Monday, December 30, 2019

End of a decade - End of an era - Transition of a dream . . .

The first customer in the store last Saturday, commented "it is so sad to see the brick and mortar closing - it is the end of an era". They were so relieved to hear Lori (aka The Crafty Lady) is going to transition to an on-line store and then transition to a pop-up store.

Continue to follow The Crafty Lady on Facebook at  Lori will be informing friends and customers where she will be - when. You can/and will continue to be able to message her on Facebook and order from the on-line store

Shopping in the basement of Home Hardware when Lori first opened The Crafty Lady was a great time for my children.

There were model and paint kits, construction sets and YARN!

My daughter always spent her allowance in the ribbons and trims section.

When Lori expanded and moved into the Main street location, she added new and different products including pergamano and quilling supplies. She has had paper tole; rosemaling; artists supplies - brushes, canvas, frames and paints; beading tools and supplies as well as stitching supplies. She had more room, but no storage. I was always surprised when a customer would feel the single ball in a dye lot, then open the full bag underneath and take 1 from the new dye lot? ? Really ? ?

I have a good friend who has given me a number of beautiful quilled pieces, she purchased many of her supplies here.

About 18 months ago, we transitioned from Main Street to Main Avenue (Hwy 12), changing inventory on a regular basis over the 25 years The Crafty Lady has been in business.

My daughter still embroiders pillowcases. This set only took her about 10 years, as every two or three stitches she had to change colours or the blend. Like many crafty people, she would pick it up and work on these for a week or two, get really frustrated and put them away for a couple of months. Then repeat the process. I really appreciate the work/dedication which goes into every set. 

I also really appreciate the commitment Lori has shown to our crafty customers over the years as the store has evolved. Lori and family have been involved in the community since they moved to Lacombe.

The Crafty Lady has been a teacher to so many wonderful people over the years. If you have not learned something today, just come in for a couple of hours and I suspect (bet) you will learn something.  Margaret and I have been told Lori may continue to do lessons as time allows, just message her on Facebook or e-mail her, she will meet you for coffee and a lesson.

After the store closes Knit Night will continue!!! When a friend first tried to talk me into coming to Knit Night - quite honestly I was not a fan of the concept - More Fool Me! Now it is one the highlights of my week - and what happens at Knit Night STAYS at Knit Night 😉😉

There will be 5 Knit Nights before the store closes - 🙋 Join us . . .

As The Crafty Lady transitions, the sale is on-going! We ARE accepting special orders on yarns The Crafty Lady will be continuing to carry.

Just a reminder we will be closed at 4 p.m. on New Year's Eve and closed all New Year's Day. Celebrate safely so we can see each other in the new year! 

May 2020 bring ongoing success to The Crafty Lady as we transition into a new decade!

Written by Anne, Wishing everyone a Safe, Healthy, Happy New Year!🎆🎆

Monday, December 23, 2019

An Origin Story

It will be just shy of 26 years when the door to the brick and mortar store closes to the public for the last time, but it won’t necessarily be a sad day. Just one door closing so another one can open in its place.
As I mentioned a short while ago, the store has already gone through a few changes so what is one or two more?  I found a few pictures from the humble beginnings in the basement of Nowco Home Hardware as well as some from the building most of you recognize as ‘the craft store’.

As a retired school teacher many people wondered whatever possessed me to open a craft store. Retail and education do not necessarily go hand in hand. My answer was simple. I broke my circular needle.

??? You broke a needle so you opened a store???  I don’t get it.

When I finally got tired of dealing with hormone driven teenagers in my former life, I came home to work in the family business. Outside of work hours I was busy crafting because I was no longer spending my personal time grading students’ work. The hundreds of stitches wide blanket was worked on a 40” circular needle and took a full hour to complete four rows. When I was in the middle of one of those rows, I felt the blanket go slack then noticed that one of the ends had detached itself from the cord!

I quickly taped the two ends together and went on a frantic search for a new needle. Wildflower Creations didn't have circular needles. Woolworth's didn't have the size I needed. I drove  to Lewiscraft in Red Deer to finally get the needle, all the while muttering that Lacombe was big enough for a real craft store. So with a little research and a slightly bigger loan, The Crafty Lady was born. Don't you love the original colour scheme?

I'm not sure how many of you have ever been in the basement of Nowco Hardware but the picture below shows Mom and Dad helping me get it ready for the boxes and boxes of stock that showed up Feb 14, 1994.

The newspaper article shows the whole Nowco and Crafty crew sitting on the stairs that led to the basement that housed both The Crafty Lady and the toy section.

Nestled into one side of the basement, the original location was smaller (and shorter at 7ft) than the current location. The silver bins were waiting patiently for yarn while the white gondolas were waiting for things like raffia, pompoms and whatever else was popular back in 1994. The opening you see behind the silver bins was the L-shaped storage area.

Since everything is on sale right now,
I just want to emphasize that
all things stitching must go!
This is a great time to stock up on floss,
blending filament and fabric because
I am not reordering any of it.
written by Lori, happy TCL owner who can't wait to have all the products re-entered into the new online store. I'll sleep for a week after it's done (if allowed).

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas memories ⭐

As Margaret noted  last week, families have memories and traditions tied to Christmas. Society seems to have agreed families "should" get together, eat and celebrate, play games and visit.

I have a sincere problem with the word "should" and would like to remove it from our vocabulary. We can stop "shoulding" on ourselves and each other. Say it out-loud, I hope you can hear the guilt implied when we say or read "should". We can choose to, choose not to, will/will not do, might/might not do, can/can not do. etc.

This is a really interesting idea I am forwarding from one of our customers:

Mom and daughter (daughter and granddaughter) were in last week wanting to build a 'memory lantern'. They had an old candle lantern 'grandpa' had used during power outages. They were going to adapt the idea with a rocking chair, a Christmas tree, and a couple of old family photos - miniaturised. This will be a gift for their grandmother. Grandpa died just a couple of months ago.

They were going to write on the glass, use a chair from an old doll house, add a mini set of lights and were looking for miniature presents to put under the tree. We found some very small buttons that will work well. The granddaughter was going to make a very small photo album - just a couple of pictures to put in the chair.

What an thoughtful gift to a new widow. I can feel Mom and granddaughter honouring wonderful treasured memories created over many years.

Image may contain: plantFor those of us who have families moved away, no longer part of our community, and those who have out-lived all their family - this can be a very lonely season.

It is hard to create new memories for those who are alone, or have lost someone in the past year. As some of us older people know, the first year is the hardest. Friends and families often avoid bringing the up the subject thinking they are being kind.

Suggestions from survivors:
  • create new traditions - i.e. a lantern
  • set an extra plate at the table and invite a neighbour/friend from church who will be alone
  • change the decorations - put only some out or start anew with new decorations
  • volunteer at a soup kitchen - find ways to gift to others
  • bring out the photo albums, tell stories (this is one of my favourites)
  • make a donation (any size) to a charity they believed in and put the card on the tree so all can share
  • do a craft when you first gather i.e. bake cookies, go for a family walk 
Another way to celebrate, create new memories is to give IOU's or Gift Certificates (only if you truly will honour them) to take Grandma out to dinner once a month, or to a camp-out in the summer. This works for so many ideas, find one that works for your family.

Speaking of memories, the first time I visited The Crafty Lady was at Easter, just a couple of months after the store opened! We had a cabin at Gull. Over the last 25 years, it was such a trill to be able to buy yarn/needles for me and craft projects for my four children. We invested in building kits, stitching projects and I think we even had a couple of painting projects over the years. This is one of the memories we discuss every year.

My children are all grown now and have moved away from this area, but my daughter cross-stitches and knits. I am passing on patterns from my grandmother - to carry on the crafting tradition. Now that my nieces and nephews are getting married, crafting heirloom blankets has become the wedding gift for some of them.

These are truly a labour of love - as the original pattern has you make the squares then pick up and knit two rows on every side of every square! There are 39 squares - times 10 ends? Really? I do not think so. Therefore I have amended the pattern in a number of ways i.e.crocheting the edges.

One of the traditions my mother started just after our father died was annual photo on The Couch. This couch was a hand made wedding present to my grandparents - stuffed with horsehair. It has been recovered 4 times over its 100+ years. As far back as I can remember, there has been a hand-knit afghan on it.

The closing of the "brick and mortar" store is the loss of a different kind of dream for me. I know this sounds a bit selfish, as I have finally found my dream job. I have worked in a number of different industries and environments. About 5/6 years ago I left a position working for a slightly OCD supervisor, who reported to a micro-manager, who reported to a person new in their position - who was trying very hard to follow the rules. The second layer to this onion - management were trying to phase out my position - going to work was always a tad stressful, to say the least.

Then The Crafty Lady asked if I would help during inventory and I would not go away. I kept coming back. I have learned so very much working here, I have made some wonderful friends, renewed older friendships!! I have been so very lucky to have been allowed to work/learn and enjoy working here.

This really is going to be an interesting transition - Please follow Lori/The Crafty Lady on Facebook as she transitions the store to on-line, and then to a pop-up store!

And remember Christmas is only one day, you can celebrate the season any day!

Hoping you have finished most of your Christmas projects. We have a great selection of colours for your felting projects.

Everything in the store is now at least 5% off! 

Products Lori is not planning on carrying forward are all 25% off. 

All stitching (including floss, tapestry wool, buttons, Aida cloth) is 25%. The Knit Pick needles and accessories are all 25% off. We currently have some needle kits and a good selection of cords.

Oh, I almost forgot BOOKS, BOOKS and MORE BOOKS
 25% Off 
This is a great time to add to your pattern library!

As this will be my last opportunity to do this, this year - Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and health, family, and peace in 2020.

written by Anne, still knitting on a Star Wars toque hoping to have it under the tree. We will see . . . 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Hung by the Chimney with Care...

How are your Holiday preparations coming along?  The first night of Hanukkah is two weeks away -- and Christmas Eve is a hop, skip and jump past that.  Whoa!

The Feast of St. Nicholas was just a couple of days ago...and communities all over rural Alberta are readying their halls for the annual visit from Santa.

According to Wikipedia, the tradition of the Christmas stocking is thought to originate with St. Nicholas, even though there are no written records about that connection.  But one of the legends about the good Saint -- the one wherein he secretly leaves a dowry for each of three daughters of a poor townsman, so that they would be able to be married and have some sort of future security -- sometimes involves the idea that he left the dowry (gold coins) in their stockings at night while they slept.

Nowadays, there is a tradition of leaving 3 gold balls -- or perhaps an orange -- in the bottom of a  child's Christmas stocking, symbolizing that gift from St. Nicholas.  Certainly, when I was a kid growing up in the fifties, oranges were not common place in the grocery stores in the winter -- but we seemed to always get one in our stockings at Christmas, a tradition I carried on with my own children, even though at the time I had no idea why.

By the time my children came along, mandarin oranges -- never heard of except in tinned form when I was younger -- were in the stores at this time of year, so sometimes we used those oranges instead of the "regular" ones which, by the nineteen eighties, were available pretty much all year 'round.

Several years ago now, friends of my daughter were expecting their first child.  I offered to make the baby a Christmas stocking, and asked the parents if they preferred quilted or knitted versions.  They chose a knitted stocking, which I made, and a few years later, followed up with another one for their second child.

Pattern: Scandinavian Stocking
Designer: Donna Kay

Later, another family chose quilted stockings for their progeny, which I happily made...but you can guess, can't you, which children like their stockings more?  After all knitted stockings stretch to accommodate what's put in them... 😉  Just sayin'!

As Lori mentioned in her post last week, there are no longer any "Super Special Sales" on offer at The Shop...but each week for the next month or two we'll endeavour to feature one of the yarns that is on sale.

Though it's highly unlikely that you'll manage to knit up a Christmas stocking between now and December 24th...this week we're featuring the ideal sock yarn, whether for hanging on the mantel with care or wearing on your tootsies, especially if you can't abide wool:

A Trio of Synthetic Sock Yarns!

Regular Prices: $10.50 to $12.00

Sale prices: 25% OFF!
$7.88 to $9.00

Berocco Comfort Sock

100 grams = 409 metres (447 yards)
50% Nylon
50% Acrylic

Available in solid colours and self-striping combinations

Universal Yarns Little Bird Colors

100 grams = 315 metres (344 yards)
100% Acrylic


Wisdom Yarns Allegro

100 grams = 430 metres (470 yards)
93% Acrylic
7% Polyester

While a single ball of any one of these will make a fine pair of socks for an average-sized adult...if you're planning to make a full-on Christmas might want three or four!  😉

Don't forget that sock yarn works well for other things too.  As a fingering weight yarn, it can be used for shawls, gloves, mittens, hats, cowls...whatever your fancy.

And now a reminder: Our Christmas Store Hours will be our regular 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday, except Thursday which is 9am-9pm as usual. We will close early Christmas Eve (exact time will depend on foot traffic) and we will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

See you in the shop!

*Written by Margaret, who squeezed this blog post in between finishing one gift sock and starting another.  'Tis the Season!

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

You are going to be noticing a number of changes in the upcoming months. Due to the current economic climate in Alberta, The Crafty Lady (the store) will be transitioning from brick and mortar to click and order ( Many of your favourites will continue to be offered but many will fall by the wayside - either because of the import costs or because they are offered online by the 'parent' company. For example, Knit Picks sells directly to you online so I will discontinue the sale of Knit Picks products in my online store.

Another change will be in this blog. Anne and Margaret have been doing a wonderful job on the blog these past few years (and Anna before them) and they are all professional writers. I am not. Unless one or more of them choose to guest/ghost write on occasion, you will notice a clear difference in the way I write and the frequency with which I write. With all the upcoming changes, I may skip a week or two but I will always endeavour to publish Monday mornings and be at least somewhat entertaining in my subject matter.

One thing I pray never changes is the passion and pride with which The Crafty Lady serves the creative community. The fledgling online store will be down for maintenance in the near future in an endeavour to bring our customers a more user friendly platform (that you will recognize if you’ve shopped online with us prior to us having this current version) while I replace my current POS/online provider. (See "Can't get to the store?" halfway down to the right of this blog.)

Changes happen. We adapt. Life goes on. I am looking forward to the challenges the new chapter brings to my life. I regret only one thing - you won’t be able to visit and pet the yarn.

Which brings us to the SALE OF THE WEEK section.
There won't be any sales of the week for a while because we will be having a

Image result for sale signs

(everything from 5% - 25 % off)

Just like when we moved from our previous location on the actual Main Street, we don't want to have a lot of stock to move, so there will be great savings throughout the store. As mentioned above, some items are being phased out while others are following us to the online store. Guess which ones will be at a higher discount. 😉

For those of you who have special orders that you're waiting for, we haven't forgotten about you. As soon as they are available to us, we will have them for you! We hope to be calling you ASAP.

All gift cards, store credits, etc will still be honoured. The Crafty Lady will be around for a long time, just not downtown Lacombe.

written by Lori, CL owner, who has mixed feelings but is excited for the future.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Something Old, Something New...

My memories of Christmas as a kid in the nineteen-fifties are starting to fade a bit, more than sixty years on.  Most now are snapshots of moments in time, such as that of the lo-o-o-ong dining room table -- with all the leaves in use -- covered with a linen cloth and laid with the best bone china, silver and crystal; lit tapers in silver candle sticks; silver and china serving dishes with silver ladles, large spoons or forks; the fat gravy boat and two glass dishes of home-made cranberry sauce -- and the piece de resistance -- The Bird -- on an enormous platter at my dad's place, with carving equipment nearby.

Then there was the tree, laden with gifts (the 'Santa Gifts' didn't appear till Christmas morning, but the others teased and tempted under the evergreen for a good week before The Day) and adorned with tinsel (the kind you had to throw on and spent the rest of the year finding in the upholstery, under the carpet and inside your clothes!), colourful lights, and the most beautiful glass ornaments.  I still have two glass Santas from that time, and as an adult with my own children, managed to acquire some replacements for the original glass balls and globes that hadn't stood the test of time.

"Vintage" ornaments -- too new to be antiques but old enough to stir the heart and rekindle memories -- seem to have increased in popularity in recent years, like so many other "old" items, including furniture styles, some clothing styles, dishware and crockery...and remakes or "returns" to favourite film subjects such as Mary Poppins (who 'Returns'), Peter Pan (through Wonderland, the story of its author, James Barrie), Beatrix Potter and this year, Mr. Rogers.

We long for what nostalgia convinces us were kinder, gentler, simpler times, more innocent times -- whether or not that was really the case!

To some extent the continuing surge of interest in quilting, embroidery, weaving, felting, crochet and knitting is part of this hankering for something simpler, slower, seemingly more 'authentic' (to use a word that is in danger of serious over-use!)

The Cambridge English dictionary defines 'vintage' thus: "[something] of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past" -- and anything hand-made, created over time and with love and care -- seems to me to fit that definition.

Those of us who knit or crochet are well aware of this, and so we take care to make items that will be loved, worn and passed down -- even if all that is left of them is a memory: baby blankets, mittens, scarves, cowls, shawls, hats, booties, baby garments, even stocks.  And yarn-crafters love to make them with good quality yarn -- something warm, colourful, and reasonably easy to care for.

That's why this week we offer you something that fits that bill.  These yarns are "orphans" -- the last of their dye lot or colour-way -- skeins of a classic wool-synthetic blend that combines warmth and easy care with comfort and superb stitch definition.

In other words, it's "Vintage"!

Two weights on offer:

Vintage DK

100 grams = 265 metres (290 yards)

52% Acrylic
40% Wool
8% Nylon


Vintage Chunky

100 grams = 124 metres (136 yards)

50% Acrylic
40% Wool
10% Nylon

Regular price (either weight): $11.50 per skein

Sale Price: $2.88!

Limited colour selection and limited quantities in both weights...but a little goes a long way!  A single skein of the DK version will make a hat or a pair of adult-sized gloves or mittens, a cozy cowl, a cute baby sweater -- even a pair of socks.  Even with less than 125 metres per skein, the same thing can be said of the chunky weight.

This year, the first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown December 22.  Christmas Eve is two nights later.  You still have a month to make those last-minute knit or crocheted items for the festive season, and we're here to help.

See you in the Shop!

NOTE: Christmas Store Hours will be our regular 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday,
except Thursday which is 9am-9pm as usual.
We will close early Christmas Eve (exact time will depend on foot traffic)
and we will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

*Written by Margaret, who loves to knit with Vintage yarns and vintage patterns.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Moonlight Madness - Nov. 21!!

Moonlight Madness
has affected 
The Crafty Lady!

Considering the full moon was actually November 12, The Crafty Lady is having a 3 hour sale!

While you are wandering in the moonlight; drop in to see us. 😉

Moonlight Madness/Light Up the Night scheduled  events and activities for the whole family are exciting! For me - the first and most interesting - will be the Art Market, Christmas Gift and Craft Show at the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC) from 4 - 10 p.m.. If you have not started your Christmas shopping - this will be the place to kick it off with interesting, creative, artistic thoughtful gifts.

NEW this year will be the a great idea: Santa's workshop. 'This is new and exciting shopping experience for your littles, 12 and under. Thanks to partnerships with several Lacombe businesses and the volunteers with Lacombe Pathfinders, your children can enjoy a chance to shop for someone special in their lives. From mom and dad to brothers and sisters, and even their favourite furry friend. All gifts are $10 and under. With the help of Lacombe’s Pathfinder troop your child will be able to maintain the Christmas surprise.'  *quote: Lacombe Tourism's website

Wandering the Downtown area prior to the Santa Parade from about 5:30 will be a group of carollers inviting you to sing along, and then you can warm up at St. Andrew's United Church with cookies and carollers from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

The Crafty Lady Moonlight Madness specials include:

  • Sale Area - an extra 25% off for a total of 50% off
  • 10% off ALL Berroco AND Red Heart yarns
  • 25% off all stitching supplies (except the two New Christmas patterns)
  • 25% off all fasteners
  • 50% all ribbons and trims

Extra Sale: buy one book from the front of store - Get one book from the sale section FREE

Moonlight Madness is from 6 - 9 p.m. ONLY!

There will be no carry over to Friday and/or Saturday, so start your planning now, and make your special Christmas gifts.

Posted by Anne, my shopping list is planned! Projects are underway, and I am knitting by the light of the moon. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

There's Something About Stripes...

NORO Silk Garden
Photo: NORO website
For the last several years, yarn that's been "space dyed" -- that is, dyed with spaces between colour runs that are either a different colour or are left white -- has been very popular with yarn-crafters.  Sometimes the yarns are created by hand-painting them, and sometimes the dye 'recipe' is carefully planned and the dyeing method and equipment calibrated to create a specific pattern, from clear-cut stripes, to jacquard or Fair Isle imitations, to slightly blurred tonal effects.

One of the pioneer creators of  "self-striping" yarn is Eisaku Noro, whose unique methods are still in practice -- and from whom other yarn makers were inspired to travel down the same colourful rabbit hole.

Pattern: First Fair Isle Anything
Designer: Irene Ramalho
Yarn: Katia "Darling" (coloured)
and Patons Kroy Sock (black)
However they're made or by whom, these yarns hold a fascination for yarn-crafters.  They provide an endless source of  "what next?" to those knitting or crocheting otherwise plain garments, like socks or mitts or hats.  They inject interesting colour combinations into projects that use solid colours -- especially black -- in contrast.  And they make us want to keep on working on the given project long after fatigue or boredom might have set in, long after we should be somewhere else, and/or long after bed-time.  "Just one more row!  I want to see how this turns out!"  😊

As a dedicated sock knitter, I simply love knitting socks with yarn that creates stripes or patterns.  I use a variation of the Sock Recipe from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Kniting Rules, and I never fail to be entertained.

Here are some examples:

Yarn: Online Supersocke 6-fach Arizona Color
Pattern: A Good Sock Recipe - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Tirol
Pattern: A Good Sock Recipe - Stephanie P-M

Trekking Socks
Pattern: EJ Slayton for Brown Sheep Company, Inc.

See what I mean?  Such fun!  And with the changes you make -- in number of stitches, in knitting style -- in the round versus back-and-forth for the heel flap, and turning the heel and shaping the toe -- the effect of the dye run or painted sections changes.

You never know what to expect!  This year, I'm knitting socks for my kids for Christmas (yet again).  I've selected yarn from Ancient Arts called "Reinvent" (because it includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink) -- from their "Meow" and "Woof" line, honouring animals.  My son has two "tuxedo" cats (black and white) and my daughter, a Maine Coon.  I started with the socks for my son, casting on 72 stitches per my usual for his feet, and using my favourite 2.75 mm (US 2 +/-) needles.


First off, what resulted was...zebra stripes!  

And...they were ginormous. (That is, totally huge!)

For the second sock, I down-sized to 64 stitches...and this is the result:

Ah-h-h-h-h...much better -- and more like a "tuxedo" cat!  What a difference reducing the number of stitches can make with this sort of yarn!  And look again at that second sock.  D'you see the heel flap and gusset area around the ankle?  See how different it is from the rest of the sock?  That occurs, of course, because in that area the stitches are divided up for the heel flap, and then picked up and knit again for the gusset and then around and down the foot -- till you get to the decreases at the toe, where the colour pattern changes again.

Any wonder that self-striping or patterning yarn is such a delight to work with?!

That's why this week -- for our Super Special Sale -- we're offering you a sport/light DK weight striping yarn that would make beautiful items for Christmas giving:

from Louisa Harding

80% wool
20% silk
50 grams = 250 metres (273 yards)

Regular Price: $14.00

Sale Price: $3.50

Now...with that fibre content, this yarn is not recommended for socks!  But in the short-term, it would make wonderful fingerless mittens, like these ones I made a couple of years ago:

Yarn: Amitola - Colour #109 ("Salsa")
Pattern: Shepherd's Fingerless Mittens
Designer: Brenda Dayne

Or...this cool cowl -- made with one ball (!) from a pattern (a free Ravelry download) aptly entitled "Present".  

Some of our Knit Night "regulars" have been contemplating making the "Alaska" hat designed by Camille Descoteaux -- and at least one Ravelry member has done just that -- using Amitola as the background and white for the contrast colour (353 metres, or one-and-a-half balls).

If you have a longer-term project in mind, you could use Amitola in more than one colour-way to make a very cool cowl -- "The Shift" designed by Andrea Mowry...or perhaps a shawl...such as "Waves of Color", adding contrast yarn to recreate the popular (but challenging!) "Butterfly" or "Papillon" pattern.

Whatever you choose to create -- from the simple to the complex -- we're certain you'll be challenged, delighted, entertained and perhaps even enthralled by the results.  Happy striping!

Oh ... and Passport to Christmas starts today!
Make sure to pick yours up so you can enter to win up to $1500 in Lacombe Bucks!

See you in the shop!

**Written by Margaret, who's quickly re-knitting that first sock to match the second, and loving every stripey minute of it!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cloudy days ahead call for colour!!

Saturday was the "Day of the Dead", the last of three days of celebration. "On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children's altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations." Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature

Think Colour, bright, interesting colour! For me working with colour on dull/grey days is a gift, as were my ancestors! We sit around the table during many meals a tell stories of our parents, grandparents, and others. Many of these stories, my grandchildren are now familiar with. Canadians tend not to gather and decorate our cemeteries, other than for Remembrance Day. 

My father served during WW 2. He did not discuss much about the action he saw, but did tell stories of some of the interesting things he experienced. One family favourite: August 1943 - his Canadian battalion was sent to Kiska Island, part of the Aleutian Islands. They found food abandoned on the tables. The Canadian forces learned the Japanese had left about 2 weeks  ahead of the Canadians landing - under the cover of fog. Dad's battalion was stationed there for a number of months. 

Canadian forces were camped in 10 man bell tents - similar to the ones in the MASH movie. It was snowing heavily one evening when they all retired. In the morning - the tent my father was in was the only one which they were able to open the door. When Dad et al had hung their door, they hung it to open inwards as opposed to the others which had all been hung to open outward. Check out MASH movie trailers, the doors opened outward so you could evacuate quickly - except after a heavy snowfall. 

So the men in my father's tent had to shovel the other tents out! In 1943, they had very different cold weather gear than we have today. Personally, I would not volunteer to spend a winter in a canvas tent! One more reason to respect the service of our veterans. 

The poppy campaign is in full swing in Lacombe! Please stop and pick up your poppy before Remembrance Day. Just in case you are interested in something other than a poppy - check out the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy store website. There are a number of Legion approved poppy items i.e. permanent beaded poppies, ceramic jewellery and canvas totes. 

So many of the family treasures were hand crafted by family members. Photos are so special. A suggestion for others; please identify the people in your old photos, if possible with a date. We have a very special hand-made photo album from the late 1800's and no one alive today knows who the people in the photos are. The pics were all studio photos, so we will keep looking. 

Hand crafted Christmas gifts are so very special and often treasured for several generations. The Crafty Lady has a wide selection of interesting yarns for Christmas gifts. We just received some very interesting new sock yarns, come in and grab a ball, as they are rolling out the door. 

This week's 75% off special is in very limited quantity, but a beautiful yarn for a quick cowl, scarf, toque or fingerless gloves. 


Big Bamboo 
40 m/50 g
50% Bamboo viscose/30% acrylic/20% wool
Reg. $8.00
75% OFF


 We look forward to inviting you to browse, feel our yarn and tell a story or two.

Posted by Anne, happily crocheting a new project!!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble...

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Creator: Toby Ord, 2003
October 31 -- a Thursday this year -- is also Hallowe'en.  It's a spirited celebration (😉) believed to have begun with the Celts about 2,000 years ago.  They referred to this time of year as Samhain -- marking the end of the harvest season and the arrival of the darkest months of the year.  As the typical Celtic day began at sunset, this festival was observed from sundown October 31 through to sundown on November 1.

When Christianity arrived in the Celtic lands (Ireland, Scotland, England), the celebration of "All Hallows Day" and the Eve thereof became the first of a three-day event known as Allhallowtide, which consists of Hallowe'en, All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2).

Traditions for the festival(s) have changed over the centuries, but trick-or-treating; playing pranks (the "trick" if there's no "treat"); dressing in costume; and carving pumpkins and/or squash and lighting them inside (originally to provide light for the good spirits to find their way into Celtic homes, and to keep away the evil ones) persist.

The colours of orange and black dominate.  Orange is a harvest colour -- it occurs when the leaves of deciduous trees change from green to various shades of red, gold, yellow and brown, and when pumpkins and other gourds and/or squash are ready for picking.  Then there's that glorious full harvest moon hanging about in the sky...

As for black, well -- it's the colour of night, and the nights are getting longer this time of year.  And of course it's ever so much more fun to play tricks on and frighten others if you can wear black when running around after dark!

Why wait till Thursday to get your orange-and-black on?  Yarn-wise, that's what we're offering you this week for our

Super Spooktacular Sale

From our Store's Sale Section
Black and/or Orange Yarns

Previously 25% off

75% OFF

Assorted Yarns, Assorted Prices

One example?  

 Ushya from Mirasol Yarns
Colour: "Orange Blossom"

100 Grams = 104 metres (114 yards)
2 - 2.5 stitches per 1" on a 10 mm needle/hook
Chainette Construction
98% Merino wool
2% Nylon

It's the perfect thing, because it's so quick to knit up into a toque or cowl 
to keep your little goblin or ghoul cozy on Hallowe'en Night!

9 a.m. - 9 p.m. 
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Customers who arrive in the shop
wearing a Hallowe'en costume
will get 10% off anything they purchase!

And now a wee traditional Scottish prayer for the safety of our staff, family, friends and customers this Hallowe'en...

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

See you in the Shop!*

*Written by Margaret, who prefers to mark Hallowe'en by hiding in her studio till all the ghoulies, ghosties and beasties have gone home!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hug and Snuggle? With whom? Under?

Does this qualify as snuggle? or strangle?
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was allowed to snuggle and play with young-people from 6 to 17! I was impressed - all of them - boys and girls allowed hugs AND conversation. The older ones did not even carry their phones in their hands as we visited!! i am not sure the cat in this meme would agree snuggling is a great idea, but it is the thought that counts, right?

Family does not have to be related by birth or marriage, my children and I have "adopted" parents and grandparents over the years. When you live next door to a wonderful senior, whose family are overseas or in the Maritimes, can you leave them home alone when you are celebrating bounty of the season? They joined us at the table for seasonal celebrations. We called them "Orphan suppers" or "adopted family." Great memories!

When I was growing up in a smaller Alberta community, we knew all the neighbours for a couple of blocks around - whether they had children or not. We were probably the last generation to be raised by a community.

Community is much more than the neighbour next door, or the people you meet every week at the grocery store. Eclectic trivia: women in Canada did not have the right to vote until 1928 in most of the country, 1940 in Quebec and indigenous people were not granted the right to vote until 1960 - men or women. I find it really sad to note, they could fight in both the first and second world wars, but could not vote.

So, Please "Get out and vote!" I will not advise you on how to vote, but please do vote.

I love to create things for people to snuggle in/under. I have just finished sewing together the new blanket for our first girl great-grandchild! (picture to come soon)

My first crochet project is finished and delivered. My thanks to customers, friends and family as I learned so much. I may become addicted to crochet. I am really pleased with the finished gift.

This is a silk blend, so light and very warm!! I hope she will snuggle under it over the coming winter months. It is light enough to throw over your shoulders and sit in the garden on a cool evening.

Crochet is a very different muscle skill, so I am learning I can do some of one and some of the other and get more done - with less arthritis pain!!

Last week at Knit Night, we learned parents are no longer allowed to put their child into the car seat with their snowsuit on. So warm, breathable, washable blankets will be high on request lists from new parents, whether knit/crochet or quilted. Hone your skills, there is a need for everything you can do.

This week's 75% Off Sale is a perfect yarn to craft into smaller blankets quickly, or warm little sweaters, and is very washable and wears really well.

Snuggly 4ply
50g/226 m
55% nylon, 45% acrylic
Reg. $8.00
75% Off

Posted by Anne, who continues to walk and knit - while the weather holds. I know snuggle weather is coming!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Little Look at Lace

Did you know that the word 'lace' -- as a noun -- originated in the early thirteenth century?  It's derived from the the Old French word laz, meaning "a net, noose, string, tie, ribbon or snare" according to  The word encompassed material used for nooses, fishing lines, nets, and cords used to fasten clothing such as corsets or shoes.

In the fifteen hundreds, though, the term 'lace' began to be associated with the sort of thing we think of today: a decorative fabric usually made from fine thread -- anything from gold to silk, linen and cotton...and eventually, wool.  😊

There are several types of lace, classified by the techniques used to make them: needle lace, cut-work, bobbin lace, embroidered lace, tape lace, tatted lace -- and the favourite of our yarn customers: crocheted or knitted lace.

Shown at right: knitted lace on the needles.  Pattern: "Rhea Stole" from Valley Yarns; yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts lace weight super-wash wool.
Source: Wikipedia Commons.

My colleague, Anne, just finished crocheting her first lace shawl -- a gift for a friend in a lovely green silk yarn.

Me?  I'm currently knitting a lacy pattern in a pair of socks -- the "Hummingbird Socks" designed by Sandi Rosener and published in The Knitter's Book of Socks. While I'm enjoying the project -- and I'm well into the leg section of the second sock -- when Anne mentioned in her last post that she doesn't recommend knitting or crocheting lace while walking...well...she's right!  I can carry on a rather stilted conversation while working on this pattern, but it's not recommended!

You may be thinking to yourself now, "Oh dear!  I haven't a hope of mastering lace if it's that difficult!"

I can't vouch for crocheted lace -- because I don't crochet -- but I can tell you that knitted lace doesn't have to be as complicated as the Rhea Stole (above) or those Hummingbird Socks.  No indeed!

After all, knitting is only loops, involving two stitches: knit and purl. do we get lace out of that?  With a 'yarn over'.  That makes a hole.  It also makes an extra stitch -- which is handily taken care of by a "k 2 tog" (knit 2 together) or an "ssk" (slip, slip knit -- as in, slip 1 stitch; slip another stitch; knit the two together).  That's all there is to it.

Easy?  Yes...BUT...

It's recommended you have a bit of experience "reading" your knitting before you try knitting lace.  That way, you can figure out if you missed a yarn over, or forgot a "k 2 tog" or dropped a stitch.  (Check out this series by Brooklyn Tweed on reading your work; it'll help when you can't drop in to The Shop for one-on-one assistance!)

Speaking of dropped stitches...Sometimes in lace knitting, a pattern is so complex that it's hard to pick up a dropped stitch.  This is made even more difficult if you're using a slippery yarn (like silk) or fuzzy yarn (like mohair).  The solution?  Inserting a "life line", which is a line of waste yarn placed in a spot in your knitting that 'rescues' your work when you've made an error.  Here's a quick video that shows you how to install a 'proactive' life line in a complex pattern involving lace and cables:

Learning to read your knitting, knowing that lace involves adding only yarn-overs and knitting decreases (k 2 tog and ssk) to your skill set, and installing a life line will make your first lace knitting project a happier experience.

That said, if you're Absolutely Terrified, rest assured that we -- Anne, Margaret and Lori-The-Crafty-Lady-Herself -- can help you with a private lesson.  Just call the shop at 403-782-7238 to book a time.  The cost is $15 per hour ($5 per 20 minutes) and worth every penny to help you fall in love with your lace knitting -- or crochet!

To help get you started, this week we're offering this lovely yarn as our Super Special Sale:

Ella Rae Lace Merino DK

100 grams = 276 metres (302 yards)
100% Merino Wool - 3-ply
Machine wash on gentle cycle;
dry flat (don't dry clean!)

Regular Price: $26.00 per skein

Sale Price: $6.50!!

Two skeins will make this lovely shawl with a simple lace pattern:

Designer: mahila designs - on Ravelry

Prefer to crochet?

You could try this version of the "Moonlit Waters" Shawl...

Read through this post and still don't want to try lace?
This yarn is can check out other projects HERE on Ravelry!

There are plenty of options -- and as the weather continues to turn colder, it's time to get those needles and hooks in action!

On another note...this post comes right after the celebration of Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Anne, Margaret and Lori-The-Crafty-Lady-Herself want to say "thank you" for over 25 years of support for our business, for your friendship and your feedback -- helping us to serve you better.  

It's a blessing to share our passion for yarn and stitch and beads and thread with you.

We wouldn't be here without you!  Thanks so much!

See you in The Shop!

*Written by Margaret, who loves to knit lace!