Monday, October 30, 2017

Seasonal Confusion

As our seasonal confusion continues. . . Do we wear flip flops (and get cold feet) or closed toe shoes and be too warm? What to wear? How to dress? Do I need that coat (that I then leave behind)? Will I be cold without it?

I now understand my mother "nagging" as we went out the door to school and walked a half mile to school. I know that is not a long distance but it seems very few people know what it is to go for a walk. I grew up in a smaller community which was for many years on the border-line - was it a town or a city. As the population increased, the province always moved the target of "city" status to an additional 5,000 people. Maybe this is partly where my confusion comes from. The town was the largest shopping area outside of Edmonton, and considered itself a rural community, as many of the businesses served the needs of the farmers.

As the temperatures drop - knitters are planning warmer items for cooler weather. Many of us have some things in our Carefully Curated Collection (aka Stash) we can use or resurrect appropriately. Some of us inherited things we are not quite ready to throw out . . . and continue to store. If you are fall-sorting your stash, please remember there are many places to donate yarns. We accept donations of acrylics and have people who make them into blankets we forward to Blankets for Canada. There is more information on their website https://www.blankets4canada.caA great place to donate yarns is to a church yard sale, sell at an Antique shop or donate to a long-term care facility. Many such facilities have residents who cannot afford yarn, or cannot get out to access yarn, and would love to sit and knit.

Planning forward we have Remembrance Day, Christmas, Hanukkah/Chanukah (the Jewish festival of Lights and re-dedication) or any other family celebration, this is often the time of the year we give thanks for the bounty of our lives. Recently more people showed up to harvest the Foodgrains Bank crop than ever before. To all who helped - A Huge Thank You 😂 🙇.

Giving gifts you create is a wonderful way to share your love to knit with others. Gifts do not have to be large to be thoughtful and appropriate. Cowls, boot toppers, finger-less gloves, toques are really great gifts, easy to make and can be made with things from your stash or new yarns.

This week's 75% Sale yarn could be a great additional to any project. Adding to our confusion, it could make a project, be added to embellish or complete another yarn. It is soft, with just a hint of sparkle - come in and feel up our Flicker.

Flicker / Stellabella      
           by Berroco / by Diamond Luxury Collection
87% Baby Alpaca, 8% acrylic, 5% other fibres,  50 gm/175 m 
Reg. $16.00
75% Sale

Flicker Slouch Hat
Flicker Cowl

Posted by Anne, happy TCL employee who will continue to be confused - while loving her position here! I especially enjoy helping our customers create a little less confusion and stress in their lives.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Let's Linger...

For the past month we've had a "fall is in the air" feel to our posts...and today's is no exception!  While autumn is the favourite season for many of us, with its crisp days, bright sunshine and blue skies (when it's not raining or snowing!) and its harvest bounty, we still have to acknowledge that the days are shorter and the evenings longer.

For knitters and crocheters, that remains cause for delight, as our thoughts turn to gift planning for the holidays, and projects we can curl up with on those long evenings -- whether it's in front of the television with a favourite sport or series (Outlander, anyone? 😉 ) or with a glass or cup of something good in front of a crackling fire with an audio-book or music in the background.

If you're looking to get started on some smaller gifts and enjoy working with lighter-weight yarns (like I do!), may I suggest you spend your evenings lingering...with some fingering.   Yarn, that is.

"Fingering" yarn is defined by as a yarn that "... is equivalent to a #1 super fine weight and is also referred to as sock or baby yarn. It’s lightweight and versatile and perfect for socks, shawls, wraps, baby items, mittens, hats and more."  I'd add gloves -- fingered or finger-less -- wristers, boot toppers, leg warmers... Lots to linger over!

This week for our Special Sale we're offering a fingering three-some...

First up is this delicious mix of caramel and chocolate:

Regia 4-fadig Color
75% super-wash wool
25% Polyamide (Nylon)
50 grams = 210 metres or 230 yards
(2 will make a pair of adult-sized socks)
Regular Price: $9.00

Sale Price: $2.25!

Next we have hanks in a steel grey tonal -- perfect for those "man socks" (or gloves or mittens...)

NOTE: This colour-way is not the one on sale!

Opal 4-fach Handgefarbt 
Pullover & Sockenwolle
75% Super-wash wool
25% Polyamid (Nylon)
100 grams = 425 metres or 464 yards
(1 hank will make a pair of socks or gloves, even for most 'manly' appendages!)
Regular Price: $18.00

Sale Price: $4.50!

And last but not least...

Not one but two colour-ways for those who love the look of variegated yarns -- these skeins dip-dyed by the artisans at Manos...

Photo: Silkernie on Ravelry
Colour: #800 - "Copper"

Photo: Celestya22 on Ravelry
Colour: #955 - "Meadow"

Camino Color
Manos Artesanas
75% Super-wash wool
25% Polyamid (Nylon)
100 grams = 400 meters or 437 yards
(1 skein will make a pair of socks except for the very largest feet!)
Regular Price: $17.00

Sale Price: $4.25!

So come in this week, select the one -- or ones! -- that speak to you, and linger awhile to chat or browse patterns or fondle any and all the yarn we have on offer.  We look forward to seeing you!

Written by Margaret, happy TCL employee; you can find her lingering with her fingering at our Knit Nights, Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  Ask at the store for details!

Monday, October 16, 2017

I be crazy ? ?

Do you occasionally feel like you are slightly out of step with the world, or maybe it is just those around you? Then something happens and you feel totally validated!!

This can be a feeling of huge relief and reduces the stress we all carry around. I now believe stress is not an over-used word, nor is it a state of mind many people believe it is in their best interest to admit to. Do you occasionally feel you look like this  . . .
Our Crafty Lady Greeter
I am currently reading a book on how the brain can heal itself. Some of the studies deal with mental health issues such as dyslexia, depression, autism and others deal with things like Parkinson's, strokes, Alzheimer's or accidents. The researchers describe helping professional opera singers heal after surgery destroyed their voices and their ability to heal (according to conventional medicine). Ground breaking research . . . as the brain is our most misunderstood organ - these researchers are giving us hope and understanding!

So what does any of this have to do with crafting? Knitting, crochet and other hand/mind skills have been proven to help us deal with stress, recover from brain injuries, stay mentally healthy longer and keep whatever function of our brain we have working more effectively. Plus you get something constructive at the end of your project (in addition to a carefully curated collection of yarn or fibre).

Again, so what does any of this have to do with the season? Autumn is the time many of us preserve the produce from our garden, farmers and their families are busy in the fields - a very creative time of the year. People are starting to plan their Halloween costumes for young and old and planning Christmas gifts!

Are you arm-knitting a cowl or something for a special someone? Check out this week's special - it is a really great deal!

Who are you planning Halloween costumes for? This week's 75% Off would make incredible dreadlocks for a costume . . . Where does your imagination take you?

Reg. $25.00
75% OFF

Posted by Anne, saner than I was and happy knitter

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Have You Any Wool?

More times than I can remember, when we in The Shop ask our customers, "Can we help you?", the answer is "I'm just here for some wool."

But that's not always the case.

Rather, they're usually 'here for some yarn'.  It's just that our customers are in the habit of referring to all yarn as "wool" -- because once upon a time, it pretty much was all wool, all the time.

Nowadays, we're doing our best to change their terminology -- mainly by showing them actual wool in the weight they said they were looking for.  If they want other yarn -- say, cotton or acrylic, or alpaca, or silk or a blend -- this startles them, and they let us know pretty quickly!  😊

"Heeland Coos"
(Highland Cows)
I'm just back from Scotland, touring castles, lochs, and crofts (among other things)...and revelling in the hilly countryside dotted with "coos" and sheep.  Over there, they are very particular about yarn terminology!  Wool is wool, and that's all there is to it!  It comes from sheep, and everything else is...well...just..."yarn".

Another notion about wool that's common with customers is that it is always scratchy.

I'll grant that some folks have a true allergy to wool (sometimes, sadly, to all animal fibre).  Handling it in any way makes their hands tingle, their fingers itch, and some even break out in a rash if they try a wool garment next to their skin.

Sheep grazing - on the road between
Edinburgh and Inverness
And it's true that the wool from some sheep breeds is 'scratchier' than that from others.  This is due in large part to the composition of the fibre: its diameter (in microns), its staple length and its crimp structure.

As author and yarn expert, Clara Parkes, writes in The Knitter's Book of Yarn (2008), "The finer the diameter of a fibre, the softer it feels against your skin." (p.14).  And..."A general rule of thumb...The shorter the fibers, the softer they will be against the skin." (p. 15).  As for 'crimp' -- the fibres with tinier crimp tend to be the ones that are bouncier, loftier and warmer (think hats, blankets, sweaters), while those with larger 'ringlets' (as Clara calls them) produce a denser, stronger, more lustrous yarn (think 'drape' for shawls, throws and elegant garments).

What does all that mean?  Simply that no two types of wool are alike -- and barring a true allergy to it, there's generally a wool available to suit your purpose!

This week's Special Sale offering is wool -- 100% wool.  It's labelled as "roving", which means it's not really spun.  Though it's a 'single' (ply), it's still strong enough to be knit or crocheted -- and there are some projects on Ravelry that show off beautiful stitch definition when knit up.  A 'woolly wool', it's ideal for jackets, hats, and outdoor sweaters not worn next to the skin.

It's not been treated for machine washing though, so it's better served in items meant to be hand-washed or felted.  That means it's ideal for felted slippers or tote bags that will be comfy and sturdy at the same time.

And the price is right!

Diamond Select
Pure Wool Roving

100% Wool
100 grams per skein
137 metres (150 yards)
Regular Price: $7.00

75% Off!
Sale Price: $1.75

Posted by Margaret, TCL employee, who's happy to help you find the right wool -- or yarn -- whatever your project!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Lacombe Celebration

When was the last time you saw a horse drawn wagon or a horse drawn stage coach on Main Street Lacombe?

For many people Saturday was a first. As part of the Lacombe Culture and Harvest Festival DB Bobcat were sponsoring free rides around historic downtown Lacombe - complete with tour guide.

Lots of people out completing the scavenger hunt and judging the scarecrows. No, not the people on the street - scarecrows.

Many businesses set up interesting displays in front of their place of business featuring one or more scarecrows. These were a long way from the scarecrow my grandmother used to put in her garden. Those featured my grandfather's old black trousers and white shirt with a couple of tin cans tied to the arms to scare the birds. I don't think this worked well. I believe my grandmother's yelling and waving the broom was far more effective. She even intimidated my grandfather when she was upset.

The gatherings around the Thanksgiving Table were wonderful - including extended family, neighbours and people who had no family. The meals took several days between shopping, prepping and cooking. They had a huge gas stove, complete with two cooking ovens, a warming oven and the shelf over the top to warm plates and keep spoons out of little fingers. Thanksgiving to me always starts at the beginning of harvest - as the farmers take off their crops and pray for good weather.

Did you see The Crafty Lady's post late last week with all the new colours? New cotton colours, new acrylic colours and new variegated yarns which are going to make some interesting items.

Take a look at the video,  come in to touch and feel. While you are browsing this week's 75% Off Sale is :

Boston                           Boston Mix
Reg. $5.50                                                                   Reg. $13.00
75% Off                                          75% Off
$1.35                                  $3.25                           

Posted by Anne, happy crafter (P.S. Love the new colours and yarns - come in and check them out)