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.