Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer is a time of colour

Can you see the very busy bees thoroughly enjoying the flowers?

The Crafty Lady is allergic to flowers, so I am providing some Mother Nature's colour in two views.

Overlooking Kalamalka Lake, British Columbia

Over the past several years, colouring books have become very popular as hobbies and to help wile away idle time when you can not knit, crochet or quilt. 

Quoting from Coloring for Dummies For Adults (available from Chapters/Amazon, etc.)


Coloring For Adults For Dummies by Consumer Dummies
 "Coloring? Isn’t that for kids? Certainly not! Coloring is for all ages. Coloring is a great hobby for adults. It’s the ideal way to relax after a hard day and perfect for giving your creativity a boost. For many people, the coloring of a beautiful picture is a kind of meditation. You focus on what you’re doing at that very moment and forget everything around you". 


Colouring can be something you do alone, in a group, listening to a podcast, watching TV. Colour can feed your creative side while being very meditative. You can find colouring books at several price points, on many types of paper, and you can use anything from markers to crayons, to coloured pencils, or expensive artists paints. 

One other bonus - there are no rules! You can use any colour, you can colour inside or outside the lines - or draw your own creation. There is so much more to colouring as an adult. While colouring you can be a child again - create a masterpiece, or more than one at the same time. You can share, you can keep, you can hang on the wall/fridge. 

I invite you to read this article from the International Bipolar Foundation website, which you may find very interesting http://www.ibpf.org/blog/new-hobby-consider-coloring-books-adults

This week's special is right up the creative colour avenue. It is also a chunky yarn, so your creation will work up very quickly. 


Kureyon Air
By Noro
100% wool

Reg. $20.00
75% Off
$5.00




Kureyon Air has two plies, spun with less twist than many manufactured yarns.   It can be a little difficult to see, because the yarn has such a “rustic” loosely spun effect, but if you untwist it you will definitely get two plies in your hand. It’s how they get the striated effect that shows up in some dye lots (like, black and orange blurred together.)
As far as I can tell it is manufactured in Japan, hence the Japanese name for the yarn: くれよん (pronounced coo-ray-oh-n) is the Japanese pronunciation of the English “crayon;” thus, the literal name of the yarn is “crayon.”
Summer is the time for vibrant colour, this is one of the yarns to consider working with this summer for winter colour. And - It is 100% wool and will felt. Check out some of the projects on Ravelry. 

Written by Anne, as I enjoy summer colours! 


Monday, July 8, 2019

Life's STILL a Cabaret!

Photo Credit: www.moviegoods.com
via Wikipedia
"Put down the knitting, the book and the broom; time for a holiday..."

Well, maybe not the knitting!  For those of us in the "know", knitting and crochet are key parts of any holiday, especially if one's vacation time calls for an extended road trip.  As long as you don't knit and drive (!), it's the perfect activity to wile away hours in the car or plane or on the bus, going from Point A to Point B.

In our Thursday 'gig' at The Shop, Anne and I were both kept hopping, serving customers who'd started their road trip and finished a project (or two!) already, or who were preparing to hit the trails for a road trip, or were planning a camping trip and needed something to do on the lakeside, around the fireside or in the camper or cabin on a rainy afternoon.

However you spend your summer holiday, we hope you do it with a view to genuinely relaxing -- putting away thoughts of what's going on in the Wider World, letting go of demands and pressures, and really enjoying life in the moment -- just as you would if you were in a cabaret.

That's why this week, for our Super Special Sale, we're offering you a light, quick-to-knit (or crochet) cotton-polyester blend that will be fun to work with on summer afternoons/evenings.

Cabare 
(note the accent on the 'e')
from SMC Select

50 grams = 55 metres (60 yards)
78% Cotton
22% Polyester

Regular Price: $10.00
Sale Price: $2.50


We have a variety of colours available, all in yummy summery pastels -- and enough of some to make a summer sweater, an open-work summer shawl, an elegant lacy wrap or...well, you get the idea!

Wherever and whenever you find yourself yarn-crafting this month and next...we hope you're celebrating time away from life's demands, the blessing of being able to create something lovely, and the joy of relaxing with family, friends, fresh air and good food.

Start by admitting from cradle to tomb
It isn't that long a stay
Life is a cabaret, old chum
It's only a cabaret, old chum
And I love a cabaret!

Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb

Won't you join me?






*Written by Margaret, who's enjoying her 'cabaret knitting' under the shade of an old tree in her back garden.  Bliss!

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Did you celebrate Canada Day?



Listening to Sunny 94, it sounded like every community in Central Alberta had some form of celebration over the weekend for Canada Day.

YES! We actually have patriotism!!! We all like a great party.

On Canada Day there were so many great celebrations, fireworks, face painters, pancake breakfasts, bouncy houses, magicians, balloons twisted into dozens of shapes - including a maple leaf!!

One of the bonuses of community events is the opportunity to see the creativity of our neighbours. When you start actually looking, how many of your friends and neighbours are creative/crafty be it woodworking, carving, painting, stained glass, writing, gardening, quilting, knitting, needlework, beading, metal working, crochet? I live in a community of about 200 people. There is at least one person who is active in at least one of these skills, and I know there are others who have additional skills within our community.

Just for curiosity, I was reviewing some of the older blogs and discovered it is 2 years since Anna Maria moved to the island. Thus Margaret and I were privileged to assume the blog writing. Anna is still writing stories and living on the island in an historical home.

Where we were, on Canada Day, we had rain, sunshine and great temperatures. Some of the events had to shift from the park to the community hall, but we all had fun! Did you take a minute, to join in singing our national anthem? Please copy and paste this link for a very sincere rendition: http://www.cbc.ca/player/play/1559637571711/  - Margaret was unable to walk me through how to post the link, sorry.

Occasional rain is in the forecast for the next 10 days or so. With the cooler temperatures we are having this is a great time to stock up on projects for the fall and winter, including planning for Christmas gifts.

This week's special is right in line with planning and dreaming - Berroco's Ultra Alpaca and Ultra Alpaca Tonal!! As this yarn also comes from south of the equator (see Margaret's blog from last week) this is a real treat to feature for our 75% off Sale.

Ultra Alpaca & Ultra Alpaca Tonal


by Berroco


200 m/100g
50% Superfine Alpaca/50% Peruvian Highland Wool
Milled in Peru



Reg. $16.00/$20.00
75% OFF Sale
$4.00/$5.00

This yarn is great for toques/hats, mittens, cowls/scarves - it is light weight and warm, speaking from experience. Over 45,000 projects have been created in these yarns. There are lots of ideas on Ravelry.

On a different note (puns intended) and not to blow our own horn, we had a customer in last week, with a visitor from Europe. The local customer was overheard to tell the visitor, "The Crafty Lady is the best yarn shop in Western Canada". Thank you to the customer!

Speaking for myself - it is a combination of the owner, our staff - and our customers who help make us one of the best. We learn from you, and when we don't know we all go looking for information.

New yarns have arrived - in limited quantities:



Written by Anne, happy to have wonderful yarns to work with. 

Monday, June 24, 2019

It's Winter...in Australia

As Anne mentioned in her post last week, this time of year we celebrate the Summer Solstice up here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Although it's been rather wet and chilly in these parts (i.e., central Alberta where the Shop is located) it is summer, and up till 10:54 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time, in which the Shop is located) on June 21, the hours of daylight were getting longer here.

Now...slowly, almost imperceptibly, they will shorten again.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons


Meanwhile, in Australia...

See that red line in the above flattened world map? (No, the world isn't flat; just the map! 😉)  That line marks the Tropic of Cancer.  As explained by "Astronomy Essentials" on earthsky.org:
"At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our world’s North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.
"All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours."
So our Aussie yarn-crafting friends just marked their Winter Solstice (which we Northern Hemisphere folks mark in December).

The continent's location, however, with exposure to different environmental influences (like the presence of the Southern Ocean between it and Antarctica, and the influence of a belt of sub-tropical high pressure above it) means that Australia's winters are relatively mild (and with global warming, climate change issues are significant -- but that's a topic for another day).

With a warm-to-hot climate (and getting warmer, alas!), why do Australians knit?  Well...because they enjoy it (and crocheting too!) -- just like the rest of us.

PLUS their climate and geography are ideal for raising a breed of sheep that produces some of the world's softest, finest wool: merino.  In fact, Australia is the world's largest producer of wool, accounting for 20% to 25% of all the wool produced around the globe!


Merino rams
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

And it's Fine grade Super-wash Merino that The Crafty Lady is offering this week for our Super Special Sale!


Rustic Merino Sport
from the Queensland Collection
Knitting Fever (KFI)

100 grams = 300 metres (328 yards)
100% Wool - Fine Super-wash Merino

Regular Price: $24.00

Sale Price: $6.00!!




That said, colour selection and quantities are limited, 
so The Crafty Lady is reserving quantities per purchaser for this special sale.

Limit: 4 skeins per person

See you in the shop!

PLEASE NOTE:
WE WILL BE CLOSED JULY 1 FOR CANADA DAY!




*Written by Margaret who loves to knit with fine merino...but don't ask her to use it for socks!  😉

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer Soltice

Sunshine - most people in northern countries crave sunshine, fresh air and if you can have both with a topping of water - WOW - you have summer at it's finest.

Ellis Bird Farm is celebrating Summer Soltice this Saturday, June 22! As I sit here writing this, the sparrows are singing, the bluebirds and robins are hunting the worms/bugs in the grass - and the noise the crows are making in the spruce trees!! And the Soltice is still 6 days away!

Quoting Wikipedia: "Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religions. The earliest deities associated with the Sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Sekhment, Hathor, Bast, Nut, Bat and Menhit. First Hathor. Then Isis gave birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor, the horned-cow, is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, was gifted with joy and is a wet-nurse to Horus."
A solar representation on an 
anthropomorphic stele dated from between the 
Copper Age and  the Early Bronze Age
discovered during  an archaeological excavation
 on the Rocher des Doms, 
Avignon, France
Taiyang Shen, the Chinese solar deity
























Buddhists, Celts, the Aztec, Hindus, Indonesians, peoples of the Baltic regions - all worship a sun god.

In Chinese culture, the sun chariot is associated with the passage of time. For instance, in the poem Suffering from the Shortness of Days, Li He of the Tang dynasty is hostile and even deviant towards the legendary dragons which drew the sun chariot as a vehicle for the continuous progress of time. A relevant excerpt of the poem:



"I will cut off the dragon's feet, chew the dragon's flesh,
so that they can't turn back in the morning or lie down at night.
Left to themselves the old won't die; the young won't cry."[1]

Knitting is not nearly as old as sun-worship. The Egyptians are famous for their woven linens, many so fine you could see through them. Weaving is not an easily portable craft especially for larger items. Many of the beautifully woven pieces in South America are woven on a back-strap loom, which is looped around the waist of the weaver and hooked around the weavers toes, a pole or a doorway. 

Earlier pieces having a knitted or crocheted appearance have been shown to be made with other techniques, such as Nålebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple loops with a single needle and thread, much like sewing. Some artifacts have a structure so similar to knitting, for example, 3rd-5th century CE Romano-Egyptian toe-socks, that it is thought the "Coptic stitch" of nalbinding is the forerunner to knitting.
Whereas knitting uses two needles to make loops within loops with string, nålbinding uses one needle to splice and knot string together – a process more akin to sewing. However, both knitting and nalbinding produce near-identical looking fabric. In a police lineup, you’d be hard-pressed to pick out knitting from nålbinding.
Nalbinded socks originally thought to be knitting. Can you tell the difference? Circa 250 – 420 AD (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Unlike weaving, knitting does not require a loom or other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples.
Some of the earliest known knit items in Europe were made by Muslim knitters employed by Spanish Christian royal families. Their high level of knitting skill can be seen in several items found in the tombs in the Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, a royal monastery, near Burgos, Spain. 
The oldest knit artifacts are socks from Egypt, dating from the 11th century CE. They are very fine gauge, with complex colour work and some have a short-row heel, which requires purling. These complexities suggest knitting is even older than archaeological record can prove. 
Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from where it spread to Europe by Mediterranean traders and later to the Americas with European colonization. 


These cotton socks found in Egypt are some of the earliest knitted pieces. From L to R: Textile Museum, ca. 1000 – 1200 AD; Victorian & Albert Museum, ca. 1100 – 1300 AD; Textile Museum, ca. 1300 AD

Many knitters and crocheters believe summer is a time for smaller projects. Working on a bulky weight afghan is not practical to drag around, or have on your lap at the beach/park. Small projects like squares, hexagons or socks are very do-able. 

This week's very special 75% off sale is perfect for summer projects - you can buy the scarf as a pre-made gift or knit a shawl or a pair of socks directly out of the scarf. 

Creativ
by Regia
100 g/366m
75% Wool
25% Manufactured Fibers - Nylon
Reg. $20.00


75% OFF
$5.00







Written by Anne, who is also knitting socks 



[1] Bien, Gloria (2012). Baudelaire in China a Study in Literary Reception. Lanham: University of Delaware. p. 20. ISBN 9781611493900.


Monday, June 10, 2019

Snugglin' into Summer Time

Did you get snow this week?

Here in Central Alberta we've been experiencing near-drought conditions (with a side of Concern About Full-on Drought), so when it began to rain pour the other night, the moisture was most welcome.  Then...it turned to wet snow for the better part of a day!  The worst snowfall was in the Rockies and Foothills, of course, where it made travel nigh on impossible...but it surprised us all by reaching as far East as it did.

It was time to turn the furnaces back on, and snuggle down under a blanket with some knitting!

Today, our part of the world is a greener place: the sky is blue with scudding clouds and the sun is shining brightly.  All the snow that settled on the grass, gardens and trees has melted into the soil to give the plants a much-needed drink -- and where I am, there appears to be no snow damage.

Even better, all the bug bits on my car's windshield have been washed clean away!

Margaret's Outdoor Studio, Aprill 2018
But it's still a bit on the cool side.  The furnace can't be shut off quite yet.  That said, it's still good weather for yarn craft, preferably wearing a comfy sweater and snuggling under an afghan.  I'm planning on a bowl of soup for lunch and then...knitting under the trees on the bench in my back yard -- with a quilt on my lap for good measure!

It's my way of celebrating World Wide Knit in Public Day, which is what June 8th has been designated.

June 8th is also my mother's birthday.  Seeing as she was the one who taught me to knit -- almost 60 years ago now -- it seems only fitting that I honour her by snuggling up with some yarn and a cuppa in the crisp, clear sunshine of an early June day.

Of course, yarn-crafters have no problem cuddling up with yarn pretty much any time of year -- making garments and coverlets of all sorts and sizes, which provide snuggly warmth for folks of all ages.

That's why this week, for her Super Special Sale, The Crafty Lady has chosen to show-case a yarn that's just perfect for the time-honoured tasks that cloak all and sundry with snuggly goodness:

Snuggly 4 ply
from Sirdar Yarns

50 grams = 226 metres (247 yards)
55% Nylon
45% Acrylic




Regular Price: $8.00

Sale Price: $2.00!


Mainly used for baby garments, there are 124 pages (!) of projects on Ravelry that have used this yarn, either alone or in combination with other yarns for items including "not-baby" blankets and even "not-baby" socks!

So...the next time you choose to snuggle with your kiddoes, or with a cat or pup on your lap, or with a book or something good on television, you can be prepared to enjoy whatever you make with this soft, washable yarn.

Now 'scuse me...I'm off for my "Outdoor Studio".  Whether you choose to Knit Inside or In Public today, I'll leave you with this wee ditty to enjoy the next time you have a snuggle...



See you in  The Shop!


*Written by Margaret, who loves to snuggle with yarn every day of the year, no matter the weather!


Monday, June 3, 2019

Knit in public?

Most of the women in my early years - were prolific knitters and crafters. I grew up believing it was totally normal to knit/crochet while waiting at the doctor's office and during group meeting. T was told of the thousands of socks knit (often in church) for servicemen during the 1st and 2nd world wars.

My father walked about a half-mile to work 3 seasons of the year - and would read magazines. He claimed this was the only time he had to read without being interrupted.  This was a total fallacy. He walked the same route and could multi-task. 

I was often teased and questioned "How does your dad walk and read?"  As a child I did not really think about it. Then I was caught walking my dog on the beach and reading.Try it some time, it is not so hard, especially when you meander - not hike. 

So many people expressed concern about my reading while walking - I started knitting. Note: my dog(s) walks off-leash most of the time. I pick up after my dogs and I pick up cigarette butts, broken glass and garbage. Last night's winner was the shredded tire off a small quad. Please tell me why you had to leave it behind? Why could you not take it with you?

I have earned the nickname "she who walks and knits". As most of walking knitting is for charity, I am simply multi-tasking. I get my exercise, fresh air, some knitting and my dogs get to investigate. 

This ramble was prompted by The Crafty Lady's post last Saturday was Knit in Public Day. When I checked Wikipedia, next Saturday, June 8 is Knit in Public Day. Two of the people at Knit Night last Thursday, also believed June 8 is the day.

So if you did not knit in public last Saturday (even if you did) you have a 2nd chance this weekend. Check out World Wide Knit In Public Day (WWKIPDay) on Facebook to confirm!!

In Japan, on WWKIPDay they are Knitting for the Birds - literally. They are going to knit bird nests for an injured bird sanctuary. It always amazes me what you can knit when you think outside the box. 

In New Zealand, they are knitting for Christ Church, and England - Knitting for Peace (for further info: knitforpeace@charitiesadvisorytrust.org.uk).

I was telling a customer I thought I knew how to knit - until I started working here. I have learned so much and am so grateful to The Crafty Lady staff and our customers for being so willing to share their knowledge. The customer commented she thought she could knit until she started knitting socks for her children. 

In the interest of sharing our communal knowledge, please plan an event for June 8. Knit, Crochet, Cross-stitch, Tat, whatever - just do it in public.

We have some chairs here, but you might be more comfortable to bring your own lawn chair, water, etc. We will not be supplying "treats". Please plan on supporting a local independent eatery - there are 8 within easy walking distance!!

What a radical concept, I might not be the only person locally to walk and knit!! Please join me - I am so very lonely 😢

Should I segue into a request for you to reduce your stash, and request your donations to our almost depleted supply of yarn for Blankets for Canada, Inn from the Cold, Ronald McDonald House?

Or should I suggest this week's yarn is something really special? This unusual yarn is unique to the market! This cotton/polyester yarn is mixed with small, white beads; the processing of these requires an expensive production step. The result justifies the effort: a yarn which looks very feminine and elegant and is particularly suitable for fine decorations and accessories.



Couture

Schachenmayr Select
69% Cotton. 31% Polyester
43m/25g
Reg. $7.00
75% Off
$1.75




Posted by Anne, happy crafter who often knits/crochets in public. I know The Crafty Lady, aka Lori would be thrilled if you joined her on June 8.