Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Twelve Days of Christmas - It Ain't Over Yet

You've survived Christmas! Yay!

I love Christmas and did you know that even though Christmas Day is over, it is still Christmas time? We are in the Twelve Days of Christmas period which actually begins on Christmas Day and ends on the 5th of January, also known as 12th Night. So go ahead and play the Christmas music. It isn't over yet!

I love Christmas music and have no problems playing it all year. I like to annoy people all year long. It brings me peace and joy.

And now my celebration of Christmas on behalf of all you knitters out there.  Note: no true love here because that's what knitting is.

Here we go, everybody sing...(or try to because meter is broken all the time so just say those parts really fast).

On the first day of Christmas I gave to myself (because I didn't get it for Christmas) a ball winder and a wooden swift.

On the second day of Christmas I gave to myself, two sets of lace blockers and I didn't buy another winder and swift because I just bought that. But I did buy some soap for woolens and some blocking mats.

On the third day of Christmas I gave to myself three full sets of needles, one in birch, one in metal, and a carbon set in a little size for those sixteen inch cables, and a coffee at my favorite coffee house.

On the fourth day of Christmas I gave to myself, four yarn box subscriptions so I can get presents all year long.

On the fifth day of Christmas I gave to myself, five balls of quiviut yarn. And nothing else because I ran out of money.

On the sixth day of Christmas I gave to myself, six different pairs of scissors because they were really cute and you can't have too many scissors, and besides, it was payday.

On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave to myself, seven magazine subscriptions about knitting and crochet and a funky pair of reading glasses from the drugstore.

On the eighth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, eight novels about women detectives that knit and solve murder mysteries, and a box of chocolates.

On the ninth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, nine different organizers for my needles, yarn and books and a new computer to put all my information in.

On the tenth day of Christmas I gave to myself, ten pattern books, and a bag of knitting accessorizes (I keep losing knitting markers and tape measures).

On the eleventh day of Christmas I gave to myself, ten light bulbs for the magnifying crafter's lamp that I also bought which I'll put up beside the chair that I also bought and the big screen TV that I also bought.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, I gave to myself, (Big breath, here we go...)

12 balls of Berroco Ginkgo for a cardigan
11 balls of different colored King Cole Tinsel for Christmas ornaments next year
10 balls of Berroco Andean Mist for a hooded shawl scarf with pockets
9 skeins of Estelle Worsted for a temperature afghan
8 balls of Queensland Sunshine Coast because I think it's pretty
7 balls of various sock yarn to keep my toes toasty
6 balls of Ella Rae Classic Wool for a cabled pull over so I can look like a fisherman
5 balls of James C. Brett Marble for a really cool looking coat
4 balls of Berroco Noble for a textured stitch scarf
3 skeins of Ancient Arts Reinvent in a cat color for something not for a cat.
2 skeins of KFI Luxury Silk Sport for a really exquisite shawl with beads


1 cake of Lang Mille Colori for I don't know what yet.

Here's the special for this week. It comes from Ice Yarns because it's cold outside.

75% OFF

Ice Yarns Hand Dyed Cord
100% Wool
100 m/100 g (5)

Regular Price: $16.00
Sale Price: $4.00

Lori says that when this yarn first came in it smelled like pomegranates.  She wanted you to know that.

Posted by Anna Maria Junus

Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter From a Very Special Customer

We got this email from a customer who made time out of her busy day to come in last week.

Dear Lori, Anna & Margaret,

I was in your lovely store the other day. Of course I didn't tell you who I really was because you might not have believed me, or you would have said among yourselves "the poor dear is delusional" and had me picked up by psychiatric services and thrown into one of your hospitals. It's happened before and it's such a to do to get me out. Nick gets beside himself and starts yelling and the help has to cover their ears and come break me out of prison. So I've learned it's best not to say anything to grown-ups about it. 

I just wanted to tell you how delighted I am with your store. We have a very nice knitting shop here at the North Pole in Santa Village run by my good friend Sadie. She brings in yarn from all over the world and it is such lovely yarn, but the other day I simply had to get away. You know when you're having those days when the elves are fighting and your husband is stressed out over deadlines and the chocolate machine goes wonky and flings chocolate around and the reindeer are butting heads and no one can find Rudolph to check on flight plans. Oh don't worry, we found him. He was off on another adventure with the dentist. They do that now and then but I wish they would wait until after Christmas. I handled all that very well, but when I burnt the gingerbread cookies (and really it only takes such a little silly thing) that was when I lost it and decided to run away for the day.

So I asked the North Wind for a ride and flew down to your shop since I heard such wonderful things about it. I thought about taking one of the sleighs - we have several - but they get too much attention and they were all being serviced getting ready for Christmas Eve. For those who don't know, we have sleighs sent to several points throughout the world so that Santa can have fresh reindeer and a new load of toys. 

Your staff was very kind to me and helped me out when I needed it and left me alone to wander when I didn't need help. And oh the joys that I found! Lovely merino tonal fingering yarn that I 'm planning on using for a fair isle "My Favorite Things" scarf for Nick.  I'm already designing and searching for motifs for it. It will of course have reindeer, cookies, toys, snowflakes and children on it.  I may use Dr. Who and Harry Potter motifs as well and I think I'll add palm trees. You see we like to go to warm beaches to bring in the New Year and have a rest before we start up production again. 

I also found Baby Bunting for my slippers and I'm going to make myself a coat out of the Flutterby Animal Prints. And I also bought some Ella Rae Superwash Classic Wool that I'm going to use for a vest for Nick. We have to dress him in layers for Christmas Eve so that he can take pieces on and off depending on where he is. His fur lined red coat gets too warm when he's in the Bahamas. I bought sock yarn for the elves - we have our little knitting circle on Thursday evening, and I treated myself to some gorgeous KFI silk yarn to make myself a shawl. I picked a deep blue tonal that reminded me of the night sky here at the North Pole and I picked up some Mill Hill beads to knit into it.  Plus I bought a large set of Chiao Goo needles. Oh, the splurge on that one but I think I deserve it. Besides, I'm wrapping them up and putting them under the tree for me from Nick. He doesn't know this yet. 

A very successful shopping trip and just what I needed. I went back home with my purchases and was able to solve all the annoying problems that had besieged my day including the annual debate over the nice and naughty list. We have some elves that simply don't understand children and would just put everyone on the naughty list. I keep sending those elves off to the stables but they keep sticking their nose in where it doesn't belong and causing problems. Every family has at least one.

I would love to say I got out my knitting needles right away but life is so busy here before Christmas that I fall into bed each night exhausted and then I have to deal with Nick and his constant worrying that we won't be done in time. He does this every year in December and I have to prevent him from having a complete melt down but we always manage through it and we're always ready by Christmas Eve even though it is a mad rush. 

Although I can't get out to your lovely store very often I will make sure I do come more often and I think I'll bring Sadie who loves to see other yarn shops even though she's in one every day. 

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope the coming year is Joyfull. And yes I know I spelled it wrong but I spelled it the way it should be. Our lives should be FULL of JOY in spite of all the hardships that come our way. I know it's frantic at this time of year but remember, perfection is over rated and is not meant to be achieved. Spend time with people, especially those who have no one. Enjoy your loved ones. Take care of yourselves. And remember...Be JOYFULL!

Love, Mrs. Claus

P.S. I have talked to the North Wind about the cold and asked him to be a little kinder to you Christmas week. He's a bit stubborn and says he's been behaving himself the past two winters but he simply has to stretch and be himself this winter. He said he would think about being nicer but he made no promises. He can be a stubborn fellow and a little greedy. I did tell him that he should restrict himself to three months like the other seasons, but he got a little huffy about that. So let's hope he does decide not to be so harsh. 



100% Acrylic
100 g/100 m/109 y Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $8.00
Sale Price: $2.00


But never fear. Here's the back up one.

61% Baby Alpaca 24% Nylon 15% Merino Wool
50g/125y/115m Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $19.00
Sale Price: $4.75

By the way, did you know that Mrs. Claus has a Kodiak Bear that loves to give her rides? They have racing events with the polar bears. It's become quite an event and the bears enjoy it as much as the elves and Mrs. Claus do.

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who for the first time has all presents bought and wrapped more than a week before Christmas)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Things You Should Not Do To Yarn

Welcome to an episode of "Things You Should Not Do To Yarn".

There are people out there with nothing but time on their hands. They have knit their entire wardrobe. They have provided for every person that they know and many that they don't. They have covered every teapot, every toilet paper roll, and even, knitted coats for the trees in their yard. They have been told repeatedly "no more knitted goods or we'll have to put you in a straight jacket."

So what is a knitter/crocheter to do? Well for starters, they make their own straight jacket.

Marc Jacobs knit straight jacket:
 Note: this is NOT the way you wear a straight jacket. Also note: this is just a sweater that a knitter who loves sleeves got carried away with one drunken night.

 So now that you've made the straight jacket...

Crazy leggings are in fashion. Come on. Is this really any different than what you've got in your closet or on your legs right now? Look it even comes with a tummy hider. I bet yours don't.

I could while away the hours, conferrin' with the flowers
Consultin' with the rain.
And my head I'd be scratchin' while
my thoughts were busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.

Perfect for a boy between the ages of 10 and whatever. Yeah, you know the guy that says "I didn't know I couldn't put metal in the microwave." Also perfect for your American friends who voted for He Who Must Not Be Named. 

Sometimes I feel sorry for models. Yes I know they are prettier than the rest of us which isn't fair. And they make money based on something they didn't earn, which isn't fair. But would you really want to be the guy who has to wear this on the walkway? He is forever captured on the internet for his friends to laugh at him. This will be shown at every birthday party, at his wedding(s), and at any moment when his loved ones will want to humiliate him. Maybe models don't get paid enough. Plus it's pretty hard to pick up girls in an outfit like this no matter how pretty you are.

I could be wrong but it looks like the same model. I think this guy will need some serious therapy sessions. I'm sure there must have been a crying jag in the dressing room after the show. Designers can be so cruel.

Okay, okay. This is what you do. You put this on and come into your kid's room early in the morning before they're awake. Then you wake them up, gently. And when they open their eyes, you smile at them and say "I'm hungry" in a raspy voice.

Cats are supposed to have some level of dignity. It's part of the cat creed. Foisting something like this on your cat could cause him/her to be blackballed by the Cat Association. Yes, such a thing exists. I had cats that told me. Note: Cats are not unicorns.

Yes. That is a sock monkey dress. In fact two sock monkey dresses. All these things need are wings to make them flying sock monkey dresses. Just show up in this for a blind date and see how far the relationship goes. 

Every girl needs a knitted Xena Warrior Princess costume. Not sure how well this will deflect swords or arrows. It might slow the trajectory of a bullet. I wouldn't recommend testing it out. Now this might get you somewhere on a date.

There is a place for ugly Christmas sweaters. There is no place for this. Ever. Not even at Halloween. This is something a serial killer would wear. Don't be a serial killer.

There is one other that I didn't think was appropriate to post on this blog. We have a customer who is being paid to make it and she is horrified by it. There is no way I can show it without offending someone. But here is the link. Note: You have been warned. Do not blame me if your eyes get burned out of your head. DANGER DANGER DANGER

If you clicked on this link I am not responsible for your foolish decision. Take yourself to get some help.

As for this week's sale we offer you some comfort for these traumatizing images. It's soft and you can make pretty things, sensible things, useful things with this yarn. Things that you can be proud of saying "I made this." Of course you can also do to it what shouldn't be done to yarn, but we don't recommend that.

40% Superwash Wool, 40% Acrylic, 20% Alpaca
50 m/50 g Chunky (5)

Regular Price: 4.50
Sale Price: $1.13

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who knows how to treat yarn with dignity and respect).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Stones, Sticks, and Strings

When I was a kid I read a story called Stone Soup. In it a wanderer approaches a cottage. When he knocks on the door a woman answers. He begs her for some food and she tells him she can't give him any because she doesn't have any. So he tells her that he can show her how to make soup from a stone.

Which makes me start asking "if he can make soup from a stone why is he going around begging for food?"

She doesn't think this though because she's not internet savvy, so excited about the prospect of making soup from a rock which is free, she invites the stranger in. This was back in those much safer days when you let strangers into your home even if they were carrying weapons and there were no laws to protect the commoner and seeing people hanging from trees and heads on pikes was a perfectly normal thing.

They get a roaring fire going in the fireplace and they put a cauldron over it (hey first sign of a witch - a cauldron) and they put the wanderer's magic stone and some water into the cauldron. They boil it for awhile and then the wanderer says "you know, this soup would be better if we had some vegetables. Do  you have any?"

And so the woman goes to her cold room which is anywhere in the house that doesn't have a fire and she produces some potatoes, carrots and onions. They peel them and throw that into the pot and then the wanderer says "it's too bad that we don't have any meat."

So the lady says "I think I might be able to find something," She goes to her larder and finds the remains of the chicken that she ate the night before and they add that to the soup because back then it was perfectly safe to eat chicken that's been sitting out all night since salmonella hadn't been invented yet.

And then the wanderer says "I don't suppose you have any herbs, just to add a bit of flavor?" She goes out to her garden and she gathers up some herbs and they chop them up and throw them into the pot along with some incantations of blessings and good wishes because, you know, they have a cauldron.

Meanwhile as they wait for the stone to magically produce the soup, the wanderer entertains her with songs, tricks and games and they have a lovely chat by the fire. They exchange contact information and she tells him about the husband that died and the ungrateful children who no longer call on her and he tells her how he lost his entire family in a village fire set by the evil king's soldiers and now he wanders the countryside seeking revenge.

The fact that she is alone in her house with a tormented revenge seeker doesn't bother her at all.

When the soup is done he takes out his stone and pockets it and they have a lovely meal together. She gives him a bed by the fire for the night and he leaves the next day, rejuvenated and with a full tummy and she feels refreshed from the company and the new knowledge of making soup from a stone.

So what has this got to do with knitting?

Not long ago, necessity required knitting. Want a sweater? You knitted it. Want socks? You knitted it. Want a blanket? You knitted it. Knitting was not leisure time. It was work. Women walked around the house doing chores and knitting. Back then they were able to produce two extra arms to do this. They could knit, feed the baby, stir the laundry in the pot, and sweep the floor all at the same time. If you didn't have yarn you unraveled something to make something else. It was not considered fun times when you wanted a hobby to do. People who had to knit didn't have hobbies. They had work and sleep.

Now if you need something, you go to the store. You can pick up a ten pack of socks for like ninety-nine cents. You buy a sweater for under twenty. Whatever you want you can buy cheaply enough and still have money for lunch in the food court.

However to make a single pair of socks you pay about twenty dollars for a skein of yarn. It's not financially practical. Necessity has become the stone.

Instead we knit for pleasure. It's cheaper than a round of golf, more social than a night at the movies, definitely more fun than a barrel of monkeys. (Yes, seriously. Would you really want a barrel of monkeys in your home?) We knit for relaxation. We knit for connection. We knit to leave a bit of ourselves with others. We knit for style. We knit to wear unique items. We knit to prevent ourselves from eating or smoking or drinking. We knit to forget our problems or to solve our problems or to reach the state of zen where we can levitate ourselves above the crazy.

We don't knit for necessity, no matter how much we tell ourselves that we use that stone. We have filled our cauldrons with other ingredients for feeding ourselves and we make connections with other wanderers through life, with knitting.

Which brings us to today's sale. It's a lovely yarn, perfect for sweaters, scarves, cowls, hats, and mittens.


60% Acrylic, 25% Cotton, 15% Wool
165 m/100 g Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $8.00
Sale Price: $2:00

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who has never eaten stone soup or been stoned).

Monday, November 28, 2016

The Best Taffy Pull Ever

Have you ever been to a taffy pull? No me neither. I've read about them in books. It involves greasing up your body so that you don't burn yourself on the hot taffy. Now doesn't that sound exciting? It's what people did for entertainment before television.

Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with going to someone's house and pulling their taffy. Or holding a taffy pull of your own. Just make sure you have plenty of butter.

Did you know that salt water taffy has no salt water in it? It has salt and water but not salt water which really is something different because you can only get that by the sea or a lake in Utah. The legend goes that there was a man who was selling taffy by the ocean and the sea came up and soaked his taffy so he called it salt water taffy and the name stuck and that's why when you go to a coastal town there are salt water taffy stores all over the place. They may even have holidays to honor that guy and a god that they give offerings to. He's called Taffy Fae and he's very flexible and he shoots rope like strands of taffy out from his wrists. The only way to escape from his taffy ropes is to eat your way out of them.

So now you're wondering what this has to do with knitting. Take a look at our sale. It's our very own taffy pull. No butter required.

75% OFF

60% LLAMA 40% SILK
93 m/50 g Aran (4)

Regular Price: $13.00
Sale Price: $3.25

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who likes mostly chocolate but finds taffy can be pretty addicting).

Monday, November 21, 2016

Something to Marvel At

We have something Marvelous coming up.

This weekend is the Lacombe Light Up the Night Festival. Starting on Wednesday Night when you can listen to Flat Iron Jazz for a small ticket price all the way to Sunday Night when you can enjoy a free Christmas Concert at Burman University after a day of a $5 brunch, hay rides and skating.  It's just Marvelous! If there was such a thing as a skate for your butt, then I could probably skate.

One of the high points, and starting years before the festival was created, is Moonlight Madness. On Thursday night after the parade, come shop at local merchants downtown and at the mall where you can take advantage of sales and enter for prizes. More Marvelous!

We are a part of that. Come into the store and shop our sales and scratch off our tickets that will give you a further discount at the till. Yep, it's Marvelous, especially if you score a 50% off ticket.

Plus we will have a special that we only do one night a year. We will be selling some of our model knit and crochet pieces. These have never been worn and have only been on display in the store. Once we no longer have the yarn or the pattern they are retired.

Lori has always been adamant that she doesn't want to be a clothing store so she refuses to sell them any other time of the year.

Be aware that not every model in our store is for sale. Just the ones that will be set aside for the sale. So come in early to take a look. Even your non-knitting friends can enjoy this sale.

And speaking of sales, we are still doing our 75% off sale this week. It's Marvelous!

75% OFF

Diamond Select Marvel
80% Polyester, 20% Wool
50 g/80 m Aran (4)

Regular Price: $3.50
Sale Price: 88¢

Yes that's right. Eighty eight cents for yarn! And it's really lovely yarn! We have it in a wide variety of colors. Think sweaters, scarves and hats. Great gifts and no on has to know how little you paid!
Now that's a marvel!

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who is looking over the Light Up the Night booklet and making plans).

Monday, November 14, 2016

It's Coming! Are You Ready?

I know. You're still desperately trying to hang on to your summer tan. It was just days ago that you finally put the RV and boat away. You cleaned the summer cabin. You're still cooking hot dogs over an open fire.

You don't want to hear this.

Christmas is coming.

Which means that if you're the type of crafter who makes things as gifts, you really need to speed it up, otherwise you'll just be handing out pictures of the item with promises for Christmas.

When I was growing up, because of my Finnish father we celebrated Christmas on the Eve. Presents were opened then and we got our stockings the following morning. I was told at a young age that there was no Santa which was a disappointment for a kid with a huge imagination. It didn't stop me from wanting to sit on Santa's lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas. One Christmas the Hudson's Bay in Victoria had a Santa Wonderland in the window (remember the time when windows were dressed for Christmas?). The lines to Santa wound around and beside the window  and my sisters and I stood in the long long line waving to our parents on the other side of the window.

We also had smorgasbord, a Swedish tradition (we were influenced by Sweden due to my father growing up partially in that country). On Christmas Eve we would lay out crackers and cheese, sliced meats and pickles, pickled herring (we called roly mops) and vegetables. On Christmas Day we
would have turkey or sometimes goose. I married a man who celebrated a more traditional Canadian Christmas. One present the night before and the rest Christmas morning. He loved the idea of the smorgasbord and so we combined our two traditions. Smorgasbord and one present Christmas Eve and the rest of the presents Christmas morning. He took over the smorg and added all kinds of goodies, such as chicken wings, egg rolls, and other things found in the frozen food section.

I turned the one Christmas present into pajamas. It's became a joke "I wonder what this is," they would say holding up the gift that said "open Christmas Eve". And I would say "I have no idea." And they would say, "I know it's pajamas." And I would say, "you don't know that." And of course it was always pajamas which they say now as adults, it wouldn't be Christmas without them.

My first married Christmas was hard. I couldn't wait. I camped out in the living room by the tree waiting for morning. It was agonizing.

I also began creating Christmas Eve concerts for the kids to perform for their father. Some years I wrote entire musicals, skits and songs, other years it would be the nativity with the latest baby playing Jesus, and some years it would be a series of well known songs I would get them to perform. They reached a point where they refused to do it, which disappoints my youngest daughter, the seventh child, who never got to participate and would have loved it.

When I became single again I decided that I wanted a different tree every year. Ornaments are cheap so I built up a lovely supply of different colors. That first year I did silver and blue. The following was red and gold. One year we did silver, gold and purple. This year is my last in Alberta so I'll be handing off my Christmas decorations (except for my handmade ones) to the kids. I can always buy new ones.

I now prefer presents Christmas morning. If I'm home the smorgasbord has gotten smaller. Or I'll visit my grown children in either Calgary or Edmonton happy that I'm not responsible for the entire Christmas and happier that they have continued the same traditions while incorporating their spouse's traditions. I have a daughter-in-law that makes everything for the smorg  from scratch. If they have egg rolls, she's actually made the egg rolls, not just taken them out of a box and heated them up. I really need to get to that family's Christmas but they're always too far away.

Moving away from my kids means that I'll have to start new traditions. But I've found that traditions change according to circumstances.

Anyway, there is a point to this related to knitting. Our sale!

Lots of lovely thick yarn that can quickly turn into scarves! You only need one ball. Quick to make holiday gifts. With arm knitting you can make a gift in under an hour. Even if you use needles this yarn will knit up quickly.


Ice Yarns Marine
97% Australian Wool 3% Elastan
150 g/ 15 m Super Bulky

Regular Price: $25.00
Sale Price: $6.25

Red Heart Grande
78% Acrylic, 22% Wool
150 g/ 46 y/42 m Super Bulky

Free pattern on ball band. One ball.

Regular Price: $7.70
Sale Price: $1.93 

Ice Yarns Panpa
60% Acrylic, 40% Wool
100 g/49 y/45 m Super Bulky

Regular Price: $12.00
Sale Price: $3.00

If you need to learn how to arm knit, for a small fee Lori will give you lessons. Just call to set up an appointment.

Also, I would love to hear about your holiday traditions.

Oh, one last gift to consider....

Just what EVERYONE
wants for Christmas

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who doesn't make Christmas gifts because she can't deal with the stress).

Monday, November 7, 2016

Roving Rants

I googled yarn roving and got several different explanations.

And that's the way it is in the knitting world. Because it's filled with creative people there aren't any
hard and fast rules. Which is great in the creative side of it - who wants to be restricted by rules? But it can also make the more practical aspect a little bit frustrating leading to ridiculously impossible statements like, "I'm giving up knitting for the rest of my life."

For instance, needle measurements. There's imperial. There's US. and there's metric. A size 4 mm is also a 6 US and an 8 imperial. This is important to know when you go digging out your patterns and it only mentions one size of needle either because the designer doesn't know that there are things outside of her stash, or the pattern is so old there wasn't anything else at the time. You need to find out what the weight of the yarn is and the gauge in order to figure out what they're talking about. Otherwise your baby sweater can turn into your husband's which is fine if it's a solid color cable, but might not go over well if it has intarsia duckies.

It's almost as bad as that screwdriver situation that men created. You can't have just one all purpose screwdriver with all screws being the same. Nope, you have to have a dozen screwdrivers and different screws all to do the EXACT SAME THING. Really, does it matter if it's a flat head or a star shape that does the job? Personally I wish they would just make all screws and drivers flat heads so you can use a butter knife or a coin.

But that's the practical side of me. It's also the side that says that they should just make uniform size yarns and to stop naming them stupid names - like calling a bulky yarn a sport or naming a worsted weight yarn a lace. It's like calling a mastiff Fifi or a chihuahua King Goliath Commander of Legions. It would be like insisting that the sky is red and grass is blue and the earth is flat and no one landed on the moon and American politics has no effect on us.

So back to roving. We have roving on sale. It's the kind you knit with not the kind you spin. You can also use it for felting which is great for bags or those 50 pairs of mitts you want to make for your entire family for Christmas because one grandchild asked for a pair, which means you have to make a pair for every grandchild and their parents, and make doggy sweaters because even though you had nothing to do with it, everyone insists that the dog calls you Grandma too.

I refuse to be called Grandma by a dog. I'm still struggling with the concept of being old enough to be a Grandma to people. And I've had ten years of practice.

Yes, if you were paying attention you will notice that I said the C word. Christmas is coming. If you are making things you need to get started now, otherwise you'll be wrapping up a picture, and a half finished project with a promise to finish it. Yes, I've done this. It doesn't have quite the same effect and then you spend Boxing Day trying to finish it which is really hard because you're still battling turkey sleep, which by the way, is way better than staying home from Christmas parties to finish a project. And yes, I've done that too.

So here's your sale.

75% OFF

Patons Classic Wool Roving
100% Pure New Wool
100 g/109 m/ 120 y  Chunky (5)

Regular Price: $9.00
Sale Price: $2.25

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who is thinking of making up a petition to demand a uniform system for screws and their drivers)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Guid Gear Comes in Sma’ Bulk*

While looking for information about Scotland and knitting, I came across this...

From the book "Knit Your Own Scotland" by Jackie Holt and Ruth Bailey. For more information about the designers
you can go to Costume Designers Create Woolen Tributes to National Icons

Yes, folks, it's your very own knitted Loch Ness Monster. With a plaid crown. I think she's quite lovely actually.

Scotland and knitting go back to the days of cavemen. While he was out riding mammoths and jousting with pterodactyls, she was at home gathering up the fur the mammoth shed, spinning it by hand and then knitting it into cabled and fair isle sweaters for him. She designed these cables and fair isles by observing flowers and trees which she also used to decorate the cave, and make medicine, dyes, tea, and food.  She did this while knocking out saber tooth tigers that came to the door, which she then detoothed and turned those teeth into lovely knitting needles and crochet hooks. Of course she domesticated the tigers and bred them smaller and smaller so that she could have something to sit in her lap while she knit.

And that is how cats, knitting, and tea became synonymous.

Now of course, instead of mammoths, sheep populate Scotland and the Shetland Islands have become renowned for their knitted goods and yarns.

If you google Scotland and knitting you'll get several choices of knitting tours. One day I'll go on one and then write a novel about it. You'll all buy it and I'll make enough to pay for my trip.

One trip I found said that as part of the package you get a complimentary yarn kit. Well, no, that's part of the package you paid for. So it isn't really complimentary is it? Why not just say that the yarn kit is part of the package. But no, they make it sound like it's free. Did I just go off on a tangent? Okay, Anna, heid doon arse up**.

So what do I have for you for this week's sale. Could it be something Scottish?

Not really. But it does have a Scottish name. And it is what the title is all about.


Katia Kilt
46% Wool 46% Acrylic 8% Polyamid
65 m/71 y/ 50 g  Bulky (6)

Vest pattern

Regular Price: $12.00
Sale Price: $3.00

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who loves plaid and the occasional bagpipe playing).

*Translation: Good things come in small packages.
**Translation: Get on with it.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Read This. It's Important, Cool, and Way Better Than That Thing Happening Down South

Photo credit: Lacombe Express Editor - Kalisha Mendonsa
We are pleased to announce (sound of fanfare) our very own in house artist!

Margaret Blank is not only one of the Crafty Ladies, but she is a textile artist in her own right. And you can see her most important work at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

Margaret has been working on her piece "Mark On the Body" for the past three years. It tells the story of her husband's struggle with Type 1 Diabetes which is very different from the more common Type 2.

Unlike her other art pieces which she sells in different venues, Mark on the Body is a statement piece and intended for education.

There's also a write up in the Lacombe Express with a very lovely picture of her. See that lovely picture above?

Her opening reception will be on Wednesday October 26 (that's this week) at 7.00 pm. She will be there to talk about her installation, her experience living with Type 1 Diabetes, and sell copies of her book "Mark on the Body: Honouring Those Who Live With Type 1 Diabetes". Proceeds from the sale of the book will be going to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Canada and The Canadian Diabetes Association.

We will be there to support our girl!

Refreshments will be served because that's important.

This week, we have for sale Cutie Pie. Sure we could attribute that name to Margaret but she might protest.

She does have a red heart though and a red car named Cutie Pie. Now isn't that appropriate?


Red Heart Cutie Pie
100% Polyester (chenille type yarn)
100 g/326 y/298 m dk weight (3)

Regular Price: $5.70
Sale Price: $1.42

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who is honored to call Margaret "friend".)

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Dozen Reasons Why Making a Sweater is Terrifying

With winter now officially here in Alberta in spite of the calendar - don't you think Winter is a little greedy demanding more than it's allotted three months? - it's time to make sweaters!

Stop gasping. Okay, grabbing your throat and convulsing on the floor is going a bit extreme, don't you think?

I came across one woman on Facebook who claimed she was terrified to make a sweater which made me wonder what she was so terrified about. My very first knitting project was a sweater that I had to adjust because the needles I had didn't give me the correct gauge.

So after some serious contemplation, I've come up with the following reasons why making a sweater is a terrifying proposition.

  1. During your attempts to make one, your yarn will rise up, curl around you and strangle you to death.
  2. Your needles will revolt. They will leave your hands, levitate upwards, turn around, and stab you in the chest.
  3. Your family will form a circle, hold hands, and dance around you singing "ring around the failure". 
  4. Making a sweater will unlock the door to the zombie apocalypse. Finishing a sweater will unlock the doors to all the other apocalypses. 
  5. Your other sweaters will get jealous and hide your underwear.
  6. Your lovely affectionate cat will turn into a ninja that hides in dark places and pounces on you with nine inch claws and two rows of ten inch teeth.
  7. Making a sweater will cause your significant other to leave you, your children to become drug addicts, that crazy guy in the states to become president, and your cookies to burn. 
  8. After you've completed your sweater your leftover yarn will stare at you. So you decide to use it to make a matching hat. When you are near the end you will run out of yarn which will cause a stop at your LYS. There you will discover that the yarn is no longer available - or even worse - you will discover that it is. You will buy it, go home and make your hat. With the leftover yarn from the hat you will decide to make a matching cowl only to discover when you're nearly finished that you've run out of yarn, so you make a trip to the LYS. After purchasing yarn you go home to make your cowl. With the leftover yarn you will start to make matching mittens. When you are nearly finished, you will run out of yarn so you will go to the LYS...
  9. Buying the same yarn over and over again causes you to pull your hair out of your head.
  10. Now you have to use your yarn money to buy a wig.
  11. If your sweater is a disaster you will still insist on wearing it because you spent all that time and money on it. You will model it defiantly proud while your family and friends say things like, "It's interesting." "You really worked hard on that." "Good for you for finishing that project." "Have you ever considered taking up airplane flying?"
  12. If your sweater ends up being beautiful and fits you to perfection making you look slimmer and your breasts look perkier, your hair shinier and your skin glow like you've been touched by an angel, something even worse will happen. Your family and friends will all demand that you make them one too. 
So guess what we have in store for you this week? Sweater yarn in glorious colors! Jewel tones, fall colors, and neutrals. Of course you could decide to not make a sweater and just stick to scarves, hats and mitts. That's okay too. But come on. I dare you.


100% wool 71 m/78y

We have one copy of this publication! Which
means there may be serious knitting needle
fights and death threats by crochet hook over it.

Regular Price: $9.00
Sale Price: $2.25

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who defies the reasons and makes sweaters anyway because I don't know the meaning of  too complicated)

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

When Your Family Says ENOUGH!

As I write this, Alberta is being given an early unwanted Christmas present.

The leaves aren't even off the trees and we're already getting the white stuff. And I don't mean fields of cotton or dandelion fluff.

So for those of you concerned about the welfare of your trees and toys, there is the perfect solution.

You can knit or crochet them: SWEATERS!

Start off small and protect your bike. Not only
will it keep it warm, but what thief will
want to be seen riding it?

A granny square afghan complete with tire

A lovely crocheted evening gown for a chilly night out.

Ask your friends to make pom poms for your car!
We have the pom pom makers.

Don't forget about making something for your
double decker bus. Especially if it's more used
to rainy coastal weather rather than Alberta snow.

The train in your backyard could use some love too. It will
get the message that it can no matter what hills it has
to climb.

Monster benches! If you sit on it the right way, it will
look like your bench is eating you. Great way to
scare the kids.

Your Tardis will thank you for the extra
warmth as it hurtles you through
time and space. Outer space can
get a little chilly.

Stairs get cold and slippery too, so don't
forget to offer them a blanket of warmth.
A cup of coffee might be nice too.

Your husband will love the Christmas gift of a coat for his
backyard tank. Now when he invades other neighborhoods
he can do it in style.

The lovely tree that gives you blossoms in the spring,
shade in the summer, and fruit in the fall, will
appreciate a little love in the winter.

 So have I inspired you?

This week we're offering you something not wintry because if we pretend it doesn't exist it will go away. Ribbon yarn! You can knit or crochet shawls and other simple garments. The secret is to have a loose gauge, so use larger needles or hooks. You can also use ribbon yarns in Christmas ornaments and decor or as trims to other projects.

Great idea for a shawl. Gather together those bits of yarn, novelty skeins, fabric strips from saris, and other fun stuff (including this week's special). Don't worry about matching thicknesses. Knit or crochet one row leaving long strips on either side for fringe. Then knit another row of something else. You will end up with a fringed shawl. Make sure you finish your fringe with knots to secure the ends. Knot two or more yarns together. If you want you can do several rows of these by staggering your knots.  Something like this...

If you need more direction, you can use any simple shawl pattern, or you can do a Las Vegas shawl. For that you need 6 yarns or families of yarn, a die and a coin. Number each of your yarns 1-6. Now roll the die, That's your yarn. Toss the coin. Heads is knit, tails is purl. If you want to use more yarns you could choose 12 different ones and use two dice. You can also just skip the coin and choose to use garter stitch. If you want ambiance, you can crank up the air conditioning, lower the lights and have neon bulbs flashing at you while the sounds of winning bells go off in the background. To really get in the mood, don an Elvis costume or decorate Elvis style.

Crochet your own Elvis wig

Or make your own Elvis doll

Sure people will think you're nuts. But who cares? You're knitting, and you're happy, and you have something to show for it when you're done - like all your hair while others are ripping out theirs.

Oh yeah, did I mention that knitting and crocheting are the perfect remedy for stress and winter?


(it means sweet in Italian)
100% Polyamid
50 g/85 m/93 y Ribbon

Regular Price: $3.50
Sale Price: 88¢ 

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who isn't happy about that winter comes before Thanksgiving.)