a mom of three extremely busy boys, clothing that allows me to stay stylish without sacrificing comfort is worth its weight in gold- I hope you like it too!


Socks! A vanilla sock, cabled sock, striped sock … any sock!  There are tons of variety in the heel: short row, fish-lips-kiss heel, after-thought heel — any and all are welcomed. Adding an embellishment to socks of a tassel or pompoms will be a big trend for this fall.  You can even turn your socks inside out and not weave in the ends — this is now a fashion statement! Not lazy yarn work!

Erica Lueder 
Ravelry: Dreamsinfiber

Hermione’s Everyday Socks
By Erica Lueder
Published on Dreams in Fiber website

This is a free Ravelry download pattern that has sky-rocketed to one of the most popular patterns on Ravelry.  It is translated into 5 languages and is named after Hermione as she is described in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Series.  

Susan B Anderson 
Ravelry: susanbanderson
Instagram: susanbanderson


Smooth Operator Socks
By: Susan B Anderson
Published in Susan B Anderson’s Ravelry Shop

Pattern information: 
Sizes included in the pattern: 
Extra-small (will fit a large child) 
Medium (this is the size I make for myself!) 
Large (will fit men or a woman’s larger size foot)

 I love knitting top-down socks and I love self-striping and patterning sock yarn. I also love it when the patterning in the yarn doesn’t get broken up or rearranged on the front of the sock. This often happens when you are knitting the heel section of the sock. To avoid this problem I started exploring the afterthought heel, where the heel stitches are placed on waste yarn and saved for later. With a little variation of my own, I’ve found that this heel is a clever and perfect solution for your striping sock yarn woes.

What’s different about the Smooth Operator Socks you might ask? The pattern is written for four different sizes and includes instructions for both double-pointed needles and Magic Loop. The tutorial pattern is written in conversational style with tips and tricks along the way. The pattern includes step-by-step tutorials with photos but also has a quick read version at the end for those who don’t need the tutorial or want to have a printed version. The quick version is 3-pages long without photos. 

I have a modified twist for placing the heel waste yarn that makes it much easier to remove later. Also, I’ve never loved the look of the bars of stitches in between the decreases that run along both sides of the heel and toe. I’ve found a sleeker decrease sequence to eliminate those bars so the sock looks almost completely seamless and so smooth. I like to complete the afterthought heel before the foot of the sock is finished so taking accurate measurements for the foot length is much easier. 

I hope you enjoy knitting the Smooth Operator Socks as much as I do. This is now my go-to sock for self-striping or patterning yarn although it will work for variegated, solid or tonal yarns just as well. Best of all, the fit is perfect!


A poncho, cape, or wrap is perfect for changing temperatures and you need a simple layer that goes from fall to spring.  Volume is an overarching theme in these garments, highlighting the importance of laid-back comfort.  Choose a luxurious yarn and make a statement piece that will enhance your wardrobe.

Caitlin Hunter 
Ravelry: Boylandknitworks

Ninilchik Swoncho
By: Caitlin Hunter
Published on Ravelry under Boyland Knitworks

Inspired by a desire to design a modern, unexpected take on a classic Lopapeysa, the Ninilchik Swoncho is my personal dream come true of style meets cozy comfort…

The shift between seasons can bring some unexpected weather, and layers are an essential part of staying comfortable as the temperature dips and lifts. This swoncho is as comfy as being wrapped in a blanket, but is more functional thanks to its clever construction and sleeves. This cozy piece will surely be a go-to knit in your closet - you may find yourself reaching for it year-round! Coming in just 2 sizes that fit a wide range of bodies, you may even have to make a few to compensate for the family members who swipe one from under your nose!

Embroidery To Go

Embroidery is not just on hoops.  It has a prominent place on denim jackets and jeans. Handmade make-up pouches, pencil cases, and knitting bags are also commonly personalized and adorned.


Woolly Tattoos

Tif (aka Dottie Angel) @dottieangel

Embroidery Art

Sheena Liam
Embroidery art with handmade hair in mixed media



About Joy Macdonell

Joy Macdonell ( is a Creative Blogger and Fiber Consultant. Her job has provided her with lots of great opportunities to teach, including as the host of a television show on the DIY network (Greetings, from DIY) and one on PBS (Crafting at The Spotted Canary). She has also been the guest representative for Martha Stewart Crafts on the Home Shopping Network and has been the education director for the Martha Stewart Crafts brand since it launched in 2007. Prior to starting her career with EK Success Brands in 2001, she and her sister owned the very popular scrapbook store in Fairfax, VA, My Scrapbook Store.

Tags:  business  TNNANews  trends 

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Knitting Trends in 2018

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, February 8, 2018

By Stephanie Shiman

A friend of mine always tells me I have an uncanny knack for predicting trends. I don’t mean the over-the-top runway trends—those never cease to amaze and confound me—but the basic “this is going to be fun” type trends. So, with that in mind, let’s see what fun 2018 has in store…and if I’m way off, you can let me know at the end of the year. ;)

Much of what I think we’ll see in 2018 will come from seeds planted last year, growing and changing as the year goes on. In no particular order, here we go:

The wabi-sabi: This is a hot trend in home décor right now. Wabi-sabi is a traditional Japanese aesthetic, based on seeing the beauty in things that are imperfect and accepting the natural aging process—like patina on aged bronze. I think we’ll see this in our knitting through drop-stitches and asymmetry. Another theme of wabi-sabi is the idea of “obvious pretty” vs. “unique beauty.” I think we’re already seeing this with some rather unusual color selections, particularly in many of the “fade” garments that are popping up.  Colors we would have considered mismatched a few years ago are instead working together in a kind of opposites-attract harmony. So, embrace wabi-sabi and accept that one twisted stitch in a panel of stockinette as an element of your piece, and appreciate your garments knowing they are special or perfect because you created them.

The fade: The “Find Your Fade” shawl by Andrea Mowry has begun a huge movement in mixing and matching colors and assembling them together in ways that are entirely unique. 6369 projects have been knit as I write this article, and all so varied. In the description she says this is “YOUR shawl,” channeling Elizabeth Zimmerman’s attitude of making everything one’s own. I think the “make-it-your-own” aspect of this garment is part of what makes it so appealing. Who doesn’t love shopping for yarn and planning colors? In fact, for me, dreaming of what I will knit is almost as enjoyable as knitting it. I think we’ll be seeing many more projects like this—giant shawls (“shlankets”: shawl+blanket) with singular color combinations melding one into the other using various “fade” techniques to truly make it a one-of-a-kind piece.

The neutrals and texture: On the flip side of the color mash-ups, I’m expecting much in the way of neutrals this year. Lots of grays, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we end up with a pale, pale pink in the neutrals palette. These won’t be boring knits. Rather the neutral yarns will allow highly-textured stitch patterns to step into the foreground. I think we’ll see a lot of knit-purl textures, lesser-used ribbings, and asymmetrical cables. I predict interesting hems and edgings as well. This will be the year to break out all your Barbara Walker books and try new things with your needles.

The big cozy:  Another popular trend in home and fashion is moving towards comfortable and cozy—hygge and more recently, cosagach. These trends, which appreciate feelings of well-being, translate perfectly into knitting. Over-sized ponchos, enveloping shawls, loose-fitting open-front cardigans, worsted weight shrugs…these garments are less about the details and more about comfort. Conveniently enough they’re mostly one-size-fits-all garments, making it less important to get the perfect gauge and perfect fit. That fact alone makes big, cozy knits much more accessible to the beginning knitter. These garments will help shop owners and teachers promote larger, more involved projects with confidence that the knitter will succeed.

So, the take-away:

     Asymmetry, dropped stitches

     Mismatched colors and even bases (gasp!)

     Cozy, one-size-fits-all shrugs and ponchos

     Giant, enveloping shawls (not for the short attention span!)

     Heathered and tonal neutrals for highlighting stitch patterns

     Speckles continue in hand-dyed yarns, but I predict more muted and universally appealing (it seems you either love them, or hate them)

     Gradients and ombre yarns will stay popular—particularly when used for colorwork, such as fair isle knitting

     Tassels, tassels, and pom-poms on top of tassels !!

     And, as Pantone says, ultra-violet…who doesn’t love purple?!

Tags:  business  TNNANews  trends 

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Business Corner: Capitalize on Pantone's Color of the Year!

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Business Corner: Capitalize on Pantone's Color of the Year!


Look at what my amazing hubby brought back for me from Amsterdam!!!!! When I found out he was going there for a business trip, I jokingly told him he simply had to stop by @stephen.and.penelope to check it out. Well, he secretly DID and picked out these two glorious skeins of @uschitita single ply yarn and an adorable project bag!!!! I couldn’t have chosen better for myself, and I’m so excited to have some of her yarn in my stash finally. Colors are Feather and Sugared Violets. 😍😍😍 #purpleisthenewblack #pantone2018 #ultraviolet #pantonecoloroftheyear . Ok now I’m going to go finish our holiday preparations. Hope y’all are having a great start to your week! . . . #uschitita #yarn #stephenandpenelope #christmastree #happyholidays #yay #knit #indiedyers #indiedyersofinstagram #indiedyersrock #knitting #knittingaddict #knittersofinstagram #knittersgonnaknit #knittersoftheworld #knitting_inspiration #acolorstory #purple #speckles #specklesaresohotrightnow

A post shared by Lesley Anne Robinson (@knitgraffiti) on


According to Pantone, it is officially the year of Ultra Violet. Incorporate this bold purple into your business plan this year to catch the eyes of customers. Click through for a roundup of inspiring articles!

Tags:  business  business tips  TNNANews  trends 

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The Sheep and Wool Festival 2017 in Pictures

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, November 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Sheep and Wool Festival 2017 in Pictures

 Photos by Stephanie Shiman

The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival at the Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, New York, has been around since 1980, and is the yarn lovers dream. The fair consists of dozens of vendors, various fiber classes and workshops, as well as farm animals. This year, the fair saw more than 30,000 people. Frabjous Fibers' Stephanie Shiman experienced the festival firsthand and documented it with photos. 





About Stephanie Shiman

Stephanie Shiman (www.frabjousfibers.comstarted frabjous fibers and Wonderland Yarns in 2004 with a box of yarn stashed under her dining room table.  Now, with a team of a dozen or so creative people, FF&WY hand-dyes fabulous yarns and fibers that make their way to LYS all over the world.

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Fall Fashion: Key Items for 2017

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, September 14, 2017
Updated: Monday, September 11, 2017

Fall Fashion: Key Items for 2017

 By Joy Macdonell

Fall is arriving and with it are fall fashions that focus on comfort and versatility. Sweater and dress silhouettes are slouchy and oversized, which means our knitting does not need to be perfect in fit. There is a minimalist fashion trend that focuses on monochromatic and ombre color transitions that feature texture achieved by stitch definition or cabling. In addition, roll-neck sweaters and the cropped top remain key layering pieces.

The Boxy Sweater

The boxy crew or cardigan is a versatile item that can be decorated with hand stitching, a textured pattern, garter stitch, or mismatched stripping. Bristol Ivy’s Newsom and Waits cardigans capture the season’s look in a boxy shape with a touch of perfectly placed detail.


The Cozy Wrap

Fall wraps with cozy warmth are the best for a chilly fall evening. Necklines are higher for the fall a cowl or scarf can add the decorative look of a higher neckline while keeping with the casual look of the season. Warm wools, alpaca, and mohair can create a cozy enveloping feel.

The Trifecta cowl by designer Angela Juergens made from Blue Sky Fibers Woolstock is a perfect example of a high neckline created by a shoulder cover that is perfect for the beginner and uses the fall fashion of hombre color. 


A Refined Cape

A refined cape is a transitional seasonal piece moving from a cool morning to a warm fall day. With an elongated shape and handkerchief hem, it is a wonderful garment for a minimalist look. This piece benefits from clean detailing in a plain fine wool, merino, cashmere, or cotton cashmere blend for a classic look.

Bernat’s Chill in the Air cape with cables is made from a drapey alpaca with clean long cable lines.

Cape Rodney by designer Ann Dewey is a soft, lightweight cape with a flattering front and a dramatic back. Made in the round with 12-ply Mohair by Bendigo Wollen Mills it is a beautiful piece that can be worn day or night. 


A Relaxed Cardigan

Oversized sweaters are key for the fall with relaxed and unstructured construction. Cardigans can do more than button: they can wrap, tie, snap, zip, pin, and belt. Make your cardigan fall boho with drop sleeves, fringing, embroidery, or fair Isle patterning for a colorful fall fashion.

Georgie by Kim Hargreaves features long lines with a little sleeve detail that can be pinned, belted, tied, or left open.


The Mock Crop

New for Fall 2017 is an alternative to the shrug. The cropped mock-neck or mini cape create excellent layers for the fall. These flexible pieces can be worn as shrugs or scarves. Designer Julie Turbide made this shrug/scarf garment from a Bernat Chunky fiber using a moss stitch and a large gauge in a seasonal green. 


The Mountain Caplelet by Purl Soho is another great example of a simple fall knit that covers the shoulders and features a high neckline. Made from Purl Soho’s Gentle Giant on size 19 needles, this would be a quick knit that would get tons of wear in the transitional fall season.


About the Author

Joy Macdonell ( is a Creative Blogger and Fiber Consultant. Her job has provided her with lots of great opportunities to teach, including as the host of a television show on the DIY network (Greetings, from DIY) and one on PBS (Crafting at The Spotted Canary). She has also been the guest representative for Martha Stewart Crafts on the Home Shopping Network and has been the education director for the Martha Stewart Crafts brand since it launched in 2007. Prior to starting her career with EK Success Brands in 2001, she and her sister owned the very popular scrapbook store in Fairfax, VA, My Scrapbook Store.

Tags:  TNNANews  trends 

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Fashion Forward: Needlearts on the Runway

Posted By TNNA Editor, Thursday, July 27, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fashion Forward: Needlearts on the Runway

By: Ellen Lewis

As part of the fashion industry, couture and ready-to-wear designers and their shows heavily influence the yarn and hand knitting industry. The most recent London show for Autumn/Winter 2017 was an early peek at what will be trending in stores as runway looks trickle down to ready to wear.  


Trend 1: Deconstructed Knitwear

Some looks are unlikely to make it to most knitters' needles such as deconstructed knitwear like this three-sleeved sweater from Christopher Kane.


This pullover-cardigan hybrid from Burberry available at Saks Fifth Avenue is also an example of something that many needlearts professionals may use only for inspiration.



Though many of us may not knit these garments, look for designs that feature mismatched button bands, half collars, and asymmetrical styling from the more avant-garde hand-knitting designers.


Trend 2: Oversized Knits

Another trends we are likely to see include oversized cozy knits with plenty of ease and generous sleeves.  Acne Studios, Prada, and Chloe, are all showing exaggerated sleeves, dropped shoulders, and thigh-length pullovers.  




Trend 3: Chunky and Textured Fabrics

Another look we're likely to see reflected in yarns available and designs created are chunky fabrics that focus on texture.   Some fashion critics have referred to this style as Soft Armor, with gently padded shoulder lines and thick bold cables, bobble, and honeycomb stitches that create a feeling of safety inside the clothes.  This pink and white pullover from Aldo Martins is a perfect example.

Part of this whole over-sized and heavily textured look is related to Hygge, the Danish concept of getting cozy.  Especially nice for yarn store owners, as these giant garments take lots of yarn, and fit is not an issue!  


Trend 4: Sleeves and Peplums

Some of the more subtle trends include bell sleeves and peplums, shown her in a design by Cinq a Sept and Altuzarra.



What trends in knitwear have you seen on the runways?  Share what you're seeing and how you plan to feature it in your shop with us by posting on Facebook and tagging @TNNAORG.


About the Author

Ellen Lewis is the owner of Crazy for Ewe in Leonardtown, Maryland. Ellen opened Crazy for Ewe in 2004 after a career in management consulting for the Department of Defense. She is vice president of her local business association, leading the organization's Mastermind Group, chairing the First Friday Committee, and supporting the Marketing Committee. Ellen has four children and a big fluffy Old English Sheepdog Dorey.  

Tags:  TNNANews  trends 

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