Monday, November 30, 2020

Countdown to Christmas (Projects)

It's that time of year.
Last day of November and you've realized that Christmas is around the corner and, once again, you did not work on Christmas presents every month of the year so you are in the midst of a mad dash for yarn and ideas. Complicated further by the pandemic that has so many people hoarding even when the stores (and their wholesalers) are having trouble stocking their shelves in the first place. (Ask me how I know.)

Lucky for you, even though I may not have everything you think you want in stock, I may have exactly what you need. I have a number of new sock yarns (3 ply and 4 ply) that have recently arrived, with more to come, that can be used to make socks (obviously), gloves or mitts, hats, scarves, shawls and even baby sweaters. (You can further support local by purchasing my very own patterns, many of which are single ball patterns, for the above mentioned projects!)

I have also recently brought in wood sock blockers. I personally don't use them for anything other than 'production photos' but many people swear by them for their handknit creations. I have two adult sizes as well as a small child size which I'm considering using for Christmas decorations.

For those very last minute gifts, my stock of cotton for dishcloths has been replenished.

And for a little levity while you're frantically finishing your projects, I 'borrowed' the Christmas Knitting Bingo card from Yarnspirations. I may no longer deal with them because they want to sell to you directly, but they still have some fun ideas occasionally.


written by Lori, rushed TCL owner, whose reason for the blog being late today is because I was working on some Christmas socks into the wee hours of the morning and forgot to write the blog. 😉



Monday, November 23, 2020

The Big Blanket That Won't Go Away

I'm not sure how many years ago the arm knitting craze started but it was an enjoyable task to teach non-knitters how to knit without having to purchase tools, only yarn. In the beginning, all that was expected of a person was to hold multiple strands of yarn together, regardless of weight or texture, (in fact the more weights, textures and colours, the better) and with a little 'in out over' magic, one could create a scarf in under an hour.

Then someone decided that a blanket arm knit with merino roving would be a great idea.

Since closing the brick and mortar store I have misplaced our handy pattern plus price tag for the 'special order only' yarn that we had at our disposal but I still have the story that went with it which goes a little something like this.

Customer: I'd like to arm knit a blanket.

Me (or Margaret or Anne) holding up pattern: Like this one?

Customer: Exactly!

Me: No. You don't.

Customer (perplexed): Why not?

Me with my finger indicating the price highlighted in neon yellow marker: Because it will cost you this much ($$$) to make it and then after you've used it a little while, you're just going to throw it away because you can't wash it.

Customer (eyes bugged out and gasping): |How ... Wha-... Why?

Me: Because the roving will pill or pull apart while you are working with it. Then it will pill even more and get dirty when you use it and if you try to wash it in the washing machine, it will either fall apart or felt to the size of a very expensive dog bed.

Determined Customer: So I can wash it if I'm really careful and hand wash it?

Me: Oh. You CAN hand wash it. In the bathtub. And when you try to take it out of the tub, it will be like wrestling a drunk St. Bernard. And then you'll have to lay it out on a rug or bed somewhere for 6 weeks just to dry it out. And even then there's no guarantee it will ever look remotely close to the beautiful picture you saw and wanted to re-create.

Customer: Maybe show me some yarn for socks ...

Can you tell I've been getting more requests for the supplies to make these blankets? While I prefer to use my humorous approach to deter the eager person who believes they're up for the challenge, some require a more down to earth approach. So, for the more serious explanation, here is a video I found recently on YouTube from The Woolery.


It's amazing what happens to that squishy blanket when a beloved pet gets ahold of it.

Oh. I almost forgot! Make sure you pee before you get started 'cause you can't take it with you to the bathroom halfway through!

So the moral of the story is - If you want to make a quick gift out of yarn, arm knit a scarf.

written by Lori, bewildered TCL owner, who can't believe there are still so many people who haven't figured out how impractical these blankets are.

Monday, November 16, 2020

 The classes are finally ready to go!!!!!!

Please note that these classes are broken down into one hour sessions to allow for homework between sessions. (The webpage says differently at the time of this publication. We're fixing that.) Two of them are before Christmas so you'll have new ideas for gifts or, at the very least, new ways to create those gifts you already had in mind. The class in January will also require you to crochet but I will be teaching two ways to make the hat so learning crochet on the fly won't be intimidating.

I have taught many of these techniques in my classes at Creativ Festivals in Sherwood Park and Calgary, but my students there have never had the privilege of creating a complete project. Nor have they had the opportunity to pick and choose between materials and tools to purchase right there in the class! (Cash and debit/credit will be accepted.)

Due to physical distancing requirements, class size is limited so make sure to sign up early!

written by Lori, excited TCL owner, who can't wait to get back into the classroom.

Monday, November 9, 2020

It's Happening!

By the time you read this, the pop up store will be at Sunrise RV where Brad will be working his magic and making my vision of a dual purpose kitchen counter a reality!

At the same time, Rosanna at LPAC (the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre) will be finalizing the class schedule for this winter. The first class should be November 26! As soon as they are posted on their website, I will be sharing them here and on Facebook.

Other than those two fantastic pieces of news, I got nothin' this week. Must be the snow affecting my brain.

Written by Lori, excited yet brain-dead TCL owner, who hopes everyone has a great week and drives safely out there.

Monday, November 2, 2020

No More Bottleneck!

 So last week you were all privy to the deconstruction happening in the pop up store. This week you get to see some of the reconstruction. It might not look like much but by the time the pop up reopens in the spring, I may be allowed to have multiple customers at one time and a 4' wide aisle will be appreciated by all.

The kitchen counter to the left is obviously missing a few things - a countertop, a sink, an oven, a drawer - but those will all be back in place soon enough.

What has been gained is visible in the drawing below (courtesy of SketchUp, an amazing FREE drawing app that has become indispensable in my world). The dotted line indicates where the offending peninsula was located. Aside from a few screw holes in the floor, you would never know it existed just a few short weeks ago.

I've done pretty much all I can do on this project and this fall/winter I will be handing the remainder of the work off to the professionals at Sunrise RV.

What, oh what, will I do with my 'free' time you ask? Exactly what I hope the rest of you are doing - working on Christmas projects and working, which for me means filling all my online orders.



written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who is satisfied with the progress so far and can't wait to show off the renovations in person to all my customers.

Monday, October 26, 2020

And So It Begins

I have had a few phone calls this week asking where the pop up store is and I've been telling most of the callers that it is in hibernation. If I know the caller well enough, I tell them it's winterized and I'm not sitting somewhere from 10am to 4pm with nowhere to pee.

In actuality, this is what it currently looks like.

In the background, you can see the stove and the sink/tap, and on the floor to the left, you see part of the countertop. I've managed to loosen most of the walls of the kitchen counter base but I have more work to do. By the time you read this, I will already be out in the rv trying to remove the entire counter from the wall just so I can get at the bottom screws that hold the two counter pieces together. Once that is done, the saw comes out and the walkway is on its way to becoming much wider both for customers (when the rv is a store) and for Mom, Myles and myself (when the three of us feel like taking off for parts unknown).

I am still waiting on LPAC to let me know when the classes are scheduled so stay tuned for that information. I'm looking forward to teaching again. Without the Creativ Festivals this September, I felt a little lost. As an introvert, I would find myself equally drained and energized by the rush from class to class. I guess until the schedule is set, I get to try to create that feeling by renovating the pop up.

written by Lori, TCL owner, who hopes to still have enough undamaged fingers to teach those classes during renovations.

Monday, October 19, 2020

When the S___ Hits the ______

 What happens to you when the snow first makes its appearance in the fall?

I mean, I know we all - as crafters - take it as a signal that if we haven't got our Christmas presents started, we'd better get our butts in gear! But, you as a person. What does it do to you?

A Facebook friend posted this survey on what type of animal you are based on your sleep patterns and, most of the time, I'm a wolf. Since the snow hit the ground though, I've turned into a bear. Not the bear from the survey though. The kind that hibernates.


Don't get me wrong. I've been getting plenty of stuff done. But because the days are dull and the sun is setting so early and the lazy swirl of a light snowfall just make me want to curl up under a cozy blanket and sleep, getting stuff done takes a lot of effort.

Even Mom, the resident energizer bunny, had a 3 hour nap after church this Sunday! She's actually looking forward to having enough of the white stuff on the ground to go out and shovel just so she has something to do! This could be a lo-ong winter.

Luckily, I do have a lot of projects lined up for the winter months, most of which require me to leave the house and, most of which will make shopping with The Crafty Lady even easier. It was pointed out to me this week that 8 skeins of floss were going to cost over $200 in shipping to be mailed to the north end of Lacombe so I have to have a long 'chat' with my online store program because it obviously hasn't been 'listening' to my instructions. I think comparatively it will be much easier to renovate the rv but both things need to happen so I won't be hibernating even though the desire will be there.

Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy the power dips the gentle snowfalls cause and also power through all the projects that need to be completed before it too late.

written by Lori, snoozy TCL owner, who just needs to resist the urge to sleep all day. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

Lazy Days and Mondays

 Not the exact lyrics of The Carpenters song but I hope you sang it just the same. 😃


For all my Canadian readers (if I have non-Canadian readers, let me know) Happy Thanksgiving! Mom and I will be having a quiet Thanksgiving meal with three of our cohorts followed by a not so quiet card game as per normal when we get together. Except for the extra food prep, it really will be a lazy day.

I find I have a lot to be thankful for this year but what stands out for me most is that, even with COVID doing its best to mess with the way we do things, I still have what matters most in my life. I have my home, my family, my friends, my livelihood, ... we've merely adapted to make things work.

So much occurs online now.

Church and Bible study were online and, if the second wave gets out of control, it can revert to online.

Knit night is online. We joke that the side benefit to Zoom knit night is that since we don't have to worry about driving home we can drink whatever beverage we choose.

If you are unable to spend time with family and friends in person today, find a way to join them virtually, even if only for a few minutes. It will be good for your soul. And, yes, the phone counts!

written by Lori, soon-to-be-overstuffed TCL owner, who wishes you all a wonderful Thanksgiving day, however you choose to celebrate.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Where Does the Time Go?


 Is it odd that I was only one day into my 'online only' winter schedule and I completely lost track of time? Even Mom and Myles were thrown off by the fact that I was around the house more. Myles usually gets his treats 4-4:30pm-ish when I get home from the pop up location at LPAC and he was begging for them when Mom and I got back into the house at 11:30am after reinforcing a wonky shelving unit in the warehouse on Thursday.

Friday morning was spent prepping for my winter series of classes at LPAC before presenting the classes at a meeting in the afternoon. The remainder of the day was spent knitting demos for those classes. Mom swore up and down that it felt like Saturday all day and she was right. It DID feel like Saturday, which made Saturday feel like Sunday except that we didn't go to church. And because I played for both church services on 'actual' Sunday, it felt like I had already put the RV into hibernation for over a week and it had only been four days!

So, other than constantly checking the date on my phone or my Fitbit, I've decided to keep track of my days in a different way. Mom and I are going to Bible study on Monday evenings and, until classes start, there is Virtual Knit Night on Thursday evenings. Even though I know I have directionally weak tendons in my wrist making it difficult to play three games in a row, I'm joining my mom and brother in the senior - yes I said senior - bowling league on Thursdays. If that isn't enough to keep my days straight, I will have to add more non-work activities to my list.

Speaking of classes and work, I will be posting the upcoming class schedule as soon as it is finalized with the LPAC administration. All classes will be designated experienced beginner - you only need to know how to knit and purl. One class will require basic crochet knowledge as well. I will be teaching you everything else you need to know. Because of physical distancing requirements, class sizes are limited so register early!

written by Lori, time-lagged TCL owner, who can't wait to get onto a 'real' schedule asap!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Hybrid Socks?


 During the inaugural summer of The Crafty Lady's pop up store, I knew it would be a little slow until customers found me in my new digs so (as I've mentioned before) I brought my sock knitting machine along to keep me occupied in the slow times. I still haven't experimented with the ribber but I have been making a lot of tubular sock blanks. Some of them have been with yarn I have for sale (so customers can see what the yarn looks like worked up) and some have been with my stash yarn. I alternate between store and stash yarn because I want to have one long continuous tube so I don't have to start a fresh tube from scratch - it can get messy.

But what can you do with a tube of sock yarn, you ask?

First and foremost, if you are working with a self patterning yarn, you can find all the places where the manufacturers joined new yarn ends in the most inappropriate places before you knit your actual sock. And if it isn't a self patterning yarn, it will help you find all the slubs and other imperfections that may affect the wearer's comfort. Who wants a knot in the middle of your arch?

Second, if you know that you usually use 80% of your 100g ball to make a pair of socks, you can use the information above to determine where to stop and start your two socks so that they are either identical or fraternal twins without wasting a boatload of yarn. You can now work straight from the tube and knit (or crochet) your favourite pattern without hesitation. It doesn't even have to be a sock! It could be mitts or gloves!

Third, you can make hybrid socks (machine and hand knit) using afterthought toes and heels. This method requires a little math but nothing too hard. For instance, I have been using a pointy looking afterthought toe/heel on these tubes that are ~2" long that decrease 4 stitches every two rounds until I reach 16 stitches (total 776 sts). Since the sock machine has 60 hooks, that is ~13 rounds of knitting (total 780 sts). I count back 15 rows (14 if there is a meter-ish long tail) from the raw edge - yes, it's raw. I'm not going to waste my time casting off something I'm just going to rip back! - use a fine (2.25mm) circular needle to run a lifeline, then frog down to the lifeline, making a nice neat little ball in the process. Knit your toe using this little ball of yarn. With my personal gauge, I use a 3mm needle to match the gauge of the machine. Others may need to go down a size or two.

Your heel can be made exactly the same way. Make sure to get an exact measurement of your toe length. Multiply it by 2 and subtract that number from the total desired length of your sock. For example, my foot is 9" long. With my gauge, my 21 row toe is 2" long. 2"x 2 = 4". 9"- 4" = 5" So, 5" from the base of my toe (or 7" from the tip of the toe) is where I run two 30 stitch lifelines centered directly below the toe shaping with one row between them.



Snip the center stitch between the two lifelines and pull back to both edges to reveal 30 live stitches on both lifeline needles. Join your yarn and repeat the toe shaping for the heel.

But where do I get the yarn for the heel? Two possibilities - use a contrasting yarn, or decide how long you want your leg to be and cut your yarn 14-15 rows beyond that and use the yarn for the heel. For my most recent pairs (see final photo), I ended up snipping 23 rows above the top of my leg ribbing because I wanted to start at a full colour repeat.

If you want a plain vanilla sock, decide how much ribbing you want, run a lifeline at the lowest part of the ribbing, and pull back until you have live stitches on the needle(s). When you reach two rows fewer than what you pulled back, cast off. If you have a particular pattern in mind, pull back enough rows to accommodate the number of pattern repeats you would like and finish your sock.


Is this easier than starting your socks from scratch? That all depends on you. All I know is that I can cone and crank two balls of sock yarn in a half hour and I can make two pairs of short socks from one of them for Mom and me in less than a week using this method.

Sadly, I have to admit that there is one drawback to this method. The knitting machine is a left-handed knitter. That means there will be a tiny, mostly imperceptible, hole on one side of the toe since you will be essentially changing directions at that point. In my experience, wrap and turns are more noticeable and don't help.

If there is interest, I would gladly make this 'pattern' a class for this upcoming fall/winter season. Comment below (or on the Facebook post) if you would be interested.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who has been making good use of her downtime.

Monday, September 21, 2020

All Good Things ...

 Shorter days. Smoky skies. Second wave. These are all things that are playing a part in my decision to put the first pop up season to bed until the spring of 2021. The last day will most likely be September 30 but don't let that make you sad. Instead, let that news spur you on to get your last 'yarn squeeze' squeezed in.

I am working on class ideas for the upcoming months, all of which will be held (indoors this time) at LPAC. I am thinking of reprising some of the classes I have held at past Creativ Festivals and Creative Stitches shows but expanding them so that you actually have time to do homework between techniques learned. That should easily fill 10 hours but if you have requests, any and all suggestions are welcome!

I apologize for the brevity of this blog installment. I usually write the blog Sunday evening and yesterday (Sunday) Mom and I spent the entire day with her sister to celebrate her 92nd birthday. The sun was down before we even left Camrose and I only had a few minutes this morning to get this much written before publication time.

So - get in some live shopping these next few days before its all virtual shopping again and stay tuned for class times in the near future.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who enjoyed the weekend with family.


Monday, September 14, 2020

 Due to the increase in customer traffic (YAY!) I am asking that you call with an approximate ETA before coming to shop in the pop up store. Tuesday this past week, I literally had people waiting in line to enter the store. This is great when the weather is nice. You can breathe the fresh air, listen to the birds, and just generally relax before coming in and petting the yarn. However, I know the reason for the uptick in traffic is due to the chill in the air, and that means you would have to sit in your vehicle which, while still do-able, isn’t anywhere near as much fun. And if you show up without an appointment, you may be greeted by this sign at the door. 


Also, because this is the time of year the Farmer’s Markets start shutting down for the season, I may be able to convince LPAC to let me use their parking lot on Saturdays as well until the weather puts a stop to the pop up store. Stay tuned for an update on that. Ideally, you will find me there for the first time on Saturday, September 19 (as stated in last week’s blog) so that Fibre Fest shoppers can take advantage of my proximity to the LMC. I’m still working on a non-hand-drawn map that shows just how close and easy it will be to travel between the two.

Something new this past week - I finally got the DMC Tapestry yarn out of their packing boxes and they now reside in the RV, and wouldn’t you know, I had a call for them the very morning they moved in! The floss will be accompanying them in the overcab storage as early as this Monday. I will also be bringing the very little bit of cross stitch product that is left in the store. It’s hard when all your suppliers retire or change product offerings at the same time. What you see will be what you get - some of it will even be ON SALE! You'll have to come in to find out what.

written by Lori, efficient TCL owner, who is squeezing more and more into the RV every time she turns around.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Procrastination Station

 Procrastination Station is actually the name of a real coffee shop at the University of Massachusetts. No matter. It's almost always where I can be found - no matter where I am. Just ask any of my former staff / co-workers. They'll gladly dish on how I am the most proficient procrastinator they've ever met ;)

That being said, some warehouse organizing had to be put on hold when I found a permanent seasonal spot for the pop up store. The DMC floss has found a permanent home in the warehouse and I was merely waiting for the winter months before I started working on homes for the DMC Tapestry wool and all the pattern books. This past week I discovered that having my inventory online (or at least on the computer) has pushed my plans ahead by a month or three. I am so-o fortunate that it is Labour Day weekend and I have one extra day to work on a project I can no longer procrastinate on.

I mentioned a blog or two ago that I was thinking of, and then finally did, purchase an amazing storage solution from Ikea. It was originally meant for yarn but then I discovered that I could conveniently keep all my DMC in the pop up store without taking up valuable display space. I'm not a fan of Pinterest but I succumbed to its siren call when I realized it would probably be the best place to search other people's storage solutions for floss and tapestry wool. Envelopes. Paper envelopes. They are malleable and exactly the right size for the container and will accommodate a full box worth of floss. Again, this was meant to be a winter project. Turned out to be my Labour Day weekend project and by the end of Monday, all the Tapestry wool will be in its new home and the customer order will be filled and ready to pick up Tuesday.

This is two full days of work and I will probably fill two more storage cases before I'm done Monday night. You can see the almost full case in the bottom photo with a mostly empty case to its right and a full box waiting to be organized further back on the coffee table.

When it is the floss' turn, it won't take up nearly as much space - I hope.

On an entirely different topic, the Prairie Fibre Festival will be taking place at the Lacombe Memorial Centre Saturday, September 19. They are only allowing one pop up store and Under the Elm had already renewed their space from last year. Since I was still in my brick and mortar space last year, customers were just able to walk down the street to shop at my store so I didn't bother with a booth. Guess what? The walk is the same distance to the new pop up location! And - the parking is even better considering I am in a parking lot! Physical distancing rules will be in effect so I'm praying for great weather so you won't mind hanging out while other customers are in the store.

written by Lori, frustrated TCL owner, who was going to post a Google map complete with a directional route between the LMC and the LPAC building but it doesn't understand parking lots as destinations so forget that.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Changing with the Seasons

 How do I know that it's time to start your winter/Christmas projects? The last two weeks have been pretty slow in the pop up store. Either parents are spending all their (extra) money on back to school supplies or gardeners are spending all their time putting up their fruits and veggies by canning or freezing them. Others are getting in their last games of golf or prepping their yards for winter. And all this is happening because there is a chill in the air: the leaves are turning: the grass has slowed its growth to almost nothing. I haven't seen a bunny turning white yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if I did. Take a look at what Mom has done to her garden in the last couple of weeks! All that emptiness has our three freezers and cold room shelves bursting at the seams!


While she's been busy storing up food for the winter, I've been keeping myself busy in the pop up store with my antique sock machine. Almost daily I amaze myself with how perfectly this RV is suited to the mobile store life. When not in use (or while travelling) the sock knitter resides in the washroom. It fits PERFECTLY!



Even the angle of the door appears to be custom made for housing this heavy beast on wheels. And when the RV is stationary, I can bring it out and crank out another tube to which I will later add afterthought toes and heels for custom knit socks. Or maybe I'll sell some of them for people who want a plain vanilla sock blank so they can brag that they finished a pair of socks in just a couple of days. They wouldn't be lying...

Anyway, this is the weekend for changing up the offerings in the RV. I can guarantee there will be wool and wool blends in a number of weights because we need to be making those socks, hats, mitts and scarves to keep warm for what's ahead in the next few weeks/months. You will find sweater amounts in a number of  colours and weights. I will even have the pompom makers, knitting looms and other yarn tools for those who want to try something a little different.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who's actually looking forward to the S word because I know people will be looking to work with yarn again.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Where's Waldo - I mean - The Crafty Lady?

Typical phone call lately - "Hi. I've come from (insert location) to shop at your store but you've moved. Where are you now?" To which I usually reply "I'm now in a pop up store in the parking lot at The Lacombe Performing Arts Centre. Do you know where that is?" The response is either "Yeah, I know where that is" or "No, could you give me the address?" Sounds straightforward enough, doesn't it?

Let me give you some background on why the results from that conversation can vary greatly.

A number of years ago, the Lacombe Memorial Centre went through an overhaul that included taking the main room, which resembled a school gym complete with the stage that swallowed your every sound if you stood 6 feet back from the edge of the stage, and used all the modern technology available to create a sound system that would prevent that in a big, blank, divisible room. I'm not sure but I believe it is still the largest room of its type in Lacombe that allows for performances to take place.

LMC

The expansive lawn that you see in front of the building has been used by LPAC for their Music in the Park summer series for a number of years already. (Sadly COVID cancelled it this year.) Whenever threatened by inclement weather, the performance would move indoors, not into the LMC but into the sanctuary of St. Andrew's United Church across the parking lot north of the LMC.

St. Andrew's United Church

Why? Those who worship, and truly pay attention to the sounds in a service, know that a traditionally built church is accoustically built. Built before electronic sound systems. Built to maximize the human voice and non-electric instruments. While it serves for a static performance such as a live band or choir, it does not allow for active performances (dance).

Much more recently, St Stephen’s Catholic Church underwent more than just an overhaul. It was completely demolished and rebuilt so that its sanctuary could also be used as a performance hall, complete with a sound system that either rivals, or is better than, the one at the LMC.

St Stephen’s Catholic Church

I have been a member of the board of directors of LPAC since the acronym stood for Lacombe Performing Arts Committee - a group of citizens who wanted a permanent home for performing arts in Lacombe. We needed a space for both static and active performances - one that would have the acoustic qualities of a traditional church and the space for a dance performance and still have room for spectators. A building that is easily accessible and with ample parking for performances. Enter the building at 5227 C & E Trail, now known as the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre.

LPAC

So why did I take you on a 'recent history' tour of these buildings? These are some of the responses that I have experienced in the five weeks that I have called the LPAC parking lot my home away from home.

From those who said they knew where they were going -

on the phone "But I'm at the LMC parking lot and you're not here."

"But you're in the wrong parking lot." as they walk over from the St. Stephen's parking lot.


From those who took down the address and almost made it -

on the phone "Yes, I can see the big bold lettering ... oh, in the parking lot to the east."


Our town has some wonderful places for performances of all types and sizes and they are all so close together I guess I can't really fault anyone for the confusion. This blog post is just here to help sort out the confusion.

And here you see my pop up store in the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre parking lot where you'll find me every weekday 10am until 4pm except this Wednesday, August 26. Every once in a while even the most dedicated of us needs to take a personal day. This is mine.

written by Lori, amused TCL owner, who has been told on numerous occasions that I need to write a book of anecdotes related to the store. I think that's what I'm doing here. 😏


Monday, August 17, 2020

New pattern!

 Yes! I have a new pattern!

No! It's not the one I've been working on for weeks!

While the sweater pattern is in time out - it knows what it did - I got curious about one of the One Shot yarns I brought in from Gathering Yarn. It is 250m (100g) of 100% 16.5 micron merino and it is aptly named Soft. Even though it is technically a dk weight yarn (#3 for those of you who follow the American numbering system), it's lofty spin works up beautifully on a 6mm needle to create an Aran weight (#4) fabric (17s x 26r = 4"/10cm). Its rich watermelon stripes told me they wanted to be a cowl or a hat so I obliged and worked a garter cowl first, then a 7" tall beanie, which was closely followed by a 9" tall toque - all from ONE CAKE of this limited edition yarn!


*n.b. the toque fits my 23" noggin. The beanie fits almost every other woman I know. After this picture was taken, I reworked it because one of the hats has to be 'Without Seeds'.

After posting the pictures of the finished pieces on Facebook, I immediately got asked for the pattern. Within 12 hours, the pattern was written and less than 8 hours after that, I sold the first pattern on Ravelry. The pattern is named With or Without Seeds and it only costs $5.00 for all three pieces. I would link the yarn to Ravelry but since I am the only store with stock, the supplier chose not to add it to the database. I can, however, link you to Soft on my website so that you can get some before I run out of stock myself.

Now, on to the pop up store.

The next two weeks are going to be a little different. I'm showcasing novelty yarns on one side of the  RV. These include furry yarns from a number of different suppliers as well as some lacey/fabric 'yarns', all of which are great for trims or as stand-alone pieces. The opposite side of the RV is catering to my chainmaille customers! I brought kits and tools that are great for beginners or for someone who left all their supplies at home and needs a new project while camping. I have also brought along more knitting tools and accessories as well as my exclusive Crafty Lady patterns.

Remember - I can't bring everything in the pop up store every week, so if you want something and it is not in the list here, order it online or request I bring it so you can buy it in person. Just don't expect same day delivery for those items at least until after 4pm.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who can't wait to get back to that elusive sweater pattern. It will not beat me!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Designing

 Sometimes in the pop up store, between customers, I get lost in designing. Sometimes it's a knitting or crochet pattern I'm working on. Other times, it's a newer, better way to display or store the product in the RV. Whichever it is, there are times I almost miss the sound of a vehicle pulling up outside. Almost.

One day last week, during the torrential downpour, I figured I probably wouldn't have any customers but, to paraphrase Field of Dreams - "If I park it, they will come." There is no point having a permanent parking place for people to find the store and then just randomly not show up one day. Nevertheless, I hunkered down in my spot at LPAC, set up my little table and chair in the 'showroom' and proceeded to write out the newest incarnation of the pattern I'm working on. (I am on version number three 'cos I keep tweaking it. Still haven't completed a single sweater even though I have been more than halfway through at least five times. To be honest, I've lost count.) I hadn't noticed that the rain had all but subsided, but I did hear the sound of tires on wet gravel. Did I tell you that I can tear down my workspace in 30 seconds flat? Even store it away in the shower before a customer makes it to the door!

My only customer of the day made her purchase and, before leaving, commented on the amount of storage potential I had over the cab. Now I am blessed with a mind that can visually manipulate spaces prior to actually measuring, etc. and had envisioned a number of different storage scenarios above the cab utilizing things I already had from the brick and mortar store. But she mentioned Ikea. I've also thought of Ikea products but I've also seen the prices of some of their designer storage containers. She left and I whipped out my handy dandy phone and pulled up my Ikea app. Don't judge me, I know you have it on your phone too. 😉

I immediately abandoned my pattern, grabbed the measuring tape and started searching storage solutions. I don't think I will do it any time soon, but I think I found a really inexpensive solution from Ikea to put almost ALL my product in the RV. I'm not sure the motorhome could handle that much weight but it would fit!

Thankfully my Fitbit encourages me at 10 minutes to every hour to go for however many steps it would take to make 250 steps that hour otherwise I would have been sitting designing long into the evening (or until Mom called to find out why I'm not home for supper). So I packed up and headed home.

written by Lori, TCL owner who is thankful the yarn offerings don't change until next week, so I have a little more time for designing this week.


Monday, August 3, 2020

The 'Blogmaster' Took a Day Off

I would suggest you don't believe everything you read except that I actually did take off Saturday after the Rimbey Market to take Mom to Camrose to visit her sister. Normally, that time would be used to strip the RV bare in order to fill it back up on Sunday. So, even though I worked hard Sunday in order to clear out the old and bring in the new stock, I still had plenty to do on Monday - which became my Sunday because I took Saturday off. That means I was too preoccupied to realize that I hadn't 'blessed' you with my weekly ramblings. Lucky you ;)

The theme for this week's yarn offerings is Canadian sourced yarn.

Gathering Yarns is a company out of BC and they supply me with both Canadian and Italian sourced natural fibres.

Estelle Designs calls Ontario home and they have their own brand of yarn as well as supplying other brands such as King Cole - both of which will be in the store this week.

Katia is a well-known brand that is supplied by both of these companies. Again, lucky you!

A trio of smaller, independent Canadian companies that will have a few offerings in the pop up store are Zen Yarn Gardens, Sweet Paprika and Ancient Arts. If I had more room in the RV, I would have also brought Dewedlebug Merino roving again. This particular company is as local as they can get. The owners walk to the pop up store when they need something. :)

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who appreciates a day off more if I remember what day comes after it.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Heritage Day Monday

Just a quick reminder that this Monday is
a holiday here in Alberta and
the pop up store
will not be making an appearance at
the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre.

Happy Heritage Day, Alberta! - UNA

Monday, July 27, 2020

Little by Little

Well, it's the sixth week up and running, and the pop up store continues to undergo improvements. The front wall (behind the cab) is now capable of many different faces. The current face is an improvement upon last week's face because the pegboard has been replaced by grid wall, allowing more light to shine through.

And when it is not accommodating hanging skeins, I can create more cubbies by using my SKUBB hanging storage units (affectionately known as body bags) to house more yarn balls and donuts. (No picture of that yet but it's coming - someday.)

So what yarn is the pop up store offering this week? Because it was a short week last week, I am bringing the same yarn this week. If you missed it, there is Berroco Modern Cotton, Weekend, Vintage (all three weights), Comfort dk, Comfort Sock and Fiora. Also King Cole Big Value Chunky and dk, Estelle Worsted and Gathering Yarns Hayne's Creek, Alpaca Sport, Big Buzz and Merino Chunky. Universal Uptown Worsted and Baby Sport, Cascade Anthem, James C. Brett Amazon, Peter Pan Petite Fleur and Katia Cotton Stretch have also come along for the ride. And of course, all the knitting needles and crochet hooks in sets and individual packages.

You didn't know so much could fit into such a small space, did you?

written by Lori, TCL owner, who loves artfully cramming massive amounts of stock into tiny little spaces.

Monday, July 20, 2020

The Ongoing Saga of the Pop Up Store

I got so excited last week about being able to let everyone know that I had been granted a permanent weekday parking spot at the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre and that it was effective immediately, I neglected to (initially) remember and then let you all know that I won't be there THIS Monday, July 20, because of an appointment I had booked for the RV over a month ago. If it is an easy fix, I could be back in my spot Tuesday morning. If not, I will keep you posted, daily, on the Facebook page.

Speaking of Facebook pages, I made the Rimbey Farmer's Market Facebook page as one of their Vendors of the Week! The small blurb and the pictures were awesome! And the response to the post was tangible - people came and not only squished the yarn but purchased it too because of that post. 😊

So, this week's yarn offering is going to be solids and tonals (because hand dyed's are rarely fully solid) in a number of different fibres from cotton to wool to acrylic and blends. There will be no buttons and shawl pins this week so that I can have more hooks and needles. Woohoo! Hope to see you early in the week at LPAC and should definitely see you at Rimbey on Saturday.

written by Lori, tired TCL owner, who's in for a long week this week.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Three Posts in ONE WEEK?!

Hey everyone,

As you saw in the last blog, The Crafty Lady pop up store now has a permanent spot during the week at the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre. My first day was this past Wednesday, July 15. I was so excited to get started that I completely forgot that the RV had a checkup scheduled for this coming Monday, July 20.

If it is an easy fix, I will be back at LPAC on Tuesday. If it is not, I will post daily on Facebook until I am able to return restocked and ready to sell.

So if you had already planned your day trip to fondle the yarn, I apologize if this messes up your plans but it would have been much worse if you had driven all those miles just to think that I was punking you all this time. 😉

Remember - check FB for updates so you can be sure I'll be there when you are.

written by Lori, currently scattered TCL owner, who just needs a chance to breathe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

The Crafty Lady has a new home!


The Crafty Lady has a home in Lacombe for the pop up store!

I will still be taking the store to the Rimbey Farmer's Market every Saturday morning (9:30-12:30) but now you will also be able to come squish yarn in the parking lot at 5227 C & E Trail in Lacombe Monday -Friday 10am - 4pm! The ONLY downside to this is that online orders may take a day to fill instead of a half hour. 😉 Even that has an upside. You can order online and request pickup at the pop up store. Just make sure to wait for the fulfillment email before showing up. (If you placed your order at 3am, I may not have had a chance to pick it before opening shop for the day.)

And the news just gets better.

By September, we are hoping that enough restrictions have been eased that I can start - wait for it - teaching classes! Squeee! If you haven't been in the LPAC building recently, other than because of COVID, you may not know that there are a number of different sized rooms available for a myriad of activities. The Fireplace Room provides an intimate setting for a small class, The Art Room is slightly larger and comes with its own attached washroom - which is excellent for longer classes. I can't imagine what I could possibly teach that would require using the Theatre, but I'm not going to exclude it from the possibilities. What classes would you like to see happening in the fall? Keep in mind, I don't quilt or embroider. Stick to the product I carry in the store. I can work with that.

Now for the COVID part of this announcement.

Space is limited inside the store. It's an RV, ya know, so only one person at a time (or a maximum of two if you came shopping together). Until it becomes necessary, I will not be requiring appointments. If you start lining up outside the door, appointments may become a thing.

Either you or I will be wearing a mask - preferably both of us. If you come heavily (or even lightly) scented, I may ask you to shop another day. Masks can only do so much before my allergies kick in and I'm the only person manning the store. You don't want to be the person that kept other people from shopping, do you?

You will be required to use my hand sanitizer before touching any of the product. Even if you just put yours on.

Payment by tap is provided - both debit and credit - and I TAKE CASH! Do not be offended if I sanitize it in front of you because Hooray for plastic money. 😁 I will even take eTransfers but I am not yet Paypal ready.

And, of course, if you or anyone you know has or may have COVID 19, or come into contact with someone who has it, please stay home. I would hate to find out that my customers are getting sick because one of them just couldn't wait to squish the yarn until they felt better. I would also hate to get sick and not be able to let you squish the yarn. 

So everyone stay healthy, share this post far and wide,
and see you in the LPAC parking lot at 10am, July 15, 2020

written by Lori, excited TCL owner, who won't be able to sleep tonight!

Monday, July 13, 2020

501 patterns fighting to get out ...

Those of you that know me, know that the wheels are always turning, even when I'm sleeping. How can I make this sweater seamless? How can I make self striping yarns more flattering by creating vertical stripes? How can I improve upon ...?

Introducing LN061A!


A couple of months back, my aunt bought two skeins of this lovely yarn from me (Ella Rae Phoenix Print #18 Banana Ice) to make a cowl for herself. She changed her mind and sent it back to me. Well, I couldn't just let it languish in front of me, knowing that her brand new great grandson had coloring perfect for these colours!

My original Vertical Vest pattern (LN061) was written to be made with a single ball of 6ply / dk yarn so it could only be completed with no sleeves or a cap sleeve at best.

(The photo to the right shows what happens when you don't have quite enough yarn for the second cap sleeve.)

I knew I had enough yarn to make a size 2 sweater with sleeves but the question was how to make 'seamless' sleeves (using provisional cast on and Kitchener Stitch) so that the stripes remained vertical like the rest of the sweater and still have properly fitted sleeves. Through trial and error and a total of three sleeves, I finally figured it out.

You will also notice that the body is a near perfect mirror image from one side to the other - front and back. The two balls were nearly perfect twins (only ~12' difference at the beginning of the balls) so I started the back in the middle with a provisional cast on and I made one full side then picked out the cast on and worked the other side. This would not have been possible with two of the original three yarns I used in the vest pattern because the colour changes were much more random in the Lang Tosca Light and the Jawoll Magic 6ply

This pattern is not yet on paper (or digitally available) because I think I will make it a Stocking Stitch version so that the Kitchener join is less of a headache. If you've never tried using a Kitchener Stitch on garter stitch, give it a try. You'll see what I mean.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who has enjoyed a chance to get another one of the 501 patterns rolling around in my head a chance to get out.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Routine? What's that?

I'm not sure how the rest of you are managing your routine so far during this time of social distancing but I know my 'normal' has definitely changed. Some of the change is positive, some negative, but most has simply become a different way of doing things.

For instance, since church services became available online, I sit and knit or crochet and drink coffee during the service. Prior to online church, only my coffee made it into the sanctuary (in a travel mug, not earthenware) and I only brought my project to work on if I was up in the choir loft playing the piano or organ. This past Sunday marked our second service with live music and I was up in the choir loft accompanied by not one but two projects - one of each - and a thermos of coffee because there were three services to allow for physical distancing with an hour to kill between them. So, the same but different.

Knit Night still exists. We don't always all make it every week but more people are able to join and from further away so I, personally, don't see a negative. I simply see it as a bonus when we are all able to meet in person again and those who want to hug, can.

I still have my business to run but instead of it being the way it used to be, it has changed permanently. Not because of Covid, but this is the route Covid would have pushed it had I not already made the decision to close the brick and mortar store. The negative was that nobody could squish the yarn for a number of months. The positive is that people are being given that opportunity again even if in small doses thanks to Farmer's Markets and the pop up store.

Margaret and Anne (and Anna and Barb, ...) can attest to how often I would rearrange the store to create more efficient use of space. Now I get to do it every single week in the RV so that my customers get to enjoy new product to mull over each week when I make my way to the market(s). I'm on a couple of waiting lists so keep your fingers crossed. I will be happy when I am doing enough markets that I actually have to start taking my foldout mattress and bedding (and food) with me. Road trip!

So, yes, my normal has changed. For those of you out there that don't like the phrase 'new normal' I get it. I still believe that the wearing of masks and physical distancing are simply the 'current normal' and will continue to change over time. But most of my new normal is of my own making so I'm embracing the new normal and I hope that you have embraced your new normal too.

written by Lori, happy TCL owner, who sees her new normal as one big adventure!

Monday, June 22, 2020

Pssst! You want yarn?

I laugh now, but Saturday did not start out as expected. With Mom's help, the RV was all packed and ready to go by 7 pm on Friday. I was in bed by 9 pm - early for me - because it was going to be an early start to get out to Rimbey and be set up before 9 am.Image preview

I wasn't sure it was going to happen this year but it has.The Crafty Lady is now officially a pop up store!

With two Farmer's Markets under my belt and, I'm sure, more future locations to come, you are going to have the chance to squish the yummy yarn again! 


After being asleep for a couple of hours, Myles - the cat - thought he needed to go outside at 11:30 pm. Not happening. Even with a night interspersed with what I call the 'RV cuddle' - holding him tightly enough under the covers that he can't move and doesn't dare do anything more than breathe and I'm awake on my terms, not his, he yowled until 2 am! At that point, I figured "I'm up. I'll pee." Wouldn't you know, he followed suit in his litter box and promptly slept the rest of the night. Good thing or I would have had one less cat in the morning. Needless to say, I did not get the desired amount of sleep.

In the morning, after making myself presentable and having breakfast, I packed up all the sustenance and electronics for the day and headed out to the motorhome, stowed everything where it belonged, crawled into the cab and turned the key. *crickets* After a few choice words, I made my way into the shop and found the battery charger. It took fifteen minutes to get the battery charged enough to start, during which time I contacted the market organizer to ensure her that I would be there, God willing.

Thankfully, it was all positive from there. I got there in plenty of time and was given a great (permanent for this season) position at the Rimbey Farmer's Market where I managed some decent sales considering no one was expecting a yarn store at the market. On the way home from there, I decided to poke my nose into the Bentley Farmer's Market only to be told that they just had a cancellation and I could have their spot! YAY!

Now I know that my wares are not typical Farmer's Market wares, so I am not expecting sales like I see at the Creativ Festival shows, but I was grateful to have more than covered my booth fees and gas with my first foray into the market scene. The exposure I got was more than I would have received from paying for advertising and I was a little humbled by how few people recognized the store name. I was likened to a drug dealer by the booth beside me in Bentley because, to anyone who glanced toward the sign on the back end of my RV, I was saying things like,"You want yarn? I've got lots of yarn inside. C'mon in."


The plan is to have the yarn offerings change up from week to week so there is always something new for people to squish. That means if you see something you like one week, chances are you won't see them again for up to 4 weeks. That's where the online store comes in. Make a note of which yarns you like, check with your patterns at home, order them at craftylady.ca and, when you check out, choose PICK UP and make a note for me to bring them along to the market so you can avoid shipping charges. If needed, you can even request to have them pre-wound for you. How's that for service!

And of utmost importance to those of you making masks . . . I finally received my elastic!

posted by Lori, excited TCL owner who can't wait to see what this coming week brings!