Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Here Be Dragons....and Rewards!

First, we have a restock alert: our Big Bijou Bliss in Purple Dragon flew off the shelves (pun intended) - but we found a way to source more! Get yours while supplies last here in our online store. If you're just now finding our blog, be sure to check out our previous post featuring these limited edition colorways which are dyed especially for us by MJ Yarns, found here.
Have you ever wished you could get rewarded for buying yarn? If so, you're in luck! We've just unveiled the BBR Rewards program for our most loyal lovers of luxury yarn. If that last sentence describes you, then click here to join - it's FREE and you can start earning points right way! Each online purchase will earn you 5 points for every $1 spend, so they'll add up quickly and can be redeemed for valuable rewards. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

New Indie-Dyed Colors & a Coupon Code!

August is here, and we're kicking this month off with lots and lots of new hand-dyed colorways from Lost City Knits, Lattes & Llamas, and Mode Knit Yarns. They're the latest to join our ever-growing collection of colors made just for us, and they're all available here in our online store 24/7.

The folks at ModeKnit Yarns have come up with 12 limited edition gradient and flow colorways in our Tibetan Dream yak/nylon fingering weight yarn! Choose from a variety of hues ranging from subtle to oh-so-bright:

These ombre-style gradients feature subtle, gradual shifts of color fading from dark to light. 

Each color gradually & gracefully shifts from black to a vibrant hue, creating long color changes as you knit or crochet.

These eye-popping colorways feature a number of gradual color changes in each skein as you knit or crochet.

But that's not all! Lost City Knits has added 2 new hand-dyed colorways to their custom color collection in Shangri-La, our luxurious yak & silk laceweight yarn: 

Lattes & Llamas has added 3 shaded solids to their custom collection in Lhasa Wilderness yarn - perfect for stripes and colorwork projects:

If it's been a while since you've visited our website, stop on by to see what's new. Hint: you'll definitely want to check out our Indie Dyer section for limited-edition, can't-find-anywhere-else colorways!

Last but not least, since we won't be attending Stitches Midwest, please enjoy this special discount when you shop our online store this weekend - just enter NASMW at checkout to save 15% off your entire yarn purchase today through Midnight MST 8/7/16.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

New Colors from MJ Yarns!

When we announced our new house colors last month, we hinted that more was yet to come. This month, we are pleased to unveil 5 gorgeous new limited edition colorways from MJ yarns which are available on our popular Tibetan Dream sock yarn base, as well as an exciting option we're calling Big Bijou Bliss.
Big Bijou Bliss in Joseph
Big Bijou Bliss (or BBB for short) is a worsted-weight version of our well-loved Bijou Bliss sport weight yarn, and both are a soft and springy blend of 50% Tibetan yak and 50% Cormo wool. Each skein has 160 yards, which is perfect for lots of small projects such as hats, fingerless gloves and more.
Big Bijou Bliss in Cerulean Twilight
BBB is a limited run yarn base, which means that once it's gone, it's really, truly gone! We think that these gorgeous variegated colors are the perfect way to get ready for fall (it'll be here before you know it).
Big Bijou Bliss in Mice and Men
The Bowline hat pattern from Tin Can Knits is a great one-skein BBB project that you can knit for the entire family: it's sized for baby through Adult L, and the unisex stitch pattern looks good on everyone!
Tibetan Dream in Lakeside
Sock yarn lovers, take note: we also have these new hand-dyed colors available in our yak and nylon blend, Tibetan Dream. One skein is all it takes for a variety of projects, from socks to beautiful shawls and wraps. If you've been thinking about casting on for the Spindrift Shawl or Pebble Beach Shawl, both by Helen Stewart, any of these new colors would be the perfect choice!
Tibetan Dream in Purple Dragon
Of course, the Purple Dragon colorway has us thinking about Game of Thrones, and there are a lot of great GOT-inspired patterns on Ravelry that would be a great matchup for Tibetan Dream in this color, such as: Mother of Dragons by Laura Smoot, Winter is Coming by Sally Cameron, and Lord Varys by Jill Bickers. We'll make it easy for you, click here to view more GOT-inspired patterns for fingering weight yarn over on Ravelry!

Whatever color & yarn you choose, we hope you'll share your project with us here in our Ravelry group or over on Instagram using the #bijoubasinranch hashtag. Happy knitting & crocheting!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Made in the USA: Behind the Scenes at BBR

L-R: Eileen Koop, Donna Vessey
(host of Hittin' the Road) & Carl Koop.
Here at Bijou Basin Ranch, we are a family-owned ranch that raises fully registered Tibetan yaks that have wonderfully glossy coats and produce a high quality fiber. If you haven’t knit with yak yarn (or a yak blend) before, you are missing out! Tibetan yak fiber is warmer than wool and has a softness similar to cashmere, making it ideal for lightweight garments and accessories.  As yak fiber takes time to develop, we work with other ranchers in the western states and abroad in Mongolia to supplement the fiber needed to produce our extensive range of high-quality yarns.
Processing and Dyeing
Since our big focus is raising happy yaks (happy yaks produce better fiber!) we also work with a variety of US-based mills and independent American dyers to turn this precious fiber into the kind of yarn that you can’t wait to work with in colors which range from vibrant to subtle in both solids or variegated. For us, it just made sense to work with dyers who were already at the top of their game and doing amazing things, kind of like a party with some very talented friends. Here are some of the indie dyers you'll find in our online store:

  • Miss Babs, based in Tennessee
  • MJ Yarns, based in Colorado
  • Lattes & Llamas, based in Pennsylvania
  • ModeKnit Yarns, based in Minnesota
  • Lost City Knits, based in Oklahoma
Of course, we think that the perfect way to care for your gorgeous knits in our yarn is with Allure Fiber Wash, which is made right here in the USA. This all-natural, biodegradable no-rinse wash is perfect for your special handwash-only treasures. After all, you spent so much time making something beautiful, it makes sense to keep it looking its best!
ModeKnit Gradient Yarn & Allure Fiber Wash
Show me the Yaks!
I bet you don’t think ‘cute!’ when you think of yaks, but they are actually quite cute. We were recently interviewed for a PBS show called Hittin' the Road (click here to watch the episode!) which recently aired - you can check out the interview with Carl & Eileen Koop (aka, the "family owned" part of the business) at the 3-minute mark in the video linked above. It's worth clicking over for the immediate joy of seeing our yaks frolicking in a field - who knew yaks were so bouncy!? Well, we did, but people don't usually believe us...now we have video proof!
And for some very short clips of seeing the yaks in the field being a bit less bouncy but every bit as cute, this three-part series of videos from Interweave is required viewing:

If you haven’t had a chance to touch a skein of yak yarn before, we hope to see you at one of the many yarn shows we are attending this year. We'll also be sharing some new hand-dyed colorways with you later this month, so stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Getting to Know You: Bijou Bliss

Welcome to our new tutorial series from guest blogger Knitting Sarah! Sarah is a popular blogger based in Wisconsin, and she will be sharing her knitting know-how with you in this ongoing series. This is her second such post; click here if you missed her inaugural post about swatch knitting.
Bijou Bliss, a 50/50 yak/cormo blend, is the very first yak yarn I bought. Like many, I actually made my first purchase with very little idea of what I would knit with it – it was just so warm and soft that I simply had to try it. I grabbed two natural brown skeins and promptly brought them home.
We all buy yarn like this sometimes and it’s these types of purchases that can make finding a suitable pattern an interesting challenge. It’s one thing to purchase yarn for a pattern, but it’s a whole other situation when you buy the yarn with no plan in mind. So what do you do when you make this sort of purchase?
One of the first things I did with my Bijou Bliss was hop online to see what other have said about the yarn. In the case of Bijou Bliss, I discovered this in Bijou Basin Ranch’s product description:
“Designers rave about working with this yarn - stitch patterns really “pop”!”
Realizing no one knows this yarn better than those that create it, I can trust that if they’re telling me this yarn does marvelous things with stitch patterns, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to seek out some patterns with interesting texture & stitch patterning.
Armed with this insight, it was time to knit a swatch. If you’re truly starting from scratch, you can find needle size recommendations on the ball band of your yarn and start your swatch there. It can be as simple as knitting a 4”x4” square of stockinette or, if you think you might want to knit in the round, you can whip up a little cuff in the round. If you’re having fun and want to explore further, you can also grab your nearest stitch dictionary and play with stitch patterns – really there’s nothing stopping you! Knitting & washing a swatch or swatches lets you get a feel how the yarn knits up as well as allows you to garner important information like gauge, how the yarn changes with washing, and its stitch definition. It’s a window into discovering what makes a yarn really shine. Once you’ve got a basic working knowledge of your yarn, you’re ready to find the perfect pattern.
After swatching with Bijou Bliss I could see the beautiful stitch definition and I knew that this yarn blooms just enough to make it super cozy & soft. In every project, when I start to formulate what kind of pattern to look for, I always take what I’ve learned from my swatch & the recommendations I’ve read and I imagine what type of project would make the most of the yarn at hand. That’s the key to incredible knitting projects after all, finding a marriage of yarn & pattern that showcases what makes the yarn special. In my mind, I was thinking my ideal Bijou Bliss project would incorporate the key aspects that make this yarn unique – its warmth and softness, the slightly rustic appearance of the natural brown, & its stitch definition.
There are many ways to start a seeking out a pattern and one of my favorite places to begin with a new-to-me yarn is a general search for the weight of yarn and yardage just to see all my options. From there, I can start narrowing the field based on the options I’m find. In the back of my mind I’d be hoping to find some fingerless mitts with a pretty motif for my Bijou Bliss, so when I came across the Ashbury Mitts in my search I was pretty sure I had exactly what I was looking for. The Ashbury Mitts were actually created with Bijou Basin Ranch’s Lhasa Wilderness in mind, but I had a hunch that it would work equally well with Bijou Bliss.
I started knitting and my hunch was confirmed. The combination of texture set into these relaxed mitts played right into the hand of this yarn. It’s no coincidence, of course, that this pattern worked well. After all, the Ashbury Mitts met the criteria of my search exactly – lots of texture & stitch patterning to showcase the exquisite stitch definition and something that would play-up its warm & cozy nature. The Bijou Bliss gives this pattern a more rustic flavor than its original version, but that’s exactly what I was hoping. The mitts turned knit up beautifully.
What began as an impulse purchase of some gorgeous yarn, ended up leading me down the enjoyable, educational, and rewarding path of getting to know a new-to-me yarn. It’s takes time to really get to know a yarn, but it’s so worth the time investment. The journey of knitting my Ashbury Mitts has also got me thinking about more ways I can use the incredibly lovely Bijou Bliss. Yes indeed, I see a bright future and a lot more texture in my future with this wonderful yarn from Bijou Basin Ranch.

Sarah Chy is a Wisconsin-based knitter, spinner, writer, and small-scale family adventurer. You can keep up with her latest crafty projects and family hijinks on her blog, knittingsarah.com.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

New Hand-Dyed Color Palette Reveal

This has been hard to keep under wraps for these past few months, but at long last we can reveal our brand-new palette of standard "house colors" for our popular Lhasa Wilderness and Himalayan Trail bases! Hand-dyed for us by a local Colorado Dyer, MJ Yarns, these semisolid colors are dyed especially to create colors with depth and character. The dye techniques employed may take a little longer, but that effort is well worth it for our customers who will find they don't need to work from two different skeins to avoid color pooling!

In addition to these standard colors, MJ Yarns will also be producing a set of Limited Edition colors on various blends for us, too. We'll keep you posted here on the blog, but we also recommend following us on your social media channel of choice (Facebook, Ravelry, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest) and subscribing to our newsletter for up-to-the-minute breaking news.

Without further ado, meet our new colors! First up, we have Himalayan Trail, our fingering weight blend of 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% Merino:
Top, L-R: Burgundy, Deep Teal, Charcoal.
Middle, L-R: Lavender, Blueberry, Azure, Olive.
Bottom, L-R: Scarlet, Soft Pink, Carrot, Sunshine, Pistachio.
Next, we have Lhasa Wilderness, an all-season sport weight blend of 75% Tibetan Yak and 25% Bamboo:
Top, L-R: Olive, Charcoal, Deep Teal.
Middle, L-R: Pistachio, Azure, Blueberry, Burgundy.
Bottom, L-R: Scarlet, Soft Pink, Carrot, Sunshine, Lavender.
Not sure how to care for yak yarn? Don't worry, we've got you covered - just hand wash with Allure Fiber Wash and dry flat. If you need a visual, check out our new Yak Care T-Shirt; it really doesn't get any easier than this!
We've also added another new t-shirt to our store: declare your love of all things Yak with our Straight Outta Elbert design:

All of the above is available now in our online store, and we'll also have our new yarn colors & t-shirts at the Estes Park Wool Market this weekend. If you planning to attend, be sure to drop by to say hello and see what's new!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

3 Reasons Why A Poncho Should Be Your Next Project (Really!)

For those of you who are starting to experience warmer weather, the question of what to knit or crochet can be a little more difficult; it's hard to feel motivated to knit a sweater when you know that it will be months until you can wear it! There are lots of great small projects to make when the temperature rises, but today we want to share 3 reasons why a poncho should be your next project (really!):

1. Ponchos are great for changing seasons. The transition between winter and summer is rarely smooth - one day, you're wearing shorts and flip-flops, then next you are reaching for wool socks and a coat! A poncho is an easy way to layer up and be prepared for those crazy fluctuations of temperature. Yak, qiviut and silk fibers are a particularly good choice, because they are lightweight while still being warm & insulating.

2. Ponchos are easy to wear. Think of them as a shawl that is simply easier to style - just throw is on and you're out the door! We've heard many crafters comment that they love to knit or crochet shawls, but find them difficult to wear. A poncho is a great way to sidestep the issue while still getting that lovely shawl-wearing effect.

3. There's a poncho pattern for every skill level. Whether you're just starting out, or you've been knitting for years, there is a pattern to suit your preference and skill level. Newbies may prefer a simple construction such as knitting a large rectangle which is then seamed into a poncho; intermediate and experienced knitters may opt to try more adventurous techniques or stitch patterns to add an element of excitement to their project.

One of our favorite patterns is the Little Bear Poncho by Marly Bird, knit in Shangri-La 50/50 yak/silk lace weight yarn - click here to purchase pattern PDF or here to purchase discounted project kit.
If you're a fan of knitting with fingering weight yarns such as Himalayan Trail or Tibetan Dream, Carina Spencer's Winterberry Hood is a fun poncho to knit which also includes a functional hood.
Andrea Mowry's Yoga Shawl would be another lovely project to knit with either of these yarns substituted in - it's constructed exactly like a shawl (for all those die-hard shawl knitters out there!), but  can be worn as a poncho when both ends are buttoned together. How clever!

(Be sure to also check out Andrea's recent review of our Bijou Bliss yarn and Allure fiber wash, found here on her blog.)

Our Lhasa Wilderness yarn is a great go-to for warmer months; the yak/bamboo blend is great for year-round wear, but the breathability of bamboo is especially handy in the summertime. Monika Sirna's Amethyst Iris poncho would be a great project to knit with Lhasa Wilderness, and it comes in a range of sizes from child to adult.
We look forward to seeing your poncho projects over in the Bijou Basin Ranch Fan Club on Ravelry!