"Perseverance" is the name of the game of life.

Isn't this a beautiful afghan. Joanne, one of the ladies who comes regularly to the Tuesday class, brought in her latest completed project. I wanted to post it here -- so many of our customers have seen it in various stages of completion that I thought that they should see the magnificence of the finished product.

This afghan is from one of my favourite knitting books; I frequently recommend it to knitters who want to improve their pattern reading skills, or to beginners who just want to knit fun things without being intimidated by having to make it "fit". It includes 60 different patterns for 12" squares. To make the afghan, you choose and complete 20 of those patterns and assemble them into a glorious work of art. It involves knitting skill, crochet skill, pattern reading skill, lots of yarn but most of all, perseverance, of which Joanne has proven that she has plenty.

Over and over people have asked her how long it took to knit the afghan, and she shyly responds that it did take a long time but mainly because she was working on many other projects during the same period. But what she has told me was that it was the most pleasant project that she has worked on because at each level (learning the patterns and completing the individual squares, crocheting around those squares, sewing them together, finishing the afghan off by crocheting around the perimeter and blocking it) there was something to be learned and none of it seemed too difficult when taken step by step.

What an excellent metaphor for how we can approach any challenge in our lives: break it down into steps, learn the skills, accomplish the tasks and persevere. And you end up with something that you can be proud of producing, or accomplishing or overcoming.

That's why I love coming to work each day. I see people so excited about something that in the greater scheme of our daily existence, is as inconsequential as knitting a blanket, yet each person recognizes that it acquires a wealth of meaning when they can take such pleasure in the time they spend "recreating", and pride in the success that is the completion of any project.


"BUY-THE-BAG SALE" June 23 -30th, Last chance for great INVENTORY SAVINGS

Sorry, this little guy isn't included in our "Buy-The-Bag" Sale but all the yarn in the store is. Any yarn that you can think of that we carry can be included in this great promotion at 20% off.
And based on our customers' requests we are adding a special twist this year. Buy 10 balls of a particular yarn, mix the colours, it's up to you. 10 balls of the same yarn, any colour,
20% off.
That's 2 balls free!!!


Social Knitting.

What a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon. June 14th was
Worldwide Knit in Public Day and in Kingston that meant getting together at Sipps on Brock St for some coffee/tea and cookies and a nice bunch of people. Here is a picture of a few of us.

One of the things that seemed to be a theme of the knitting chat that day was where one knits. It was sweet to hear that the first 3 people who showed up and didn't know each other, were all shy about bringing out their knitting to identify themselves. (One of them said that she knew how the witches and wizards in Harry Potter felt when in the Muggle world.)
Movie knitting was a topic of discussion and I was reminded of the time that I brought a giant ball of mohair with me to the drive-in to begin a circular sweater. I had calculated the number of stitches that I would need and carefully cast them on as the credits began. It got darker but I felt confident in my ability, after all, I am a "professional knitter"! When I was done casting on I joined the stitches into a circle with the greatest of attention so that I wouldn't have the stitches twisted and be forced to start all over again. On occasion I even opened the car door in order to use the dome light to check my work. When I was satisfied that it was all just so, I merrily knit the band and even managed to change to larger needles for the body during the second movie.

Over the next few weeks I knit the body and when I came to the openings for the sleeves I decided to work the front and back pieces seperately. I finished the back, sloping the shoulders just so... Then I came to the front and worked up to the neck. I completed the left shoulder. I put the neck stitches on a holder to be picked up later and began working on the right shoulder only to realize that I had cast on an extra 25 stitches weeks before when I had so cavalierly began the sweater in the dark at the drive-in. Being mohair, the remains of that sweater are now a comfy pillow for some pile of trash at the landfill site.

This picture was taken at the Toucan Pub on Princess St on Monday evening at the inaugural meeting of the Downtown Knit Night, which by the sounds of the enthusiastic participants will take place every Monday from 8ish pm until whenever the last ones want to leave. It was a ball and Ann, who works at the Toucan and booked the venue, was sweet enough to order up some Natchos for us. (Yes, somewhat unfortunately, it is completely possible to eat Natchos, and drink whatever, and knit at the same time.) Anyone is welcome to join the group so feel free to meet the gang. It was a lively night of fun. (The red, white and blue shirt in the back of the picture belonged to Jeff (sp?), Ann's rugby playing brother, who joined us to knit his Dr Who scarf.)
Then on Tuesday night we met at Chapters in the Community Room for the monthly get together of the Kingston Knitting Circle. One of the fun things about this group, as Joan pointed out, is that many knitters also seem to be avid readers, and who among us could pass up a trip to a bookstore. Pam, who works at Chapters and is an excellent and avid knitter, usually manages to find us some new and interesting books. This one I had to pick up as it was just too intriguing. Three Bags Full is a mystery story of a shepherd who is murdered and the sheep are left to solve the mystery of the identity of his attacker.
I now have enough "summer reading" to last me until May 2009. It promises to be a good long summer if my reading list is calling the weather shots.
Next meeting of the Knitting Circle is Tues. July 15th. from 7-9 pm.


Knit and the City - not the movie, but the real thing!

Last Friday, I had a lovely visit with my friend, Louise, who is the owner of LK Yarns in Halifax. I picked her up in Hamilton and we
drove to Toronto with the intention of going on a yarn shop safari,
just as many of you would, if you were visiting another city. The difference would be that Louise and I were just trying to see what folks in Toronto are looking for in their LYS (as a matter of comparison with our own shops, in our own home towns.)

What a lovely experience. As you might guess from the logos to the left, we got to visit Lettuce Knit in Kensington Market, (the day before their big knit-in took place,) The Naked Sheep in the Beaches, and the Wool Mill on the Danforth (Toronto's oldest knitting store, we were told - quite an accomplishment considering all of the changes in the crafting and outside world in the past 50 years).

I must admit that we did not reveal ourselves to be yarn store owners as our time was limited and we knew that we'd probably end up chatting our heads off with the people in each store and not get around to the minimum of 3 stores that we had set out to visit. On this day, we were just appreciative knitters from out of town, and were so pleased to see that the warmth which really makes a special visit to a nice LYS was to be found at each store. Now let me be up front: we were in no way out to judge, or steal ideas from other knitting stores, or to scout out who sells what. Both Louise and I know from our own experiences, that each city (and in Toronto's case, each neighbourhood) has it's own special flavour and caters to its own group of customers.

The internet has been a great tool for us yarn store owners, even those of us who do not operate on-line stores in addition to our "bricks and mortar" establishments. The net, and in particular Ravelry, customer blogs, knitting chat groups give us an insight into what our customers are looking for. We try to listen to our customers and hope to look into incorporating their ideas and tastes into our product lines. But what Louise and I concluded after our somewhat rushed but precious hours of shop hopping was that each store simply has it's own personality, (which probably closely reflects the personality of the person in charge, is my guess.)

If you check out what shoppers on Ravelry are looking for in a yarn shopping experience, it can be lots of help, or lots of time to browse on their own. It can be someone to greet them at the door and chat about their latest project, or someone to just leave them alone. It could be room to sit and knit or it could be a densely populated store that caters to the scavengers among us. It could be a store that is "kid friendly" or one that gently encourages Moms to give themselves some well deserved "me-time" and find a way to leave the kids with someone so that they can really enjoy their shopping experience without worrying about Junior and the $35/ball of yarn that he/she needs to fondle, no matter how gently.

We are all different, shoppers and shop owners. If all customers were the same then WalMart would probably serve our knitting needs, but we have a wonderfully diverse group of people who call themselves knitters and crafters and I'm proud that so many of you have found a comfortable place to shop at the WOOL-TYME Kingston store.


This week's news: WOOL-TYME Kingston's VEGETABLE SALE June 9-14 and KNIT IN PUBLIC DAY< June 14th

Okay, so it isn't exactly a SALE on vegetables, but rather this week, we are featuring all of our yarns that are primarily of a plant base (Cottons, linen, bamboo, hemp, viscose) at 20% OFF (By the way, the pretty blue flower to the right is from the flax plant, where we get linen. It's a great plant for sunny areas of your garden.)
I love the month of June at the store: it gives me sense of tidying things up by finding good homes for so many of our yarns during the Inventory Sale.
Next week (June 16-20) we will be featuring all of our synthetic blend yarns, great for afghans, kids' clothes and accessories at 20% off and I'll fill you in later on about our extra special feature that we keep for the last week of June.
One last note: Please join us for Kingston's version of the World Wide Knit In Public Day, which will be next Saturday, June 14th, starting at Sipps cafe on Brock St, near Market Square around 1pm. We are expecting to have a good number of knitters who enjoy getting together and sharing some stories, some ideas, some patterns, and some fun. Hope to see you there!!!


A lovely time was had by all...

Now tell me, are these pictures not just shining examples of how happy knitters are? They were taken at the Chapters presentation by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee on Wed. June 4th. The first is a picture of a contingent who were at the Yarn Harlot's event from the KCVI (a local High School) knitting club, which was represented by these three lovely grade 11 students and their Math teacher/knitting buddy (who of course is equally lovely).
I was so glad to get to meet the girls as I had sent in a pile of yarn and needles for them to use last week for their "Relay For Life" fundraiser for Cancer. I had heard that the knitting activity that was offered had gone really well but it wasn't until I got to see the pictures that I realized how many guys turned out for the knitting component. ( I figure that the guys were smart enough to know where the nice pretty girls were going to be!)
By the way, the KCVI team's picture has been lifted from Stephanie's blog as I was so excited to get to meet the girls that I forgot to take a picture. The other thing of note with this group is the quality of their knitting. Now remember that these girls are in grade 11 and they are able to whip up toe-up socks with Kool-Aid dyed wool and intricate lace/chevron patterns. Their enthusiasm is amazing and makes me proud to be a knitter.

The picture below is of Stephanie with Amy and Kim, a mom and daughter team of fine knitters and lovely ladies. (Kim and I spent some time comparing tattoos - although my 3 little roses on my left ankle are quite insignificant compared to the lovely art work she has, but having a tattoo of any size does initiate one into the "tatt" club and gives one the privelege of discussing and comparing with any other member of said club.)

The only thing that I would suggest is that the next time that the Yarn Harlot comes to Kingston, we should have dibbs on Stephanie's calendar for a later date in the month as I've been running into people all over the place who hadn't gotten around to opening up our e-newsletter in time to hear about her arrival and consequently missed out on the event as it was only 3 days after the newsletter went out.

This last picture is of another knitting group who came to visit us at the store last Saturday from the Laval area, north of Montreal. We were so glad to host this group of sensible women who know how important it is to get away from our regular lives now and then, and spend some time with friends doing things that we enjoy: shopping, chatting, knitting, eating, etc. It was particularly nice to see Caroline (far right) who, while she lived in Kingston, was a faithful participant of our Thursday night "knit and chat" for years until they moved to Quebec.

I've come to realize just how important this type of outing is and am going to be pursuing it more seriously in the future by approaching Tourism Kingston, to see if they would want to collaborate on some kind of a package deal for knitting groups to welcome them to Kingston. It's such a great city and we have so much to offer to people who want to get away for a bit.
Do you have friends from out of town, or are you part of a knitting group who would like to visit our city for a few days or even hours of R&R - knitting style? Let me know as it would be great to have some leads to go to the tourism board with.