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.
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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!

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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 .

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)


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.
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

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"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
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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. 
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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. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

It's Our 25th Anniversary!!

In 1994, The Crafty Lady (aka Lori Nowochin) left her teaching career to create her own business -- the shop that we all know as "The Crafty Lady" -- in downtown Lacombe, Alberta.

She comes by both teaching and entrepreneurship naturally: her parents, Edwin and Muriel were both of these things by turns.  Ed taught woodworking and Muriel, piano.  Lori too is musical -- she plays piano and sings -- but her main love in life (besides her family) is what yours truly* fondly calls "The Shop".

Her love of all things crafty is celebrating 25 years this year, and no wonder: The Shop opened on Valentine's Day, 1994!

At first The Crafty Lady's store space was carved out of the basement of the hardware store owned by her family.  This lasted six years until 2000.  At the dawn of the New Millennium, Lori finally got her own space!  The plan was to have it adjacent and connected to the hardware store.

First, an old building on the site had to be demolished...

Then, bit by bit, the new structure went up!

Finally, it was time to cut the ribbon and open the new storefront!!

(L) to (R): Bonny -- happy TCL employee;
Lori, The Crafty Lady Herself;  Peter Bouwsema, architect;
and then-Mayor of Lacombe, Judy Gordon.

Whoo hoo!  We did it!
Especially proud (fellow in front with arms folded)
-- Loris' dad, Edwin, who played a major role in the
finishing and furnishing of the original shop.

But In the Beginning...there was not yarn.

Alas, knitting (and its sister, crochet) saw a decline in the late 1980s, and didn't resurface in a major way until...well...the turn of the 20th to the 21st Century.

So those first years when Lori and her staff were catering to All Things Creative in the basement of the hardware store, those Things included macrame; ceramics; fimo and clay work; tole painting; jewelry making; paint and drawing supplies; embroidery, tapestry and cross-stitch.  Glues and glitter and beads -- oh my!

And precious little yarn. Until...


No, not "A Space Odyssey"!  A return to yarn-crafting.

So then there was yarn.

As the other crafts (macrame, tole painting etc.) waned, yarn waxed -- for both knitting and crochet.  Embroidery still holds a place in the heart of many textile crafters, who might knit and crochet in the winter, but turn to cross-stitch or embroidery in warmer weather.

And even though quilting has also risen to be a lucrative industry, there are many quilters who knit and crochet, and knitters/crocheters who quilt.

It's all about what it does for us, don't ya know?  Crafting/making has been shown to aid humans in managing stress, trauma, anxiety, depression -- even chronic pain.

Repetitive motions such as knitting or crochet lay down patterns in the brain that play a role in circumventing dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.  Working with one's hands keeps those fingers moving, through and around the pain of arthritis.  There's immense satisfaction in creating something beautiful and/or useful through the work of one's hands -- especially in an age filled with highly technological items that might seem to do even our thinking for us.

And then there's the social aspect.  Crafters -- whether with fabric, yarn, clay or paint -- connect with each other online, using the technology to bring us together, sharing ideas, techniques, finished projects.  Commiserating with each other when a project goes awry.  Hooking up for retreats where we can meet and enjoy our chosen craft together -- in person!

Here at The Crafty Lady we have Knit Night (which really means knit, crochet, embroider, needle point, whatever you do!) every Thursday from about 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. -- when the shop closes.  The cost is $5.00 for food, beverages (coffee/decaf, tea/herbal) and goodies (potluck! Anything from veggies and dip to cheese and crackers to popcorn, or cookies or chocolate...)

Best of all there's Company.  Community.  The ability to 'show and tell' and ask advice.  No judgment.

How does it get better than that?!

Well...for our 25th's a surprise a day!

FIRST, there's a daily special -- which is posted on our Facebook Page.  Not on FB?  Come into the shop -- it'll be a surprise!

SECOND, for the entire month of February, those of you who don't a) knit; b) crochet; c) have no desire to learn...but love the results...

We have STORE SAMPLES for sale -- and stay tuned, because sometime during this month, they too will be 25% off!!

We can outfit you from head to toe...

With tops and such for tiny tots...

And something for adults too!

Of course, we'd LOVE to show you how to make them for yourself -- or for those you love.  Ask us about our one-on-one knitting lessons.  Reasonable rates, and a discount on materials bought in the shop for the lesson(s) in question.

In June of 2018, we moved to a new space -- one with a basement for storage, better lighting -- and better parking!  Here's what we look like NOW -- at 5006 - 50 Avenue (aka Hwy 12) in Lacombe, Alberta:

Please drop in when  you're coming through town.  Check out our advert in the bi-monthly Country Register (Alberta Edition).  

And so...we thank you, all who decided it was a Good Idea to open in the basement of a hardware store (go figure!), all of our loyal customers and friends, all of our Knit Night attendees, all of those who stumbled over us in passing, all who came on a road trip, and all who followed that with a vision for What Could Be in a larger independent space...

Western Canada has a singer-song-writer who's celebrated the Psalms with his work.  In the piece he wrote about Psalm 90, Steve Bell of Winnipeg has referenced "the work of our hands".

May the work of your hands -- whether with yarn or floss, fabric or fleece, wood or metal, paper or felt -- be a blessing in your lives.

Join the celebration!  We'll see you in The Shop!

*Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee who is thankful not only for The Shop and Knit Night...but also for the blessing of the Work of Her Hands.