Monday, December 30, 2019

End of a decade - End of an era - Transition of a dream . . .

The first customer in the store last Saturday, commented "it is so sad to see the brick and mortar closing - it is the end of an era". They were so relieved to hear Lori (aka The Crafty Lady) is going to transition to an on-line store and then transition to a pop-up store.

Continue to follow The Crafty Lady on Facebook at  Lori will be informing friends and customers where she will be - when. You can/and will continue to be able to message her on Facebook and order from the on-line store

Shopping in the basement of Home Hardware when Lori first opened The Crafty Lady was a great time for my children.

There were model and paint kits, construction sets and YARN!

My daughter always spent her allowance in the ribbons and trims section.

When Lori expanded and moved into the Main street location, she added new and different products including pergamano and quilling supplies. She has had paper tole; rosemaling; artists supplies - brushes, canvas, frames and paints; beading tools and supplies as well as stitching supplies. She had more room, but no storage. I was always surprised when a customer would feel the single ball in a dye lot, then open the full bag underneath and take 1 from the new dye lot? ? Really ? ?

I have a good friend who has given me a number of beautiful quilled pieces, she purchased many of her supplies here.

About 18 months ago, we transitioned from Main Street to Main Avenue (Hwy 12), changing inventory on a regular basis over the 25 years The Crafty Lady has been in business.

My daughter still embroiders pillowcases. This set only took her about 10 years, as every two or three stitches she had to change colours or the blend. Like many crafty people, she would pick it up and work on these for a week or two, get really frustrated and put them away for a couple of months. Then repeat the process. I really appreciate the work/dedication which goes into every set. 

I also really appreciate the commitment Lori has shown to our crafty customers over the years as the store has evolved. Lori and family have been involved in the community since they moved to Lacombe.

The Crafty Lady has been a teacher to so many wonderful people over the years. If you have not learned something today, just come in for a couple of hours and I suspect (bet) you will learn something.  Margaret and I have been told Lori may continue to do lessons as time allows, just message her on Facebook or e-mail her, she will meet you for coffee and a lesson.

After the store closes Knit Night will continue!!! When a friend first tried to talk me into coming to Knit Night - quite honestly I was not a fan of the concept - More Fool Me! Now it is one the highlights of my week - and what happens at Knit Night STAYS at Knit Night 😉😉

There will be 5 Knit Nights before the store closes - 🙋 Join us . . .

As The Crafty Lady transitions, the sale is on-going! We ARE accepting special orders on yarns The Crafty Lady will be continuing to carry.

Just a reminder we will be closed at 4 p.m. on New Year's Eve and closed all New Year's Day. Celebrate safely so we can see each other in the new year! 

May 2020 bring ongoing success to The Crafty Lady as we transition into a new decade!

Written by Anne, Wishing everyone a Safe, Healthy, Happy New Year!🎆🎆

Monday, December 23, 2019

An Origin Story

It will be just shy of 26 years when the door to the brick and mortar store closes to the public for the last time, but it won’t necessarily be a sad day. Just one door closing so another one can open in its place.
As I mentioned a short while ago, the store has already gone through a few changes so what is one or two more?  I found a few pictures from the humble beginnings in the basement of Nowco Home Hardware as well as some from the building most of you recognize as ‘the craft store’.

As a retired school teacher many people wondered whatever possessed me to open a craft store. Retail and education do not necessarily go hand in hand. My answer was simple. I broke my circular needle.

??? You broke a needle so you opened a store???  I don’t get it.

When I finally got tired of dealing with hormone driven teenagers in my former life, I came home to work in the family business. Outside of work hours I was busy crafting because I was no longer spending my personal time grading students’ work. The hundreds of stitches wide blanket was worked on a 40” circular needle and took a full hour to complete four rows. When I was in the middle of one of those rows, I felt the blanket go slack then noticed that one of the ends had detached itself from the cord!

I quickly taped the two ends together and went on a frantic search for a new needle. Wildflower Creations didn't have circular needles. Woolworth's didn't have the size I needed. I drove  to Lewiscraft in Red Deer to finally get the needle, all the while muttering that Lacombe was big enough for a real craft store. So with a little research and a slightly bigger loan, The Crafty Lady was born. Don't you love the original colour scheme?

I'm not sure how many of you have ever been in the basement of Nowco Hardware but the picture below shows Mom and Dad helping me get it ready for the boxes and boxes of stock that showed up Feb 14, 1994.

The newspaper article shows the whole Nowco and Crafty crew sitting on the stairs that led to the basement that housed both The Crafty Lady and the toy section.

Nestled into one side of the basement, the original location was smaller (and shorter at 7ft) than the current location. The silver bins were waiting patiently for yarn while the white gondolas were waiting for things like raffia, pompoms and whatever else was popular back in 1994. The opening you see behind the silver bins was the L-shaped storage area.

Since everything is on sale right now,
I just want to emphasize that
all things stitching must go!
This is a great time to stock up on floss,
blending filament and fabric because
I am not reordering any of it.
written by Lori, happy TCL owner who can't wait to have all the products re-entered into the new online store. I'll sleep for a week after it's done (if allowed).

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas memories ⭐

As Margaret noted  last week, families have memories and traditions tied to Christmas. Society seems to have agreed families "should" get together, eat and celebrate, play games and visit.

I have a sincere problem with the word "should" and would like to remove it from our vocabulary. We can stop "shoulding" on ourselves and each other. Say it out-loud, I hope you can hear the guilt implied when we say or read "should". We can choose to, choose not to, will/will not do, might/might not do, can/can not do. etc.

This is a really interesting idea I am forwarding from one of our customers:

Mom and daughter (daughter and granddaughter) were in last week wanting to build a 'memory lantern'. They had an old candle lantern 'grandpa' had used during power outages. They were going to adapt the idea with a rocking chair, a Christmas tree, and a couple of old family photos - miniaturised. This will be a gift for their grandmother. Grandpa died just a couple of months ago.

They were going to write on the glass, use a chair from an old doll house, add a mini set of lights and were looking for miniature presents to put under the tree. We found some very small buttons that will work well. The granddaughter was going to make a very small photo album - just a couple of pictures to put in the chair.

What an thoughtful gift to a new widow. I can feel Mom and granddaughter honouring wonderful treasured memories created over many years.

Image may contain: plantFor those of us who have families moved away, no longer part of our community, and those who have out-lived all their family - this can be a very lonely season.

It is hard to create new memories for those who are alone, or have lost someone in the past year. As some of us older people know, the first year is the hardest. Friends and families often avoid bringing the up the subject thinking they are being kind.

Suggestions from survivors:
  • create new traditions - i.e. a lantern
  • set an extra plate at the table and invite a neighbour/friend from church who will be alone
  • change the decorations - put only some out or start anew with new decorations
  • volunteer at a soup kitchen - find ways to gift to others
  • bring out the photo albums, tell stories (this is one of my favourites)
  • make a donation (any size) to a charity they believed in and put the card on the tree so all can share
  • do a craft when you first gather i.e. bake cookies, go for a family walk 
Another way to celebrate, create new memories is to give IOU's or Gift Certificates (only if you truly will honour them) to take Grandma out to dinner once a month, or to a camp-out in the summer. This works for so many ideas, find one that works for your family.

Speaking of memories, the first time I visited The Crafty Lady was at Easter, just a couple of months after the store opened! We had a cabin at Gull. Over the last 25 years, it was such a trill to be able to buy yarn/needles for me and craft projects for my four children. We invested in building kits, stitching projects and I think we even had a couple of painting projects over the years. This is one of the memories we discuss every year.

My children are all grown now and have moved away from this area, but my daughter cross-stitches and knits. I am passing on patterns from my grandmother - to carry on the crafting tradition. Now that my nieces and nephews are getting married, crafting heirloom blankets has become the wedding gift for some of them.

These are truly a labour of love - as the original pattern has you make the squares then pick up and knit two rows on every side of every square! There are 39 squares - times 10 ends? Really? I do not think so. Therefore I have amended the pattern in a number of ways i.e.crocheting the edges.

One of the traditions my mother started just after our father died was annual photo on The Couch. This couch was a hand made wedding present to my grandparents - stuffed with horsehair. It has been recovered 4 times over its 100+ years. As far back as I can remember, there has been a hand-knit afghan on it.

The closing of the "brick and mortar" store is the loss of a different kind of dream for me. I know this sounds a bit selfish, as I have finally found my dream job. I have worked in a number of different industries and environments. About 5/6 years ago I left a position working for a slightly OCD supervisor, who reported to a micro-manager, who reported to a person new in their position - who was trying very hard to follow the rules. The second layer to this onion - management were trying to phase out my position - going to work was always a tad stressful, to say the least.

Then The Crafty Lady asked if I would help during inventory and I would not go away. I kept coming back. I have learned so very much working here, I have made some wonderful friends, renewed older friendships!! I have been so very lucky to have been allowed to work/learn and enjoy working here.

This really is going to be an interesting transition - Please follow Lori/The Crafty Lady on Facebook as she transitions the store to on-line, and then to a pop-up store!

And remember Christmas is only one day, you can celebrate the season any day!

Hoping you have finished most of your Christmas projects. We have a great selection of colours for your felting projects.

Everything in the store is now at least 5% off! 

Products Lori is not planning on carrying forward are all 25% off. 

All stitching (including floss, tapestry wool, buttons, Aida cloth) is 25%. The Knit Pick needles and accessories are all 25% off. We currently have some needle kits and a good selection of cords.

Oh, I almost forgot BOOKS, BOOKS and MORE BOOKS
 25% Off 
This is a great time to add to your pattern library!

As this will be my last opportunity to do this, this year - Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and health, family, and peace in 2020.

written by Anne, still knitting on a Star Wars toque hoping to have it under the tree. We will see . . . 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Hung by the Chimney with Care...

How are your Holiday preparations coming along?  The first night of Hanukkah is two weeks away -- and Christmas Eve is a hop, skip and jump past that.  Whoa!

The Feast of St. Nicholas was just a couple of days ago...and communities all over rural Alberta are readying their halls for the annual visit from Santa.

According to Wikipedia, the tradition of the Christmas stocking is thought to originate with St. Nicholas, even though there are no written records about that connection.  But one of the legends about the good Saint -- the one wherein he secretly leaves a dowry for each of three daughters of a poor townsman, so that they would be able to be married and have some sort of future security -- sometimes involves the idea that he left the dowry (gold coins) in their stockings at night while they slept.

Nowadays, there is a tradition of leaving 3 gold balls -- or perhaps an orange -- in the bottom of a  child's Christmas stocking, symbolizing that gift from St. Nicholas.  Certainly, when I was a kid growing up in the fifties, oranges were not common place in the grocery stores in the winter -- but we seemed to always get one in our stockings at Christmas, a tradition I carried on with my own children, even though at the time I had no idea why.

By the time my children came along, mandarin oranges -- never heard of except in tinned form when I was younger -- were in the stores at this time of year, so sometimes we used those oranges instead of the "regular" ones which, by the nineteen eighties, were available pretty much all year 'round.

Several years ago now, friends of my daughter were expecting their first child.  I offered to make the baby a Christmas stocking, and asked the parents if they preferred quilted or knitted versions.  They chose a knitted stocking, which I made, and a few years later, followed up with another one for their second child.

Pattern: Scandinavian Stocking
Designer: Donna Kay

Later, another family chose quilted stockings for their progeny, which I happily made...but you can guess, can't you, which children like their stockings more?  After all knitted stockings stretch to accommodate what's put in them... 😉  Just sayin'!

As Lori mentioned in her post last week, there are no longer any "Super Special Sales" on offer at The Shop...but each week for the next month or two we'll endeavour to feature one of the yarns that is on sale.

Though it's highly unlikely that you'll manage to knit up a Christmas stocking between now and December 24th...this week we're featuring the ideal sock yarn, whether for hanging on the mantel with care or wearing on your tootsies, especially if you can't abide wool:

A Trio of Synthetic Sock Yarns!

Regular Prices: $10.50 to $12.00

Sale prices: 25% OFF!
$7.88 to $9.00

Berocco Comfort Sock

100 grams = 409 metres (447 yards)
50% Nylon
50% Acrylic

Available in solid colours and self-striping combinations

Universal Yarns Little Bird Colors

100 grams = 315 metres (344 yards)
100% Acrylic


Wisdom Yarns Allegro

100 grams = 430 metres (470 yards)
93% Acrylic
7% Polyester

While a single ball of any one of these will make a fine pair of socks for an average-sized adult...if you're planning to make a full-on Christmas might want three or four!  😉

Don't forget that sock yarn works well for other things too.  As a fingering weight yarn, it can be used for shawls, gloves, mittens, hats, cowls...whatever your fancy.

And now a reminder: Our 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.

See you in the shop!

*Written by Margaret, who squeezed this blog post in between finishing one gift sock and starting another.  'Tis the Season!

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Next Chapter

The Next Chapter

You are going to be noticing a number of changes in the upcoming months. Due to the current economic climate in Alberta, The Crafty Lady (the store) will be transitioning from brick and mortar to click and order ( Many of your favourites will continue to be offered but many will fall by the wayside - either because of the import costs or because they are offered online by the 'parent' company. For example, Knit Picks sells directly to you online so I will discontinue the sale of Knit Picks products in my online store.

Another change will be in this blog. Anne and Margaret have been doing a wonderful job on the blog these past few years (and Anna before them) and they are all professional writers. I am not. Unless one or more of them choose to guest/ghost write on occasion, you will notice a clear difference in the way I write and the frequency with which I write. With all the upcoming changes, I may skip a week or two but I will always endeavour to publish Monday mornings and be at least somewhat entertaining in my subject matter.

One thing I pray never changes is the passion and pride with which The Crafty Lady serves the creative community. The fledgling online store will be down for maintenance in the near future in an endeavour to bring our customers a more user friendly platform (that you will recognize if you’ve shopped online with us prior to us having this current version) while I replace my current POS/online provider. (See "Can't get to the store?" halfway down to the right of this blog.)

Changes happen. We adapt. Life goes on. I am looking forward to the challenges the new chapter brings to my life. I regret only one thing - you won’t be able to visit and pet the yarn.

Which brings us to the SALE OF THE WEEK section.
There won't be any sales of the week for a while because we will be having a

Image result for sale signs

(everything from 5% - 25 % off)

Just like when we moved from our previous location on the actual Main Street, we don't want to have a lot of stock to move, so there will be great savings throughout the store. As mentioned above, some items are being phased out while others are following us to the online store. Guess which ones will be at a higher discount. 😉

For those of you who have special orders that you're waiting for, we haven't forgotten about you. As soon as they are available to us, we will have them for you! We hope to be calling you ASAP.

All gift cards, store credits, etc will still be honoured. The Crafty Lady will be around for a long time, just not downtown Lacombe.

written by Lori, CL owner, who has mixed feelings but is excited for the future.