Monday, June 24, 2019

It's Australia

As Anne mentioned in her post last week, this time of year we celebrate the Summer Solstice up here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Although it's been rather wet and chilly in these parts (i.e., central Alberta where the Shop is located) it is summer, and up till 10:54 a.m. (Mountain Daylight Time, in which the Shop is located) on June 21, the hours of daylight were getting longer here.

Now...slowly, almost imperceptibly, they will shorten again.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Meanwhile, in Australia...

See that red line in the above flattened world map? (No, the world isn't flat; just the map! 😉)  That line marks the Tropic of Cancer.  As explained by "Astronomy Essentials" on
"At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our world’s North Pole is leaning most toward the sun. As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.
"All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours."
So our Aussie yarn-crafting friends just marked their Winter Solstice (which we Northern Hemisphere folks mark in December).

The continent's location, however, with exposure to different environmental influences (like the presence of the Southern Ocean between it and Antarctica, and the influence of a belt of sub-tropical high pressure above it) means that Australia's winters are relatively mild (and with global warming, climate change issues are significant -- but that's a topic for another day).

With a warm-to-hot climate (and getting warmer, alas!), why do Australians knit?  Well...because they enjoy it (and crocheting too!) -- just like the rest of us.

PLUS their climate and geography are ideal for raising a breed of sheep that produces some of the world's softest, finest wool: merino.  In fact, Australia is the world's largest producer of wool, accounting for 20% to 25% of all the wool produced around the globe!

Merino rams
Source: Encyclopedia Britannica

And it's Fine grade Super-wash Merino that The Crafty Lady is offering this week for our Super Special Sale!

Rustic Merino Sport
from the Queensland Collection
Knitting Fever (KFI)

100 grams = 300 metres (328 yards)
100% Wool - Fine Super-wash Merino

Regular Price: $24.00

Sale Price: $6.00!!

That said, colour selection and quantities are limited, 
so The Crafty Lady is reserving quantities per purchaser for this special sale.

Limit: 4 skeins per person

See you in the shop!


*Written by Margaret who loves to knit with fine merino...but don't ask her to use it for socks!  😉

Monday, June 17, 2019

Summer Soltice

Sunshine - most people in northern countries crave sunshine, fresh air and if you can have both with a topping of water - WOW - you have summer at it's finest.

Ellis Bird Farm is celebrating Summer Soltice this Saturday, June 22! As I sit here writing this, the sparrows are singing, the bluebirds and robins are hunting the worms/bugs in the grass - and the noise the crows are making in the spruce trees!! And the Soltice is still 6 days away!

Quoting Wikipedia: "Sun worship was prevalent in ancient Egyptian religions. The earliest deities associated with the Sun are all goddesses: Wadjet, Sekhment, Hathor, Bast, Nut, Bat and Menhit. First Hathor. Then Isis gave birth to and nurse Horus and Ra. Hathor, the horned-cow, is one of the 12 daughters of Ra, was gifted with joy and is a wet-nurse to Horus."
A solar representation on an 
anthropomorphic stele dated from between the 
Copper Age and  the Early Bronze Age
discovered during  an archaeological excavation
 on the Rocher des Doms, 
Avignon, France
Taiyang Shen, the Chinese solar deity

Buddhists, Celts, the Aztec, Hindus, Indonesians, peoples of the Baltic regions - all worship a sun god.

In Chinese culture, the sun chariot is associated with the passage of time. For instance, in the poem Suffering from the Shortness of Days, Li He of the Tang dynasty is hostile and even deviant towards the legendary dragons which drew the sun chariot as a vehicle for the continuous progress of time. A relevant excerpt of the poem:

"I will cut off the dragon's feet, chew the dragon's flesh,
so that they can't turn back in the morning or lie down at night.
Left to themselves the old won't die; the young won't cry."[1]

Knitting is not nearly as old as sun-worship. The Egyptians are famous for their woven linens, many so fine you could see through them. Weaving is not an easily portable craft especially for larger items. Many of the beautifully woven pieces in South America are woven on a back-strap loom, which is looped around the waist of the weaver and hooked around the weavers toes, a pole or a doorway. 

Earlier pieces having a knitted or crocheted appearance have been shown to be made with other techniques, such as NÃ¥lebinding, a technique of making fabric by creating multiple loops with a single needle and thread, much like sewing. Some artifacts have a structure so similar to knitting, for example, 3rd-5th century CE Romano-Egyptian toe-socks, that it is thought the "Coptic stitch" of nalbinding is the forerunner to knitting.
Whereas knitting uses two needles to make loops within loops with string, nÃ¥lbinding uses one needle to splice and knot string together – a process more akin to sewing. However, both knitting and nalbinding produce near-identical looking fabric. In a police lineup, you’d be hard-pressed to pick out knitting from nÃ¥lbinding.
Nalbinded socks originally thought to be knitting. Can you tell the difference? Circa 250 – 420 AD (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Unlike weaving, knitting does not require a loom or other large equipment, making it a valuable technique for nomadic and non-agrarian peoples.
Some of the earliest known knit items in Europe were made by Muslim knitters employed by Spanish Christian royal families. Their high level of knitting skill can be seen in several items found in the tombs in the Abbey of Santa Maria la Real de Las Huelgas, a royal monastery, near Burgos, Spain. 
The oldest knit artifacts are socks from Egypt, dating from the 11th century CE. They are very fine gauge, with complex colour work and some have a short-row heel, which requires purling. These complexities suggest knitting is even older than archaeological record can prove. 
Most histories of knitting place its origin somewhere in the Middle East, from where it spread to Europe by Mediterranean traders and later to the Americas with European colonization. 

These cotton socks found in Egypt are some of the earliest knitted pieces. From L to R: Textile Museum, ca. 1000 – 1200 AD; Victorian & Albert Museum, ca. 1100 – 1300 AD; Textile Museum, ca. 1300 AD

Many knitters and crocheters believe summer is a time for smaller projects. Working on a bulky weight afghan is not practical to drag around, or have on your lap at the beach/park. Small projects like squares, hexagons or socks are very do-able. 

This week's very special 75% off sale is perfect for summer projects - you can buy the scarf as a pre-made gift or knit a shawl or a pair of socks directly out of the scarf. 

by Regia
100 g/366m
75% Wool
25% Manufactured Fibers - Nylon
Reg. $20.00

75% OFF

Written by Anne, who is also knitting socks 

[1] Bien, Gloria (2012). Baudelaire in China a Study in Literary Reception. Lanham: University of Delaware. p. 20. ISBN 9781611493900.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Snugglin' into Summer Time

Did you get snow this week?

Here in Central Alberta we've been experiencing near-drought conditions (with a side of Concern About Full-on Drought), so when it began to rain pour the other night, the moisture was most welcome. turned to wet snow for the better part of a day!  The worst snowfall was in the Rockies and Foothills, of course, where it made travel nigh on impossible...but it surprised us all by reaching as far East as it did.

It was time to turn the furnaces back on, and snuggle down under a blanket with some knitting!

Today, our part of the world is a greener place: the sky is blue with scudding clouds and the sun is shining brightly.  All the snow that settled on the grass, gardens and trees has melted into the soil to give the plants a much-needed drink -- and where I am, there appears to be no snow damage.

Even better, all the bug bits on my car's windshield have been washed clean away!

Margaret's Outdoor Studio, Aprill 2018
But it's still a bit on the cool side.  The furnace can't be shut off quite yet.  That said, it's still good weather for yarn craft, preferably wearing a comfy sweater and snuggling under an afghan.  I'm planning on a bowl of soup for lunch and then...knitting under the trees on the bench in my back yard -- with a quilt on my lap for good measure!

It's my way of celebrating World Wide Knit in Public Day, which is what June 8th has been designated.

June 8th is also my mother's birthday.  Seeing as she was the one who taught me to knit -- almost 60 years ago now -- it seems only fitting that I honour her by snuggling up with some yarn and a cuppa in the crisp, clear sunshine of an early June day.

Of course, yarn-crafters have no problem cuddling up with yarn pretty much any time of year -- making garments and coverlets of all sorts and sizes, which provide snuggly warmth for folks of all ages.

That's why this week, for her Super Special Sale, The Crafty Lady has chosen to show-case a yarn that's just perfect for the time-honoured tasks that cloak all and sundry with snuggly goodness:

Snuggly 4 ply
from Sirdar Yarns

50 grams = 226 metres (247 yards)
55% Nylon
45% Acrylic

Regular Price: $8.00

Sale Price: $2.00!

Mainly used for baby garments, there are 124 pages (!) of projects on Ravelry that have used this yarn, either alone or in combination with other yarns for items including "not-baby" blankets and even "not-baby" socks!

So...the next time you choose to snuggle with your kiddoes, or with a cat or pup on your lap, or with a book or something good on television, you can be prepared to enjoy whatever you make with this soft, washable yarn.

Now 'scuse me...I'm off for my "Outdoor Studio".  Whether you choose to Knit Inside or In Public today, I'll leave you with this wee ditty to enjoy the next time you have a snuggle...

See you in  The Shop!

*Written by Margaret, who loves to snuggle with yarn every day of the year, no matter the weather!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Knit in public?

Most of the women in my early years - were prolific knitters and crafters. I grew up believing it was totally normal to knit/crochet while waiting at the doctor's office and during group meeting. T was told of the thousands of socks knit (often in church) for servicemen during the 1st and 2nd world wars.

My father walked about a half-mile to work 3 seasons of the year - and would read magazines. He claimed this was the only time he had to read without being interrupted.  This was a total fallacy. He walked the same route and could multi-task. 

I was often teased and questioned "How does your dad walk and read?"  As a child I did not really think about it. Then I was caught walking my dog on the beach and reading.Try it some time, it is not so hard, especially when you meander - not hike. 

So many people expressed concern about my reading while walking - I started knitting. Note: my dog(s) walks off-leash most of the time. I pick up after my dogs and I pick up cigarette butts, broken glass and garbage. Last night's winner was the shredded tire off a small quad. Please tell me why you had to leave it behind? Why could you not take it with you?

I have earned the nickname "she who walks and knits". As most of walking knitting is for charity, I am simply multi-tasking. I get my exercise, fresh air, some knitting and my dogs get to investigate. 

This ramble was prompted by The Crafty Lady's post last Saturday was Knit in Public Day. When I checked Wikipedia, next Saturday, June 8 is Knit in Public Day. Two of the people at Knit Night last Thursday, also believed June 8 is the day.

So if you did not knit in public last Saturday (even if you did) you have a 2nd chance this weekend. Check out World Wide Knit In Public Day (WWKIPDay) on Facebook to confirm!!

In Japan, on WWKIPDay they are Knitting for the Birds - literally. They are going to knit bird nests for an injured bird sanctuary. It always amazes me what you can knit when you think outside the box. 

In New Zealand, they are knitting for Christ Church, and England - Knitting for Peace (for further info:

I was telling a customer I thought I knew how to knit - until I started working here. I have learned so much and am so grateful to The Crafty Lady staff and our customers for being so willing to share their knowledge. The customer commented she thought she could knit until she started knitting socks for her children. 

In the interest of sharing our communal knowledge, please plan an event for June 8. Knit, Crochet, Cross-stitch, Tat, whatever - just do it in public.

We have some chairs here, but you might be more comfortable to bring your own lawn chair, water, etc. We will not be supplying "treats". Please plan on supporting a local independent eatery - there are 8 within easy walking distance!!

What a radical concept, I might not be the only person locally to walk and knit!! Please join me - I am so very lonely 😢

Should I segue into a request for you to reduce your stash, and request your donations to our almost depleted supply of yarn for Blankets for Canada, Inn from the Cold, Ronald McDonald House?

Or should I suggest this week's yarn is something really special? This unusual yarn is unique to the market! This cotton/polyester yarn is mixed with small, white beads; the processing of these requires an expensive production step. The result justifies the effort: a yarn which looks very feminine and elegant and is particularly suitable for fine decorations and accessories.


Schachenmayr Select
69% Cotton. 31% Polyester
Reg. $7.00
75% Off

Posted by Anne, happy crafter who often knits/crochets in public. I know The Crafty Lady, aka Lori would be thrilled if you joined her on June 8.