Monday, October 28, 2019

Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble...

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Creator: Toby Ord, 2003
October 31 -- a Thursday this year -- is also Hallowe'en.  It's a spirited celebration (😉) believed to have begun with the Celts about 2,000 years ago.  They referred to this time of year as Samhain -- marking the end of the harvest season and the arrival of the darkest months of the year.  As the typical Celtic day began at sunset, this festival was observed from sundown October 31 through to sundown on November 1.

When Christianity arrived in the Celtic lands (Ireland, Scotland, England), the celebration of "All Hallows Day" and the Eve thereof became the first of a three-day event known as Allhallowtide, which consists of Hallowe'en, All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Souls Day (Nov. 2).

Traditions for the festival(s) have changed over the centuries, but trick-or-treating; playing pranks (the "trick" if there's no "treat"); dressing in costume; and carving pumpkins and/or squash and lighting them inside (originally to provide light for the good spirits to find their way into Celtic homes, and to keep away the evil ones) persist.

The colours of orange and black dominate.  Orange is a harvest colour -- it occurs when the leaves of deciduous trees change from green to various shades of red, gold, yellow and brown, and when pumpkins and other gourds and/or squash are ready for picking.  Then there's that glorious full harvest moon hanging about in the sky...

As for black, well -- it's the colour of night, and the nights are getting longer this time of year.  And of course it's ever so much more fun to play tricks on and frighten others if you can wear black when running around after dark!

Why wait till Thursday to get your orange-and-black on?  Yarn-wise, that's what we're offering you this week for our

Super Spooktacular Sale

From our Store's Sale Section
Black and/or Orange Yarns

Previously 25% off

75% OFF

Assorted Yarns, Assorted Prices

One example?  

 Ushya from Mirasol Yarns
Colour: "Orange Blossom"

100 Grams = 104 metres (114 yards)
2 - 2.5 stitches per 1" on a 10 mm needle/hook
Chainette Construction
98% Merino wool
2% Nylon

It's the perfect thing, because it's so quick to knit up into a toque or cowl 
to keep your little goblin or ghoul cozy on Hallowe'en Night!

9 a.m. - 9 p.m. 
Thursday, October 31, 2019
Customers who arrive in the shop
wearing a Hallowe'en costume
will get 10% off anything they purchase!

And now a wee traditional Scottish prayer for the safety of our staff, family, friends and customers this Hallowe'en...

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

See you in the Shop!*

*Written by Margaret, who prefers to mark Hallowe'en by hiding in her studio till all the ghoulies, ghosties and beasties have gone home!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Hug and Snuggle? With whom? Under?

Does this qualify as snuggle? or strangle?
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, I was allowed to snuggle and play with young-people from 6 to 17! I was impressed - all of them - boys and girls allowed hugs AND conversation. The older ones did not even carry their phones in their hands as we visited!! i am not sure the cat in this meme would agree snuggling is a great idea, but it is the thought that counts, right?

Family does not have to be related by birth or marriage, my children and I have "adopted" parents and grandparents over the years. When you live next door to a wonderful senior, whose family are overseas or in the Maritimes, can you leave them home alone when you are celebrating bounty of the season? They joined us at the table for seasonal celebrations. We called them "Orphan suppers" or "adopted family." Great memories!

When I was growing up in a smaller Alberta community, we knew all the neighbours for a couple of blocks around - whether they had children or not. We were probably the last generation to be raised by a community.

Community is much more than the neighbour next door, or the people you meet every week at the grocery store. Eclectic trivia: women in Canada did not have the right to vote until 1928 in most of the country, 1940 in Quebec and indigenous people were not granted the right to vote until 1960 - men or women. I find it really sad to note, they could fight in both the first and second world wars, but could not vote.

So, Please "Get out and vote!" I will not advise you on how to vote, but please do vote.

I love to create things for people to snuggle in/under. I have just finished sewing together the new blanket for our first girl great-grandchild! (picture to come soon)

My first crochet project is finished and delivered. My thanks to customers, friends and family as I learned so much. I may become addicted to crochet. I am really pleased with the finished gift.

This is a silk blend, so light and very warm!! I hope she will snuggle under it over the coming winter months. It is light enough to throw over your shoulders and sit in the garden on a cool evening.

Crochet is a very different muscle skill, so I am learning I can do some of one and some of the other and get more done - with less arthritis pain!!

Last week at Knit Night, we learned parents are no longer allowed to put their child into the car seat with their snowsuit on. So warm, breathable, washable blankets will be high on request lists from new parents, whether knit/crochet or quilted. Hone your skills, there is a need for everything you can do.

This week's 75% Off Sale is a perfect yarn to craft into smaller blankets quickly, or warm little sweaters, and is very washable and wears really well.

Snuggly 4ply
50g/226 m
55% nylon, 45% acrylic
Reg. $8.00
75% Off

Posted by Anne, who continues to walk and knit - while the weather holds. I know snuggle weather is coming!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

A Little Look at Lace

Did you know that the word 'lace' -- as a noun -- originated in the early thirteenth century?  It's derived from the the Old French word laz, meaning "a net, noose, string, tie, ribbon or snare" according to  The word encompassed material used for nooses, fishing lines, nets, and cords used to fasten clothing such as corsets or shoes.

In the fifteen hundreds, though, the term 'lace' began to be associated with the sort of thing we think of today: a decorative fabric usually made from fine thread -- anything from gold to silk, linen and cotton...and eventually, wool.  😊

There are several types of lace, classified by the techniques used to make them: needle lace, cut-work, bobbin lace, embroidered lace, tape lace, tatted lace -- and the favourite of our yarn customers: crocheted or knitted lace.

Shown at right: knitted lace on the needles.  Pattern: "Rhea Stole" from Valley Yarns; yarn: Tanis Fiber Arts lace weight super-wash wool.
Source: Wikipedia Commons.

My colleague, Anne, just finished crocheting her first lace shawl -- a gift for a friend in a lovely green silk yarn.

Me?  I'm currently knitting a lacy pattern in a pair of socks -- the "Hummingbird Socks" designed by Sandi Rosener and published in The Knitter's Book of Socks. While I'm enjoying the project -- and I'm well into the leg section of the second sock -- when Anne mentioned in her last post that she doesn't recommend knitting or crocheting lace while walking...well...she's right!  I can carry on a rather stilted conversation while working on this pattern, but it's not recommended!

You may be thinking to yourself now, "Oh dear!  I haven't a hope of mastering lace if it's that difficult!"

I can't vouch for crocheted lace -- because I don't crochet -- but I can tell you that knitted lace doesn't have to be as complicated as the Rhea Stole (above) or those Hummingbird Socks.  No indeed!

After all, knitting is only loops, involving two stitches: knit and purl. do we get lace out of that?  With a 'yarn over'.  That makes a hole.  It also makes an extra stitch -- which is handily taken care of by a "k 2 tog" (knit 2 together) or an "ssk" (slip, slip knit -- as in, slip 1 stitch; slip another stitch; knit the two together).  That's all there is to it.

Easy?  Yes...BUT...

It's recommended you have a bit of experience "reading" your knitting before you try knitting lace.  That way, you can figure out if you missed a yarn over, or forgot a "k 2 tog" or dropped a stitch.  (Check out this series by Brooklyn Tweed on reading your work; it'll help when you can't drop in to The Shop for one-on-one assistance!)

Speaking of dropped stitches...Sometimes in lace knitting, a pattern is so complex that it's hard to pick up a dropped stitch.  This is made even more difficult if you're using a slippery yarn (like silk) or fuzzy yarn (like mohair).  The solution?  Inserting a "life line", which is a line of waste yarn placed in a spot in your knitting that 'rescues' your work when you've made an error.  Here's a quick video that shows you how to install a 'proactive' life line in a complex pattern involving lace and cables:

Learning to read your knitting, knowing that lace involves adding only yarn-overs and knitting decreases (k 2 tog and ssk) to your skill set, and installing a life line will make your first lace knitting project a happier experience.

That said, if you're Absolutely Terrified, rest assured that we -- Anne, Margaret and Lori-The-Crafty-Lady-Herself -- can help you with a private lesson.  Just call the shop at 403-782-7238 to book a time.  The cost is $15 per hour ($5 per 20 minutes) and worth every penny to help you fall in love with your lace knitting -- or crochet!

To help get you started, this week we're offering this lovely yarn as our Super Special Sale:

Ella Rae Lace Merino DK

100 grams = 276 metres (302 yards)
100% Merino Wool - 3-ply
Machine wash on gentle cycle;
dry flat (don't dry clean!)

Regular Price: $26.00 per skein

Sale Price: $6.50!!

Two skeins will make this lovely shawl with a simple lace pattern:

Designer: mahila designs - on Ravelry

Prefer to crochet?

You could try this version of the "Moonlit Waters" Shawl...

Read through this post and still don't want to try lace?
This yarn is can check out other projects HERE on Ravelry!

There are plenty of options -- and as the weather continues to turn colder, it's time to get those needles and hooks in action!

On another note...this post comes right after the celebration of Thanksgiving here in Canada.  Anne, Margaret and Lori-The-Crafty-Lady-Herself want to say "thank you" for over 25 years of support for our business, for your friendship and your feedback -- helping us to serve you better.  

It's a blessing to share our passion for yarn and stitch and beads and thread with you.

We wouldn't be here without you!  Thanks so much!

See you in The Shop!

*Written by Margaret, who loves to knit lace!

Monday, October 7, 2019

A little haze?

My husband and I have a rescue dog, Sophie, who walks with me along the beach at Gull Lake, while I knit. Yes, you can do basic knitting, while walking and talking.

Walking in the fall is such a wonderful time of the year - I know we do not have the colours they have in the Maritime or Eastern Canada. We do have wonderful vistas, colours and incredible skies. The geese are starting to gather on the lake. When they start honking as they gather to go to the fields to feed, this upsets Sophie! She barks and barks - bad training or the nature of a Cocker Spaniel?  So far all of our neighbours are very understanding - they, too, have a dog or two.

This blanket is a great example of knitting and walking - all the squares were completed while the dogs and I were out walking. I did run out of colours, so as a dementia blanket this worked really well. The patients really appreciate the textures of the two yarns and the colours. It is really light, while being warm and washable.

I do not recommend colour work or lace work. My crochet skills do not yet allow me to walk and crochet - I am working on it.

It is still warm enough to walk and knit - at least until tomorrow, when it may not be. We will(?) have warmer weather before the snow stays for winter.

This is a wonderful time to start thinking of quick gifts to work on for stocking stuffers or gifts for Christmas. I know, everyone groans when I say this, but with our family, if I do not start now, I will not be completed on time.

There are so many wonderful yarns to use to make gifts for loved ones in the store, with more arriving soon.

The Crafty Lady has added a number of patterns to the sale section. These are patterns for discontinued yarns, or yarns we can no longer get. They are really great patterns, but they are now at 25% off - come in and browse. There are patterns for toys, sweaters for all ages, home accessories, hats, scarves, etc. Come in and browse.

Speaking of sales - this week's special 75% off yarn - would be great for a quick, soft toque or pair of fingerless gloves. This yarn has a little bit of haze adding to its appeal.

Luxury Soft DK
51% nylon, 25% wool, 24% acrylic
Reg. $5.00
75% off 

Buy it all and have a very inexpensive, beautiful gift!

Written by Anne, as I enjoy my stash yarns for gifting this year! (All purchased in store)