WOOL-TYME Kingston's "Never Ending Knitting Class" for all skill levels.

Are you a complete newby to the world of knitting or just looking for some guidance into the next level of your knitting journey? Or are you somewhere in between?
The on-going Never Ending Knitting Classes at WOOL-TYME Kingston are designed to meet all your needs.

You can choose to drop in to any single class for just $15 for a 2 hour session, or you can join with a $45 membership which gives you access to our professional knitting support for a full 6 months.

These classes take place on Tuesdays from 1-3pm and on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30. All are welcome. At any given class, we may have a complete beginner, someone who has been knitting for about a month (but looks like a pro to the beginner), someone who is learning the finer points of finishing and sewing their sweater together, someone who is learning how to lay out a complicated cable pattern, a new crocheter learning to work an edge around afghan squares, and former participants who just enjoy sitting around and knitting with nice people.

The point is that for $45, you are free to join in the fun for a full 6 months.

Some classes have 2 people, sometimes 6 or 7 will show up. All are eager yet patient and willing to learn. As a teacher, it really doesn't get any better than this. I have the opportunity to introduce newcomers to the fun of knitting, and sometimes I get to challenge myself by learning new skills that I can then pass on to my students. Sometimes we have to go a bit beyond the 2 hours so that everyone leaves with a sense of satisfaction and with enough knowledge to get them through the next stage of their project. No one worries -- we're all here to learn and to enjoy the experience (as much as one can enjoy ripping back an entire sleeve that has been improperly shaped.)

So please feel free to join us, either as a class participant or just to sit and knit and chat. If the store is open, the class is on.


One of the greatest things about my life, owning a yarn store, is that I get so many wonderful people from the community showing up at my door. One of these is Alison who upon arriving in Kingston a couple of years ago, immediately got to work contributing to our local community. Her latest venture is in organizing and placing baskets of yarn at Quinte Lodge. The Lodge is a hostel-type accommodation operated by the Cancer Centre. Patients and any medically required escorts can stay in small private bedrooms free of charge. Her idea is that the baskets of yarn (and needles and crochet hooks) may provide a much needed distraction for guests/patients and will give them the opportunity to work on 8" squares that can then be assembled into blankets that will be of comfort to someone else.

I'm so glad that Alison thought to get in touch with us to ask for our help. It's another way that we get to be a hub that unites so many of our generous customers with those in need. Of course, as always, anyone who is doing some stash busting and would like to donate yarn to those who can put it to good use are welcome to drop it off at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store.

SUPER BIG NEWS: I usually like to wait for the monthly newsletter (which should be coming to your email next weekend) to introduce you to new products in the store but this is just too fun and exciting to wait. The Kingston area is very lucky to welcome Stephanie Earp, musician and fibre artist, who is making her home here now and is also making her wares available at WOOL-TYME Kingston. Stephanie specializes in hand painted - short repeat - dying of fingering weight merino wool in glorious colours inspired by a recent trip to France. She has also provided us with small swatches so you can see the luscious texture that her colourways create. These yarns would be perfect for gloves, scarves, shawls. Locally hand crafted products of exquisite quality; what more can a knitter ask for?


It's always nice to know that there are people out there who read the blogs and newsletters. It's fun to create them but even better to know that they are shared by people who enjoy them.

Just wanted to let you all know that we are now carrying packs of Christmas cards from the Andy Fund of Kingston, which raises funds for local cancer-related projects. They are $10/pack and feature the art work of local child artists. They're delightful.

Yesterday, we had a demonstration of knitting with "thrums" and one lady came to see if she could learn something new about the technique, as she believed that it couldn't possibly be as fiddly and tedious as it appeared to her. Well, what she learned is that it is tedious and fiddly, and the thrums are never perfectly even, and it is a pain to have the fluff flying around, but when it comes right down to it, thrum accessories are worth it for their warmth and beauty.

Yesterday, I also got a chance to go shopping for children's snowsuits, which is an activity that I haven't had the pleasure of experiencing for a good few years. When we go to the Kingston Knitting Circle meetings at Chapter's on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, we each throw a toonie into a can and about this time of the year, someone usually thinks of something nice to do with the accumulated money. This year we decided to knit hats, mitts and scarves and purchase some outer clothing for the Clothes for Kids fund. For $150, I got a snowsuit for a little boy, and one for a little girl and a beautiful ski jacket for an older girl (complete with cool zip out sleeves, turning it into a vest). It was fun.

Speaking of the Kingston Knitting Circle, don't forget the notice in the "coming events" section above, about our 2nd annual Holiday Nibblefest, which will take place at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store on Tues. Dec 11th from 7-9pm. I used to be a member of a women's group about 7 or 8 years ago and due to commitments, I had to bow out after just one year. However, they call me every year to go to their Christmas party and I'm thrilled to take part, despite the fact that I'm not a regular. So to should any of you feel welcome to join us for treats, a few laughs and an evening of knitting, whether you're a regular or not.

A quick little piece of knitting trivia: "In Victorian times, it was fashionable for ladies to hold their needles between thumb, forefinger and second finger, rather like a pencil. It was much slower than the traditional method of holding the needles under the hands, but then, when one was a lady, speed was not as important as one's appearance." from - Not Tonight Darling, I'm Knitting." by Betsy Hosegood.

I frequently have people who tell me shyly that they hold their needles "wrong" because they don't hold them like their mother or grandmother did. Well now we know that the way that we typically hold our needles today, from above, is a much more practical and ergonomically friendly way of doing it. As for the advisability of standing through the knitting of an entire scarf, well that's still open for debate. (Besides, wouldn't he get a little bored and cold waiting for her to finish?)


Before I forget...(which has become a hazard of my age) I want to remind everyone of the FREE demo at the store next Saturday, Nov. 24th, where we will have all the materials available for you to try your hand and knitting with "Thrums" and get copies of Free patterns for 2 and 4 needle mitts, slippers, socks and a toque using this great technique of adding bits of unspun yarn to create a cozy layer of warmth inside your knitting.

It's interesting to think that when the store opened 11 years ago, we had only small bags of natural wool -- uncarded, barely more than washed -- with which to make these cozy insertions into mitts.

Now your thrums can come pre-stranded in an array of natural and dyed colours from Briggs & Little, or you can use some of our beautiful hand dyed fleece from Cornerstore Fibres. Worsted weight knitting wools have come a long way too, as the knitted part can be made of self striping Noro KUREYON, hand dyed Manos del Uruguay, our new tone on tone CASCADE 220, classic tweeds in Tussock 10 ply and NATURA Tweed, as well as all the fabulous citrus colours of Ella Rae's and Paton's Classic wools.

At this time of the year, we get a lot of people in looking to make gifts for friends and family that won't take an eternity yet will have a certain pizazz about them. Thrummed accessories make awe-inspiring gifts that will wow them on Christmas morning! And here are a few of my other favourties.

This hat is from our Free Felted Brimmed Hat pattern that is incredibly easy to knit and looks wonderful on most heads. This version has been made using the new CASCADE 220 tone on tone yarn that adds such depth to the colour. It can also be made with any of our worsted weight pure wools mentioned above or with Lopi for a nice "halo of wool" effect.

It seems a bit funny to suggest afghans with just 36 knitting days left before Christmas, but both of these that we have displayed in the store are so easy and quick to whip up that they may be just the thing you need to get your loved ones their coziness quotient over the Holidays. At right is the EweCanKnit "Team Afghan" that whips up in no time, due to it's simplicity, yet lets you encourage your own sports fans. (Thanks, by the way to Sharon at EweCanKnit, for the many sample projects such as this one that she has allowed us to borrow and display over the years.)
This next afghan pictured below is a bit hard to visualize from the picture but many of you will have seen it in the store in different colour combinations, as it is my standard afghan to make whenever I only have a few weeks before it has to be ready. It's a free pattern and uses size 15mm circular needles and 3 strands of chunky yarn and I've been known to have one done in just a couple of weeks (and don't kid yourselves, I don't have any more knitting time than any of you do.)

Other quick gift ideas are any felting project (purses, mitts, slippers, etc) and they too have a great wow factor, as do many hats and bulky sweaters.
And guess what? 38 days from now, when you're eating left over turkey, you can plan your own project -- just for you.


I've been having such a fun time preparing for the demo that we have for this weekend "SOCKS ON CIRCS" showing our customers the basics of knitting socks on circular needles.
What I enjoy about this type of work is that
a. I get to knit and work at the same time.
b. I get to knit and plan/think at the same time.
c. I get to write about knitting (while preparing the instruction sheet.)
Now for a person who enjoys knitting, planning and writing, I'd say that this is the perfect occupation for me.

The other reason that I enjoy these prep times is that I get a chance to learn new things. Well actually, I learn new things every day that I'm in the store. People think that we're so smart because we can answer their knitting questions, but it's only because we are the recipients of all of the discoveries and great ideas that our customers share with us that we are so "smart".

If you are a sock knitter, or just curious, please join us on Saturday, the 10th of November anytime between 1 and 4pm to have a chance to play with the "SOCKS ON CIRCS" and to bring home a copy of the step by step instructions for adapting your favourite sock pattern to working on circular needles.

Also a reminder that based on the results of our recent Customer Survey, and based on the level of anxiety that customers have shown at the prospect of being out of touch with our knitting 911 service, we will be open on Sundays from noon until 4pm at least until the end of January. We'll see if the demand is there to continue the practice in the spring.
(I thought that the picture at the right was kind of appropriate, being a former teacher and all...but unlike what it says on the blackboard, we aren't looking for help.)

You may want to make a point of dropping in to visit Jane on Sundays as I suspect that it won't be too busy for the first couple of weeks and therefore I'm leaving her lots of "tidy up" work to do, so she'll probably be thrilled if someone comes in to disturb her work to buy a ball of yarn or ask her for some knitting advice.


Scedule of Winter Classes

Don't be disappointed - sign up now!
Contact the store at 613-384-3951 or email us at wooltymekingston@gmail.com

Saturday, Jan. 19th:
with Rhonda Kellett

Learn the basics of this traditional craft
using wool strips, yarn and burlap as taught by one of the areas finest registered teachers of rug hooking. Kit provided to create a beautiful wall hanging/ trivet .
When: Sat. Jan. 19th 1-5pm.
Cost: Workshop $45. kit $45.
Also required: 14” hoop or scroll frame available at Kingston.

Saturday, Feb. 16th:
Learn to make a SOCK-IN-A-DAY

Go through all of the steps in knitting a sock in just one day. Also great for sock knitters who want to learn to adapt to any yarn/ foot size.
When: Sat. Feb. 16th 10am-???
Cost: Workshop $45. Includes all materials & handouts.

Saturday, Feb. 23rd:
with Rhonda Kellett

A must for anyone who enjoys this creative craft. Learn the basics of giving your rug hooking projects that professional finish.
When: Sat. Feb. 23rd 1-5pm
Cost: Workshop $45.

Saturday, March 15th
with Roberta Mckinney
This is it, the greatest "stash-busting" tool in the world. Come and receive introductory instructions on using the beautiful Ashford Knitters' Loom. A beautiful table top loom that's easy to use and introduces you to the world of weaving, while making use of your beautiful knitting yarns.
Demonstration and hands on work will be available throughout the afternoon.
When: Sat. March 15th 1-4pm.
Cost: $15, refundale with purchase of the Ashford Knitter's Loom.

Saturday, March 29th:
For beginners

The simplest way to discover the wonder of spinning fibres is with a drop spindle.
Try your hand at it this age old craft .
When: Sat. March 29th 1-4pm
Cost: workshop $45. Includes a spindle to take home and a selection of fibres to work with.

Saturday, Jan 12th 1-4pm:
Free Demo!
Needlepoint Basics

For those who have always wondered what people do with those lovely canvas pictures available at Kingston:
— See a display of needlepoint projects in progress, using different basic stitches and some fancy ones too. It’s an easy, relaxing and creative way to play with colours. A great craft for pre-teens, to introduce them to the world of wool and needlework.

Free demos don’t require registration. Just drop in.
Registration for classes can be done in person or over the phone using a credit card.
Payment in full must be made upon registration.
Refunds will be given if cancellation is at least 3 days before the workshop and we are able to fill your spot in the class. (A credit for a future class will be considered if refund isn’t possible.)


Pre-Hallowe'en news

Just wanted to share some of the great projects that we got to appreciate last week at the Fall Show & Share. Thanks so much to all who participated.
Among these pictures, the aqua lace sweater has a removable collar making it a perfect piece to wear all year; isn't that clever?
The bowl of fruit was a big hit; both the bowl and the 4 pieces of fruit were needle felted.
Lace was a big hit this time with 5 projects of intricate lace using fine laceweight yarns and several patterns that included lace stitches.
A special announcement of an amazing event happening this week!
Those of you who come to Thursday night Knit & Chat at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store may have met Jay Serdula who is our only male participant, and who's jokes are much anticipated. Jay is planning and training to swim Lake Ontario next summer and to spur on the United Way Campaign among his co-workers at RMC, Jay promised to swim "Navy Bay" if a certain amount was raised in pledges. Well we heard today that the swim is on for Friday, NOVEMBER 2nd - that's right, swimming in Lake Ontario, in November. What some people will do for a fundraiser!
Anyone interested in cheering Jay on should be at Fort Henry about 11:45 on Friday morning and the swim is scheduled to take place at noon. Way to go Jay!
There is so much for every knitter on the internet and here is an idea that came to me this morning from KnitNet's Tips, Tricks and Trade secrets. This is a weekly e-newsletter which usually features an unusually useful tip for knitters from each of the beginner, intermediate and expert skill levels. I make a point of reading all 3 of the tips each week as I often find some really great little idea that I had never thought of before. The following is the best reason/way to get a "dreaded" swatch knitted that I have ever heard of:

Swatch Secret
"I am like most knitters: reluctant to knit a swatch because I am impatient with the time it takes and, as it happens, just lazy. I am also like most knitters in that I have a stash that keeps growing no matter how fast I knit.
Recently, however, I developed a new mindset: I love knitting; swatching is actually just knitting.
When I get new yarn for a new project, I am eager to use it but I know that I can't possibly start another project until I finish some I am currently working on. So I just take out one of those luscious balls of my new yarn acquisition and make the swatch.
I get to enjoy the feel of it and see the beauty of the yarn as it is knitted. This satisfies my impatience to get started with the new while the old still sits glaring at me to pick it up and get busy. I also get a swatch made well in advance. "
— Mary Enck, Santa Monica CA
Now isn't that a great way to deal with our addiction in a very creative and useful manner.
1. Buy yarn.
2. Play with yarn using recommended needles in stocking stitch. Enjoy knitting with new yarn.
3. Discover that you have actually made a swatch while enjoying said new yarn. Eureka!
To receive the KnitNet tips regularly at your email visit www.knitnet.com It's a great on line knitting magazine that is certainly worth a look.


I'm too tired to think or work, so I'll write. (Now doesn't that make sense?)

Actually it does make sense for me. For all of you who like to put your feet up at the end of the day and spend some time with your favourite knitting project, you'll understand that that's how I feel about writing. This is fun and relaxing, to give myself a chance to play on the internet to find interesting things that can be passed along to you. One of the things that I found was the above picture of a "Biker Sheep" at http://www.funny.co.uk/stuff/art_175-3989-Biker-Sheep.html . Really, take a second to link to the full picture. It's just too much. I figure that anything in the world that gives us a little giggle is worth the few seconds of a cyberspace visit.

Furthermore, I was interested to find the following facts about wool that I had never heard before- and I thought that I heard them all:

Wool Facts

-One pound of wool can be spun into 20 miles of yarn.
-A perfectly preserved woolen sock was found buried in silt on the banks of a river in England. The sock is estimated to be 1,000 years old.

and this one which I did know:
-Wool being used for the first time is called "Virgin Wool".

but it reminded me of one of the most unexpectedly pleasant parts of being at the store is in meeting the partners of some of our customers who patiently come with their wives when they are shopping at WOOL-TYME Kingston. Usually we're talking about older gentlemen whose wives aren't able to get around as well anymore and so they will often set himself down at our table with the newspaper or a book and amuse themselves. But on occasion, with the wife happily checking out all the new yarns, I get a chance to chat with these guys and it's usually a delightful visit. One day one of them, who happened to be a retired Anglican minister, arrived and came right up to the counter with the air of a kid just busting to tell you something. What he was so proud of was the following joke:
Q: Where does virgin wool come from?
A: From the sheep who can run the fastest. (Think about it. It's pretty cute.)

And of course, because you can find absolutely everything on the internet, the following is a link to a whole list of careers in wool in Australia. http://www.woolinnovation.com.au/Student_information/Careers_with_wool/page__2162.aspxNow
Now excuse me...I certainly understand that a huge percentage of the world's wool production goes to be processed into thread for weaving fabric but could there not have been even the slightest of nods to the knitting industry??? Don't they knit in Australia?

By the way, for those of you who were wondering, this is a " jillaroo" from Australia. Looks like a fun job!


What will be happening at the store over the next couple of weeks.

What a great time this is with so many activities lined up over the next few weeks.
First of all, I want to apologize to those of you who don't live close enough to take part in our classes and activities. I hear from so many people who wish that they could be part of the scene but that's one of the drawbacks of the internet: although it brings us so much closer together, it also makes us realize that there are many fun things out there that we are missing out on too.

That being said, one of our customers who moved to Quebec about a year ago is planning a trip to Kingston with her new crafting buddies next weekend to take part in the 6th Annual Fall Show and Share. For those of you who are in the Kingston area, I urge you to take advantage of the fact that you are our neighbours and get your favourite (or latest, or greatest, or sweetest) knitting/crochet/felting/hooking project and bring it into the store before next Monday, Oct. 22nd. (If it's on a hanger, it's even better.)

This lovely little sweater is the first of the projects that has been dropped of. We will be putting the projects on display for the week and will be hosting the reception for all customers and participants next Saturday Oct. 27th from 1-4pm. What a great opportunity to see how much we all enjoy our crafting and to connect with others who have the same passions.

Another reminder: there are still a few spots in Andrea Graham's Needle Felting workshop on Sat. Nov. 3rd. (Link to the information by clicking on the November schedule of activities above.)

Just to clear up a bit of confusion, we've had a few customers who were thinking that this felting class had more to do with "fulling" or knitting a piece from pure wool yarn then shrinking it in the washer to provide a more resilient fabric for bags and slippers, etc. What Andrea actually does is teaches the technique of needle felting which is the matting of wool fibres using needles to create 3D forms and beautiful effects to embellish almost any material. http://www.andrea-graham.com/

We are so priveleged to have such an artist in our midst and to be able to take advantage of the creativity that she shares in her classes. Please call the store 613-384-3951 to sign up.
Finally, although those of you who are in the Kingston area are the ones who get in on a lot of the fun that our cyber-space buddies might miss out on, you are also the ones that we need to call on for help. And WOOL-TYME Kingston has a nice but persistent problem.

As many of you know, we are the area coordinators for PROJECT LINUS, an organization that distributes hand made blankets to children who are going through a stressful time in their lives. They are dropped off at shelters, Almost Home, the Children's Aid, the Native Friendship Centre and many other locations as well. All of our customers have been so generous in bringing in blanket donations and we have developed this very real problem that we are needing to process more blankets each month than ever before.

What I'm looking for is someone who could donate about an hour or two every couple of weeks to pick up a bag of blankets to which they will sew on labels identifying the blanket as being from Project Linus, measure, fold and tie the blankets and return them to the store where someone will drop them off to our recipient agencies. It's a nice little volunteer job that requires a car for pick ups, a bit of space for measuring and basic sewing skills. If any one is interested, please contact me at the store at 613-384-3951. Thanks a million.


What's going on at the store.

It's been great to see so many people who had taken a bit of a leave from their knitting while the weather was warm and the gardens and activities were occupying them.

We've had some great new products arrive at the store recently that I wanted to let you now about. First is our second batch of Vogue Knitting Magazine's 25th Anniversary issue. The first batch was sold out almost immediately. It's a great magazine, giving us the opportunity to laugh at ourselves a bit for the looks that we've tried to achieve in our knitting over the past 25 years. Get yours soon as they don't last long. It's a a very interesting read for any knitter.

About twice a year, we get a visit from Jack, the needlepoint canvas guy. He arrives with coffee and a Tim Horton's treat and we always get a chance to catch up on each other's lives. (His youngest daughter is getting married in a couple of weeks. Pretty proud papa.) Anyway, Jack always leaves behind a great selection of needlepoint canvasses so for those who enjoy needlepoint, come on in and see what there is. There are some really beautiful pieces.

For those of you who have always been intrigued by these canvasses that we display on our walls, and have wondered how they are worked, the time has come for you to check out our new schedule of winter events as in January, we will be having a free demo that will give you the gist of how it works and will show you how easy it is to work these canvasses.
A complete list will be available in the next couple of days on this site, but paper copies are available at the store now.
NOW THAT'S A SOCK! This is the first time that we have had 6ply sock yarn in the store and it's been a big hit. Obviously you don't have to make knee high socks with it; I think that they are just trying to play on the fact the yarn is a bit bigger than the traditional 4ply self-striping yarn that we're all used to. This yarn is just the thing for those who wear socks in sandals, (summer and winter?) in sneakers, in skates or light hiking boots or just to give you a bit more warmth and a faster knitted sock.
Finally, thanks a million to all of you who filled out our customer survey. You can't imagine how helpful it is for us to know what you like and what maybe isn't so important to you -- what we should focus on and what should we let go of. And by the way, CONGRATS to Janice Van Dijk, the winner of the $100. gift certificate. I'm sure that she'll put it to good use.


Finishing projects

Unlike the majority of knitters, I don't really mind finishing projects. Because I get to do it so often for customers, I guess I've had more experience than the average knitter and know what to worry about and what to ignore as it will probably fix itself in the blocking.

Those of you who saw me at the Sheep Dog trials in August will be pleased to see that I finished the sideways jacket that was so difficult to explain when I was only 7" up the first sleeve. I love the colours and how it drapes.

When we were on holidays in the maritimes, there was a lot of knitting time in the car. I got to start a sweater in alpaca for my husband for Christmas (ha, ha...considering I've also had requests for an afghan and a felted yoga mat bag. Can you imagine how big that sucker is going to have to be before I felt it? That's a lot of knitting.) Anyway, the problem with knitting with alpaca in a small car with 3 other people is that there is a lot of "fluff" that flies around. No one commented, but I did feel that I had to wipe down the dash every 20 minutes or so. To keep the "fluff" under control some of the time, I had also brought my Feather and Fan scarf that I was making of Topsy Farms premium lace weight wool which I had dyed with raspberry lemonade Kool-Aid. (Again, who knew that raspberries were such a lovely aqua colour.) I believe that there was a picture of it on an earlier posting of this blog when it was only about 2" long. Well, here it is. Completed, cast off, washed and blocked. I still love the softly mottled aqua colour.

It must be a time of the year when we are encouraged to finish up some of the UFO's (unfinished objects) before we get into some serious holiday gift knitting. Just this morning, Jane who works at the store came in wearing her latest creation: A jacket of Manos Del Uruguay, sporting our new Incomparable Buttons. It's stunning.

But yesterday, I saw the finished version of the mother of all knitting projects (no pun intended...read on). An unbelievable dedicated mother of the bride took on the knitting of her daughter's wedding dress. (By the way, the wedding is taking place today - congrats to the happy couple). The body of the dress was a lovely blending of lace weight mohair and a lovely silky looking DK yarn. The skirt was knit entirely in Stocking stitch of the lace weight mohair by itself on quite large needles. I was concerned that it might be a bit see-through with the open texture. I needn't have worried. When the mother brought in the finished dress we saw that there was so much ruffling in the skirt that it layered beautifully and apparently flows like a train.

To achieve this ruffling, the pattern called for many regular increases. The final increase round brought the total number of stitches to 10,000 per round. I kid you not! I was interested about the time requirement to knit 10,000 stitches so when I got home, I tested myself at a sensible rhythm and could sustain about 25sts per minute, considering moving stitches along, pulling yarn etc. At that rate, a single round would take approximately 6 hours and 40 minutes. Now is that not a story of unbelievable maternal love and dedication.

By the way, I hear that the dress fits beautifully and is loved. We've been promised a picture and hope to share it with you.


Back from Cheticamp, Nova Scotia

This is the demonstration area at the "Co-op Artisanale" in Cape Breton where I spent most of last Saturday with a couple of local "hookeuses" (as they are called in French) who taught me some of the finer points of traditional Cheticamp rug hooking, including different ways that they use colour and shading in their flowers and different techniques for filling in the background of these beautiful pieces. I might have had time to accomplish more if we hadn't spent so much time trying to identify which branch of the Aucoin family that my mother was from ( la fille a Arthur, a Eusebe, a Eustade) and who my father's great grandmother was related to. I believe that they should just give it up and accept the fact that all Cape Breton Acadians are related on one if not both sides of their families.

The difference between regular traditional rug hooking and the style from Cape Breton Island is that they use fine yarns and hook a loop in each hole of their backing, creating beautiful images of great detail, texture and beauty. Yet it technically isn't any more difficult to do than the primitive or "fabric strip" type of rug hooking, just a bit more detailed. Consequently, it lends itself beautifully to smaller pieces: wall hangings, table runners, bags, glasses cases, etc.

Anyway, back to the store tomorrow and it will be great to get back to see everyone.

Just a fun bit of trivia from the world of the internet: while I was away, I received a great note from a woman in Gatwick, England requesting permission to use some of the patterns from our companion WOOL-TYME KINGSTON FREE PATTERN site (link at right) to use to make products for sale with her home-spun wool. I am always so excited to see how the internet has played such a great role in making the lives of knitters and crafters much richer by introducing them to other people, ideas and services all over the world. What an honour to have my designs seen "across the pond."


I'm off to the East Coast

This is such a flying trip, I can't believe it. My parents, my brother and I are getting to spend a few days back in the homeland where they grew up and where we kids spent so many summer holidays. My 51 year old brother recalled that the last time we were there together, my Mom threatened to leave us on the Cabot Trail if we didn't stop fighting. (I was 13, he was 11 at the time).

It's such a great thing to have the chance to spend time with one's family and remake connections from so many years ago. (I haven't been back in 20 years). But what a great treat on top of all that -- to be heading to the home of yarn rug hooking: Cheticamp N.S. Growing up we were surrounded in our house by examples of this fine shaded rug hooking to the point that it became quite cliche to us. As I got older and became more involved in the fibre world, I was able to understand more and more the art and the work involved. Now that I've started hooking myself (I've been at it for about 10 hours in total, hardly an expert - but a real enthusiast!) I'm really looking forward to seeing their work with a different and more appreciative eye.

Just a reminder that October's newsletter will be sent out by e-mail next Monday, Oct. 1st (Ah, the wonders of technology, that the computer can do my work while I'm away) so if you would like to receive a copy, be sure to link to the e-mail list to the right of this page.
In closing, I would love to send a lovely gaelic wish to all of you but I only know how to write "100 thousand welcomes" which is hardly appropriate for a farewell, and besides my 100% Acadian roots would wonder why I wouldn't simply sign off with...Adieu, a la prochaine.
Be back next week!


We want to know you... (See below how you can help us.)

Yesterday I spent about 2 hours rearranging our wall of notions and needles in order to accomodate some new Rosewood ones that had just arrived.

In 1996 when I first opened the store, we carried 3 lengths of Aero Circular needles, sizes 3mm to 6.5mm, single point pairs and double pointed sets in the same sizes. Also a few bamboo needles of which we sold about a pair a week.

In addition to these, we now carry Clover Bamboo flex & circulars -3 lengths, Bryflex dp's, 10" and 14" pairs, a good selection of Addi Turbo circulars (regular and lace), Rosewood pairs as well as some Lantern moon and River John Canadian made pine needles. We carry some form of knitting needles in sizes 1.25mm to 25mm. Who would have believed that there would be such a demand for so many different products within a very specific segment of what we carry?

Sure, part of the reason is that our customer base has obviously grown over the years, but much more than that, I believe that it has to do with the internet where so many people can talk to each other about the products that they've tried and liked. They ask their cyberspace buddies for advice and it is given freely. Then they come to us looking for the products that have proven themselves in the market place.

One of the hardest aspects of retail is knowing what to buy so you can sell it. You always have to be listening and watching and hoping that the messages that you are getting from your customers is accurately read. Sometimes you have to go with what you like, what makes you feel good. Sometimes you have to let the outside forces tell you what's a good idea, even if you aren't quite sure of it yourself.

All that to say that we yarn store owners desperately need to hear from you: the knitters and customers of our shops.

At WOOL-TYME Kingston, we are presently running a Customer Survey and it's your last chance (before Canadian Thanksgiving weekend - Oct. 6th) for you to let your knitter's voice be heard and to let us in on your great ideas. You could also win a $100. gift certificate to the WOOL-TYME Kingston store.

If you have ever been in our store, please request that a survey be sent to you by emailing us at wooltymekingston at gmail dot com EVEN IF YOU HAVE NEVER BEEN TO OUR STORE and live somewhere in some other part of the universe but have been visiting this site, please request the survey too and just give us your comments about the sites and how we can better serve you as part of the knitting community. When you email the survey back to us we will read your comments carefully and submit your name for the draw.

Just think, $100. worth of yarn and knitting stuff for just a few minutes thought. Why wait? Do it now!


Could this be Carly Simon's new hit single: "Procrastina-a-ation?"

I sat down today to begin working on October's newsletter and decided that I would prefer to post here instead. Not a great idea but what the heck - especially as I'm looking at a box full of things that I've brought home from the store that I wanted to write about for the newsletter. But then I got distracted by the new "Knitter's Companion".

I've found that there are just some sources that are worth trusting in the knitting book business. Elsbeth Lavold is one, Jo Sharp is another, and anything by Interweave Publishing is definitely worth a good look. Their latest edition of the "Knitter's Companion" doesn't disapppoint.

What I love about this book is #1: it lies flat!!! Because of its spiral binding, you can actually follow the directions that it gives you while you are reading them, without the aid of every stapler, scissors, cordless phone and coffee cup within easy reach propped on each of the corners to keep the book open. I also prefer drawings to photos when illustrating a technique as they use different colours to show you what is going on.

I'm always amazed at how many people scoff at the idea of having a good "How To..." book for their knitting. (But then, maybe many of the ones who do use these great resources don't have to ask as many questions so I don't realize that they are being used...) Who among us would scoff at a good cooking technique book? I've been cooking all my life and have a good selection of favourite recipes but one of my most cherished books is the new Joy Of Cooking that I got last Christmas. It just has so much to offer in information. Yet when it comes to knitting, often we figure that the way our mom's taught us is good enough, even if we're not always 100% satisfied with the outcome. Well, this new edition of the Knitter's Companion is updated and full of great tidbits that just make so much sense to have at your fingertips (so you don't have to keep it in your head).

Another area of my procrastination is in the "tidy up" side of my life. I had been putting off the great triage of stuff that had accumulated in the back room of the store over the summer and last week I decided to tackle it. I got most of it done and out of the way but I did get waylayed by some fun projects that we had begun knitting for display at the store and felt that I just had to work on them. Funny, isn't it that knitting seems to be more fun than going through paid invoices, discarded ball bands and boxes of display clips. Anyway as a result, I'm hoping to have our own version of the Baby Yoda Sweater for display in the next few days. (See pattern by going to the link in the side bar.)

While not procrastinating and actually getting some clean up done last week, I got a bag of bits of 4 ply sock yarn together that people have donated. The best idea for this donation that I can think of is if anyone would like to take it home and make up some socks, mitts or other articles for a church bazaar, I'm sure that they would be a big hit. About half the bag is self striping and the other half are solid colours. It could be a charity sock knitter's dream; for me it's just more stuff that I'd like to find a good home for. Anyone interested in doing some fine charity knitting with it??? Just ask or call the store. 613-384-3951

Well, darn it all. It appears to be time to go put some supper on. I guess that I'll have to work on the newsletter some other day. (Don't be fooled. The newsletter is actually one of my favourite parts of this job. I guess it just wasn't the day for me to be inspired to tackle it.) See you soon.


It's Fall! Let the Fun Begin.

This may not be what everyone is saying at this time of the year but we sure are having fun at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store. I was slotting all of our fall classes and activities in my calendar today and realized that we have something going on almost every weekend from now until Christmas.
Next week is the first of our free DEMOs where you get to see what I've been up to all summer with the KOOL-AID Dyeing and get to try your hand at it too.

To help out, does anyone out there have an electric frying pan or 2 that we could borrow for the day (Sat. Sept. 15th) as the more sources of heat that we have to play with, the more fun we can have experimenting? Please call me at the store if you can help us out with one: 613-384-3951.

Everyone who comes to the demo will get to bring home a skein of wool that they have dyed to give them the confidence to try it at home. It's really easy and so much fun.

The BEGINNERS CLASS in Traditional Rug Hooking on Sept. 22nd is full but we are taking names for a class that will be scheduled in January. Please email me or call the store as soon as possible if you are interested in learning the fundamentals of this great craft.

We have just received a new luxury bulky alpaca yarn called Suri Prism. Go to http://www.diamondyarn.com/image.php?yarnID=1499&imgID=sww.diamondyarn.com/image.php?yarnID=1499&imgID=s to see the colour chart. It's a glorious yarn in amazing colours that isn't like any other alpaca on the market. Meanwhile, this is a picture of one of the garments that can be made with it. But although a picture may be worth 1 000 words, you can't run your fingers through it. Come in and check it out. The colours are glorious.


I'm Back at last!

I must apologize for being away from the desk for so long but I've not yet learned the ins and outs of laptops (which I did have access to during my holidays) and when I got home the PC was buried deep beneath a pile of stuff while the hardwood floors in 80% of my house were being sanded and finished. What a mess. Glad it's over and that I can get back to some blogging fun.

I was in Boston for almost a week and got to meet Aldrich Robinson (at right) who owns a knitting shop on Newbury St. which is a very posh address with a lovely store that fits right in with the people who are shopping for quality and beauty at such stores as Cartier's, Ralph Lauren and Chanel among others. It's a great shop and shows how hard Aldrich works to provide a good selection of yarns and to make her customers feel welcomed. This link has a great article about women in small businesses in the city . Very interesting. http://www.cweonline.org/content/view/49/49/
(By the way, Meg Ryan was filming a movie on Newbury St. while I was there but although I got to see a lot of technical guys running around with miles of cables I never got to see any real movie action.)

WOW! Can you ever tell that the weather is starting to cool down. We have been very busy at the store lately and it's great to see people who have been away at the cottage and hiding out in their a/c houses for the summer. The newsletter went out on the weekend and we are starting to see people who are intrigued by the Mirasol Project coming in and falling in love with one or more of their 4 wonderful yarns. JANE ELLISON, who in the past few years has produced some of the greatest designs for the ever popular self-striping NORO yarns from Japan, has lent her talents to this amazing program and has raised awareness and the bar for exquisite attention to detail and beautiful garments with a conscientious look towards alpaca shepherds and their families in Peru. Check out the site to learn more. www.janeellison.co.uk/Mirasol.htm

In my knitting world, I'm working on a pair of socks of our new worsted machine washable wool & nylon blend called PERFECT and love the feel and how quickly they knit up. Unfortunately I believe that although I'm having fun designing and knitting them, I may not get to wear them: as so often happens when I knit stuff for the store, it either stays in the store as a display model forever as we never get around to replacing it or else we sell it and I'm out my nice project. Oh well, that's the reality of retail. At least they are appreciated.


November activities

Saturday, Nov. 3rd:
Introduction to
with Andrea Graham

Learn from the best: nationally recognized fibre artist and teacher Andrea Graham will share her techniques and inspiration. No experience necessary. Come and see our needle felting display at the store.
When: Sat. Nov 3rd 1-4pm.
Cost: Workshop $45.
Participants will require a felting needle and working foam, available at WOOL-TYME Kingston.

Saturday, Nov. 17th:
For beginners

The simplest way to discover the wonder of spinning fibres is with a drop spindle.
Try your hand at it this age old craft .
When: Sat. Nov 17th 1-4pm
Cost: workshop $45. Includes a spindle to take home and a selection of fibres to work with.

Free Demos!

Saturday, Nov. 10th 1-4pm
SOCKS ON CIRCULARS You've heard about it but it seems too strange to imagine. Come and see how you can actually knit both socks at the same time, using 2 circular needles.

Saturday, Nov. 24th 1-4pm
THRUM: unspun fleece in your mitts, hats, slippers & socks.
Free Patterns for all available at the Demo.


Rug Hooking in Chatelaine Magazine

Well, we at WOOL-TYME Kingston always knew that we were right in with the latest trends, but this is the first time that we were firmly ahead of the pack. Chatelaine's August 2007 edition claims that the the artful rugs that can be easily created by hooking may lure knitters away from their traditional needles. Last spring, Rhonda Kellett gave the first rug hooking class at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store and introduced us all to the great world of burlap and wool.

Those of you who saw us at the Sheep Dog Trials on the weekend would have seen Rhonda hooking a beautiful rug using 4ply Briggs and Little yarn. This was to show that not all rug hooking needs to be done with cut fabric. The picture here shows the glorious grading of colours that can be achieved using fabric strips or yarn that you can get at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store.

Today I've just spent some time on the phone with different suppliers to assure our new "hooking" customers and our regular knitters and crocheters who are interested in taking Rhonda's class in September (click on the class info in the list of Coming Events at the top of this page) that we will have a good supply of hoops, hooks, backing fabric and yarns to create your own hooked masterpieces.

Rhonda, who is a wonderful designer in her own right, (come and see her glorious wall rug on display in the store) has agreed to provide us with pre-drawn designs on burlap that will be ready for those of us who are a little nervous about creating our own outlines.

On the cyberspace front: It's a good thing that I don't have a weak heart. THose of you who are familiar with blogs will recognize that each of our sites has a counter that keeps a running tab on how many people have visited the site today, in total and how many pages they have clicked to. I look at this tally every now and then and have been so pleased to see people from all over the world visiting the sites (both this one and our free pattern site.) The pattern site used to get under 10 visitors a day but it was nice to see that it was being used and our customers can download their own patterns instead of having to ask us to email them.
Well, on August 4th, it would appear that Knitting Pattern Central http://www.knittingpatterncentral.com/new_patterns.php listed our free patterns on their directory and the total visitors per day went into the hundreds with the latest tally being at 10, 766 as I write this. It reminded me of the story that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee tells of when she posted her "good idea" about knitting a special project during the Olympics and came back to her computer 3 hours later to over 1,000 comments. At least I don't have to respond to everyone who visits my site as Stephanie had promised to do.


Weekend at the Sheep Dog Trials

Well this is what the booth looked like at the Sheep Dog Trials. Thanks to Carolyn for the picture.

So nice to see so many of you there and to hear all the great feedback about the new newsletter format and the blogs. Your comments and ideas are always appreciated. Also, it's always so good to get out in the real world and see what other people find to be passionate about. It's easy to get caught up in our own little circle and forget that there are people out there who love sewing, pottery, photography, their animals and their music as much as the people that I see every day love their knitting.

Friday being a slower day, I was able to catch up with so many of the vendors (many of whom also happen to be customers) and just relax and listen to the excellent running commentary from the trials themselves. For instance, who knew that it was more difficult to run 4 or 5 sheep than it is to move 20? Or that some of the handlers were so taken by the quality of the protein rich dog food that Amanda Milliken was feeding her dogs, that they took to sprinkling it on their cereal in the moring?

Rhonda Kellett, our traditional rug hooking teacher, joined me on Saturday and Sunday and got quite an audience for her demonstrations of this great craft. We are proud to be bringing in a good selection of burlap, hooks and hoops as well as the wool yarn that will make life easier for the area "hookers". We distributed so many pamphlets for our fall schedule of classes that I had to print off some more on Saturday afternoon. It promises to be an exciting season coming up.

By the way, for those who were wondering what the sideways sweater looks like that I was working on all weekend, this is a picture of it.

I'm knitting it in Tosca which is a 50-50 blend of wool and acrylic and is a wonderful yarn to work with. The pattern is quite fun too. For those of you who have ever been to the regular classes at the store, you will know that I'm a great fan of laying out a grid of rows that need to be repeated in a pattern and just checking them off as you go along. This pattern lends itself very well to that method and I was able to knit for hours without having to do anything more mentally strenuous than making a check mark every so often.
This week it's back to the real world. I need to sort out the new yarns that are arriving at the store and organize my "stuff" for the accountant to deal with the year end issues. I can't tell you how often people say to me that it must be such a wonderful life, to have a business where I can knit all day. As any of you who are in business will understand, only a very tiny part of my job involves knitting and that's one of the reasons that I like to get out and have some time at venues like the Sheep Dog Trials, because I can have hours of knitting time without having to worry about dealing with ordering, scheduling, reconciling, counting, and bookkeeping. It's a real treat, and I'm glad that I still enjoy it so much. But there's no question that if I didn't enjoy the business building side of things too it would be a very frustrating life. I'm here to provide you, the crafting customers, with what you need to enjoy your knitting experience. The fact that I get fun out of it too is a bonus.


October 2007 List of Classes & activities.

Saturday, Oct. 13th:
Learn to make a

Back by popular demand!
Go through all of the steps in knitting a sock in just one day. Also great for sock knitters who want to learn to adapt to any yarn/ foot size.
When: Sat. Oct 13th 10am-???
Cost: Workshop $45. Includes all
materials & handouts.

Join us for
Tues. Oct 23rd to Sat Oct 27th.

Bring in your favourite completed project to display for the rest of us to enjoy too. Participants receive a 15% coupon and join in the participants' reception on Saturday the 27th from 1-3pm. Don't miss the fun.

Saturday, Oct. 27th:
HOOKING Part II Finishing.
with Rhonda Kellett

Learn the basics of giving your rug hooking projects that professional finish.
When: Sat. Oct 27th 1-5pm
Cost: Workshop $45.
Participants will bring a piece that they wish to finish..


This picture shows the traditional craft of rug hooking as taught by Rhonda Kellett. Please read our exciting line up of classes, workshops and demos and feel free to contact us at the store (613)384-3951 or at wooltymekingston@gmail.com for more information.

Saturday, Sept. 15th 1-4pm:
Free Demo!
KOOL-AID Dyeing.
See a display of different yarns and techniques used to achieve a wide range of effects using Kool-Aid and a crock pot or the microwave oven for the dyeing process.

Saturday, Sept. 22nd:
Introduction to
with Rhonda Kellett

Learn the basics of this traditional craft using wool strips, yarn and burlap as taught by one of the areas finest registered teachers of rug hooking. Kit provided to create a beautiful wall hanging/ trivet .
When: Sat. Sept. 22nd 1-5pm.
Cost: Workshop $45. kit $45.
Also required: 14” hoop or scroll frame available at Kingston.


How we have changed.

I wanted to show you a picture of all of the new colours of fleece that we've just gotten into the store. Of course because they are in plastic bags, the picture doesn't do them justice. But as I was taking the picture I was going over all of the new things that we've brought into the store in the past year.

This hand painted roving in the picture represents a lot of these changes in that our customers have discovered so many things to do with it: spinners use it of course, but also a lot goes to needle felting and wet felting to accompany so many of the exciting new books that are available for this craft. Customers have also discovered the gorgeous multicoloured thrum mitts and slippers that can be made using this fleece. And in the fall, we will be featuring a mitten pattern that can be knit from the unspun fleece itself.

Another aspect of bringing in this new locally produced roving is that it also represents all of the local artisans and producers that we are able to support. Topsy Farms' worsted yarns and wraps as well as their new premium lightweight yarn that is spun right down the road in Wilton are great additions to the store. Rita Young, one of our customers, sells her stunning carry bags in the store as they are just the thing for transporting craft projects (or anything else for that matter- I have 2 of them that I use all the time). Another customer creates our popular elegant stitch markers using beads of the most glorious hues.

We're also proud this year to continue our association with Rhonda Kellett, registered teacher or traditional rug hooking. We will be featuring beginner and finishing classes in this beautiful craft and will be carrying a stock of necessary supplies for those who love "hooking".

Beginning this fall, we will be carrying a selection of drop spindles and will host a class on Sat. November 10th for those who want to try their hand at this too.

In the spring I hope to introduce into the store the new Ashford Knitting Loom, which comes from one of the most trusted names in spinning and weaving and introduces the beginner to more great fun things to do with their stash or yarn frrom home, and all of the in-store yarns that they drool over but aren't quite sure what to make with them.

All this to say that it's an exciting life at WOOL-TYME Kingston, and certainly one that is only made richer by the presence, the encouragement and the enthusiasm of our great customers. Thanks to all of you!