Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Zen Yarn Garden Knit Along

What does it take to keep knitters happy?

Fabulous yarn, a new pattern, interesting speakers,
great conversation,
...and yummy, yummy baked goods!

Thanks, Roxanne and Neville of Zen Yarn Garden, for the interesting talk on your dyeing business
...and thanks to all of the attendees.
Can't wait to see your scrumptious new shawls!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Finishing a knitting project .... like finishing a good book.  The next time you sit down to knit and it's not there, you miss its familiarity, it's character, the time spent remembering the places you visited together, and the cosiness you felt with it on your lap.
Oh, well. 
It's not like there are no other projects waiting in the wings.

For the curious, this is Stephen West's Earth and Sky worked in Harrisville's New England Shetland (a fingering weight yarn).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Yummy Yummy Yarns

It's been an enticingly wonderful week for yummy new yarns:

First, we unpacked several boxes of scumptious Zen Yarn Garden in preparation for Roxanne and Neville's visit / talk / knit-along this Saturday. 
They have added two new colours to our St. Thomas Landmark Series - the grand unveiling takes place this weekend ...there are still a couple of spots left for this event!

And then came the boxes of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden.
Be still my heart.

Friday, April 13, 2012


I've been preparing for a class on gauge and couldn't resist this goofy little sign for the shop I thought I'd share it here, too. 

                                                       Plan ahead
                                                 Knit a swatch

Sometimes, customers just want to be told which needle size to use and don't want to bother with a gauge swatch. I think that it comes from a lack of understanding about gauge, being able to accurately count stitches and knowing what to do with the information when they have it.
When we understand what we are doing, we can make adjustments that will pay off in the long run. When we simply plough ahead, "because I just want to knit," then sometimes the results are a bit surprising ...and disappointing.

To help explain the concept, I knitted up a sampler swatch this week.  Using Galway, I started with a 2.0 mm needle and went up to a 9.0 mm.
Amazingly, we could think up a purpose for every tension of this swatch, but obviously, some areas were more desirable than others!  When Sue saw it, she insisted that we keep it downstairs to help customers understand the effect that needle size has on the fabric size ...and drape. 

And now I'm on a mission to come up with more swatches. 
  • How about one using different needle compositions, all with the same size needle? 
  • What if several of us knit up the same swatch?  Will our gauge be the same? 
  • And then we'll need one made up of different stitch patterns.

Because, after all, an educated knitter is a happy knitter!

(Interestingly, as I wrote this blog and tried to get consistent font sizes, the program kept hanging up on me.  It looked a bit like my swatch ...with tiny stitches and huge stitches ;)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Knitter's Heaven

A few weeks ago, I ordered a couple of copies of "Knitting with Two Colors" from Schoolhouse Press.  I admit it, ....mostly because I wanted a copy.  When Meg Swansen talks, I like to listen.

The book just makes me smile.  Not only does it have great photos of deliciously traditional stranded knitting, but it is full of the wisdom of so many knitters. 

For 39 years, Elizabeth Zimmermann's (and now, her daughter, Meg Swansen's) knitting camp has inspired knitters to stretch their skills and knowledge, discuss and challenge each other and share tips they have learned, or tricks they have worked out on their own.  Throughout the book, Meg credits other women with numerous "Why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" ideas.  I can just imagine the excitement at camp as one person comes up with an idea, someone else expands on it, several people try it out and improvements are made.  It must be like a think tank for knitters. 

Is it just me? Or does that sound like a knitter's heaven?

Out for a walk on Good Friday, snapping photos of the neighbourhood, and we got our first 'in focus' shot of Jumbo with our sign.  You can almost see him smiling!  Maybe he knows about the floral ankle bracelet that we have planned for him?!?!? 

The 60-inch green ankle band has been started and we have about a dozen flowers ready to attach ...but we will need way more than that!  If you want to whip off a knitted or crocheted flower, (they really don't take very long), you'll be putting a smile on a tourist's face!  To see how April Showers can bring May Flowers, we hope you'll join us for a
free knitted flower mini-workshop in April.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter

Sue had some fun with fibre last week making these adorable needle felted Easter eggs.

Hope everyone has a Happy Easter and Passover.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Mark Your Calendar

If you've ever wondered about dyeing yarn, we hope you'll come and talk with the experts. 

Roxanne and hubby, Neville, of Zen Yarn Garden will be at the shop on Saturday, April 21 from 1-3 pm.  They'll bring their latest creations and colourways along with two new St. Thomas Landscape Series yarns, Springwater and CASO.
Here's a sneak preview:

...and another:

This shawl is Roxanne's free pattern, Mezquita, which will be an option for our Knitalong.  Once the bit of lace is done, the short row stocking stitch section couldn't be easier!  And I know you'll love the generous length of this dramatic shawl. 

Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

If it weren't for teaching ....

I've read that bloggers are often people who love or need to teach.  During the winter months, I scheduled a lot of classes at the shop.  I think I may have filled my need by "teaching through my needles," as one student put it.  Now that spring is here and I can breathe again, I'm back at the blog.

Teaching always inspires me.  In my last Baby Surprise class, one of the students bounded ahead and was finished the basics by the second class.  Because it was a small class, we also covered several I-cord tricks (applied, I-cord cast off, and three-needle I-cord cast off).  We did a garter stitch hood and grafted it invisibly at the top.  By the time we were done, I was anxious to start my 8th Baby Surprise with new plans for longer sleeves ....and I don't even have any grandchildren ...yet!  So far, sanity has prevailed, but I'm sure that before the next class, I'll be casting on for another!

Since I had yarn leftover, I thought I'd make a hat based on the Baby Surprise and the Gull Lace Baby Hat, below:

Because of another baby sweater class, I searched for a matching hat ...but ended up designing my own.  Here's the Gull Lace Baby Hat based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's February Baby Sweater:

If it weren't for classes, I doubt that any of these projects would have come about. 
Thanks for the inspiration, knitters!