The LYS owner's lament: My single sock!

Despite the fact that I haven't been able to upload much to my Ravelry space, it isn't for lack of trying. But when I see all the beautiful things that people are working on (and completing), I'm a bit embarassed to show my little swatch of glorious Luxury Bamboo Cotton that I finished last week. Or this lovely (single) sock for instance, which I made over the weekend to show off this great pattern repeat from our latest Lana Grossa sock yarn called PRIMO, which I will be bringing with me to the Cataraqui Guild of Needlecraft Arts show this weekend at St Margaret's church. There are diehard sock knitters who will try anything that has nice colours, but most knitters want to know that they will like what those colours are going to do in their socks.

So many of the knitting projects that I work on are either jobs that need to be finished for people who got stuck at a tricky place, or they are tests for patterns that I'm designing for the store, which by virtue of the types of free patterns that we put up on our website ( www.wtkpatterns.blogspot.com) are essentially quick, easy and a good gateway for beginners who want to try something a bit different. Consequently, I seldom get to try out other people's patterns, much as might admire them. (This however does make me an eager appreciator of whatever other people do accomplish.)

The other thing that I seldom get to do is to learn new techniques, but in reading the SON OF STITCH N BITCH book earlier this spring, I found 2 great techniques that I've been coveting for a long time and am determined that I will learn over the summer. The first is the reversible cables where the fabric shows a nice set of cables on both sides. The second is the 2 layers/2 colours of knitting that I think could be an answer for so many people who want to make scarves with team logos on them. I will investigate further and report back.

The reason that I'm committing myself to learning these new techniques is that I have really decided that I love teaching and am going to be doing more of it throughout next year. With the success of our Sock-In-A-Day class that we have now run 4 times (and sells out each time), I'm encouraged to offer other knitting skills that can be learned in an intensive class and applied to a whole new range of knitting projects by the participants.

It seems odd to be thinking about the fall as we are basking in the warmth of this glorious early spring weather, but such is the way of the retail world. And I'm glad to be part of it so that we can bring new and exciting things to our customers with each new season. I'll keep you posted!


United way swim on APRIL 18th????!!!!

This is Jay Serdula, one of our regular participants in the Kingston Knitting Circle that meets at Chapters each month, and he is also a regular fixture at the Thursday evening Knit and Chat at the store. He is in the process of training for a swim across Lake Ontario this summer to raise money for the study of Asperger's Syndrome, but as part of his training he is doing a swim this Friday, (yes, tomorrow!) across Navy Bay which is the body of water between Fort Henry and RMC. This chilling experience is in support of the United Way and Jay will be leaving from Fort Henry at noon (sharp) and will be arriving at the SE corner of the RMC peninsula, at St Lawrence Pier. The entire swim takes about 5 minutes so if you're interested in going to cheer Jay on, be sure not to be late.
If you're interested in knowing more about Jay's summer swim across Lake Ontario, we have a poster at the store which has contact information.
WOOL-TYME Kingston is proud to be participating in the Canadian Liver Foundation' s newest fundraiser. They are putting on a great afternoon and evening that would be a treat for every woman in the city: "What a Girl Wants" is an afternoon filled with fashion, demos, health and wellness info, door prizes and gift bags topped off with a dinner, fashion show and dessert. We will have a sales table and will be teaching and demonstrating knitting and needlefelting.
It all takes place on Sunday May 4th, 2008 at Zorbas Grand Ball Room from 2-10pm and tickets are available at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store or by registering at http://www.whatagirlwantskingston.ca/ . You deserve a little luxury and it's all for a good cause.
And one last reminder that we will also have a table at the upcoming Needlecraft show and sale of the Cataraqui Guild of Needlecraft Arts on Saturday, April 26th at St Margaret's United Church Hall across from the Kingston Centre Loblaws. It's a real treat...hope to see you there.


Repairs - One of the things that I learned from my store.

We just received our first shipment of the Yarn Harlot's new book "Things I Learned from Knitting..." and I've been really enjoying it. And it got me thinking about some of the skills that I've learned, not necessarily from knitting but from running a wool store.

This is a picture of a beautiful old afghan that has been brought in for repairs. The knitter is now 99 years old and is still alive although, sadly no longer knitting. There are 77 garter stitch squares made of what appears to be a fine 4ply yarn (26sts over 4") in many bright colours, done on fine needles. Now that is one honking pile of knit stitches, and each one of them perfectly formed with precise tension. Someone had to be unbelievably persistent and dedicated to the cause. It really is something and well worth preserving.

The picture shows the worst of 3 holes. As it is here, the hole is actually 1/2 of the size that it originally was. The lower needle holding the dropped stitches is actually at the line where the pink and the blue meet. and I'll be reforming the stitches up the rows to meet the other needle. And all of this happened because one little stitch in the centre gave way and started unraveling sideways and then in both directions outward.

When people bring their prized knitted posessions in to be repaired, I often have to tell them that there is only so much that we can do; it will never be perfect again but I'll do my best. We can however assure them that it will be secure and nice and usable. But the reality is that if we can't do anything with it, the option for most people is often the garbage bin. Because I'm one of the few people in the city who has had the opportunity to play with these disasters with which we have nothing to lose, I've been able to learn a lot about the construction of knitting and what works best to camouflage the least and the worst of the problems. But most of all, what I've learned is that there is nothing like having nothing to lose to make one bold in looking for solutions. Sometimes it works, sometimes they end up in the dust bin. But at least I've learned something for the next problem that comes through the door.


Look At These Guys!

Are these not the greatest!
One of our customers has brought in his collection of needle felted African animals for us to display during the Spring Show and Share from tomorrow until Saturday. They really are amazing.
Come and see. And while you're at it, bring something in yourself in the next day or two. We usually have about 25 or 30 customers who contribute to each of our Show and Shares but I guess everyone was so mesmerized by the sunshine this weekend that we're down quite a bit from normal numbers. Hope to see some more of you in tomorrow.
The Spring Clean Up Sale continues until Saturday, and there are still some great buys to be had so don't miss out on it. The road sign that we have out on Gardiners Road is an amazing tool. I haven't seen so many new faces in years. It's amazing what a sign that says "20%-70% off" can do to drivers who sail past us on a regular basis. It's great.
For the first time in a long time, I have something to bring into the Show and Share too. I finished my husband's sweater that I began as I was touring around Cape Breton last September. It's a cream pullover in DK weight alpaca and features a tree of life motif in a see stitch frame on the front.
He thinks that it took me a ridiculously long time to make it; I am amazed that it's done already as I was kind of giving myself as an absolute deadline his August birthday. Anyway, it was an interesting exercise, reknitting an exact replica of a sweater that I had actually made for him about 10 years ago but as styles change needed to be longer and bigger. I kept believing that I didn't really need to look up Lucy Neatby's directions for "magic 2 layered button holes on a stocking stitch border" and I probably didn't do any worse than I would have if I had looked up the directions. But I do remember that I was making the first version of the sweater when I went to Mabel Corlett's fabulous weekend knitters' retreat, one of the last years that it was at "The Opinicon." Each project has it's own tale to tell.