Monday, January 15, 2018

January Blues?

Good News! It has been confirmed and proven - the "January Blues" is a real condition!!

 "January Blues" are very different from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  "January Blues" are situational and short term, SAD is a clinical depression caused by personal biology and can last several months/years.

Why do we experience the "blues"?

  1. We spent several months preparing for the holiday season - and now it is over, the decorations have been taken down and put away - we try to return to "normal" (read boring and work)
  2. Family and friends have come and gone. Due to the extreme cold, some events were cancelled - very disappointing
  3. We did not complete my "To Do" list - adding to our discouragement
  4. We over-indulged and added pounds. This adds to our sluggishness and discouragement. 
  5. The days are really short (though they are getting longer, it feels really slowly). There is nothing on the short term horizon to look forward to - spring is a long way off, the next long weekend . . .  also feels like a long way off and it is hard to make plans for it
  6. If you made a New Year's Resolution - have you been able to keep it? We are easily discouraged

Several websites (hopefully reputable websites) offer good suggestions on dealing with  "January Blues". These suggestions include (and are not limited to . . .)

  1. Think positive thoughts, remember the good things you were able to do over the holidays, the gifts you were able to complete
  2. Finish one more gift/project, take it off the "To-Do" list 
  3. Make plans to finish another project, help others in need, volunteer, phone a friend - one of the ones you did not have time to really visit with over the holidays 
  4. Get outside - go for a walk - the sunshine does help, and if you walk a different direction, you may make a small discovery
  5. Read that book sitting beside your bed for the last several months and then share it
  6. Try in small ways to clear the clutter stashed in the closet/drawer or cupboard prior to Christmas - so it too reduces the "To-Do" list and the guilt that goes along with unfinished projects
  7. Meet a friend for a meal - at your home, theirs or halfway in between. It is spending time with others that is important, eating makes it easier
  8. Take time for you - be hedonistic (do something that is just for you!)
  9. Reward yourself with something positive 
  10. Record/journal your changes so you can look back to see what incredible this you have been able to complete/achieve

Not to sound preachy, and (seriously) looking in the mirror - you are valuable and special! Do something to celebrate 2018!

Colour can be a way to brighten your days - wear it, decorate with it, make something with colour.  If you are looking for a yarn to help complete one of those projects stored in the spare room - this week's special may be just the ticket! Variegated yarns can add colour or a highlight to finish something.

I have made several projects with variations of this week's 75% off special. It wears well, is a nice feeling yarn, works up quite quickly and drapes nicely. It is machine washable! It is a very versatile yarn, so you can do almost anything with it.

Come in and take a look . . .



Micro Grande 
100% Acrylic
200m - 100gm

 Reg. $6.50
75% OFF 
$1.62



Posted by Anne, who understands the blues and loves to work with blue yarns


Monday, January 8, 2018

Orphaned and abandoned . . .

All of the orphaned and abandoned yarn has found new homes - at really great sale prices. Thanks to our loyal customers, who can recognize a good yarn at a "Great Price".

Several customers have commented the Weekly Special is a really great deal - which it is ONLY if you do something with it!😁 If you simply add it to the stash in the corner it is not so much a "great deal" as an addition to your carefully curated collection.

Speaking of our "stash", if you are sorting through your stash and come across acrylic worsted weight yarns you have set aside repeatedly, please bring it in to The Crafty Lady. We have several seniors who will knit and crochet it into Blanket for Canada. These blankets are donated to the needy. The seniors are very adept and will happily work with yarn from your stash, in whatever colours you care to donate. It is too early for spring cleaning, but as you work on your "unfinished" projects, curled up on the couch - please consider donating the acrylic yarns you will not use.

Was your New Year's Resolution to reduce your stash and/or finishing/re-working some of your on-hold projects? We had a customer in late last week, who made this resolution in January 2017. She is using a knitting machine to make blankets for the needy. She thought she was making good progress until she found three large tubs in her storage shed. As a result, she is continuing to work on last year's resolution.

In Years Gone By, we all made resolutions - the most often being to lose weight, quit smoking or other forms of self-improvement. The current era seems to be much less focused on resolutions based on a specific date, tending to make lifestyle changes.

Speaking specifically for myself, I start projects when I am stressed, make a mistake or don't like the way it is turning out, it gets put on hold. Often it sits there for years. Working here does not help, as I purchase more yarn than I am using. The redeeming factor is I am getting more projects finished in less time, as the incentive to start the next one is in front of me every day, with new yarns arriving almost weekly.

To complete some of those "on-hold" projects adding a highlight or contrast is a way to change the look or the yarns. This week's 75% Off Sale fits right into this category. This yarn is a super bulky, Italian soft wool blend with a hypoallergenic poly-acrylic micro-fibre. Ottawa can be washed on delicate cycle in cold water, dried flat.
Ottawa 
by DMC Nordic Sport
50 gm = 32 m
Reg. $6.00
75% Off
$1.58

Posted by Anne, who appreciates well crafted items - as they are crafted with love


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Abandoned and Orphaned...

Yarn, that is.

Here at The Crafty Lady, we're rather fond of yarn.  Thick, thin, natural fibres or synthetic -- we pretty much love all of it (even if we tend to play favourites from time to time!)

So it makes us sad when people put in a Special Order (S.O.) for yarn and then, having had several calls and messages left to tell them it's here and would they please pick it up...they leave it in the shop -- sometimes as long as a year.

And it makes us sad when we see odd balls...orphaned from the pack because they're the Last of the Dye Lot.

That's why we're starting the New Year off right -- by trying in earnest to find these yarns a new home with you, our crafty, yarn-lovin' customers!

First, there's a full bag of S.O. yarn that needs to find a good home -- Sirdar Big Softie in a warm-your-heart red (Colour #358 - "Norsk"), perfect for more cozy toques and cowls, but there's enough here for a sweater!




51% Superwash Wool
49% Acrylic
50 grams = 45 metres (49 yards)
Regular Price: $6.50

Sale Price: $1.63

As for those Yarn Orphans -- there's a variety of single balls and skeins available, including the classic Berroco Vintage, a medium-weight (#4) wool-synthetic blend.  Pair up the colours for a striped scarf or cowl...or use a single ball for a toque or a pair of toasty mittens:

52% Acrylic, 40% Wool, 8% Nylon/Polyamide
100 grams = 199 metres (218 yards)
Regular Price: $11.50

Sale Price: $2.88!


It's cold outside.  You've (hopefully) finished your holiday knitting and crocheting.  Now that you've warmed up family and friends, the long winter evenings are the perfect time for creating things that will bring winter warmth to souls who really have been abandoned or orphaned.  Help us find homes for these yarns...and from your needles and hooks to the heads, hands and heart of those in need.

Tidings of comfort and joy to you from 
Lori, Anne and Margaret.
 Happy New Year!



*NOTE: Colours pictured do not necessarily reflect the colours of the yarn on offer!

Written by Margaret, happly TCL employee who loves to spend wintry evenings curled up with coffee, a book, and her knitting.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

We made it!

YES! We made it through Christmas !!

Did you get all of your projects finished in time to put under the tree? I DID NOT!

I told my family this year is an IOU Christmas. I got involved in other projects and committees and to put it very simply ran out of energy and time.

I am a little older (and hopefully wiser) and I made the decision to give my children, grandchildren and great-grand-children either a store-bought Christmas gift or an IOU 😍.

As there was something for everyone in their stockings and the youngest grandchild is 12 - there were no tears or temper tantrums. Everyone wanted to spend time visiting, skating and going for walks.  The focus was on spending time together and catching up.

My husband and I even went so far to have request everyone contribute to Christmas Dinner! Heresy! What a concept! I have a sneaky suspicion my daughter-in-laws almost appreciated being requested to bring something for the table. They all seemed very willing to help, some even helped with the dishes (we do not have a mechanical dishwasher).

The end result is I now have a better idea on what everyone would like: cowl, toque, finger-less gloves, mitts with gloves inside (very warm - and I have an easy pattern), socks and/or afghan.

For most of December The Crafty Lady (aka Lori) has been receiving long awaited shipments of yarn - both re-stocking favorites and brand-new lines!! So this has been part of her gift to all who shop here.

As we receive new yarns, something has to go into the sale section - which The Crafty Lady has JUST re-stocked. There are several interesting, wonderful and exciting yarns now on sale for 25% off.  This is the time to come in to replenishing your carefully curated collection (aka stash) and plan for new projects. Come in and save me from myself, Please . . .

This leads to this week's 75% Off Special which may or may not reduce your stress . . . this very flexible, 100% acrylic yarn could be used for any number projects.

ICE Yarns
Camouflage



Reg. $7.00
75% OFF
$1.84

 Lori, Margaret and I wish you and yours Health, Joy and Peace in 2018

Posted by Anne, happy TCL employee





Monday, December 18, 2017

Let's Talk About Weight

"How old are you?" is One of Those Questions, it's said, that one must never ask a lady.

Another is "How much do you weigh?"

But here at The Crafty Lady, weight is a subject that comes up all the time.  Never fear!  It's not your weight we're curious about.  It's the weight of the yarn you want to use for your project.

Phew!

In this case, it's not even whether a ball or skein of yarn weighs 25, 50 or 100 grams.

Nope.

In this case, the "weight" about which we're inquiring really refers to the thickness or thinness of the yarn.

Photo: "Katrinkles"
Hedgehog WPI tool
Once upon a time, yarn weight (thickness) used to be simpler.  It was based on how many Wraps Per Inch (WPI) a spinner got when she measured the yarn she'd spun, wrapped around a measuring stick.  Spinners still use this term, which is fine for hand-spun yarn, but not so translatable to commercially spun yarn -- especially synthetics.

Out of the spinning tradition in the UK and in Europe (especially Germany and Austria), arose terms for yarn thickness for every yarn from lace-weight to bulky.  Very fine yarn -- "cobweb" or "gossamer" or "singles" is 1-ply -- a single strand of spun yarn that runs at 40 WPI.  It's so fine that 100 grams can contain 800 metres or more!

Slightly heavier lace-weight yarn is two-ply -- two strands of spun yarn plied together.   Three-ply yarn -- also referred to as "light fingering", sock or baby yarn, has (you guessed it!) three strands of spun yarn plied together, but four-ply -- or simply "fingering" is also suitable for socks, baby garments, gloves, shawls, etc.

Photo: Sweet Pea & Friends
Farm Store
In recent years, the U.S.-based Craft Yarn Council developed a numbering system for yarn weights (thickness) that has (now) eight broad categories, from "0" (1-ply, lace-weight) to "7" -- a yarn so thick it has no "WPI" and is often also referred to as "roving".  This may or may not be accurate, as roving is actually yarn that's been bundled after carding, but hasn't been spun at all.

So.  Today, yarn weights are available in everything "from the sublime to the ridiculous" (as my late mother would've said)!  If you want instant gratification, knit something simple in a bulky yarn.  If you're a process knitter who revels in complexity, knit an ornate Estonian lace shawl.

But...what if you're a "fair to middlin'" person (another Mom-ism!)?  Well...there's a medium-weight yarn just for you.  It's #4 on the American identification system, but is also referred to as "worsted" or "afghan" yarn.  Traditionally it's a ten- or twelve-ply, measured at 9 to 12 WPI.

"Worsted" has its origin in spinning, where it remains a term for yarn spun in a particular way.  Knitters know it as a mid-weight yarn that is generally knit at 16-to-20 stitches in 4" (10 cm) on a 4.5 to 5.5 mm needle (US 7 to 9).  While it's terrific for afghans, it's also great for cardigans, pullovers and toques (that's Canadian for "beanie").  It'll do as well for scarves and mittens, and heavy socks (ideally worn with work boots or without shoes around the house) or slippers.

It makes for a classic sweater featuring wonderful stitch definition (ahhhhh....cables...).  If it's in super-wash wool, that's even better...

And that's our Super Special feature this week: beautiful, British pure (super-wash) wool...




Rowan Pure Wool Worsted
100 grams
100% Super-wash Wool
200 metres (219 yards)
Regular Price: $11.00
Sale Price: $2.75


*Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee who likes her wool -- and her weight -- "fair to middlin'"!  😉

Monday, December 11, 2017

Super Moon of 2017

Did you take a moment on Sunday evening (Dec. 3) to look at the only Supermoon of 2017? A supermoon happens when a "full moon" coincides with the moon's closest approach to earth; and is also called perigee. It looks around 12-14% larger than usual full moons.

If you missed the beauty last week, I would like to suggest you take a moment January 31, 2018 to appreciate the first Supermoon and Blue Moon of 2018 ! 😉  A Blue Moon is the 2nd full moon in the same calendar month.

From an astrological viewpoint, 2018 is going to start off with several events: January 1- Mercury will be at its highest point above the horizon - it will be most easily seen just before sunrise. This will be one bonus of having to work the early shift that day.

January 2 - will be the first full moon of 2018. This moon was known by early North American native peoples as the Full Wolf Moon, as it is the time of the year when the wolf packs traditionally find hunting harder and so come closer to human populations.

Then on January 3rd (early morning on the 4th) you will be able to enjoy the Quadrantids Meteor Shower, with up to 40 meteors an hour . . . due to the full moon from the night before, find a darker corner after midnight.

As we are in the Christian season of Advent (waiting for the birth of Christ) and just about to start Hanukkah (which is from Dec. 12-20 this year), many of us are very busy (and stressing) trying to get every thing done in time. Some of us are now old enough to realize we are no longer "Super Mom" capable of anything and everything while remaining calm, cool, organized and even tempered.

Despite what is going on in the world today, and of any faith or belief system, we can stop and appreciate the gifts of the people and the world around us - if we go looking.  This year, I am going to try to live Jim Henson's words of wisdom:

"Love everyone, forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt.  Your anger. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your love, your truth, and most especially your heart."

Celebrating colour and bright this week's 75% Off Special is "Inspired by Fashion" and very practical for any number of projects AND featuring bright colours !!


Dusters made with Filara


FILARA
By Schachenmayr
65% viscose, 35% polymid
50 gm / 44 m

Reg. $10
75% Off Special 
$2.50

Posted by Anne, happy crafter, who is trying to remember to love everyone !

Monday, December 4, 2017

Turkish Delight

In most of Canada, December through February (sometimes earlier, sometimes later) means snow and ice.  Snow-skiing and ice-skating.  Hockey and hot chocolate.

In Turkey?  Not so much!  

According to Wikipedia, Turkey's weather is strongly influenced by its proximity to several large bodies of water, including the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean.  This means that while there may be some snowfall in elevated areas, it doesn't add up to much and it doesn't last long.  Mostly the climate is either warm and wet or cooler and damp, depending on the time of year.

But Turkey does have ice.  Ice Yarns that is.  Head-quartered in Istanbul, the company makes a variety of yarns under the Ice brand name...and many of them are wool or wool blends.

And it's one of those woolly yarns that we're bringing to your attention this week as our Super Sale feature.

Hand-dyed Wool Cord is a thick, sturdy yarn, 100% wool -- perfect for a felted project, or for a pair of  hard-wearing slippers.  It's not only hand-dyed, but dyed using only plant dyes -- no chemicals -- which means interesting colour combinations and perhaps the odd 'white' spot under the ties used to hold each skein together.

At this price, you could make a pair of Holiday Slipper Socks for each member of the family -- perfect for keeping your toes toasty while you open gifts (still in your PJs of course!) or relax by the fire with a cuppa cocoa and a new book...

So do drop in this week to checkout our selection of this Turkish delight...






Hand-dyed Wool Cord
100 grams
100% Wool
100 metres (109 yards)
Regular Price: $16.00

Sale Price: $4.00