Life goes on...

This has nothing to do with knitting but I just couldn't pass up the chance to share this picture with you - and to confess that I'm taking pictures of 1 day-old robins in their nest outside of my study window instead of working on the newsletter which should be going out on Sunday. To me, these guys (there are 3 of them in the nest) are just so ugly that they're cute. Note that their bulging eyes are almost the same colour as the "robin's egg blue" of the eggs that they just hatched from.

And while I'm into sharing pictures and confessions, here is another one:

One of the things that I've developed over the years is a skill at measuring, especially measuring people for custom knit sweaters. I figure if someone is going to pay us to make a sweater for their body, it should fit their body perfectly. But this is the 2nd time in the past few months that there has been a serious issue with sleeves - and to make it even weirder, this particular sleeve measurement problem had never happened before in the past 10 years of custom knitting orders (not that other problems haven't arisen over the years.)
At right you will find a picture of the 7 inches that I had to remove from the sleeves of a beautiful sweater that was knit in Esbeth Lavold's beautiful Silky Wool DK. The knitter who made it is a magician at following measurements so it surely isn't her doing and furthermore, I blocked it exactly to size according to my notes. Yet when the customer tried it on the cuffs hung down past her fingertips.
I've rechecked everything and still can't figure out where the math falls down. (The last time that this happened a couple of months ago, the sleeves were 3 inches too short...). The only conclusion that I can come up with is that I believe it's a mystery. Needless to say, the next time, I am going to be obsessive about the whole thing. Perhaps I can borrow the customer's body for a few days and block the garment while they're wearing it.
The woman for whom the sweater was made says that she has always has difficulty getting garments with sleeves that were long enough for her. Perhaps there was a bit of cosmic over-compensation going on.


Crafting for Chapters "Love of Reading" program.

One of the great things about having a blog is that it can get the word out about some pretty wonderful work, events and people in the community. Here are a couple of things that might be of interest to you.

Chapters in Kingston is planning some fun things for their 10th anniversary celebration, including - as mentioned in the previous post - welcoming Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on June 4th at 6pm (yes, it is at the Chapters Store in the West end of Princess St. ) To go along with Stephanie's presentation, on the crafting theme, they are also planning a Craft Sale, which will last all day on June 4th. The proceeds from the sale are to benefit Chapters/Indigo's "Love of Reading Program" (link at http://www.loveofreading.org/ to find out more about this great effort.)

I told the organizers that I would post a request here to appeal to all of our amazing crafters in K-town who may be willing to donate some craft items to this worthy cause. They are looking for any type of handmade craft that can be sold on that day. Do you have some mittens that are hanging around waiting for next year's Mitten Tree? Have you got time to whip up a pair of slippers or a hat before June 4th? What about a stash of fashion scarves that you've made because you can't resist the yarn but have run out of recipients for them? Check out our free patterns at http://www.wtkpatterns.blogspot.com/ for some ideas for quick projects.

All donations can be dropped from Monday to Friday at the Chapters Store, with a note clearly addressed to "Pam - craft donation", or you can bring it to the WOOL-TYME Kingston store on Gardiners Rd anytime before June 3rd and Pam will pick it up there.

The other news that I wanted to share with you is from the Get Well Gang in Gananoque, with whom we've been affiliated since they began making and distributing knitted and crocheted hats for chemo patients. Gretchen Huntley, the main force behind the whole operation, was in a couple of weeks ago and was telling us that they have now passed the 9 000 hats mark in just a few years. That obviously shows an amazing amount of dedication on the part of many people.

Link at http://getwellgang.ca/ourstory.asp to find out more.
You may remember that we had a visit at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store from some of the members of the Montreal Knitting Guild a few weeks ago. I received a lovely thank you card from them that showed the afghan to the right. It was called Claire's Memory Afghan and was made as a charity project by the guild in memory of Claire Bennett who died of breast cancer in 2003.
The afghan cosisted of 347 different sized rectangles, all knitted with vegetable dyed Australian merino wool. It took 5,200 meters of yarn and 342,000 stitches to complete.
The afghan also required over 250 hours of finishing and assembly, not counting the 6 months that it took to pick up and knit the border stitches. The final step was the Indian silk backing that was applied.
Now that is a mega-project. Although they sent me a great informational description of the afghan, I never heard what they did with it. I can only hope that it has found a home among deserving admirers.


The Yarn Harlot Cometh...

Just wanted to let everyone know that we got a call from Chapters today confirming that Stephanie Pearl-McPhee will be coming to their store on Princess St on Wednesday, June 4th at 6pm. It's always a good time when Stephanie is among us. Don't miss out.
A note re another knitting celebrity: Last night I saw an interview with Ringo Starr who apparently spent a lot of time in the hospital when he was a kid and that was where he was not only introduced to percussion instruments and started playing the drums, but also where he learned to KNIT! Can you imagine, if the drums had not arrived on the ward he may have been another Kaffe Fassett!


Let the Sock Wars Begin!

I don't often get a chance to sit down and read the paper, but yesterday I found myself having a bowl of soup in a coffee shop that had a copy of the Toronto Star. I never cease to be amazed at how matters of interest can find me. First I read an article about the Acadians in Nova Scotia (and those of you who heard about my trip to the Cheticamp rug hooking museum last fall will know that there in lies my own heritage.) Secondly, I saw a beautiful pair of hand knit socks on the front page of the Living Section. These socks were advertising the "Sock Wars" competition, which is beginning world wide today . It was started a couple of years ago by Julie Gardner, a freelance TV and film manager in Belfast. You can read more about it at http://www.sock-wars.com/

I have my own sock issue that is kind of nice. There is in fact nothing like exposing oneself in public to have the universe change the way you think things have to be.

I recently posted that it is the plight of the LYS owner to be doomed to knit single socks as we need them for display but don't have the time to put into making the second one as there is always something else that needs to be knitted. Well after that confession, for some reason I just couldn't let go of this other half ball of Primo sock yarn and as you can see, I do have the second one on it's way to completion. (It occurred to me as I was taking the picture that the presence of the first/completed sock beside the in-progress one was a bit like a photo of a kidnap victim holding up a current newspaper to prove the date. The completed sock proves that this is a current picture and not a photo of the 1st sock in progress. How sick my mind can be.)
And talking about newspaper articles...when I returned from my lunch of reading the Toronto Star, to find a copy of the front page of the Kingston Whig-Standard on my desk, in which was featured a picture of the shearing operation going on at Topsy Farms over on Amherst Island. Funny to think that those curly locks might soon be on our shelves in their lovely blue heather or green tweed 2ply fine knitting yarn.
The story reminded me that a few years ago we went over to visit the nice folks over at Topsy Farms about this time of the year when there about 1 000 new lambs in the field. Now that was a sight that over-extended the cuteness quotient!
And finally, while we are on cute, we've had quite a few comments about "Borka", the book about the featherless gosling mentioned in WOOL-TYME Kingston's May Newsletter. One of our readers did a bit of research and found out that there is a 40th anniversary edition of the book that is available through Chapters/Indigo. Borka has been quite a minor celebrity in the store with the most comments of any feature in quite a few months.
Happy Mother's Day. Happy Sock Knitting!


I miss you guys...

It seems like it's been forever since I've had a chance to write anything here. It has been a busy couple of weeks getting the newsletter out and with 2 off site show & sales there hasn't been much time to get on the ol' computer. So I've been keeping track of things that I think of and want to let you in on. The first thing is that I finally got a new camera that actually takes sensible pictures without having to invest 1/2 hour trying to find just the right light to get a photo that is actually usable.

Last Saturday we had 6 ladies from the Montreal Knitters' Guild come to visit and we all had a lovely time getting to chat (them and me), and shop (them). Unfortunately, I hadn't had a chance to master the camera yet so I don't have a pictorial record of the visit but it was fun - with 3 kinds of muffins.

I was looking for something in the store to photograph so I could show off the new camera and thought that I would take this opportunity to announce that we got our new shipment of Yarn Harlot - Things I Learned From Knitting books. I was surprised at how quickly our first order sold out and when I reordered, our supplier had sold out too and we had to wait for their new shipment. Anyway, here they are...

And to further emphasize the advantage of having photos, I wanted to let everyone see some of the amazing new yarns that I got a great deal on and am passing the savings on to you. Throughout the store there are baskets of lovely quality yarns that are discounted. In these pictures, you'll see on the left a gorgeous 100% silk beside a mohair boucle blend. To the right is a picture of the bin of Noro yarns that have been discontinued but are no less wonderful. You really should pay us a visit and see if anything strikes your fancy. We have a lovely cotton/wool DK blend on the sale table and a few fine cottons too. Just to name a few.
Finally, for those of you who have linked to the site at the bottom right in the sidebar of this page where it says: My other self, you will have discovered that my novel, "Dancing with Silence" was being posted over the past year in somewhat regular installments. Well I am thrilled to let you all know that after exactly one year of working at it, the whole thing is up on the site and is ready to be read from beginning to end. Writing is my other passion and although it was a wonderful experience writing the book, it's been equally fun and rewarding to re-edit it this past year for internet publication. Hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it. For those who have asked, it may be available in paper version in the near future if you can't imagine (as I couldn't) spending the hours that it would take to read an entire novel in front of your computer. The link to the book is http://www.dancingwithsilence.blogspot.com/