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. 

Monday, May 27, 2019

Drifting...

By now, perhaps you've figured out that when it's my turn to write the weekly blog post for The Crafty Lady, I try to come up with a topic that ties in with the yarn we're featuring for our Super Special Sale.

This week, our yarn selection inspires me to ask you:

How do you shop?

Are you a Purposeful Purchaser?
  • You shop with a list;
  • You know what you're looking for and won't go for a substitute unless it's a) close to what you need; or b) is on sale at a great discount.
  • You make your buying decision, pay for the item(s) and GO!
OR

Are you a Browser?
  • You wander into the store without specific purchase plans;
  • You browse the wares, observing colours; touching textures; pausing to check prices and sizes.
  • You circle the space once, twice, maybe three times, returning to hover closely over the item(s) that have grabbed most of your attention.
  • Time to decide...so you either make note of what you've seen for a later visit (to buy) or you decide to buy then and there, pay for the item, linger...
  • You leave, happy, only to return for another look...
In reality, I think shoppers are "six of a dozen, assorted", as my maternal grandfather was wont to say.  That is, we're all "a bit o' this and a bit o' that".  Sometimes we go shopping with a list, with focus, and with limited resources.  Other times?  Well...perhaps we have a gift card to spend, or a bonus for work well done, an income tax refund or...just more money at the end of the month than we expected.

That means that we can (for at least a short time) abandon Purpose and Practicality in favour of a bit of Whimsy, Spontaneity or Impulsiveness.

For one sweet shining moment we can live in Camelot...and be drifters in the Land of Creativity...

So who are we at The Crafty Lady to stop you in this process?!  

This week we offer you a yarn for those moments when you just want to go with the flow...


Drifter Chunky
from King Cole

100 grams = 155 metres (170 yards)
69% Acrylic
25% Cotton
6% Wool



Regular Price: $9.00

Sale Price: $2.25!





"Don't let it be forgot that once there was a spot
for one brief shining moment
that was known as...
Camelot."


*Written by Margaret, who -- despite best efforts to Stick To Her List -- finds herself drifting toward Camelot every so often...

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Victoria Day?

Why do we have a long weekend in May? Why do we call it Victoria "Day" weekend? History/ tradition or are we celebrating "Spring"? Spring? Really?? as parts of Alberta had snow over the past weekend.

Are you aware we are the ONLY country to celebrate Queen Victoria with an official holiday? Did you know Queen Victoria was the first monarch for the Confederation of Canada. Her birthday was May 24. Canadians have celebrated her birthday since 1845. Victoria Day was officially declared a statutory holiday in 1901, recognizing her as the "Mother of Confederation". 

Federal government protocol dictates that, on Victoria Day, the Royal Union Flag is to be flown from sunrise to sunset at all federal government buildings—including airports, military bases, and other Crown owned property across the country—where physical arrangements allow (i.e. where a second flag pole exists, as the Royal Union Flag can never displace the national flag), quoted from the Alberta Archives, Alberta General Holidays, Government of Alberta Human Services, 2012. 

How interesting! Canadians as one of the youngest nations, we have a long history of affiliation with the monarchy. 

In addition to saluting the then Queen Victoria, celebrations have included parades, full sunset gun salutes, athletic competitions, picnics, "displays of illuminations" (now known as fireworks). 
Some of the events which happened locally include : 
 - Mirror, one community I know of, celebrated with Mirror Days, including a parade and Show 'n Shine
 - Provincial campgrounds were open for the first long weekend of the season
 - Summer Village of Gull Lake had a Pancake Breakfast on Sunday
 - Lincoln Hall had their annual Steak Dinner fundraiser
 - and Ellis Bird Farm officially opened several of their feature attractions over the weekend!!

From a gardeners' manual - plant your garden and annuals on or after the May long weekend. It was a bit cool on Saturday, but Sunday was a better day for planting. 

Tourist season has started, we had our first 2019 tour of Red Hat Ladies in this past weekend -the first group this year that I am aware of. 

As knitting, crochet, woodworking and other creative crafts are often considered historical, older skills - The Crafty Lady decided to feature an old favourite this week for the 75% off sale. 

Sirdar
Snuggly DK
164m/50g55% Nylon/ 45% Acrylic
Reg. $6.50
75% Off
$1.63


This yarn would be great to help finish up some of those projects you did not quite have enough of, or the right colour. We have enough to do smaller projects at this price - it is a great sale!!


Posted by Anne, happy, happy crafter - who is slowly getting projects finished and may get the garden in next week. 









Monday, May 13, 2019

'Round and 'Round and 'Round She Goes...


"...and where she stops, nobody knows!"

That phrase originated with 'wheels of fortune' and similar games of chance, but it can also apply to a merry-go-round, or a 'round-about' (not the traffic kind!) or a carousel.   I don't know about you, but this invention, which apparently evolved from early Middle Ages jousting traditions (!), remains one of my very favourite rides at any amusement park or fair grounds.
Whenever we took the family to Heritage Park in Calgary, I insisted on a ride on the antique carousel, which had been moved there from its original home in Bowness Park.

Carousel, Heritage Park, Calgary
Photo credit: TripAdvisor

These wonderful creations are so colourful, with beautifully decorated horses and other animals, and music that is very distinctive -- usually played on an organ or caliope, or at least a recording thereof, setting the tone for an afternoon of fun and frolic in the sunshine.  I dare anyone to resist smiling when they listen:




I'm thinking it's not only the round shape, but also the colourful nature of this week's Super Special Sale yarn that gives it its name:

Carousel Chunky
King Cole Yarns

Colour-way seen here: #2775 - "Roller Coaster"!

70% Acrylic
30% Wool
Machine washable, hang or dry flat
200 grams = 316 metres (345 yards)

Regular Price: $20.00
Sale Price: $5.00

With a combination of solid and marled dye repeats, it makes for texture as well as colour, and works well for baby blankets, slippers, hats, scarves and wraps!  (The Crafty Lady has made a version of her well-known shrug with it, which you can see in the shop.  😊)

You could even make several of these items from one ball -- the perfect portable project for a road trip, a weekend camping or at the cottage, a sunny afternoon on the patio or -- while waiting in line for a ticket to ride on a carousel!

Do drop in this week to outfit yourself for that perfect Victoria Day long weekend project.
See you in the shop!


*Written by Margaret who can knit in cars, on buses, trains and planes...but has yet to try it on a merry-go-round!










Monday, May 6, 2019

It is Alberta!!


Saturday had been designated Highway Clean-Up Day across Alberta. Did you notice it snowed all Friday evening, all night and it was still snowing when I came to work last Saturday!! Needless to say, due to the condition of the ditches and icy roads - Highway Clean-up was postponed.

Image may contain: text

Now - be fair! I am not a "smoker" of anything! I do not know a great deal about the benefits/harm of smoking "weed" - so I am not taking sides!! I just thought this was funny!

It has been a while since I heard someone tell me - if you don't like the weather wait 10 minutes! Did Mother Nature get stuck on snow?

All across the prairies, we did not get enough snow over the winter. We seriously need the moisture, and for years we have been told not to plant our gardens before the May long-weekend. So why am I hearing my avid gardening friends complain - last year they had their garden in by this time last year? Are we trying to confuse Mother Nature or is it just our way of trying to control the uncontrollable?

I am hoping the moisture just keeps falling, as I am still trying to work on some winter projects and not being able to get into the garden (as it is too wet) just allows me to knitting and not feel I "should" be in the garden.

I found some beautiful merino to make a shawl and am still working on socks. I am really enjoying socks - finally. I have struggled for years and not found making socks satisfying. This year, for some reason they are turning out, they fit and are really comfortable. What a gift!! Total contrast - lace patterns and solid knit socks. Who is trying to confuse whom?

Speaking of spring - are you thinking of new projects for the cabin? Something quick, smallish, and fun to work with? I was thinking this week's feature yarn would be great for new covers for couch cushions - both indoor and out.

When I went looking for projects worked our 75% off sale yarn - I was really surprised! Every pattern was a sweater, hat, cowl, socks, scarf or touque! Not a pillow on Ravelry - in this yarn. I am hoping the pictures below will allow you to see the stitch definition - and the versatility of this yarn!

Cowl 
Scoodie = Hood w scarf
TWEED DELUXE
smc select
54% alpaca, 32% new wool, 14% polyamid
Hand Wash/Dry Clean
50 g./80 m
Reg. $9.00

   75% OFF
Sale $2.25







Posted by Anne, happy knitter - who is really appreciating the snow - when I have a leak in my rubber boots! Is a new pair on the horizon for Mother's Day? 






Monday, April 29, 2019

Shall We Dance?

Back in the early nineteen-nineties, the public school a few blocks from our home in Calgary was a "community school".  This meant that the city's Parks and Recreation programs were able to be offered in the school for community residents to enjoy.

Included in those classes was "Introduction to Ballroom Dance" -- and somehow I persuaded my husband that we should go.

We ended up taking at least two sessions of this class, as well as going to Friday night dances in order to practice what we'd learned -- fox trot, waltz, rhumba, cha-cha and two-step.

When the school stopped offering the classes, we sought out ones in other locations and commuted downtown for them focusing -- because it was a favourite -- on Latin dance.  This means that in addition to learning more advanced moves in the rhumba and cha-cha, we took up the samba and...TANGO!

The tango became my husband's favourite of all the Latin dances.  It's mainly a 'walking' dance, but because of the count of the tempo and the moves of the upper body as well as the legs, it is fairly tricky.  Also very romantic...and sexy!

When Scent of a Woman came out, this scene became a lovely memory...



Now...this week's Super Special yarn is named "Tango" -- after the dance, and after the wonderful music of composer Astor Piazzolla, whose music elevated it from the streets to the ballroom.

Why Ice Yarns named it that, I confess I have no idea.  Perhaps it's because a little lace can add a lot of flirty fun to the hem of a dress made for dancing...



So...if there's a tango in your future -- or a wedding dance, a prom, or just a fun night out on the town, perhaps adding a bit of lace to the edge of your gown or your shawl, or knitting up a frilly scarf to conceal a bit of -- ahem! -- decolletage...

We offer you


Ice Yarns
Tango

75 grams = 29 metres (32 yard)
100% Acrylic

Regular Price: $22.00

Sale Price: $5.50!


As for me...my last tango in Calgary was in 1996.  Later that year my husband, a man with Type 1 Diabetes, hurt his left foot.  Within a few years, he had no legs to stand on, let alone dance on.  So...it remains a sweet memory.

But someday we'll meet again, and we'll dance...




*Written by Margaret, who believes that she was born knowing how to knit -- and how to dance.