Monday, November 30, 2020

Countdown to Christmas (Projects)

It's that time of year.
Last day of November and you've realized that Christmas is around the corner and, once again, you did not work on Christmas presents every month of the year so you are in the midst of a mad dash for yarn and ideas. Complicated further by the pandemic that has so many people hoarding even when the stores (and their wholesalers) are having trouble stocking their shelves in the first place. (Ask me how I know.)

Lucky for you, even though I may not have everything you think you want in stock, I may have exactly what you need. I have a number of new sock yarns (3 ply and 4 ply) that have recently arrived, with more to come, that can be used to make socks (obviously), gloves or mitts, hats, scarves, shawls and even baby sweaters. (You can further support local by purchasing my very own patterns, many of which are single ball patterns, for the above mentioned projects!)

I have also recently brought in wood sock blockers. I personally don't use them for anything other than 'production photos' but many people swear by them for their handknit creations. I have two adult sizes as well as a small child size which I'm considering using for Christmas decorations.

For those very last minute gifts, my stock of cotton for dishcloths has been replenished.

And for a little levity while you're frantically finishing your projects, I 'borrowed' the Christmas Knitting Bingo card from Yarnspirations. I may no longer deal with them because they want to sell to you directly, but they still have some fun ideas occasionally.

written by Lori, rushed TCL owner, whose reason for the blog being late today is because I was working on some Christmas socks into the wee hours of the morning and forgot to write the blog. 😉

Monday, November 23, 2020

The Big Blanket That Won't Go Away

I'm not sure how many years ago the arm knitting craze started but it was an enjoyable task to teach non-knitters how to knit without having to purchase tools, only yarn. In the beginning, all that was expected of a person was to hold multiple strands of yarn together, regardless of weight or texture, (in fact the more weights, textures and colours, the better) and with a little 'in out over' magic, one could create a scarf in under an hour.

Then someone decided that a blanket arm knit with merino roving would be a great idea.

Since closing the brick and mortar store I have misplaced our handy pattern plus price tag for the 'special order only' yarn that we had at our disposal but I still have the story that went with it which goes a little something like this.

Customer: I'd like to arm knit a blanket.

Me (or Margaret or Anne) holding up pattern: Like this one?

Customer: Exactly!

Me: No. You don't.

Customer (perplexed): Why not?

Me with my finger indicating the price highlighted in neon yellow marker: Because it will cost you this much ($$$) to make it and then after you've used it a little while, you're just going to throw it away because you can't wash it.

Customer (eyes bugged out and gasping): |How ... Wha-... Why?

Me: Because the roving will pill or pull apart while you are working with it. Then it will pill even more and get dirty when you use it and if you try to wash it in the washing machine, it will either fall apart or felt to the size of a very expensive dog bed.

Determined Customer: So I can wash it if I'm really careful and hand wash it?

Me: Oh. You CAN hand wash it. In the bathtub. And when you try to take it out of the tub, it will be like wrestling a drunk St. Bernard. And then you'll have to lay it out on a rug or bed somewhere for 6 weeks just to dry it out. And even then there's no guarantee it will ever look remotely close to the beautiful picture you saw and wanted to re-create.

Customer: Maybe show me some yarn for socks ...

Can you tell I've been getting more requests for the supplies to make these blankets? While I prefer to use my humorous approach to deter the eager person who believes they're up for the challenge, some require a more down to earth approach. So, for the more serious explanation, here is a video I found recently on YouTube from The Woolery.

It's amazing what happens to that squishy blanket when a beloved pet gets ahold of it.

Oh. I almost forgot! Make sure you pee before you get started 'cause you can't take it with you to the bathroom halfway through!

So the moral of the story is - If you want to make a quick gift out of yarn, arm knit a scarf.

written by Lori, bewildered TCL owner, who can't believe there are still so many people who haven't figured out how impractical these blankets are.

Monday, November 16, 2020

 The classes are finally ready to go!!!!!!

Please note that these classes are broken down into one hour sessions to allow for homework between sessions. (The webpage says differently at the time of this publication. We're fixing that.) Two of them are before Christmas so you'll have new ideas for gifts or, at the very least, new ways to create those gifts you already had in mind. The class in January will also require you to crochet but I will be teaching two ways to make the hat so learning crochet on the fly won't be intimidating.

I have taught many of these techniques in my classes at Creativ Festivals in Sherwood Park and Calgary, but my students there have never had the privilege of creating a complete project. Nor have they had the opportunity to pick and choose between materials and tools to purchase right there in the class! (Cash and debit/credit will be accepted.)

Due to physical distancing requirements, class size is limited so make sure to sign up early!

written by Lori, excited TCL owner, who can't wait to get back into the classroom.

Monday, November 9, 2020

It's Happening!

By the time you read this, the pop up store will be at Sunrise RV where Brad will be working his magic and making my vision of a dual purpose kitchen counter a reality!

At the same time, Rosanna at LPAC (the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre) will be finalizing the class schedule for this winter. The first class should be November 26! As soon as they are posted on their website, I will be sharing them here and on Facebook.

Other than those two fantastic pieces of news, I got nothin' this week. Must be the snow affecting my brain.

Written by Lori, excited yet brain-dead TCL owner, who hopes everyone has a great week and drives safely out there.

Monday, November 2, 2020

No More Bottleneck!

 So last week you were all privy to the deconstruction happening in the pop up store. This week you get to see some of the reconstruction. It might not look like much but by the time the pop up reopens in the spring, I may be allowed to have multiple customers at one time and a 4' wide aisle will be appreciated by all.

The kitchen counter to the left is obviously missing a few things - a countertop, a sink, an oven, a drawer - but those will all be back in place soon enough.

What has been gained is visible in the drawing below (courtesy of SketchUp, an amazing FREE drawing app that has become indispensable in my world). The dotted line indicates where the offending peninsula was located. Aside from a few screw holes in the floor, you would never know it existed just a few short weeks ago.

I've done pretty much all I can do on this project and this fall/winter I will be handing the remainder of the work off to the professionals at Sunrise RV.

What, oh what, will I do with my 'free' time you ask? Exactly what I hope the rest of you are doing - working on Christmas projects and working, which for me means filling all my online orders.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who is satisfied with the progress so far and can't wait to show off the renovations in person to all my customers.

Monday, October 26, 2020

And So It Begins

I have had a few phone calls this week asking where the pop up store is and I've been telling most of the callers that it is in hibernation. If I know the caller well enough, I tell them it's winterized and I'm not sitting somewhere from 10am to 4pm with nowhere to pee.

In actuality, this is what it currently looks like.

In the background, you can see the stove and the sink/tap, and on the floor to the left, you see part of the countertop. I've managed to loosen most of the walls of the kitchen counter base but I have more work to do. By the time you read this, I will already be out in the rv trying to remove the entire counter from the wall just so I can get at the bottom screws that hold the two counter pieces together. Once that is done, the saw comes out and the walkway is on its way to becoming much wider both for customers (when the rv is a store) and for Mom, Myles and myself (when the three of us feel like taking off for parts unknown).

I am still waiting on LPAC to let me know when the classes are scheduled so stay tuned for that information. I'm looking forward to teaching again. Without the Creativ Festivals this September, I felt a little lost. As an introvert, I would find myself equally drained and energized by the rush from class to class. I guess until the schedule is set, I get to try to create that feeling by renovating the pop up.

written by Lori, TCL owner, who hopes to still have enough undamaged fingers to teach those classes during renovations.

Monday, October 19, 2020

When the S___ Hits the ______

 What happens to you when the snow first makes its appearance in the fall?

I mean, I know we all - as crafters - take it as a signal that if we haven't got our Christmas presents started, we'd better get our butts in gear! But, you as a person. What does it do to you?

A Facebook friend posted this survey on what type of animal you are based on your sleep patterns and, most of the time, I'm a wolf. Since the snow hit the ground though, I've turned into a bear. Not the bear from the survey though. The kind that hibernates.

Don't get me wrong. I've been getting plenty of stuff done. But because the days are dull and the sun is setting so early and the lazy swirl of a light snowfall just make me want to curl up under a cozy blanket and sleep, getting stuff done takes a lot of effort.

Even Mom, the resident energizer bunny, had a 3 hour nap after church this Sunday! She's actually looking forward to having enough of the white stuff on the ground to go out and shovel just so she has something to do! This could be a lo-ong winter.

Luckily, I do have a lot of projects lined up for the winter months, most of which require me to leave the house and, most of which will make shopping with The Crafty Lady even easier. It was pointed out to me this week that 8 skeins of floss were going to cost over $200 in shipping to be mailed to the north end of Lacombe so I have to have a long 'chat' with my online store program because it obviously hasn't been 'listening' to my instructions. I think comparatively it will be much easier to renovate the rv but both things need to happen so I won't be hibernating even though the desire will be there.

Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy the power dips the gentle snowfalls cause and also power through all the projects that need to be completed before it too late.

written by Lori, snoozy TCL owner, who just needs to resist the urge to sleep all day.