Monday, November 25, 2019

Something Old, Something New...

My memories of Christmas as a kid in the nineteen-fifties are starting to fade a bit, more than sixty years on.  Most now are snapshots of moments in time, such as that of the lo-o-o-ong dining room table -- with all the leaves in use -- covered with a linen cloth and laid with the best bone china, silver and crystal; lit tapers in silver candle sticks; silver and china serving dishes with silver ladles, large spoons or forks; the fat gravy boat and two glass dishes of home-made cranberry sauce -- and the piece de resistance -- The Bird -- on an enormous platter at my dad's place, with carving equipment nearby.

Then there was the tree, laden with gifts (the 'Santa Gifts' didn't appear till Christmas morning, but the others teased and tempted under the evergreen for a good week before The Day) and adorned with tinsel (the kind you had to throw on and spent the rest of the year finding in the upholstery, under the carpet and inside your clothes!), colourful lights, and the most beautiful glass ornaments.  I still have two glass Santas from that time, and as an adult with my own children, managed to acquire some replacements for the original glass balls and globes that hadn't stood the test of time.

"Vintage" ornaments -- too new to be antiques but old enough to stir the heart and rekindle memories -- seem to have increased in popularity in recent years, like so many other "old" items, including furniture styles, some clothing styles, dishware and crockery...and remakes or "returns" to favourite film subjects such as Mary Poppins (who 'Returns'), Peter Pan (through Wonderland, the story of its author, James Barrie), Beatrix Potter and this year, Mr. Rogers.

We long for what nostalgia convinces us were kinder, gentler, simpler times, more innocent times -- whether or not that was really the case!

To some extent the continuing surge of interest in quilting, embroidery, weaving, felting, crochet and knitting is part of this hankering for something simpler, slower, seemingly more 'authentic' (to use a word that is in danger of serious over-use!)

The Cambridge English dictionary defines 'vintage' thus: "[something] of high quality and lasting value, or showing the best and most typical characteristics of a particular type of thing, especially from the past" -- and anything hand-made, created over time and with love and care -- seems to me to fit that definition.

Those of us who knit or crochet are well aware of this, and so we take care to make items that will be loved, worn and passed down -- even if all that is left of them is a memory: baby blankets, mittens, scarves, cowls, shawls, hats, booties, baby garments, even stocks.  And yarn-crafters love to make them with good quality yarn -- something warm, colourful, and reasonably easy to care for.

That's why this week we offer you something that fits that bill.  These yarns are "orphans" -- the last of their dye lot or colour-way -- skeins of a classic wool-synthetic blend that combines warmth and easy care with comfort and superb stitch definition.

In other words, it's "Vintage"!

Two weights on offer:

Vintage DK

100 grams = 265 metres (290 yards)

52% Acrylic
40% Wool
8% Nylon


Vintage Chunky

100 grams = 124 metres (136 yards)

50% Acrylic
40% Wool
10% Nylon

Regular price (either weight): $11.50 per skein

Sale Price: $2.88!

Limited colour selection and limited quantities in both weights...but a little goes a long way!  A single skein of the DK version will make a hat or a pair of adult-sized gloves or mittens, a cozy cowl, a cute baby sweater -- even a pair of socks.  Even with less than 125 metres per skein, the same thing can be said of the chunky weight.

This year, the first night of Hanukkah begins at sundown December 22.  Christmas Eve is two nights later.  You still have a month to make those last-minute knit or crocheted items for the festive season, and we're here to help.

See you in the Shop!

NOTE: Christmas Store Hours will be our regular 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday,
except Thursday which is 9am-9pm as usual.
We will close early Christmas Eve (exact time will depend on foot traffic)
and we will be closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

*Written by Margaret, who loves to knit with Vintage yarns and vintage patterns.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Moonlight Madness - Nov. 21!!

Moonlight Madness
has affected 
The Crafty Lady!

Considering the full moon was actually November 12, The Crafty Lady is having a 3 hour sale!

While you are wandering in the moonlight; drop in to see us. 😉

Moonlight Madness/Light Up the Night scheduled  events and activities for the whole family are exciting! For me - the first and most interesting - will be the Art Market, Christmas Gift and Craft Show at the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC) from 4 - 10 p.m.. If you have not started your Christmas shopping - this will be the place to kick it off with interesting, creative, artistic thoughtful gifts.

NEW this year will be the a great idea: Santa's workshop. 'This is new and exciting shopping experience for your littles, 12 and under. Thanks to partnerships with several Lacombe businesses and the volunteers with Lacombe Pathfinders, your children can enjoy a chance to shop for someone special in their lives. From mom and dad to brothers and sisters, and even their favourite furry friend. All gifts are $10 and under. With the help of Lacombe’s Pathfinder troop your child will be able to maintain the Christmas surprise.'  *quote: Lacombe Tourism's website

Wandering the Downtown area prior to the Santa Parade from about 5:30 will be a group of carollers inviting you to sing along, and then you can warm up at St. Andrew's United Church with cookies and carollers from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

The Crafty Lady Moonlight Madness specials include:

  • Sale Area - an extra 25% off for a total of 50% off
  • 10% off ALL Berroco AND Red Heart yarns
  • 25% off all stitching supplies (except the two New Christmas patterns)
  • 25% off all fasteners
  • 50% all ribbons and trims

Extra Sale: buy one book from the front of store - Get one book from the sale section FREE

Moonlight Madness is from 6 - 9 p.m. ONLY!

There will be no carry over to Friday and/or Saturday, so start your planning now, and make your special Christmas gifts.

Posted by Anne, my shopping list is planned! Projects are underway, and I am knitting by the light of the moon. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

There's Something About Stripes...

NORO Silk Garden
Photo: NORO website
For the last several years, yarn that's been "space dyed" -- that is, dyed with spaces between colour runs that are either a different colour or are left white -- has been very popular with yarn-crafters.  Sometimes the yarns are created by hand-painting them, and sometimes the dye 'recipe' is carefully planned and the dyeing method and equipment calibrated to create a specific pattern, from clear-cut stripes, to jacquard or Fair Isle imitations, to slightly blurred tonal effects.

One of the pioneer creators of  "self-striping" yarn is Eisaku Noro, whose unique methods are still in practice -- and from whom other yarn makers were inspired to travel down the same colourful rabbit hole.

Pattern: First Fair Isle Anything
Designer: Irene Ramalho
Yarn: Katia "Darling" (coloured)
and Patons Kroy Sock (black)
However they're made or by whom, these yarns hold a fascination for yarn-crafters.  They provide an endless source of  "what next?" to those knitting or crocheting otherwise plain garments, like socks or mitts or hats.  They inject interesting colour combinations into projects that use solid colours -- especially black -- in contrast.  And they make us want to keep on working on the given project long after fatigue or boredom might have set in, long after we should be somewhere else, and/or long after bed-time.  "Just one more row!  I want to see how this turns out!"  😊

As a dedicated sock knitter, I simply love knitting socks with yarn that creates stripes or patterns.  I use a variation of the Sock Recipe from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Kniting Rules, and I never fail to be entertained.

Here are some examples:

Yarn: Online Supersocke 6-fach Arizona Color
Pattern: A Good Sock Recipe - Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Tirol
Pattern: A Good Sock Recipe - Stephanie P-M

Trekking Socks
Pattern: EJ Slayton for Brown Sheep Company, Inc.

See what I mean?  Such fun!  And with the changes you make -- in number of stitches, in knitting style -- in the round versus back-and-forth for the heel flap, and turning the heel and shaping the toe -- the effect of the dye run or painted sections changes.

You never know what to expect!  This year, I'm knitting socks for my kids for Christmas (yet again).  I've selected yarn from Ancient Arts called "Reinvent" (because it includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink) -- from their "Meow" and "Woof" line, honouring animals.  My son has two "tuxedo" cats (black and white) and my daughter, a Maine Coon.  I started with the socks for my son, casting on 72 stitches per my usual for his feet, and using my favourite 2.75 mm (US 2 +/-) needles.


First off, what resulted was...zebra stripes!  

And...they were ginormous. (That is, totally huge!)

For the second sock, I down-sized to 64 stitches...and this is the result:

Ah-h-h-h-h...much better -- and more like a "tuxedo" cat!  What a difference reducing the number of stitches can make with this sort of yarn!  And look again at that second sock.  D'you see the heel flap and gusset area around the ankle?  See how different it is from the rest of the sock?  That occurs, of course, because in that area the stitches are divided up for the heel flap, and then picked up and knit again for the gusset and then around and down the foot -- till you get to the decreases at the toe, where the colour pattern changes again.

Any wonder that self-striping or patterning yarn is such a delight to work with?!

That's why this week -- for our Super Special Sale -- we're offering you a sport/light DK weight striping yarn that would make beautiful items for Christmas giving:

from Louisa Harding

80% wool
20% silk
50 grams = 250 metres (273 yards)

Regular Price: $14.00

Sale Price: $3.50

Now...with that fibre content, this yarn is not recommended for socks!  But in the short-term, it would make wonderful fingerless mittens, like these ones I made a couple of years ago:

Yarn: Amitola - Colour #109 ("Salsa")
Pattern: Shepherd's Fingerless Mittens
Designer: Brenda Dayne

Or...this cool cowl -- made with one ball (!) from a pattern (a free Ravelry download) aptly entitled "Present".  

Some of our Knit Night "regulars" have been contemplating making the "Alaska" hat designed by Camille Descoteaux -- and at least one Ravelry member has done just that -- using Amitola as the background and white for the contrast colour (353 metres, or one-and-a-half balls).

If you have a longer-term project in mind, you could use Amitola in more than one colour-way to make a very cool cowl -- "The Shift" designed by Andrea Mowry...or perhaps a shawl...such as "Waves of Color", adding contrast yarn to recreate the popular (but challenging!) "Butterfly" or "Papillon" pattern.

Whatever you choose to create -- from the simple to the complex -- we're certain you'll be challenged, delighted, entertained and perhaps even enthralled by the results.  Happy striping!

Oh ... and Passport to Christmas starts today!
Make sure to pick yours up so you can enter to win up to $1500 in Lacombe Bucks!

See you in the shop!

**Written by Margaret, who's quickly re-knitting that first sock to match the second, and loving every stripey minute of it!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cloudy days ahead call for colour!!

Saturday was the "Day of the Dead", the last of three days of celebration. "On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children's altar to invite the angelitos (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations." Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature

Think Colour, bright, interesting colour! For me working with colour on dull/grey days is a gift, as were my ancestors! We sit around the table during many meals a tell stories of our parents, grandparents, and others. Many of these stories, my grandchildren are now familiar with. Canadians tend not to gather and decorate our cemeteries, other than for Remembrance Day. 

My father served during WW 2. He did not discuss much about the action he saw, but did tell stories of some of the interesting things he experienced. One family favourite: August 1943 - his Canadian battalion was sent to Kiska Island, part of the Aleutian Islands. They found food abandoned on the tables. The Canadian forces learned the Japanese had left about 2 weeks  ahead of the Canadians landing - under the cover of fog. Dad's battalion was stationed there for a number of months. 

Canadian forces were camped in 10 man bell tents - similar to the ones in the MASH movie. It was snowing heavily one evening when they all retired. In the morning - the tent my father was in was the only one which they were able to open the door. When Dad et al had hung their door, they hung it to open inwards as opposed to the others which had all been hung to open outward. Check out MASH movie trailers, the doors opened outward so you could evacuate quickly - except after a heavy snowfall. 

So the men in my father's tent had to shovel the other tents out! In 1943, they had very different cold weather gear than we have today. Personally, I would not volunteer to spend a winter in a canvas tent! One more reason to respect the service of our veterans. 

The poppy campaign is in full swing in Lacombe! Please stop and pick up your poppy before Remembrance Day. Just in case you are interested in something other than a poppy - check out the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy store website. There are a number of Legion approved poppy items i.e. permanent beaded poppies, ceramic jewellery and canvas totes. 

So many of the family treasures were hand crafted by family members. Photos are so special. A suggestion for others; please identify the people in your old photos, if possible with a date. We have a very special hand-made photo album from the late 1800's and no one alive today knows who the people in the photos are. The pics were all studio photos, so we will keep looking. 

Hand crafted Christmas gifts are so very special and often treasured for several generations. The Crafty Lady has a wide selection of interesting yarns for Christmas gifts. We just received some very interesting new sock yarns, come in and grab a ball, as they are rolling out the door. 

This week's 75% off special is in very limited quantity, but a beautiful yarn for a quick cowl, scarf, toque or fingerless gloves. 


Big Bamboo 
40 m/50 g
50% Bamboo viscose/30% acrylic/20% wool
Reg. $8.00
75% OFF


 We look forward to inviting you to browse, feel our yarn and tell a story or two.

Posted by Anne, happily crocheting a new project!!