A walk down Home Ec. memory lane.

So this morning I was browsing through the internet for a simple Spanish Coffee recipe to serve at a get together tomorrow evening when I found one on the FoodTV site, right beside the picture of this "Yule log" - as I've learned to call it in English.

When I was growing up in Quebec and going to French school we learned all about the folklore of this traditional Christmas dessert. We learned how to make it in a jelly roll pan, we learned how to wrap it in a lightly floured tea towel, to roll it and about creating pseudo-mushrooms with meringues that have had cocoa dusted onto them. The only thing that stumped me was when the heck was the plum pudding (with hard sauce, of course) going to be eaten, and why didn't any of my friends know the French name for plum pudding? Growing up English in a French community, it was not an uncommon thing to learn theoretically about traditions that we never got to practice at home, but the details that I retain of the importance of buttered hands when pulling taffy (la tire de la Ste Catherine), making maple poached eggs, and how to perfectly apply the icing to the Christmas "buche" to make it look like bark, are all fond memories that stay with me much as I remember the details of "Catherine's" bed chamber in Wuthering Heights: dear to me in an outsider's way.

Actually none of this has much to do with knitting, but what I did learn is how many interesting experiences one can have by following from one link to the next on the internet. Here is the address for the blog where the Yule log recipe is found: http://www.foodtv.ca/BLOG/archive/2008/12/01/12-days-of-holiday-treats-chocolaty-christmas-log.aspx and being a blog, they're are always links to other blogs. Well, go figure, who knew that there would be as many, if not more, obsessed foodies wanting to share their ideas and discoveries with their cyberfriends on food blogs (over 50 of them have links from that page.)

Now why would I find it odd that there would be so many food bloggers? I'm a big food fan myself. I guess I just don't hang around with people who are as passionate about food as they are about knitting.

Anyone who wants to take the "Sock in a day" class at the store in January had better "get their skates on" (as they say on Coronation Street.) We're already half full. Lots of other great classes coming up too. I'm really looking forward to it.

As promised, this is a picture of the tea cozy that I knitted, felted then needle felted for my oldest who really enjoys her tea. The scroll work along the bottom is just multi coloured roving as is the "I". The heart and the tea pot were made by using miniature cookie cutters that I got at the Bulk Barn. You lay them on the fabric to be embellished and fill them with fleece then start poking the heck out of it with a felting needle until it's nearly flat. If you want more high relief add some more fleece and poke the heck out of it again. Remove the cookie cutter frame and use your needle and accent/shading colours to work in the details.

It really is as easy as can be. But my advice is that it should be appreciated by all from a distance of not less than 3 feet. Like much art work it loses a lot of its magic when scrutinized too closely. If you haven't tried needle felting, it really is worth the $15 investment to have a real play time. Great way to distract yourself over the holidays.


Schedule of Winter and Spring classes

Don't be disappointed - sign up now!
Contact the store at 613-384-3951 or email us at wooltymekingston@gmail.com
Registration details:
-Classes must be paid for at the time of registration to hold your spot. (Materials can be paid for on the day of the class).
-Payment can be made in person using cash, cheque, credit card or debit card. Registration can be taken over the phone using a credit card.
-Participants who must cancel will only receive a refund if they call the store at least 48 hours before the class and if we are able to fill the spot. A credit for a future class will be considered in the event that a refund cannot be made.
Saturday, Jan. 17th:
Learn to make a SOCK-IN-A-DAY
with Anne Woodall
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: Saturday, Jan. 17th, 10am-???
Cost: Workshop $45. Includes all materials & handouts.

Saturday, Jan. 31st:
Embellishing your Knitting
with Deb White

Anyone can take knitted or crafted project and turn it into a work of art. Embroidery, needle felting, borders, finishing touches are all covered in this wonderful class that lets you explore the artist within.
When: Saturday, Jan. 31st, 1-4pm
Cost: $45. Materials provided.

Saturday, Feb. 14th:
with Rhonda Kellett
Learn the basics of this traditional craft using wool strips, yarn and burlap as taught by one of the area's finest registered teachers of rug hooking. Kit provided to create a beautiful wall hanging/ trivet .
When: Saturday, Feb. 14th, 1-4pm.
Cost: Workshop $45. - Kit $45.
Also required: 14” hoop or scroll frame available at The Quilter's Choice and WOOL-TYME Kingston.

Saturday, Feb. 21st:
DROP SPINDLE for beginners
with Kim Parkinson.
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: Saturday, Feb. 21st, 1-4pm
Cost: workshop $45. Includes a spindle to take home and a selection of fibres to work with.

Saturday, Feb. 28th
with Anne Woodall
Using the amazing sock "architectures" of Cat Bordhi as a starting point, learn how to
a)create ANY of the beautiful, perfectly fitting socks pictured in the book.
b) master toe up and top down techniques.
c) use the book without loosing your mind (and your place).
When: Saturday, Feb 28th, 1-4pm
Cost: $55. - Includes Cat Bordhi's Book 1: New Pathways for Sock Knitters. ($35 for participants who already own the book).

Saturday, March 21st
with Anne Woodall.
Learn the basics of stranding different colours of yarn to create beautiful traditional patterns, with some new and novel-old twists. 2-Handed fair isle knitting, using hand painted colours, steeks and (AHHH!) cutting your knitting, fair isle knitting on the purl side will all be covered in this class.
When: Saturday, March 21st, 1-4pm
Cost: $45. A small material list and preparation assignment will be provided 2 weeks before the class.

Saturday, April 18th
with Deb White.
Entrelac is a beautiful knitting technique that has an amazing WOW-factor while being relatively easy to learn and adapt to many different projects. Join Deb, a long time knitting designer and teacher, as she shows you how to make the most of this beautiful technique.
When: Saturday, April 18th, 1-4pm
Cost: $45. A small material list will be provided 2 weeks before the class.

Saturday, April 25th
Learn to make a SOCK-IN-A-DAY
with Anne Woodall
The spring date for this incredibly popular class has been set. 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: Saturday, April 25th, 10am-???
Cost: Workshop $45. Includes all materials & handouts.


Out of Synch

This is a flower on one of my clematis bushes. It lives next to an overexuberant clematis of another breed that is way too showy and cannot be tamed. This darker coloured clematis is the weaker of the pair and despite being the same age, is about 10% of the size of its neighbour, and produces about 5% of the flowers. It did however decide to put out one single flower during our warm spell earlier in the fall. Then it snowed . Isn't it pretty despite its lonely vigil over my abandoned front garden?

It's interesting to think of what we find beautiful. One of the sales reps for a major supplier was in the store yesterday so that I could check out the spring lineup and do some ordering. He was saying that it took awhile but that the design department had finallly figure out that knitters will drool over handpainted colours in any fine yarn, but that when it comes to the thicker yarns, they prefer the solid or heathered colours. I had to agree. And I always like to analyse responses, but darned if I can figure out our drool reflex in front a glorious skein of multi hued lace weight yarn and our gut response to a gorgeous skein of the purest colour of solid rich grey in Cascade 220; and conversely, how the opposite just doesn't say very much to us. (The obvious exceptions to this rule are all the Noro yarns and the Manos del Uruguay handpaints, which of course are just simply exquisite, no matter how thick they are.)

I'm working on the newsletter and had to take a break (I do believe that it's called "procrastination"). The other day I finished a great felted tea cozy on which I needle felted the cutest details. This is for my oldest daughter for Christmas. When I get the battery charged in my camera, I'll have to show you a picture if you promise not to tell her.

Last night I finished these thrum mitts. The colour in the picture is a bit bright but they are in fact burgandy and gold, which I beleived to be her school colours. I did have a nagging suspicion however that this was not completely accurate as I had just heard of the school colours through her, followed by the disclaimer: "I think". So this morning, as I was getting ready to put them with the other gifts that I've finished, I looked it up on the internet, and sure enough, the colours for her University are in fact burgundy, gold AND BLACK.
Now I certainly could have looked this bit of information up the same way, and in the same 10 seconds worth of time investment, a couple of weeks ago when I began them and I could have included black with the yellow thrums instead of burgandy and yellow ones. But that is my nature; for some reason I feel that it's more important to get on with the job at hand and tidy the details, if necessary, later on.

In this case, I'll probably do a bit of duplicate stitch to add some black around the cuff. It's not the end of the world, but it certainly is a good thing that I'm not a perfectionist or a slave to the sequential order of things.
P.S. As if to further illustrate my need to get on with the job and worry about details later, when I published this post originally, I looked at the page as it showed up on my screen and couldn't figure out why it looked so different from my other blog posts, until I realized that I had written it in our Free Pattern website: www.wtkpatterns.blogspot.com This goes to show that I've become really good at fixing problems as it's only taken me another 5 minutes to move it over here. I've also learned a lot about serenity in my life, and how to keep from hitting my head against a wall when I make a mistake.


A busy week at the shop

This is what running a yarn store should be all about. It's been a week of beginnings, firsts, great sales, great people and interesting knitting puzzles that I get to play with in my head.

We began last weekend with our first class on intarsia techniques, which is the technique involved in producing a picture or any blocks of colour into your knitted fabric. We used Dora here as an example of how easy it is to find pictures on the internet then trace them on to the graph paper that we can supply at the store that is designed to reproduce just about any knitting gauge that you can come up with. This custom sized graph paper is just one of the freebies that we are glad to offer our customers who have taken on the task of pleasing a young fan who needs to have their favourite character or logo on their sweater. (Don't forget that any licensed designs can generally be reproduced for your grandchild's sweater but not to sell at a craft show for your customer's grandchild.)

Then on Tuesday we welcomed Alana as our newest staff member. Alana is new to Kingston, extremely knowledgeable, and a calm and patient helper to all knitters with questions. Please feel free to pop in and welcome her to our knitting community.

On Wednesday we received our first shipment of patterns for traditional rug hooking. These are beautiful pieces in all sizes, from small samplers for the novice who just wants to try this new craft out, to this beautiful "Wee Patch of Sunflowers" which measures 15"x25" and would make a gorgeous rug or wall hanging. It's nice to be able to offer a wider variety of crafts, using our great selection of yarns to customers who are looking for new fibre areas in which to branch out.

And speaking of new fibre areas, on Thursday I picked up a new batch of hand dyed fleece in so many vibrant colours. These bags have become so popular for needle felting, embellishing and to add vibrant colours to thrum projects that where as I used to replenish our stock about once a season, now I'm visiting the supplier about once a month. It's a joy. By the way, we hope to be offering an intro class to all types of felting in the winter. Stay tuned for our new list of winter classes which should be out early in December.

A couple of weeks ago I got to go on a yarn buying trip to 2 of our major suppliers' in Toronto and came back with a mountain of deals for every taste. We have soft and fluffy, lacy, shiny. I was amazed at all the great deals to be had and am so happy to see it being gobbled up by savvy knitters. Come and check it out; there's still a great selection for all of your Christmas gift knitting.

Finally yesterday, Saturday, was a great day: busy, fun, with many interesting aspects to it. First I had a lady and 3 lovely girls who arrived to tell me that they had suffered a major crisis in their house. One of the girls who was 8 years old, had just finished her first hat and the dog, Pippen, had liked it so much that he decided to show his appreciation by chewing on the hat, causing a looney sized hole at the back. Now this was no ordinary hat: the ribbing was perfectly executed, the body part of it was in a lovely lime green merino wool with a beautiful band of fairisle zigzag knitting around the middle, with perfectly placed decreases that led to a great shape at the top. Did I mention that the knitter was 8 years old! and she really knew what she was doing as she explained each procedure to me.
Thank heavens, I was able to repair it and Pippen was let out of the dog house, and each of the little girls went off with a project in one of our biodegradeable bags. All is well with the world. Wouldn't it be nice if all major crises could be taken care of with $1.55 worth of tapestry yarn and a few well placed stitches.

Later in the day I met with Tanya White and her mother/knitter. Tanya is a 4th year fashion design student at Ryerson who is producing her final project: a men's spring collection which is to include several hand knitted pieces that she has designed. They were needing some ideas and advice on yarn selection and execution techniques. What fun! Like a family doctor who spends his/her day looking at infected ears and inflamed throats, it must be fun to get an interesting rash now and then. In the same way, daily we answer questions about the meaning of SSK, or how to get stocking stitch to stop curling (you can't,) that it was a pure delight to figure out how to make Tanya's concepts become reality. We're hoping to show pictures after her presentation in the New Year.
Hoping that the rest of your November (the dreariest month of the year in my opinion) is full of fun knitting ideas in preparation for the Holidays. (I just finished a tea cozy which I'm going to felt today for one of my daughters, and a University colour appropriate sweater and leggings for a naked teddy bear who was brought to school by my youngest daughter when she left home in September. But don't tell them about these things. It's a surprise.)


Sometimes the temptations are just too great.

Today I began my first pair of toe up socks using Cat Bordhi's book that I spoke of in the last post: New Pathways for Sock Knitters. I love it, but my most important recommendation to all is to have a giant pack of post it notes beside you when you begin; there are lots and lots of references to charts, directions and patterns that send you scurrying all over the book, referencing what you need to know to get on with you new sock technique. It's not for everyone but I'm having a ball.
Then just to get my nose out of the sock that I'd been working on for a few hours by now (funny the chiropractor seems to think that it should be forbidden to work on knitting for more than 30 minutes at a time.) I went on Ravelry, just to see what the knitting world was up to. From there I ended up redirected to a YouTube video on the basics of needlefelting, which I also love to bits. From that video, I found this site at http://www.feltalive.com/onlineclass.htm where Kay Petal offers an online class to create these most adorable characters. One of the great things that I found there was that she names our very own Andrea Graham, of Odessa, as one of her inspiritions. Check out Kay's site and Andrea's too http://www.andrea-graham.com/ to see what another branch of the fibre world is playing around with.
P.S. Of course, WOOL-TYME Kingston carries all your needle felting needs.



It's been way too long since I've had a chance to get to the blog and do some writing. But now I have the chance to fill you in on some of the things that I have been doing over the past few weeks.
One of the parts of my knitting store life that I really enjoy is getting to try out new techniques and having the opportunity to finish things and make them look good.
I get a chance to do a fair bit of this, which breeds experience, which means that I can get better at it, which means that I get to do more of it.
This jacket to the right is from the "Dozen Favorite Kids and Toddler's" book from Knitter's Magazine. A customer had ordered it for her granddaughter and when my knitter returned it to me, beautifully finished but without the glove "pockets" I was thrilled to be able to play with it. I took a picture when the pocket on the left was sewn on and the right one was part done so that you can see the inside of the half-glove which becomes the pocket. It's the cutest design and not very difficult. When sewing the pockets on I used a strong nylon sewing thread in navy and worked from the outside, doing a small backstitch between the knitted stitches. That way the thread sinks into the groove between the stitches and hides.
Some of you may know that in my former life I was a teacher. And one of the things that I do miss about teaching was learning new "stuff" on (good) PD days. (Not all of the "stuff" that we learned was of value, but much of it was very good.) So I booked myself out of the store for a day and took a "Professional Development" day and sat down with Cat Bordhi's book: New Pathways for Sock Knitters, and a set of needles and some yarn and proceeded to make Charlie's Seeded heart socks using her Sky sock "architecture". This is one of the most amazing books I've ever come across, where Cat takes the basic premise that in creating a sock you need extra room to accomodate the instep area and she adds those extra stitches at many different places in the design. I fell in love with the concept and within minutes I was designing an advanced sock course incorporating some of her ideas. (Watch for details of this class in the spring.)
This past weekend we had our 5th "Sock-in-a-day" workshop and once again I'm amazed at the fun that can be had by people who are willing to take a bit of a risk and learn a new skill. There were several people who had actually made several pairs of socks in their knitting careers but were always questioning the results and wanting to feel more confident. One of the ladies was actually keeping track of the number of new tips that she picked up during the day. It was good to have my belief that this class is great for anyone who knits confirmed.

Have we not been blessed with a ridiculously beautiful October? Yesterday we took the opportunity to drive through Prince Edward County and check out some of the wineries. (It does feel a bit odd to be drinking a glorious Chardonnay at 11am on a Sunday morning). We stopped in Wellington for lunch and walked around a bit to get the blood pumping again after the full English Breakfast, complete with deep-"fried bread". We came across this tree (these trees?). My husband teaches construction and is a bit of a tree fanatic so we stopped to take a picture of it for him to use with his class, and as I sat in the car waiting for him it occured to me that this tree really reminded me of a cable design. (isn't it true??) Anyway, I do believe that I'm back in the saddle again and will hope to be a bit more faithful to these blog posts as I really do enjoy the writing. Happy rest of October!


Knitting socks for charity??

We are often the recipients of yarn stashes that have been displaced: many people just realize that sometimes there is a better home for some of their yarns than under the bed or at the back of their closet, so they bring them to us and we promise that they will be of service to someone.

Often there are included the ends of balls of 4 ply sock yarn and we've collected these over the past few months and now have a good assortment waiting to be made up into some pretty funky socks or gloves for those who need some warmth.

Do you love knitting socks and have a eye for the challenge of combining bits and pieces into some fun gifts for Christmas at the shelter? Let us know and we'll be glad to pass the bag on to you. You can even return the socks to us and we'll find good homes for them.


Kaffe Fassett in Perth, Ontario!!!

What an opportunity that Janie H. knits has given to all knitters in Eastern Ontario in organizing an evening with Kaffe Fassett at the Perth District Collegiate Institute on Thurs. Oct 16th at 7pm.

There are few people who have influenced me as much as Kaffe Fassett in giving me permission to just enjoy the colours that are out there to be put together. He encourages us to use our eyes and our taste to identify if we actually like the way that different colours, hues and textures work together.

The last time that I wrote about Kaffe Fassett in this blog, I searched high and low for a picture of a sweater I had made when I had first been seduced by his "go for it" attitude towards colour. It was a giant pullover knit during the winter Olympics of 1992, at a time when winter had gone on way too long and I was needing some colour in my life. Kaffe, in his PBS show that I had religiously video taped from our old television with terrible American reception, was so exhuberant about colours and trusting your instincts that I dragged out my stash and "went for it". I still haven't found the picture of me wearing the resulting sweater that measured about 58" across the chest and was as cozy as an afghan, but weighed as much as an elephant. It was not something that I wore much if I was in an introverted mood.

So here we are, 16 years later and there has been a lot of creative and learning water that has flowed under my knitting bridge since then, and I still am so glad to have had that early encouragement from a stranger from across the ocean who felt that it was his mission to give people an insight into what is possible if you just use your eyes and learn to educate then trust your taste.
For more information, or for tickets, email: info@janiehknits.com or phone 613-326-0626.


Phone-y sheep???

How odd that these sheep would be grazing on a ceramic tile floor. Yet, look closely to see the amazing detail of these art sheep, covered in old telephone cord, with faces of rotary dial phones. The world is full of people who see things so differently. How fun is that!
Click on the title of this post to link to the site that explains their origin and existence.

For those who are in the neighbourhood, just wanted to let you know that our luxurious cashmere laceweight yarn has just arrived. I occurred to me that aside from drooling over the exquisite softness of cashmere, I had no idea where it came from so I turned to my trusty Google friend and voila! To the right we have a picture of a cashmere goat. He does look a bit rough and ready for having such a luxurious coat.
Baby camel yarn is in too!

We also have just received a good quantity of the 2009 Knitting Page a Day calendars, so put your orders in early with Santa as these tend to disappear early in the season.
As Jan exclaimed yesterday when she was unpacking our most recent shipment of new yarns: "I love the fall!!!"
OOPS, I nearly forgot to point out the link to the right (Where it says: "View our archive".) which takes you to back copies of our ever popular monthly newsletter. Check it out. It's like having a virtual rack of back issues of a favourite magazine that you don't have to dust.



So tell me, what is not to love about a city that offers cheesecake
that looks like this? (How ironic that my daughter picked up a packet of "equal" sugar substitute to hold above the cake for perspective.)
The last time that we went to NYC I was amazed at how friendly people were, but I assumed that was mainly because we were tourists and that all those we were encountering were being paid to be friendly to us. But this time we really spent most of our 4 day stay away from many of the tourist hot spots and I was equally awestruck by the courtesy (yes, even among the drivers), the interest and the genuiness of the people towards us. Even the custodians in Central Park picking up the odd scraps of debris (it's incredibly clean, really!) never missed saying hello or wishing me a good day. Kingston is a relatively friendly city and certainly not very scary, yet you would seldom make eye contact with a city park worker. My sister explained it in this way, which seems to make sense: New Yorkers - especially in Manhattan - love to meet people from away who enjoy their city; they are very proud of it.

On day 3, which happened to be a Monday, I went on a yarn store safari and arrived at the 1st store on my list on the East side of Central Park and was "gobsmacked", as they say on Coronation Street, to find the store closed. I couldn't believe it...This is Manhattan for heaven's sake, not the back of beyond. After having walked the 35 blocks to get there it took me a few minutes to summon my energy and courage to move on to the next store about 5 blocks away. There I met Carol from the Woolgatherings, who was a perfect hostess offering suggestions for accomodations for our next visit, good restaurants, what other yarn stores might be closed and therefore avoided on this Monday, and a firm opinion about every topic that we covered. It was wonderful.
After lunch at an Italian restaurant that Carol had suggested, and
a magnificent coffee from a neighbourhood coffee purveyor, I took the "crosstown" bus (see how I'm into the lingo) and got to the Yarn Co. and decided to take a picture of their sign to prove that they are actually closed on Mondays.
One of the great things about a big city however is that there is always some competition nearby, so I was eternally grateful to find Knitty City (http://www.knittycity.com/ ) open and wonderfully welcoming. BUT to make the visit even better, through the door right behind me came Meta, a yarn store owner from Massachussets, who was also in town on the same sort of mission as I was - to scope out what the Mecca of fashion yarn stores has to offer. When we introduced ourselves to Pearl, the owner of Knitty City, she suggested that we go for a coffee and talk shop. And here we are, at a cafe on Broadway, and I'm having the time of my life.
When the conversation turned to Anniversaries (Pearl's store had been open for 3 years and Meta had just had their 1st Anniversary sale), I shared with them our experience of our giant 5th anniversary extravaganza, which started on Sept. 11th, 2001!, and how the store was packed for the entire day with people following events on my little 12" television. I think that it was in watching their reaction and reflecting on how proud and generous New Yorkers are that I realized what it must have meant to be part of that experience, powerful as it was for the rest of us, if you were a local.
I can't wait to go back...but I guess I must.



It's hard to "IMAGINE" that at this time yesterday I was making my way through Central Park in New York City on my way to meeting a lovely fellow knitter and advocate for the knitting cause, Phyllis, whom I had met the day before on my Big Apple knitting store safari.

More about that tour later, but the day was perfect weather wise, so I decided to pretend that I was a real New Yorker and walk the 28N+10W blocks to the appointed restaurant from the apartment where we had stayed during our 4 days in the big city.
Now you don't have to be a whiz at math to recognize that if you cut diagonally across a space, it's shorter than walking around, so I cut through Central Park to get away from the constant NOISE (which amazingly all but disappears within 20 feet inside the park) and to shave a bit of time off my trek. I knew that I had to head North West as I was at 60th St E and wanted to get to 77th St W so I aimed myself in that direction (it's all so logically rectangular) and followed paths that were heading off to the leftish and found myself walking, by pure chance, into Strawberry Fields, of the song, and more recently immortalized by this Italian Mosaic tribute to John Lennon who was shot in front of his apartment just a few hundred feet away.
It was an amazing find, not just because I'm a bit of a Beatles fan, but more because I'm a completely, hopelessly addicted people watcher - and what a place to watch people. I'm sure that I heard 7 or 8 different languages in the few minutes that I spent there. There was every skin tone from probably every continent on earth among the 30 people who were respectfully looking at the few memorials that were left at the site. Someone had even left a battered guitar, covered with tacky stickers with a hand printed sign that said: "Make a wish". It appeared that whoever it was who deposited this token by the famous "Imagine" site was just passing on John's frustrated entreaties about thinking well of yourself, of your world, of those around you and your collective future.


Needless to say, none of this has anything to do with knitting but it does have a lot to do with what I find interesting in the world. The trip was magnificent in so many ways. And those of you who knew me 4 years ago, when we went on our first trip to New York will be pleased to hear that I made it back without breaking any bones - last time it was a bone in my right hand that go crushed in a trip/fall on our way back from a Broadway show.

The knitting side of the trip was fabulous, from the 90% completed glove of Malabrigo's new sock yarn, to meeting several shop owners and staff, and being surrounded by the beauties of yarns that are difficult for us to access here in Canada. But again, more about all the knitting stuff in the next few days.

The September newsletter should go out on time (Monday) and any of you who would like to receive it and have not signed up yet, please link at left to the sign up site. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend.


Move Over Oprah, Look Out Martha, Debbie Bliss Has Arrived!

Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm always gushing, both here and in the newsletter, when I talk about things that I like. I guess the fact of the matter is that when I'm buying for the store I tend to order what I like, so I get to share what I like, and it always sounds like I like everything.

The Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine (premier issue) was something I expected would be lovely. Debbie is one of the few designers who was well established when I got into this business 12 years ago, and she is one of the few from that era who is still fresh, still creative and still around (from a design perspective, I mean)

It took a few days of carrying the magazine around in my Loblaws
Green Bin, which is my traveling office, before I got a chance to go through it with a coffee and a muffin this morning. I'm glad I took the time to sit and enjoy the experience as it is a publication deserving of some quality time to savour it. I LOVE IT!!!

Truly, for the first time in a long time Debbie had me drooling over each page (like she used to in my earlier days as a knitter, more than just an LYS owner) and planning how I could run away to a monastery dedicated to knitting in order to make every pattern. I could think of a recipient for each and every design, from the most simply glorious peplum sweater I have ever seen (for me, of course), to the mini egg cup cozy/sweaters (for my niece), to any of the gorgeous men's sweaters (all the guys in my family), to the stunning array of garter stitch baby blankets (and I don't even like garter stitch).

It's nice to spend a half hour every now and then, forgetting that I already have 3 socks, and 2 sweaters on needles, not to mention a lineup of ideas for designs for our pattern web site, floating around in my head. Anyway, check out Debbie's mag. (available at WOOL-TYME Kingston of course.) You'll like it too.


VOGUE Knitting - Fall 2008

Okay, so I'm not a computer geek, but neither am I about to spend any more time trying to get a copy of the whole cover of this fall's Vogue Knitting to reproduce itself here. First I got the top half, then the bottom half, then the top again. So this is what you're stuck with.

So what I was going to say was that I was really pleasantly surprised at how lovely this edition of the magazine is. Often Vogue Knitting is just a bit too out there for many of us in Kingston, but this one really rang a lot of bells for me.

First of all, they featured a great (and long) article about one of my heroines...Elizabeth Zimmerman, which truly gets inside her way of looking at life and knitting. As I've been going through the months, featuring her projects in our store's newsletter from her Knitter's Almanac, I'm feeling like she's becoming part of my family, and this article served to enhance the experience.
“I deliberately keep my knitting notes vague, because tastes vary, and your brains are as good as mine anyway.” – The Opinionated Knitter - Elizabeth Zimmerman

Next there was a great introduction to RAVELRY (http://ravelry.com/) , knitting's on-line community and site where knit-a-holics can support each other and generally enable each other in their delightfully creative addiction. Having really been launched just 15 months ago, RAVELRY has over 60,000 active users writing 30,000 posts a day, and boasting 787,000 projects declared in progress or finished by these knitters, with 1.6 million photos of projects. Users range from 13 to 92 years of age with the average age being 37 years old.
Finally this edition of Vogue Knitting featured a huge 6 page profile on knitting in Canada with listings for no fewer than 45 designers/importers in Ontario alone (And they didn't even include the wonderful ladies at EweCanKnit for whom we've sold hundreds of patterns over the years). Who knew that we Canadians were so prolific and important in the knitting world...well actually I did know, because I'm surrounded by the works of these delightfully creative people every day in the store and am proud to be part of that world.


Back at the Sheep Dog Trials/ Let the Games Begin!!!

This is me at last year's Sheep Dog Trials just outside of Kingston. It's a great event and this is the Nth time that we've had a booth there and I've enjoyed every minute of it. I will be setting up tomorrow morning about 8 am and I'm hoping that the weather will hold so that I can get all of my display in and under the tent before any of that wet stuff makes an appearance.

Tomorrow at 8 am local time is also the official start time of the Ravelympics (which corresponds with 8 pm Beijing time, the beginning of the Opening Ceremonies.) Now this is ironic as I very deliberately decided not to choose a project to try and complete before the Closing Ceremonies as one has enough stress in one's life without putting any more time constraints on my knitting time too. But as it turns out I will be starting a new project at about the same time as the rest of the knitting world anyway because I always start a new project at the Sheep Dog Trials. And strange as it may seem for me, I will be making the exact same sweater that I began last year sitting in the crafters tent at Grass Creek Park. (I wonder if that means that last year's sweater was like training for this event?)

This sweater, pictured at right, was a big favourite among our customers and was lots of fun to knit. But as with many exquisite patterns that we have made up as samples, this sweater sold a little too soon and I felt that it was time to have another in a different colour. So I am taking up my needles with my fellow knitters although I am unable to bring my television with me to the park and will miss most of the first 3 days of the Games - I will be watching in spirit. (I am a sucker for competition, whether I am involved in it or I'm just watching someone else fighting for their honour on a playing field of some sort. )

Hope to see you at the Sheep Dog Trials. Bring a chair and your knitting and we can show the rest of the visiting world what sheep are really all about -- producing wool for us! (never mind this clever dog stuff!) Meanwhile, I reserve the right to be considered or not as a participant in the "Ravelympics"; we'll see how much I get done on the weekend. I'll keep you posted.


Fall WORKSHOPS - Sept. to Nov. 2008

RUG HOOKING for beginners
Learn the wonderful traditional craft of hooking decorative rugs with wool. A full introduction to techniques and a sample project for you to bring home and complete are part of this day.
TEACHER: Rhonda Kellett
WHEN: Sat. Sept 27th 1-4pm
COST: $45. for class + $45 material kit. (Participants will provide a sturdy stretching frame (hoop or scroll.)

LACE KNITTING Introduction
Lace knitting is one of the most challenging yet rewarding forms of knitting and it is well within the capabilities of most knitters. Learn to read directions from written instructions and chart symbols, and work on a lace edging that will whet your appetite for more.
TEACHER: Deb White
WHEN: Sat. Oct 4th, 1-4pm
COST: $45. A small material list will be provided upon registration.

It's back!!! The most popular class that we offer...Learn techniques to make any sock, in any size and with any yarn weight. Basic knitting skills are all that are required for you to tackle the mysteries of the turning of a heel and the miracle of the sloping gusset.
TEACHER: Anne Woodall
WHEN: Sat. Oct. 18th 10am to 2pm
COST: $45. Includes all materials.

Learn the simple techniques used for centuries to turn luscious fibres into beautiful hand spun yarns. Anyone can master it and achieve the satisfying pleasure of an ancient craft, which will introduce you to a world of beauty from which many have never returned.
TEACHER: Kim Parkinson
WHEN: Sat. Oct. 25th 1-3pm
COST: $45. Includes all materials.

"Intarsia" is the knitting technique where small balls or bobbins of yarn of different colours are used in sections to create "pictures" in your knitted stitches. Learn how to achieve the smoothest effect and try your hand at graphing your own picture.
TEACHER: Anne Woodall
WHEN: Sat. Nov. 8th 1-4pm
COST: $45. Includes all materials. Bring your own needles (4.5mm)

Victorian Memory Bags are tiny beaded, knitted bags that can be worn around the neck to hold a special treasure. They are a delight to behold and a good way to learn about knitting with beads. Learn to create your own heirloom.
TEACHER: Helga Konecny
WHEN: Sat. Nov. 15th 1-4pm
COST: $45. Inc. material kit - some homework is necessary to prepare for the class.
Registration for all classes can be made by calling the WOOL-TYME Kingston store at 613-384-3951 or in person. Participants must pay for their class to hold their spot.(This can be done over the phone with a credit card.)
Cancellation refunds will only be made if the participant calls at least 48 hours before the class and/or we are able to fill the spot. A credit for a future class will be considered if the spot is not able to be filled.


41 hours in the waters of Lake Ontario!!!

He did it!
Our friend and fellow knitter, Jay, made it to the beach in Toronto at 3:10 this morning after spending 41 hours in the cold waters of Lake Ontario.
Truly, how many of us could swim in an indoor pool for 41 minutes, never mind over 2 days and an overnight and into the wee hours of the next? Not I!

Those who know Jay and his love of joke telling will appreciate his sister's words:
"Now, we need some good punchlines for: -Why did the swimmer cross the lake?"



We are so proud of Jay Serdula, a faithful customer for many years who is now in the final leg of his swim across Lake Ontario to raise funds and awareness for Asperger's Syndrome.

Jay has shown all of us who have met him, what it takes to be a real champion - and a pretty funny and prolific joke teller too!

We are still accepting donations for the swim at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store, where we are proud to be corporate sponsors for the swim4aspergers.
Click on the title of this post to link to the site that keeps you updated on Jay's progress throughout the swim. At this point (10:30am) they are expecting him to arrive in Toronto between 7pm and midnight.
Things have been a bit crazy this summer but I plan to get back to some fun knitting posts soon. Probably next week.


Let the games be prepared for...

I'm sure that most of you know of the tremendous knitting excitement generated by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's musings, just before the last winter Olympics, about how it would be fun to choose a knitting project to challenge oneself with, to complete during the events. Well, 2 years seems to be enough time for many in the knitting community to recover from that explosion of creativity, and many of us who didn't get in on the last wave of fun are up for it this time around. The link to the Ravelympics, registered on Ravelry is to be found at http://www.ravelry.com/groups/ravelympics-2008, where you can join Team Canada and be part of this extraordinary event of knitting prowess.

As for me and my store, the WOOL-TYME Kingston contribution to the Olympic watching effort will officially take place at Jakk Tuesday's (the sports bar next to the WOOL-TYME store, which has a 120" screen television in their back room) on each of the 2 Wednesdays of the Olympics -Aug. 13th and 20th from 5 to 8pm. I will be there eating natchos and knitting and will feel really silly if I'm the only one there -- so please come and join me to cheer on the beech volley ballers, or the wrestlers, or whoever happens to be on the screen while we're there.

Speaking of crafting and sports events, just one more week for anyone who wants to order their tickets to the Stitch n Pitch game in Toronto with the Blue Jays and Oakland A's on Aug. 5th. Just $20 for the game and goodies and lots of fun.


OOPS! and no OOPSIES from NORO.

Well, do I feel just as silly as Elvis looks here.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if I weren't always saying that I am one of the world's worst counters...when it comes to large numbers of stitches. But you would think that I should be able to count to 3 - as in the 3rd Tuesday of the month, which is when the Kingston Knitting Circle always meets at Chapters in their Community room.

So yes, thanks to Kathy for pointing out that the 3rd Tues. of this month is JULY 15th at Chapters 7-9pm (not July 22nd as I put in the newsletter).
Hope to see you there!

I've been meeting over the past few weeks with sales reps from our different suppliers for the fall lines. (A daunting but wonderful task.) When speaking with the woman who sells us our NORO Yarns, she was saying that in response to some of the comments that the company had been getting re the uneven thickness of some of their yarns and the bits of "stuff" that are sometimes found in the fibres, NORO published a wonderful explanation of how their yarns are made, which goes a long way to reassure us, the consumers, that these slight "imperfections" are in fact positive aspects of what makes NORO Yarns so special. Here are a few excerpts taken from the back cover of the new NORO Magazine Number 24:

-About the raw material: NORO Yarn has always been particular in selecting raw materials from nature...Impurities in the raw wool are carefully removed by hand, without the use of chemicals or machines. This process prevents damage to the fibre, though it makes it impossible to remove impurities as completely as chemicals and machines do.

-Making of the NORO Yarns: The basic principle for the manufacturing of NORO Yarn is "Spin yarn by hand," use machinery only for what cannot be done by hand. This hand-spun yarn is made from finely dyed wool, lined faithfully according to colour and weight, carefully maintaining the slow spinning speed by our craftspersons. Since the human hand is used in the spinning process, the natural luster and texture are obtained without considerably impairing the wool fibre. Lining up the yarn by hand results in irregular arrangement of wool, thereby giving the yarn more bulk...Because it is a handmade yarn...there are areas that are thick and areas that are thin. There are areas where the strand is tight and where the strand is loose, so please knit gently and discover the joy of knitting NORO Yarns.
I was very interested to read these details about one of my favourite yarn companies. First of all, it obviously surprised me that their yarns were spun by hand but more importantly, I had always thought that , like "space dying" in general which has brought us so many new looks in yarn from socks to coats, NORO used the same technology to create the glorious colour repeats in their yarns. Well knock me over, the "computerization" of the dying process, which seems so much a part of our knitting world, is nowhere in sight with NORO. The workers actually arrange the different repeating colours by hand. However they do it, it works great!


Stitch 'N Pitch 2008

The following message is taken from a Ravelry post from Knitomatic in Toronto.

At WOOL-TYME Kingston we will be selling tickets and taking orders for those who want to pick them up at the stadium. Anne

Fellow fibre arts enthusiasts,
It’s time again for Toronto’s annual Stitch ‘N’ Pitch! Stitch ‘N’ Pitch is a fun fibre arts event which gives needle arts enthusiasts a chance to practice our art while cheering for the Blue Jays. A group of tickets in the 200 level are offered at a discount of $20 (from $26), and the first 1000 people will get a free Blue Jays tote bag filled with yarn and needlework materials valued at $40. You’ll rub elbows with famous Canadian fiber arts designers, authors and bloggers! Even if you aren’t regular Baseball fan you’ll find that it’s really enjoyable, not at all boring, when shared with friends and colleagues. It’s like going to a party where you don’t know anyone and having a great time because you have a lot in common with everyone there! Its also fun for spouses and children to attend (plus you can keep their freebie bags for yourself!).
Where & When?
This year’s event will be held on Tuesday August 5th, at 7:00 pm, when the Blue Jays host the Oakland Athletics at the Rogers Centre (formerly Sky Dome) in Toronto. For directions on how to get to the Rogers Centre visit their website at http://www.rogerscentre.com/inaround/visitors/directions/index.html
How Do I Buy Tickets? PLEASE NOTE: If you want to sit with your friends from your fibre arts guild, group or Stitch ‘n Bitch you should purchase tickets through your local fibre arts store! (WOOL-TYME Kingston)
Purchase tickets at your local fibre arts shop (knitting, crochet, quilting and other needle arts). They will collect $20 in cash from you, take down your contact information and contact you when the tickets arrive in the store.