Success at last! We have pictures!!!

Well, here it is: The featured free pattern for the month of June, in living colour, coming to you from my new high-speed connection. The newsletter will be going out in the next couple of days and I'm hoping to have to time to set up a new site with all of the free patterns that we have offered over the past year. I'm having a lot of fun learning all of this new stuff on the computer and in the blog world and am looking forward to greeting customers on the blog as more people find out that we're here.
By the way, this is a shrug pattern which fits so nicely and actually stays on your shoulders. I plan to wear it to a wedding that we will be attending this summer. I made it in just a few days so keep it in mind if you have any special occasions coming up.


A Picture is worth...

Well, I have learned how to get the pictures out of the camera and onto the computer. I have also learned - with the help of a few kind souls who have emailed me - how to get them into the blog. The problem remains that we are still using a dial-up system at home and it took me 2 hours to practice with 1 picture yesterday.
BUT...in 1 day, 10 hours and a few minutes, I am hoping that we will join the rest of the world and have high-speed delivered to our house, and I will be able to do whatever I want (in cyber-space, anyway.)
Not having pictures to show yet has made me think about what it is in the knitting world that I really like to do the most. I'm often asked what I'm working on, and like so many of you, I always have a few things on the go. But unlike most people, the majority of these projects don't have patterns...for the following reasons:
-I often knit while doing other things and don't have the focus time to refer to a pattern.
-I know the pattern off by heart (as in the case of socks, or a scarf pattern that I've done many times.)
-I am working on something that a customer needs and it doesn't exist in the pattern world (not that I've found anyway.)
-But most often, it's because I'm doing what I like to do best: coming up with ideas for fast, fun and easy projects for customers to use with new yarns that we've received.

In the past couple of weeks, I did a summer shrug of Sirdar JUST BAMBOO that will be featured as the free pattern in June's newsletter. And last night, I finished a little shawl of that glorious JJ's handpainted mohair from Australia. Both of these will be pictured soon here on the blog, and will be up on display in the store.

All that to say that it's interesting to take a few minutes to analyse what we enjoy most and what we like to work on. I believe that there is very little in the knitting world that I couldn't accomplish (with a gun to my head...in the case of a really intricate lace pattern,) but most of what I knit could be done by anyone in their first year of knitting. There is no shame in simplicity. It's what you find enjoyable that is the most important.


Well, that was really fun!

Just got in from Toronto and thought that I'd dash off a few words before getting ready to go into the store. Stephanie P.-McP. was delightful as always.
She asked for shows of hands around several topics...to prove that the stereotypes under which we, as knitters in the 21st century, must live are ridiculous. When she asked how many people had ever bought yarn on-line, I think that everyone's hand but mine went up. When asked how many people read knitting blogs, again virtually unanimous consensus. How many people wrote knitting blogs?....a good show as well, consequently I'm sure that there are many others out there doing the same thing this morning as I am, reporting back to the knitting community about how interesting we are. This particular survey was to dispel the myth that knitters only know how to play with sticks and aren't very technologically savvy.
She introduced us the organization that has as its mandate to spread these myths about knitters: C.H.O.K.E. Cultural Humiliation Of Knitters Everywhere. This is the segment of society that insults grandmothers everywhere by saying that this is "not your granny's knitting anymore." It's also the group that think that it's cute, or trendy, or old-fashioned, or boring, or embarrassing, or mindless, or (add your own negative and/or condescending descriptor)to knit. Kind of makes one feel empowered to be part of a rising rebellion of the downtrodden.
I did get pictures but until I figure out how to get them onto the screen and into the blog, you'll just have to hang on and imagine about 350 stuffed into a space (and spilling over the banisters above a space) that was destined for the anticipated 100 people.


The dignity of knitters.

Tomorrow should be a fun day. I plan to join the Yarn Harlot and many of her fellow knitters at the Indigo book store in downtown Toronto to make a stand for the dignity of knitters. Stephanie herself (the Yarn Harlot) is a ridiculously successful writer with her books: At Knits End, Knitting Rules and most recently Casts Off. Many others in the world of knitting have achieved great notoriety (and success I might add) among our ranks, yet knitting is still considered almost a joke in the world beyond our crafting perimeter.
Here is my story: A couple of years ago, while walking back from seeing a play on Broadway (doesn't that just sound too cosmopolitan for words - but it's actually true.) I tripped and fell and hit my hand on the edge of an NYC sidewalk. When I was at the hospital (I waited until we got back to Canada the next day to have it seen to...otherwise, I might still be in their waiting room) and the nurse sent me to the plaster room after delivering the news that it was in fact broken, I gasped and said: "But I'm a professional knitter, I can't have a broken hand." She laughed- I was never sure if she thought that I was being funny at pretending that there was such a thing as a professional knitter, like a professional tiddlywink player, or if she just thought that it was funny that there was such a thing as someone who would actually rely on knitting for an income. The doctor and another nurse had the same response. I was shocked that they would laugh in the face of my real and professionally inconvenient misfortune.
I was consoled however that on the way out of the treatment area, I had to pass through the ER waiting room and it so happened that two of my customers were sitting there. When we saw each other, we smiled in recognition, then they saw my plastered hand and gasped: "Oh, it's the knitting lady. Your poor hand." They got it! They weren't laughing!
The world has to know that knitters have feelings too!
I hope to bring back lots of news and photos. (My husband gave me the 2 minute tour of our new digital camera this morning. Here's hoping.)
I have a busy weekend coming up. Upon returning from Toronto, we'll be hosting the SPRING 2007 SHOW & SHARE reception at the WOOL-TYME store on Gardiners Rd. All are welcome from 1-4pm. Please come, bring your knitting and your appetite and see what your fellow crafters have done (we have some tatting and weaving on display from our customers as well as a great array of knitting projects).
Then on Sunday I get to go the the Ontario Hook Craft Guild annual get together at Loyalist College in Belleville. Hooking is fast becoming one of my favourite things to do with yarn. It will be fun to see some things produced by artists who have been at it for longer than the 2 weeks that I've been practicing the craft.
Happy Knitting! Enjoy the sunshine.
Anne @ WOOL-TYME Kingston.


The Blog that Binds. (Looking for your input.)

I want to emphasize that this is a community blog. The community that shares this blog is the world of knitters and crafters, probably more specifically the community of knitters who happen to be connected with our store: WOOL-TYME in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
As the moderator of a community blog, I do want to encourage each of you to contribute to the blog, however you wish.
How to participate:
-Please feel free to leave COMMENTS at the bottom of each of these posts.
-In the Contact Us box at the top right of the screen you will find our email address for those who have questions, comments for me, or are just shy about posting tidbits to the giant virtual/web world.
-Send us a postcard. Like so many of us today, we don't get enough fun mail, just bills and flyers. When you're on the road please send us a postcard (knitting or sheep related would be fun) to the store address in the Contact Us box. It will be fun to keep track of the real world through snail mail (and we'll post your cards on a "real" cork board in our "real" store.)
What we need from you:
- The COMMENTS section would be a great place to post your own reflections about knitting, fibre, "the new yoga" or not. It's always fun to see what others are thinking.
-COMING EVENTS will soon be a feature of this blog and we will include store events, as well as fibre related events in the area, the province and the world. Please let me know via email if you know of anything that you think other readers would be interested in. I will be glad to post it for you or your group.
-We're also looking for customers' blogs to link to, other websites and blogs of interest. (I'm hoping to include links to some of the websites of our most popular distributors so that you will be able to browse their on-line catalogues and know what you need us to order for you.)
-Knitting questions, tips and tricks, or just plain fun trivia about the fibre world that you come across is always exciting to share with others.
-Interesting pictures and stories about knitting and fibre arts in the wide world- just to keep us connected to the global community too.

MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL...we need your feedback. It is only through customers'comments that we have been able to grow and improve our service and our business over the past 10 years.
Is there anything that I would like to see in the blog that we've forgotten?
Please feel free to help us make this a blog that serves you.


Elizabeth and I had a lovely afternoon.

A few weeks ago, I freudiantly made a mistake when setting the schedule for this Saturday's staffing. There would have been just too many of us in the store on a sunny afternoon during the May long weekend. I had long wanted to spend some time with an Elizabeth Zimmerman book- getting to know more about this doyenne of the knitting world to whom we all owe so much.

Today was the day! Now some of you may know that giving me a day off can be a bit unpredictable, considering that the last time I was let loose on my own, I had myself tatooed. But today I have been behaving myself and have had a wonderful visit with Elizabeth Z. (a copy of whose book The Opinionated Knitter providentially arrived yesterday in the store) and imagine that there will be references to this fruitful day in the posts to come.

I just want to mention that I really felt that I was talking to an old friend when I read her Newsletter #5 from the fall of 1960, where she gave directions to knit a "Cowichan Sweater". My own knitting history is fondly yet shamefully connected to the Cowichan sweater from the 1st Nations people of the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island. When I was in my early 20's and we lived just north of Victoria, I was looking for a way to make some money (my recent Bachelor's degree in Religion did not come in very handy in this regard. Go figure!) As all knitters are likely to do, I found every yarn store within a 50 mile radius and spent more time haunting them than looking for a job. One day, one of the stores in Victoria was looking for a knitter so I gave it a whirl and we got along fine and I made $25/sweater. Not enough for groceries but to a devoted knitter, what do such mundane things matter?

Those of you who have visited Victoria will recognize the Cowichan sweater as the natural coloured bulky knit sweaters which are as prevalent in that city as Anne of Red Hair is in Charlottetown PEI. It didn't take long before I realized that the fastest knit sweaters and the easiest money was to be made by knitting these popular souvenirs of the rich and chilly. I felt like a knitting prostitute but consoled myself that the ones that I was commissioned to knit had raglan sleeves (unlike the traditional sweaters which are made in 1 piece with no seams -
3-needle cast off shoulders and picked up sleeves) and really tacky pictures on them. So I figured that anyone who was silly enough to buy these deserved to get the knock off, knitted by some transplanted Ontario pretender.

I always loved the REAL Cowichan sweaters and spent a lot of time trying to figure out just how they got those shoulders to look like that - before I knew what a 3-needle cast off was.
Zoom ahead 28 years: a few weeks ago, one of our regular customers came in wearing the layered look to deal with the crazy "spring weather" that we've been having. I could see that one of her layers was a traditional Cowichan sweater. I got so excited and wanted to see it. As she took off her coat, she said: "Wait till you see this..." and proudly displayed a magnificent vest that her mother had made her of Noro's glorious BLOSSOM yarn. She was a little confused when I didn't pay any attention at all to the vest but was all over the Cowichan. "I got this at a thrift shop a few years ago," says she. "I think I paid 6 bucks for it."

Life certainly has a way of putting everything into perspective. What does the value of something really mean?

"Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises." Elizabeth Zimmerman


Knitters are kind.

At the Kingston Knitting Circle's get-together (I could never call such a relaxed forum a "meeting") at Chapters last night, I was struck by the variety of people who call themselves knitters and who like to just spend time together.
Not wanting to be too nosy, but I would judge that 6 decades were represented within the 12 of us who were there. There is always an amazing range of personal backgrounds and knitting abilities but the one consistent link is that everyone is so nice and kind- encouraging the novices, marveling at the next amazing project from the experts of all ages, and laughing together at the "experiences" that lead some of us to start over.
In passing, someone said that they felt that the staff at WOOL-TYME Kingston always treated their customers like they themselves would want to be treated if they were shopping in a knitting store. I was so touched by this thought. There's a lovely song, of which I remember very little except that I really liked it, that says: "May your love bind your work to your play". Well I would say that that is the closest I could come to defining how we all feel about coming to work. You, the customers, really are friends - whether we've met you before or not.

THAT BEING SAID...let me shamelessly plug the CUSTOMER SURVEY that we are conducting until the fall. We need as much feedback as possible from our customers to help guide us in the future in what we will offer in fibres, products, services and classes. All you need to do to have a chance at $100 gift certificate from WOOL-TYME Kingston is to email me at wooltymekingston@gmail.com for your electronic survey, complete it and return it and you're in. Alternately, when you are in the store the next time, ask for a paper copy and drop it in the ballot box. It only takes a few minutes to complete and it really is incredibly valuable information to us.


I believe that I'm actually creating a blog.

Dear friends and customers;

Yesterday I set up a template for the new look of the store's e-newsletter, and buoyed by the success of that venture, (and having read in someone else's newsletter how easy it is to set up a blog) I've jumped in with both feet.

There has been such tremendous feedback from our e-newsletter recipients, and when people so kindly tell me how much they like it, I frequently mention that the newsletter is like my monthly blog. Unfortunately, in the interest of saving space, I've had to pare down what I write in the newsletter and the "Notes From The Counter" segment, where I would share my own observations of the knitting world, was one of the things that got left by the wayside. Well, now I have a legitimate blog where I can babble on and not worry about the cost of printing or the bytes involved.

Often people ask me about things that I wrote about a few months back in the newsletter, and this black hole that I refer to as my brain is vacant of any recollections. By making the newsletters available through the blog, I'm hoping that we can all access tips, tricks, and new bits of information that are in each of the monthly e-newsletters.

I've also long wanted a forum where staff and customers can share what they are doing in their crafting lives, give their own suggestions and observations about the knitting world and the world of WOOL-TYME Kingston in particular.

For you blog-aholics, I don't imagine that this will be a daily posting venue but I do commit to a weekly update and I promise that I'll soon get to learn how to use our digital camera so that we can have some fun with pictures too. We have such a wonderful wealth of humanity that comes through the doors of the WOOL-TYME Kingston store each day, that it's a shame that you all can't come and spend more time with us to get to know the wonderful people (YOU) that we are priveleged to meet each day.