A Collaboration: Julie Hoover and Shibui

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 7.22.50 AM

Today a collaboration between two of my favorite things in the knitting world has launched and I am so excited. Julie Hoover, the designer behind such beauties as Cline, Docklight and Redford and Shibui Knits have worked together to create a collection of color and design.


Julie has created 3 new colors for Shibui: Black Plum, “inspired by the fruit, at is most perfect ripeness”, Vintage Rose, “inspired by her favorite shade of matte lipstick” and Glacier, “inspired by the reflections of sky and water on a cold, clear day.” The colors run over five of Shibui’s bases: Nest, Twig, Pebble, Tweed Silk Cloud and Silk Cloud.

If you have been in the shop recently, you have seen these new additions to our Shibui wall, so they are no surprise to you. But, today? Today Julie’s knitwear collection has launched and I must say it is filled with classic, wearable pieces for your wardrobe.

Post, is a popover knit in Nest. This simple and elegant design is just what I adore so I had one knit up for me.  The poncho/cape design allows for ease of movement and I love the detail along the seams.

Hahn is a sweater you could live in all of the time. Pebble and Silk cloud are combined in a relaxed v-neck sweater with just a bit of texture for interest. Soft, and especially lovely in Glacier, it is one of the standouts of the collection.

One of my favorite yarn combinations, Pebble held double, is featured in Julie’s design, Layton. Julie describes this sweater as a “pullover you want to live in”. Look at the detail on the turned up sleeve! That alone wants to make me put this on my needles!

Blume is a tulip-hemmed  pullover that is a great layering piece when knit without sleeves. Add sleeves and you will have a lovely sweater to keep the chill off your arms.  The design, in Twig and Silk Cloud, allows for a nice drape that is flattering all body types.  Blume worn over a pair of black pants, classic!

Julie included an accessory in her collection as well.  Wells is a reversible cowl worked in Pebble, Tweed Silk Cloud and Silk Cloud. With both a small and large version, for cozy doubling around your neck, this is a great basic.

Come see the yarns at the shop or if you are further afield we will have the collection at Stitches West (February 20-23) in Santa Clara. We are so excited as Julie Hoover will be joining us, along with Shibui, in the booth so please be sure to stop by and say hello and see this collaboration in person!

All photographs courtesy of Shibui Knits and Julie Hoover.


My word for the year…

Instead of coming up with a new year’s resolution, which is usually broken within weeks of turning the calendar, this year I decided to focus on a word throughout the year.


The last couple of years have flown by too quickly and I feel rushed.  This year my goal is to simplify things so I can take a breath. More time to spend with my husband, family, friends and pups. More time to be creative and, quite honestly, just be quiet.

IMG_5749 2.jpegMy daughter drew a little reminder for me to 
put in the front of my calendar book.

Part of the way I am going to simplify my life is to not wait until the last minute to do things. This, my friends, is going be my toughest assignment yet because I am an excellent procrastinator. My goal in 2020 is to get it done, move on AND don’t circle back to make it perfect. Planning for Stitches, monthly newsletter tasks, emails, stuff around the house… whatever it is, I want to check it off my list. Can I bring the “touch it once” rule into practice?

IMG_5750.jpegI have even written “simplicity” on each page
of my calendar to remind me to be focused.

Part of plan to simplify my little piece of the world will stretch into my knitting life too.  I am going to focus on knitting things I truly love and will wear. 2020 will be the year I will knit what I want with joy. Last year was filled a ton of projects, this year’s productivity will be lower. (Do not fear, we will continue to have a lot of new samples in the shop…I have some amazing help in the lovely ladies of Monarch and some fabulous knitting friends.)

So, what do I want to knit this year? I know that I want to knit something out of a Hudson +West yarn. When we received the book, I Knit San Francisco, one sweater caught my eye. Ferry Building, knit out of Weld, is a great looking sweater; oversized but tailored. The sweater is designed by Sloane Rosenthal, a master of all things cabled. Euclid, a shawl by Isabel Kraemer, has also struck my fancy.  I really admire her aesthetic and well written patterns. Knit in Phoebe or maybe a Shibui combination, it will be a stunner to wear!

Two projects I hope to knit this year were designed by some lovely people that I have been lucky enough to meet over my years as a shop owner.  Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio, a good friend and a great source of knitting inspiration, designed a pullover, Elorie, last fall.  The slip stitch pattern creates a stunning yoke that flows into a beautifully draped sweater. While Elizabeth knit her sweater in Quince Kestrel, I might try mine in Woolfolk Far for a cozier version.

Shellie Anderson’s vest, Astoria is the perfect quick winter knit.  A combination of Shibui Nest held double with Silk Cloud on a size 10 needle and no sleeves?… It is calling for a few rainy days filled with movies and knitting.  The vest is simple and classic, just my kind of garment.

The message for me this year, will be to take a breath, to slow down and enjoy life and embrace all the little moments. I hope all of you find peace in the new year and can find time for yourself and what you hold dear.


A 2019 Knitting Recap….

Hi Friends,

Last year’s blog was launched with a blog post called “Knitting Intentions for 2019” in which I talked about my intentions for the new year, knitting and otherwise.  So, I thought that it might be nice to take a look at what I knit in 2019.

IMG_5690.jpg(If you are counting, there are a couple missing as I gave them away!)

My 2019 knitting log was filled with projects! In 2019 I cast on 30 knitting projects, completed twenty-two, five are works in progress that I will finish over the next couple of months, one sits in my car and is used only if I forget my other knitting projects and I frogged four. If I cast a project on and dread working on in, I am not afraid to abandon the project and find another use for the yarn.

While I do knit to relax, the reality is, knitting is part of my JOB. As you know, seeing samples in a shop makes all the difference in the world and we, at the shop, are here to create them. So where you may knit for a couple of hours in the evening, I might knit for 5 or 6 hours in a day. No complaints here, I am lucky to do what I love! So on to what my fingers were busy with the last 12 months….


Top row – Mariechen by Isabell Kraemer in Rowan Felted Tweed, Turtle Dove by Espace Tricot in Woolfolk Luft, Weekender by Andrea Mowry in Shibui Pebble and Birch
Bottom Row – Mitchell Poncho by Shibui in Shibui Vine, Shifty by Andrea Mowry in Spincycle Dyed in the Wool and Versus, Clark by Sivia Harding in Shibui Nest


Top Row – Songbird by Shannon Cook in mYak Tibetan Cloud, Hipster Cowl by Joji Locatelli in Woolfolk Tove, Iqaluit by Petite Knitter in Magpie Swanky Sock
Middle Row – Mini Morning Walk Hat in Big Bad Wool, Beekeeper by Marie Greene in Quince Phoebe, Tiny Boats by Elizabeth Doherty in Hudson + West Weld
Bottom Row – Beloved Berlin by Isabell Kraemer Woolfolk Tynd, Thaliah by Andrea Mowry in Shibui Lunar and Birch, Anna’s Summer Cardigan by Petite Knit in Rowan Kid Silk Haze and Baby CashSoft


And I need to finish these pieces –  Sleeves are all that is left on Machi by Rievive in mYak lace (coming to the shop soon). Jennfier Steinglass’s Aboreal, knit in Rowan Moordale, will get a lot of attention this week as I have some hospital waiting to do. Dunham in Shibui Nest and Silk Cloud, in my FAV color, Velvet, only has a few more inches to go! Ronin by Julie Hoover, knit in Shibui Silk Cloud and Fern, will be seamed in the quiet of January.  (Sorry for the wrinkles, but hey, they have been squished in my knitting bag.)

A few pieces have not be photographer here: Destination Unknown by Cheryl Faust, featured on the January 2020 newsletter, Sunday Cardigan by Petite Knitter, Tincure by Andrea Mowry and Some Kind of Wonderful by Susan B. Anderson.

So there you have it… 2019 wrapped up with wooly hug.

Best wishes to all of you for a happy 2020. May you have peace and joy in your life and time to… Knit and be happy!

🧶  Ann

P.S. **check back on January 10th for my 2020 intentions**



Basher Lands on the Monterey Peninsula

What’s black, brown, and white and creates joy wherever he goes?

It’s Basher! Linus’s little brother and Monarch Ambassador in Training. He still has much to learn, skeins of yarn are not playthings, customers don’t want their laces untied, and those little teeth are sharp so don’t bite the hand that wants to pet you. But he couldn’t have a better mentor than Linus and he seems to be a quick study. We are looking forward to having him at Monarch on a regular basis.

It was a special 25th wedding anniversary gift for Ann as little Basher arrived as a surprise, just before midnight, on November 9th after a plane ride from Albuquerque. He will be all of twelve weeks old the first week of December.

Ann and Basher went to their first puppy class last week and he did well socializing with the other pups and work hard to listen to her and follow instructions. It was his first go at it but Ann thinks he shows potential to be a first-rate Monarch shop greeter.

On the home front Basher is learning to eat from his food bowl and not to try and sneak over to Linus’s dish for an extra snack. He is working hard to be Linus’s little buddy, still quite a bit of work to do in this area, but Linus is generous with his patience as Basher enjoys barking directly into his face and has taken over the stash of dog toys in the house. Progress is being made but it will be a bit of time before Linus refers to the young pup as his BFF.

Ann is making sure that Linus is getting extra doses of love, and special snacks, to help ease the new arrival into the family. He will always remain Monarch’s number one ambassador but we think he is looking forward to sharing the duty with Basher once he gets through his training period. After all there are plenty of Monarch dog lovers to go around and it will not be too long before there is double the Berner fun at your local yarn shop.

Ann’s Summer Knitting Plan


What are you knitting now?

When you think of summer knitting, does you mind automatically turn to linen tops and scarves as light as a feather?  Perhaps you have a simple pattern to follow as you travel to a favorite vacation spot or enjoy evenings out  with your knitting circle. Well, oddly enough, my mind turns to fall and the many sweaters I want to incorporate into my wardrobe for the  cooler seasons.  My summer is filled with knitting swatches, yokes, button hole bands and sleeves.

Since the beginning of May, I have knit two sweaters. The first was the Sunday Cardigan by Petite Knit. This sweater is perfect to pop on when I want a big soft hug. Knit with Rowan Brushed Fleece, on nice, big needles, this pattern was a breeze. Nothing is quite as satisfying as getting a sweater done in about 10 days.


Ready for blocking and buttons!

Shify, the second sweater I completed, took a little bit of thought as I changed it from a pullover to a cardigan, lengthened it a bit and alternating the bands. I must admit, when I first started knitting the sweater, I thought that I would knit it as a store sample and then give it away when we were done displaying it. Once I got through the yoke, I fell in love with the fabric. The colors in the sweater remind me of a foggy day on our coast. I spent a long weekend at Squam Lake with friends where I had a ton of knitting time.  We sat on the porch of our cabin or on the dock to knit, drink wine and take the beauty of Squam all in…and before I knew it, I had a sweater!


Ready for blocking and buttons!
(two projects same status, are you seeing a theme?)

(A few people have ask how I modified the sweater and that will be featured in an upcoming blog post.)

Six weeks and two sweaters down… and two shawls for projects of the month. What is next?


As I was perusing Instagram one Sunday I saw Julie Hoover’s new pattern Ronin. A long cardigan with big wide stripes? It was but a few hours before that was on my needles!  Using Shibui Fern and Silk Cloud held double, I knit a swatch right away and started knitting.  I am almost done with one front and plan to work on it over the 4th of July week.  We have friends coming into town so there will be plenty of knitting time as we catch up.


For some reason I am obsessed with the idea of having an orange sweater. Fall is my favorite season. When my girls were home, I always loved routine of the start of school and all of the holidays. And I LOVE pumpkins. One of my college friends owns a personalized stationary business and she made me the most darling note cards with pumpkins on them.


(I just had to share them!)

I had three sweaters in mind to knit Tinder by Jared Flood, Mariechen by Isabell Kraemer and Ebbetts by Elizabeth Doherty. I could not decide between the three so I put them up to a vote on Instagram.  Mariechen was the winner by a hair. I decided to use Rowan Felted Tweed in Ginger.  So that will be my next cast on at the end of this holiday week. Can you tell that I like to have more than one or two or three projects going at the same time?


Photo by Isabell Kraemer

So there you have it, my knitting plan for summer. By the time Fall sets in, I will have four new sweaters ready for cooler temperatures!

Happy summer knitting, friends!


Happy Birthday to Monarch Knitting!


Monarch Knitting is 6 years old on the 20th of April! I cannot believe that it has been 6 years since our little store opened its doors.  I still remember the feelings I had as I unlocked the door for our opening…hopeful, excited and, to be honest, terrified. 6 years later, as I look forward, I still feel the same way, but not quite as terrified!

The 6th year was filled with fun and tons of projects! Monarch packed up our goods and created a pop-up shop at Stitches West and Vogue Knitting Live in San Francisco.  Learning new skills is at the top of the list for all of us and we were happy to welcome Brooke from Sincere Sheep, Carson Demers author of Knitting Comfortably, Marie Greene of Olive Knits, Vilasinee Bunnag, creator of The Loome Tool, and Elizabeth Doherty of Blue Bee Studio. We also have enjoyed full classes throughout the year… Tunisian Crochet seems to be a new favorite! (I must admit I am a bit obsessed and you might be seeing a Tunisian Crochet project of the month this fall.)


Being a source of inspiration is key to Monarch Knitting.  All of us here at the store have been keeping our needles busy with some amazing projects of the month.  This photo highlights just a few of our favorites and it makes me realize that I need to put a list up on the Monarch Knitting website.

2019 POM.jpg

Isn’t Koryn’s sweet little boy, Reid, the best knit wear model?

The next year at Monarch will bring a lot of new and interesting things to the store.  We are kicking it off with a little birthday party for Monarch on Saturday the 20th of April.  We will have delicious birthday treats and a drawing for some awesome prizes.  Anyone who makes a purchase in the store or online will be entered to win.  All purchases in our online store will ship free on that day and if you spend over $25.00 in the store, you will receive a Monarch Knitting pin to rep our little store on your knitting bag!


The next weekend we will still be celebrating with LYS Day on Saturday the 27th of April.  Again, we will have some treats at the store, fabulous drawing for any purchases made online or in-store AND Julie Weisenberger will be at the store teaching her ingenious Cocoknits method.  All in all it is going to be a pretty amazing month ahead.

Turning my attention, now, to the year ahead.  You all will see some little improvements made in the store to help make it more attractive and better organized.  We are going to continue to expand our roster of classes, so please email us if you have any suggestions of new skills or techniques you would like to learn. We are also going to expand and improve the web store for our customers who live outside of our little peninsula. As some of you may know, my husband and I downsized since our daughters left for college and I built my perfect little office.  It is tiny, everything is within reach and I have a huge bookshelf.  It is still a work in progress but here is a little look into my workspace at home!


The socks hanging on the bulletin board are the first project my mom ever knit  Argyle socks… can you imagine?

I am going to take advantage of some opportunities I have for travel over the next year.  I am going to take some classes at the spring Squam Workshop and then travel to Rhinebeck for New York Sheep and Wool Festival.  In March of 2020 I plan to go to Edinburgh Yarn Festival with friends.  Every time I head out-of-town,  I have the opportunity to meet the many wonderful people who play a role in the industry.  Travel is the ultimate in wooly inspiration.


Drinks with friends after a busy but fun day at the NY Sheep and Wool Festival.

Thank you, all of you, for supporting us.  My heart is so filled with gratitude and love for little Monarch Knitting. 🧶



A Short But Busy Month

Hi Friends!

February for most is a quiet winter month filled with hearts and, for us here on the Monterey Peninsula, a  golf tournament. If you are active in the fiber arts community February means….. STITCHES WEST!

We, as a team, love having a booth (or four) at Stitches.  It is a ton of planning and preparation but once we hit the market floor the event is a blast.  We get to see our friends, see some of the amazing knit and crochet projects worn by the attendees and catch up with other retailers.

Once again we are partnering with our good friends at Shibui. The lovely Sandy Barnes and Britt-Marie Brehmer will be there providing inspiration and assisting you in finding the perfect mix of yarns.  Shibui will be offering a free pattern download to anyone who buys their yarns at Stitches.  You’ll also be automatically entered into a drawing for a gift from them!

Sandy and Britt-Marie will be bringing some fantastic new knits…


Marie Green of OliveKnits will be joining us for a meet and greet and  signing of her new book, Seamless Knit Sweaters in Two Weeks. She will be at the booth on Thursday Evening from 5:00pm to 8:00pm.  If you are not attending the market preview, we will have signed books in the booth the rest of the weekend. We are so excited to see her again!


We’ll also have a ton of new things in the booth, many of them exclusive to Stitches…

Kits made with gorgeous Sweet Georgia Yarns…


New Blue Bee Studio Bee Bins as well as a selection of yarns for Elizabeth Doherty’s wonderful sweaters…


Beautiful cashmere kits from the lovely Lux Adorna…


Quince Sparrow, Kestrel and something new!


All of this and so much more!

And it wouldn’t be a grand event without a some little giveaways from us!  Any purchase you make with us during Stitches enters you into a drawing to win some Monarch swag!  We will also host a some giveaways for our friends who are unable to attend Stitches.


Unable to attend Stitches West this year?  You’re in luck!  We’ll be posting some fantastic giveaways for anyone who shops from our Stitches booth collection online or in store the week after we return, February 25th to March 3rd.  It’s our way to bring a little Stitches to you!  So be sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook

So yes, February will be full of frenzy but so full of fun!  During our time at Stitches, the shop will be closed from Thursday 2/21 through Sunday 2/24. We cannot wait to see many of you at Stitches!

Until then,

Ann and the Monarch Team

Knitting Intentions for 2019


I typically do not make new year’s resolutions, but rather I look to intentions for the coming year…watch my water intake, exercise, reduce stress and unplug from my phone and computer every day. In that same light, I always think about my knitting intentions for the New Year. What would I like to learn, improve upon and complete in 2019.

This process starts with looking back and doing a bit of organizing.  I start by taking out all of my knitting bags (I have just a few) and looking at each project.  Is this a project I want to continue working on in the new year?  Am I still excited about it?  If the answer is yes, it stays. If no, which is quite rare, it will be returned to my stash or I will donate the yarn.  Lets face it, there is nothing worse than knitting on a project you don’t like. It is a lovely feeling to keep only the projects you love in your knitting rotation. And it is a liberating feeling to get rid of those that don’t inspire you.

Once that is done, I go through my notions and needles.  I collect my stich markers from around the house and return them to the proper tins. (Trust me, I find them  everywhere!) Then I ensure that my notions bag is all stocked up and that I have everything I need to complete my projects.  I also wipe my metal knitting needles down with a damp cloth to remove any oils that have been left behind after a lot of use. The few wooden needles, get a wipe down with a clean cloth.


Now, I am ready to think about the year ahead.  In my planner I create a “Knitting Log” for the year.  I start by listing the projects that are being carried from 2018 to 2019.  I note the pattern name, yarn, needles, cast-on date and cast-off date.  This year I have included a “Ravelry Post” column.  One of my 2019 knitting intentions is to be better about posting finished projects to Ravelry.  I get so much knowledge from other knitters on the site, it is a great way to give a little back to the community.


Next, I think about what I want to knit for the year ahead.  My best inspiration comes from my friends in the Monarch community and from Instagram.  On New Year’s Eve morning a client came in with a sweater in progress, Tensile by Emily Greene, and I fell in love.  That project will be on my needles soon!  Sweaters will continue to be a priority for me this year.  I just love being able to wear something that fits me and cannot be purchased off a shelf at a store.


In 2019, I want to learn how to knit in the Portuguese Style.  It has always fascinated me as a way of tensioning and I look forward to learning more about it.  I am lucky enough to be attending Squam with some friends for a relaxing weekend of classes and knitting. Lo and behold…there was a Portuguese Knitting class offered. I am also taking another class at Squam that takes me WAY out of my comfort zone because it involves…drawing. The class is called “creating a sketchbook practice”.  I have always been interested in visual journaling, and this is the perfect, low-stakes opportunity to explore it.


I am also going to do a bit more selfish knitting this year.  Almost everything I knit is for the store and, with the store schedule, it must to be done quickly and by a deadline.  Part of my overall intention to “reduce stress” in my life falls perfectly in line with these knitting projects.  This year process, not product, is important to me, but don’t worry, we will still have plenty of samples to show off at the shop!

So, as you enter the New Year, first, take a look back at your knitting and see what you loved and made you happy.  Then, think about what you would like to learn and explore. Challenge yourself to knit a couple of more challenging projects.  If you have never knit a sweater, cast one on, perhaps try fair isle or cables.  However, do not let go of the fundamental piece of our practice: let your knitting bring you joy and calm in 2019.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2019 to all of our Monarch Knitting friends,


Photo credits – Squam, petiteknits and Jared Flood