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.)

Monday, October 3, 2016

How Knitting and Spinning Created a Country and Led to a Revolution

Way back when the U.S. wasn't the US and instead was just thirteen colonies and didn't sing the Star Spangled Banner, and there wasn't a west to be won, they were still paying taxes to England and getting nothing in return. So a group of women got together, named themselves The Daughters of Liberty, stuck their thumbs on the end of their nose and waved their fingers across the ocean to the King while saying "Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, we're not buying from you anymore!"

Then they produced their own tea using local herbs which they called Liberty Tea and they spun and wove their own fabrics. They organized spinning bees to make goods for sale, because it's way more fun to spin with your friends than to spin alone as anyone knows who has taken a spinning class.  To bring attention to their cause they held spinning contests in the village squares which the whole town would attend. So while the women sat down at spinning wheels making usable yarns, the men and children stared up at the sky and spun around in circles until they fell down because that's fun.

 The Daughters of Liberty refused to buy goods from England and store keepers - many of them women - no longer carried British goods.

During the war they made uniforms, bullets, and socks. Note: the bullets were not made from the same materials as the uniforms and socks.

Plus, Deborah Sampson  and Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley (nicknamed Mary Pitcher) served as soldiers on the battlefield. Deborah went undercover as a man but Mary after bringing water to men rolled up her sleeves when her husband was injured and said "I'm taking his place" and she did.

And this little nugget from Sew Steamboat Blogs

There is even a story about “Old Mom Rinker” a fierce patriot who would pick up bits of British military information overheard by her family while tending a tavern.  She would write messages for General Washington, encase them inside a ball of knitting yarn and while knitting innocently on a hill outside of town, she would drop the balls of yarn as loyal soldiers passed below, who retrieved  them and took valuable intelligence directly to the General. 

I bet you didn't know you could use your stash as subversive acts against the government. Point that out to your husband next time he complains about it.

Besides helping to create a new country their actions started another revolution.

From Wikepedia 

The Daughters of Liberty also used the influence of the Revolutionary War to their advantage. Prior to the Revolutionary War, women were submissive and were almost considered to be slaves to their husbands. Following the war, women in America felt a newfound sense of freedom, not only from British control of the United States but from males within the country. Women began to take part in political discussions within households, and even began to entertain the ideas of separating from their husbands. The war helped to inspire the Daughters of Liberty to also become Revolutionary Women.
Samuel Adams is often quoted as referring to the Daughters of Liberty by saying "With the ladies on our side, we can make every Tory tremble.

So the next time someone scoffs at your knitting, crocheting, weaving and sewing, often dismissing it as "women's work" or "a silly craft" tell them that women have been making important political statements using "women's textile work" as their platform, leading to women's equality - which we're still fighting for today. You too can stick your thumb on the end of your nose and say "nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, I'm part of a revolution."

Did you know that our very own Margaret is a marathon runner? Nice segue, I know. The reason I bring this up is because  Katherine Switzer was the first woman to run the Boston marathon in 1967. 1967! Good grief it happened so long after women got the right to vote, you would think she wanted to run for president or something. You can read about her experience here. Katherine Switzer. She endured physical and verbal attacks by men - including her own boyfriend - during the race. As an added bonus, know that medical doctors claimed that running would hurt a woman's internal organs. Yes, 1967. Some of us were alive then.

Sigh, the things we women have to endure to be taken seriously. Note: I am not mentioning at all  the current political situation in the U.S. Not at all.

Now if Katherine had been knitting while running that would have been absolutely amazing, as in Wonder Woman amazing, although I think a little too much to ask. Margaret says that when she walked to work in Calgary she used to knit while walking. I find that amazing too. I would probably fall and stab myself in the chest if I tried.

So why am I talking about things that happened in American History specifically in Massachusetts?

It relates to this week's sale.


84% acrylic, 16% wool
100 g/ 110 m/ 120 y Chunky (5)

Free pattern on ball band

Regular Price: $13.00
Sale Price: $3.25

Get the connection?

Posted by Anna Maria Junus (happy employee who does not have nor plans to put marathon running or being a soldier on her bucket list but admires women who do those things.)