Monday, September 24, 2018

Fair weather or foul?

How do you react to the weather?

Can you find a blessing in the snow or only feel the cold and rain? Last week I heard a new word used to describe the weather "misling", a combination between mist, drizzle, rain and/or wet snow. I have no idea if the word is going to catch on or not. I find it really interesting how we continue to create new words, while others go out of fashion.

On the assurance of several farmers over the weekend, I can confirm they are very confident we are going to have wonderful weather in October. We just need to get there. . .

This is the kind of weather that encourages one to be creative: grab a coffee (or other beverage), curl up with your knitting/crochet/cross-stitch in front of a good movie and be creative.

I am currently working on a sweater for a family member, in between working on my "learn to crochet" project(s) - as of this writing, please come into the store and offer comments on the crochet Dragon scarf currently under construction and the first small shawl I have finished.

Please, you MUST tell me the truth about my skill level - or I will not improve. I cannot upload a picture of the first finished crochet project at the moment. Here at The Crafty Lady we are in the process of updating the hard drives. This has resulted in pictures going one direction and our access to them is going somewhere else. We have a really great person working on it, so hopefully it will be resolved in the near future.

Speaking of projects, I was recently asked "how does a knitter/crocheter plan their projects? Do they look in their stash, find a pattern, have a request (i.e. baby blanket/wedding) or just make it because?" I answered "Yes". Every crafter uses these techniques sometimes, or all of them. There is no perfect/100% of the time method to start a new project.

Back to crafting; when you are not confident in what you are doing, how you are doing it, or just want to talk through something you do not understand - Lori, Margaret and I will try to help. If it is a larger issue, we charge $15.00/hour to for a one-on-one lesson.

This week's Special 75% off will fit into a number of different projects and is very versatile yarn.

Crofter DK 
60% Acrylic, 40% cotton, 15% wool
50/170 m
Reg. $8.50

75% Off

This is such a versatile, interesting yarn to work with. It also works well with a number of other yarns to add creative items.

Posted by Anne, who really hopes you will come in and purchase, so I do not get into trouble by adding to my stash. See you soon! 

Monday, September 17, 2018

A Touch of Class

Back in the early sixties when I was coming into my teens, a single strand of pearls was considered to add just the right touch of class to a young lady's outfit -- be it a simple dress, a skirt and blouse or a skirt and twin-set.

Cultured pearls made a strand affordable, and I received one as a birthday gift at eleven or twelve.  I still have it, though I admit I've not worn it in years.  In fact, I've rarely seen anyone -- outside royalty -- wearing pearls these days.

Still, that hasn't stopped me from wishing I had a really good pair of pearl earrings -- and I've been heartened by the fact that at least some in the world of fashion have featured pearls with their offerings in 2018.  At the turn of last year, Selene Oliva's article in  Vogue Magazine featured pearls in her forecast of '2018 Jewelry trends', opining that "Pearls are universally flattering. They bring light to the face and look great with any outfit."

Vogue Knitting's Fall edition, just out on the news stands, touts the return of a bit of 'glitter' to knitted garments -- sequins, beads, a hint of metallic yarns.

Should the idea of that level of "bling" be a bit...ummm...over the top for you, you can still achieve the 'glow' of pearls next to your face, their soft shimmering in a shawl or sweater.  

That's what we're offering you this  week for our Super Special 75% Off Sale:


Snuggly Pearls DK

Regular Price: $8.50

Sale Price: $2.13

But...but...but... (I hear you saying), the pattern support is all for babies!!  That may be true, Gentle Readers, but as folks who are creative with yarn, we know we can use a pretty yarn in double-knit (#3) weight for other things, don't we?

Pattern: "Etched Rio Wrap"
Designed by Blue Sky Alpacas

The colours on offer are a buttery cream, and a snowy white -- both ideal for framing the face with a lacy cowl, or warming heads and hands with toppers and gloves that provide a dressy accent to a plain winter coat.  

We'll leave you -- with a bit of musical inspiration -- to think of the possibilities, and see you in the shop this week!  

Glenn Miller - "A String of Pearls" 

* Written by Margaret, the TCL employee whose name means 'pearl'.  Go figure!

Monday, September 10, 2018

No such thing as a stupid question . . .

The question came up at Knit Night last week: "Am I crazy
to have started buying and working on Christmas gifts?"

According to Wikipedia: There are no stupid questions
Carl Sagan, in his work The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark said: "There are naive questions, tedious questions, ill-phrased questions, questions put after inadequate self-criticism. But every question is a cry to understand the world. There is no such thing as a dumb question".
A woman, recounting a story about an old man who used to answer all her "stupid questions", explained "Chica, if you ask a question it makes you look stupid for 5 minutes – but if you don't ask – you stay stupid for fifty years, so always ask questions in your life".
A 1970 Dear Abby column in The Milwaukee Sentinel said: "There is no such thing as a stupid question if it's sincere. Better to ask and risk appearing stupid than to continue on your ignorant way and make a stupid mistake.
Colin Powell says: "there is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid answers". Presentation Skills That Will Take You to the Top says within the business world, the adage holds true. The book adds "a question might be uninformed, tangential, or seemingly irrelevant, but, whether the presenter perceives it to be stupid or not, every audience member has every right to ask any sort of question".

I was not aware there are as many variations of this question. Again, according to Wikipedia, this is a popular phase with a long history.

To answer the question, yes - some the Knit Nighters are in the process of and/or have started buying gifts; some have not started. Those who have started shared their top 3 reasons for starting now: budget concerns, time and choice/selection being the next top reason.

I have put in a meat order with our local butcher for some of our festive food, does this count? I am still working on last year's Christmas sweater for my daughter. I have completed two small gifts, with many more requests on the list than I will be able to achieve this year. Part of my excuse is my selfish goal of learning to crochet.

I am currently working on a crocheted cowl. I figure out one row and need help on the next one. Finish that one, and need help for the next. I can complete the stitches, but learning to read and work a pattern is more challenging than I had anticipated. If  I am repeating myself, I am sorry. In my naive mind, I thought - I can read a knitting pattern, how hard can this be? Well, let me assure you, I have a lot more respect for people who easily read a crochet pattern and understand it the first time. AND thank goodness for knowledgeable people around me who are willing to walk very slowly beside me.

So, The Crafty Lady is trying to make life a little easier for many of us, with her weekly 75% off sale. This week we are featuring a bright, scrumptiously textured and easy to work with yarn.


Snuggly Jolly

51% Bamboo, 37% acrylic, 12% nylon

50 g/165m
Reg. $7.50

75% Off


Posted by Anne, jolly TCL employee who is making progress on her crochet skills and Christmas to do list

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Oh to be Again in Scotland

I write this with a 'wee dram' at my elbow and a wee tear in my eye, remembering how, almost a year ago now, I travelled once more to Scotland, a place that's as beautiful and dear to me as these Canadian prairies...and, in some places indeed, they bear close resemblance to each other.

View of one croft from another, Isle of Skye
(an island in of the Inner Hebrides
 -- nowhere near Fair Isle!)
On that trip, our tour visited a croft on the Isle of Skye, where I saw both Hebridean sheep (black) and Cheviot sheep (white), got to spin some of the latter 'in the grease' (i.e., right off the shorn fleece), and (of course!) bought some of that yarn to bring home.

But the Yarn Story I'm writing this week is about a 'wee isle' in Scotland that I've not (yet) visited:  Fair Isle.  It is "wee" indeed -- just under 3 square miles in area, with a population of somewhere between 55 and 60.  It's located between the Orkney Isles and the Shetland Isles, well north of the mainland of Scotland.

And it's the home of a tradition of stranded knitting with origins that are somewhat uncertain, origins that include Moorish and Viking influences.  These arose in natural colours -- cream, black, brown -- based on the wool from the sheep raised there, and were augmented with colours from natural dyes: yellow from amphibious bistort (also known as water longweed, water smartweed or willow grass), reds from madder combined with a type of local lichen called Korkallett, and blues from indigo that was likely bartered for with ocean-faring traders.

Pattern of unknown origin!
The designs created and still used today in genuine Fair Isle knitting require only two yarns to be used at one time, and on average, only four colours altogether in a garment, in blocks of pattern that are not repeated.

As with all stranded knitting, the process is much easier knit in the round, so that the tension of the  'floats' -- yarn carried across the back of the garment -- is easier to control.

What if you can't knit -- or don't want to knit -- in the round?  Or want an easier, quicker way to achieve the Fair Isle 'effect', whether working in the round or knit flat?

There are yarns that have been dyed with colour repeats designed to mimic Fair Isle.  Many have been created for sock yarns, and others are in heavier weights, for other garments -- and we offer you one of those this week:

Baby Fair Isle Effect

50 grams = 164 metres (179 yards)
55% Nylon
45% Acrylic

Regular Price: $8.50
75% off Sale: $2.13

Machine-washable and easy for new parents to care for, this yarn creates cute and pretty patterns all on its own, for delightful wee sweaters, booties, hats and even blankets.

Check out our stock of patterns when you make your purchase -- and if you need a lesson in knitting in the round, catch Lori and me at the Creativ Festival West in either Edmonton -- September 7 and  8 -- or Calgary -- September 21 and 22 -- where we'll be teaching you how to use both circular and double-pointed needles to do just that!  See you soon!

I leave you with a wee poem, read first in Fair Isle/Shetland dialect and then in English, by the late Scots poet -- who hailed from Fair Isle -- Lise SinclairYou can read along and listen to it here.

*Written by Margaret, who loves to do stranded knitting, especially if it's in the Fair Isle tradition.