How to have fun - Part 1

Over the past few weeks I've been both surprised and delighted at how fun my life is lately.
It could possibly be that I've been reading Eat, Pray, Love and the author's life swings from such desperation to elation that I'm just glad to be little old me having a good time.

The first opportunity that I had to notice how much fun I've been having was when I found myself at the "Knit Trade" Show organized by the ladies at Cabin Fever, where LYS owners were invited to meet with smallish yarn/knitting related product companies who wouldn't have the opportunity to visit all the stores.

Here is some of the fun stuff that I got, much of which came from the booth with the dynamic pair of dye divas from Dye Version.

I had made a small note to myself before going to the show that I wanted to check out the price of their bamboo/lycra sock yarn as it seemed like something new that I thought would work well in my store. WELL, was I dumbfounded when I saw their line up...And I have the MasterCard receipt and the products in my store to prove it.

Not only did I come away with a good selection of the Bamboo/lycra sock yarn (in amazing colours), but I also picked up 2 other lines: their fingering weight 100% bamboo which runs through your fingers like water, and the most amazing sock yarn that we have ever carried, being a gloriously hand dyed blend of merino wool, silk, nylon and (wait for it...) sterling SILVER filament.

Honestly, the Dye Version ladies said that they hadn't actually heard of anyone who really made a pair of socks with this to-die-for yarn, but with the nylon content I guess it would work...but who would want to? You would end up walking out into traffic, while lifting your pants above your ankles so you could watch the silver flecks and the colours as they moved in the sunlight.

I also brought back a whole pile of other fun things including knitting key chains, glittery mohair, and oodles of books and 2011 calendars. COme on in and check them out.
Later that evening I got to spend the night with my daughter and her new "J-ug" (being a Jack Russel, Pug cross) puppy, Zoe. I was also introduced to the indescribable joyful cuteness of an urban park full of dogs and puppies of every shape and size, congregating for a good old fashioned run and fetch. It doesn't get much more fun than that.
In Part 2 and 3 of these How to have fun posts, I will discuss the joys of teaching a class of lovely ladies who absolutely want to learn what I have to teach them about toe-up socks, and my experience with the Solution Sweater that I'm making for my brother's 50th birthday. I call it the Solution Sweater as during its creation I was presented with a whole series of challenges, problems and mistakes to be fixed (without resorting to starting over from scratch) and the solutions to these dilemmas were Eureka provoking and thankfully received.
Meanwhile, fall always makes us happy at the yarn store. Lots of new products, lots of new and returning customers, lots of work to keep us out of trouble.
Life is fun.
More later.


Meet Perri Klass

"I love to knit, I love to read, and I love to read about knitting." Perri Klass

That statement only begins to cover the things about which Perri Klass is passionate. I'm sure that many of you know her name but for those who haven't run into her in print, I'll list the "hats" she wears that I can identify in just a few minutes on the internet:

Pediatrician, professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University, literacy advocate, regular columnist in Knitter's Magazine, knitwear designer, writer of knitting books many articles and papers and books in any of the above fields plus pieces on travel and food topics to boot. AND she has 3 kids of her own!

Well imagine my surprise when I was going through the stacks of the library recently and came upon her recent non-knitting, non-medical, non-literacy related NOVEL. I think that I just saw her as a regular SuperWoman before but finding this book: The Mercy Rule, which I believe is her first real work of fiction, really hit home and made me ask with a true sense of exasperation: How Does She Do It?
I know the hours it takes to slog through the multiple drafts of 250 pages of fiction, when 5:30am is considered sleeping in. It took me the better part of 3 years and I only had 1 job! Does this woman never sleep? Is she like Hermione Granger who experimented with time shifting in order to accomplish all she needed to do during one year at Hogwarts Academy of Magic?

Maybe they should make a Movie of the Week of her life, or more likely an HBO series as no one could cram all the things that she excells in during a 2 hour movie.

Check out her website and see if you just can't tell from the tone of her knitting articles and by the arenas where her life has taken her, that she has just got to be a really nice person too.

Having begun this post with a quotation from the internet, I shall close the same way and you can picture me sitting tall at my computer desk, secure in the knowledge that if it hadn't been for all the time that I wasted with my head in the toilet bowl during 3 x 9 months of morning sickness that I too could have accomplished as much...NOT!

"She (Perri Klass) also wrote, in the New York Times Magazine, about the experience of having a baby while in medical school" Wikipedia


Made it through the first week of school.

I've been out of the school teaching business for 14 years now. My youngest "child" is in 3rd year University. The only real connection that I have to the ebb and flow of the scolastic year is in the school bus's return to pick up the kids next door. Yet every year I still walk through those first few days after Labour Day with a fondness, excitement and sense of relief at the approach of that first Friday which signals the end of the first week.

I've been pondering memories of my own student days, remembering the grade 7 teacher that I had who taught us, literally next to nothing in the entire year, except how to knit a spiral hat much like this one that I found on the net.
Now you can imagine that although she was no Socrates, that woman was to be commended for her attempt to have 30 12 year-old girls of varying levels of dexterity, interest, hormonal upheaval, and ability actually complete what I now recognize to be a relatively intricate pattern. For the first time in my life, I realize what a gift that teacher gave me and how much I learned about math and its relationship to structure in general and the construction of knitting designs in particular, never mind that I spent the year focused on how much work we were avoiding by knitting for a good portion of every day.
Having spent last week touching down mentally into the schoolyards of my past, I was delighted to receive this video link by email from my sister. I have declared it to be my favourite music video of all time (for this week anyway.) Kristin Andreassen's Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for Your Eyes.
I absolutely challenge you to watch it and see if you aren't humming the tune for the rest of the day, feeling a lot more hopeful about the future of our world, and harbouring the coziest memories of wonderful teachers that you have had in your past. (I wanted to run away and join her that grade 2 class).


Such Role Models

Next Sunday, the store will have its 14th birthday.
One of the very best gifts that I've received during those years has been to observewhat it means to grow older for many different people.
We all grow older, some people just do a better job of it than others. Aside from having a really good example in my parents about how important it is to take care of yourself, to stay active and keep connected with friends, I've learned so much from the people that I see every day, month in and month out, year after year, who change as we all do with the passage of time but never seem to lose that spark that keeps them learning and interested in life around them.
A friend of mine from the Tai Chi days and who is now a good customer was in to the store today telling me about the trip to the north where she had been with her parents who are pictured here: Don and Katy Lou McLauchlan. Don was an RCMP officer in the north for decades but had spent 3 years in the tiny centre of Aklavik, which was celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The interesting thing is that Don himself is only 2 years younger than the community.
Yes, that's right. Don at 98 and Katy Lou at 92 made the trek to the high north this summer to help celebrate. This would be quite a trip under any circumstances for these folks but it's important to note that Aklavik has no hotel, B&B, restaurants, roads, telephones...nothing of what might make one feel a bit more comfortable in our southern ways.
Read all about the trip and some of Don's recollections here and think about some of the amazing elders that we have among us. I know I feel so priveleged to be surrounded on a daily basis by people of all ages who are such great examples of living and learning.



I received an email recently of this picture along with several other examples of humans being taken advantage of by animals.
It really is quite a funny series and I thought that my oldest daughter would get a kick out of the pictures as she is presently working for a Humane Society as an animal protection officer.

Her response to my email was as follows:
It says a lot about my upbringing when I see buddy at the end getting knocked out by a kangaroo and one of my first thoughts is “nice Aran sweater”.

I guess my children were a bit more immersed in the beauty of handknits than many others would be.


Get togethers are great!

CALLING ALL CRAFTERS who like to hang out together with others who share your enjoyment.

Do you have a group of friends with whom you share some regular knitting, hooking or regular crafting time and would be open to having your group visited or joined by others of the same persuasion? Please let me know the details. I'd love to be able to share the information here on the blog, in our newsletter, on our Ravelry site, or just when people call us to see what's going on in the crafting community of Kingston.

This picture was taken a couple of years back. It shows our regular Thurs. evening gang that meets at the store from 6:30-8:30. This group has been going on for the better part of 10 years with an obvious ebb and flow of participants. It began with the class regulars outgrowing the need for instruction but still looking for the fun and companionship of a regular "class time" with or without the actual class.

As I was working on my "To Do" list this morning I realized that next Wednesday, the 8th of September we will be restarting the bi weekly rug hooking get togethers at the store (the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month.) By the way, this is the piece that I was working on for part of last year and finished late in March, but the Reindeer that I was hooking when we left off last spring has not been touched since then. How typical!

The feeling of anticipation reminded me of when I was a kid and I looked forward to my first Brownie meeting of the year, or swimming lessons starting up again on a Saturday morming. There's something really great about the rhythm of returning to an activity that we enjoy on a regular basis.

Here we notice at our regular on going classes that so many of the people who attend form real bonds that sometimes extend beyond the knitting store; there's the fun of getting together with people of like mind who may be from very different backgrounds, age groups, and life experiences but still share our love of learning a new skill. If someone has been away for awhile, they're welcomed back with questions about family, pets as well as the progress of the knitting project.

Please consider joining us on Thursday evening whenever possible. It's free and fun and we'd love to have you.