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

Friday, December 1, 2017



Good afternoon!
Head Honcho here - Anne says I should say
THE Crafty Lady here. ;)

Starting today - because we've been blocked from our Blogger due to the brown out of Wednesday - December hours are now in effect!

From today until December 23rd we will be open 9 - 9 weekdays and regular 9-6 Saturdays and closed Sundays.

We will also be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

After that, hours return to normal with the exception of New Year's Day cos I don't care how much you love yarn, I am never overrun by people insisting they need yarn after a heavy evening of celebrating the new year. :)

Looking forward to seeing your bright shiny faces during our extended hours!

written by Lori
the elusive writing member of the team (because she knows how to delegate)

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sanity?

"Do you stock sanity?" is a question we often get asked - here at The Crafty Lady.

I have just learned from one of our customers "No - we do not stock it, but we do sell it!!

She admitted she knits so she does not kill someone. We are not taking her literally!

Quoted from this morning's CBC news, Bell employees have been contacting CBC's Go Public "describing the toll aggressive sales targets have had on their health. Bell is well known for it's "Let's Talk" initiative. Current and former employees describe panic attacks in the work-place, stress- induced vomiting and diarrhea. Several employees report stress leave is "common".

Many of the employees applaud Bell's mental health program, they say it's ironic that so many of the company's employees are suffering physically and mentally from pressure "created by the top, down." 

One employee filed a human rights complaint this week, alleging Bell didn't accommodate her disability. She says it eventually led to so much stress that she is on a medical leave" end quote. .

My recent employment background was working for Alberta Health Services at The Centennial Center for Mental Health and Brain Injury. I left there - after taking stress leave. I found some sanity, was hired here and have found my dream job, while being allowed to help others create sanity (and my sanity is still improving).

Interesting recent studies demonstrate knitting/crocheting are right up there with meditation for creating sanity and reduce stress, especially repetitive knitting as in socks  . . . Knitting, crocheting and other repetitive fine motor-skills balance both sides of the brain and help to build better mental health.

This week's 75% Off Special is specifically created to help with your sanity while making one of those last minute great gifts for sock knitters! Or for sock knitters to knit for someone special!

Wool/acrylic socks are the gold standard (so I am told) for hikers, as they wick the sweat while being really warm and the acrylic extends life of the sock.

Each ball will make one large adult pair (not sure about men's 15's. I get two pair of ankle length from one ball. Socks are simply knit in the round and very meditative.

If you are just learning, we can help you learn to turn a heel. 

Four Regia yarns are featured: 
Denim Look, Design Line, 4-Fadig Colour, "Ombre Stripe"
420m, 75% wool/25% polymid 
Regular prices from $15.95 - $20.00
75% Sale Prices from $3.99 - $5.00

Happily posted by Anne, who finds socks are easy to knit and very portable





Monday, November 20, 2017

South of the Border...Down Mexico Way...

The Aztecs Pyramid
at St. Cecilia Acatitlan,
Mexico

While both llama and alpaca are found around Alberta today, these animals originated in the highlands of South America, and were domesticated by the various peoples living there at the time.  Both are descended from the Camelid family (yes, that's just what you think it is!)

Both -- according to archaeological evidence -- can trace their ancestry back about 45 million years, originating on what is now North America.  Between the arrival of the Ice Age, alterations in habitat, and humans who both settled and traded, the camelids were dispersed around the globe and some types were completely wiped out.



Blessedly, three prongs of the family survived: the dromedary of North Africa and SW Asia, the Bactrian camel of Central Asia, and what are now considered four related species in South America -- including llama and alpaca.


Domestic Alpaca
Though these animals were originally domesticated in the highlands, between 900 and 1,000 years ago, some were brought down to the coastal lowlands, which would explain how they came to be in the area of Mexico -- the purview of the Aztec from 1300 to 1521 A.D. or so -- from the Incan Empire down the west coast of South America (1438 - 1533).

The Mayans, Aztecs and Incas all wove fabric from the fibre produced by these animals, and as with many cultures, the type of fabric worn was used as an indicator of status. While the Aztecs forbade the poor from wearing cotton, the Incas forbade all but the wealthy from wearing cumbi, a special cloth woven from baby alpaca that was -- literally -- even to the invading Spanish -- worth its weight in gold.

That's not surprising, since the fibre of the alpaca produces a soft yarn that can be woven, knit or crocheted into garments that are also toasty warm.

For folks who want the warmth and moisture-wicking properties of wool, but are sensitive to the lanolin produced in sheep's fibre, alpaca could be a great alternative.  Their fibres are longer than fine sheep wool, with a high tensile strength that results in durability and long wear.  At the same time, having fewer scales than sheep wools, alpaca fibre will take much longer to felt.

Because of its characteristics -- warmer, denser and heavier than wool if knit straight up -- ideally, yarn containing a high percentage of alpaca is best used for shawls, hats, scarves, cowls, gloves or mittens, where you want to keep warm without weight. 

Generally these garments must be washed by hand, but sometimes you can find a fibre blend that boasts just enough alpaca for warmth...and acrylic fibre for easier care.  And that's what's on offer for our Super Special this week!




Nako Alpaca
100 grams
90% Acrylic, 10% Alpaca
190 metres (208 yards)
Regular Price: $8.00

Sale Price: $2.00


AND




James Brett Aztec
100 grams
90% Acrylic, 10% Alpaca
190 metres (208 yards)
Regular Price: $8.00

Sale Price: $2.00


Pattern: Cable Hat - S.R. Kertzer
Yarn: James Brett Aztec


Written -- and knit -- by Margaret, happy TCL employee for whom a little alpaca can go a long way!

References:


Monday, November 13, 2017

Project Bonus

This morning I heard a news story on the imminent possibility of driverless semi-trailer trucks. We have all heard stories regarding the development of driver-less cars or computer-operated vehicles.

The thought of a fully loaded semi driving on the Coquihalla during a blizzard is just down right scary. I don't think the developers have got to that point. The two options reported were the driver would be in the self-driving vehicle, sitting in the driver's seat and only taking over when the alarms went off. The other option currently being developed was the driver would be operating remotely a fleet of 10 - 20 vehicles from a computer desk. These trucks would be robotically driven.

My understanding is many people are really great truckers as they do not want to operate computers, or become computer literate. They like to be working with their hands and minds. The other impact on this industry would be to the mechanics who repair and maintain the trucks.

Let's hope this is going to be a very, very long time coming. I am not sure I am ready for this type of technology.

Similarly, crafters and shoppers love to find really great ideas from the website. There are several great bonuses to browsing and maybe shopping on the internet. Proof - the rise in people who shop (and purchase) on the internet.

It is so much easier to sit with your daughter and find a picture of the sweater you offered to knit for her. My daughter came home a couple of months ago with a picture she found on the internet and said "Please, Mom, I would love this!!" It was a really great comfortable sweater. The problems developed when it took me two days of research to find the pattern - and cost $15 to purchase the pattern.

Then I priced out the yarns suggested in the pattern - the cost amounted to more than I could comfortably afford. It was more than her car payment and monthly rent!! So, having the privilege of working in a yarn shop, I priced out similar yarns. When I get it finished it will be a beautiful sweater, though may
be not quite exactly like the one in the picture.

It is so easy to find a great idea online, then come in an try to describe it to our staff. We do try and help - please recognize we are not mind-readers, and don't know of any courses (online or other-wise) to teach us this skill. We are requesting our customers, please do a little more research prior to coming in. Please take the time to find a similar pattern - and there are a number of really great crafting websites, i.e. Ravelry, Yarnspirations and Interweave. Most yarn manufacturers have pattern ideas on their website, some free and some cost a bit.

These websites have ideas and patterns for quick and easy - or more involved projects. They offer information/ videos to teach new skills, such a short-rows or top down sweaters.

This week we are featuring a very flexible yarn at 75% off - Schaenmayr's Bravo, a 100% acrylic yarn. Find a quick idea online or add to your stash as this yarn will fit in with many quick craft projects.

Bravo 
145 yds/133 m
100% acrylic
Reg. $3.50


75% Sale
87¢

Written by Anne, happy knitter who found a way to compromise on price, not on quality. Thanks to The Crafty Lady for supplying beautiful yarns. 



Monday, November 6, 2017

All That Glitters is Not Gold*

It's almost Remembrance Day...a sombre and serious day in which we remember our military, the roles they play(ed) and the sacrifices they make (made) for our freedom and democracy here in Canada and in most other nations around the globe.

At the same time, the days are shortening...the time "fell back" one hour to "Standard Time" here this weekend...and, as we've mentioned in several posts now, the longer evenings mean more time (one hopes!) for yarn-crafting.

Christmas/Holiday gift ideas abound on all the yarn-crafting websites, in the magazines. on social media of all kinds, and those deadlines loom large!

Christmas is fixed at December 25, but this year, Hanukkah
spans the week just before that (December 12-20), while Kwanzaa runs from Dec. 26 (Boxing Day) through January 1 (New Year's Day).

However you celebrate, there are opportunities to make something special -- or to decorate with a bit of colour and glitz to bring into your home the light and joy of the season.

In our last post we introduced a bit of glitter...just to get the inspiration going.

This week, we're offering more...

First up: 

Perfect for arm-knit 'decorative' cowls to complement that glitzy holiday party outfit, to trim a skirt or jacket, or to fashion a garland right off the hank to decorate the tree!



Red Heart Boutique Ribbons
100 grams
75% Manufactured Fibers - Acrylic
25% Manufactured Fibers - Polyester
38 metres (42 yards)

Regular Price: $7.50
Sale Price: $1.88!


And next...a bit of heaven...perfect for finger-less gloves, cowls, scarves, a hat...perhaps a brooch (or two or three)...or a tiny bit of 'home decor' that could become a 'memento mori'...




Sirdar Divine
50 grams
72%  Polyester
28%  Acrylic

Regular Price: $9.00
Sale Price: $2.25!

Whatever you choose, you'll introduce a bit of light, sparkle and energy into this otherwise dark and gloomy time of year.  See you in the shop!



*Merchant of Venice Act II, Scene VII, William Shakespeare.


Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee who loves a wee bit o' glitter in her life!

Monday, October 30, 2017

Seasonal Confusion

As our seasonal confusion continues. . . Do we wear flip flops (and get cold feet) or closed toe shoes and be too warm? What to wear? How to dress? Do I need that coat (that I then leave behind)? Will I be cold without it?

I now understand my mother "nagging" as we went out the door to school and walked a half mile to school. I know that is not a long distance but it seems very few people know what it is to go for a walk. I grew up in a smaller community which was for many years on the border-line - was it a town or a city. As the population increased, the province always moved the target of "city" status to an additional 5,000 people. Maybe this is partly where my confusion comes from. The town was the largest shopping area outside of Edmonton, and considered itself a rural community, as many of the businesses served the needs of the farmers.

As the temperatures drop - knitters are planning warmer items for cooler weather. Many of us have some things in our Carefully Curated Collection (aka Stash) we can use or resurrect appropriately. Some of us inherited things we are not quite ready to throw out . . . and continue to store. If you are fall-sorting your stash, please remember there are many places to donate yarns. We accept donations of acrylics and have people who make them into blankets we forward to Blankets for Canada. There is more information on their website https://www.blankets4canada.caA great place to donate yarns is to a church yard sale, sell at an Antique shop or donate to a long-term care facility. Many such facilities have residents who cannot afford yarn, or cannot get out to access yarn, and would love to sit and knit.

Planning forward we have Remembrance Day, Christmas, Hanukkah/Chanukah (the Jewish festival of Lights and re-dedication) or any other family celebration, this is often the time of the year we give thanks for the bounty of our lives. Recently more people showed up to harvest the Foodgrains Bank crop than ever before. To all who helped - A Huge Thank You 😂 🙇.

Giving gifts you create is a wonderful way to share your love to knit with others. Gifts do not have to be large to be thoughtful and appropriate. Cowls, boot toppers, finger-less gloves, toques are really great gifts, easy to make and can be made with things from your stash or new yarns.

This week's 75% Sale yarn could be a great additional to any project. Adding to our confusion, it could make a project, be added to embellish or complete another yarn. It is soft, with just a hint of sparkle - come in and feel up our Flicker.

Flicker / Stellabella      
           by Berroco / by Diamond Luxury Collection
87% Baby Alpaca, 8% acrylic, 5% other fibres,  50 gm/175 m 
Reg. $16.00
75% Sale
$4.00


Flicker Slouch Hat
Flicker Cowl

Posted by Anne, happy TCL employee who will continue to be confused - while loving her position here! I especially enjoy helping our customers create a little less confusion and stress in their lives.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Let's Linger...

For the past month we've had a "fall is in the air" feel to our posts...and today's is no exception!  While autumn is the favourite season for many of us, with its crisp days, bright sunshine and blue skies (when it's not raining or snowing!) and its harvest bounty, we still have to acknowledge that the days are shorter and the evenings longer.


For knitters and crocheters, that remains cause for delight, as our thoughts turn to gift planning for the holidays, and projects we can curl up with on those long evenings -- whether it's in front of the television with a favourite sport or series (Outlander, anyone? 😉 ) or with a glass or cup of something good in front of a crackling fire with an audio-book or music in the background.


If you're looking to get started on some smaller gifts and enjoy working with lighter-weight yarns (like I do!), may I suggest you spend your evenings lingering...with some fingering.   Yarn, that is.

"Fingering" yarn is defined by YarnCanada.ca as a yarn that "... is equivalent to a #1 super fine weight and is also referred to as sock or baby yarn. It’s lightweight and versatile and perfect for socks, shawls, wraps, baby items, mittens, hats and more."  I'd add gloves -- fingered or finger-less -- wristers, boot toppers, leg warmers... Lots to linger over!


This week for our Special Sale we're offering a fingering three-some...


First up is this delicious mix of caramel and chocolate:







Regia 4-fadig Color
75% super-wash wool
25% Polyamide (Nylon)
50 grams = 210 metres or 230 yards
(2 will make a pair of adult-sized socks)
Regular Price: $9.00

Sale Price: $2.25!



Next we have hanks in a steel grey tonal -- perfect for those "man socks" (or gloves or mittens...)


NOTE: This colour-way is not the one on sale!

Opal 4-fach Handgefarbt 
Pullover & Sockenwolle
75% Super-wash wool
25% Polyamid (Nylon)
100 grams = 425 metres or 464 yards
(1 hank will make a pair of socks or gloves, even for most 'manly' appendages!)
Regular Price: $18.00

Sale Price: $4.50!


And last but not least...

Not one but two colour-ways for those who love the look of variegated yarns -- these skeins dip-dyed by the artisans at Manos...

Photo: Silkernie on Ravelry
Colour: #800 - "Copper"


Photo: Celestya22 on Ravelry
Colour: #955 - "Meadow"



















Camino Color
Manos Artesanas
75% Super-wash wool
25% Polyamid (Nylon)
100 grams = 400 meters or 437 yards
(1 skein will make a pair of socks except for the very largest feet!)
Regular Price: $17.00

Sale Price: $4.25!

So come in this week, select the one -- or ones! -- that speak to you, and linger awhile to chat or browse patterns or fondle any and all the yarn we have on offer.  We look forward to seeing you!


Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee; you can find her lingering with her fingering at our Knit Nights, Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Ask at the store for details!

Monday, October 16, 2017

I be crazy ? ?

Do you occasionally feel like you are slightly out of step with the world, or maybe it is just those around you? Then something happens and you feel totally validated!!

This can be a feeling of huge relief and reduces the stress we all carry around. I now believe stress is not an over-used word, nor is it a state of mind many people believe it is in their best interest to admit to. Do you occasionally feel you look like this  . . .
Our Crafty Lady Greeter
I am currently reading a book on how the brain can heal itself. Some of the studies deal with mental health issues such as dyslexia, depression, autism and others deal with things like Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimer's or accidents. The researchers describe helping professional opera singers heal after surgery destroyed their voices and their ability to heal (according to conventional medicine). Ground breaking research . . . as the brain is our most misunderstood organ - these researchers are giving us hope and understanding!

So what does any of this have to do with crafting? Knitting, crochet and other hand/mind skills have been proven to help us deal with stress, recover from brain injuries, stay mentally healthy longer and keep whatever function of our brain we have working more effectively. Plus you get something constructive at the end of your project (in addition to a carefully curated collection of yarn or fibre).

Again, so what does any of this have to do with the season? Autumn is the time many of us preserve the produce from our garden, farmers and their families are busy in the fields - a very creative time of the year. People are starting to plan their Halloween costumes for young and old and planning Christmas gifts!

Are you arm-knitting a cowl or something for a special someone? Check out this week's special - it is a really great deal!



Who are you planning Halloween costumes for? This week's 75% Off would make incredible dreadlocks for a costume . . . Where does your imagination take you?


ICE 
Marine
Reg. $25.00
75% OFF
$6.25


Posted by Anne, saner than I was and happy knitter

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Have You Any Wool?

More times than I can remember, when we in The Shop ask our customers, "Can we help you?", the answer is "I'm just here for some wool."

But that's not always the case.

Rather, they're usually 'here for some yarn'.  It's just that our customers are in the habit of referring to all yarn as "wool" -- because once upon a time, it pretty much was all wool, all the time.

Nowadays, we're doing our best to change their terminology -- mainly by showing them actual wool in the weight they said they were looking for.  If they want other yarn -- say, cotton or acrylic, or alpaca, or silk or a blend -- this startles them, and they let us know pretty quickly!  😊

"Heeland Coos"
(Highland Cows)
I'm just back from Scotland, touring castles, lochs, and crofts (among other things)...and revelling in the hilly countryside dotted with "coos" and sheep.  Over there, they are very particular about yarn terminology!  Wool is wool, and that's all there is to it!  It comes from sheep, and everything else is...well...just..."yarn".


Another notion about wool that's common with customers is that it is always scratchy.

I'll grant that some folks have a true allergy to wool (sometimes, sadly, to all animal fibre).  Handling it in any way makes their hands tingle, their fingers itch, and some even break out in a rash if they try a wool garment next to their skin.

Sheep grazing - on the road between
Edinburgh and Inverness
And it's true that the wool from some sheep breeds is 'scratchier' than that from others.  This is due in large part to the composition of the fibre: its diameter (in microns), its staple length and its crimp structure.

As author and yarn expert, Clara Parkes, writes in The Knitter's Book of Yarn (2008), "The finer the diameter of a fibre, the softer it feels against your skin." (p.14).  And..."A general rule of thumb...The shorter the fibers, the softer they will be against the skin." (p. 15).  As for 'crimp' -- the fibres with tinier crimp tend to be the ones that are bouncier, loftier and warmer (think hats, blankets, sweaters), while those with larger 'ringlets' (as Clara calls them) produce a denser, stronger, more lustrous yarn (think 'drape' for shawls, throws and elegant garments).

What does all that mean?  Simply that no two types of wool are alike -- and barring a true allergy to it, there's generally a wool available to suit your purpose!

This week's Special Sale offering is wool -- 100% wool.  It's labelled as "roving", which means it's not really spun.  Though it's a 'single' (ply), it's still strong enough to be knit or crocheted -- and there are some projects on Ravelry that show off beautiful stitch definition when knit up.  A 'woolly wool', it's ideal for jackets, hats, and outdoor sweaters not worn next to the skin.

It's not been treated for machine washing though, so it's better served in items meant to be hand-washed or felted.  That means it's ideal for felted slippers or tote bags that will be comfy and sturdy at the same time.

And the price is right!




Diamond Select
Pure Wool Roving


100% Wool
100 grams per skein
137 metres (150 yards)
Regular Price: $7.00

75% Off!
Sale Price: $1.75



Posted by Margaret, TCL employee, who's happy to help you find the right wool -- or yarn -- whatever your project!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lacombe Celebration

When was the last time you saw a horse drawn wagon or a horse drawn stage coach on Main Street Lacombe?



For many people Saturday was a first. As part of the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival DB Bobcat were sponsoring free rides around historic downtown Lacombe - complete with tour guide.

Lots of people out completing the scavenger hunt and judging the scarecrows. No, not the people on the street - scarecrows.


Many businesses set up interesting displays in front of their place of business featuring one or more scarecrows. These were a long way from the scarecrow my grandmother used to put in her garden. Those featured my grandfather's old black trousers and white shirt with a couple of tin cans tied to the arms to scare the birds. I don't think this worked well. I believe my grandmother's yelling and waving the broom was far more effective. She even intimidated my grandfather when she was upset.

The gatherings around the Thanksgiving Table were wonderful - including extended family, neighbours and people who had no family. The meals took several days between shopping, prepping and cooking. They had a huge gas stove, complete with two cooking ovens, a warming oven and the shelf over the top to warm plates and keep spoons out of little fingers. Thanksgiving to me always starts at the beginning of harvest - as the farmers take off their crops and pray for good weather.


Did you see The Crafty Lady's post late last week with all the new colours? New cotton colours, new acrylic colours and new variegated yarns which are going to make some interesting items.


Take a look at the video,  come in to touch and feel. While you are browsing this week's 75% Off Sale is :

Boston                           Boston Mix
Reg. $5.50                                                                   Reg. $13.00
75% Off                                          75% Off
$1.35                                  $3.25                           







Posted by Anne, happy crafter (P.S. Love the new colours and yarns - come in and check them out)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Time to kilt

The weather this week is predicted to be much better - sunnier, warmer and drier than last week when we officially moved from summer to fall/autumn. The colours of the trees are incredible - and Banff has been recording record numbers of tourists to visit the Larch trees in southern Alberta. These trees are related to the Tamarack - which grows locally. They are one of the hardest woods growing in this part of the world. They were prized for furniture by early settlers. They are a deciduous conifer. Tamarack were logged off most of the area in the early 1920's and 1930's. Their colours are incredible and well worth taking a walk/drive to see.
I am lucky enough to live where I can walk along the edge of a lake, with all the wonderful colours - the reds, yellows and greens. The mosquitoes have gone into hibernation, so the weeds start blooming - really! How wrong is that?

Let's hope the farmers can get their crops off over the next couple of weeks. I love the look of combines working in the fields - and bales ready for pick-up.

When working with yarn or other fibre it is a real gift to be able to work with incredible colours. At The Crafty Lady, we have a saying - "Please touch, feel, drool - but keep the drool on the floor". We believe you will not finish a project if you do not enjoy the feel of the yarn.

Autumn is a transition time between summer and winter. It is a time to plan and celebrate special events with family and friends - a coffee on the deck, a picnic in the park, a "happy hour" on the patio or a walk in the woods. Celebrate the colours and the incredible beauty of the country we are privileged to live in.

As I have been thinking about this week's 75% Off Sale, I did a little bit of research on the colours of kilts - and not wanting to spread rumours, would like to refer you to an excellent website for additional info: https://albanach.org/early-history-of-the-kilt-e0c5b0101b5. There are a lot of misconceptions on the colours, and history of a kilt which surprised me, being of Scottish and Irish backgrounds.


Kilt

by Katia 
46% Virgin Wool, 46% Acrylic, 8% polyamid
50 gram balls - 71 yards
Reg. $12.00 
75% Off
$3.00

Posted by Anne, who owns and wears a kilt, happy knitter at The Crafty Lady

Monday, September 18, 2017

Fall is in the air . . .

I am a barefoot or sandal person. I wear closed shoes when it is too cold/wet - ONLY. This past week there have been a number of pictures of snow in Alberta on The Weather Network and Facebook.

One day last fall when I was taking my dogs for a walk, it started to rain. My son looked at me very skeptically and said "Setting a good example for the grandchildren? Why are you walking in flip flops in the rain." I just shrugged. It might have been better if I had gone back at that point and put on something else. When I got home about an hour later, it was snowing and I was very cold. Note: I did have a warm coat on. I had to go out to the garage for the box of shoes and boots.

Trying to be wiser this year, I have already asked my husband to bring in the boxes of boots and shoes.

Yesterday my husband added to the sense of changing seasons, when he mentioned there are less than 100 days to Christmas. Are these positive ways to add stress to a person who wants to make a number of gifts for loved ones this fall? I know I am an optimist when I consistently estimate the amount of time required to make most things. Adding insult to injury, I come to work and watch Lori create things in a couple of days  . . .  and the things she creates are beautiful. It often takes her longer to write the pattern for her creations than to create the item.

Back to the weather, the forecast for next week says flip-flops may be wearable, maybe not. There was frost on the windshields Saturday morning. So I wore sandals!

The leaves are turning colours, the sun is setting earlier - we are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Indian Summer. Is it just me or do we get the best sunsets in the fall? Yesterday, we were out visiting friends, and I noticed there are a number of fields with bales sitting in them ready for pick-up. This to me is one of the iconic fall scenes in Alberta.

So all that being said, last week's special of Comfort and Carefree was a great deal. This week's special is Ice - not the slippery, fall down and break something ice, but a beautiful Ice yarn named Tweed.

TWEED
30% Wool 70% Acrylic 50 gm 
Reg. $4.00
75% Off
$1.00



Submitted by Anne, a person who loves the fall - it is one of the most beautiful seasons



Monday, September 11, 2017

Comfy and Carefree

What's your knitting or crochet style?

Do you stress out, tense up and clutch your hook or needles in a death grip?

Or are you laid back, relaxed, comfortable and carefree about your chosen yarn-craft?

There are crafters who turn knitting into a full-body workout by using their entire arm to bring the yarn around the needles, and there are those who control it briskly with the tip of a forefinger.

There are some who are left-handed, some who are right-handed, and some who are ambidextrous.

There are knitters whose habits find them unintentionally twisting stitches, giving their work an interesting texture.

There are some who want instant gratification from their craft, so they work with large hooks or needles and bulky yarn, and some who knit fine lace and socks simply to take as long as possible to savour the process.
Whatever your yarn-crafting habits, we know you all love to squeeze, fondle and work with yarn: wool, alpaca, silk, cotton, linen, acrylic, solitary fibres or blends, solid, variegated or self-striping...It's all good!

And now that cooler, shorter days are upon us, it's time to get into cozy, comfy, carefree projects.  We'd like to help you do that with this week's Super Special...Two yarns that aren't too bulky -- but aren't too thin, are soft to handle but sturdy to wear.  Comfy and carefree!







Diamond Yarn's
SELECT Comfort Chunky
40% Superwash Wool
40% Acrylic
20% Alpaca
50 metres (55 yards) per 50 grams

Regular Price: $4.50

Sale Price: $1.13
75% Off!
and





Diamond Yarn's
SELECT Carefree Chunky
70% Acrylic
30% Wool
55 metres (60 yards) per 50 grams

Regular Price: $4.50
75% Off!
Sale Price: $1.13