Monday, March 18, 2019

Cotton: Not Just for Dish Cloths

There seems to be an attitude in These Parts (and probably elsewhere, too!) that cotton yarn is for knitting  or crocheting dish cloths.  And maybe 'spa cloths'.

But that's about it.

With Spring (aka the March Equinox) coming soon (less than a week to the Official Start!) and Summer not far behind, we at The Crafty Lady are here to dispel that notion!



Yes, we carry "dish cloth cotton" -- it's a brand from Estelle Yarns appropriately named "Sudz" because..well...you get the idea.  It comes in small balls of a sturdy cotton that's ideal for dish cloths, towels, place mats and more home decor items.  It's reasonably priced, colourful, easy to work with and care for.  What's not to love?

Alas, you probably wouldn't want to wear it.

For one thing, it's heavy -- so your finished garment would be heavy -- and for another, like as not, it wouldn't hold it's shape all that well.

For garments that say "It's warming up!  I'll be colourful and comfortable to wear through late spring and all summer long!", cotton also fills the bill -- but it has to be the type of cotton that suits garments in particular.

Yes, it needs to be colourful.

Yes, it should be machine washable (beware a bit of shrinkage if the water is too hot!) and machine dry-able -- but it also has to be a quality of cotton designed for both stitch definition and drape, meaning that not only could you cable with it (!) but also you could create a garment that would hang beautifully as a summer tank top, a more tailored summer tee-shirt, or an over-the-bathing suit top for lakeside, pool-side or beach...and would even look well in baby items such as booties!

To do all of this well, cotton has to be not only sturdy but also soft and comfortable -- and usually it costs more than "dish cloth cotton" on a per metre basis. Sigh.

However, what we're offering this week for our Super Special Sale will fill the bill for a garment, and  be cost-effective too!


Universal Yarns
Cotton Supreme




100% Cotton, plied
100 grams = 165 metres (180 yards)
Gauge:16 - 20 stitches = 4" on 4-5 mm needle (U.S. 6-8) 
or 5-6 mm hook (U.S. H - J)

Regular Price: $13.00 per skein

Sale Price: $3.25 per skein

Limited quantities, limited colours.
When they're gone, they're gone!

See you in the shop!

*Written by Margaret, who has to admit that while she likes to wear cotton, she'd rather knit with wool.  Ah well... 😉

Monday, March 11, 2019

Snow Myths

Image result for groundhog lied

I have seen two really cute cartoons cross my computer recently, above is the first (if you are not aware this is supposed to be Punxsutawney Phil, a notoriously accurate groundhog, well-known for predicting spring's arrival).

The second is:
Image may contain: meme, text that says 'I'M GIVING UP WINTER FOR LENT. WHO'S WITH ME?'

I was recently reading the Old Farmer's Almanac for 2018-2019. The comments regarding their predictions for spring are very interesting. Several people are critical this year's spring prediciton seems to be so far off the actuality we are experiencing. Then a person from Winnipeg wrote on Mar.9,  the predictions to date are right on. I do admit - I have not been following Manitoba weather! Alberta weather and the curling are enough to keep me out of trouble (?) along with all of my recent knitting projects.

My current projects are socks! No, these are a unique and easy - if you follow the pattern. My husband has a new knee which is apparently causing water retention issues. The Crafty Lady (my boss) has created a knit pattern for socks which he has declared very comfortable and easy to wear. I have now completed one each of two different yarns. Now I must finish both pairs! ASAP - I know my Ukrainian ex-military husband will NOT wear these two as a pair. If you would like to knit a pair, we have very interesting, delectible sock yarns in stock, and the pattern is available at ravelry.com.
My Tiger
Skunk Sock? aka Cop Sock













The pattern name is Lorigami Sock, written by Guru1.

Knowing The Crafty Lady often thinks outside the box, and thinking of sock yarns, I have just completed a Shetland lace shawl from sock yarn for my sister who is a first time grand-mother!! Yes, Baby and Mom are doing well, thanks. This is the pattern our grandmother knit for our mother, mom knit for us, I knit for my children and grandchildren and now nieces and nephews. It really is a family treasure. (P.S. I plan/hope to be able to knit for the next generation!)
This was knit is Comfort Sock yarn, making it completely washable! It should also wear well. Berocco Comfort Sock is 50% nylon/50% acrylic. Who would have thought we would be returning to sock yarns for baby blanket?

Gold star

Staying on "socks", The Crafty Lady has just been approached by a well-known Canadian sock yarn company interesting in publishing her Lorigami Sock pattern!!  This is equivalent to a scientist being published in a very reputable paper!! Gold Stars to our teacher and leader.

We will keep our customers and readers updated as news develops!!

If you are interested in following Margaret's success and recent projects completed, you can also follow her blog, Margaret Blank: Thoughts from a Textile Artist.

Moving from the Comfort Sock - to another 100% acrylic yarn . . . this week's 75% off yarn is perfect for spring projects.This bright a vibrant, multicoloured self-striping yarn will knit to most double knit patterns while adding fairground fun to your garments! This yarn is machine washable and can be dried on "Cool" setting - perfect for our changing weather patterns.


FAIRGROUND dk
James C. Brett
232 m/100g
Reg. $8.00
75% OFF
$2.00

This makes this a really great buy!! Last week we sold out of our sale yarn TWICE!! I think you missed our 75% off sales during our Anniversary Month of Sales!

P.S. As I write we have new yarns arriving in the door. These are brand new lines, new colours and very touchable.



Written by Anne, Politics aside, I can personally guarantee 2019 will only be boring if you want it to be. We at TCL will do our best to add colour, texture, successes and new skills to your repetoire this coming year.  






Monday, March 4, 2019

No Yarn Wars on our watch!

Yarn Wars | Knitting Memes and Jokes at www.terrymatz.biz/intheloop/knitting-humor



Margaret writes such interesting and appropriate blogs, all of the Inca was sold within the first two hours of the sale being posted. Thanks Margaret, Well Done!!😉

So in the tradition of The Crafty Lady, if the 75% Off Sale yarn is sold out on the Monday, we offer our customers a second chance - with a completely different yarn.

Pulse 
James C. Brett
Wool Rich Chunky

54% Superwash Wool/46% Acrylic
138 m/100g
Reg. $13.00
75% Off
$3.25

Come in and have a second chance at a great yarn!!



On the Way to 26!

"Mommy!  It's over!"


Our 25th Anniversary month ended Thursday.  😢  

It was 28 days of revolving Daily Special Sales, including The BIG One on THE day -- February 14 -- and all we can say (AGAIN) is "THANK YOU!" to our wonderful customers and friends for supporting The Crafty Lady for 25 years.

Now we're on our way to 26!

That means we're continuing to provide our best service, ensuring we carry a wonderful array of yarn, needle- and yarn-craft supplies and notions; beading tools and supplies; one-on-one lessons; and of course, a place where yarn- and stitch-crafters can gather once a week for food, fun and fellowship -- the perennial Knit Night.

And...it means a return to our weekly Super Special Sale, where we offer one of our sale yarns at 75% off.

As well, with the end of our wintry Anniversary Month came the Supposed-to-be-Spring-Soon month of March.  Hmmmph!  As I write this, we find ourselves in the second day of a three-or-four-day Extreme Cold Warning.  

My neighbours have opined that this means that despite the lengthening days, the clear blue skies and the glorious sunshine, March 2019 is definitely coming in like a LION.

Sigh.

But The Crafty Lady and her staff are looking on the bright side!  For one thing, extended cold weather means more time for yarn-crafting in the coziness of our shop or at home.

For another, it means time to plan projects for the time when Spring actually...ummm...springs!    It's a time to browse those colourful seed catalogues, to plan the layout of gardens or potted plants, or to plan the creation of a summer top or light-weight shawl from our new cotton or cotton-blend yarns.

And it means that even if it's still working-with-wool weather, you can make small items with this week's Super Special Sale -- in sunny colours of yellow or orange, just to warm you up!

INCA
from fibranatura



100 grams = 97 metres (106 yards)
100% Superwash Wool
Calls for 6.5 mm needles or an 8 mm crochet hook

Regular Price: $11.00

Special Sale Price: $2.75!!

It takes less than a ball to make this super-cute slouchy toque  (the pattern is "Pupwalker", a free Ravelry download!).  And you'd have just enough left over to make a child-sized pair of the World's Simplest Mittens (another free pattern on Ravelry, designed by Tin Can Knits).

What's not to love?  Sunny colours, cozy yarn, simple patterns that work up well at Knit Night, and before you know it...It'll be Spring!

See you in the shop!


*Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee who loves any excuse to knit, including wintry weather!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Last week of Our Anniversary Sales!



This is the last week to celebrate our 25th Anniversary!




Watch our Facebook page for the daily anniversary specials - until Feb. 28. Yes, The Crafty Lady has confirmed we will be resuming the weekly 75% off  sales on March 4.
Image result for thank you knitting images
We, The Crafty Lady and staff are sincerely appreciative of the support of our customers have shown over the past 25 years. WE COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU! 


Your comments and requests have guided Lori as she made purchasing decisions. You are still guiding decisions as we move forward!

Image result for fireworks images

One of the reasons Lori founded The Crafty Lady was to facilitate people's creative needs. When you look around Lacombe, this is a very artistically aware community. Artists can work in many mediums from metal to glass to wood to fibre to paint/canvas and more. Artists are also people who can create with sound! be it voice or instruments! Words are another creative medium. So before this list gets too long - sorry I missed you particular niche. As an example, stop and see the art exhibit at the Lacombe Memorial Centre, tour the murals around town, attend a Cow Patti performance or one at the new Performing Arts Centre!

"One thing we know for sure: that TCL will try its best to keep up with trends in crafts, while stocking the best yarn selection in Central Alberta, and providing kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable service to our customers." quoted from last week's blog. (thanks Margaret)

While adding to our yarn selection - The Crafty Lady is bringing in new local and Canadian products such as Zen Yarn Garden - drop in to feel!

Molto Crescendo

TCL and staff are thrilled to be able to bring in beautiful roving from Dewedlebug Fibre Emporium, another local small business. Currently, we have their merino roving in a wide range of colours. You can shop on their website at dewedlebug.ca .

We have a saying here: Come in, touch and feel. Browse and drool. If you drool on the floor - fine! If you drool on the yarn - you own it!!

Lori is also very busy writing new patterns while revising older patterns for new yarns. We are working to get the store Online in the near-ish future.

With so much going on at the store, for me it is a joy to be here! Speaking strictly for myself - our customers are wonderful! They want to learn new skills, appreciate interesting yarns and good tools. They are creative people who enjoy working with colour, texture, fibre and new techniques.

So stop reading, come in - touch and feel! And check out Face book to see the daily specials! (Only until Feb. 28)



YES! PLEASE!



Posted by Anne, happy TCL employee who is very appreciative of her employer, co-worker and all our customers. Thanks to all of you😘





Monday, February 18, 2019

Once Upon A Time: The Ebb and Flow of Crafty Inventory


Yesterday was "Family Day" here in Alberta. British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick mark it as such as well, while in Manitoba it's known as "Louis Riel Day". It's "Islander Day" in Prince Edward Island and in Nova Scotia, "Heritage Day". (Alberta's "Heritage Day is the first Monday in August; but I digress!)

Here at The Crafty Lady, we hope you all enjoyed a great day of family crafts -- perfect activities if the wind, snowfall and extreme cold temps kept you from skiing, tobogganing, skating or -- as the more usual case is in B.C. -- gardening! 😉 As for our friends in Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, the Yukon and Nunavut -- we hope you had a good Monday at school, work or wherever you happened to be. Maybe you too managed to squeeze in some craft time!

Have you ever wondered what sort of crafts were practiced when winter evenings stretched long and cold, or summer days stretched long and hot? When there were fewer demands for our attention from the screens in our homes, offices or hands?

Papier-mâché project in progress.
Photo: 
Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 3.0
Once upon a time...over twenty-five years ago...there was papier-mâché (paper mache) -- a process whereby paper strips (often newspaper strips) or pulpy paper are applied to a form (e.g. a blown-up balloon or a structure made with chicken wire) with glue or a mixture of starch and water to create a creature or some other sort of sculpture. Once dry, these are painted in lively colours for even more fun.

While this craft hasn't disappeared entirely (it's often used in schools -- especially for creating mountains in geography classes!), it left the purview of The Crafty Lady back in the late nineteen nineties, when the store was still in its first location -- the basement of the Home Hardware store in Lacombe.

Ditto for paper ribbon, raffia and papers for Découpage. Purchasing pom-poms in bulk followed.

In the years when the Shop was at 5009 - 50 Street, its stock of wood and wood-working supplies, model kits and supplies, slate, fimo, tole painting and other art supplies left the shop. These left in large part because other vendors set up shop in town -- especially for models and art supplies -- and The Crafty Lady didn't want to take business from them by carrying the same supplies.

As for zippers, lace and trims -- no one was buying them; they were gathering dust. And so they went too.

Meanwhile, knitting was experiencing a resurgence -- followed quickly by crochet. There was greater demand for a wide variety of yarn and yarn-crafting supplies and so...

Yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, patterns and assorted yarn-crafting supplies were brought in to fill the holes left by the departure of other craft supplies.

With the advent of social media, online forums were being established -- places where yarn-crafters could "gather" in cyberspace to talk about their projects, learn new techniques, share patterns, knowledge, information and experiences with yarn. Clara Parkes' Knitters Review began as such shortly after the turn of the century -- with both an online newsletter and forum. Though her forum closed in 2015 so that Clara could pursue other interests -- such as adding two new books to her existing three -- Clara still has a newsletter, as well as writing for other yarn-craft publications.

In 2007, Casey and Jessica Forbes founded Ravelry -- a free online yarn-crafting social media site. Members have to create an online ID name and presence in order to use the service -- and at first it was so popular, there was a waiting list to get your presence created! Now the platform has grown and is keeping up with its membership, which includes those who knit, crochet, spin, weave, dye, sell and/or write about yarn, as well as those who design patterns for knitting and crochet.

This wonderful resource is invaluable for The Crafty Lady and her staff, because it allows us to serve our customers better -- pairing them with yarns that will work with a given pattern, finding out whether or not a yarn is discontinued, showing them photos of projects made in a given yarn, and selling them patterns from online designers -- including our own Crafty Lady's Designs!

Some crafts haven't completely died out, though, while others are making a come-back.


One of the latter is macrame -- for which The Crafty Lady's just recently been able to meet the demand with a new yarn: "Scuby" cotton from Katia (stop by the shop to see Lori's macrame purse!)

As for the former -- embroidery and beading have continued to be popular. The Crafty Lady has an excellent supply of DMC embroidery floss, and a selective supply of cross-stitch and even-weave (Lugana) fabrics for counted work. The Shop also carries tapestry yarn and a selection of printed tapestries for needle point.

At the same time, there's a full selection of Mill Hill and other beads for embellishments, plus beads and other ornaments for jewellry making, as well as a good range of chainmaille supplies and tools -- including kits from "We've Got Maille".

Who knows what's in store for The Crafty Lady in the years to come?

One thing we know for sure: that TCL will try its best to keep up with trends in crafts, while stocking the best yarn selection in Central Alberta, and providing kind, thoughtful and knowledgeable service to our customers.

Meanwhile the celebration continues! Don't forget to check our Facebook Page for our daily 25th Anniversary Specials that run through February 28 -- and if you're in the area drop in to see what's new for spring!

As for Knit Night -- the coffee and tea and snacks will be ON every Thursday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. (cost: $5.00, including GST). Drop by, bring your latest project and join in the fun!





Thanks for a wonderful quarter century!  
See you in the Shop!




*Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee who loves to discuss yarn and knitting with our customers, almost as much as she loves knitting itself!






Monday, February 11, 2019

I NEED . . . Part 2 of The Crafty Lady Story



Image result for clip art little girl knitting
"I broke my 4.5 mm needle! I cannot buy one in Lacombe," said The Crafty Lady, (aka Lori Nowochin) in 1993 . . . So the idea for a store for craft supplies was born.

Early history

Lori grew up in a home with creative, hard-working parents who both played - and taught - music (several instruments). Choosing to attend Augustana University, Lori studied arts and music, graduating with a teacher's degree from U of A. She taught for 9 years, and frustrated with the then system she left the teaching profession in 1993.

Store history

After leaving teaching, Lori actively joined the family business in Lacombe.
While working with Nowco Home Hardware, Lori managed to break a circular needle. I know none of our crafter's have ever lost or broken a needle part way through a project, so I hope you can empathize how traumatic this can be to someone who is hoping to complete a project - and move on to the next idea with new yarn/fabric.

The broken needle was the impetus to put her entrepreneurial skills and talents in gear. Recognizing a need in the area for a good quality yarn shop, Lori started exploring opportunities. At the same time Lewiscraft was expanding and looking at opening in smaller communities.Lengthy discussions were not successful.

With the blessings of the other owners and as a division of Home Hardware "The Crafty Lady" opened in the basement of Home Hardware - February 14, 1994. Lori was able to access some of her early suppliers through Nowco, including Ceramcoat paints, Premier brushes, Spinrite yarns, wood products from Stockade.

The Crafty Lady operated from this location until 2000 when the store moved to their second location on Main Street, between A-1 Chinese Restaurant and Nowco Home Hardware. (see last week's blog for more of the construction photos.) Lori's father Edwin was Contractor, Site Superintendent and "Senior Standard Setter" during the construction of the new building ensuring everything was above code for the new building.
Dad - six weeks after surgery, inspecting the work done while he was not allowed to "do"
The new building included an apartment on the top floor for store owner, Lori. In 2014, Lori became an independent business owner and is no longer a division of Nowco.

During my lifetime, I (currently the oldest employee of The Crafty Lady) have experienced and encouraged change. Children grow up and create their own lives, technology is ever-changing, yarn and yarn tools also change. I do not look like I did at 16 - even my hair has changed colours - and I have added four children, three grandchildren and two greats to my family. I am not including my husband of 20 years and the family he has brought into my life. Every community, person and business must move forward, evolve and change appropriately to grow while continuing to exist. If we don't change, we go the way of the dinosaurs - sorry old cliche.

Over the past 25 years, The Crafty Lady has evolved from models, paints, brushes to primarily yarns for knitting and crocheting. As part of our evolution, on June 1, 2018, we moved to a new location - from where we are celebrating our 25th Anniversary. Our current location has a basement for storage, better lighting and we have moved from Main Street to the Main Drag.

New Store Front as of June 2018

Currently, we stock some chain mail, clock parts, beading supplies, tatting, tapestry and cross-stitch supplies, knitting/crochet/tatting pattern books and project bags. International factors seriously affect our ability to purchase from the United States, including the state of the dollar. So we are not bringing in Knitter's Pride for awhile.

"One of the first conditions of happiness is that the link between Man and Nature shall not be broken" said Leo Tolstoy. Crafting - in any form - helps us connect with nature, natural products and centuries old skills. Patterns and products have changed. Lace and cables are often featured with new colours and yarns.

Currently, we are stocking a number of merino products. Many people who are sensitive/allergic to wool can easily wear and/or work with merino, alpaca and lama as these are very unique fibres. Some manufacturers are even producing machine washable versions of these yarns.

This month we are breaking several traditions! (Another sign of change?) Each business day it's a surprise a day as our daily deals are 25% Off! Follow our Facebook page to learn what our daily deal is! Lori has never done this before. Daily Deals range from "buy 3 skeins of DMC floss - get the 4th free" to all "knit/crochet notions 25% off".
Join us this Thursday, Feb.14th for our "Everything in the Store" sale
Image result for free clip art 25th Anniversary sale

Image result for free clip art knitting daily deal
and "Free Knit Night"

Drop-In for Knit Night is Coffee, Conversation, and goodies for $5 on a drop in basis between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Bring your tapestry, cross-stitch, spinning (as one member did last week), portable loom, crochet or knitting and join us. We are a very shy group of people -NOT! We welcome new members. So drop in! We have regular/decaf coffee and teas. Goodies are anything from cheese and crackers to veggies/fruit and dip to cookies or cake. 

Lastly as one of the original shoppers at The Crafty Lady who dragged my then preteen daughter down to the first basement location, and on behalf of all current and former staff members of The Crafty Lady, we Thank you - our customers for encouraging, supporting and offering great suggestions on new products or things you would like to see. 
Related image

We are looking forward to serving all our customers - from Romania to Ireland to Dakar Saudi (she moved), Newfoundland and British Columbia. 



yarn wool silkdegrade knit cotton silk viscose ochre coral maroon sand yellow spring summer katia 301 gyarn wool bahamas knit cotton ochre rust burgundy red spring summer katia 63 g


P.S. We have new yarns arriving all the time come in and see them!




Written by Anne, excited TCL employee to be able to share in the upcoming events and sales! Please do not tell my husband as I have a very healthy stash at home.